About me

Hello! My name is Dr Anne Osterrieder.

In my current role I am supporting public engagement activities undertaken by the Mahidol Oxford Tropical Medicine Research Unit (MORU), Centre for Tropical Medicine and Global Health, University of Oxford.

I have substantial experience in leading and facilitating public engagement activities and researcher development, as well as in biology research and Higher Education. I am Editor-in-Chief of ‘Botany One‘, the online magazine published by the non-profit charity ‘Annals of Botany Company’.

(Photo by Cyrus Mower Photography https://www.cyrusoxford.co.uk/).

Public Engagement

Before joining MORU, I worked as a Senior Lecturer in Biology and Science Communication at Oxford Brookes University from 2014-2019. My role was formally split into undergraduate teaching (Biotechnology, Cell Biology, Plant Science, Work Experience) and public engagement, as the University Lead for Public Engagement with Research. My work included writing the strategy and leading implementation of a cross-university public engagement network, coordinating and running researcher training, and coordinating the annual family event ‘Brookes Science Bazaar’. I was also the Oxford Brookes ex officio trustee on the board of the Oxford science festival “If Oxford”. Other public engagement projects included collaborations with the Oxford Brookes Poetry Centre, our CSI Biotechnology School Loan Kit Scheme, or the International Fascination of Plants Day on 18th May.

I have expertise in using social media and blogging for making research accessible to a wider audience. My (now inactive) science blog can be found at http://www.plantcellbiology.com.  In collaboration with musicians and other plant cell biologists I am  producing science music videos which can be viewed on YouTube:http://www.youtube.com/plantendomembrane.

In 2012 I received the SEB’s President’s Medal 2012 for Education and Public Affairs as recognition for my achievements in science communication.

Plant Cell Biology

I am a plant cell biologist by training, and studied plant cells for over a decade. In my PhD thesis (2004-2008, Oxford Brookes University), I studied the formation and structural maintenance of the plant Golgi apparatus. The Golgi apparatus lies in the centre of the secretory pathway, a complex membrane system conserved in all eukaryotic cells. It is similar to a compartmentalised conveyor belt system in a factory: it processes, distributes and stores a wide range of important proteins such as storage proteins in cereal grains or proteins involved in plant stress responses. In animal cells  the Golgi apparatus is organised as a single large ribbon. A plant cell however can have up to hundreds of small mobile Golgi bodies which move along the cytoskeleton over the endoplasmic reticulum (ER). Golgi bodies contain enzymes that attach sugars to proteins, they pack and ship protein cargo and lipids and produce material for the cell wall.

In animal cells a family of proteins, the golgins, functions in the regulation of protein transport between the ER and the Golgi. It also acts as a structural scaffold, or Golgi matrix, for Golgi cisternae. I am studying arabidopsis homologues of these proteins to see if they take over similar functions in plants. I am especially interested in proteins that act at the ER-Golgi interface and might anchor Golgi bodies to the ER surface.

To characterise these proteins I used advanced confocal laser scanning microscopy methods such as fluorescence lifetime imaging (FLIM) to study interactions between golgins and small GTPases, or optical laser tweezers to pull Golgi bodies away from the ER in living plant cells.