I would like to thank Prof. Jeremy Roberts, my supervisor, for providing the great opportunity to do this research, for giving me the expert advice, valuable supervision and encouragement through my Master’s programme and in the writing and correcting of this thesis. I wish to express my gratitude to Dr. Brian Power, for ceaseless encouragement and constant support at the most difficult moments.
Many thanks to Li Zhang, for your great patience and support throughout this project. This work would not have been possible without your great help; thanks to Ann, Zinnia, Susanna, Paul, Mike, Helen, Morag, Jane and to all the people in the Plant Science Building who offered selfless help and shared this impressive year.
I would like to thank the University of Nottingham and Shanghai Jiaotong University for funding this scholarship.
To all these friends that through their e-mails made this time shorter and the homesick less hard to bear; thanks to Xian, Keyu, Jee, Leona, PYY, Huihui, Savio, and all the friends on the Sutton Bonington Campus.
Last but not least, I would like to thank my parents, my family and my boyfriend for their unconditional support and love.
And, of course, dear Pooh, Som, Nampeung, Feung, Unice, Sharmaine, James, Godlove, Calvin, Minch, Joe, Atousa, Able, Stephen, Ahmad…
Millions of thanks for all you guys who shared the tears and laughters, who brought flavor to the blandness, who let go the loneliness and who make this place thousands of miles away from home like home.