PhD in Edinburgh and then postdocs in Montreal and Athens Georgia. Group Leader at the Plant Breeding Institute in Cambridge, Sainsbury Laboratory Norwich and then Regius Professor of Botany in Cambridge. I started my research career thinking that one of the major challenges in biology is understanding of gene regulation in plants and animals. Biology at molecular, organismal and population levels, I thought, would be informed by knowledge about gene regulation. It has been the underlying theme throughout my research career.

Research Interests

Gene regulation has been the underlying theme throughout my research career. I work on plants but the general concepts and many of the mechanisms are common to all parts of the tree of life and my work has had impact in diverse areas including agriculture and biomedicine. To begin with I focused on individual genes but advanced technology and computing now allows analysis of complex gene networks. We can now begin to address the question of emergent properties in which cells and organisms are more than the simple sum of their parts so that molecular biology is truly 'biology'. My group has become interested in epigenetics - the science of how nurture influences nature - and how environmental effects can be transmitted from one generation to the next. Over the years the context of my interest in gene regulation has involved plant hormone, viruses, disease resistane and now interspecific hybridisation.

Membership Type

International Member

Election Year


Primary Section

Section 25: Plant Biology

Secondary Section

Section 62: Plant, Soil, and Microbial Sciences