Research Interests

As a plant molecular geneticist I have studied the mechanisms controlling floral development. Through extensive mutant screens in Antirrhinum (snapdragon) I identified and characterized three classes of key regulatory genes, most of which encode transcription factors. The first class comprises genes that control the switch from shoot to floral meristems and therefore sets the overall architecture of the plant. The second class consists of genes that act in combination to establish the basic plan of the flower as a series of concentric whorls of different organ types. This work, together with parallel studies in Arabidopsis, led to a unified model of flower development, termed the ABC model, which has provided a framework for subsequent studies in the field. The third class of genes controls the dorsoventral asymmetry of the flower. This has allowed the development and evolution of floral asymmetry to be studied at the molecular level for the first time. More recently I have been trying to understand how patterns of gene activity lead to the growth of organs with specific sizes and shapes. This involves a combination of experimental studies and mathematical modeling.

Membership Type

International Member

Election Year


Primary Section

Section 25: Plant Biology

Secondary Section

Section 26: Genetics