Jane Langdale is a plant developmental geneticist recognized for her work on the evolution and development of leaves. She grew up in the UK and graduated from the University of Bath in 1982 with a degree in Applied Biology specializing in microbiology. She went on to do a PhD in Human Genetics at the University of London and then postdoctoral research at Yale University on the molecular and genetic basis of plant development. She returned to the UK in 1990 having been awarded an Independent Research Fellowship to set up her own research group in the Plant Sciences Department at the University of Oxford. In 1994 she was appointed as a University Lecturer in the Plant Sciences Department at Oxford and a Tutorial Fellow of The Queen’s College. She was Head of Department of Plant Sciences from 2007-2012 and Associate Head of the Maths Physical and Life Sciences Division from 2008-2013. She is currently a Professorial Research Fellow in the Plant Sciences Department and at The Queen’s College. She is an elected Member of the European Molecular Biology Organization and a Fellow of the Royal Society, and was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire for services to plant sciences in 2018.

Research Interests

Research in Jane Langdale's laboratory is broadly themed upon the genetics and evolution of plant development. In the past they have used diverse taxa including mosses, lycophytes, ferns and seed plants to investigate how developmental mechanisms were modified during land plant evolution. More recent research is focused on dissecting the genetic mechanisms that pattern the characteristic 'Kranz'-type leaf anatomy found in plants that carry out C4 photosynthesis. C4 leaves evolved a patterning mechanism that both positions veins more closely together in the leaf than in ancestral C3 species, and specifies the differentiation of two distinct photosynthetic cell-types around those veins. With a focus on monocot grasses, and using maize as a model C4 species, the group is testing hypotheses that aim to understand how developmental mechanisms in the leaf were altered as the C4 pathway evolved. A long-term goal is to engineer C4 leaf anatomy into agronomically important C3 crops such as rice, in order to facilitate yield enhancement through subsequent introduction of the extremely efficient C4 photosynthetic pathway.

Membership Type

International Member

Election Year


Primary Section

Section 62: Plant, Soil, and Microbial Sciences

Secondary Section

Section 25: Plant Biology