Ottoline Leyser is Regius Professor of Botany at the University of Cambridge. Her research uses the control of shoot branching in Arabidopsis to understand the role of plant hormones in plant developmental plasticity. She trained in Genetics at the University of Cambridge, followed by post-doctoral research at Indiana University, eventfully punctuated by the birth of her two children. In 1994 she took up a faculty position at the University of York, moving to the new Sainsbury Laboratory Cambridge University (SLCU) in 2011. She served as Director of SLCU from 2013-2020. In June 2020 she took up the role of CEO of UK Research and Innovation, the main public funder of research and innovation in the UK.

Research Interests

Plant development is characterized by spectacular levels of plasticity, such that a single genotype can give rise to a wide range of phenotypes. The degree of shoot branching is an excellent example of this phenomenon with branching levels being influenced by diverse environmental and developmental factors throughout the life cycle. Leyser's research focuses on the role of a network of systemically mobile plant hormones in integrating these factors to tune shoot branching.

Membership Type

International Member

Election Year


Primary Section

Section 25: Plant Biology