Director of the Sainsbury Laboratory, University of Cambridge

Ottoline is a Professor of Plant Development and received her BA (1986) and PhD (1990) in Genetics from the University of Cambridge. After post-doctoral research at Indiana University and Cambridge, in she built an independent research programme at the University of York, where she worked from 1994-2010. Among her honours are the Society of Experimental Biology’s President’s Medal (2000), the Royal Society Rosalind Franklin Award (2007), the International Plant Growth Substance Association’s Silver Medal (2010). She was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire in the 2009 New Year Honours list. She is a Fellow of the Royal Society, a Foreign Associate of the US National Academy of Sciences and a Member of the European Molecular Biology Organisation. She is the President of International Plant Molecular Biology, a member of the Council of the Royal Society, and Deputy Chair of the Nuffield Council on Bioethics. She is Co-Editor in Chief of Current Opinions in Plant Biology and an Editor of Development. She is a Fellow of Clare College.

My research is aimed at understanding the role of plant hormones in plant developmental plasticity, using the regulation of shoot branching as a model. Axillary meristems, which are established in each leaf axil formed from the primary shoot apical meristem, can remain dormant or activate to produce a branch.


  • –present
    Deputy Chair, Nuffield Council on Bioethics and Professor of Plant Development and Director of the Sainsbury Laboratory, University of Cambridge