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Department of Plant Sciences


300th anniversary of the Professor of Botany at Cambridge. 

2024 marks the three-hundredth anniversary of the appointment of the first Professor of Botany at Cambridge, and will be a year of celebration for the department.


The University’s rich legacy in botany is marked by pioneering achievements. From the appointment of the first Professor of Botany through to our most recent Professors of Botany, Cambridge has made notable discoveries in the fields of plant genetics, physiology and diversity. Professor Richard Bradley (1724) was a pioneer in the research of plant reproduction, an understanding of which underpins breeding of modern crop varieties; Professor Sir David Baulcombe (2007) discovered entirely new mechanisms of gene regulation opening new approaches for defending crops against predators and making them resilient to climate change, and Professor Dame Ottoline Leyser (current) discovered the processes by which hormones regulate the basic structure of plants, which helps us design crops that are suited to our needs.


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