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Department of Plant Sciences


Research group


Research Overview

I am mainly a stay-at-home mum but I also carry out independent plant science research as a volunteer.

I am working on taking photographs of gametophyte ferns, to show the developmental stages of the prothallus from filamentous stage to the emergence of the first sporophyte leaf. The challenge in this work is to have sufficient depth of field in my photos to show the whole tiny prothallus in focus.

To achieve this, I use focus stacking technology. My photographs and the equipment that I use are all shown in my image library at:

The image library also contains the complete photograph collection of Professor M. B. Wilkins, who was Regius Professor of Botany at the University of Glasgow, when I was an undergraduate student there. If anybody would like to use any of these images, please do get in touch.


Previous positions

2003 - 2010  Ontology Curator, Gene Ontology Project, EMBL-EBI, Hinxton, UK.

2001 - 2003  Postdoctoral position - Root development research. Jim Haseloff's group, Department of Plant Sciences, University of Cambridge, UK.


1993 - 1997  BSc Hons (Botany), University of Glasgow, Scotland, UK.

1997 - 2001  PhD, John Innes Centre, Norwich. (Antirrhinum majus flower development and the role of cycloidea in generating symmetry.)


Key publications

Deegan, J. and Deegan, T. 2018. Macrophotography of fern gametophytes using a focus stacking system. Pteridologist 6.5.2018

Deegan, J. 2017. Photographing The Fern Gametophyte Developmental Series – The First Attempt. Pteridologist, 6 (4), 263-265.


All publications

About the itinerant botanist



2017  Biomaker Spirit Award



2018  OpenPlant grant: £5000 to further develop focus stacking microscope design, and provide documentation and video guides for anyone who would like to copy the design.

2017  Biomaker grant: £1000 to develop focus stacking microscope.


Dr Jennifer Deegan

Contact Details

Email address: 
Department of Plant Sciences,
Downing Street,