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Department of Plant Sciences


Research group


Research overview

Hamish is interested in pollination and plant-pollinator interactions - how flowers have evolved alongside insects, and how crop breeding has changed pollinator-relevant traits. He is currently investigating the basis of nectar spurs in the toadflax genus Linaria. Nectar spurs are considered a key evolutionary innovation, enabling rapid speciation by defining pollinator specificity. Linaria features a spur, but the genetic basis of its formation is still unclear, particularly the genes which control spur positioning and length. He aims to investigate this with a combination of genetic manipulation and analysis of bulk sequencing data. 
Alongside this, he is also investigating flower colour in the horse chestnut and the Indian Bean Tree, both of which have flowers which change colour over time: how does this colour change effect bees and what is the genetic basis for it? 
His PhD, also in the Glover lab, investigated these using the garden strawberry as a model system, characterising the floral variation between cultivars of strawberry and testing bumblebee responses to extremes of that variation. Alongside this, he investigated the molecular basis of flower colour Aethionema, a genus in the Brassicaceae with cultivars having flowers ranging from light to deep pink.
In 2019 he and fellow PhD student Jake Moscrop were awarded funding by EIT Food to develop a Improving Flowers to Help Feed the World, a video about his research, which is available on the University of Cambridge's YouTube channel.


In October 2022 he started a three-year Junior Research Fellowship at Queens' College, Cambridge. Prior to this he studied for a PhD on the BBSRC Doctoral Training Programme (DTP). After an undergraduate degree in Biochemistry at Cambridge, graduating in 2002, Hamish worked variously for the University and University Press in various aspects of IT and graphic design. In 2008 he founded a software company designing business systems for photographers. Upon selling his share in the company in 2016, he returned to science on the BBSRC DTP scheme, starting his PhD in October 2017. He is always willing to talk about life as a mature PhD student (and managing a PhD and a toddler!) with anyone interested in applying.



Key publications

All publications

Postdoctoral Research Associate
Junior Research Fellow, Queens’ College

Contact Details

Email address: 
Department of Plant Sciences,
Downing Street,
01223 330216