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Prof. Ian Henderson

Head of Group, Professor of Genetics and Epigenetics
Prof. Ian Henderson

Ian Henderson is accepting applications for PhD students.

Department of Plant Sciences
University of Cambridge
Downing Street

Cambridge CB2 3EA
Office Phone: 01223 748977


Ian studied at the University of Oxford as an undergraduate in the Department of Plant Sciences. In 2000 he was awarded a Gatsby Charitable Foundation Ph.D Studentship to work with Prof. Caroline Dean at the John Innes Centre, UK, where he studied the role of alternative polyadenylation in control of flowering-time. Prof. Dean's research into epigenetic control of vernalization inspired Ian to take up postdoctoral research with Prof. Steve Jacobsen at the University of California, Los Angeles in 2004. At UCLA Ian investigated mechanisms of RNA-directed DNA methylation and its role in control of gene expression, supported by EMBO and Leukemia & Lymphoma Society Fellowships.

In 2008 Ian returned to the UK as a Royal Society University Research Fellow and Gatsby Resident Fellow in the Department of Plant Sciences at the University of Cambridge. Since 2020 Ian is Professor of Genetics and Epigenetics in the Department of Plant Sciences, where he teaches plant genetics and its application to food security. He is the recipient of the 2013 Society for Experimental Biology President's Medal.

Ian’s group is investigating the control of meiotic recombination frequency in plant genomes by genetic and epigenetic factors. He is seeking to translate this knowledge into farmed species, in order to accelerate breeding as we adapt our crops to the changing climate.

Key Publications

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The Department has carried out a comprehensive COVID-19 risk assessment process and has opened to allow research work to take place. To ensure the safety of our staff, a range of measures to reduce building occupancy and allow strict social distancing have been introduced, including increased cleaning and hygiene regimes. We are currently not accepting visitors so please continue to contact us by email until further notice.