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Department of Plant Sciences


Research group 


Research overview

My group are investigating the control of meiotic recombination frequency in plant genomes by genetic and epigenetic factors. For example, we have worked extensively to show that crossover frequency is shaped by euchromatin and heterochromatin at the scale of hotspots and whole chromosomes. Using natural genetic variation we have identified the first recombination modifier loci that shape crossover frequency in different parts of the genome. We predominantly use the model plant Arabidopsis thaliana for our studies, but we are also seeking to translate this knowledge into agricultural species, for example wheat and tomato, in order to accelerate breeding as we adapt our crops to the changing climate. Most recently we have been using long read DNA sequencing, including nanopore, to assemble highly repetitive regions of plant genomes, for example the centromeres. We are interested to explore how chromatin and recombination pathways interact to control the repeat architecture of these regions.

School of Biological Sciences theme affiliations



Teaches plant genetics and its application to food security.

Previous positions

2020-present Professor of Genetics and Epigenetics, Department of Plant Sciences, University of Cambridge
2016-2020 Reader, Department of Plant Sciences, University of Cambridge
2012-2016 Lecturer, Department of Plant Sciences, University of Cambridge
2008-present Royal Society University Research Fellow and Gatsby Resident Fellow, Department of Plant Sciences, University of Cambridge
2004-2008 Postdoctoral Researcher with Professor Steve Jacobsen, University of California, Los Angeles


2000-2004 PhD Studentship in Plant Genetics, Supervisor Professor Dame Caroline Dean, John Innes Centre, UK
1997-2000 BA Biological Sciences, University of Oxford, UK

Key publications

Wlodzimierz et al. Cycles of satellite and transposon evolution in Arabidopsis centromeres. Nature 618, 557–565 (2023)


All publications


Awards and fellowships

2022 EMBO Member
2013 Society for Experimental Biology President's Medal
2008-2016 Royal Society University Research Fellow       
2008-2016 Gatsby University Research Fellow
2004-2008 EMBO Long Term Fellowship
Head of Genetic and Epigenetic Inheritance in Plants Group
Professor of Genetics and Epigenetics
Prof. Ian  Henderson

Contact Details

Email address: 
Department of Plant Sciences,
Downing Street,
01223 748977