skip to primary navigationskip to content

Dr Roman Kellenberger

Visiting Post Doctoral Research Fellow
Dr Roman Kellenberger
Department of Plant Sciences
University of Cambridge
Downing Street

Cambridge CB2 3EA
Office Phone: 01223 333934; 330212


I joined the lab in 2018 as a visiting post-doctoral researcher funded by a Swiss National Science Foundation fellowship, shortly after obtaining my PhD from University of Zurich (Switzerland) in the group of Prof. Florian Schiestl and Dr. Philipp Schlüter.

Research Interests

I am interested in the eco-evo-devo of micro-evolutionary processes, i.e. the interplay of evolutionary-developmental and ecological changes that lead to new forms within species. 

During my PhD, I have assessed the evolutionary mechanisms underlying a floral colour polymorphism in the Alpine orchid Gymnadenia rhellicani, which caught my eye during a hike in the Alps. Using an array of different methodologies from gas chromatography to next-generation sequencing, I have reconstructed the origin and maintenance of this polymorphism from a genetic mutation in the anthocyanin pathway to the selection imposed by pollinators.

In my current project, I am investigating the underpinnings of floral variation in the South African daisy Gorteria diffusa. A yet unknown genetic change leads to the production of three-dimensional cellular papillae on the petals, which play a crucial role in tricking male pollinators into copulation attempts with the flower. This change in pollination strategy from nutrition advertisement to sexual deception is thought to be a key factor promoting incipient speciation in this system.

Key Publications

Google Scholar

Filed under:

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.