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Department of Plant Sciences


Research group


Research overview

Our research is both comparative and integrative, combining systematics, morphology, development, molecular genetics, and physiology. The major theme that unites these different approaches is phylogeny, which we use to reconstruct the evolutionary history of organisms and molecules to provide a comparative framework for our work.

School of Biological Sciences theme affiliations



On the Natural Sciences Tripos, I mainly teach on the first year course Evolution and Behaviour where I lecture of plant domestication, run a practical on Plant Polyploidy and co-lead the Field Course. I teach some practicals on plant diversity and morphology as part of the second year course Plant and Microbial Sciences. Additionally, I give a set of six lectures as part of the third year Part II module Evolution and Ecosystem Dynamics, lecturing on phylogenetics and homology.

Previous positions

2020-present Associate Professor, Department of Plant Sciences, University of Cambridge
2015-present Curator, Botanic Garden, University of Cambridge
2015-2020 Assistant Professor, Department of Plant Sciences, University of Cambridge
2014-2018 NERCouncil Independent Research Fellow, University of Cambridge
2012-2014 Isaac Newton Trust Research Fellow
2009-2012 Marie Curie Research Fellow, University of Cambridge


2003-2009 PhD Evolutionary Biology, University of Florida
1998-2002 BSc Plant Sciences, University of Edinburgh 


School of Biological Sciences staff profile


  • Trustee of The Wildlife Trust for Beds, Cambridgeshire and Northamptonshire
  • Trustee for Thrive Charity (Social and Therapeutic Horticulture)

Awards and fellowships

  • Bye-Fellowship, Girton College, University of Cambridge, UK
  • Howard Hughes Medical Institute Award, University of Florida, USA
  • Karling Graduate Research Award, Botanical Society of America, USA
  • Aschoff Dissertation Fellowship Award, University of Florida, USA
  • Maynard Mosely Award, Plant Biology Congress, Chicago, USA
  • Graduate Alumni Fellowship, University of Florida, USA
  • Lang Scholarship, University of Edinburgh, UK
  • Henry Anderson Award, University of Edinburgh, UK


  • Graduate Education Committee
  • Cambridge University Botanic Garden Syndicate

Public engagement

I regularly give public lecture on the history of botanic gardens, the global network of botanic gardens, and the current and ongoing activities in the Cambridge University Botanic Garden.
Head of Evolution and Diversity Group
Curator of the Cambridge University Botanic Garden
Professor of Evolution
Dr Samuel Fraser Brockington

Contact Details

Email address: 
Department of Plant Sciences,
University of Cambridge,
Downing Street,
Office 01223336268
Lab 01223 330232