The Sainsbury Laboratory Cambridge names a new Director

18th Jan 2013

Professor Leyser, formerly the Associate Director of the Laboratory and also a Professor of Plant Development at the Department of Plant Sciences Cambrdige , said: “This is a really exciting time to be a plant biologist. We have an impressive array of tools and technologies to make rapid progress and the Sainsbury Laboratory will be at the forefront of a new integrative approach to understanding biological systems”

Professor Leyser received her BA (1986) and PhD (1990) in Genetics from the University of Cambridge.

After post-doctoral research at Indiana University and Cambridge, she built an independent research programme at the University of York, where she worked from 1994-2010. Among her honours are the Society of Experimental Biology’s President’s Medal (2000), the Royal Society Rosalind Franklin Award (2007), the International Plant Growth Substance Association’s Silver Medal (2010).

She was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire in the 2009 New Year Honours list.

She is a Fellow of the Royal Society, a Foreign Associate of the US National Academy of Sciences and a Member of the European Molecular Biology Organisation.

A Fellow of Clare College, she is the President of International Plant Molecular Biology, a member of the Council of the Royal Society, and Deputy Chair of the Nuffield Council on Bioethics.

The Sainsbury Laboratory is a new research institute funded by the Gatsby Foundation with the aim of elucidating the regulatory systems underlying plant growth and development.

The Laboratory will eventually house 120 research scientists and 30 support staff studying a range of topics including shoot branching, cell signalling and growth, temperature sensing and flower development.

All of this work is integrated with and dependent on a range of computer modelling approaches.

The Laboratory was opened by Her Majesty the Queen in 2011 and the building was awarded the Stirling Prize for Architecture in 2012.

Recruitment is on-going and the Laboratory continues to build collaborative partnerships with other research institutions within the University, nationally and internationally.

Professor Sir David Baulcombe, Regius Professor of Botany and Chair of the Sainsbury Laboratory Management Board said: “We warmly welcome the appointment of Professor Leyser to the Directorship of the Laboratory. Professor Leyser has worked in partnership the Laboratory’s Inaugural Director, Professor Elliot Meyerowitz, to establish the Laboratory and to recruit the founding group leaders, and we look forward to her continued work in developing the Lab’s research, recruitment and collaborations.‘

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