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Chief Executive

Chief Executive
Professor Dame Ottoline Leyser DBE FRS

Professor Dame Ottoline Leyser DBE FRS

Professor Dame Ottoline Leyser DBE FRS

Ottoline Leyser is Professor of Plant Development at the University of Cambridge and was until recently Director of its Sainsbury Laboratory, an interdisciplinary research institute combining computational modelling with molecular genetics and cell biology to elucidate the dynamical systems underpinning the control of plant growth and development. She has made important contributions to understanding the role of plant hormones in developmental plasticity, using the control of shoot branching in Arabidopsis as a model system.

Ottoline has a long-term interest in research culture and its effects on the quality and effectiveness of the research system. She chaired the Nuffield Council on Bioethics project examining these issues and has been actively engaged in work aimed at generating a more inclusive, creative and connected culture. She has worked extensively in science policy, for example serving as Chair of the Royal Society’s Science Policy Expert Advisory Committee, Chair of the Management Committee of the University of Cambridge Centre for Science and Policy, and as a member of the Prime Minister’s Council for Science and Technology.

She is a Fellow of the Royal Society, a Member of the Leopoldina and EMBO, and an International Member of the US National Academy of Sciences. In 2017 she was appointed DBE for services to plant science, science in society and equality and diversity in science.