University of Dundee

Plant Sciences

Plants form the basis of life on Earth providing food, fuel and even the oxygen we breathe. Research in plant science is central to facing global challenges of food security, renewable energy, conservation and climate change. The Division of Plant Sciences was established in 2007, creating an internationally recognised centre for molecular plant science addressing these themes by increasing understanding of genes and processes underpinning important plant traits (yield, disease resistance, stress tolerance, developmental characteristics, end-use quality).

Plant Sciences currently has eleven PIs and is supported by external funding from BBSRC, EU, industry and others. We are located at the James Hutton Institute on the outskirts of Dundee with whom we have a long-standing strategic partnership supported by five joint appointments, substantial collaborative external funding and PhD studentships. The partnership brings together our discovery-based molecular plant science investigating fundamental questions of plant biology, with scientists with knowledge of applied research in crop species including front-line crop and pathogen genomics, genetics and cultivar production.

This vibrant centre for plant science provides opportunities for excellent scientists with research ideas relevant to funding priorities interested in developing new collaborations and translational opportunities.

Engagement by Plant Sciences

We are passionate about engaging the public about our science and the critical importance of plants in all of our lives.

Principal Investigators

Professor Paul Birch FRSE
Professor of Plant Pathology and Head of Division of Plant Sciences
Plant pathogen interactions
Dr Jorunn Bos
Royal Society of Edinburgh Personal Research Fellow
Dr Davide Bulgarelli
Principal Investigator
Structure, function and host control of the plant microbiota
Professor Claire Halpin FRSE FRSB
Associate Dean of Research and Professor of Plant Biology and Biotechnology
Manipulation of plant metabolism using reverse genetics
Ingo Hein | Ph.D | Dipl. Biol. | FRSB
Plant Pathogen Co-evolution
Dr Piers Hemsley SFHEA FRSB
Principal Investigator
Regulation of protein function in plants by S-acylation
Dr Edgar Huitema
Senior Lecturer
Mechanisms of virulence acquisition during Phytophthora-host associations
Dr Sarah McKim
Principal Investigator
Developmental biology of plant architecture
Professor Gordon Simpson FRSB
Professor of Molecular Genetics and Deputy Head of Division of Plant Sciences
RNA and Development
Professor Robbie Waugh FRSE
Personal Chair of Crop Genomics
Personal Chair of Crop Genomics
Dr Martin Balcerowicz
Principal Investigator
Temperature-controlled plant development


Professor John Brown
Professor of Molecular Plant Sciences
RNA processing and expression
Dr Graham Christie FHEA FPhysiol
Senior Lecturer, University Academic Lead for International activity in the ASEAN region and Programme Lead for the Joint Degree Programme with the National University of Singapore
Professor Andy Flavell
Associate Staff
Structure, evolution and biodiversity of crop plant genomes
Dr David Martin FRSB FHEA
Programme Lead (Core Curriculum Levels 1 and 2)
David explores large biological data sets from next generation sequencing and proteomics, developing new tools to unlock the secrets of life within


Professor Lyn Jones
Emeritus Professor of Plant Ecology
The Adaptation of Plants to Environmental Stresses
Professor John Raven FRS FRSE
Emeritus Professor
Interactions among resources in the growth of phytoplankton
Professor Janet Sprent OBE, FRSE
Emeritus Professor of Plant Biology and Nodulation in legumes
Nitrogen fixation in legumes