Three UK Scientists have been included in the 100 most influential figures in British Science

18th Oct 2010

Eureka the monthly science magazine from The Times Newspaper published its inaugural list of the 100 most important people in British Science in October.

This list include the following UK Plant Scientists:-


David Baulcombe – University of Cambridge

Since 2007, Sir David has been the Regius Professor of Botany and Royal Society Research Professor at Cambridge. Prof. Baulcombe discovered how small molecules of ribonucleic acid (RNA) govern gene activity through a process known as RNA silencing. Prof. Baulcombe's research has unravelled how this mechanism is important in gene regulation and in disease resistance.

Sir David also chaired an influential Royal Society report on agriculture in 2009, which made a powerful case for a role for GM crops.

In 2008, Prof Baulcombe was awarded the Lasker Prize for basic medical research and was knighted for his services to plant science in 2009


Ottoline Leyser- University of York

Professor of Plant Developmental Genetics at the University of York, Ottoline has not only pushed forward our understanding of how plant hormones regulate plant growth and development but has also championed the role of women in science. In her introduction to Mothers in Science, a publication she produced for the Royal Society, she wrote: “The idea that women cannot thrive in the world of academic science, successfully combining a vocation for science with family life is simply untrue” “It is not only perfectly possible, but also there are absolutely no rules about how to do it.”

Prof. Leyser was appointed a CBE in 2009 was awarded the Rosalind Franklin Award from the Royal Society for her outstanding contribution to science in 2007.


Paul Smith – Kew Gardens

Smith who went to school in Gaborone, worked as a game reserve guide in Zambia and has an outstanding career in cataloguing rare plants around the world, now has the ambitious task of preserving as much of the Earth’s plant species as possible for our future in his current role as the head of the Millennium Seed Bank project at Kew. As the head of Kew’s Seed Conservation Department he has already succeeded in the Millennium mission to get 10 per cent of the world’s plant species under lock and key by 2010 and he is now pushing on saving 25 per cent for future generations by 2020.


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