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Fellows Directory

Caroline Dean

Caroline Dean

Dame Caroline Dean DBE FRS


Elected: 2004


Caroline Dean is a biologist who focuses on understanding the molecular controls used by plants to judge when to flower. She is specifically interested in vernalisation — the acceleration of flowering by exposure to periods of prolonged cold. This led to the characterisation of conserved chromatin pathways that converge on the co-transcriptional regulation of an Arabidopsis thaliana floral repressor locus called Flowering Locus C, or FLC. Modulation of these mechanisms has contributed to the adaptation of A. thaliana to its wide geographical range.

Caroline’s research has received many accolades, including an Award for Excellence in Bioscience from the Biotechnology & Biological Sciences Research Council and the 2015 FEBS | EMBO Women in Science Award. She was elected as a foreign member of both the US National Academy of Sciences and the German Leopoldina Academy in 2008, and was named an OBE in 2004 for services to plant science.

Interest and expertise

Subject groups

  • Organismal biology, evolution and ecology
    • Plant sciences / botany


Evolutionary adaptation, Chromatin, Arabidopsis thaliana, Flowering plants


  • Darwin Medal

    For her work addressing fundamental questions in the perception of temperature cues and how modifications in epigenetic mechanisms play an important role in adaptation.

  • Royal Medals

    She has elucidated molecular mechanisms underlying seasonal timing in plants, thus discovering fundamental processes of plant developmental timing and the epigenetic basis of vernalization.

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