Professor Dame Ottoline Leyser DBE FMedSci FRS

Ottoline Leyser is CEO of UK Research and Innovation and Regius Professor of Botany at the University of Cambridge. Her research uses the control of shoot branching in Arabidopsis to understand plant developmental plasticity.

She has a long-term interest in inclusiveness and engagement in science. This includes ongoing work to improve research culture, which started with a project she chaired for the Nuffield Council on Bioethics. She is actively engaged in science policy. For example, from 2014 - 2020 she chaired the Royal Society's Science Policy Expert Advisory Committee and she serves on the Prime Minister's Council for Science and Technology.

In 2017 she was appointed Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire for services to plant science, science in society and equality and diversity in science.

Subject groups

  • Microbiology, immunology and developmental biology

    Developmental biology


  • Royal Society Rosalind Franklin Award and Lecture

    Used her award to publish a book of the time lines of 64 female scientists entitled 'Mothers in Science: 64 ways to have it all'.

  • Rutherford Memorial Lecture

    Thinking like a vegetable: how plants decide what to do

  • Croonian Medal and Lecture

    For playing a central role in two of the most important discoveries regarding the nature and perception of plant hormones, and for her contributions to gender equality in science.