Professor Philip Donoghue FRS

Philip Donoghue is a palaeontologist whose research focuses on major transitions in evolutionary history, including the origin and early evolution of vertebrates, animals, and plants.

Phil has been influential in developing a ‘molecular palaeobiology’ in which evidence from living and fossil species, anatomy and molecular biology, phylogenetics and developmental biology, can be integrated to achieve a more holistic understanding of evolutionary history. He introduced synchrotron tomography to palaeontology, and has played a leading role in establishing the role of palaeontology in establishing evolutionary timescales. 

Phil has been served on the Councils of the Palaeontological Society, Systematics Association, the Micropalaeontological Society and the European Society for Evolutionary Developmental Biology. His research has been recognized by the award of the Philip Leverhulme Prize (Leverhulme Trust, 2004), Bigsby Medal (Geological Society 2007), and the President’s Medal (Palaeontological Association, 2014).


Professional position

  • Professor of Palaeobiology, School of Earth Sciences (Life Sciences Building), University of Bristol

Subject groups

  • Organismal biology, evolution and ecology

    Plant sciences / botany, Taxonomy and systematics, Evolution, Organismal biology (including invertebrate and vertebrate zoology)

  • Earth and environmental sciences


  • Microbiology, immunology and developmental biology

    Developmental biology

  • Biochemistry and molecular cell biology

    Biochemistry and molecular biology

Professor Philip Donoghue FRS
Elected 2015