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Professor Caroline Dean

My research

My team studies developmental timing and adaptation in plants and has discovered how plants ‘remember’ they have been exposed to the prolonged cold of winter. This occurs through molecular mechanisms analogous to the memory mechanisms in our own body. We are now determining the molecular thermosensors in this process, which is leading us into chromatin regulation by non-coding RNAs.

My journey

I got into science through my love of watching Jacques Cousteau as a teenager, and then plant science through a university lab practical on isolated chloroplasts. After my PhD I was fortunate to be able to work at a new plant biotech company, where I learnt all my molecular biology and was infected with the Californian ‘can-do’ attitude. The academic life gives you the flexibility you need to combine being a mother and have a career. You need to work very hard but you can arrange your own schedule. I am very privileged in that I really enjoy my job and I love being in touch with all that is going on in my lab!

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