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School of the Biological Sciences

Headshot of Ottoline Leyser

Professor Dame Ottoline Leyser FRS, Regius Professor of Botany in the Department of Plant Sciences, School of Biological Sciences at the University of Cambridge, and Chief Executive Officer of UK Research and Innovation, has been awarded the Royal Society’s 2023 Croonian Medal and Lecture.

Presented 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’, the award involves delivering the prestigious Croonian Lecture - the Royal Society’s premier lecture in the biological sciences - and the receipt of a medal of silver gilt.

Professor Leyser is a leader in research on plant growth hormones, especially auxin and the control of shoot branching in Arabidopsis. Her work aims to elucidate the regulatory systems underlying plant growth and development, combining computational modelling with molecular genetics and cell biological approaches. In parallel, she has a long-term interest in inclusiveness and engagement in science and has driven many initiatives to support an open and collaborative research culture that delivers high quality research that is both valuable and valued. Prior to her role at UKRI, she was Director of the Sainsbury Laboratory at the University of Cambridge.

Professor Leyser said “This is a huge honour and a wonderful surprise. I am deeply grateful for the opportunities I have had, living through one of the most exciting times in the biological sciences, and for all the inspirational and dedicated people with whom I have had the privilege to work over the years. And I am also very grateful for the opportunities this award creates.”



Professor Alison Smith, Head of the Department of Plant Sciences said “In addition to recognising Professor Leyser’s outstanding research contributions, I am particularly pleased that this award is for her efforts in supporting the role of women in science and promoting an inclusive research culture”.



Professor Leyser’s Croonian Lecture is scheduled for spring 2023 - more details will be available here soon.

Find out more about Professor Leyser: Royal Society

Find out more about Professor Leyser's research: Sainsbury Laboratory

About the Croonian Medal and Lecture

Press release from the Department of Plant Sciences and Sainsbury Laboratory.