Group Leader: Sam Brockington gained a BSc with 1st Class honours in Plant Science from the University of Edinburgh in 2002. He was awarded a PhD at the Florida Museum of Natural History, USA in 2009.  He subsequently joined the Department of Plant Sciences Cambridge as a Marie Curie Re-Integration Fellow, and then as a Newton Trust Post-Doctoral Fellow, and subsequently a 5-year NERC Independent Research Fellow. He is currently a University Lecturer (Assistant Professor) in the Department of Plant Sciences, and Curator of the Cambridge University Botanic Garden. 

Graduate Student: Alfonso Timoneda joined the lab in 2015 following a Biotechnology degree at the Polytechnic University of Valencia. He won a Leonardo da Vinci EU Scholarship to do a 6 month placement in the Department of  Physiology, Development and Neuroscience at the University of Cambridge. Alfonso began as our lab technician, and gained an M.Sc in Plant Science on the side. He subsequently began a PhD in the lab working on an BBSRC- iCASE PhD co-sponsored by Coca-Cola, and focussed on the production of betalain pigments in bioindustrial host organisms.

Graduate Student:  Nathanael Walker-Hale joined the lab in 2018 following a BSc in Ecology and Diversity from Vicotria University of Wellington. His first visited the lab as undergraduate honours researcher to study the phylogenetic and functional diversity of HKT transporters in Caryophyllales. He subsequently was awarded a prestigious Wolfon Fisher Cambridge Scholarship to join our graduate programme. His PhD is focussed on the evolution of trasncriptional co-expression modules, using  the convergent evolution of betalains as a an experimental system.

Post-Doctoral Research Associate: Hester Sheehan joined the lab in 2016 as a Swiss Science Foundation Fellow following a PhD in Chris Kuhlemeier’s lab at the University of Bern. Her PhD research has focused on the molecular basis of transitions in plant pigmentation and she has characterized a regulatory gene which controls the appearance of flowers in ultraviolet-light. Her post-doctoral work has elucidated the convergent evolution of betalains and is focussed on understanding the evolution of one of the central enzymes in betalain synthesis L-DOPA dioxygenase.

A Windswept Lab Outing to Southwold: Rui, Sandra, Bo, Samuel Alfonso, Sam, Hester, Nathanel, Loubab, and Brett

Post-Doctoral Research Associate: Loubab Zedane joined the lab in 2017 as a CARA research fellow, following a PhD at the University of Toulouse. Her PhD research was on the evolution and phylogeny of olive trees, also speciliasing in the field of museology and applying genomics using herbarium specimens. Loubab’s post-doctoral research is focussed on fog-harvesting plants of Namaqualand. Her experimental system is the geophyte monocot genus Eriospermum, which exhbits extraordinary species diversification with remarkable leaf morphology in the Cape region.

Graduate Student: Brett Wilson joined the lab in 2018 with BSc from the University of Cambridge, and an MSc from Imperial Collega London. His Masters work focussed on the conservation status of endangered apple species in Kyrgyzstan. His PhD builds on his expertise in Central Asia, and his is a NERC-iCASE PhD co-sponsored by Flora & Fauna International. His research is focussed on resolving the species phylogeny of the genus Tulipa, with a view to informing and prioritising on-going conservation efforts to preserve wild tulip diversity in Central Asia. 

China Scholarship Council Student: Rui Guo joined the lab in 2018 on a two year CSC fellowship from Wuhan Botanic Gardens. Rui’s PhD in China is focussed on the genetics and phylogenetics of the Kiwi fruit. Rui is a master cloner and involved in several projects investigating the evolution of betalain biosynthesis, especially with respect to the evolution of one of the central enzymes in betalain synthesis L-DOPA dioxygenase, and in understanifn the molecular bais of convergent evolution of the betalain pathway.

Post-Doctoral Research Associate: Samuel Lopes-Nieves joined the lab 2018. He gained his PhD from Hiroshi Maeda’s lab at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, where he discovered a new enzyme in the betalain pathway - a de-regulated Arogenate Dehydrogenase. His post-doctoral is taking a closer look at the phenomenon of tyyrosine-enriched metabolism in Caryophyalles, and as our HPLC and GCMS wizard he is involved in several other ralted projects in the lab.

© Samuel Brockington 2013