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Sainsbury Laboratory


Quantitative and computational plant developmental biology

We combine experimental and computational methods to address fundamental questions in plant development.

Working in interdisciplinary teams, we apply precision measurements to molecular, cellular and tissue dynamics, along with computer simulation and modelling, to understand how plants grow, develop, respond and evolve.


Research Leadership Team

Professor Henrik Jönsson

Director and Research Group Leader

Professor of Computational Morphodynamics

Jönsson Research Group

The Jönsson Group develops computational morphodynamics models at the cellular level describing multicellular tissues such as the shoot apical meristem.


Professor James Locke

Associate Director and Research Group Leader

Professor of Quantitative Plant Development

Locke Research Group

The Locke Group investigate gene expression dynamics in microbial and plant systems.


Dr Alexander Jones

Research Group Leader

Jones Research Group

The Jones Group investigates how plant hormones serve as signal integrators and master regulators of physiology and development.


Professor Ottoline Leyser

Immediate Past Director and Research Group Leader

Leyser Research Group

The Leyser Group studies the dynamic properties of plant hormone networks and their role in plant developmental plasticity, using the regulation of shoot branching as a model.

*Professor Leyser is on secondment to UKRI until June 2025 and is not currently accepting any new students or research staff team members. 


Professor Elliot Meyerowitz

Inaugural Director, Distinguished Associate

Meyerowitz Research Group

The Meyerwitz Group combines real-time live imaging, mathematical models and experiments to study the development of flowers, shoots, and shoot meristems.



Dr Edwige Moyroud

Research Group Leader

Moyroud Research Group 

The Moyroud Group studies the mechanisms that account for pattern formation in petals at the molecular, cellular, biophysical and ecological levels.


Dr François Nédélec

Research Group Leader

Nedelec Group

The Nédélec Group studies cell morphogenesis and developmental biology using synthetic and systems biology approaches, and computer modelling.


Dr Sarah Robinson

Research Group Leader

Robinson Research Group

The Robinson Group uses a combination of novel biophysical tools, genetic manipulation and mathematical modelling to investigate how plant development (cell division and cell expansion) is controlled.


Dr Katharina Schiessl

Career Development Fellow


Schiessl Research Group

The Schiessl Group uses coloniser-induced plant organs such as symbiotic root nodules and parasitic root galls to advance and refine our understanding of the common principles that underpin plant organ diversification.


Dr Sebastian Schornack

Research Group Leader 

Schornack Research Group

The Schornack Group aims to characterise the extent to which beneficial and detrimental microorganisms employ similar plant developmental processes for colonisation.


Dr Renske Vroomans

Carer Development Fellow

Vroomans Research Group

The Vroomans Group studies long-term processes in plant development using evolutionary developmental biology (evo-devo) models.


Dr Chris Whitewoods

Career Development Fellow

Whitewoods Research Group

The Whitewoods Group studies how plants pattern themselves in three dimensions, using leaf air spaces and carnivorous plant traps as models.