“This is a huge honour and a wonderful surprise,” said Prof Leyser in a press release by her institution, University of Cambridge’s Department of Plant Sciences. “I am deeply grateful for the opportunities I have had, living through one of the most exciting times in the biological sciences, and for the all the inspirational and dedicated people with whom I have had the privilege to work over the years.”
She will receive a medal of silver gilt and be asked to give the prestigious Croonian lecture.
Prof Leyser’s research at the Sainsbury Laboratory is focussed on plant growth decision-making and how it is regulated by hormones. For example, she has made breakthroughs in the understanding of how and why some plant shoots branch and others do not, while leading the way in the use of the model plant Arabidopsis.
Currently on a secondment from active research, Prof Leyser is serving a five year term as CEO of UKRI, the public body bringing together the UK’s seven research councils. She is also a member of the Prime Minister’s Council for Science and Technology.
Known for her dedication to gender equality in science, she has previously expressed how her late husband taking on the role as main carer for their children helped her career, which required her to move the family across the Atlantic twice. "For me, my home life was crucial in putting work stresses into perspective. My children could instantly dispel the frustration of failed experiments or rejected papers," she said in the interview with the Royal Society.
(© Emilie Steinmark / AcademiaNet / Spektrum.de)