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The Winter Garden displays a diverse range of plants to dramatic visual and sensory effect.
The Winter Garden displays a diverse range of plants to dramatic visual and sensory effect.
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New Curator of CUBG named

Dr Samuel Brockington has been named as the new Curator of Cambridge University Botanic Garden and will take up the post in May.
Dr Brockington gained a BSc with 1st Class honours in Plant Science from the University of Edinburgh in 2002. He joined the laboratory of Professors Douglas and Pamela Soltis at the Florida Museum of Natural History, USA in 2003 and was awarded a PhD in 2009. He was involved in a number of international efforts to resolve systematic relationships across the flowering plant tree of life. In particular, his PhD focused on floral evolution in the South African living stone family, Aizoaceae, which belongs to the flowering plant order Caryophyllales.

Since establishing his own research group in the Department of Plant Sciences at Cambridge in 2014, Dr Brockington has been focusing on two research topics. The first, funded by the National Environmental Research Council, tackles the evolution of the cuticle, a thin waxy layer that covers the epidermal surface of all land plants, and an essential innovation that allowed the green algae to colonise the land as land plants. The second is a genome sequencing initiative, funded by the National Science Foundation, in which Dr Brockington is exploring the relationship between genomic diversity and the evolution of extreme adaptation in Caryophyllales.

Dr Brockington is looking forward to starting work and bringing his scientific research skills to the Garden, saying: ‘It is an exciting time to be a plant biologist in Cambridge, with a thriving Department of Plant Science, the Sainsbury Laboratory and University Herbarium on our doorstep, and the blossoming Botanic Garden with its skilled staff and dedicated volunteers. I am very much looking forward to getting to know the teams as we work out the future direction for the living plant collections and associated research and teaching initiatives.
The living collections at the Cambridge University Botanic Garden will play a key role in my research, and currently we are growing many hundreds of species of Caryophyllales from seed sourced from the Millennium Seed Bank Wakehurst. In addition to driving cutting edge genomic research these plants will continue to expand the great diversity of the living collections at the Garden. We hope that the living collections will be able to sustain a great variety of plant diversity based research projects in the future and provide much needed teaching material for undergraduate education at the University
.’

Professor Beverley Glover, Director of Cambridge University Botanic Garden, added: ‘We have taken the opportunity to revise the Curator role to place much more focus on the scientific value of our collections, making sure that we collect and grow the plants that scientists will need in their research and teaching over the next decades, and Sam will be taking the lead on this.
Publication Date
22/04/2015