Group photo at the Botanic Lights, October 2015. 


Alex Twyford (PI)

I am an evolutionary biologist interested in speciation and adaptation in flowering plants. I completed my honours degree in molecular plant sciences from the University of Edinburgh in 2008. I received my PhD from the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh & University of Edinburgh in 2012, working with Catherine Kidner and Richard Ennos. I then moved to Syracuse, Upstate New York, to do postdoctoral research with Jannice Friedman. In August 2014, I returned to the University of Edinburgh as a NERC Independent Research Fellow. My current position is as Lecturer in Botany at the University of Edinburgh and Research Associate at the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh. My research includes the evolution of postglacial diversity in Euphrasia, the maintenance of chromosomal inversions in Mimulus, and the origins of diversity in tropical Begonia



Lucia Campos-Dominguez (postdoc)

I am a plant biotechnologist interested in the evolution and structure of plant genomes. I obtained my BSc degree in Biological Sciences at the University of Malaga and my MSc in Plant Biotechnology at Wageningen University. During my MSc I moved to Scotland to do an internship at the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh, and stayed to do a PhD with a Darwin Trust scholarship at the University of Edinburgh and RBGE in Dr. Catherine Kidner’s lab. For this project, I studied the role of genomic repeats and TEs in the evolution of the mega-diverse genus Begonia. After this, I joined the Twyford lab to keep studying plant genomes as a Darwin Tree of Life scientist. One of the main projects I am working on is studying and assembling one of the largest genomes sequenced to date: the mistletoe (Viscum album)!


Meng Lu (PhD student)

I am broadly interested in plant evolution and diversification. I got my BSc in Biological Sciences from Sichuan University in 2018, and my dissertation was in plant systematics. I did my MRes in Ecology, Evolution, and Conservation at the Imperial College London, collaborating with the Royal Botanic Garden, Kew. My PhD project is looking at the genomics of hybridisation in the British native plants, where I am interested in the post-glacial introgression and hybridisation at a flora scale.




Mario Duran (PhD Student)

I am interested in the evolution and ecology of plants. I completed my bachelor’s degree in Biology in Mexico and a Masters in Science in Biodiversity and Taxonomy of Plants at the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh and University of Edinburgh. My PhD work involves using the model plant genus Antirrhinum (snapdragons) to study the processes underlying speciation, with an emphasis on phylogenetic and population genomic analyses (see Durán-Castillo et al., 2022, New Phytologist). 

Mario finished in the lab in 2019 and is now doing research at the Instituto Nacional de Investigaciones Forestales, Agrícolas y Pecuarias (INIFAP), Campeche, Mexico.


Max Brown (PhD Student)

​I am a botanist interested in natural history, evolution and systematics of plants. I graduated from the University of Oxford in 2016 having studied Biological Sciences. I am now working on Euphrasia, where I am investigating the origins of hybrid taxa derived from parents with different ploidy levels, and how the hemiparasitic habit may be affect hybrid establishment.



Surabhi Ranavat (PhD Student)

I am an evolutionary biologist interested in plant pollination and reproductive strategies. I completed my BS-MS dual degree in Biological Sciences from the Indian Institute of Science Education and Research Bhopal in 2015. I am currently a PhD student at the University of Edinburgh and Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh and I am interested in understanding the genetics of flexistyly in Indian Alpinia (Zingiberaceae).



Alex Reid

Alex did her undergraduate research project in the lab in 2017, working on the genomic basis of local adaptation in Mimulus guttatus



Camila Peñafiel 

Camila did her MSc project on the flora of Fair Isle, Britain's most remote inhabited island. She then continued this project as a Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh Sibbald Trust Fellow in 2016 and 2017. She's now looking for her next opportunity to study island floras.



Edgar Wong

Edgar did his MSc project in the lab on spatial genetic structure of Mimulus guttatus, and stayed on as a lab tech preparing next-generation sequencing libraries for Euphrasia population genetics. He is now a PhD student with Professor Dmitry Filatov and Professor Simon Hiscock at the University of Oxford.



Alice Baron

Alice did her undergraduate research project in the lab in 2015, working on comparative phylogenetic analyses of North American plant groups.






Thanks to Nalini Puniamoorthy for providing the action shot of me pollinating Mimulus!