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Botanists on the move

Image: Wikimedia Commons.
Image: Wikimedia Commons

Nobody ‘does’ botany for the money (well, I don’t!!), but at least it’s a career that can involve life-changing travel. And as if to underline the global (well, pan-European at least!) portability and employability of plant scientists, we’re pleased to report a botanical ‘merry-go-round’ as follows.

The ten-strong team of Professor Yrjö Helariutta has moved from the Viiki Campus of the University of Helsinki (Finland) westwards to the University of Cambridge (UK), where it will continue its research into the processes that establish and maintain vascular tissues.

Continuing the westwards trajectory, and from the University of Cambridge, is Dr Jill Harrison – who specialises in such fundamental aspects of plant structure as branching patterns – and who has been appointed to a proleptic* lectureship in the Life Sciences at the University of Bristol (UK). Jill is also noteworthy for her role as a Handling Editor for the Annals of Botany. By the time this item is published, her lab should have been installed in their brand new building in the West Country.

And travelling eastwards is another AnnalsHandling Editor, Professor Simon Hiscock. Currently Professor of Botany and Director of the University of Bristol Botanic Garden, Simon takes up the post of Director of the Oxford Botanic Garden** and Harcourt Arboretum at the University of Oxford (UK) in July. 2015.

From horizontal translocations, to a vertical (and upwards!) one now. Whilst she hasn’t actually moved from the University of Oxford where she is Professor of Plant Development at the Department of Plant Sciences, we note with pleasure that Prof. Jane Langdale has recently been elevated to Fellowship of the UK’s Royal Society for a body of work that has transformed our understanding of how plants make leaves and how leaves changed during major evolutionary transitions. It is therefore likely that Jane might have to spend some time at that august institution’s headquarters in London, and/or at its venue for residential events in Buckinghamshire.

So, what we now need to know is whether anybody has relocated from Oxford to Helsinki, thereby completing that little botanical circularity. Or is anybody about to…? Do let us know!

* Readers unfamiliar with this term might try to make sense of it when I reveal that when used in the context of jobs it apparently refers to ‘the appointment of a well-qualified candidate to a consultant post in which a period of up to one year’s training or secondment, either whole time or part time, is made a condition of the appointment, to be accepted by the candidate and the employing authority’. I’m so glad we cleared up any confusion!

** Given the importance of botanic gardens to future food and ecosystem security we wish him all the very best in that role!

Nigel Chaffeyhttps://www.bathspa.ac.uk/our-people/nigel-chaffey/
Nigel is a botanist and was a full-time academic at Bath Spa University (Bath, near Bristol, UK) until 31st July, 2019. As News Editor for the Annals of Botany he contributed the monthly Plant Cuttings column to that august international botanical organ (until March 2019). He remains a botanist and is now a freelance plant science communicator who continues to share his Cuttingsesque items with a plant-curious audience. In that guise his main goal is to inform (hopefully, in an educational, and entertaining way...) about plants and plant-people interactions.

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