Director of a Botanic Garden – careers in biology

Professor Beverley Glover is Director of Cambridge University Botanic Garden and  Professor in the Department of Plant Sciences at the University of Cambridge. She researches the interactions between plants and their pollinators. In this interview, she talks to us about her job and her career in plant science so far.

“My job involves finding out how things work, and exploring topics and problems that really intrigue me. Having the flexibility to move between different areas and learn new things is great, and is the reason why science is becoming more interdisciplinary. It’s just great fun.”

How did you first get interested in plants?
I always wanted to know more about how things worked. As an undergraduate I became fascinated with how plants survived without the ability to run away, and that made me interested in finding out more about how they worked. I’ve always been interested in following up lots of ideas at once, so an academic post rather than a product-driven industry post seemed best for me.

”I became fascinated with how plants survived without the ability to run away, and that made me interested in finding out more about how they worked.”

How did you get where you are today?

I did a degree in Plant and Environmental Biology at St. Andrews. Great advice and encouragement from my undergraduate project supervisor led me to a PhD at the John Innes Centre. Again, I was lucky to have a really positive supervisor and she encouraged me to break out of the post-doc treadmill and apply for a college research fellowship in Cambridge to continue research on my own projects, rather than someone else’s. I was a research fellow in Cambridge for 2 and a half years, getting small grants from the Royal Society and the Gatsby Foundation to support my science, before I got my lectureship.

What do you enjoy about research?

Finding out things that nobody else knows! When experiments work and you get real insight, however small. When ideas come together and you see a whole new research programme in front of you. Reading papers and attending conferences in slightly different fields, to get a broader perspective.

Job Summary

Find out more about her work on the Royal Society website.

Read an article about her work at with these two short articles on how flowers attract pollinators and the hidden cell structure of buttercup petals.

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