The Team

Dr Annis Richardson, PI 

I am fascinated by the huge diversity in plant shape we see everywhere. Shape has a massive influence on the productivity of the plant, and in crops this means yield. I want to understand how shape is defined, how it changes over time, and how it influences plant productivity.

Favourite Species: Maize and Barley.

Origins: I grew up in a rural part of the UK. I got my undergraduate degree from Cambridge University, and my PhD from the John Innes Centre in the Coen Lab. I did my PostDoc in the Hake Lab at UC Berkeley, California.

Passionate About: First in Generation STEM, Women in Science, Diversity in Science, Baking, Hiking, Traveling. 



Dr Ayushi Gupta, British Council Women in STEM Postdoctoral Fellow (Jan'23 - )

My interest lies in understanding and identifying gene regulatory networks and boundaries in maize. Plant shape and architecture are critical for crop improvement, especially for increasing yields. In this regard, Liguleless2 gene (LG2) is an important determinant of the leaf angle and boundary specifications in maize. Given a role for LG2 in both tassel and leaf, I sought to further understand its regulation in maize.

Favourite Species: Maize and Rice

Origins: I was born and raised in India. I obtained my Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in Botany from the University of Delhi, India. Subsequently, I joined Dr Suresh Nair’s lab at the International Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology, New Delhi for my PhD.

Passionate about: Science, Women in STEM, Reading, Traveling



Jonathan Lecoy, PhD Student (Oct'20 - )

I am interested in the relationship between genetic regulatory networks and phenotypes, the evolutionary processes that led to the establishment of these networks, and how these impact the plant's properties. Understanding these is of importance in developing new plant varieties that can cope with with a changing climate. My PhD project is focused on uncovering the genetic mechanism beind a mutant in barley and how this mutant may influence useful plant properties. 

Favourite species: Barley, Norway Spruce, Lavender

Origins: I was born and raised in France. I did my Bachelor's degree in life sciences at the University of Nice, followed by a Master's degree in Plant and Forest Biotechnology at Umeå University in Sweden. 

Passionate about:  Agronomy, STEM, Star Wars


Heather Jones, Honours Student (2023) (Leaf boundaries project)

I am interested in how plants develop their shape, and how we can use this understanding to maximise their yield in a changing (and hungry) world. In my summer project I worked on developing tools for engineering barley, and my honours project looks at identifying the causal gene in a maize mutant, looking at organ-meristem boundaries.  

Favourite species: maize, bamboo, sequoia.  

Origins: I grew up in south London before moving to Edinburgh for my undergraduate degree in biotechnology.  

Passionate about: Sustainability and sustainable agriculture, women in STEM, sci-fi/ fantasy books

Lab Alumni

All the people who have helped to build the lab here at Edinburgh:


Emily Lyon, Honours Student (2022) (Leaf boundaries project)




Michael Blakiston Houston, Honours Student (2022)  (Developing transgenic tools in barley project)


Dr Jonathan Griffin in the lab


Dr Jonathan Griffin, Research Assistant  (2021-22)



Ella Penny Profile Picture


Ella Penny, Honours Student (2021) (Growth dynamics project)




Katie Long, Honours Student (2021) (Leaf boundaries project)