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Professor Simon Hiscock

Professor Simon Hiscock

Professor Simon Hiscock
MA, DPhil(Oxon), PGCE


Area of research

Plant Evolutionary Genetics and Plant Reproduction

Office Life Sciences: 314
Life Sciences Building,
24 Tyndall Avenue, Bristol BS8 1TQ
(See a map)

+44 (0) 117 39 41189


  • Plant genetics and genomics
  • Plant reproductive biology
  • Hybrid speciation
  • Polyploidy
  • Genomics of adaptation and speciation
  • Parasitic plants
  • Pollination ecology

For further details, see my research group's web page.


Professor of Botany and Director of the University of Bristol Botanic Garden

I did my first degree at the University of Oxford (Worcester College, BA Botany, 1985). After teaching Biology at St Bartholomews School, Newbury, I began a PhD at the University of Reading (School of Plant Sciences) working on self-incompatibility and interspecific incompatibility in Brassica and related Brassicaceae with Professor Hugh Dickinson. I completed this research in 1993 at Oxford University (Department of Plant Sciences) following the Dickinson Group’s move in 1991. After post-doctoral research with Hugh Dickinson and a Junior Research Fellowship at Worcester College, I was awarded a BBSRC David Phillips Research Fellowship to research the molecular genetics and evolution of self-incompatibility in Senecio squalidus (Oxford ragwort). I moved this Fellowship to Bristol in 2000, and in 2002 I was appointed Lecturer in Plant Sciences in the School of Biological Sciences. In 2004 I became Reader in Plant Sciences and in 2007 Professor of Botany. I have been Director of the University of Bristol Botanic Garden ( since 2003.  My current areas of research are listed above and in more detail at my research group's web page.

Activities / Findings

My research seeks to understand fundamental processes in plant reproduction and evolution using genetics and genomics. Current research is focused on studying the interacting forces of mating system, interspecific hybridization, and polyploidy in three taxonomically ‘difficult’ groups: Senecio (Asteraceae), Sorbus (Rosaceae), and Orobanche (Orobancaceae).

Research in my lab is currently funded by NERC. I am also grateful to past funding from NERC, BBSRC, The Leverhulme Trust, The Wellcome Trust, Royal Society, The Linnean Society (COSyst), BSBI, and The Lady Emily Smyth Research Station (LESARS). 

Current research projects:

(i) the genomic basis of adaptation and speciation in the genus Senecio (Asteraceae)

(ii) the molecular genetic basis of pollen-stigma recognition and self-incompatibility in Senecio

(iii) the genetic basis of mating system (self-incompatibility) variation and evolution in Senecio

(iv) genetic divergence, mating systems, and ongoing evolution in the genus Sorbus (Rosaceae)

(v) genetic and phenotypic divergence in Macaronesian Pericallis (Asteraceae)

(vi) local adaptation and genetic divergence in holoparasitic broomrapes (Orobanche)

(vii) reproductive development in Amborella trichopoda


Recent publications

View complete publications list in the University of Bristol publications system

Networks & contacts

  • At Bristol I work on collaborative projects with: Daniel Robert
  • Heather Whitney
  • Jane Memmott
  • and Jon Bridle (all SoBS)
  • and Phil Donoghue (Earth Sciences) Dmitry Filatov (University of Oxford) Matthew Hegarty (University of Aberystwyth
  • IBERS) Richard Abbott (University of St Andrews) Christian Lexer (University of Fribourg
  • Switzerland) Theo Hendriks (Université Lille Nord de France) Marie-Christine Quillet (Université Lille Nord de France) Mark Carine (Natural History Museum) Tim Rich (National Herbarium of Wales) Juande Alché (EEZ
  • Grenada
  • Spain) John Hancock (University of the West of England) Stephen Harris (University of Oxford) Fred Rumsey (Natural History Museum)

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