Head of the Arboretum
Tony Kirkham, and his team of over thirty staff and students, is responsible for managing the more than 14,000 trees in the living collection at RBG Kew. Tony has completed many expeditions with RBG Kew including collecting trips in East Asia with the aim of adding to RBG Kew’s tree collection and replacing trees that were lost in the storm of 1987.
Alongside this, Tony also manages to champion many other projects for RBG Kew, such as hardiness trials of the Wollemi Pine, the Australian ‘jurassic’ tree, to the UK Climate.
Tony has also made numerous television and radio appearances and has had two series aired on BBC Two in 2006 and 2008 entitled ‘The Trees that made Britain’.
For more information on Tony Kirkham please click here
Professor Monique Simmonds FRES
Deputy Keeper of the Jodrell Laboratory and Head of the Sustainable Uses of Plants Group
Professor Monique Simmonds is Head of the Sustainable Uses of Plants group, which includes the Centre for Economic Botany and the Biological Interactions Section as well as heading up RBG Kew's Innovation Unit.
During her career at RBG Kew, Monique has and continues to co-ordinate research into the economic uses of plants and fungi, their potential as pharmaceutical and agrochemical leads, and as sources of sustainably harvested medicines. She has been involved in developing benefit-sharing strategies among community groups across the world, that involve NGOs, commercial and academic collaborators for research on medicinal and agrochemical plants and fungi.
Monique has gained extensive experience of working in developing countries, investigating the uses of plants for control of pests as well as the treatment of HIV and malaria. In addition, she has developed chemical authentication methods for use by companies, NGOs, government bodies and by field workers to check the quality of plant-derived products being sold as medicines, cosmetics and foods.
For more information about Professor Monique Simmonds please click here
Professor Mark Chase FRS
Keeper of the Jodrell Laboratory
Widely recognised as a distinguished scientist in his field, Professor Mark Chase FRS has extensive experience in plant science and has held this role since August 2006. He has contributed to many publications and was lead author of the landmark 1993 paper on seed plant phylogenetics that began the molecular revolution leading to the reclassification of the flowering plants and many individual plant groups.
Professor Chase's areas of interest are plant classification and evolution and he has worked extensively with orchids. He can also speak about RBG Kew's plant DNA genetic research.
In 2009 he was awarded the Darwin-Wallace Medal of the Linnean Society of London, given every 50 years to a set of outstanding biologists.
For more information about Professor Chase please click here
Acting Director, Keeper of Herbarium, Library, Art & Archives
Professor Dave Simpson is Acting Keeper of the Herbarium, Library, Art and Archives, one the world's largest collections of dried plant and fungal specimens, together with a world-renowned library and its associated archives and art collections.
Dave's expertise is in plant taxonomy, plant classification and the use of preserved collections in botanical science. His research focuses on monocot plants, especially sedges (Cyperaceae), grasses (Poaceae) and related plant families worldwide. He also has expertise in Southeast Asian botany, particularly in Thailand and Indo-China. He has published or co-published 20 books and over 200 research articles and is Editor in Chief of Kew Bulletin, RBG Kew's flagship science journal.
He can give interviews on topics such as: Kew's Herbarium, taxonomy, managing biological collections, plant hunting, discovery of new plant species, and his specialism in SE Asian botany, grasses and sedges.
Dr Paul Smith
Head of Kew's Millennium Seed Bank partnership
Dr Smith is Head of Kew's Seed Conservation Department and Leader of Kew's Millennium Seed Bank partnership - the world's most ambitious plant conservation initiative.
Paul is an expert in seed banking and a specialist in ecology and plant diversity in southern, central and eastern Africa. As well as co-ordinating and participating in seed-collecting activities in South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, Malawi and Madagascar, he has extensive experience in ecological surveying, botanical inventory, vegetation mapping and monitoring, including the use of Geographical Information Systems (GIS) and remote sensing techniques.
For more information on Dr Smith please click here
Head of Wakehurst Place
Andy Jackson has been the Head of Wakehurst Place since 2003 and specialises in the conservation of UK biodiversity, with a focus on the in situ management of fauna and flora on the Wakehurst Place estate.
Having originally trained at RBG Kew's School of Horticulture, he worked as the Conservation and Woodland Manager at Wakehurst, specialising in habitat conservation and species recovery programmes, such as the Plymouth Pear (Pyrus cordata), one of Britain’s rarest trees.
In 1995 he represented RBG Kew during the development and implementation of UK and European initiatives including the UK Biodiversity Steering Group, UK Biodiversity Action Plan and the Bern Convention.
For more information about Andrew Jackson please click here
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