Professor Monique Simmonds OBE

Director of Commercial Innovation Unit & Deputy Director of Science - Partnerships




Commercial Innovation Unit

I research the traditional and economic uses of plants and fungi, their potential as cosmetic, novel food, pharmaceutical and agrochemical leads, and as sources of sustainably-harvested products. The research also involves the authentication of plants entering the trade and assisting different enforcement authorities identify plants. 

I have a long-term interest in furthering our understanding of the role plant-derived compounds play in plant-animal interactions. This fundamental knowledge can assist with the identification of plant-derived compounds used in pest control as well as in pharmaceutical research. As Deputy Director of Science, I co-ordinate projects with different business sectors that promote and utilise plant and fungal-based solutions to meet current global challenges.

Furthering our knowledge about the historical uses and potential new uses of plants assists support plant conservation and it is vital that there is dissemination of this knowledge in ways that engage with the public. The majority of the work of this group is funded through research grants and commercial contracts.

As Deputy Director of Science I am also involved in the development and implementation of a new science strategy for Kew, to focus and enhance its world-leading science and conservation work, strengthen its position as a global resource for plant and fungal knowledge, and promote plant and fungal-based solutions to current global challenges.

  • PhD, Birkbeck College, University of London
  • BSc (Hons), University of Leeds
  • Awarded OBE for services to science, the environment, technological innovation and community
  • Fellow Royal Society of Entomology
  • Fellow World Innovation Foundation
  • Fellow of the Society of Biology
  • Fellow of the Linnean Society
  • Member of the College of Medicine
  • Member of Darwin Initiative Advisory Committee
  • Member of Science Advisory Board for the Forestry Commission
  • Member of Scientific Advisor Board for International Foundation of Science
  • President of the Association of Good Practise in traditional Chinese medicine (GP-TCM RA)
  • Editor-in-Chief, Biochemical Systematics and Ecology
  • Editorial Board, Phytotherapy Research, Physiological Entomology, Journal of Tropical Medicinal Plants, Natural Product Communications
  • International Member of Advisory Committee for Hong Kong Dept of Health
  • Member of the British Pharmacopoeia Commission, Dept of Health, UK
  • Chair, Expert Advisory Group Herbal and Complementary Medicines Dept of Health

Antonelli, A., Smith, R.J., Fry, C., Simmonds, M.S.J., Kersey, P.J., Pritchard, H.W., et al (2020)

State of the World’s Plants and Fungi.

Royal Botanic Gardens (Kew); Sfumato Foundation

Antonelli, A., Hiscock, S., Lennon, S., Simmonds, M.S.J., Smith, R.J., Young, B. (2020)

Protecting and sustainably using the world’s plants and fungi.

Plants, People, Planet 2: 368-370.

Howes, M.J.R., Quave, C.L., Collemare, J., Tatsis, E.C., Twilley, D., Lulekal, E.,  Farlow, A., Li, L., Cazar, M-E., Leaman, D.J., Prescott, T.A.K., Milliken, W., Martin, C., De Canha, M.N.,  Lall, N., Qin, H., Walker, B.E., Vasquez-Londono, C., Allkin, B., Rivers, M., Simmonds, M.S.J., et al.  (2020)

Molecules from nature: Reconciling biodiversity conservation and global healthcare imperatives for sustainable use of medicinal plants and fungi.

Plants, People, Planet 2: 463-481.

Pearce, T.R., Antonelli, A., Brearley, F.Q., Couch, C., Campostrini Forzza, F., Goncalves, S.C., Magassouba, S., Morim, M.P., Mueller, G.M., Nic Lughadha, E., Obreza, M.,  Sharrock, S., Simmonds, M.S.J.,  et al. (2020)

International collaboration between collections-based institutes for halting biodiversity loss and unlocking the useful properties of plants and fungi.

Plants, People, Planet 2: 515-534.

Simmonds, M.S.J., Fang, R., Wyatt, L., Bell, E., Allkin, B., Forest, F., et al. (2020).

Biodiversity and patents: overview of plants and fungi covered by patents.

Plants, People, Planet 2: 546-556.

Marsh, J.M. & Simmonds, M.S.J. (2020).

Aloe – activity, authenticity and more: A review.

Cosmetics and Toiletries 135: 22-30.

Yue, G.G-L., Gao, S., Lee, J.K-M., Chan, Y-Y., Wong, E. C-W., Zheng, T., Li., X-X., Shaw, P.C., Simmonds, M.S.J., Lau, C. B-S., (2020)

A natural flavone tricin from grains can alleviate tumor growth and lung metastasis in colorectal tumor mice.

Molecules 25: 3730.

Antonelli, A., Smith, R.J. & Simmonds, M.S.J. (2019)

Unlocking the properties of plants and fungi for sustainable development.

Nature Plants 5:1100-1102.

Fang R., Redfern S.P., Kirkup D., Porter E.A., Kite G.C., Terry L.A., Berry M.J. & Simmonds M.S.J. (2017)

Variation of theanine, phenolic, and methylxanthine compounds in 21 cultivars of Camellia sinensis harvested in different seasons.

Food Chemistry 220: 517-526.

Michl J., Bello, O., Kite, G.C., Simmonds, M.S.J & Heinrich, M. (2017)

Medicinally Used Asarum Species: High-resolution LC-MS Analysis of the Aristolochic Acid Analogues and in vitro toxicity screening in HK-2 cells.

Frontiers in Pharmacology 8:215.