Professor Richard J A Buggs

Senior Research Leader


Trait Diversity and Function


Plant Health and Adaptation


Genetics, Genomics, Evolution, Disease resistance

I lead the Plant Health and Adaptation research group at Kew. My research uses evolutionary genomics methods to understand the basis of pest and pathogen susceptibility of plants. My largest project is on the genomics of ash tree species, seeking genes for low susceptibility to ash dieback and the emerald ash borer. My students also work on birch tree genetics in the context of climate change. I have recently started a project on disease and stress tolerance in hazelnut. I am a Professor of Evolutionary Genomics at Queen Mary University of London where I also have a research group and teach an MSc module. I am based in the Jodrell Lab at Kew four days a week, and spend one day per week at Queen Mary University of London.

  • Professor of Evolutionary Genomics, Queen Mary University of London
  • Member of Trees and Woodlands Scientific Advisory Group (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)  (2021-present)
  • Fellow of the Linnean Society
  • Fellow of the Higher Education Academy
  • NERC Peer Review College member
  • DPhil, University of Oxford, 2005
  • BA (1st class), University of Cambridge, 2000
  • Fellow of the Royal Society of Biology
  • Editor: Plants People Planet

Nocchi, G., Brown, N., Coker, T.L.R., Plumb, W.J., Stocks, J.J., Denman, S. & Buggs, R..A. (2021)

Genomic structure and diversity of oak populations in British parklands.

Plants, People, Planet 

Buggs, R.J.A. (2021)

The origin of Darwin’s “abominable mystery”.

American Journal of Botany 108: 22-36 

Wang, N., Kelly, L.J.K., McAllister, H.A., Zohren, J. & Buggs, R.J.A. (2021)

Resolving phylogeny and polyploid parentage using genus-wide genome-wide sequence data from birch trees.

Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 160: 107126.

Kelly, L.J., Plumb, W.J., Carey, D.W., Mason, M.E., Cooper, E.D., Crowther, W., Whittemore, A.T., Rossiter, S.J., Koch, J.L. & Buggs, R.J.A. (2020) 

Convergent molecular evolution among ash species resistant to the emerald ash borer

Nature Ecology & Evolution 4: 1116–1128.

Stocks, J.J., Metheringham, C.L., Plumb, W., Lee, S.J. Kelly, L.J., Nichols, R.A. & and Buggs, R.J.A. (2019)

Genomic basis of European ash tree resistance to ash dieback fungus. 

Nature Ecology & Evolution 3: 1686–169

Borrell, J.S., Zohren, J., Nichols, R.A. & Buggs, R.J.A. (2020). 

Genomic assessment of local adaptation in dwarf birch to inform assisted gene flow.

Evolutionary Applications 31: 161-175

Sollars, E.S.A., Harper, A.L., Kelly, L.J., Sambles, C.M., [...] & Buggs, R.J.A. (2017).

Genome sequence and genetic diversity of European ash trees.

Nature 541: 212–216.

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Richard Buggs' work at Queen Mary University of London