Richard J. A. Buggs

Senior Research Leader (Plant Health)


Job title: 
Senior Research Leader (Plant Health)
Natural Capital and Plant Health


I lead the Plant Health 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.



Qualifications and appointments: 
  • Professor of Evolutionary Genomics, Queen Mary University of London
  • 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


Selected publications: 

Elizabeth S. A. Sollars, Andrea L. Harper, Laura J. Kelly, Christine M. Sambles, Ricardo H. Ramirez-Gonzalez, David Swarbreck, Gemy Kaithakottil, Endymion D. Cooper, Cristobal Uauy, Lenka Havlickova, Gemma Worswick, David J. Studholme, Jasmin Zohren, Deborah L. Salmon, Bernardo J. Clavijo, Yi Li, Zhesi He, Alison Fellgett, Lea Vig McKinney, Lene Rostgaard Nielsen, Gerry C. Douglas, Erik Dahl Kjær, J. Allan Downie, David Boshier, Steve Lee, Jo Clark, Murray Grant, Ian Bancroft, Mario Caccamo & Richard J. A. Buggs (2017). Genome sequence and genetic diversity of European ash trees. Nature 541: 212–216.

Zohren, J., Wang, N., Kardailsky, I., Borrell, J. S., Joecker, A., Nichols, R. A., & Buggs, R. J. A. (2016). Unidirectional diploid-tetraploid introgression among British birch trees with shifting ranges shown by RAD markers. Molecular Ecology 25: 2413–2426. Available online

Buggs, R. J. A., Wendel, J. F., Doyle, J. J., Soltis, D. E., Soltis, P. S. & Coate, J. (2014). The legacy of diploid progenitors in allopolyploid gene expression patterns. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B 369. Available online

Maryam Rafiqi, Diane Saunders, Mark McMullan, Richard Oliver, Ruth Bone, Helen Fones, Sarah Gurr, Delphine Vincent, Timothy Coker and Richard J. A. Buggs (2018). Plant-killers: Fungal threats to ecosystems. In: K. J. Willis (ed.), State of the World’s Fungi. Report. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. pp. 56–61.

James S. Borrell, Nian Wang, Richard A. Nichols and Richard J. A. Buggs (2018) Genetic diversity maintained among fragmented populations of a tree undergoing range contraction. Heredity 121:304–318

Elizabeth S. A. Sollars and Richard J. A. Buggs (2018) Genome-wide epigenetic variation among ash trees differing in susceptibility to a fungal disease. BMC Genomics 19:502
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