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The University of Southampton
Biological Sciences

Prestigious new role for internationally-renowned Southampton academic

Published: 19 June 2017
Professor Gail Taylor

Globally-renowned Southampton Professor Gail Taylor has been appointed to a prestigious new post at the University of California.

Gail is recognised throughout the world as a leader in the research of plant and sustainability science focusing on the challenges of sustainable energy, food production and the adaptation of biological systems to climate change.

She has recently been selected as the new Chair of the Department of Plant Sciences, at the University of California, Davis (UCD) - a cross-disciplinary research and teaching institution that is a powerhouse for Life Sciences.

Gail will maintain a role at Southampton while also leading Plant Sciences, in California - the largest department on the UCD campus, with more than 80 professorial and more than 700 people under her leadership. The department is responsible for several globally-leading breeding programmes in every day foods.

She said: “I am delighted to have the opportunity to lead one of the world’s strongest groups in Plant Sciences, at a time when plants have rarely been more central in addressing the current global challenges in food and energy security. I am looking forward to developing new international relationships with key partners in the UK and around the globe, that support, not only continued world-leading research at Davis, but also ensure that the next generation of global leaders in Plant Sciences and associated subjects have an outstanding educational experience.”

In her new role, Gail is keen to develop international research and teaching links between Southampton and UCD that enable student exchanges and joint research ventures focusing around Southampton’s strengths in Environmental Science, Computing and Engineering.

Gail joined the University of Southampton in 1999 and has held several positions including Director of Research for Biological Sciences, and Chair of the University-wide multidisciplinary Energy Research Group.

She has worked as part of the UK Energy Research Centre, is a member of the Strategic Advisory Group for Bioenergy of the Energy Technologies Institute, and sits on several international panels for research assessment.

She has led a European consortium aiming to bring the latest molecular and DNA sequencing technologies to the development of non-food bioenergy crops for Europe, has worked internationally on the greenhouse gas balance of bioenergy cropping systems, and has led an EPSRC SUPERGEN project assessing the greenhouse gas cost of UK and imported feedstocks for bioenergy.

To find out more about Gail’s research visit


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