Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew
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In June 2015, I started as B.A. Krukoff Curator of African Botany at Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. In April 2020, I was promoted to the permanent position of Research Leader Africa. Currently, I have an additional role as Initiative Leader Innovating Species Identification to help deliver the new Kew Science Strategy. My expertise and research interests are in plant evolution, diversity, ecology and conservation, with a specific focus on the sedge family Cyperaceae.

I use a multidisciplinary approach, combining taxonomic expertise with the latest lab-based techniques such as high-throughput sequencing, to produce integrative research providing insights in evolutionary and environmentally relevant research questions. I have authored 78 papers in peer-reviewed journals (>1000 citations, h-index of 18;
Google Scholar), with papers in top-ranked subject journals such as Frontiers in Plant Science and Molecular Ecology. I am a key member of the international research community studying Cyperaceae, for example organising a symposium at the International Botanical Congress in Shenzhen (2017), and editing a Special Issue in Journal of Systematics and Evolution. I am leading the effort to build a solid phylogenomic framework to investigate trait evolution in Cyperaceae, and recently published a series of papers using Angiosperms353 targeted sequencing data, the first of which has already been cited >50 times (publ. Jan. 2020). I have been studying Cyperaceae for >15 years, and have provided a significant contribution to our understanding of its evolutionary relationships.

Since my appointment at Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew I have broadened my research network extensively and collaborated in research on other plant groups distributed in Africa and Madagascar such as Annonaceae (custard apple family), Eriocaulaceae (pipewort family) and Rubiaceae (coffee family). A recent study on mother-in-law's tongues (Sansevieria Clade of the genus
Dracaena, Asparagaceae) resulted in a lot of interest from the broad public (YouTube video with c. 70,000 views).
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Ghent University, Belgium
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My post at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew is combined with a visiting professorship at Ghent University in Belgium where I supervise research projects and PhD students in the Systematic and Evolutionary Botany Lab of the Department of Biology.

Prior to my move to the UK, I held a postdoctoral position at Ghent University. As a postdoc, my research focused on endemic Chilean cacti. However, I continued my Cyperaceae research via long-term international collaborations, ongoing PhD studies, internships, and BSc and MSc student projects. I also lead a research project focusing on the evolution and conservation genetics of Neotropical Magnolias as a PhD co-supervisor (2014-2020) and as co-PI of a c. €550 000 project funded by Fondation Franklinia (2016-2021).

From February 2013 until January 2019, I acted as volunteer curator of the vascular plant collections of the Ghent University Herbarium. During my postdoc, I was also involved with the management of living Cactaceae and Cyperaceae collections at Ghent University Botanical Garden, and with promoting the use of botanic garden and herbarium collections for research and student projects.

Before that, during my PhD (2007-2011), I studied the sedge genus
Cyperus (c. 960 species) and resolved the relationships between lineages using C3 photosynthesis, and with the clade of species using C4 photosynthesis.

I obtained both my BSc and MSc in Biology (specialisation Botany)
magna cum laude at Ghent University, and first became actively involved in plant systematics by studying an African sedge genus for my MSc project.
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