David C Baulcombe University of Cambridge

David C Baulcombe University of Cambridge

Sir David Charles Baulcombe, FRS FMedSci (born 1952) is a British plant scientist and geneticist. As of 2017 he is a Royal Society Research Professor and Regius Professor of Botany in the Department of Plant Sciences at the University of Cambridge.


David Baulcombe was born in Solihull, West Midlands (then Warwickshire). He received his Bachelor of Science degree in botany from the University of Leeds in 1973 at the age of 21. He proceeded to the University of Edinburgh, where he received his Doctor of Philosophy in botany in 1977.

Career and research

After his PhD, Baulcombe then spent the following three years as a post-doctoral fellow in North America, first at McGill University (Montreal, Quebec, Canada) from January 1977 to November 1978, and then at the University of Georgia (Athens, Georgia, United States) until December 1980. Baulcombe returned to the United Kingdom then, where he joined the Plant Breeding Institute (PBI) in Cambridge and started his career as an independent scientist. At the PBI, Baulcombe initially held the position of Higher Scientific Officer, and was promoted to Principal Scientific Officer in April 1986. In August 1988 Baulcombe left Cambridge for Norwich. He joined the Sainsbury Laboratory as a Senior Research Scientist, and also served as Head of Laboratory between 1990 and 1993 and 1999–2003. In 1998 he was appointed Honorary Professor at the University of East Anglia, and given a full professorship there in 2002. In March 2007 it was announced that Baulcombe would become the next Professor of Botany at Cambridge University as a Royal Society Research Professor, taking up his post in September 2007. He serves on several committees and study sections, was elected Member of the European Molecular Biology Organisation in 1997 and was president of the International Society of Plant Molecular Biology 2003–2004. As of 2007, he is also a senior advisor for The EMBO Journal.

In June 2009, Baulcombe was awarded a knighthood by Queen Elizabeth II. Baulcombe resides in Norwich. He is married and has four children. His interests include music, sailing and hill walking.