Dr Sandy Hetherington Awarded Magdalen Fellowship

Thu February 16th, 2017

“I definitely would like to stay with academia – my real passion is research.”

Dr Sandy Hetherington was recently awarded a three-year Magdalen Fellowship by Examination to start in October 2017.

Sandy completed his DPhil here at Plant Sciences in early 2017, and prior to that, completed his MSci in geology at the University of Bristol.

On completing his MSci Sandy realised that in order to continue answering his research questions surrounding land plant evolution, he would need further biological training. He therefore applied to the Doctoral Training Programme (DTP) at the University of Oxford, where he spent a year learning more about biology before coming to Plant Sciences to complete his research project under the supervision of Professor Liam Dolan.

One of Sandy’s highlights from his DPhil is publishing two major papers about plant root evolution:

Unique cellular organization in the oldest root meristem

Networks of highly branched stigmarian rootlets developed on the first giant trees

The research will make use of the Rhynie Chert- the fossilised remains of the oldest (ca. 407 million year old) well preserved terrestrial ecosystem. Sandy will look at the rooting systems of some of the oldest vascular plants and use them to build a picture of how roots evolved over time.

By the end of the three-year fellowship, Sandy hopes to have increased our understanding about the oldest roots and the processes by which roots evolved - and whatever else the future holds, Sandy is keen to stay in academia pursuing his passion for research.

 

Rhynie Chert specimen courtesy of Oxford University Museum of Natural History 

Slides courtesty of University of St Andrew's

Images by Gem Toes-Crichton