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Professor Julie Hawkins – University of Reading

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Professor Julie Hawkins

Professor Julie Hawkins
Job Title:
Professor of Plant Systemics and Evolution
Julie Hawkins



Professor of Plant Systemics and Evolution

  • Deputy Head of School
  • Head of Evolution research group
  • Director of Diversity, Inclusion and Wellbeing
  • Chair of Athena Swan Self Assessment Team
  • Admissions Tutor MSc Plant Diversity

Areas of Interest

  • Phylogeny and evolution of flowering plants: Fabales, Cactaceae, Orchidaceae, Commiphora
  • Phylogenetic patterns in traditional medicinal plant use
  • Molecular marker data to determine identity, parentage or provenance of economically important plant species
  • Herbarium specimen data and past environments
  • Funded by The Leverhulme Trust, John Spedan Lewis Foundation, BBSRC/NERC (CoSyst), DEFRA (Darwin Initiative), EU FP7

Member of

  • Centre for Plant Diversity and Systematics
  • Evolution Research Group

Impact, Enterprise and Outreach

  • Member of management team for MEDPLANT EU ITN, a network including seven industrial partners
  • Funded to work with British Pharmacopoeia Laboratory at the MHRA, to incorporate DNA barcoding in their monographs of medicinal plant products available in the UK
  • National and international coverage of DNA certification of cacti Certification of Endangered Mexican Cacti (See 'Publications/In the News') and medicinal plant phylogeny (See 'Coverage')
  • Developed computer-based evolution teaching materials for schools for the Wellcome Trust

Esteem Factors

  • 2010-2012 Research Council of Norway Biological Sciences Research Grants review panel.
  • 2010 -2012 Panel member for BBSRC/NERC Systematics and Taxonomy (SynTax) scheme
  • Chair of BBRSC Collaborative Scheme for Systematics Research (2006-2009), responsible for
  1. Designing and implementing an online applications procedure
  2. Appointing the five scientific members of the review panel, convening meetings and chairing the meetings
  3. Determining if applications received lie outside the expertise of panel members, and recruiting additional (virtual) assessors
  • Elected member of the Systematics Association Council 1998-2001 and 2004-2008
  • Member of the Scientific Meetings Committee of the Systematics Association Council 2004-2006
  • Chair of the Systematics Association Grants and Awards Committee 2006-2008
  • Chair of the joint Linnaean Society/Systematics Association Systematics Research Fund (SRF) responsible for the distribution of NERC, Linnaean Society and Systematics Association funds, 2006-2008
  • Member of the Consortium for the Barcoding of Life


  • Part 1: Plant Diversity, Structure and Utilisation
  • Part 2: Evolution
  • Part 3: Plants, Animals and Climate Change
  • MSc: Research and Professional Skills, Molecular Systematics, Critical Discussion of Literature in Plant Diversity Science

Post docs

PhD Students

  • Elspeth Haston (2003) ) A phylogenetic investigation of the Peltophorum group (Caesalpinieae, Leguminosae) and taxonomic revision of the genus Conzattia Rose.
  • Neil Bell (2003) Research Database Tuhat: phylogenetic analysis of taxa critical for the understanding of relationships and the evolution of morphological characters (first supervisor Angela Newton, Natural History Museum, London).
  • Felix Forest (2004) Systematics of Fabales and Polygalaceae with emphasis on Muraltia and the origin of the Cape flora (first supervisor Peter Crane, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew)
  • John Galey (2004) Linking developmental process & evolutionary pattern: evolution of leaf morphology in the Leguminoseae.
  • Rolando Bárcenas Luna (2004) Systematics of Grusonia F. Rchb. Ex Britton and Rose (Opuntioideae: Cactaceae).
  • Dawn Edwards (2005) Systematic studies of the South African Endemic Aspalathus (Fabaceae) and the Genistoid s.l. clade. RHS Staff page
  • Alistair Griffiths (2006) The role of ex-situ management in the conservation of the critically endangered Seychelles endemic Impatiens gordonii (first supervisor Peter Whitbread-Abrutat, Eden Project, Cornwall). Dr. Alistair Griffiths (RHS)
  • Dion Devey (2007) Systematics and conservation of Mediterranean insect-mimicking orchids (Ophrys) (first supervisor Richard Bateman, Kew/Natural History Museum, London).Dr. Dion Devey (Kew Gardens)
  • Martyn Powell (2007) - Neotropical diversity - insights from phylogeny, ecology and cellular biology in Oncidioid orchids (first supervisor Vincent Savolainen, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew). Martyn Powell (Kew Gardens)
  • Maria Angelica Bello Gutierrez (2008) - Evolution of the floral traits of Polygalaceae: an evolutionary developmental genetics approach (co-supervisor Dr Paula Rudall, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew) Angelica Bello Gutierrez (RJB)
  • Dhafer A-Zahrani (2010) Systematics of Saudi Arabian Burseraceae.
  • Victor Rodriguez (2011) Molecular Ecology and Evolution of Ariocarpus (Cacataceae). Victor Manuel Rodriguez Garcia
  • Charilaos Saslis-Lagoudakis (2011) Evolutionary Origin of Medicinal Properties in Plants (co-supervised by Vincent Savolainen, Imperial College and Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew and Elizabeth Williamson, University of Reading).Dr. Haris Saslis-Lagoudakis

Research groups / Centres


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Other Refereed Journal Articles

Robbirt, KM, Roberts, DL and Hawkins, JA (2006) Comparing IUCN and probabilistic assessments of threat: do IUCN red list criteria conflate rarity and threat? Biodiversity and Conservation 15:1903–1912

Hawkins, JA, White, L, Hughes, CE, Contreras-Jiménez, JL, Mercado, P (1999) Investigation and documentation of hybridisation between Parkinsonia aculeata and Cercidium praecox (Leguminosae: Caesalpinioideae). Plant Systematics and Evolution 216: 49-68.

Hawkins, JA and Harris, SA (1998) RAPD markers and the characterisation of putative hybrids: two case studies in neotropical legumes. Plant Systematics and Evolution 213: 43-55.

Hawkins, JA, Hughes, CE and Scotland, RW (1997) Primary homology, characters and character states. Cladistics 13: 275-283.

I. Books edited

Bateman, RM, Cronk, QC and Hawkins, JA (eds) (2002) Developmental Genetics and Plant Evolution. Taylor and Francis, London and New York. [I played a substantial role in commissioning and reviewing the chapters of this conference volume, organising the themes to run through the volume as well as copy editing more than a third of the chapters]

II. Refereed Book Chapters

Maunder, M, Hawkins, JA, Hughes, CE, and Culham, A (2004) Hybridisation in ex situ plant collections: conservation liabilities and opportunities In Strategies for Survival: ex-situ plant conservation. Edited by EO Guerrant, K. Havens and M Maunder. Island Press, Washington. [This chapter arose out of discussions I had with Maunder, we produced the first draft of the chapter bringing in other authors at a later date]

Hawkins, JA (2002) Evolutionary developmental biology: impact on systematic theory and practice, and the contribution of systematics, pp 32-51 in Developmental Genetics and Plant Evolution. Edited by RM Bateman, QC Cronk and JA Hawkins. Taylor and Francis, London and New York.

Hawkins, JA (2000) A survey of Primary Homology Assessment: different botanists perceive and define characters in different ways, pp 22-53 in Homology & Systematics: coding characters for phylogenetic analysis. Edited by RW Scotland & RT Pennington. Taylor & Francis; London. [This work, although published in a hard-to-access hardback book, has been cited 14 times since 2005 and is considered a key paper in morphological phylogenetics]

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