Student Biographies

Click on the images below to read the biographies of some of the past and present students studying with the Doctoral Training Partnership.

Mabon Elis

Project: Evolution of genomic islands through plant-pollinator interactions.

Supervisor: Professor Rico Coen

I have always loved biology, but it wasn’t until my time at the University of Manchester that I decided to focus on plants, having been drawn into their world during field courses and practicals. I really enjoyed my final year research project on orchid flower development. I was fascinated by the way many orchids have formed complex relationships with their pollinators and how this has shaped the evolution of both parties. Designing my own experiments and working in a lab also made me want to continue in research.


I first came to the John Innes Centre for my Master’s degree in Plant Genetics and Crop Improvement. I got the chance to experience life working in an institute focused on plant and microbial research. I felt it was the perfect place to study for doing plant science research. For my PhD I will be looking at how bumblebee behaviour leads to fitness differences between hybrid and parental forms of snapdragon.

The world-class research and friendly atmosphere of the John Innes Centre mean that I’m really looking forward to the next four years!