Professor Vincent Savolainen is the Director of the Grand Challenges in Ecosystems and the Environment, a College initiative that brings together a multi-disciplinary group of researchers to tackle some of the greatest environmental challenges. Professor Savolainen was Deputy Head of the Department of Life Sciences (Silwood Park Campus) between 2013 and 2016. Before joining Imperial College in 2007, he spent nine years as Deputy Head of Molecular Systematics at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Professor Savolainen is a Fellow of the Zoological Society of London, Fellow of the Linnean Society of London, and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Biology. In 2006, he was awarded the Linnean Society’s Bicentenary Medal. In 2008, he was awarded a European Research Council Advanced Grant, and the following year a Royal Society Wolfson Research Merit Award. In 2014, he was elected a Member of EMBO, and was awarded the Coincy Medal for Botany. In 2015, he was listed in Reuters World's Most Influential Scientific Minds for publishing some of the greatest numbers of highly cited papers in plant and animal science during 2003-2013. Professor Savolainen sits on various panels and advisory committees, including the UK Natural Environment Research Council Peer Review College and the Royal Society International Committees.
His group combines field ecology, molecular phylogenetics, and population genomic approaches to key societal challenges, from explaining the origin of biodiversity to finding solutions for its preservation in a rapidly changing world. Recent research also tackles non reproductive sexual behaviour in animals and humans, including disentangling the Darwinian paradox of homosexuality.
Savolainen V, Ecological speciation in sympatric palms: 3. Genetic map reveals genomic islands underlying species divergence in Howea, Evolution, ISSN:0014-3820
et al., 2019, Phylotranscriptomic Insights into the Diversification of Endothermic Thunnus Tunas, Molecular Biology and Evolution, Vol:36, ISSN:0737-4038, Pages:84-96
et al., Diversification of characteristics related to regional endothermy in Thunnus tunas, Molecular Biology and Evolution, ISSN:1537-1719
et al., 2018, The genetic basis and evolution of red blood cell sickling in deer, Nature Ecology & Evolution, Vol:2, ISSN:2397-334X, Pages:367-+
et al., 2018, Arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi promote coexistence and niche divergence of sympatric palm species on a remote oceanic island, New Phytologist, Vol:217, ISSN:0028-646X, Pages:1254-1266