Imperial College London


Faculty of Natural SciencesDepartment of Life Sciences (Silwood Park)

Professor of Organismic Biology



v.savolainen CV




Ms Elisabeth Ahlstrom +44 (0)20 7594 2207




N.1-17MunroSilwood Park





Professor Vincent Savolainen is the Director of the Georgina Mace Centre for the Living Planet, 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‚Äôs 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 COVID19 and its link with the environment.

Current group members:

Jackson Clive

Tom Versluys

Matthew Coathup

Nick Dunn

Tori Priestley

Ewan Flintham 

Phil Marler

Toral Shah

Faye Hobbs

Dr Scott Jones

Dr Jahcub Trew

Ben Roberts 

George Burton 

1 postdoc position available in biodiversity genomics

Selected news:

Bugs, Birds, and Beasts Day 2021

Georgina Mace Centre for the Living Planet launches at Silwood Park

Researchers have devised a new sampling method for the elusive hazel dormouse

Chinese water deer introduced to UK may be valuable to restoring numbers in Asia

Mapping coronavirus in sewage could reveal disease hotspots

Could Africa have a sustainable palm industry?

Scientists explore the evolution of animal homosexuality




Anankware PJ, Roberts B, Cheseto X, et al., 2021, The nutritional profiles of five important edible insect species from West Africa – an analytical and literature synthesis, Frontiers in Nutrition, Vol:8, ISSN:2296-861X, Pages:1-19

Shah T, Mashimba FH, Suleiman HO, et al., 2021, Phylogenetics of Ochna (Ochnaceae) and a new infrageneric classification, Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society, ISSN:0024-4074

Versluys T, Mas-Sandoval A, Flintham E, et al., 2021, Why do we pick similar mates, or do we?, Biology Letters, Vol:17, ISSN:1744-9561, Pages:1-12

Clive J, Wisden W, Savolainen V, 2021, The de-scent of sexuality: should we smell a rat?, Archives of Sexual Behavior: an Interdisciplinary Research Journal, Vol:50, ISSN:0004-0002, Pages:2283-2288

Shah T, Schneider JV, Zizka G, et al., 2021, Joining forces in Ochnaceae phylogenomics: a tale of two targeted sequencing probe kits, American Journal of Botany, Vol:108, ISSN:0002-9122, Pages:1201-1216

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