Imperial College London


Faculty of Natural SciencesDepartment of Life Sciences (Silwood Park)

Professor of Organismic Biology



v.savolainen CV




Ms Emma Proctor +44 (0)20 7594 2207




N.1-17MunroSilwood Park





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‚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 sexual behaviour in animals and assortment in humans.

Current group members:

Jackson Clive

Tom Versluys

Matthew Coathup

Nick Dunn

Tori Priestley

Ewan Flintham 

Phil Marler

Dr Alba Herraiz




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

Coathup M, Osborne OG, Savolainen V, 2019, Speciation: how predictable is genome evolution?, Elife, Vol:8, ISSN:2050-084X

Papadopulos AST, Igea J, Smith TP, et al., 2019, Ecological speciation in sympatric palms: 4. Demographic analyses support speciation of Howea in the face of high gene flow, Evolution, Vol:73, ISSN:0014-3820, Pages:1996-2002

Papadopulos AST, Igea J, Dunning LT, et al., 2019, Ecological speciation in sympatric palms: 3. Genetic map reveals genomic islands underlying species divergence in Howea, Evolution, Vol:73, ISSN:0014-3820, Pages:1986-1995

Osborne OG, Ciezarek A, Wilson T, et al., Speciation in Howea palms occurred in sympatry, was preceded by ancestral admixture, and was associated with edaphic and phenological adaptation, Molecular Biology and Evolution, ISSN:1537-1719

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