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David Twell

Department of Genetics and Genome Biology
University of Leicester
United Kingdom


I studied Botany at Durham University where I became fascinated with plants, genes and development. I went on to study for a PhD at Rothamsted Experimental Station, Herts and Imperial College London, investigating plant transformation and storage protein genes in potato. I then decided to ‘go west’ as a Post Doctoral Research Geneticist to investigate sexual reproduction and gene regulation in tomato at the Plant Gene Expression Centre in Albany, CA.

Research Interest

Our core research interests are in the molecular control and evolution of plant reproductive development. We use molecular, genetic and genomic approaches to study genes, proteins and cellular processes important for plant and crop fertility. The knowledge and tools arising from our research informs basic understanding of plant development and new plant breeding strategies to help maintain food security. Research topics:  Plant development; Sexual reproduction; Pollen development;  Gene regulatory networks; Cell polarity; Asymmetric cell division; Germ cell specification; Cell cycle; small RNA pathways.


  • Borg, M., Brownfield, L., Khatab, H., Sidorova, A., Lingaya, M. and Twell, D. (2011) The R2R3 MYB transcription factor DUO1 activates a male germline-specific regulon essential for sperm cell differentiation in Arabidopsis. Plant Cell 23, 1-16.

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