Dr Laura Forrest Home Page

Dr Laura Forrest

Molecular Laboratory technician

Royal Botanic Garden

20A Inverleith Row

Edinburgh EH3 5LR 

Office: Balfour Building, room 101.

Tel. +44 (0) 131 248 2952

Link to Publications on Google Scholar

Link to Dr Laura Forrest CV

Specialist area: General laboratory procedures. Bryophyte phylogenetics and plastomics. Plant barcoding.

Support area: Collaborative research (molecular).

Laura Forrest provides technical support in the molecular laboratory as part of the Scientific and Technical Services (STS) team. This includes providing training and practical support for staff and visitors, and for undergraduate, masters and PhD students, as well as involvement in the day-to-day running of the laboratories.

Most of her research time is spent on DNA barcoding the British liverworts, an ongoing RBGE project involving STS and the Cryptogam section http://www.rbge.org.uk/science/cryptogamic-plants-and-fungi/bryology that aims to sample multiple accessions of all native species for matK, rbcL, psbA-trnH and ITS2 loci. The project also involves in-depth focus on a small group of genera including Aneura, Conocephalum and Sphaerocarpos, including sampling from outwith the UK. In addition, utilizing David Long’s expertise on the group, she is involved in generating a phylogeny of the complex thalloid liverworts in line with the Liverwort Tree of Life Project.


Further collaborative projects include comparative bryophyte plastid genomics and high throughput sequencing with Bernard Goffinet and lab members (University of Connecticut; http://www.eeb.uconn.edu/people/goffinet/ ), liverwort nuclear genome size evolution with Jillian Bainard (University of Guelph; http://www.researchgate.net/profile/Jillian_Bainard/ ), hornwort barcoding with Juan Carlos Villarreal (Ludwig Maximilians Universität, Munich; http://www.sysbot.biologie.uni-muenchen.de/en/people/villarreal/ ) and thalloid liverwort phylogenetics with Barbara Crandall-Stotler and Ray Stotler (University of Southern Illinois; http://bryophytes.plant.siu.edu/ ).

SKILLS: Plant DNA extraction, PCR amplification & cycle sequencing. Second generation (454) library preparation (shotgun genomic, paired end & transcriptome), emPCR & sequencing. Microsatellite primer design & testing. Genome assembly & annotation. Phylogenetic analyses. Paper-writing. Student training & supervision. Field collecting: China, Panama, UK, USA, Venezuela. Lecturing: botany, bryology, cell biology, molecular theory & techniques. Peer review for journals and funding bodies.

Academic Qualifications

Ph.D., Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh (awarded by University of Glasgow), UK, A Phylogeny of Begoniaceae Bercht. & J. Presl. (Advisor: Peter Hollingsworth) (1997 – 2001)

M.Sc., University of Reading, UK, Pure and Applied Plant and Fungal Taxonomy (project: Phylogeny of Polytrichaceae (Musci); Advisor: Terry Hedderson), with Distinction (1994 – 1995)

B.Sc. Hons., University of Edinburgh, UK, Biology (Plant Sciences), (1989-1993)

Postdoctoral Positions

University of Connecticut, USA, Liverwort Tree of Life, 2009 – 2011

Royal Botanic Garden, Edinburgh, UK, Plant DNA barcoding, 2008 – 2009

Southern Illinois University Carbondale, USA, Liverwort systematics, 2002 – 2005


2011 – present. Molecular laboratory technician, Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh, UK.

2006 – 2008.  Molecular laboratory technician, Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh, UK.

2005 – 2006.  Visiting scholar, Southern Illinois University Carbondale, USA. Liverwort systematics.

2001 – 2002.  Research associate, NRS, Forest Research, UK. Population biology of oaks.

1996 – 1997.  Research associate, The Natural History Museum, London, UK. Linnaean Plant Name Typification Project.

1993 – 1994.  Plant cytotaxonomist, Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh, UK.

Selected Publications

Liu, Y., L.L. Forrest, J. Bainard, J.M. Budke, B. Goffinet. 2013. Organellar genome, nuclear ribosomal DNA repeat unit and microsatellites isolated from a small-scale of 454 GS-FLX sequencing on two mosses. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 66: 1089-1094. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ympev.2012.12.006 

Villarreal, J.C., L.L. Forrest, N. Wickett, B. Goffinet. 2013. The plastid genome of the hornwort Nothoceros aenigmaticus: Phylogenetic signal in inverted repeat expansion, pseudogenization and intron gain. American Journal of Botany 100: 467-477. http://dx.doi.org/10.3732/ajb.1200429

Forrest, L.L., N.J. Wickett, C.J. Cox, B. Goffinet. 2011. Deep sequencing of Ptilidium (Ptilidaceae) suggests evolutionary stasis in liverwort plastid structure. Plant Evolution and Ecology 144: 29-43. http://dx.doi.org/10.5091/plecevo.2011.535

Forrest, L.L., N. Salazar Allen, J.A. Gudiño, H. Korpelainen, D.G. Long. 2011. Molecular and morphological evidence for distinct species in Dumortiera (Dumortieraceae). The Bryologist 114: 102-115. http://dx.doi.org/10.1639/0007-2745-114.1.102

Neves, S.S., L.L. Forrest. 2011. Plant DNA sequencing for phylogenetic analyses: from plants to sequences. In Emili, A., G. Cagney (eds) Network Biology: Methods and Protocols (Methods in Molecular Biology series). Humana Press. http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/978-1-61779-276-2_10  

Hollingsworth, P.M., L.L. Forrest, J.L. Spouge, M. Hajibabaei, S. Ratnasingham, M. van der Bank, M.W. Chase, R.S. Cowan, D.L. Erickson, A.J. Fazekas, S.W. Graham, K.E. James, K.-J. Kim, W.J. Kress, H. Schneider, J. van AlphenStahl, S.C.H. Barrett, C. van den Berg, D. Bogarin, K.S. Burgess, K.M. Cameron, M. Carine, J. Chacón, A. Clark, J.J. Clarkson, F. Conrad, D.S. Devey, C.S. Ford, T.A.J. Hedderson, M.L. Hollingsworth, B.C. Husband, L.J. Kelly, P.R. Kesanakurti, J.S. Kim, Y.-D. Kim, R. Lahaye, H.-L. Lee, D.G. Long, S. Madriñán, O. Maurin, I. Meusnier, S.G. Newmaster, C.-W. Park, D.M. Percy, G. Petersen, J.E. Richardson, G.A. Salazar, V. Savolainen, O. Seberg, M.J. Wilkinson, D.-K. Yi, D.P. Little. 2009. A DNA barcode for land plants. Proceedings of the National Academy of Science 106: 12794-12797. http://dx.doi.org/10.1073/pnas.0905845106


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