Chris Leaver has recently retired from his post of Sibthorpian Professor of Plant Science at the University of Oxford. He is a Professorial Fellow of St Johns College. His main research interests have always been directed towards an understanding of the molecular and biochemical basis of plant growth and differentiation. In recent years he has concentrated most of his efforts into an investigation of the regulation of mitochondrial biogenesis during plant growth and differentiation, coupled with an investigation of the molecular and biochemical basis, and phenotypic consequences, of mitochondrial genetic diversity in plants in general and cytoplasmic male sterility in important crop plants in particular. He also works on the metabolic and genetic regulation of genes encoding glyoxylate cycle enzymes and factors regulating the biosynthesis of glutathione and its function during oxidative stress. More recently, he has started working on senescence and programmed cell death in plants. Professor Leaver has a strong interest in the public understanding of science and has been actively involved in the current debate on genetically modified crops in the UK and Europe. In 2000, he was awarded the CBE for services to plant sciences. He is a Trustee of the Natural History Museum, and of Sense about Science, and and serves on the Council of the John Innes Centre. He is Vice-Chairman of the Executive Committee of the Biochemical Society.