Monique’s research draws on a long-standing interest in plant-animal interactions and the chemistry and economic uses of plants. Her current research has a focus on the potential of plants/fungi as pharmaceutical leads for antibiotics, as well as in over–the-counter products such as cosmetics. Her work involves studying the chemistry of plants and fungi, the biological activities of extracts and isolated compounds, and using DNA based phylogenies to assist guide the selection of species.
Since 2018 Monique has headed the new Commercial Phytochemistry Unit at Kew that aims to undertake and help facilitate research to maximise the economic potential and associated benefit sharing of leads from plants and fungi. Prof. Simmonds is also interested in the development of chemical and DNA authentication methods to check the quality of plant-derived products being sold as medicines, cosmetics and functional foods.
Monique is a member of the UK’s Dept of Health, British Pharmacopoeia Commission and chairs the advisory committee on herbals, she is also part of the International Advisory Committee for the Hong Kong and China Materia Medica. She is a member of the UKs Forestry Commission Expert Committee on Forest Science and is an Ambassador for the Grantham Centre for Sustainable Futures at the University of Sheffield. In 2018 she was selected as one of 100 females in England “to have made a difference” and is part of the First Females exhibit that is touring the UK and in 2019 was selected by Allure as one of seven Influential people on environmental advocacy in the beauty industry.