About the School of Biosciences

global-petri-dishThe School of Biosciences encompasses the full spectrum of modern biology in research and teaching. 

Our research focuses on fundamental questions in biology and on global challenges such as food security, climate change and antimicrobial resistance. Our teaching at undergraduate and postgraduate level enables graduates to embark on successful careers in the life sciences and beyond. As an integral part of the life sciences community at the University of Birmingham, we are working with colleagues in the Colleges of Medical and Dental Sciences (MDS), and Engineering and Physical Sciences (EPS), and we collaborate with industrial partners in the pharmaceutical, agri-food and biotechnology sectors.

A brief history

The School of Biosciences emerged from a proud tradition of predecessors departments whose most eminent scientists included Nobel laureate immunologist Peter Medawar, geneticist John Jinks, microbiologist Harry Smith and biochemists Sam Perry and Bob Michell. Separate departments for Genetics, Microbiology, Botany, Zoology and Comparative Physiology, Medical Biochemistry and Biochemistry (including a ‘Division of Brewing’) were consolidated into the Schools of Biological Sciences and of Biochemistry in the 1990s, and eventually merged into a single unit in 2000, becoming the School of Biosciences.

The School today

At present, the School includes around 60 academic staff, representing research expertise from Cell and Molecular Biology to Zoology and Ecology, 900 undergraduate students enrolled into 3 distinct programmes, 250 postgraduate students at both Masters and PhD level and around 120 early career researchers at postdoctoral level. In the 2014 Research Excellence Framework 93% of our outputs were judged as world-leading or internationally excellent.

“When I came to study Medical Biochemistry at Birmingham, I had no idea that almost half a century later I would still be researching and teaching here. Relatively little of what we now teach students was then known, so I have had a wonderful time trying to fill some of those gaps – but there is plenty still to learn!”

Bob Michell, FRS,
Emeritus Professor, School of Biosciences

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