Faculty Research Overview
Overview of research and research strategy
The Faculty of Biological Sciences is one of the largest groupings of biological scientists in the UK with considerable critical mass across a broad spectrum of research areas. Research excellence underpins our structure within the Faculty and we have established research schools rather than more traditional departments. This greatly facilitates inter-disciplinarity as researchers can freely interact across traditional boundaries within biology.
Our research is coordinated within 3 schools*:
- The School of Biology
- The School of Biomedical Sciences
- The School of Molecular and Cellular Biology
*The Schools were formerly known, respectively, as the Institutes of: Integrative & Comparative Biology, Membrane & Systems Biology, and Molecular & Cellular Biology.
The Faculty is a major area of strength within the University and enjoys very close working relationships with the Faculties of Medicine and Health, Mathematics and Physical Sciences, Earth and Environment, and Engineering.
The size of the Faculty and the University of Leeds provides an opportunity to bring people together into interdisciplinary research groupings. Some key examples of this include:
- The Astbury Centre for Structural Molecular Biology links biologists in the Faculty of with chemists and physicists in the Faculty of Mathematics and Physical Sciences to provide a focus for molecular biophysics, structural molecular biology and bionanosciences.
- Cross-disciplinary research between biological sciences and clinical medicine are exemplified by a new collaborative research building, the Leeds Institute of Genetics, Health and Therapeutics (LIGHT), and the Multidisciplinary Cardiovascular Research Centre .
- Environmental research is facilitated by the Earth Biosphere Institute which includes researchers in Ecology, Geography and the School of Earth and Environment (which is home to earth scientists, climate scientists and social scientists working on sustainability within the Sustainability Research Institute)
- The Biomedical and Health Research Centre is a strategic partnership between the four scientific Faculties of the University of Leeds and the Leeds Teaching Hospital Trust (LTHT) and has been developed to promote collaboration between basic sciences, translational and clinical research.
In addition to 110 academic staff, the Faculty has over 400 postdoctoral fellows and postgraduate students supported by a current active research grant portfolio of some £53M derived from a range of sources including charities, Research Councils, the European Union and industry. Post graduate training is coordinated through the Faculty Graduate School. Most of the postgraduate students are supported by the Research Councils. The Faculty also hosts a prestigious Wellcome Trust four-year PhD studentship program, participates in the White Rose EPSRC doctoral Training Program and hosts European Union Marie Curie Training Sites.
Significant investments in our infrastructure contribute to the dynamic and vibrant research environment that offers excellent opportunities for leading edge research across the breadth of the Biological Sciences as well as superb cross Faculty interactions across a spectrum of disciplines.
Our research strategy is to concentrate our research in three broad themes:
- Improving understanding of how the surprisingly small number of genes in a genome are regulated and interact to provide the information needed for the complexity of highly-evolved organisms ranging from plants to humans. A particular emphasis involves understanding the interactions of proteins with other proteins, nucleic acids and small molecules. One aim will be development and application of novel technologies for the discovery of novel compounds that act by modulating biomolecular interactions as candidate drugs.
- Improving knowledge of the molecular mechanisms of human genetic disorders and disease, in particular cardiovascular and neurodegenerative diseases, diabetes and infections such as hepatitis C and MRSA.
- Developing methods to allow sustainable agriculture in the face of the twin threats of human population growth and climate change. This will be both in terms of security of food production (including novel crops) but also in terms of ecological sustainability. We will develop methods to protect biodiversity in the broadest sense from genetic diversity through populations of species and ecological communities to functioning ecosystems.
Professor James Deuchars
Pro-Dean for Research and Innovation