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Dr Michelle Hawkins 

Lecturer in Microbiology


PURE Staff link York Research Database

I am a microbial molecular geneticist interested in DNA replication. My research has focused on understanding where this process begins, how it is regulated, the obstacles replication forks can face and how replication forks fuse during termination. Using genetics and biochemistry I am currently investigating aspects of DNA replication in bacteria.

Employment History

Research Fellow, Nieduszynski group, University of Nottingham, UK 2009-2013

Postdoctoral Research Associate, McGlynn group, University of York, UK 2013-2018


MBiol. (Honours) 1:1 University of Bath, UK 2001-2005

PhD in Genetics, University of Nottingham, UK 2005-2009

“DNA Replication origins in Haloferax volcanii


Teaching and scholarship

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I use a variety of methods to engage students with my subject content. Science is not static and my aim is to help students develop critical thinking skills alongside enhancing their knowledge.

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My lectures describe the essential process of DNA replication and the methods used to study it across all domains of life. I use the history of the field to illustrate how our understanding of key processes change over time and use the regulation of bacterial replication to illustrate regulatory principles introduced elsewhere in the course. I have worked on DNA replication in all three domains of life and I use examples from my own research to develop data interpretation and problem-solving skills.

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I run stage one tutorials on the topic of DNA replication. We cover the essentials of the process and students are introduced to presentation skills, referencing and essay writing. In the second stage my tutorials cover bioethics and science communication. Students are given the chance to write for different audiences, learn about peer review and discuss controversial ethical issues in debates and essays. Tutorials are interactive, unique and my favourite part of teaching.  

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Final year projects in my laboratory enable students to make contributions to research on microbial DNA replication and replication-transcription conflicts. I also run science communication projects that allow students to explore a bioethical issue of their own choosing. Both types of project develop investigative, data interpretation and scientific reporting skills. 

Contact details

Dr Michelle Hawkins
Lecturer in Microbiology
Department of Biology
University of York
YO10 5DD

Tel: 01904 328526