Department of Biology
My aim in teaching is to inspire and engage students in learning, and to develop student confidence in asking questions so that they can understand, analyse and evaluate the research that they encounter and perform. I look to provide opportunities for creative thinking, as well as using teaching formats that allow for active learning and the development of transferable skills, whether using games or practical teaching. My teaching covers all levels and is across the fields of ecology and microbiology. It includes lectures, workshops using LEGO, and practical work both in the laboratory and the field. I also work with colleagues within the faculty on teaching and learning scholarship projects each summer, in which we collaborate with student partners.
I look to provide opportunities for students to learn actively in all of my teaching, whether in lectures or workshops, as well as in practical fieldwork. As an ecologist with a background in whole organisms and microbiology, my teaching covers a range of modules, from first year modules in Animal and Plant Biology through to laboratory practicals in the Microbiology module. My ecology lectures look into how organisms interact with each other and their wider environment, highlighting concepts such as species competition and the impact of islands on extinction risk. As well as teaching in my own subject area, I teach a range of transferable skills within the Science Communication strand of the second year Skills for Bioscientists module. This has included presenting science to a general audience via outreach-style talks from the Pint of Science Festival, and also developing digital content, such as animations, to convey scientific ideas. I enjoy working with students to help them convey their enthusiasm for the subject to others.
My tutorials consider aspects of disease ecology, using different learning methods to discuss the range, spread and impact of diseases in humans, animals and plants. We discuss media stories and compare the ways in which science can be reported, both in journals and to the general public. By using game-based learning and developing skills in critical analysis and science communication, I aim to make tutorials an engaging place to learn, helping students to apply their biological understanding to real-world scenarios.
My projects tend to focus on interactions in ecological communities at different scales, from ecosystems through to environmental microbiology. For example, ecological projects have focused on the effects of insect and soil communities on productivity within agricultural settings. I am also interested in the microorganisms that live within us and our wider environment, and the impacts that they can have on our lives. Some of my projects have investigated how pathogens survive on different metals within home and clinical settings. These projects often contain elements of both field and laboratory work, and I am keen to provide students with the opportunity to tailor these projects to their own interests.