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Dr Michelle Hawkins 

Lecturer in Microbiology


PURE Staff link York Research Database

I am a microbiologist interested in DNA replication. My research has focused on understanding where this process begins, how it is regulated and what happens when replication forks encounter obstacles. My group investigates bacterial DNA replication using genetics, biochemistry and structural biology techniques. We are currently focused on the termination stage of DNA replication and the consequences of impeded replication forks.

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 stage two lectures describe the essential process of DNA replication and the methods used to study it. I use the history of the field to illustrate how our understanding changes over time and use the regulation of bacterial replication to illustrate principles introduced elsewhere in the course. I have worked on DNA replication in all three domains of life and use examples from my own research to develop data interpretation and problem-solving skills in workshops. In stage three I use a combination of lectures and interactive journal club workshops to cover current microbiology research.

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I run tutorials on the topics of DNA replication, science communication and bioethics. Within these themes students are able to develop their presentation and referencing skills in addition to learning how to write for different audiences. Students explore how important discoveries in the field of DNA replication were made, debate the merits of peer review and get the chance to discuss controversial bioethical issues in the news. Tutorials are interactive and are 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