Meet your tutors
Congratulations on getting an offer to study with us! Our department has academics researching and teaching across the breadth of biological sciences. We wanted to give you a chance to find out more about one of them.
Richard Waites is our Director for Students who looks after students throughout their time at York. He has a broad interest in Biology and mainly teaches in the first year.
Everything else that I did at school was so I could do biology in the longer term
When I went to university, I was interested in lots of different aspects of biology and I wasn’t sure what to study. Genetics, biochemistry and plant biology became my three main interests. Since then my research and teaching has stretched beyond all those topics.
I am responsible for a big, first year Biology module where I give lectures, workshops and practicals. I’m interested in getting students to think about how we know what we know: how we understand the living world, how life works, how biology works. If you have a better understanding of the work that a biologist can do then that’s going to make you more successful in your degree.
I was attracted to York by the wide range of biologists here
They work across all the different topics. There are biochemists, biomedical scientists, ecologists and microbiologists carrying out research on a wide variety of problems and global challenges. It is always surprising to me how many innovative solutions they find.
In terms of teaching and research, Biology at York is a broad spectrum department where you can have a wide choice of what you can study throughout your degree. There is also a fantastic range of research projects that you can do across all the different disciplines.
There's two ways to think about research-led teaching
Whether it’s to do with medicines that treat disease, or the impact of climate change, the research that we’re proudest of is that research which has the biggest impact on people’s lives in a global context. A lot of this research isn’t in the textbooks yet. So it’s about bringing this research into the curriculum so that you will find out more about what we do.
Research-led teaching is also about identifying the best approaches, methods and techniques in teaching and learning. Getting you to practice doing research for yourself: reading papers or doing projects in a lab with an international profile.
We cover the whole breadth of biology which is a real strength
A distinctive feature of Biology at York is our collaborations with other departments. Working with Chemistry and York Structural Biology Labs gives us real strength and depth in Biochemistry. The same is true of Biomedical Sciences through our links with Hull York Medical School and York Biomedical Research Institute. We have staff from Chemistry and the Medical School that are drawn to the Biology buildings so that they can do their research here, as well as teaching our students.
The way research is organised in York means that you bring researchers close together and that collaborative ethos spans both research and teaching.
My role covers the student life cycle from enquiries to graduation
As Director for Students, I think a lot about the student perspective. The teaching you receive, and what it’s like to learn, study and be assessed at University. Students sometimes need a little bit of help along the way and we are here to do this. At the end of your degree we want you to be confident in the work you do and careers you will develop. We help each student to achieve this in their own way.
My role also spans improving student welfare and developing our inclusive approach. Finally, I also listen carefully to the student voice and we work together to improve the student experience in Biology.