Research themes

To build cross-institutional and cross-year group networks, there are three research themes.

The research themes are each led by an academic Research Theme Champion from across the partnership. These ‘champions’ will help to organise theme-specific activities (such as site visits, workshops, symposiums, virtual journal clubs), to educate students working in similar research areas about current methods and challenges within these fields.

The three research themes are as follows:

Biomolecular & Biophysical Studies


  • most cellular and subcellular biology including microbiological systems and all aspects of gene function, protein structure, cytoskeleton & membrane systems and cellular transport. This theme also includes much of the synthetic biology area.

Research Theme Champion: Dr Chris Pudney

Research theme webpage >>

Agriculture and the Environment


  • all aspects of Animal Welfare and productivity for farmed/managed animals. It can include environmental impacts of such livestock including water quality, as well as any concerns relating to downstream food chain issues such as microbiological safety and food quality.
  • anything to do with plants including plant physiology, genetics and development. It includes both model and crop species and all aspects of crop breeding, productivity, crop protection (pathogen and pest management). In addition, all aspects of soil as a major resource (ecosystem services) including soil formation, function, health and includes the impacts of agriculture on the environment and environmental protection.

Research Theme Champion: Dr Dan Bebber

Research theme webpage >>

Animal Behaviour and In Vivo Studies


  • Cerebellar Purkinje cell’s labelled with a lentiviral vector

    all aspects of learning and behaviour, from neurobiology function through to higher brain decision making. It could also encompass sensory biology, from perception of signal through to response and include plant/microbial perception and response pathways where appropriate.

  • whole animal systems as research models, looking at development, physiology and function. It also includes ethical considerations and procedural aspects. The key is the whole animal as the starting point of the investigations and includes model systems such as zebra fish and mouse.

Research Theme Champion: Prof Emma Robinson

Research theme webpage >>