School of Biology

Biological Sciences

School of Biology

The School of Biology at the University of Leeds engages students in high-quality research on global and societal issues that matter.

We have a team of 33 academic staff, plus their research groups with more than 100 postdoctoral research assistants, postgraduate researchers and research technicians.

Our academics are tackling real-world scientific problems from sustainable crops to the biology of disease - and you'll be learning the answers with them. 

Our teaching

The School of Biology delivers the whole organism Biology programmes within the Faculty of Biological Sciences. This delivery ranges from molecular to population scales, includes animals, plants, and fungi, and involves fundamental basic biology through to applied research with considerable societal impact.

Our taught modules address the wonder of how life is maintained, both through internal mechanisms and within natural environments. Students are engaged in our active research projects based in laboratories within the school and research sites around the world.

Our research

The School of Biology hosts the faculty Research Groups of Ecology and Evolution, Plant Sciences and Heredity, Development and Disease.

Our staff also contribute to other research groups hosted in the other schools in the faculty. Within the University of Leeds we are involved in various interdisciplinary networks such as water@leeds and the Global Food and Environment Institute. We are also involved in numerous national and international collaborations including links with research groups in the USA, Australia, Africa, India, Japan and China.

We have recently secured over 12 million pounds in research income to support Centre for Innovation and Excellence in Livestock (CIEL) and Agricultural and Food-system Resilience: Increasing Capacity and Advising Policy (AFRICAP).

Research groups

Evolutionary research themes span from evolutionary genetics to the evolution of life-histories and population dynamics. Ecological research encompasses natural terrestrial, freshwater and marine ecosystems across the globe. Our research also includes exploration of the impacts of human activity in heavily-modified urban and agricultural landscapes.

More on Ecology and Evolution

Our plant science research encompasses cell and molecular biology, through molecular genetics to ecophysiology & crop science. Specific areas of expertise include developmental biology & hormones, comparative genomics, epigenetics & chromatin structure, plant cell walls & glycobiology, stress responses, root-soil processes and plant nematology. Our strong fundamental plant science base is being used for the development of future crops with high productivity and resilience to climate change.

More on Plant Sciences

Biological mechanisms in the processes of development, nutrition and metabolism, in animals and humans, are investigated. We study several animal and in vitro systems to uncover the molecular basis and genetics of healthy and disease states including parasitic infections, congenital disorders and cancer. Our research has direct applications ranging from the improvement of animal performance in farming through to the design of therapeutic drugs for medical purposes.

More on Heredity, Development and Disease

Research Impact

We apply our research outcomes for societal benefit. Here are some examples of our high impact case studies:

Research by Dr Simon Goodman and the Zoological Society of London and Ecuador has led to changes in national legislation on biosecurity in the Galapagos Islands.

More on Galapagos biosecurity – protection of unique UNESCO world heritage site

Professor Alison Dunn’s research has identified the most effective methods to improve biosecurity practices for different invasive species.

More on Biosecurity for invasive species in Yorkshire Dales

Professor John Altringham and Dr Anna Berthinussen's research on the conservation of bat species has informed new infrastructure developments.

More on Bats and roads – evidence informed conservation practices

Research by Dr Simon Goodman and colleagues has been recognised by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature and the United Nations Convention on Migratory Species.

More on Caspian seal conservation