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About us

The Department of Biological Sciences was formed in 2009 (from a merger of the long-established Schools of Biological and Chemical Sciences and Crystallography) and is led by Professor Gabriel Waksman, FMedSci, FRS.

Research and teaching in the department are part of a wider programme through our membership of the Institute of Structural and Molecular Biology (ISMB), a joint research institute between Birkbeck and University College London (UCL). The work of the ISMB integrates chemical and physical sciences to investigate biological systems, in particular to reveal the molecular basis of protein function. Exploiting this knowledge will increase our understanding of human diseases and allow us to develop better ways to combat them.

Each year the department also takes part in the School's Science Week and the Bernal Lecture.

The department has two Gender Equality Champions : Dr Katherine Thompson and Dr Jonathan Slater. [Their role, and the support they offer, is outlined on the department's Equality and Diversity page on the Staff intranet - requires login.]

If you're interested in working for us, refer to the current vacancies page on the Birkbeck college site.

A diverse range of courses to meet your study needs

  • We offer courses at all levels, from certificates right up to PhD study. You can choose from biology, analytical chemistry, bioinformatics and crystallography, among other subjects.
    Find out more about our full range of courses or contact us to discuss how our programmes can meet your study and career needs.
  • We also specialise in distance learning courses, where all teaching is carried out online.

Our research has international impact

  • In the RAE 2008, 85% of our research was recognised as having international impact, with 15% receiving the highest possible rating of world-leading.
  • We conduct world-class research in the areas of: biophysics, cell biology, chemical biology, computational biology, microbiology, and structural biology.
    Read about some of our recent research highlights.

Expert academics and leading researchers

  • Our academic staff, experts across the field of biological sciences, are involved in research projects which include: investigations into nanomachines, understanding the role of chaperone proteins, cell processes and interactions, and the part played by genome sequencing in drug development. Many of these projects make use of structural biology techniques and the department has a long history of achievements in this field.

New research has uncovered the structure of components responsible for transferring DNA from one bacteria to another and spreading antibiotic resistance

The activity of cancer drugs change depending on the types of microbes living in the gut, according to a new study involving scientists from Birkbeck into how nematode worms and their microbes process drugs and nutrients.