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Our staff

Our academic staff are engaged in a diverse range of research and teaching activities across the biological sciences.

Many of them are also involved in a wider research programme through the Institute of Structural and Molecular Biology (ISMB), a joint institute between Birkbeck and University College London (UCL). Recent academic appointments are jointly held with UCL.

Staff categories

These are our Birkbeck categories within the Department of Biological Sciences.

Head of department

Deputy Head of Department (Research)

Deputy Head of Department (Teaching)

academic staff

Research staff

Honorary Research Fellow

  • Dr Jane Nicklin
    • Dr Nicklin's current research in environmental mycology covers these themes: the relationship between fungi and other organisms to provide biological control of pests, weeds and diseases, fungal ecology and fungal hazards.This research has applications in improving indoor air quality and managing mycology in historic collections. Fungi can be used as biocontrol agents for insect pests, invasive weeds and control of nematodes. Work on the taxonomy of Sooty Moulds may provide a way to identify new fungal sources of this important enzyme.
    • Publications (BIROn)

Laboratory managers and technical staff

Computer support group

Professional and support Staff

Emeritus staff

  • Professor Paul Barnes: Professor of Applied Crystallography
  • Dr Geoff Coast: Emeritus Reader in Comparative Endocrinology
    • Dr Coast's research focuses on insect neuroendocrinology, particularly the endocrine control of excretory processes. Investigations study the effect of diuretic hormones at the cellular level (receptor binding, second messenger and ion transport studies), on the secretion of primary urine by isolated Malpighian tubules, and on fluid excretion in the intact insect. His research also covers the release of peptide hormones from neurohaemal organs and their degradation in the circulation.
  • Professor Graham Goldsworthy: Professor of Biology
    • In 1986, Graham Goldwsorthy was appointed Professor of Biology and head of the department at Birkbeck. While at Birkbeck, his interests in insect neuropeptides have included structure/activity relationships; molecular modelling; structure prediction including CD analysis; the synthesis and design of novel analogues; studies of their actions in the insect; and characterisation and identification of their second messenger systems and receptors. 
  • Professor Elizabeth Hounsell: Professor of Biological Chemistry
    • Professor Hounsell's research covers projects looking at macromolecular interactions involved in growth control, immune surveillance and neuropathology. These areas lead on to cancer studies, autoimmunity, allergy, AIDS and infection. A major aim of her lab's research is to understand the role of protein glycosylation in cell regulation and to learn how to manipulate protein and oligosaccharide structure in rational drug design.
  • Professor Nicholas Keep: Professor of Biomolecular Science
  • Professor Alan Mackay, FRS
  • Dr Andrew Milner: Emeritus Reader in Vertebrate Palaeontology
    • Dr Milner's principal research programmes are concerned with the structure, biogeography and evolution of amphibians, ancient and modern. Research on early amphibians, especially those of the order temnospondyli, includes investigations on their morphology, evolution, biogeography, palaeobiology and circumstances of their death and preservation. Research on modern amphibian groups looks at their origin and early diversification, historically a problem area for biologists because of an apparently poor fossil record.
  • Professor David Moss: Emeritus Professor of Biomolecular Structure
  • Dr Rex Palmer: Emeritus Reader in Structural Crystallography
    • Dr Palmer's research interests focus on the structure and function of biologically active molecules in general with particular reference to: ribonuclease structure and function; mistletoe lectin, sambucus niger lectin, RIP toxins and other lectin protein structures; drug design and small molecule crystallography; cyclosporin structures; sodium channel binding drugs; and molecular modelling and dynamics.
  • Professor Christine Slingsby: Emerita Professor of Structural Biology
    • Professor Slingsby's research interests include: the origin of the vertebrate eye lens; interactions of crystallins, refractive index and transparency; the structure of alpha-crystallin and related small heat shock proteins; changes to eye lens crystallins in cataract; the role of small heat shock proteins in neuromuscular systems; and small heat shock proteins in aging and disease.
  • Professor Michael Thompson: Emeritus Professor of Analytical Chemistry
    • Professor Thompson's research interests include statistical aspects of calibration and data quality in analytical chemistry, food safety, chemometrics, metrology, sampling quality, and geochemistry and environmental chemistry. He is the recipient of several awards including Honorary Life Membership of the International Association of Geoanalysts, the Harvey Wiley Award, the L S Theobald Lectureship and the SAC Gold Medal.

These Fellows of the College are associated with the department: Professor Paul Barnes, Professor Sir Tom Blundell, Professor Dame Julia Goodfellow, Professor Alan MacKay, Professor David Moss, Professor Glaucius Oliva and Professor Janet Thornton.