Helen James

Helen James


  • 01.57 Biology

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Personal profile

Administrative Posts

  • Chair (2021 to date) and Member (2011 to 2021) of BIO Exam Board 
  • Course Director for Biomedicine (C930) (2018 to 2021)
  • Module Organiser for Biology in Society (BIO-5012Y) and Cancer Biology (BIO-6009A) (ongoing)
  • Chair (2013 to 2021) and member (2021 to date) of the BIO EC Panel
  • BIO Engagement Officer (2014 to 2021)
  • Science Faculty representative on UEA Internal Quality Assurance working group (2015-2018)
  • Member of the BIO Athena Swan Support and Equality Team (2013 to 2015)
  • Independent Chair or member of Course Review Panels (2 x 2013, 2 x 2014)
  • Member of BIO Teaching Committee (2014 to date)
  • Director of Teaching and Learning for School of Biological Sciences and Chair of the BIO Teaching Executive (2011-2014)
  • Member of the BIO Executive and BIO Promotion Committee (2011-2014)
  • Member of the SCI Learning Teaching & Quality Committee (2006-2014)
  • Course Director for Visiting Studies in Biological Sciences (C100V) (2005 to 2018)
  • Chair BIO Staff Student Liaison Group (2009-2011)
  • BIO Plagiarism Officer (2008-2011)
  • Member of the Senate Student Discipline Committee (2008-2011)
  • Member of the Taught Programmes Policy Group (2005-2010)


  • Associate Professor (2021 to date)
  • Reader, University of East Anglia (2014-2021)
  • Senior Lecturer, University of East Anglia (2011-2014)
  • Lecturer, University of East Anglia (2006-2011)
  • Teaching Fellow, University of East Anglia (2001-2006)
  • Francesca Gunn Lecturer in Leukaemia, University of East Anglia (1998-2000)
  • Senior Research Associate, University of East Anglia (1994-1997)
  • Ph.D. - Biochemistry, University of Liverpool (1994)
  • B.Sc. - Jt. Hons. Biochemistry/Chemistry, University of Wales, College of Cardiff (1990)

External Activities

  • External Examiner University of Dundee (2020/21 - 2023/24)
  • External Examiner University of Cardiff (2015/16 - 2018/19)
  • External Examiner University of Exeter Biosciences (2013/14 - 2016/17)
  • Panel Chair, or membership of, various validation and revalidation panels (Easton & Otley College, University Campus Suffolk, London Metropolitan University, Colchester Institute, Brooksby Melton College, Staffordshire University) (2014, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021)
  • Scientific Adviser to Auroch Digital (2014 - 2017)
  • Member of the Partners of Cancer Research Tissue Bank Committee (1997 - 2017)
  • Scientific Adviser, Big C Cancer Research Appeal Scientific Research Grant Committee (2007 - 2018), occasional grant application reviewer (2019 to date)
  • Guest lecturer at INTO UEA (2006 - 2015)
  • Member of the HEA UK Centre for Bioscience (2008-2011)
  • Invited Speaker - HEA UK Centre for Bioscience’s ‘Final Year Projects: Maximising the Learning’ in May 2010 (Newcastle University)
  • Scientific Adviser to Community Music East for a Wellcome Trust Arts Award bid (2009)

Key Research Interests and Expertise

I am interested in teaching research and the student experience. I have worked in collaboration with Dr Harriet Jones and Professor Kay Yeoman (BIO, UEA) along with colleagues across UEA and at other institutions looking at student and staff perceptions of feedback (HEA Biosciences). 

Previous Research Projects

  • Investigating students’ reactions (both initial and reflective) to the feedback they receive on their coursework (HEA Biosciences - with Dr Jones and Prof Yeoman (BIO) and other colleagues from UEA and other institutions)
  • An analysis of what motivates BIO and MED students to attend classes and what drives student absenteeism (UEA Teaching Fellowship with Prof Laura Bowater MED)

Teaching Interests

Teaching Activities

  • Introductory Biology (BIO-3002A)
  • Skills for Biologists (BIO-4008Y)
  • Introduction to Biomedicine (BIO-4012Y)
  • Cell Biology and Physiology (BIO-4015B)
  • Biochemistry and Cell Biology (BIO-4016B)
  • Biological Chemistry (BIO-4017Y)
  • Human Physiology (BIO-5004A)
  • Genetics (BIO-5009A)
  • Clinical Genetics (BIO-5011A)
  • Biology in Society (BIO-5012Y)
  • Microbiology (BIO-5015B)
  • Cancer Biology (BIO-6009A)
  • Infection and Immunity (BIO-6010B)
  • Science Communication (BIO-6018Y)
  • Integrated Laboratory Research Project (BIO-6023Y)
  • PGR Introduction to Ethics lecture

Teaching Awards

  • UEA Excellence in Teaching Award winner (2010)

  • UEA Student Union Transforming Teaching Award for ‘Most Inspiring Teaching’ (SCI Faculty) winner (2016)

  • UEA Student Union Transforming Teaching Award nominated and shortlisted for ‘Most Inclusive Teaching’ (2016)

  • UEA Transforming Education Awards nominated and shortlisted for ‘Most Inspiring Teaching Award’ (2019)

  • UEA Transforming Eductions Awards nominated 'thank you' (2021)

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Devlopment Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being

Education/Academic qualification

Doctor of Philosophy, University of Liverpool

Award Date: 1 Jan 1994

Bachelor of Science, University of Wales

Award Date: 1 Jan 1990

External positions

External Examiner, University of Dundee


External Examiner, Cardiff University


External Examiner, University of Exeter