Laura Bowater

Professor, MBE

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Personal profile

Areas of Expertise

Biochemistry, Science Communication, Microbiology, Antibiotic Resistance, Microbial Biochemistry

Video: Inaugural lectures: Microbes fight back | University of East Anglia (UEA)

Video: Peter Wildy Prize Lecture 2019

Academic Background

  • September 2008 - June 2010 MA in Higher Education Practice University of East Anglia, Norwich
  • October 1989 - June 1993 PhD in Biochemistry University of Dundee, Nethergate, Dundee
  • October 1988 - June 1989 MSc in Cellular and Molecular Biochemistry University of Dundee, Nethergate, Dundee
  • October 1983 - June 1987 BSc (hons) in Biochemistry with Microbiology University of St. Andrews, St. Andrews, Fife


I am currently the Associate Pro-Vice Chancellor for Innovation at UEA. Previously, I was the Associate Dean for Enterprise and Engagement in the Faculty of Medicine and Health. 

I am Chair for the Institute of Volunteering Research here at UEA. In addition I am an Academic Lead for the Civic University Project at UEA.

I am a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy but I began my teaching career as an Associate Lecturer at the Open University and as an Honorary Lecturer in the School of Biological Sciences at UEA.   I facilitate PBL sessions to Year 0 students and teach students on the MB/BS medical degree programm  on  Molecular Biology, Genetics and Microbiology.  I am also the Course Director for the Medicine with a Gateway Year Programme, a programme with a widening participation agenda that delivers significant opportunities for students from a non-traditional background to enter the medical profession.

My current research activities include studies on Medical and Science Education, as well as Science Communication. In addition I maintain an interest in Antibiotic Resistance and Public Health.

It was while I was working at the John Innes Centre that I developed a key interest in Science Communication. I have been awarded funding from a wide variety of organisations for science communication activities, including the Society of General Microbiology (SGM). I have also had opportunities to share my expertise both nationally and internationally.


  • August 2016 - Present Professor in Microbiology Education and Engagement Norwich Medical School, UEA, Norwich
  • August 2010 - August 2016 Senior Lecturer Norwich Medical School, UEA, Norwich
  • May 2007 – August 2010 Lecturer Norwich Medical School, UEA, Norwich
  • August 2008 - March 2009 Public Engagement/Science Communication Practitioner secondment for CUE east. UEA, Norwich
  • July 2005 – July 2008 Honorary Lecturer School of Biological Sciences, UEA, Norwich
  • February 2004 – February 2009 Associate Lecturer with the Open University
  • August 1999 – April 2007 Part time, Post-Doctoral Research Assistant Stephen Bornemann Laboratory, Department of Biological Chemistry, John Innes Centre. Regraded from band 7 to band 6 November 2006.  Merit award July 2004 & July 2006
  • April 1995 - August 1999 Career break to raise family
  • June 1993 - May 1995 Post doctoral Research Fellow Professor David Boxer Laboratory, Department of Biochemistry, University of Dundee.

External Activities

  • Currently a Non-executive director for the James Paget University Hospital. 
  • Member of the Great Yarmouth Borough Council Town Deal Board.
  • Member of the Norwich Leadership Board.
  • Reviewer and Moderator for the European Commission on SwafS projects
  • Member of Council Microbiology Society

Key Research Interests


I  led an interdisciplinary research project focused on public engagement with the global problem of antibiotic resistance (ARM) working with the Society of General Microbiology to create a Citizen Science project.  Research focused on the laboratory aspects of hunting for new antimicrobial products and examined whether citizen science  can effectively engage the public with the issues that uinderpin the growing problem of antibiotic resistance.

I also undertake research into science communication and activities involving public engagement especially focussing on gardens and open spaces.  We are exploring how we can effectively engage members of the public with science especially  the world-class research undertaken accross the UEA.


Key Responsibilities

Present - Associate Pro-vice Chancellor for Innovation

Present - Course Director of the Medicine with a Foundation Year Programme (A104)

Previous-Chair of the Norwich Medical school SEEESAW, Athena Swan group

Professional Activities

  • 2015 - Invited Speaker at FEMS 2015 International Congress The Small World Initiative: an authentic research project.
  • 2015 - Appointed to Editor of FEMS letters new Professional Development Section
  • 2014 - Invited to be Expert evaluator of the call for proposals Horizon 2020 ISSI stream
  • 2014 - Appointed External Examiner Medcine with a Foundation Year Nottigham University
  • 2014 - Sponsored to attend the Small World Initiative programme at Yale Unversity, USA
  • 2013 - External Moderator for Access to HE Diploma (Medicine) College of West Anglia
  • 2013 - Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy
  • 2013 - Member of the working group for Equality and Diversity The Society of General Microbiology
  • 2013 - Editor in Chief of Microbiology Today
  • 2013 - Organiser and Chair of the ‘The Antibiotic resistance; are we getting the message right?’ session at The Society for General Microbiology, Spring Conference 2013
  • 2013 - Associate Member of the Biochemistry Society
  • 2011 - Elected to Communications Division of the Society for General Microbiolgy
  • 2011 - Elected to Education Division of The Society of General Microbiology
  • 2011 - External Examiner for Bradford University
  • 2010 - CUE east Public Engagement Award
  • 2010 - Fellow of the Higher Education Academy

Teaching Interests

As a major part of my current role in the Norwich Medical School (NMS) I organise modules, deliver lectures and run PBL sessi ons to students on the MB/BS medical degree programme especially in the areas of Molecular Biology,Genetics and Microbiology. I also provide lectures on the Science Communication Module within the School of Biological Sciences at UEA. I also teach masters students about the role of Research Ethics and Governance within science and health research. I have developed skills and understanding in curriculum design and assessment. In addition I deliver the Medicine with a Foundation Year; a programme with a widening participation agenda that delivers significant opportunities for students from a non-traditional background to enter the medical profession.

I am currently leading the design and delivery of an exciting, new on-line CPD module Antibiotic Resistance. this is part of the brand new Initiative for Future Learn.

Teaching Activities

  • 2014 awarded the Sir Geoffrey and Lady Allen Prize for Excellence in Teaching
  • 2008-Present Awarded many grants and teaching fellowships to support teaching including UEA Annual Fund awards, UEA Teaching Fellowships, British Society of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy, Research Councils UK, The Higher Education Academy
  • 2013 Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy
  • 2017-Present External Examiner at Leicester Medical School
  • 2008-Present Reviewer for Medical Education Journal, Plos One, Journal of Online Learning and Teaching.

Education/Academic qualification

Doctor of Philosophy, University of Dundee

… → 1993

Master of Science, University of Dundee

… → 1990

Bachelor of Science, University of St Andrews

… → 1987

External positions

Non Executive Director, James Paget University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

1 Jan 2022 → …

Member of Council, Microbiology Society

14 Jul 2020 → …

Media Expertise

  • Microbiology
  • Antibiotic resistance
  • Public Health


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