Laura Bowater


  • 2.23 Medical School

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Personal profile

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 curently the Academic Director for Innovation at UEA. Previously, I was the Associate Dean for Enterprise and Engagement in the Faculty of Medicine and Health. But I began my career at St Andrews University where I graduated with a BSc in Biochemistry with Microbiology, and moved to the University of Dundee for an MSc and a PhD in Microbiology. After a four year career break (to raise my family) I returned to scientific research as a Postdoctoral Research Assistant in Dr Stephen Bornemann’s Laboratory in the Department of Biological Chemistry at the John Innes Centre (JIC). As a bench scientist I researched, fungal and microbial proteins, and gene clusters, proteins and biochemical processes involved in novel antibiotic production from Streptomyces. I have incorporated my interest in antibiotics into my teaching areas and have had opportunities to share these interests in International settings and to wide audiences most recently through my new, popular science book, The Microbes Fight Back: antibiotic resistance.

My teaching career started as an Associate Lecturer at the Open University and I worked as an Honorary Lecturer in the School of Biological Sciences at UEA.   I  deliver lectures and run PBL sessions to Year 0 and Year 1 students on the MB/BS medical degree programme,  in the area of Molecular Biology, Genetics and Microbiology.    The A104 Medicine with a Foundation Year is a programme with a widening participation agenda that delivers significant opportunities for students from a non-traditional background to enter the medical profession and I a Course Director of this programme.  I also lecture on the School of Biology Module 3CXY, Science Communication.  I am a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.

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 2010 - Present 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

  • I have conceived, applied for funding, organised and run an extensive range of science communication activities over the past ten years both at the UEA and at the John Innes Centre where I worked previously. The activities and events have been diverse in both delivery and subject matter but are often focused on antimicrobial resistance.                                      
  • Currently, I am leading an exciting project; The Modern Physic Garden@UEA. This is a public facing engagement activity designed to establish links between UEA, the NRP and the wider community. As part of this Physic Garden we have an exciting collaboration between SaltGlass studios and Burnham Market primary school to create new artwork for the garden and to learn more about the marvellous world of plants and green spaces.                 
  • I regularly contribute comments and articles in local, national and international media especiall in the area of antinifectives and antimicrobials.
  • I have received an award for my Public Engagement/Science Communication activities and my recent project is Science Communication; a practical guide for scientists, to be published by Wiley Blackwell this year. This book is an authored book but included over 35 case studies from individual scientists. As well as writing a significant proportion of this book I was the project manager and held an editorial role within the project.

Key Research Interests and Expertise


I  lead a brand new, interdisciplinary research project focused on public engagement with the global problem of antibiotic resistance (ARM). I am working with the Society of General Microbiology to create a Citizen Science project. Our research will be focused on the laboratory aspects of hunting for new antimicrobial products but will also examining 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 and the NRP through garden spaces and plants. 


Key Responsibilities

Present - Academic Director of Innovation

Pesent - Co-director of the Medicine with a Foundation Year Programme (A104)

Present-Chair of the Norwich Medical school SEEESAW 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.

External positions

Member of Council, Microbiology Society

14 Jul 2020 → …