Personal profile

Administrative Posts

  • Associate Dean for Employability, Faculty of Sciences (from January 2018 to July 2023)
  • Course Director for BSc (Hons) in Biological Sciences with a Placement Year
  • Module Organiser for BIO-5002A (Biochemistry)
  • Module Organiser for BIO-6024X (Year in Industry/on Placement)
  • Module Organiser for BIO-6033A (Work Placement)


  • Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Education, School of Biological Sciences, UEA (2020-present)
  • Lecturer/Senior Lecturer/Reader, School of Biological Sciences, UEA (2002-2020)
  • University Research Fellow, School of Biological Sciences, UEA (1998-2002)
  • Postdoctoral Fellow, Imperial Cancer Research Fund, South Mimms, UK (1996-1998)
  • Postdoctoral Fellow, Texas A & M University, USA (1994-1996)
  • Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Dundee, UK (1988-1994)

Key Research Interests

Having trained as a biochemist, my research interests broadened out to encompass methodologies that involve biophysical chemistry, microbiology, molecular biology and bioinformatics. My research focused on macromolecular interactions of bacterial DNA repair proteins, particularly DNA and RNA ligases, with experiments performed in vitro or in bacterial model organisms. 

Areas of Expertise

Relationship of genetic instabilities to human diseases; trinucleotide (triplet) repeat expansions and human neurodegenerative disorders; DNA repair processes; protein-protein and protein-DNA interactions.

Teaching Interests

  • Biochemistry and Cell Biology (BIO-4016B)
  • Biological Chemistry (BIO-4017Y)
  • Molecular Biology and Genetics (BIO-4018A)
  • Biochemistry (BIO-5002A)
  • Molecular Biology (BIO-5003B)
  • Biology in Society (BIO-5012Y)
  • Molecular Enzymology in Biology and Medicine (BIO-6001A)
  • Biochemistry Advanced Laboratory (BIO-6029Y)
  • Work Placement (BIO-6033A)
  • Supervisor for Research Projects of final year Undergraduate students from BIO and NatSci, and of Taught MSc students


Having graduated with a BSc in Biochemistry from the University of Sheffield, UK, I went on to study for a PhD and this began a research career that has involved a range of studies using classical biochemical techniques, biophysical methods of analysis, and molecular biology procedures.

My Ph.D. was supervised by Dr. David Trentham, FRS, at the National Institute for Medical Research in Mill Hill, London, UK, where I studied the kinetics of energy transduction in rabbit skeletal muscle. My post-doctoral studies began in the laboratory of Prof. David Lilley, FRS, in the Biochemistry Department of the University of Dundee, Dundee, UK. Studies of unusual DNA structures developed into experiments that were among the first to show that the activity of neighbouring promoters can be coupled through DNA topology.

In 1994 I moved to the laboratory of Dr. Robert Wells, at the Institute for Biosciences & Technology, Texas A&M University, Houston, USA. Various projects identified that repeating triplet DNA sequences undergo a high level of genetic instability in bacterial cells. From 1996 to 1998 I worked in the laboratory of Dr. Tomas Lindahl, FRS, (winner of the 2015 Nobel Prize in Chemistry, along with Modrich & Sancar) at the Imperial Cancer Research Fund (now Cancer Research UK), South Mimms, UK.

I arrived at the School of Biological Sciences at UEA in 1998 as a UEA Research Fellow. I transferred across to academic staff in 2002, gaining promotion to Professor in 2020. My research characterised DNA repair processes from a variety of organisms, feeding into wider interests in mechanisms that influence genome stability, and has involved collaborations with researchers in the USA, Germany, Poland, Czech Republic and India.

Click here for ResearcherID profile

Click here for GoogleScholar profile

Academic Background

  • 2019: Elected Fellow of the Royal Society of Biology, UK

  • 2015: Awarded Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy, UK

  • 1989: Ph.D. - University of London, UK; research undertaken at National Institute for Medical Research, London

  • 1984: B.Sc. - Biochemistry, University of Sheffield, UK

Teaching Interests

I deliver a wide range of high-quality teaching at all levels (from undergraduate (all years) to postgraduate). Currently my teaching duties include biochemistry, molecular biology and genetics.

I have led, developed and participated in a wide range of activities that engaged with different audiences. I have given lectures and demonstrations to non-expert audiences about DNA, genome instability and its implications for human diseases and am proud of my involvement in Science Café events. Some current highlights are:

  • Initial lead, current co-organiser and Developer of a FutureLearn MOOC (details available here: This 3-week online course is targeted at 15-19 year olds, but is useful for anyone who wants to increase their general knowledge and awareness of biochemistry.
  • Since 2018 I am Editor of the Biochemistry strand for the Oxford Biology Primers, published by Oxford University Press in collaboration with the Royal Society of Biology (see: As part of this series I co-authored Bowater, Bowater & Husband (2020) “Biochemistry: Molecules of Life” (
  • MASSOLIT is a commercial education enterprise, providing high school curricula content delivered by university lecturers. I recorded 6 short lectures that describe DNA structure linked to A-level curricula. From 2022 the lectures are available here:

Postgraduate Research Opportunities

Click here for current PhD opportunities in Biological Sciences.

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development 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


  • Biology (general)
  • DNA ligases
  • RNA ligases
  • Links between DNA damage, DNA repair and ageing
  • DNA repair pathways of model organisms
  • Genetic instability of DNA repeats
  • Unusual DNA structures
  • Biophysical assays of protein-DNA interactions

Collaborations and top research areas from the last five years

Recent external collaboration on country/territory level. Dive into details by clicking on the dots or