We have a broad range of interests covering biological sciences in the natural environment and agri-environment, and many of our research projects are funded by the UK research councils or industry. Our staff are commercially aware, with Biofresh, Bioprofiles, Geneius Laboratories and Genevision just some of the spin-off companies that have been set up from the research we have undertaken.
We supervise MPhil and PhD students whose interests match the expertise in our main research groups. Our biodiversity and conservation research group investigates the ecology and evolution of organisms in their natural environment, to inform land management practices and environmental policy decision-making across a range of environmental issues.
Our agri-environment group undertakes cutting-edge research in plant and insect physiology, modelling, biochemistry, and molecular biology in relation to sustainable agriculture and the environment. Current research projects include: the use of molecular techniques to develop crop resistance to pests and diseases: environmental assessments of the safety of transgenic crops; understanding mechanisms of plant adaptation to drought; salinity and atmospheric pollutants; and the use of mathematical modelling to predict the impact of potential changes in the agri-environment.
Our microbiology group investigates processes of commercial and environmental importance, including natural products discovery, biofuel production, creation of novel antimicrobials, bioremediation of polluted environments and host–pathogen interactions in a range of diseases including those in plants and coral reef environments.
As an MPhil or PhD student you will have access to excellent facilities to support your studies. Genomic/proteomic and computational biology facilities are on campus in the Newcastle Institute for Research on Sustainability. Off campus, specialist plant collections and modern glasshouse facilities are located at Moorbank Botanical Gardens. Close House field station is used for field trials and has glasshouses with unique fumigation facilities to investigate the impacts of air pollutants on plants.
Newcastle University’s Nafferton Farm is a 294-hectare mixed farm with livestock, cereal and oilseed, split equally between conventional and organic methods in order to research the impact of organic farming projects. Cockle Park is our 262- hectare mixed farm, which is also the home of the Palace Leas Meadow Hay Plots, the world’s oldest continuous cutting and grazing experiment.
Our PhD students are often engaged in industry-sponsored projects that enable them to work in commercial laboratories and receive first-hand experience of the business environment.