School of Natural and Environmental Sciences

Staff Profile

Dr Alison Graham

Senior Lecturer


Roles and Responsibilities within the School

  • Admissions Tutor for the Biology and Zoology degrees.
  • Biology/Zoology Student Peer Mentoring Scheme Staff Co-ordinator.
  • Member of the Board of Studies for Undergraduate Taught Programmes and the School Teaching and Learning Committee.

Roles and Responsibilities within the University

  • Academic lead for peer mentoring and member of the Peer Mentoring Steering Group.
  • Faculty Programme Liaison Officer for the Certificate in Advanced Studies in Academic Practice.
  • Higher Education Academy Professional Standards Advisor.
  • Co-chair of the Single Recognition Panel for the UK Professional Standards Framework.

External roles

  • External Examiner at the University of Wolverhampton.
  • Member of the Professional Development Committee of the Microbiology Society.


  • Postgraduate Certificate in Advanced Studies in Academic Practice (Newcastle University).
  • Ph.D., University of Newcastle-upon-Tyne (Thesis title: Action and metal-specificity of SmtB/ArsR transcriptional regulators).  Involved biochemistry, molecular biology, microbiology and biophysical chemistry.
  • B.Sc. (Hons.), University of Sheffield.


Previous Positions

  • Principal Scientist in Research and Development, Fujifilm Diosynth Biotechnologies.
  • Post-doctoral Research Associate, Department of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology, University of Sheffield.
  • Visiting Lecturer, Sheffield Hallam University.



  • Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.
  • Microbiology Society.
  • Society for Applied Microbiology.


Undergraduate Teaching

Stage 1:

BIO1004 - Microbiology 1 (Module Leader)    

BIO1010 - Biology in Action (Module Leader)


Stage 2:

BIO2017 - Microbiology 2 

BIO2021 - Employability Skills for Biologists (Module Leader) 


Stage 3:

BIO3197/3198/3199 - Biological Literature Review/Information Project/Research Project (Module Leader)



Research interests - pedagogy

  • Game-enhanced learning.
  • Using electronic marking to engage students with assessment and feedback.
  • Investigating how students become “professionally literate” in their chosen field and how instructors can best support this transition.


Research interests - microbiology

  • Response of bacteria to environmental stresses:
  1. The effect of different metal ions on bacterial cells, particularly the response of E. coli to extremely low levels of zinc ions.
  2. The effect of shifting oxygen levels on bacterial cells.


Vice -Chancellor's Education Excellence Award 2018.  Click here for more information.  

Winner of Outstanding Contribution to Teaching (Faculty of Science, Agriculture and Engineering) at Newcastle University Students' Union Teaching Excellence Awards 2017.  Click here for more information.

Newcastle University's prize for Best Peer Mentoring Co-ordinator 2016.

Society for Experimental Biology President's Medal Runner-up 2016.

Honourable Mention in the Student Engagement Category (UK region) of the Turnitin Global Innovation Awards 2015.  Click here or here for more information.  



  • £2500 from Newcastle University’s Innovation Fund for a project investigating "Game-enhanced learning in biological sciences".  This project started in 2017-18 and will continue into 2018-19.  Anyone who is interested in being involved with this, please get in touch.

  • SAgE Faculty Innovator of the Year award 2015 in the Pedagogic Research category for creating a software program that visually maps assessments and submission/feedback deadlines for students and staff.  This is a unique program not available anywhere else within the University and will allow Schools to better plan assessments within modules and across programmes.  Click here for more information.

  • £3755 from Newcastle University’s Innovation Fund aimed at "Encouraging student interaction in practical classes through tailored demonstrator training".  See more about the Innovation Fund here.

  • £750 from the HEA to host a workshop on "Assessment and student dialogue: can online platforms use marking criteria and other tools to improve feedback and engage students in the marking process?"   


  • £2750 from Newcastle University’s Innovation Fund for a project aimed at “Using GradeMark to Improve Feedback and Involve Students in the Marking Process”.  With Sara Marsham (MAST), Jon Goss (EEE) and Christie Harner (QuILT).  Click here to see our presentation on this project at the Newcastle University Learning and Teaching Conference 2013.  Building on work from this project, in 2014 we won the SAgE Faculty Innovator of the Year award in the Pedagogic Research category. Click here for more information.


  • £3500 from the Society for General Microbiology (SGM)’s Education Development Fund.  Project title: “Innovative postgraduate microbiology practical with instant feedback and direct assessment of skills”.

Selected presentations

  • Presentation at the Microbiology Society's Teaching Microbiology in Higher Education Symposium, a satellite meeting to the main Annual Conference, in Birmingham, April 2018.  Read more about the symposium here.

  • Poster at Newcastle University's Learning and Teaching Conference.  Prize of one of the most inspirational posters.  Click here for more information.  

You can find the slides used for these presentations and others here.