School of Natural and Environmental Sciences

Staff Profile

Professor Frank Sargent

Associate Dean (Research & Innovation)



Frank joined Newcastle University in August 2018 as a Professor in the School of Natural & Environmental Sciences. Frank is originally from a newtown in Fife, Scotland, and studied biochemistry at the University of Edinburgh (1988-1992) where he became interested in bacterial bioenergetics, membrane biology and metal-containing enzymes. He studied for a PhD in the then Department of Biochemistry at the University of Dundee (1992-1996) before moving to Norwich, England, as a Postdoctoral Research Assistant investigating protein targeting in bacteria. In 2000 Frank was lucky enough to be awarded a Royal Society University Research Fellowship to lead his own research group in the School of Biological Sciences, University of East Anglia, Norwich. During this time Frank and his team predominantly studied the biochemistry of bacterial Tat proofreading chaperones, small proteins that recognise and bind tightly to twin-arginine signal peptides. The quality of this work was recognised by the award of early career research prizes. In 2007 Frank returned to the University of Dundee to take up a Personal Chair in Bacterial Physiology in the then College of Life Sciences. There his research interests turned again towards bacterial bioenergetics and new projects on nickel-dependent hydrogenases and molybdenum-containing enzymes were initiated. Frank was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh in 2011.


1996 PhD Bacterial Biochemistry, University of Dundee

1992 BSc (Hons) Biological Sciences (Biochemistry), University of Edinburgh

Research Posts

2018-present: Professor of Microbial Biotechnology, Newcastle University

2007-2018: Professor of Bacterial Physiology, University of Dundee

2000-2007: Royal Society University Research Fellow, University of East Anglia

1998-2000: Postdoctoral Research Assistant, University of East Anglia, Norwich

1996-1998: Postdoctoral Research Assistant, John Innes Centre, Norwich

University Posts

2019-present: Associate Dean (Research & Innovation), Faculty of Science, Agriculture & Engineering

2018-present: GM Chair, School of Natural & Environmental Sciences, Newcastle University

2018-present: Professor of Microbial Biotechnology, Newcastle University

2014-2018: Member, Senatus Academicus, University of Dundee

2012-2015: Associate Dean for Research-Led Teaching, University of Dundee

2007-2018: Professor of Bacterial Physiology, University of Dundee

External Academic Posts and Community Service

2019-2021: Member, BBSRC Committee E (Fellowships and Personal Awards)

2019-2023: External Examiner (UGT), BSc Biology, BSc Biochemistry, University of Kent

2019: Member, BBSRC 19ALERT Panel

2019: Member, The Andrew Carnegie Trust Research Incentive Grants Panel

2018-2022: External Examiner (PGT), MSc Molecular Biotechnology, University of Birmingham

2018: Chair, BBSRC One Health Approaches to Vaccine Development Panel

2018-present: Honorary Treasurer & Trustee, The Biochemical Society

2018-present: Chair, IBioIC CTP Board

2018-present: Member, Faculty of 1000 (Microbiology: Microbial Physiology and Metabolism)

2018: Member, FRIMEDBIO Expert Committee, Research Council of Norway

2017-2018: External Examiner (PGT), MSc Industrial Biotechnology, University of York

2017: Member, BBSRC 17ALERT Panel

2016-2018: IBioIC Scientific Advisory Board

2016-2017: Chair, BBSRC Committee B (Plants, Microbes, Food and Sustainability)

2014-2018: External Examiner (PGT), MSc Synthetic Biology & Biotechnology, University of Edinburgh

2013-2017: External Examiner (UGT), BSc & MSci Biochemistry, University of York

2013-2016: Deputy Chair, BBSRC Committee B (Plants, Microbes, Food and Sustainability)

2013: Member, joint BBSRC-DBT Sustainable Biofuels and Bioenergy Panel

2012-2017: Senior Editor, Microbiology

2012-2017: Editor, Biochemical Journal

Measures of Esteem

2014: Chancellor's Award for Outstanding Contribution, University of Dundee

2011: Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh

2011: Fellow of the Royal Society of Biology

2010: The Wain Medal, University of Kent

2009: FEBS Young Scientist Prize

2007: The Colworth Medal, The Biochemical Society

2006: The Fleming Prize, The Microbiology Society


Hydrogenases, formate dehydrogenases and hydrogen-dependent carbon dioxide reductases.

Currently Funded by: CO2Chem (EPSRC), BBSRC, CCnet NIBB and the IBioIC-BBSRC CTP (BB/S000666/1 and BB/T508743/1)
Postdoctoral Researchers involved: Dr Magali Roger
PhD Students involved: Tom Reed

Bacterial Protein Secretion Pathways

Currently Funded by: BBSRC (BB/R016453/1)
Postdoctoral Researchers involved: Dr Alex Finney
PhD Students involved:


Taught Undergraduate BSc/MBiol degree programmes

MST1204             Stage 1 Academic and Professional Skills for the Biosciences

BIO1019              Stage 1 Introductory Biochemistry for Biologists (research lecture)

BIO2017              Stage 2 Microbiology II

BIO2023              Stage 2 Cellular Biochemistry (from 2020/21)

BIO3019              Stage 3 Genomics

BIO3032              Stage 3 Cellular Systems

BIO3042              Stage 3 Biotechnology

BIO3048              Stage 3 Current Research in Plant & Microbial Biology

BIO3197              Stage 3 Research Project (dry)

BIO3199              Stage 3 Research Project (wet)

BIO8197              Stage 4 Research Project

Taught Postgraduate MSc degree programmes

NES8002             MSc Industrial & Commercial Biotechnology Research Project