Biochemistry is the fundamental study of the molecular processes that underlie life itself. Studies of the intricate networks of biomolecules that comprise a living organism are not just intrinsically fascinating, but also form an essential part of modern drug development. The Bristol flavour of Biochemistry places particular emphasis not just on discovering novel biological molecular processes, but also on their quantitative analysis such that these systems can be harnessed and modified in a predictive manner. Being part of a School of Medical Sciences, our emphasis is unashamedly on the biomolecular processes that underpin human health and disease. These approaches dominate both our research and our teaching programmes.
Our research studies extend from fundamental single-molecule studies of biomolecules through to whole cell imaging. The quality of our research has been consistently recognised in previous Research Assessment Exercises, in which Bristol Biochemistry has consistently rated as one of the best UK Biochemistry departments. In RAE2008, to which virtually all our staff were submitted as a single unit, we were rated as 20% 4*, 45% 3*, 30% 2* 5% 1* and 0% Unclassified - a 'Grade Point Average' of 2.80. This places us in the top 5 biological science departments in the country (out of 51 returned under UoA14). This would have been an impressive result if we had 'cherry-picked' the individuals that we returned in our submission; it is even more impressive given that we were inclusive rather than selective.
The enthusiasm of members of the School for their research inspires much of our teaching
Similarly, in the most recent assessment of teaching quality and student support, the Quality Assurance Agency (QAA) awarded the School of Biochemistry a score of 24 out of 24, and annual NSS results consistently confirm 93-100% of our students are are satisfied with their undergraduate experience at Bristol. The enthusiasm of members of the School for their research inspires much of our teaching. Our Biochemistry with Year in Industry programme is one of only four UK Biosciences programmes that have been awarded Society of Biology accreditation in their recently launched scheme. Our graduates are popular with employees for their extensive grounding in the fundamentals of biochemistry, and their clear familiarity with quantitative biochemical methods. A high proportion of our undergraduates proceed to graduate (usually doctoral) training, at both this and other institutions.
Substantial investment from various sources has meant that the majority of research and teaching laboratories in the School have been refurbished in recent years. This, and the excellence of both staff and students, provides an unrivalled environment for research and teaching to flourish. Research is supported by approximately £9 million of externally and competitively awarded income per year. In recent years our staff have been honoured with awards from our professional body, the Biochemical Society - e.g. Dr Mark Dillingham was awarded the 2010 Colworth Medal and Prize, Prof Pete Cullen gave the Morton Lecture, and Prof Andrew Halestrap the Keilin Memorial lecture. Our younger researchers are also held held in high esteem - Dr Jez Carlton - who obtained his PhD in 2007 for his work with Prof. Pete Cullen in Biochemistry - was recently awarded the Biochemical Society's Early Career Researcher Award in the field of Cell Biology.
These web pages are intended to give a flavour of our current activities. I hope that you will find your visit interesting, informative and enjoyable. Perhaps you might also be inspired to join us for undergraduate or graduate study, or as part of our vibrant and enthusiastic research community.
Professor Leo Brady, Head of School of Biochemistry