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About Us

Bioscience building

The Cardiff School of Biosciences became famous for the work of its former (and founding) director, Professor Sir Martin Evans FRS, which was recognized by Sir Martin’s Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 2007 (together with Mario Cappechi and Oliver Smithies) "for their discoveries of principles for introducing specific gene modifications in mice by the use of embryonic stem cells".

Under its current director, Medical Research Council Professor Ole Petersen CBE FRS, who pioneered patch clamp single channel and whole cell current recordings in epithelial cells and discovered intracellular calcium tunnels, the School provides a dynamic and stimulating research environment with impressive modern facilities and high-calibre research-active staff. The Cardiff School of Biosciences is one of the largest bioscience departments in the UK with over 100 academic staff, ~150 research staff, more than 160 postgraduates and ~2000 undergraduate students. Supported by state-of-the-art facilities, its topical courses and cutting-edge research spans the full range of the Life Sciences from whole (eco) systems to molecular biology.

In the authoritative 2014 Annual World University Ranking (based on research strength and performance) compiled by Shanghai Jiao Tong University (, Life Sciences at Cardiff University is in the top 100 worldwide and in the top 10 in the UK.


Students working in lab

The School’s research is recognized at the highest levels. Alun Davies (Distinguished Research Professor), the Nobel Laureate Robert Huber (Visiting Professor) and Ole Petersen (the Director of the School) are Fellows of The Royal Society. Robert Huber and Ole Petersen are Members of the German National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina. Five members of staff (Professors Alun Davies, Vincenzo Crunelli, Stephen Dunnett, Kevin Fox and Ole Petersen) are Fellows of the Academy of Medical Sciences. Very recently (2013), Yves Barde (EMBO Member), from the University of Basel’s BioZentrum, has been selected as the first Ser Cymru (Star Wales) Professsor. He has established a major research group in the School of Biosciences, funded by the Welsh Government’s new Ser Cymru Programme.

In the 2012/2013 session, members of staff in the Cardiff School of Biosciences obtained new research grant awards totalling a record £14.6 million from the UK Research Councils, The Wellcome Trust as well as many other charities and funding bodies. Members of staff regularly publish research articles in the world’s leading scientific journals, for example Nature, Science, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA (PNAS), Current Biology, Nature Medicine, Nature Neuroscience, Neuron, Gastroenterology.

Biological research presents unparalleled opportunities and challenges for basic science and its exploitation to benefit health and the environment.  Postgraduate training is available through four or three year routes, supported by The Wellcome Trust, the UK Research Councils and several other funding bodies.

Research is conducted in 4 Research Divisions: Organisms & Environment, Molecular Biosciences, Pathophysiology & Repair and Neuroscience.

Learning & Teaching in the School

Researcher analysing sample.

All our science schemes are at Honours level and the School also contributes to Cardiff University’s Medical and Dental courses, delivered in partnership with the Schools of Medicine and Dentistry. Each science degree scheme is ‘clustered’ into three categories according to the Schemes Boards that manage the teaching (i.e. Biological Sciences, Biomolecular Sciences and Biomedical Sciences) and all have a ‘common’ first year which allows students a degree of flexibility in changing their degree at the end of year one. In addition, each of these schemes offers a four year professional placement option providing valuable experience in translational research. All our undergraduate courses were graded ‘excellent’ at the last Teaching Quality Audit undertaken by independent Government assessors and, according to the most recent National Student Survey, are ‘highly regarded’. The School also provides a one year MRes in Biosciences programme and contributes to the delivery of a number of taught MSc programmes including:  Bioinformatics (School of Medicine); Biophotonics (School of Physics); Geoenvironmental Engineering (School of Engineering); and MSc in Tissue Engineering (Cardiff Institute for Tissue Engineering and Repair).