Dr Gillian Fraser, BSc (Glasgow), PhD. Niccoli Fellow in Natural Sciences. Director of Studies in Natural Sciences (Biological).
As Director of Studies, I organise undergraduate teaching in the biological sciences at Queens’ and I’m the academic advisor to our undergraduate biologists. I also supervise first year Biology of Cells. In supervisions, I help students to learn how to ask the right questions, which is a key skill for success in science. We discuss fundamental biological concepts and how these relate to specific information and examples presented in lectures. I encourage students to set the agenda for supervisions as this allows me to tailor my teaching to the needs of the individual. I aim to give detailed feedback on written work, especially essays, as this helps students to identify strengths as well as areas for improvement. In addition to supervisions, I run weekly Academic Development sessions for Queens’ first year biologists. These sessions help students to develop a range of transferable skills in e.g. writing and critical analysis.
I would encourage prospective applicants to take Advanced Level Mathematics (or the equivalent), if possible. Strong skills in maths are useful for the quantitative aspects of the biology course.
Pathogenic bacteria are often motile and their ability to swim through liquids and swarm over surfaces facilitates pathogen-host interactions and colonisation of nutrient–rich environments. Many bacteria build complex rotary nanomotors, called flagella, which drive swimming and swarming motility. A remarkable feature of flagella is that they are essentially self-assembling. Thousands of flagellar structural subunits are exported across the cell membrane by dedicated type III export machinery located at the base of each flagellum. Subunits then transit through a narrow channel at the core of the nascent flagellum to reach the assembly site at the tip of the structure, up to 20 μm away from the cell surface. Work in my lab aims to uncover the molecular mechanisms underpinning flagellum assembly.
I am Deputy Head of the Department of Pathology and Director of Teaching. I am also a Senior University Lecturer in the Department of Pathology. I lead a small research group and currently supervise three PhD students. I currently teach bacteriology to second year scientists, medics and vets on the Pathology and Biology of Disease courses, and lecture on various aspects of bacterial cell biology for third year Pathology students. In addition, I supervise third year research projects and dissertations, and provide ad hoc supervisions on my third year lectures.