A GCE Biology course developed in partnership with the University of York

The Advisory Committee

The development of Salters Nuffield Advanced Biology was guided by an Advisory Committee of eminent biologists and education specialists. The Committee comprised:

Professor McNeill Alexander
Dr Roger Barker

Dr Allan Baxter
Professor Sir Tom Blundell (Chairman)

Professor Kay Davies
Professor Sir John Krebs

Professor John Lawton

Professor Peter Lillford

Dr Roger Lock
Professor Angela McFarlane

Dr Alan Munro

Professor Lord Robert Winston


Professor R McNeill Alexander CBE FRS

Neill Alexander is emeritus Professor of Zoology in the University of Leeds and Editor of Proceedings of the Royal Society B. He has been President of the Society for Experimental Biology (1995-7) and of the International Society for Vertebrate Morphology (1997-2001), and Secretary of the Zoological Society of London, which runs London and Whipsnade Zoos and the Institute of Zoology (1992-9).

His research field is the mechanics of human and animal movement, especially of running and jumping. His group's research showed the importance of tendons as energy-saving springs in running mammals, including humans. Their mechanical tests on body parts have demonstrated the spring in the arch of the human foot, and the phenomenon of tendon fatigue. He and his collaborators have devised mathematical models which predict optimum patterns of human and animal movement, explaining many of the details of walking and running gaits, and of the jumping techniques of animals and athletes. He has investigated the strengths of animal leg bones in relation to the stresses that they have to withstand in life, and the consequences of size differences for the design of animals. He has used one of his theories to estimate dinosaur speeds from fossil footprints. He has also investigated the movements of jellyfish, fish, frogs, birds, dogs, horses, antelopes and elephants.

His many books include The human machine, Dynamics of dinosaurs, Exploring biomechanics: animals in motion, Optima for animals and Principles of animal locomotion, and he is the author of a multimedia CD-ROM, How animals move. He has been a scientific adviser for many television series including Walking with beasts and The future is wild.

He is a Fellow of the Royal Society, an Honorary Member of the Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology, a member of the Academia Europaea and a Foreign Honorary Member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and has received medals from the Zoological Society, the Linnean Society and the International Society for Biomechanics.


Dr Roger Barker MRCP

Roger Barker has been University Lecturer in Neurology and Honorary Consultant in Neurology at the University of Cambridge and Addenbrooke's Hospital since 2000. He graduated from Oxford University and then continued his medical career at a number of London hospitals including the Brompton, Hammersmith and National Hospital for Neurological Diseases. He began his research in Cambridge in 1991 and over the last ten years has completed his neurological training whilst continuing in research through an MRC Clinician Scientist Fellowship.

His research interests are neurodegenerative disorders such as Parkinson's and Huntington's disease, in which he does clinical based studies along with the development of cell therapies. This latter research involves studying neural stem cells and xenografts as a means of repairing the brain in these chronic neurodegenerative disorders. This basic science research complements his clinical research into defining the cause and heterogeneity of Parkinson's disease, as well as better understanding the signs and natural history of Huntington's disease. He has published three books and over a hundred articles, and a BBC documentary on his research in neural grafting in Huntington's disease has recently been broadcast.

His work has been supported by the Medical Research Council and Parkinson's Disease Society (PDS). He is a member of the PDS medical research panel and has recently been invited to join the MRC stem cell initiative.

He is an active practising neurologist seeing patients with general neurological problems, as well as being actively involved in teaching at both undergraduate and postgraduate level. He examines in the Diploma of Neurology in London as well as medical finals in Cambridge, and lectures both nationally and internationally including local schools.


Sir Tom Blundell, FRS

Tom Blundell has been Sir William Dunn Professor of Biochemistry at the University of Cambridge since 1995. He has research interests in the molecular architecture of living organisms. He has worked on enzymes involved in hypertension and AIDS and on vertebrate lens proteins involved in cataract. His research is now focused on growth factors, receptor activation and signal transduction, important in cancer and other diseases. After research and teaching positions in Oxford and Sussex Universities, he was appointed in 1976 Professor of Crystallography in Birkbeck College, University of London and in 1989 Honorary Director, Imperial Cancer Research Fund Unit of Structural Molecular Biology.

His research work has been recognised by the Alcon Award for Vision Research, Gold Medal of Institute of Biotechnology, Krebs Medal of the Federation of European Biochemical Societies, Ciba Medal of Biochemical Society, Feldberg Prize in Biology and Medicine, the Annual Medal of the Society for Chemical Industry and was the first recipient of the European Award for Innovation in Biomedical Sciences. He is a member of Academia Europaea, a Fellow of the Royal Society and Fellow of Academy of Medical Sciences. He has Honorary Fellowships at Linacre and Brasenose Colleges, Oxford University, and a Professorial Fellowship at Sidney Sussex, Cambridge. He has Honorary Doctorates from thirteen universities.

Tom Blundell has taught in Biology, Chemistry and Physics in Oxford, Cambridge, Sussex and London Universities.

Tom Blundell has played an active role in national science policy. In the 1980s he was a member of the advisory group to the Prime Minister (ACOST). He has been a member of the Royal Society Council and is currently a member of the Advisory Committee of the Parliamentary Office for Science and Technology, POST. He has had a long involvement in the research councils, culminating in his appointment as Director General, Agricultural and Food Research Council (1991-1994) and Chief Executive, Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council, BBSRC (1994-1996). He won the National Equal Opportunities Award for his work at the research councils in 1995.

Tom Blundell has been Chairman of the Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution since 1998, producing report on 'Energy, the Changing Climate' in 2000 and on 'Environmental Planning' in March 2002.

Tom Blundell advises pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies. He is currently a non-executive director and chairman of the science advisory board of Celltech. In 1999 he co-founded a company Astex Technology concerned with the discovery of new medicines and based at the Cambridge Science Park. This has now raised £28 million of venture capital and employs about 100 people, mainly scientists.


Professor Sir John Krebs FRS

Since 1988 Sir John Krebs has held a Royal Society Research Professorship in the Department of Zoology, Oxford University, where he is a Fellow of Pembroke College. He has also held posts at the University of British Columbia and the University of Wales, Bangor. Sir John is internationally renowned for his scientific research on the behaviour and ecology of animals.

Between 1994 and 1999, Sir John was Chief Executive of the Natural Environment Research Council. In January 2000 he was appointed as the first Chairman of the UK Food Standards Agency.

He is a Fellow of the Royal Society, a member of Academia Europaea and of the Max Planck Society, an Honorary Foreign Member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and a Foreign Member of the American Philosophical Society. He has received numerous awards and honorary degrees for his scientific work.


Professor John H Lawton, CBE FRS

John Lawton trained as a zoologist at the University of Durham, where he completed his PhD in 1969. From Durham he moved to be Demonstrator in Ecology in the Department of Zoology at Oxford for three years, before moving to the Biology Department at the University of York in 1971. He was awarded a Personal Chair at York in 1985. In 1989 he founded, and was appointed Director of, the NERC Centre for Population Biology at Imperial College, Silwood Park, where he remained until 1999. He took up his present post as Chief Executive of NERC in October 1999, but retains his Professorship in an honorary capacity at Imperial College of Science, Technology and Medicine. His scientific interests are wide, but have focussed on the population dynamics and biodiversity of birds and insects, with emphasis over the last decade of the impacts of global environmental change on wild plants and animals. He has published over 320 scientific papers, and written or edited five books.

During his career he has served on a wide range of committees and bodies, including the Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution, the Tarmac Environmental Advisory Panel, and the Councils of the British Ecological Society (BES), Freshwater Biological Association, NERC, and the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB). He was Chairman of RSPB for five years and is currently a Vice-President of both RSPB and the British Trust for Ornithology. Awards and honours include the President's Gold Medal of the BES, the ECI Prize Winner 1996 for Terrestrial Ecology, the BES Marsh Award for Ecology, the Kempe Award for Distinguished Ecologists, the Frink Medal of the Institute of Zoology, Honorary Membership of the Royal Entomological Society and the Society for Conservation Biology's Edward T. LaRoe III Memorial Award. He has held, or currently holds, honorary positions in the Institute of Ecosystem Studies, New York, the Natural History Museum, London, the Department of Biology at the University of York, and the Institute of Arable Crops Research, Rothamsted.


Professor Peter Lillford CBE

Peter Lillford was educated in Chemistry at King's College, London where he got his PhD in Physical Organic Chemistry, and Cornell University New York, USA where he did his post-doctoral research in Ultra-fast Reaction Kinetics. Professor Lillford worked at the Colworth Laboratory of Unilever research from 1971 to 2001. He retired from the post of Chief Scientist (Foods) in November 2001.

From 1993 until 1997 he was Chairman of the Food & Drink Panel of the Office of Science and Technology's Technology Foresight Programme. From 1998 until 2000 he was the Chairman of the BBSRC Agri-Food Committee and a member of the BBSRC Strategy Board.

Currently holds a visiting chair in Public Awareness of Science at the University of York, in the Centre for Novel Applications of Plants (CNAP). He is President of the Institute of Food Science and Technology (IFST) and the International Symposium on the Properties of Water in Foods (ISOPOW).

He is currently:
Chairman of LINK Advanced Manufacturing for UK Government (DEFRA).
Chairman, National Centre for Non-Food Crops (UK).
Member Management Advisory Committee, Biochemical Engineering, UC London.
Member Strategic Advisory Team, EPSRC, Life Sciences Programme.

In 1991 he was awarded the Senior Medal by the Foods Group of the Royal Society of Chemistry, and in 1998 he was awarded a CBE for services to the Food Industry and Science in the Queen's Birthday Honours. He was also awarded a DEng (Hon) in recognition of services to Food Engineering, by Birmingham University.


Dr Roger Lock

Roger Lock has been a lecturer in science education at the University of Birmingham since 1988. He has research interests in the assessment of practical skills, use of living things in science lessons, pupil attitudes/opinions about animal use, teaching and learning about controversial issues, and schools' contributions to the public understanding of science. His most recent work has been on the place of fieldwork in A-level biology courses.

Roger Lock worked in schools in Kilmarnock, Birmingham and Leamington Spa where he was a senior teacher/head of science at the innovative Trinity School. He taught Nuffield Biology from the late 1960s and started with Nuffield A-level Nuffield in 1972. He taught in the Universities of Leeds and Oxford before moving to Birmingham.

As well as teaching Nuffield Biology, he was involved with the assessment of the course and in revising course materials. He has set and marked A and S level papers through to moderating the projects, an activity he maintained to the final examination in 2001.


Professor Angela McFarlane

Professor of Education, University of Bristol since October 2000, previously Director of the Centre for Research in Educational ICT at Homerton College Cambridge, and Director for Evidence and Practice at Becta.

Angela McFarlane designed and directed a number of highly successful educational science software development projects, and the resulting interactive resources all became commercially successful products. Her research has addressed the role of digital technologies in education, and has included work with national evaluation projects in the UK, and an international review with the OECD. She is an experienced writer and lecturer. Santillana, the major Spanish educational publisher, invited Professor McFarlane to present their 2001 annual lecture, and they have created a collection of her work translated into Spanish to mark this event. She has given public lectures at national events in the UK and beyond, including the BETT exhibition keynote in 2001, and the Barcelona City Education lecture in Spring 2002. She regularly contributes to international conferences and is editing a special issue of Assessment in Education on 'Assessment for the Digital Age'.

Angela is a graduate from the Bristol School of Biological Sciences, where she also obtained her PhD in 1982. She has been a school science teacher and worked for the government agency for educational technology. In between she ran a self-funding R&D unit in Cambridge, returning to Bristol in 2000. She is a regular columnist in the TES Online magazine.


Dr Alan Munro

Alan Munro trained as a Biochemist at Cambridge but has worked most of his active life in the field of Immunology. He co-authored an advanced text-book in Immunology and has published extensively in the scientific literature.

After nearly thirty years of research and teaching for Cambridge University and the Medical Research Council in Cambridge, he left the University to set up a Biotech company - Cantab Pharmaceuticals plc - in Cambridge in 1989. After over six years as the Chief Scientific Officer of Cantab, he left the Company in 1995 to take up the position of Master of Christ's College, Cambridge and finally retiring in July of 2002.

Apart from being on the Board of Blackwell Publishing Ltd, he is on the Board of two Biotech companies in Cambridge, and consults for the Economic Development Board of the Singapore Government and for Abingworth Management, a UK-based venture capital company specialising in early stage healthcare companies.