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Dr Beatrix Fahnert 


 

I became a microbiologist, because microbial diversity and the role of Microbiology in daily life always fascinated me.

After I graduated from the Friedrich Schiller University of Jena (Germany), I worked on Chlamydia (virulence). At the now Leibniz Institute for Natural Product Research and Infection Biology-Hans-Knoell-Institute in Jena, I worked on recombinant production of cystine-rich proteins (e.g. hBMP-2) in Escherichia coli and on transcriptomics.

Following my doctorate (Microbiology) in 2001, I received a Marie-Curie-Individual Fellowship and went to Finland (University of Oulu) to work on recombinant Wnt proteins. The challenge of producing biologically active cystine-rich proteins in recombinant systems required monitoring and strategically influencing transcription, translation, translocation, host physiology (stress responses) and cultivation conditions.

In 2005 I joined Cardiff University.

Now with more experience as a microbiologist I am still fascinated by relating diversity of micro-organisms to their constant adaptation and optimisation, and by how this is achieved through diversifying and controlling information on all levels (subcellular: from genome plasticity to posttranslational modification; within the population and in interaction with biotic and abiotic factors of the environment).

I have been teaching both undergraduates and postgraduates of all levels in multidisciplinary and multicultural environments. The range of topics and skills I have been teaching include Microbiology, Medical Microbiology, Microbial Physiology, Infection and Immunity, Biotechnology, Bioethics and Post Genomic Biosciences.

Recently, I became involved in reviewing several microbiology textbooks. I also wrote contributions to the new Global Edition of Brock Biology of Microorganisms; and the UNESCO Encyclopedia of Life Support Systems. More are to follow (at present for Garland Science [Microbiology: A Clinical Approach]).

Making a difference through education in HEIs does not only require educators to have a background in both the subject and pedagogy (Postgraduate Certificate in University Teaching and Learning), but also management and leadership skills. That is why I completed training in Practical Leadership for University Management (accredited by the Institute of Leadership & Management).

I am an Associate Editor for the journal Bioscience Education, the only UK based journal for pedagogical research in HE, for the biological sciences.

  • Member of the Society for General Microbiology, where I also served as Chair-Elect of the Education Division and on the Professional Development Council Committee, consulted, and review grant applications in this context.
  • Fellow of the Society of Biology where I serve on the Degree Programme Accreditation Assessment Panel 'Organisms', and review Open Education Resources for the Society.
  • European Federation of Biotechnology.

I am a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.

I review applications for the Academy’s Doctoral Programme, International Scholarships Programme, and Teaching Development Grant.

I also mentor applicants for accreditation with the Academy directly or through Cardiff University (where Fellowship is acquired via PCUTL; and Associate Fellowship applications supported via the University Graduate College).

Recently, I became a Higher Education Academy Academic Associate.

When the Academy’s UK Centre for Bioscience was in existence, I was Country Consultant for Wales and a Representative for Cardiff University.

My pedagogy-related publications are on Undergraduate and Postgraduate employability, Continuous Professional Development of academics, managing related institutional learning and change, institutional recognition. Some of the topics covered are: teaching in HE and pedagogic research; peer-assisted scholarly reflective practice; public engagement and measuring impact. I organised conference symposia and gave talks in the context of graduate competencies; ‘standing out in the crowd’ at any stage of an academic career in the biosciences; and internationalisation.