History of Biological Sciences at the University of Liverpool

Biological science has a long and interesting history at the University of Liverpool, starting in the latter part of the 19th Century with Professor William Herdman FRS, who in 1881 was appointed to the first Derby Chair of Natural History to the Liverpool Univers‌ity College.‌‌

In the mid 20th Century this had developed within the University into 6 independent Departments of Biochemistry, Botany, Genetics, Marine Biology Microbiology and Zoology, and included such luminous figures as:

In the mid 1980s the 6 Departments were condensed into three larger Departments and in 1996 were all combined into a single School of Biological Sciences, during which time Geoff Parker FRS was elected to the Royal Society and in 2008 received their Darwin Medal.

Today this structure is called the Institute of Integrative Biology (IIB) and includes all the historical elements in a single academic structure, consistent with contemporary trends for cross-disciplinary working. It comprises one of the most advanced integrated bioscience research structures in the UK with class-leading facilities, all installed within a state-of-the-art building, the £26M Biosciences Building.

Currently, we have class-leading capability in a range of topic areas in the biological sciences from evolutionary mechanisms, DNA sequencing and protein analysis by mass spectrometry, structural biology of proteins, the biology of pathogens and disease, to computational biology and modelling. We receive around £10M grant support each year and employ almost 70 academic staff, 120 postgraduate students and 100 postdoctoral research staff.

During this long history the University has awarded BSc degrees to thousands of undergraduate students. We now provide teaching in numerous undergraduate programmes, with approximately 330 graduates each year, with increasing number of students from outside of the UK. We also have trained very large numbers of Masters and Doctoral graduates. Our  are dotted around the world in countries such including Chile, Australia, China, India, Mexico, Canada, Qatar, France, US, Bermuda, Bangladesh.

Back to: Institute of Integrative Biology