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Professor Daniel Tennant

Dr Daniel Tennant

Professor Daniel Tennant
University of Birmingham
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Who is your scientific inspiration and why?

Hans Krebs is my inspiration. In many respects he founded modern metabolism studies through his investigations, which were based around a real drive to understand some fundamental biological processes. However, his underpinning drive for studying these fundamental processes was to better understand how the body works, and therefore how disease can come about. What is so inspiring is that he did this despite many issues in his personal life; he was suspended from his position at the University of Freiburg in Germany during the 1930’s when life became increasingly difficult due to the prevailing politics, and moved to the UK to continue his work in Cambridge and then Sheffield two years later. He was awarded the Nobel Prize in 1953 alongside Fritz Lipmann for discovering the citric acid cycle, which is the core of much of the research in my group.

In three words or phrases how would you describe your supervision style?

Supportive, collaborative, inquisitive

In one or two sentences please describe your strategies regarding the following.
Provision of training:

Training will evolve during the PhD; initially by myself and experienced post-docs in the lab, but as you progress it could be by anyone in the world who has the expertise – I am very supportive of any training that will help you achieve your research goals.

Progression monitoring and management:

Initially, I will hold weekly meetings alongside spontaneous meetings as the need arises; it could be when I’m passing the lab to see how things are, or if you want to ask something – my door is always open. As the time goes on, you might find you gain more from ad hoc conversations with me and the other lab members, and we may reduce our formal meetings to biweekly – I tend to play things by ear, and work it out between us as we go along. I will always support you to reach your full potential through discussions and collaborative work.


The team has a ‘Slack’ channel with a number of threads under which we discuss issues and communicate with each other. We also have a tennantlab email address, and hold weekly lab meetings and journal clubs (alternate weeks). I will email whenever I have an idea or suggestion, but I really don’t expect my lab to pick these up when they’re at unreasonable hours. Equally, I support my lab to email me whenever the need arises, and I respond as quickly as possible. I am happy to discuss anything you are comfortable telling me, but equally can let you know where to find the most suitable help from around the University. I do my best to maintain a supportive environment in which everyone can be comfortable.

How often do your PhD students see you in a timetabled group meeting?

At least once per week

In year 1 of PhD study, how often do your PhD students have a scheduled >30 minute 1:1 meeting with you?

At least once per week

In year 2 of PhD study, how often do your PhD students have a scheduled >30 minute 1:1 meeting with you?

At least once per week

In year 3 of PhD study, how often do your PhD students have a scheduled >30 minute 1:1 meeting with you?

At least once per fortnight

What form do your 1:1 meetings with PhD students take?

Face to face (if allowed under current health and safety advice)

Open door policy?

Yes, I am usually contactable for an instant response (if required) on every working day.

My expectation of PhD student working patterns?

The timing of work in my lab is completely flexible, and (other than attending pre-arranged meetings), I expect students to manage their own time.

Notice for feedback (e.g. on reports, manuscript drafts, thesis chapters)?

I need at least 1 week’s notice to provide feedback on written work of up to 5000 words.