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Dr Beatriz Lagunas

Assistant Professor


Phone: 024 24 761 24541

Office: B005

Twitter: @BeatrizLagunas

SLS Clusters

Cells & Development

Environment & Ecology

Plant & Agricultural Biosciences

Pedagogical Research

Warwick Centres and GRPs

Warwick Crop Centre

Teaching Interests

My main goal as an educator is to discuss ideas in an exciting and constructive way and to encourage my students to form, develop and communicate their own ideas, leading to them to truly understanding what they have learned. Memorising facts for an exam can sometimes lead to gaining high grades, however they do not mean a deeper understanding or ability to problem-solve. If instead students explain, analyse and debate their ideas, learning can be deep and long-lasting.

Through teaching and my own lab training, I have come to appreciate the need to simplify biological techniques and processes so that they are understandable. Long-lasting memories of biological processes require teaching complex concepts with accessible language without getting the important ideas buried in a pile of acronyms. I have also found that students are more likely to ask questions if they feel they can use their own words in which to express themselves.

To encourage scientific reasoning, I think it is crucial for students to put their theory concepts to test in the lab. Students that usually have a strong theoretical knowledge are challenged at the practical level and have to face the gaps in their knowledge. During my time supervising students, I have found that some become distressed by the lack of results even when they only have very short projects. I can relate to this feeling, and I believe any individual without practical scientific experience often has an unrealistic perception of how long it takes to reach a reliable conclusion – or indeed any conclusion! Research experience has a tangible impact on the lives of students - many gain confidence in their own abilities, learn how to cope with unexpected results and gain transferable skills extremely useful whatever career direction they take.

I am an Associate Fellow of the Higher Education Academy, a Full Member of the Royal Society of Biology and a Full Member of the Society of Experimental Biology.

Research Interests and Other Activities

I am fascinated by plant science. I studied Biochemistry at the University of Zaragoza, Spain, where I did a summer undergraduate research project to test the growth of Microcystis aeruginosa in heterotrophic conditions to evaluate toxin release. After that, I did my Master and PhD on plant lipid biosynthesis where I worked with different plant species (mostly focussed on Arabidopsis and Soybean, but I also worked with other legumes such as beans and cowpea). During my PhD, I studied the localisation and regulation of a membrane-bound lipid-modification enzyme that introduces double bonds in the fatty acid chains (fatty acid desaturase). I then moved to the UK to study legume interaction with soil microbes with a particular focus on nitrogen fixation.

I am the SLS Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) Committee co-lead and I work hard to foster an environment that promotes inclusivity and values everyone. In teaching, I consider that communicating using language that is clear and open is crucial, so students feel encouraged to participate and discuss with their peers. I also sit in the FoSEM EDI committee, and regularly attend EDI conferences to learn from other departments and institutions.

School of Life Sciences, University of Warwick, UK

  • Assistant Prof: 2023 – onwards
  • Teaching Fellow: 2021 – 2023
  • Postdoctoral Researcher: 2016 – 2021
  • Senior Research Technician: 2014 – 2016

University of Zaragoza, Spain

  • PhD Molecular and cellular characterisation of polyunsaturated fatty acid biosynthesis and its relation to oxylipin production: 2013
  • MSc Molecular Biology and Biochemistry: 2008
  • BSc Hons Chemistry/Biochemistry: 2007