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Dr Robert Spooner



Phone: 024 765 23553

Office: D136

SLS Clusters

Cells & Development

Pedagogical Research

Teaching Interests

Because my research interests have been wide, my teaching interests are also wide and are always informed by research practice. I teach molecular biology, genetics, biochemistry and cell biology, and also the effects of scientific discovery on our population. I feel strongly that students of any of our biological sciences streams should not just quote a list of recited facts to pass an examination: our students should be trained to become interrogative scientists, capable of generating high quality data, interpreting them clearly and simply and communicating their findings with confidence. I am therefore an advocate for undergraduate practical laboratories and the skills that go with them, and also of oral presentations. And when scientists generate data, we communicate these data - so some of my teaching is focussed on presentation, writing and communication skills, extending also into the post-graduate population.

My interests in data interpretation lead me to offer data-led (dry) Y3 projects in mammalian cell and molecular biology and also data-led (dry) Y3 projects that consider the epidemiology of sexually transmitted diseases: and at PGT level, biotechnological approaches to translational studies that lead to clinical application.

Research Interests and Other Activities


Mitochondrial intron genetics (Phd)

Bacterial gene regulation (TOL plasmid)

Proof-of-principle studies - immunotoxin construction, design and execution of two-step cancer targeting strategies (GDEPT, VDEPT - gene-directed and virus-directed enzyme prodrug therapies)

High throughput screening for resistance to protein toxins, screening for glycosylation-deficient human cells for protein structural studies

Cell biological research - protein targeting and trafficking, chaperone networks and functions, investigation of proteasome function.

Current: how do students learn? Can we improve this?

Other interests:

Outreach is always a pleasure:

  • Warwick Summer School 2023, interactive talk
  • Highly Sprung Performance Company 2022: script editor/consultant and actor/narrator, ‘Gone viral’: COVID spread via the medium of modern dance
  • Highly Sprung Performance Company 2020: script editor/consultant, ‘Gone viral’: COVID to a virtual audience
  • Codpiece Theatre UoW Student Union, 2019, voiceover
  • Warwick Summer School 2019, environmental yeast sampling
  • Pint of Science, Fargo Village, Coventry, 2018, DNA duos
  • Guilsborough Academy, Northampton, 2017, laboratory day
  • Shakespeare’s Birthplace Trust, Hall’s Croft, 2017, 6 month static display on Jacobean medicine
  • Shakespeare’s Birthplace Trust, 2016, 2017, interactive public days
  • Headstart 2016, 2017, 2019
  • International Biology Olympiad 2016-2019, finalist training, facilitator, marker
  • Seva School, Coventry, 2015, induction day
  • Larkrise School, Dunstable 2015, microscopy day
  • King Henry VIII School, Coventry, 2015 – 2021 (except for 2020 COVID year), Careers Fair


  • PhD Mitochondrial Genetics, University of Bristol
  • MSc Genetics, University of London Queen Mary College
  • BSc (Hons) Botany/Zoology, University of London King’s College

Appointments held:

  • 2022 - present, Reader, School of Life Sciences, University of Warwick, UK
  • 2016 - 2022 Senior Teaching Fellow, School of Life Sciences, University of Warwick, UK
  • 2012 - 2016 Teaching Fellow, School of Life Sciences, University of Warwick, UK
  • 2001 - 2012 Post-doctoral scientist, Department of Biological Sciences, University of Warwick, UK
  • 1995 - 2001 Scientist, Institute of Cancer Research, London, UK
  • 1990 -1995 Assistant Scientist, Imperial Cancer Research Fund Laboratories, Hammersmith Hospital, London, UK
  • 1987-1990 Imperial Cancer Research Fund Postdoctoral Fellow, Department of Biological Sciences, University of Warwick and ICRF Clare Hall
  • 1984 -1986 Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Department of Genetics, University of Birmingham, UK, and visiting post-doctoral Fellow, Institute of Applied and Molecular Biology, University of Umeå, Sweden