Dr James McEvoy

Teaching

As a teaching-focused academic, much of my time is spent in teaching undergraduates. I use innovative teaching methods and publish in the pedagogical literature, as well as in my discipline. My main teaching responsibility in the School of Biological Sciences is running the large 1st year biological chemistry course Principles of Molecular Bioscience (BS1030). I design and teach the whole of this course, which includes a large practical component. As well as giving traditional lectures I use Pearson’s Learning Catalytics to run in-class problem-solving sessions, which improve engagement and feedback, and I deliver course content online in a blended, semi-flipped approach. I have won several Royal Holloway awards for my teaching in this course, most recently a College Excellence Teaching Prize in 2016.

I also teach in two biochemistry courses and supervise 3rd-year undergraduate research projects (Independent Research Project, BS3010). Some of these projects are in the areas described below, while others are in different fields, such as the biological uses of nanoparticles, environmental chemistry and taste chemistry. 

Research interests

Bacterial biofilms

I am interested in the growth of bacteria on surfaces, particularly in the context of biofilm-focused infections. Along with Dr Shobana Dissanayeke (RHUL), Dr Arshad Khaleel (St Peter’s Hospital, Chertsey) and various Masters students we are investigating biofilm growth and antibiotic resistance on different orthopaedic materials, with a view to reducing clinical infection rates.

Elli Amanatidou’s PhD project on antibiotic resistance in E. coli biofilms, funded by the Charles Sykes Trust and run in collaboration with Dr Ben Raymond, used a combination of microbiological, chemical and evolutionary ecology techniques to analyze the interaction of antibiotics with in vivo biofilms. We are particularly interested in the social aspects of resistance, e.g. the extent to which β-lactamase-producing cells can protect neighbouring cells within a biofilm.

Biological electrochemistry

We use electrochemical methods to probe biologically important redox reactions. Chronocoulometry may be used to measure the concentrations of redox-active antibiotics, for instance, and we use cyclic voltammetry to investigate the interactions between model membranes and the mitochondrial protein cytochrome c. In collaboration with Prof Surendra Mahapatro we are investigating the redox chemistry of substituted aryldiazonium salts, which have important uses in chemical biology.

Pedagogy

I am interested in active learning techniques in the biosciences, the use of technology in teaching and the development of novel teaching laboratory activities in biological chemistry. As well as publishing in these areas I regularly present my work on these topics, both within Royal Holloway and at national meetings.

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