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Biological Sciences

Biological Sciences

The core strands that unite all the various disciplines and sub-disciplines of Biology are: the study and characterization of living organisms and the investigation of the science behind living things. This means most biology courses will have core modules in the first year focusing on subjects such as cell theory and molecular biology, evolution, physiology and adaptation, gene theory, and homeostasis.

Having established some basic understanding of the core principles of biology, you’ll be able to choose an area in which to specialize. Options include: anatomy, biophysics, cell and molecular biology, computational biology, ecology and evolution, environmental biology, forensic biology, genetics, marine biology, microbiology, molecular biosciences, natural science, neurobiology, physiology, zoology and many others.

Digging deeper into subject interests can help you in a number of ways:

  • Confirm whether this is (or isn't) something you would be interested in enough to want to study it at university either as the focus of your degree or a minor/elective

  • Give you some inspiration to use when creating your questions and topics for IA's (coursework) and your Extended Essay

  • Provide you with content for your university application writing in the future, enabling you to reflect on the things you've been doing to explore your interests in a way that is academically relevant to the course or institution you are applying for.

Useful Resources

Oxford University Research Blog
Blog
The University of Oxford's Blog on their current research. It includes articles on a huge range of topics but particularly relevant to the current global challenges.
Click Here >
Advice To a Young Scientist, by Peter Medawar
Book
Sir Peter Medawar, Nobel laureate, deflates the myths of invincibility, superiority, and genius instead, he demonstrates it is common sense and an inquiring mind that are essential to the scientist's calling. He delivers many wry observations on how to choose a research topic, how to get along with collaborators and older scientists and administrators, how (and how not) to present a scientific paper, and how to cope with culturally "superior" specialists in the arts and humanities.
St. Clare's Library at shelf location L23 500 MED
Conversations with Neil's Brain: The Neural Nature of Thought & Language by Wukkuan H. Calvin and George A. Ojemann
Book
Written by neurophysiologist William H. Calvin, Ph. D and Neurosurgeon and neurophysiologist George A. Ojemann, this book is available to download free of charge for personal use.
Click Here >
Genome: the autobiography of a species in 23 chapters by Matt Ridley
Book
This book examines the world of the genome, the 100,000 or so genes which provide a collective recipe for the building and running of the human body, sited across 23 pairs of chromosomes. The author discusses the genome, explaining that by looking at our genes we can see the story of our evolution and what makes us individual.
St. Clare's Library at shelf location L24 576.5 RID
Oxygen: the molecule that made the world by Nick Lane
Book
Drawing on fields as diverse as geology, cosmology, chemistry, biology and medicine, this book explains why oxygen bridges the gap between the two great facets of life, metabolism and reproduction. It provides a critique of modern medical research and a new theory of ageing.
St. Clare's Library at shelf location L23 546 LAN
The Evolution of Everything : how new ideas emerge, by Matt Ridley
Book
We are taught that the world is a top-down place. Acclaimed author Matt Ridley shows just how wrong this is in his compelling new book. This is more often wrong than right. 'The Evolution of Everything' is about bottom-up order and its enemy, the top-down twitch, the endless fascination human beings have for design rather than evolution, for direction rather than emergence.
St. Clare's Library at shelf location L 23 500 RID
The Gecko's Foot: how scientists are taking a leaf from nature's book, by Peter Forbes
Book
This is a cutting-edge science book in the style of "Fermat's Last Theorem" and "Chaos" from an exciting and accessible new voice in popular science writing. Bio-inspiration is a form of engineering but not in the conventional sense. Extending beyond our established and preconceived notions, scientists, architects and engineers are looking at imitating nature by manufacturing 'wet' materials such as spider silk or the surface of the gecko's foot. The amazing power of the gecko's foot has long been known - it can climb a vertical glass wall and even walk upside down on the ceiling - but no ideas could be harnessed from it because its mechanism could not be seen with the power of optical microscopes. Recently however the secret was solved by a team of scientists in Oregon who established that the mechanism really is dry, and that it does not involve suction, capillary action or anything else the lay person might imagine. Each foot has half a million bristles and each bristle ramifies into hundreds of finer spatula-shaped projections.The fine scale of the gecko's foot is beyond the capacity of conventional microengineering, but a team of nanotechnologists have already made a good initial approximation. The gecko's foot is just one of many examples of this new 'smart' science. We also discover, amongst other things, how George de Mestral's brush with the spiny fruits of the cocklebur inspired him to invent Velcro; how the shape of leaves opening from a bud has inspired the design of solar-powered satellites; and the parallels between cantilever bridges and the spines of large mammals such as the bison. The new 'smart' science of Bio-inspiration is going to produce a plethora of products over the next decades that will transform our lives, and force us to look at the world in a completely new way.
St. Clares Library L24 620 FOR
The Human Brain: a guided tour, by Susan Greenfield
Book
Locked away remote from the rest of the body in its own custom-built casing of skull bone, with no intrinsic moving parts, the human brain remains a tantalising mystery. But now, more than ever before, we have the expertise to tackle this mystery - the last 20 years have seen astounding progress in brain research. Susan Greenfield begins by exploring the roles of different regions of the brain. She then switches to the opposite direction and examines how certain functions, such as movement and vision, are accommodated in the brain. She describes how a brain is made from a single fertilized egg; the fate of the brain is traced through life as we see how it constantly changes as a result of experience to provide the essence of a unique individual.
St. Clares Library L24 612.8 GRE
The Language of the Genes: biology, history and the evolutionary future, by Steve Jones
Book
Steve Jones's highly acclaimed, double prize-winning, bestselling first book is now fully revised to cover all the new genetic breakthroughs from GM food to Dolly the sheep.'An essential sightseer's guide to our own genetic terrain.' Peter Tallack, Sunday Telegraph
St. Clares Library L24 576.5 JON
BioGrad
Course
BioGrad provides courses for 16-19 year olds who are currently studying towards their A-Levels or IB. Their courses are designed to trial your chosen career path and provide work experience that would look fantastic on your university application. They have a variety of courses available, from 1-day courses, 5-day courses, up to a 6-week summer school in Laboratory Skills, Clinical and Medical Research, Biomedical Science, Cardiac & Pulmonary Medicine, Emergency Medicine, Medical School Preparation, Orthopaedic Care and Medical Ethics.
Click Here >
STEM Guide
E-Magazine
A guide to careers in STEM subjects.
Click Here >
National Geographic
E-Magazine | Podcast | Website
Starting as a print magazine, National Geographic are now a multi-channel platform focused on inspiring passion for our natural world. You will need to subscribe for full access, but there are also a lot of free resources on the site.
https://www.nationalgeographic.com/
New Scientist
E-Magazine | Podcast | Website
New Scientist is the world’s most popular weekly science and technology publication. Their website, app and print editions cover international news from a scientific standpoint, and ask the big-picture questions about life, the universe and what it means to be human.
Click Here >
Cafe Scientifique Oxford
Events
The Oxford branch of Cafe Scientifique meet monthly to open up conversations on a wide range of scientific topics open to all
Click Here >
Summer Schools in Europe
Events
The most complete directory of summer courses in Europe. It includes courses for high school, undergraduate and graduate students, so ensure you read the descriptions to find options right for you.
Click Here >
Young Forensic Scientist Programmes
Events | Conference
Gain an immersive experience of Forensic Science alongside top professionals. Choose below either our Young Forensic Scientist Weekend or our Young Forensic Scientist Summer Experience.
Click Here >
Open Biology
Journal
An open access journal publishing high impact biology at the molecular and cellular level
Click Here >
Royal SOciety Open Science
Journal
An open journal publishing high-quality research across all of science, engineering and mathematics
Click Here >
Research from the University of Bristol
Journal Articles | Website
Explore cutting edge research from the different faculties and departments from the University of Bristol, including free access to their published journal articles.
Click Here >
Coursera
Online Course
Coursera is an online platform for distance learning. They have a range of free courses delivered by universities. Search in this section to find courses of interest to you, often these are courses you can follow at your own pace.
Click Here >
EdX
Online Course
The X Series courses on the EdX platform are free online courses delivered by universities and aimed at helping you explore areas of interest.
Click Here >
FutureLearn
Online Course
FutureLearn is a free online platform where universities from around the globe host FREE online courses you can undertake in your areas of interest. Browse courses by categories or use the search bar to find courses relevant to your interests
Click Here >
Online Introduction Nanobiology
Online Course
An online taster of the Nanobiology degree at TU Delft in the Netherlands. Courses start regularly over the academic year.
Click Here >
On-line on-demand Work Experience Courses
Online Course | Work Experience
Scroll down on the weblink to find a range of internship courses across a range of subjects but all with a link to Operation Wallacea's key missions around biodiversity and conservation.
Click Here >
Back Garden Biology
Podcast
In this fun and informative series Dr Lindsay Turnbull, Associate Professor and Fellow of The Queen’s College, Oxford University, looks at the biology of the back garden.
Click Here >
OpWall's Field Notes
Podcast
For over 25 years, Operation Wallacea has been running biodiversity research expeditions across the globe. We’ve gathered a lot of stories along the way, showing how conservation research builds communities, inspires change and tackles the biggest threats to our natural world. Join us while we interview researchers, local organizers, and community conservationists about new research, protecting biodiversity, and daily life out in the field.
Click Here >
Oxford Martin School: Public Lectures and Seminars
Podcast | Recorded Lecture
Public Lectures and Seminars from the Oxford Martin School, University of Oxford. The Oxford Martin School brings together the best minds from different fields to tackle the most pressing issues of the 21st century.
Click Here >
University of Southampton Podcast Library
Podcast | Recorded Lecture
A library of the Lifelong Learning Talks and Study Days from the University of Southampton. They cover a wide range of topics but are organised by topic and easy to browse.
Click Here >
Cafe Scientifique Oxford - Archive 2021
Recorded Lecture
The Archive of the 2021 Cafe Scientifique sessions - held on Zoom due to the pandemic
Click Here >
Cafe Scientifique Oxford, 2020 Archive
Recorded Lecture
A video archive of the 2020 Cafe Scientifique Oxford sessions, held on Zoom due to the pandemic
Click Here >
UCL Medical Sciences Lecture: 'One-shot' radiotherapy safer and as effective for treating breast cancer as longer course
Recorded Lecture
Hear about a pioneering breast cancer therapy that requires one shot of radiotherapy rather than conventional weeks-long treatment and the evolution of a patient-centred treatment from an idea to worldwide adoption. From October 2021
Click Here >
Society for Natural Sciences Seminars
Recorded Lecture | Webinar
Recorded and upcoming seminars introducing topics in contemporary science and informing potential undergraduates about degrees in Natural Sciences.
Click Here >
Springboard
Video
These videos bring you cutting-edge research from Oxford's graduate students on a wide range of topics - from climate change and colonialism, to microbiomes and mathematical logic. Each video offers an introduction to a new topic, plus lots of activities and further resources to explore. When you click on a topic, you will be asked a few questions and then you will be able to play the video you've chosen.
Click Here >
ExeTalks
Video | Recorded Lecture
ExeTalks are a chance to discover some of the fascinating research undertaken at the University of Exeter.
Click Here
British Heart Foundation Online Events
Webinar | Events | Recorded Lecture
The British Heart Foundation hold monthly online events talking about topics related to Cardiology and the heart. There is also a library of past sessions you can watch on demand.
Click Here >
NHS: Find your health career
Website
Take the health career quiz, explore the roles within healthcare and find out about the different routes into these professions
Click Here >
21st Century Challenges: Informed discussion from the Royal Geographical Society (with IBG)
Website | Blog | Video | Recorded Lecture | Events
21st Century Challenges considers the big social, environmental and economic challenges of our time. Join us at events; read articles and commentary informed by the latest geographical research; watch videos, be inspired, think critically, build your networks and share your ideas.
Click here >
HE+
Website | Podcast | Blog | Video
The HE+ website has supercurricular resources created and written by Cambridge students and academics including challenging activities, engaging videos, reflective questions and much more.
Click Here >
LIS Learning Hub
Website | Webinar | Recorded Lecture | Blog | Podcast
This is an open source area full of webinars, articles, videos, short reads, mini-lectures, podcasts and more from the London Interdiscipinary school.
Click Here >
Zooniverse - Real Science Online
Work Experience | Website
Online Crowd Science Projects that you can contribute to
Click Here >
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