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Brunel lecturer wins Biochemical Society's Established Educator Teaching Excellence Award


Dr David Tree has today been announced by the Biochemical Society as the recipient of their 2025 Teaching Excellence Award for an Established Educator.

Each year, the Biochemical Society – founded in 1911 to advance molecular bioscience – presents a series of prestigious awards that recognise excellence and achievement in both specific and general fields of science. Candidates are nominated by their peers, and the winners are agreed by a judging panel of respected scientists from across a range of different scientific backgrounds.

Following a record year of nominations, the Society has recognised the work and contribution of fifteen eminent bioscientists, each of whom will be presented with their award and prize money next year, and who will give a lecture as part of the Society’s 2025 season.

With a background in genetics from the University of Cambridge and post-doctoral research at the USA’s Stanford University, Dr Tree has taught genetics to Biomedical Sciences BSc students since joining Brunel 2005. Nearly two decades on, he is now a Reader in Biosciences – equivalent to assistant professor in many countries – and is the Vice Dean of Education for Brunel’s College of Health, Medicine and Life Sciences.

Dr Tree’s nomination was submitted by Prof Amanda Harvey, Professor of Biosciences at Brunel, and supported by Brunel’s Prof Paul Hellewell and the University of Lincoln’s Prof Ellie Davidson. These peers explained how Dr Tree’s dedication to excellence in teaching is evidence in his commitment to pedagogical innovation – exciting new ways of improving teaching to provide society with the graduates it needs and graduates with the skills they need to succeed in the employment marketplace, such as how he pioneered the creation of Brunel’s Life Sciences BSc.

The Life Sciences BSc was created in response to 2016’s Wakeham review on STEM degree provision and graduate employability and a 2015 report on vulnerable capabilities and skills within the UK bioscience and biomedical research base, authored by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council, the Medical Research Council and the Royal Society of Biology. Both these reports highlighted the societal need for graduates with interdisciplinary and computational skills. The Life Sciences BSc programme welcomed its first students in 2017, allowing them to create unique interdisciplinary learning experiences, integrating subjects across the life and computational sciences, offering students a distinctive educational experience which gives them an edge in the careers marketplace.

The nomination also highlighted how Dr Tree has promoted novel teaching and assessment methodologies through active learning pedagogies, such as team-based learning, and through authentic and synoptic assessment strategies, such as the award-winning Integrated Programme Assessment.

Prof Harvey added that beyond Dr Tree’s contributions to curriculum design, he is a strong advocate for inclusive education. He has led initiatives to address cultural representation in science, and the challenges of belonging anxiety and awarding gaps, hence fostering a more equitable learning environment.

Summarising, Prof Harvey said: “Through his dedication to excellence in education and commitment to improving student outcomes, David has transformed teaching and assessment culture at Brunel University London and beyond.”

Dr Tree was delighted to be announced as the recipient of the award. “Receiving this award from the Biochemical Society highlights the significance of innovative teaching and assessment practices, and how these can improve the understanding, satisfaction and subsequent careers of our Biosciences students,” he said.

“This recognition reaffirms the value of fostering inclusive and supportive learning environments, where students are empowered to engage actively and integrate knowledge across disciplines.

“I am grateful for the opportunity to contribute to the advancement of life sciences education and to inspire future generations of scientists.”

Reported by:

Joe Buchanunn, Media Relations
+44 (0)1895 268821