Dr Chris Willmott

Associate Professor

School/Department: Molecular Cell Biology, Department of

Telephone: +44 (0)779 319 6629



Having initially come to Leicester as an undergraduate to study Biological Sciences I stayed on to complete a PhD on antibiotic resistance. After working elsewhere I returned to Leicester as a Lecturer in 2000 becoming a Senior Lecturer (Associate Professor) in 2006. I was awarded a Distinguished University Teaching Fellowship in 2003 and a National Teaching Fellowship in 2005. I have at various times been Editor of the Bioscience Education journal and The Biochemist magazine. I served a full term of the Education Committee for the Nuffield Council on Bioethics and am presently Vice-Chair of Learning on Screen which promotes the use of audiovisual media in University teaching. I was an invited contributor to the annual Biomedical Ethics Film Festival (Edinburgh) for nearly a decade. 2013 was nearly an excellent year: I was awarded European Prize for the Popularisation of Science (jointly with colleague and co-author Dr Salvador Macip); I was runner-up in the National Bioscience Tutor of the Year and received a Special Commendation at the Learning on Screen Awards for a short film on the Power of comparative genomics. 


I have active interests in a variety of bioethical topics. These are currently focused most closely on the ethical implications of advances in genetics and genomics. I have also worked recently on the scientific plausibility of transhumanism and posthumanism and prior to that on “Neurolaw” which is the application of brain imaging and behavioural genetics information on the criminal justice system. I also work on the representation of science and bioethics on television and radio and my team have developed methodologies for exploiting some novel databases and online archives to facilitate these studies. As well as this I undertake educational research often related to technology-enhanced learning and authentic assessment. 


Willmott C. (2022b, in press) On The Scientific Plausibility of Transhumanism, in The Ethics of Generating Posthumans: Philosophical and theological reflections on bringing new persons into existence. Edited by C. MacKellar & T. Stammers. London, UK: Bloomsbury Academic
Willmott C. (2022a, in press) The Science of Transhumanism: Are we nearly there? Metode Journal
Francis N., McClure L. and Willmott C. (2021) Preparing for the COVID cohort, The Biologist 68(3):8-9
Willmott C. (2020) Teaching and learning biochemistry in a pandemic (and beyond?), The Biochemist 42(6):3-5
Macip S. and Willmott C. (2020) Will We Live Forever?: How biomedicine is changing our lives [translation of Catalan title] Vic, Spain: Eumo Editorial
Willmott C. (2019) Tackling Cancer: Getting personal, Biological Sciences Review 31(4):6-8
Willmott C. and Macip S. (2016) Where Science and Ethics Meet: Dilemmas at the frontiers of medicine and biology. USA: Praeger. Also in Spanish (2015), Catalan (2014)
Willmott C. (2016b) Biological Determinism, Free Will and Moral Responsibility: Insights from genetics and neuroscience. Switzerland: Springer
Willmott C. (2016a) Science on screen, Viewfinder 103:12-13
Willmott C.J.R. (2015) Teaching bioethics via production of student-generated videos, Journal of Biological Education 49:127-138



I am presently Principal supervisor of a student investigating the Representation of Cancer Genomics in Broadcast Media. I am Second supervisor of a student looking into Legal and Ethical Aspects of “Direct-to-Consumer” Genetic Tests. I would consider applications from potential students interested in working on Contemporary Issues in Bioethics and/or the Media Representation of Bioscience. 


I teach on a variety of courses at the University of Leicester In the first year of the Biological Sciences course I am Convenor of the module Applications of Medical Bioscience (MB1080) and also teach on In the second year I am Convenor of and also teach on Research Topic (BS2000). I am Co-Convenor of the Master’s level module Science Society and Responsible Research (MD7438) for intercalating Medical students. I am Co-Lead for the BSc in Clinical Science run jointly at Leicester and at Chongqing Medical University in China. The programme started in 2020 and I will be contributing to the teaching in all three years of the course. I supervise a number of final year undergraduate projects each year on topics aligned with my research interests. I have several personal tutees. I am co-ordinator of the HeadStart (Bioscience) “module” for students applying to the University. I run the annual Careers After Biological Sciences programme and the Bioscience Alumni group on Facebook. 

Press and media

I have previously appeared on BBC television and radio discussing antibiotic resistance and (separately) answering questions on the ethical implications of current developments in Bioscience. I am willing for journalists to contact me on these topics. 


Executive Committee of Learning on Screen (previously British Universities Film and Video Council 2008- ) Vice-Chairman (2016- ) and member of BUFVC Working Group on Citation of AudioVisual Media (2011-2013) Science Editor The Biochemist (2017-2020) and Editorial Board Member (2005-2020) Guest Editor for Perspectives on Bioethics special issue of Emerging Topics in Life Sciences (2019) External Examiner for Biochemistry Programme University of Liverpool (2017-2021) Steering group for Centre for Bioscience special interest group in Teaching Ethics to Bioscience Students (2002-2016) Nuffield Council on Bioethics Education Committee (2008-2015) Advisory Group for the UK Centre for Bioscience (2004-2011) Editor-in-Chief of Bioscience Education (2004-2006) and Editorial Board Member (2004-2014) 


Student-initiated “Superstar” awards (University of Leicester Students' Union 2014 & 2016) European Prize for the Popularisation of Science (University of Valencia 2013 - jointly with Dr S Macip) Runner up National HE Bioscience Tutor of the Year (Society of Biology 2013) Learning on Screen Awards - Special Commendation (BUFVC 2013) National Teaching Fellowship (Higher Education Academy 2005) Distinguished University Teaching Fellowship (University of Leicester 2003)


"Discussion boards don’t work": Evaluation of a course blog for teaching with Second Year Bioscientists Biosummit 2021 Royal Holloway September 2021 and Horizons in STEM Higher Education (via Teams) June 2021 Analysis of Broadcast Science as a Capstone Project #DryLabsRealScience Network (via Zoom) May 2020 Exploiting Capture Technology For Other Purposes Biosummit 2019 KCL London Sept 2019 Why Teaching of Bioethics Matters &  Developing Case Studies for Bioethics both at Society for Experimental Biology Meeting Seville July 2019 What Future Are We Creating For Our Children? International Bioethics Retreat Paris June 2019 Adventures in Flipping the Teaching: A bioethical example & Pedagogy Involving Capture Technology: Uses of Panopto beyond the recording of lectures both at  AdvanceHE STEM Learning & Teaching Conference Birmingham Jan 2019 Teaching Ethics in the UK: A bioscience perspective First International Bioethics Conference Universitat de Vic - Universitat Central de Catalunya (via Skype) Jan 2019 As Seen on TV: Using broadcast media in university teaching Lights Camera Learning: Teaching With The Moving Image Birkbeck University Dec 2018


"FSEDA (SEDA 2018) Chartered Biologist (Society for Biology 2013) PGCE - Science (University of Leicester 1997) "
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