Staff profile

Dr Gillian Knight

Head of Biomedical Science and Public Health


Biology and Zoology


College of Life and Natural Sciences


School of Environmental Sciences


Kedleston Road, Derby Campus



I am the lead for the Biomedical Science and Public Health discipline, which is part of the Department of Life Sciences. The Biomedical Science and Public Health team consist of biomedical scientists and public scientists; with the focus of the discipline being health and wellbeing, looking at how biological, environmental and social factors all impact on human health.

The discipline has a number of undergraduate and postgraduate degree programmes, which I oversee as lead of discipline. These degree programmes all address different aspects of human health, from the regulation of the human body (BSc (Hons) Human Biology), the understanding of how disease impacts on the human body (BSc/MSci Biomedical Health) to the development of public health specialists (Masters in Public Health).

The team are also research active and investigate different aspects of human health including: oncology, muscle immunology, infectious disease control, impacts on social-economic status on human health and global health.

Teaching responsibilities

Professional interests

Research interests

My main research area is investigating the role of the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) in the development of oral-pharyngeal carcinoma. Long term infection with HPV has been shown to be a risk factor for the development of head and neck cancers (oral-pharyngeal carcinoma), particularly in men under the age of 50. I have conducted a number of research studies since joining the University of Derby, investigating the rates of oral HPV infection and relating this to how particular lifestyle choices may influence viral infection, to gain a clearer understanding of the risk factors associated with HPV infection.

I am currently working in collobration with the Royal Derby Hospital to look at the levels of HPV in patients attending the Head and Neck departments and Gynaecological departments to look at the levels of HPV infection within the patient community, and if their lifestyle choices are influencing their likelihood of obtaining a HPV related cancer. The research team has recently been awared a grant by the Midlands Institute of Otology to support this study.

I also research the HPV knowledge and attitudes of young adults and adolescents to determine what understanding younger people have about infection with HPV and also the HPV vaccination programme. I have been to a number of local and national schools to discuss HPV and the HPV vaccination programme with year 8 school children, with an aim to better educate children about infectious diseases. My research area is now expanding to looking at sexual health education and trying to determine how young adults can be better educated about the risk of sexual infections.  

Another area of my research is investigating antibiotic resistance bacteria within the healthy community. The problem of antibiotic resistance bacteria is an area that has been highlighted as a key driving force for global health, with the number of healthy individuals harbouring antibiotic resistance bacteria steadily increasing. My research has been focused on the epidemiological determinants for antibiotic resistance bacteria in healthy individuals.

Membership of professional bodies


Undergraduate qualifications

Postgraduate qualifications

Research qualifications

Recent conferences

Experience in industry

Research post

In the media

I have spoken a number of times on local radio and in the press on areas focused around disease spread, particularly related to microbial infections.

Recent publications

Blog Posts

Dr Gillian Knight, Head of Biosciences at the University of Derby, discusses why men should be asking for the cervical cancer vaccination.