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A beautiful and diverse environment for learning and research

The School of Biological Sciences at Reading is located on the beautiful Whiteknights Campus, a 13-time winner of the Green Flag Award. More than 130 hectares of woodlands, lakes, gardens and meadows provide an inspiring and useful environment for biological scientists.

Our new Health and Life Sciences building is purpose-built for teaching and research. It houses a flexible teaching lab that can be subdivided to create up to four separate spaces. It is also home to seminar rooms, specialist research laboratories for undergraduate, master's and PhD students, the Cole Museum of Zoology, a cafe and a social space.

View of Whiteknights lake and trees

Elephant skeleton displayed in the Cole Museum of Zoology

The Cole Museum of Zoology

The Cole Museum of Zoology is a unique resource to teach undergraduate zoology. Containing more than 3,500 specimens and multiple satellite collections, the museum is used in multiple practical classes and for outreach.

Our specimens include an Indian elephant skeleton, a camel skeleton, two giant spider crabs and a five-metre long python.

Our student volunteers help to maintain and develop the collection and some have gone on to careers in museums.

Learn more about the Cole Museum of Zoology


Established in 1900, our Herbarium has one of the largest and most diverse collections in the country. It hosts 300,000 plant specimens in one place and around 1,000 new specimens are collected every year.

The Herbarium is a vital resource, both for undergraduates learning specialist information and identification skills, and for postgraduate students and academics to access a crucial set of raw materials.

Learn more about the Herbarium


The Harris Garden

The Harris Garden is an amazing teaching and learning resource for biological scientists. This 12 acre botanic garden contains meadows, water features, wildlife, various landscapes and innumerable species of plant life, providing a wonderful place for both study and relaxation.

The garden is home to hundreds of plant species, and many birds, insects and mammals. It is used as a living laboratory for classes and student research.

Learn more about the Harris Garden

Whiteknights Campus and EcoValley

Alongside our award-winning campus, we are planting a new woodland on one of our farms for carbon offsetting. It will be used as a research and teaching platform, including species monitoring programmes for animals, plants and fungi. 

Students carrying out lab experiment


Our recently refurbished labs are designed to accommodate every discipline within biological sciences.

You will find facilities including:

  • tissue culture suites
  • multi-mode microplate readers (absorbance, fluorescence, luminescence)
  • multicolour flow cytometry
  • real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR), digital gel scanning and documentation
  • spectrophotometers
  • centrifuges
  • ultra-centrifuges
  • chromatography including fast protein liquid chromatography (FPLC) and high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC)
  • equipment for the large-scale growth and harvesting of microbial and animal cells.

Our microscopy suites host versatile and powerful microscopes with functions as various as live cell imaging, dissection recording, time-lapse recording and analysis.

Cardiovascular imaging facility

The cardiovascular imaging facility is an invaluable resource for biomedical students and researchers.

The Human Imaging Suite contains equipment for the measurement of bone mineral density (BMD), fat and lean tissue mass and the distribution of bodily tissues. It enables in-depth yet non-invasive analysis of physical conditions.

The facility's specialist microscopic technology includes intravital microscopes, high-frequency ultrasound, confocal microscopes and flow cytometry.


Man using haptic technology

Biomedical engineering facilities

Our biomedical engineering facilities include:

  • range of virtual reality and haptic interfaces
  • wearables laboratory
  • brain embodiment laboratory
  • brain computer interface laboratory
  • electrophysiology laboratory
  • terahertz spectrometer.

Research centres

Our interdisciplinary research centres and facilities offer excellent learning opportunities:

Technicians and patient using an MRI scanner

Biomedical Sciences facilities

Our biomedical sciences facilities enable teaching and research in exciting fields such as phylogenetics, bioinformatics, protein structure, evolution and population biology.
Students conducting field work in a meadow

Ecology and Evolutionary Biology facilities

Our students and researchers use our campus as a living laboratory – our award-winning Whiteknights campus is a rich, biodiverse environment for entomologists and ecologists.

Biomedical Engineering facilities

Our facilities enable teaching and research in brain computer interfaces, assistive and rehabilitation technologies, hard and soft robotics, virtual reality, haptics and wearable electronics.
Athena SWAN Silver Award