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Department of Plant Sciences



Biography/Research interests

I’m interested in understanding how to scaffold scientific skill development in higher education. My current research projects focus on the impact of lecture breaks on engagement with and enjoyment of material in lectures, and on the development of experimental design skills in laboratory practicals.

I support the continued development of teaching material across Part IA and IB Natural Sciences, and deliver lectures and practicals in IA Physiology of Organisms and IB Plant and Microbial Sciences.



2023-present   Associate Teaching Professor (Teaching and Scholarship), University of Cambridge
2020-2023       Teaching Associate, University of Cambridge
2016-2020       Teaching Assistant, University of Cambridge



2019 - 2022   PGCTLHE, University of Cambridge
2012 - 2016   PhD in protein-protein interactions, University of Cambridge
2010 - 2011   MRes in Biochemical Research, Imperial College London
2007 - 2010   MA Honours Degree in Natural Sciences, University of Cambridge


Key publications

  • How do readers at different career stages approach reading a scientific research paper? A case study in the biological sciences (2022), International Journal of Science Education, Part B.


All publications

Google Scholar



Awards and Fellowships

  • Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy, 2023
  • Pilkington Prize for Teaching Excellence, University of Cambridge, 2019
  • Fellow and College Lecturer, Churchill College, University of Cambridge, 2018
  • Teaching By-Fellow, Churchill College, University of Cambridge, 2016
  • Associate Fellow of the Higher Education Academy, 2016



  • Biological Natural Sciences Curriculum Review working groups, 2021-present
  • Inspera pilot operational board, 2021-22
  • Plant Sciences Teaching Committee, 2018-present
  • IA and IB course committees, 2014-present


Online teaching resources


Associate Teaching Professor
Sonja Dunbar

Contact Details

Email address: 
Department of Plant Sciences,
University of Cambridge,
Downing Street,