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Dr Gillian Knight - Aston University. Birmingham, , GB

Dr Gillian Knight Dr Gillian Knight

Associate Dean in Education | Aston University


Associate Dean in Education. Research expertise; Inclusive Curricular Design, Student transition, Student partnerships, HPV cancers.






HPV - Why men should be asking for the cervical cancer vaccination - 2016 lecture promo




Dr Gillian Knight joined Aston in 2018 as the Associate Dean for Learning & Teaching in the School of Engineering & Applied Science. Her key role at Aston is to ensure the teaching quality of the school provides all their students with an excellent taught experience whilst studying at Aston. She also supports academic staff in their development of innovative teaching and professional development of their academic teaching practice. In addition, Gillian facilitates with the liaison with regional employers to ensure their degree programmes have great support from business and also that their graduates have the correct training for their future career choices.

Before joining Aston, Gillian was Head of Biosciences at the University of Derby, where her role was to lead and manage a group of academics and a degree portfolio related to the life sciences and public health area. Whilst at Derby she developed a range of new programmes so have experience in the design, implementation and running of degrees.

Gillian is a research active academic, with her main focus related to Human Papilloma Virus (HPV), the virus that causes cervical cancer and a submit set of other cancers, including head & neck cancer. Gillian currently has a number of investigations into the role HPV is playing in the development of oro-pharyngeal carcinoma, which is a type of Head & Neck cancer.

Areas of Expertise (8)

Oro-Pharyngeal Carcinoma

Human Papillomavirus (HPV)

Transition into HE

Students as Partners

Inclusive Curricular Design


Curricular Innovation

HPV Induced Cancers

Education (3)

Brunel University: BSc, Applied Biology 1996

University of Bedfordshire: PhD, Biochemistry 2001

Molecular characterisation of the Na+/Bile acid co-transport protein

Keele University: PGCert, Higher Education 2011

Affiliations (2)

  • NHS East Midlands Cancer Alliance : Member
  • Higher Education Academy : Senior Fellow

Research Grants (2)

Research Postdoctoral fellow in the Role of HPV in Oro-pharyngeal carcinoma

University of Derby £100,000

July 2018

The Role of HPV in Oro-pharyngeal carcinoma

Midlands Institute of Otorhinolaryngology £3000

October 2016

Articles (5)

Awareness of oral and genital human papillomavirus (HPV) infection in young adolescents prior to gender-neutral vaccination

BMJ Sexual & Reproductive Health

Oral human papillomavirus (HPV) and oropharyngeal cancer prevalence are increasing, particularly in men. Raising greater awareness of male HPV disease is perceived as an important intervention strategy. This study investigated the effectiveness of HPV education on adolescents’ perception of HPV disease and the impact of HPV vaccination on their sexual health.

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Pilot study investigating the prevalence of oral Human Papilloma Viral (HPV) infection in young adults

Public Health

The rates of HPV related Head and neck squamous cell carcinomas (HNSCC) within the UK have been steadily increasing, particular in young white men. The reasons behind this increase have not been elucidated, but maybe linked to higher prevalence of oral HPV infection in men. This pilot study aimed to establish a reproducible HPV oral screening method to investigate the rate of oral HPV infection in young healthy adults.

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The Role of Protein Kinase A Regulation of the E6 PDZ-Binding Domain during the Differentiation-Dependent Life Cycle of Human Papillomavirus Type 18

Journal of Virology

Human papillomavirus (HPV) E6 proteins of high-risk alpha types target a select group of PSD95/DLG1/ZO1 (PDZ) domain-containing proteins by using a C-terminal PDZ-binding motif (PBM), an interaction that can be negatively regulated by phosphorylation of the E6 PBM by protein kinase A (PKA). Here, we have mutated the canonical PKA recognition motif that partially overlaps with the E6 PBM in the HPV18 genome (E6153PKA) and compared the effect of this mutation on the HPVl8 life cycle in primary keratinocytes with the wild-type genome and with a second mutant genome that lacks the E6 PBM (E6ΔPDZ).

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Continuous Formative Assessment and Feedback in an Enquiry-Based Laboratory Course

Bioscience Education

Here we report on the successful implementation of an online experimental summary sheet that enabled the continual student monitoring of a large cohort of students undertaking a 6 week enquiry-based laboratory project. Students submitted a weekly research summary that contained information about their data analysis and future experimental plans. These experimental summary sheets, which were viewed on a weekly basis by members of the teaching team, facilitated a process of continuous formative assessment, the provision of generic feedback and differentiated instruction during the laboratory course.

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A cyclin-binding motif in human papillomavirus type 18 (HPV18) E1^E4 is necessary for association with CDK–cyclin complexes and G2/M cell cycle arrest of keratinocytes


The G2/M arrest function of human papillomavirus (HPV) E4 proteins is hypothesized to be necessary for viral genome amplification. Full-length HPV18 E1^E4 protein is essential for efficient viral genome amplification. Here we identify key determinants within a CDK-bipartite consensus recognition motif in HPV18 E1^E4 that are critical for association with active CDK–cyclin complexes and in vitro phosphorylation at the predicted CDK phosphorylation site (threonine 23).

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