Biology

The Biology Department at Charterhouse seeks to inspire and support pupils in all aspects of this diverse subject, whether for its relevance to every day life, for pure scientific curiosity or for the pursuit of careers such as medicine or research.

Charterhouse has a strong tradition for Biology. Our laboratories are adorned with historic specimens, such as a duck billed platypus, a narwhale tusk and a mammoth’s tooth. The labs are equipped with the most modern microscopes and electrophoresis equipment, and they are supported with a team of three expert technicians. Our philosophy is to deliver a curriculum that is enriched with the many aspects of the subject that are relevant to life and to society. Teaching is delivered through a rigorously scientific and practical approach that seeks to inspire young biologists.

All pupils study Biology to IGCSE and Biology is a very popular choice for Specialists, being studied by a quarter to one third of all sixth form pupils.  Many go onto study Biology at internationally renowned courses in the UK or abroad or related courses such as Medicine or Biomedical Sciences. We have a thriving Medics Society, Perception Society (neuroscience and psychology) and a Natural History Society.

Full details of the curriculum are available in the Under School (Years 9-11) Curriculum and Sixth Form Curriculum sections.

Our seven teaching staff have deep expertise in a variety of aspects of the subject from Cell & Molecular Biology, Biochemistry, Medicine/dentistry, Gene technology and Marine Biology.

Mr Peter Bagley, MA, FCA - Head of Department

Mr Bagley studied cell and molecular biology at the Zoology department in Cambridge. Mr Bagley joined Charterhouse from RGS Guildford having previously had a career in the city. He is a keen naturalist, sailor and hill walker.

Mrs Suzanne Allen, MA (Cantab), PGCE (University of Cambridge)

Mrs Allen studied Natural Sciences (general) Tripos, specialising in cell biology, biochemistry and medicinal biochemistry.  She joined Charterhouse in 2004 after teaching at Wellington College, Peterhouse, Zimbabwe (Head of Science) and Shrewsbury School. Mrs Allen was appointed Housemaster of Saunderites in 2008. Her interests include athletics (Cambridge Blue), hockey, hill walking and travel.

Dr Ganesh Balasubramanian, PhD 

Dr Balasubramanian completed his PhD at the University of Nottingham where he subsequently worked as a lecturer and postdoctoral scientist. His has expertise in molecular biology, biotechnology and genetic engineering and takes special interest in psychology and neuroscience. He worked in the City for the global financial services firm, Ernst & Young LLP prior to joining Charterhouse as teacher of Biology and Assistant Master of Scholars. Some of his favourite pastimes include reading an immersive book, a good game of cricket or listening to soothing classical music.

Dr Graeme Smith, MChem, PhD

Dr Smith studied Biology and Chemistry at St Andrews University before completing his doctorate at Cambridge (Corpus Christi). He specialises in Biochemistry and Physiology and joined Charterhouse in 2014 from The Perse School in Cambridge and is the Assistant Housemaster in Fletcherites and Master in charge of Silver DofE. He is a qualified mountain leader and enjoys expeditions, climbing, rowing and is a classic car enthusiast.

Mrs Pippa Nelson, MSc

Following an undergraduate degree in Zoology from the University of British Columbia, Canada, Mrs Nelson went on to study foetal endocrinology (primarily involving research in foetal and neonatal lung physiology) at postgraduate level.  Her interests include climbing, hill-walking (Gold Duke of Edinburgh award assessor), cross-country and tennis.

Mr Nigel Coopper, BSc, MA

Mr Coopper studied Biological Sciences at the University of Warwick specialising in Ecology and Environmental Sciences, where he also completed his PGCE. He joined Charterhouse from Gordon’s School in Woking. He is heavily involved in the CCF running the School’s Army section, as well as being a keen sportsman, coaching hockey and cricket.