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Prof Helen Chatterjee
Darwin Building, Gower Street
University College London
Prof Helen Chatterjee profile picture
  • Professor of Biology
  • Genetics, Evolution & Environment
  • Div of Biosciences
  • Faculty of Life Sciences

Helen Chatterjee is a Professor of Biology in the Division of Biosciences, School of Life and Medical Sciences at UCL and Head of Research and Teaching in UCL Culture. After completing a BSc in Natural Environmental Science and an MSc in Palaeoanthropology at the University of Sheffield, Helen moved to UCL in 1996 to undertake a PhD and took up the role of Curator at the Grant Museum of Zoology. Helen stayed at the Grant Museum for 10 years and continues to remain actively involved with museums.

As well as her research, Helen is involved in teaching, supervising doctoral students and helping to deliver institutional strategic initiatives focused on teaching and research. In 2015, Helen was awarded an MBE for services to Higher Education and Culture.

Research Summary

Helen's biological research is focused on primate phylogenetics and morphological adaptation. Specifically the phylogenetic, ontogenetic and functional significance of morphological and molecular variability, among various species of primate. She is particularly interested in using data generated from this type of study in biogeographic analyses in order to reconstruct patterns of speciation in SE Asian primates. More recently she extended her biogeographic work to include conservation biogeography, with a focus on the role of environmental change, particularly climate change, on species diversity and success.

Helen has worked on gibbons, small apes from SE Asia, for over 20 years and sits on the Executive Committee of International Union for the Conservation of Nature's Section on Small Apes: http://www.gibbons.asia/

Her museological research investigates the value of cultural encounters to health, wellbeing and education. Helen has published numerous journal articles in this area and three books: Touch in Museums (2008; Ashgate), Museums, Health and Well-being (2013; Ashgate) and Engaging the Senses: Object-Based Learning in Higher Education (2015; Routledge); she works with numerous museum partners as well as health and social care organisations. In 2015 Helen established the National Alliance for Museums, Health and Wellbeing (funded by Arts Council England).

Teaching Summary

BIOLM018 Vertebrate Life and Evolution (Coure-Organiser and Lecturer)

BASC2001 Object Lessons: Communicating Knowledge through Collections (Coure-Organiser and

First Year Tutor, BSc/MSci Biological Sciences

Supervisor 3rd/4th year and Masters-level research projects

Personal tutor,  BSc/MSci Biological Sciences

Committees: BSc/MSci Biological Sciences; BASc Arts and Sciences; UCL Connected Curriculum Development Group

Academic Background
2014   ATQ04 - Recognised by the HEA as a Senior Fellow University College London
2001   Doctor of Philosophy University College London
1996   Master of Science University of Sheffield
1994   Bachelor of Science University of Sheffield
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