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Dr St John Usher

Principal Lecturer/Teaching Fellow

Department: Applied Sciences

St John Usher Staffprofile Northumbriauniversity255

Dr St. John Usher is a Principal lecturer for Applied Sciences, in the Faculty of Health and Life Sciences. Born in Sheffield in the mid-sixties, he grew up at a time the regional brewing industry was strong in the city. His interest in brewing and fermentation lead him to study for a Biotechnology degree at Sunderland Polytechnic. During this degree industrial placements were undertaken at Whitbread Exchange Brewery in Sheffield and Waverley Vintners in Gateshead, and these confirmed his wish to undertake a career in the brewing industry. A PhD in Biochemistry at the University of Sunderland followed and it was here that he started his teaching career, within the Department of Biology. 

Alongside lecturing at the University, his brewing interests were realised when he started carrying out analysis work for the company Brewlab, a company he would later become the Operations Director for in 1998. In 1997 he was instrumental in the formation of the company The Darwin Brewery. After 25 years in Sunderland and 17 years at Brewlab running the laboratory and training courses there, he joined Northumbria University in June 2009 as a Senior Lecturer in Food Biotechnology. 

Promoted in January of 2012 to Principal Lecturer, he took on the role of International Development Manager in the School of Life Sciences, as well as continuing to be the Programme Leader for the undergraduate Biotechnology degree. With the formation of the Faculty of Health and Life Sciences, he maintained his International role, by taking up the position of Director of International Development and Recruitment and has been involved with a number of successful collaborative ventures in Singapore, Hong Kong, Sri Lanka and Malaysia. 

Alongside his Head of Department responsibilities, St. John has maintained an active research interest in the brewing area and Rachael Dack gained her PhD in 2015 with St. John as the Principal Investigator on her research team, investigating the effect of malt type on the growth, protein expression and metabolite formation in brewing yeasts. As well as leading the department of Applied Sciences, his academic responsibilities include teaching into the Biotechnology, as well as the Food Science and Nutrition undergraduate degrees. 

In November of 2014, St. John was promoted to Head of Department of Applied Sciences, in an acting capacity and in November of 2016 he was asked to take on the substantive role. He is responsible for leading the 70 members of academic staff that now work in the department, through the developments and changes required to achieve the goals set out in the University Vision 2025 strategy.

  • Rachael Dack An Investigation into the Effect of Malt Type on the Growth, Protein Expression and Metabolite Formation in Brewing Yeast Start Date: 24/01/2011 End Date: 21/05/2015
  • Sam Haswell A metabolomic and proteomic investigation into the influence of malt variety on the production of key beer flavour molecules by Saccharomyces cerevisiae during fermentation. Start Date: 01/12/2017 End Date: 16/06/2021

Applied Biology PhD September 01 1988

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