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Dr Debbie Holmes

Lecturer (Biology)

Institute of Science & the Environment

Contact Details


tel: 01905 54 2180


I joined the University of Worcester after spending almost 10 years as a research scientist in a number of UK universities.  I am a geneticist and have spent time engaged in research relating to reproductive genetics of species in the genus Allium (onions and their relatives) and more recently the small woodland plant Adoxa moschatellina.  In addition I have several years experience working in human genetics helping to develop the chorionic villus sampling technique and adding to our understanding of the contribution made by our genes to behavioural traits such as Tourette’s syndrome,  manic depression and schizophrenia.

Apart from continuing to work on Alliums and Adoxa moschatellina I have more recently co-authored a text book on experimental design and statistics (Oxford University Press) which is now in its second edition.  I also pursue my passion for science outside the university and actively work in conservation with the Titterstone Clee Heritage Trust.  I am also a Trustee and the Trusts education and project officer.


Teaching & Research

Teaching & Research

Current Teaching
Cell Biology
Research methods and statistics
Human genetics

Current PhD supervision
The effects of supplementary UV-B radiation on Allium vineale: ecological, mutualistic and reproductive perspectives. 


Research interests



University of York, Department of Biology: D.Phil: Selection and population dynamics of  B chromosomes in Allium schoenoprasum

University Department of Clinical Genetics and the Academic Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Birmingham Maternity Hospital (Research Fellow): The development of cytogenetic and molecular genetic techniques for prenatal diagnosis by chorionic villus sampling.

Birmingham University: Cloning the B chromosomes of Haplopappus gracilis.

Academic Department of Psychiatry, University College London and Middlesex School of Medicine (Research Fellow): Linkage analysis in psychiatric diseases.

University of York, Department of Biology (Research Fellow): Molecular analysis of B chromosomes in Allium schoenoprasum.                     



Cook, C.C.H., Palsson, G., Turner, A. Holmes, D.S., Brett, P., Curtis, D., Petursson, H. & Gurling, H.M.D. (1996).  A genetic linkage study of the D2 dopamine receptor locus in heavy drinking and alcoholism. British Journal Psychiatry 169: 243 – 248.

Gurling, H.M.D., Vincent, J., Melmer, G., Bolton, P., Hodgkinson, S., Holmes, D.S., Lord, C. & Rutter, M. (1997). Investigation of abnormal methylation and low CGG repeat expansion of the FNR-1 gene in familial autism and in cases autism with low level fragile X expression.  Human Heredity 222: 254 - 262

Holmes, D.S. ( 2005). Sexual reproduction in British populations of Adoxa moschatellina L. Watsonia  265 – 273.

Holmes, D.S., Moody, P. and Dine, D. 2nd ed (2010) Research methods for the biosciences. Oxford University Press.  

Treu, R. Holmes, D.S., Smith, B.M., Astley, D. Johnson, M.A.T & Trueman, L. (2001).  Allium ampeloprasum: an isoclonal plant found across a range of habitats in S.W. England. Plant Ecology 155: 229 - 235

University Roles and Membership of Professional Bodies

University Roles and Membership of Professional Bodies

University Roles
Independent Studies coordinator
Secretary to ISE Ethics subcommittee

Membership of Professional Bodies
Ecological Genetics Society
Genetical Society
British Ecological Society
Botanical Society of the British Isles
Institute of Learning and Teaching