Professor Stephen Land



DArcy Thompson Unit, School of Life Sciences

Academic Regional Lead for Middle East and North Africa

Steve Land
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+44 (0)1382 384760


I started out in laboratories in the UK (Aberdeen), Canada (UBC, Vancouver) and the US (MBL, Woods Hole) that subscribed to a concept known as the “August Krogh Principle” which states that many processes contributing to human disease can be studied using organisms with naturally evolved defences to extreme conditions. For example, we studied how fish tolerate the very low oxygen levels in the Amazon River through to freeze tolerance and hibernation in freshwater frogs and turtles. This work was (and still is) relevant to several areas of medicine such as the action of anaesthetics, the preservation of organs for transplant, understanding why organs fail during heart-attack or stroke, how fuel use is regulated during periods of feast and famine and how cancerous tumours grow despite little access to nutrients or oxygen.

Many of the same processes that enable survival of harsh conditions, perhaps surprisingly, also influence organ development in pregnancy.  I study how these processes influence the precisely balanced branch-like growth of the respiratory tree and promote the formation of lung defects in diseases such as Tuberous Sclerosis, Birt-Hogg-Dubé syndrome and Cystic Fibrosis. You can find out more about these research interests at


I mainly teach within the Biomedical Degree Programme which includes BSc degrees in Biomedical Sciences, Neurosciences, Pharmacology and Physiological Sciences. Although my teaching areas are diverse, I have specialist interest in human epithelial biology and disease, respiration, human adaptation to extreme environments and the origins of science. Outside the School of Life Sciences, I teach in the Foundations of Medicine, Respiratory Pharmacology and Gastrointestinal Medicine courses delivered to early years medical and dental students. As part of my international recruitment role, I enjoy giving interactive science outreach talks at schools and universities in the Middle East and elsewhere.


Award Year
School of Life Sciences Awards / Chancellor's Award for outstanding achievement in contributions to teaching at the University of Dundee 2021
Chancellor's Award / Chancellor's Award for outstanding achievement in contributions to teaching at the University of Dundee 2021
Student nominated Award for Teaching & Impact on the Student Experience 2019
National Sciences Prizes awarded since 1990 / Fellow of the Physiological Society 2019
Teaching Award for Good Practice / (Highly Commended) 2016