Birgitta Mc Ewen

Publicerad: 30 Mar 2022
Reading time: ca

Title: PhD, Associate professor
Department: Department of Health Sciences
Phone: +46(0)8 - 587 516 67
ORCID: 0000-0002-4984-2415
Dessertation year: 1994
Thesis: Protochlorophyll(ide) and Chlorophyll(ide) Forms in Epicotyls, Hypocotyls, and Roots of Dark-Grown Plants

About me

My background is as a biologist and science educator. I defended my thesis in 1994 with a cellular inspired dissertation, and I was an associate professor in science education in 2016. In my CV is also a degree from The Swedish School of Sport and Health Sciences, Stockholm. I have always had an interest in health maintenance, physical exercise, and outdoor life, and have during the last years been more and more engaged in education about the human body. During the last ten years at my former place of work, Karlstad University, I was employed at the Health Science department. Since January 2022, I am working at the Swedish Red Cross University with, in the first place, courses in medicine plus degree projects at ground and advanced levels. From August 2022, I will be responsible for the medicine subject at the university.

Research profile

During the last 15-16 years, I have been engaged in a couple of science education research projects, encompassing, for example, gender issues and female students´ career choices. Especially, I have been engaged in adult science education and have studied teachers´ views of new education contents and new pedagogical models. About ten years ago I encountered the new rapidly evolving research field of epigenetics and was very excited about its consequences, not only for the biology field but also for a range of other subjects. In 2016, together with two colleagues I was awarded a research project from the Swedish Research Council about how to implement epigenetics at school (2017-2021; 5 million SEK). The review about epigenetics, which was published in September 2021 (see below), is an outcome of the project and shows that most of the research about epigenetics is from the medicine field. Besides analyzing data from the project, I hope to be able to deepen into the epigenetics field, and to have the possibility to discuss epigenetics with the students.

Brief facts

  • Project about epigenetics financed by the Swedish Research Council (2017-202; 5 million SEK).
  • Have been responsible for writing research applications, which has resulted in projects encompassing 21 million SEK.
  • Have published 22 scientific articles (of which two are proceedings in books after research conferences), three book chapters plus 30 reviewed conference publications. Another handful manuscripts from the epigenetics project are in progress.
  • Will be responsible for the medicine part of the education at the Swedish Red Cross University College in August 2022.
  • Have written one chapter in the magazine Fascinerande forskning [Fascinating Research], published by Uppsala University (2018). The magazine (14 000 examples) was distributed to all lower and upper secondary schools in Sweden, plus to the adult education.
  • Have been nominated as the best teacher at Karlstad University (1998).


  • Mc Ewen, B. Construction of a Review about Epigenetics for Biology Teachers and Other Non-Experts. Science & Education (published online 2021-09-07).
  • Raaijmakers, H., Mc Ewen, B., Walan, S., & Christenson, N. (2021). Developing museum-school partnerships: Art-based exploration of science issues in the third space. International Journal of Science Education, 43(17), 2746-2768.
  • Nyberg, E., Castéra, J., Mc Ewen, B., Gericke, N., & Clément, P. (2020). Teachers’ and student teachers’ attitudes towards nature and the environment – A comparative study between Sweden and France. Scandinavian Journal of Educational Research, 64(7), 1020-1104.
  • Mc Ewen, B. (2018). Epigenetics gives new knowledge about learning – the example physical education. In Finlayson, O., McLoughlin, E., Erduran, S., & Childs, P. (Eds.), Electronic Proceedings of the ESERA 2017 Conference. Research, Practice and Collaboration in Science Education, Part 2 (co-ed. Tytler, R., & Carvalho, G. S.), (pp. 367-374). Dublin, Ireland: Dublin City University. ISBN 978-1-873769-84-3
  • Walan, S. & Mc Ewen, B. (2018). Students’ reflections on participation in a science and technology school competition. In Finlayson, O., McLoughlin, E., Erduran, S., & Childs, P. (Eds.), Electronic Proceedings of the ESERA 2017 Conference. Research, Practice and Collaboration in Science Education, Part 2 (co-ed. Tytler, R., & Carvalho, G. S.), (pp. 273-282). Dublin, Ireland: Dublin City University. ISBN 978-1-873769-84-3
  • Walan, S. & Mc Ewen, B. (2018). Teachers’ and principals’ reflections on student participation in a school science and technology competition. Research in Science & Technological Education, 36(4), 391-412.
  • Walan, S., Nilsson, P., & Mc Ewen, B. (2017). Why Inquiry? – Primary teachers´ objectives in choosing inquiry- and context-based instructional strategies to stimulate students´ science learning. Research in Science Education, 47(5), 1055-1074.
  • Walan, S. & Mc Ewen, B. (2017). Primary teachers’ reflections on inquiry- and context-based science education. Research in Science Education, 47(2), 407-426.
  • Walan, S., Mc Ewen, B., & Gericke, N. M. (2016). Enhancing primary science: An exploration of teachers’ own ideas of solutions to challenges in inquiry- and context-based teaching. Education 3-13 (International Journal of Primary, Elementary and Early Years Education), 44(1), 81-92.
  • Mc Ewen, B. (2015). Epigenetics and learning. Trends in Neuroscience and Education, 4, 108-111.
  • Mc Ewen, B., Clément, P., Gericke, N. M., Nyberg, E., Hagman, M. & Landström, J. (2015). Female and male teachers’ pro-environmental behaviour, conceptions and attitudes towards nature and the environment do not differ: Ecofeminism put to the test. Asia-Pacific Forum on Science Learning and Teaching, 16(1), article 3.
  • Mc Ewen, B. (2013). How Interests in Science and Technology have taken Women to an Engineering Career. Asia-Pacific Forum on Science Learning and Teaching, 14(1), article 1.
  • Mc Ewen, B. (2008). An experiment on Impatiens New Guinea for 11-12 year olds. Journal of Biological Education, 42(4), 177-179.
  • Mc Ewen, B. (2007). Easy growth experiment on peas stimulates interest in biology for 10-11 year old pupils. Journal of Biological Education, 41(2), 84-88.
  • Weyers, J.D.B., Höglund, H.-O., & Mc Ewen, B. (1998). Teaching botany on the sunny side of the tree. Promoting investigative studies in plant ecophysiology through observations and experiments on sun and shade leaves. Journal of Biological Education, 32(3), 181-190.
  • Rova, M., Mc Ewen, B., Fredriksson, P.-O., & Styring, S. (1996). Photoactivation and photoinhibition are competing in a mutant of Chlamydomonas reinhardtii lacking the 23 kDa extrinsic subunit of photosystem II. Journal of Biological Chemistry 271, 28918-28924.
  • Mc Ewen, B., Seyyedi, M., Younis, S., & Sundqvist, C. (1996). Formation of short-wavelength chlorophyll(ide) after brief irradiation is correlated to the occurrence of protochlorophyll(ide)636-642 in dark-grown epi- and hypocotyls of bean (Phaseolus vulgaris). Physiologia Plantarum 96, 51-58.
  • Virgin, H.I., & Mc Ewen, B. (1995). Effect of 5-aminolevulinic acid on the pigment content of dark-grown hypocotyls of Phaseolus vulgaris. Physiologia Plantarum 93, 328-333.
  • Böddi, B., Mc Ewen, B., Ryberg, M., & Sundqvist, C. (1994). Protochlorophyllide forms in non-greening epicotyls of dark-grown pea (Pisum sativum). Physiologia Plantarum 92, 160-170.
  • Mc Ewen, B., Sundqvist, C., & Younis, S. (1994). Protochlorophyll(ide) forms in hypocotyls of dark-grown bean (Phaseolus vulgaris). Physiologia Plantarum 90, 396-407.
  • Mc Ewen, B., & Lindsten, A. (1992). Characterization of protochlorophyllide and protochlorophyllide esters in roots of dark-grown plants. Physiologia Plantarum 84, 343-350.
  • Mc Ewen, B., Virgin, H.I., Böddi, B., & Sundqvist, C. (1991). Protochlorophyll forms in roots of dark-grown plants. Physiologia Plantarum 81, 455-461.