Claire Garden

Claire Garden

Dr Claire Garden MRSB SFHEA

Senior Lecturer, Teaching Fellow


Education, training and employment: After gaining an MBiochem degree at the University of Bath with neuroscience placements at both University College London and Wake Forest University (NC USA), I went on to complete a CASE PhD studentship in Molecular Neuroscience at the MRC Centre for Synaptic Plasticity at the University of Bristol sponsored by GlaxoSmithkline. This led to postdoctoral work and a Teaching Fellowship at the University of Bristol in the Anatomy and Pharmacology departments before my appointment as a lecturer at Edinburgh Napier University in 2007, when I achieved Fellowship of the Higher Education Academy. I was promoted to Senior Lecturer and Subject Group Leader in Biomedical Sciences & Microbiology in 2013 and I became Head of Life Sciences in May 2017 with strategic responsibility for over 50 academic staff and in the region of 700 students, alongside teaching and research. During this time the Biomedical and Biological Sciences degrees achieved high levels of student satisfaction in the NSS (up to 100%), and I led the accreditation of all of our undergraduate degrees (RCVS and RSB). This is a rotational post that I left in August 2018 after six years of leadership responsibility. I represent the University at Heads of University Biosciences and Scottish Lifescience Association meetings. I was awarded Senior Fellowship of the Higher Education Academy in 2016, when I also became a Member of the Royal Society of Biology.

Skills: Effective leadership, capacity building, mentorship, line management and coaching. Curriculum design, development and enhancement, accreditation and quality assurance. Research student supervision.

Research: I trained in molecular and developmental neuroscience research and now focus on pedagogical research. At the moment I am particularly interested in gamification of the curriculum to improve student engagement, and the use of a modified Lego Serious Play methodology to encourage reflection and deep learning of threshold concepts in biology. I am also investigating the impact of this method on students' creativity and social interaction in the classroom. I am currently seeking funding and collaborators for these projects.

Teaching: I currently teach on Pharmacology and Cell Biology modules at undergraduate and postgraduate level and am involved in a number of postgraduate research projects. I am module leader for the Scientific Enquiry and Honours Project undergraduate biological sciences modules. I have an ongoing interest in skills development for employability in the biological sciences.


Advisory panels and expert committees or witness

  • Scottish Lifescience Association Higher Education Special Interest Group
  • Scottish Lifesciences Association HR SIG
  • Member of the Heads of Universities Biosciences


Conference Activity

  • Life of Learning: Engaging Students in Learning, Teaching and Assessment in the School of Applied Sciences
  • BNA 2015 Festival of Neuroscience: Delayed cerebellar development as a result of in utero androgen hyper-exposure.


External Examining/Validations

  • External Examiner DeMontfort University Biomedical Sciences Undergraduate suite


Fellowships and Awards

  • Fellow Higher Education Academy
  • Member of the Royal Society of Biology
  • Senior Fellow Higher Education Academy


Grant Reviewer

  • Member of Carnegie Trust Panel of Assessors


Invited Speaker

  • Student-Centred Lifelong Employability for a Future-Proof Workforce
  • Employability, Laboratory Skills and Competencies at Edinburgh Napier University
  • Abertay University: Fetal Programming: Only from the Neck Down?


Public Engagement Activity

  • Wellcome Trust Edinburgh International Film Festival Ideas Lab June 2015
  • Tweedlove Festival June 2015


Public/Community Engagement

  • STEM Marketplace (Raising Aspirations in Science Education project)
  • STEM Ambassador
  • S4 St Augustine's Outreach visit



  • Reviewer HEA STEM Conference 2017
  • Panel Member: Edinburgh Napier University Teaching Fellow Grants Committee
  • Reviewer Global Journal of Health Sciences
  • Reviewer Toxicology Letters


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