Claire Garden

Claire Garden

Dr Claire Garden MRSB SFHEA

Senior Lecturer, Teaching Fellow, Head of Life Sciences


After my first 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 continued 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 student's creativity and social interaction in the classroom. 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. I represent the University at Heads of University Biosciences and Scottish Lifescience Association meetings. 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 was awarded Senior Fellowship of the Higher Education Academy in 2016, when I also became a Member of the Royal Society of Biology.



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


Advisory panels and expert committees or witness

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


Invited Speaker

  • Employability, Laboratory Skills and Competencies at Edinburgh Napier University
  • Student-Centred Lifelong Employability for a Future-Proof Workforce


Conference Activity

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


Public Engagement Activity

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


External Examining/Validations

  • External Examiner DeMontfort University Biomedical Sciences Undergraduate suite


Fellowships and Awards

  • Fellow Higher Education Academy


Public/Community Engagement

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


Current Post Grad projects

Previous Post Grad projects