Dr Suzanne Barr - Clinical Research

What course do you teach on and what is your role?

Suzanne BarrMRes Clinical Research (Senior Clinical Teaching Fellow). I am the pathway and module lead for ‘Human Nutrition’ on the MRes Clinical Research programme and co-module lead for our Research Project module, as well as teaching on all combined pathway modules on the MRes programme. I also contribute to other nutrition related teaching within the Faculty of Medicine.

How has your career led you to teach?

I qualified as a Registered Dietitian over 15 years ago and while working in a clinical setting I found I really enjoyed teaching, for example patient education groups, staff nutrition training or guiding and teaching student and newly qualified dietitians. Later alongside my PhD, I lectured and taught several practical sessions to undergraduate and postgraduate nutrition students and it was probably then that I realised how much I enjoyed teaching. For several years following completion of my PhD, I combined clinical work, research and teaching, however since reducing my hours after having a family, I now focus mainly on teaching, while also being involved in research to a lesser extent by supervising some of our MRes Human Nutrition research projects. I previously taught at two other Higher Education Institutions before joining Imperial College in 2011 where I taught on and later led the MSc in Preventive Cardiology programme, before moving to my current post for the MRes Clinical Research programme in 2018.

What aspect of the course do you enjoy teaching the most?

I enjoy so many aspects of teaching, but particularly enjoy small-group teaching and practical sessions. For example, we have several interactive sessions within our MRes Clinical Research programme, including ethics and grant writing workshops where students work as a team to tackle ‘real-life’ research scenarios. We also run a practical session on body composition which is always good fun for the students to have a hands-on go with some equipment!

What do you hope your students will go on to achieve on completion of this course? 

I hope the students go on to achieve whatever career ambition they aspire to, and I hope that we can help to equip them with the skills and confidence as clinical researchers to achieve that! We reviewed our curriculum in 2018 and have added many more real-life, transferrable, practical skills and scenarios where we hope students will gain valuable experience for their future careers. I also hope the students enjoy our programme and make life-long friendships and collaborations along the way!

What is your favorite part about teaching at Imperial College London?

Despite having been employed at Imperial College for 10 years now, I am still slightly in awe of the world-leading research and teaching that is undertaken here. It is inspiring to see some of the collaborations that are undertaken in our Faculty and the wider College and more often than not, it is great to see that students are so involved at every stage of the research process. This offers them the ‘real’ research and hands-on learning experience that many of our MRes Clinical Research students hope to immerse themselves in. Teaching support has also gained momentum in recent years and I have gained valuable learning opportunities and support from the Imperial College Education Development Unit, for example I am shortly due to complete a MEd degree in University Learning and Teaching, which aims to directly enhance our everyday teaching and in turn improves the student experience.