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

I teach on the MSc Reproductive and Developmental Biology and I am the Course Co-Director, with a major responsibility for curriculum development.

How has your career led you to teaching?

I completed my PhD in Human Preimplantation Embryo Development in 1991 at what was then called The Royal Postgraduate Medical School. This institution was based on the Hammersmith Campus and became part of Imperial College in 1997. After a few years as a Postdoc I became a Lecturer and was immediately given the task of developing and organizing the MSc in Human Reproductive Biology, which was the predecessor of the current MSc Reproductive and Developmental Biology. I had no formal training in education, but I and a wonderful group of interested colleagues put together a course that covered endocrinology, human embryo development, pregnancy, parturition and assisted reproduction. We developed a series of lectures and provided lab-based projects – and we had a very successful MSc Course! I loved designing and giving lectures and got good feedback from the students. As a result, I was invited to sit on education committees and take on leadership roles. I enjoy these roles, but my favourite activity is teaching and being with students, seeing them develop their knowledge and skills.

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

That’s a very difficult question! I enjoy everything that I teach, and I get a real buzz out of making a particular biological process understandable. I do this mainly by building up diagrams or drawings – all the drawings that you see in my lectures are drawn by me. A lot of thought and effort goes into these drawings – I am a great believer in the adage that a picture is worth a thousand words.

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

I would like my students to fulfil their dreams, whether it is becoming a clinical embryologist or carrying out a PhD, or deciding that they want to do something totally different. I hope that this course will equip them with the skills they need to have a fulfilling career. Knowledge is important, but much can now be found online. What needs more practice is how to find and access knowledge and, most importantly, how to critically assess the quality of the information, whether it is sound, robust and based on good quality science. There is a lot of bad quality and misleading science out there! Furthermore, we want our students to be develop confidence in presenting their findings, and learn how to gather, analyse and interpret data.

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

The excitement of playing a role in education at a world class university, meeting and learning from other educators and interacting with students. Teaching is the best way to learn!