My brief education and research story so far:
North Somerset comprehensive school*, first generation in my family to go to post-16 school and university. First degree in Zoology at Oxford, UK. PhD in Neurobiology, UCL, UK. Two post-docs in cellular neuroscience and stem cell biology, KCL, UK and Karolinska Institute, Sweden. Appointed as a Neuroscience Lecturer at Imperial College London, UK. Voluntary community work since age 11, paid work since 13.
I am now a senior teaching fellow, deputy senior tutor and College mental health first aider and instructor with a particular interest in welcoming all into the scientific community, normalising awareness and discussions about mental health and supporting colleagues' working terms and conditions.
To sum up my teaching experience and philosophy, I'll use a comment from a student that made me happy, 'she teaches us how to think like a cell biologist'.
*Where I loved my English Literature A level.There's an unhelpful anti-arts and humanities flavour to current Government thinking about education, I don't like it!
Other Significant Activities
Current contributions within the Department of Life Sciences
Cell biology, First year Biochemistry (core course)
Communication skills for life scientists, focused on academic writing, First year Biochemistry and Biological sciences (core course)
Integrative cell biology, Second year Biochemistry (core course)
Stem cells, regeneration and ageing, Final year Biochemistry and Biology (elective course, at times convenor or co-convenor)
Applied Biosciences and Biotechnology, module leader, Postgraduate Masters course
Ad hoc sessions e.g. for Final year undergraduate science communication course
Pastoral support roles in the Department:
Deputy senior tutor for Biochemistry
Within my courses: teacher of university study skills and supporter of school-to-university and university-to-work transitions
Mental Health First Aider (MHFA) and MHFA instructor. I regularly chat with students as well as some staff to discuss their mental health concerns and questions and I can signpost the support that is available and emphasise the hopeful likelihood of recovery from mental ill health. I deliver bespoke sessions on mental health awareness and support across College and I am trained to deliver 4 hour, 1 day and 2 day MHFA England courses and trained in suicide prevention and bereavement support.
Trained in sexual violence support and domestic violence awareness including 'expect respect' workshopping
Continually learning about and trying to be a better ally to minoritized groups of people.
Other Departmental contributions:
First Year Biochemistry year convenor
Member of the Department's teaching committee and a range of ad hoc working groups e.g. on the curriculum.
Trainer and administrator/mentor for DoLS graduate teaching assistants (GTAs)
Contributor to the Life Sciences and College's summer schools
Previous contributions within the Faculty of Natural Sciences (FoNS)
A founder, co-organiser, co-supervisor and mentor for the Faculty student team innovation competition,‘FoNS Make a Difference’
Schools science competition first stage judge and host
Ran lab session for Year 12 school students for Imperial Outreach
Contributed some of my work on peer review of academic writing to a FoNS educational technology day.
Undergraduate research opportunity (UROP) reviewer
Served as invited Member of a FoNS Education Futures Curriculum group
When Faculty Senior Tutor invited onto the following committees: Faculty's Education, Undergraduate Student Staff and Masters Student Staff committees and College's Quality Assurance and Enhancement and student support and wellbeing.
Previous and ongoing contributions beyond Faculty within Imperial College
Invited member of College's Teaching staff career paths and Teaching reward, retention and recognition frameworks working groups
Member of the 'Practioner route' Teaching promotions panel
Invited member of the College Sexual Harassment working group as part of the new College strategy on Equality, Diversity and Inclusion.
Designed and run the Life Sciences and Medicine Global summer school for one hundred 16-17 year old international students
Run a summer science workshop for visiting Sutton Trust students
Serve on Imperial's Transitions Working Groups. These have created online study support resources for undergraduate and Masters students.
Served on the 'task and finish' working group on Doctoral student wellbeing e.g. by helping to develop an online course for supervisors
Contributed to discussions about mental health first aid with personal tutors (e.g. in the Faculty of Medicine)
Contributed to Imperial's internships strategy group
Served as an invited member of the Schools working group as part of College’s Societal Engagement strategy
Took part in a panel discussion and ran a workshop as part of Imperial's Education days
Launched and run a collaborative network of Imperial's 170 Teaching Fellows. This network aims to support the sharing of teaching innovation and best practice as well as career development, scholarship and publication. I Chaired the Board of Teaching Fellows and lead discussions about teaching-focused careers in universities for post-docs.
Invited member of College's Learning and Teaching strategy 'steering group'
Panel member, Making Mental Health Work@Work discussion and Q&A in conjunction with Time to Change
Invited member of the ‘Action Inquiry’ groups which examined and suggested ways to evolve Imperial’s institutional culture
Attended Harassment: Confronting Inappropriate Behaviours and Active Bystander training to signal my willingness to help improve Imperial's working culture
Contribute to joint College Trade Union, HR and Senior Management committees and undertake some UCU casework support.
Trained in Hay Group job evaluations and gradings
Volunteered for English conversation sessions with overseas students and researchers as part of Imperial College's Conversation Project (helps alleviate culture shock and offers informal English language support)
Taught neuroscience to medical students e.g. as part of the intercalated BSc in Neuroscience and mental health
Professional contributions beyond College
Previously, a school link Governor with a focus on advocating for pupils with special educational needs and families facing a range of challenges and disadvantages who are in receipt of pupil premium funding. Recently recruited to be the Chair of a school's local advisory board (similar to a board of governors) with strategic overview of its school improvement plan.
Working with Public Health Lambeth to help train mental health first aiders and wellbeing 'champions' in the community
Supporting urban biodiversity alongside Lambeth council and community organisations. Becoming trained in social and therapeutic horticulture.
Invited speaker on HE teaching:
'Career paths in academia' at the PhD and Post-docs's careers day, King's College London, September 2016
‘Peer review with first year students (and transition support)’ at the Heads of University Biosciences sponsored workshop on, 'Assessments that reward learning and feedback that builds resilient students'. January 2016
Career paths in academia: what are my options? Naturejobs Career Expo, September 2014 (followed up on Twitter)
My reflections on widening participation from within a highly selective University, Brilliant Club conference, July 2014, University Perspectives Panel
Career paths in academia: Teaching-focused choices Society for Experimental Biology, June 2014
Guardian Higher Education Network Live chat, 'rethinking the teaching and research balance', November 2011
STEM Outreach, widening access and participation, public engagement and STEM careers support
Most in own time, many as STEMNET London Ambassador, others as an invited volunteer e.g. with Inspiring the future, City Islington College and the Big Bang Festival. These events include: University STEM career networking events, after school science clubs, science fairs, xmas lectures I'm a scientist online, summer school events, University interview practice, developing STEM educational resources, community festivals and FunPalaces.
Previous and ongoing professional activities beyond College:
External examiner, Queen Mary University of London
Invited reviewer and Associate editor for Bioscience Horizons (Journal of international undergraduate bioscience research), invited reviewer for Japan Society for the promotion of science and textbook reviewer for Garland Science
Worked with one of the 'big four' audit firms to better support transition, mental health and resilience. This may lead to further work based around a discussion of modern working practices
Served as Director of the Parent Promoters Foundation (Elmgreen's Foundation body) at The Elmgreen School (a community comprehensive school), London, SE27 9BZ November. Aim: To work in partnership with the school, parents and the wider community to improve outcomes for all Elmgreen's children
Director of We Rise at its launch, We Rise is a social enterprise based in South London that aims to empower young people to create their own futures through authentic project-based work experiences.
I share information about pedagogy and mental health on Twitter as @ani2tall (using Twitter less these days)
I have been trained in Gender equality Outreach by the Fawcett Society to educate the next generation of gender equality champions.
Student Academic Choice Award nominations: Best Innovation, Best Tutoring and Best student support, March 2017 (1/6 Shortlistees for Best Innovation), Imperial student-led awards
President's Award for Excellence in Teaching
May 2015 staff student awards
''Consistent evidence of sustained good practice, very student-centred and a well-informed teacher who is appreciated by both staff and students. Very strong, supportive references also doing good work with the Teaching Fellow network to promote learning & teaching good practice'' (President's Award Reviewers' panel). ''Has inspired 100s of students to try research'', President's Award ceremony.
Faculty of Natural Sciences Prize for Excellence in Teaching
May 2015 'Anita is an effective, hard-working teacher who is much appreciated by the students on the UG and Masters programmes. Her approach to teaching is reflective and innovative. Her deep thinking about student learning shows throughout her approach to teaching, whether it is in the lecture theatre, the practical lab or small group tutorials. An excellent departmental citizen, Anita has always been willing to share her good teaching practices with other staff through our termly workshops. Anita also serves as the departmental careers adviser, and has worked to support the school-to-university transition for our first year students. She has also introduced elements of mental health support in a sensitive and caring way as part of her teaching.' FoNS Teaching Committee, 2015
Student Academic Choice Award nominations: Best Undergraduate teaching and Best student support, January 2015, Imperial student-led awards
Faculty of Natural Sciences Award for Excellence in Teaching
Imperial College London, June 2013
Students' nomination for Rector's Excellence in Pastoral Care Award, April 2013
HFSP Long-term Fellowship
Human Frontier Science Program, December 2001
Karolinska Institute Fellowship
Karolinska Institutet, December 2000
Continuing professional development
I have completed a Postgraduate Diploma in University Learning and Teaching run by Imperial’s Educational Development Unit and I regularly attend their workshops and seminars. My research topics included intellectual risk aversion and unhealthy perfectionism. I attend teaching conferences and use MOOCs, books and online education networks to learn more and try to improve my practice in aspects of teaching and learning such as assessment, problem-based learning, inclusivity, advocacy, gamification, reflective learning, course design, public engagement, transition support, informal learning and bioethics
et al., 2009, Liver X Receptors and Oxysterols Promote Ventral Midbrain Neurogenesis In Vivo and in Human Embryonic Stem Cells, Cell Stem Cell, Vol:5, ISSN:1934-5909, Pages:409-419
et al., 2009, The extracellular domain of Lrp5/6 inhibits noncanonical Wnt signaling in vivo., Mol Biol Cell, Vol:20, Pages:924-936
et al., 2008, Wnt5a regulates ventral midbrain morphogenesis and the development of A9-A10 dopaminergic cells in vivo., Plos One, Vol:3
et al., 2008, Identification of midbrain floor plate radial glia-like cells as dopaminergic progenitors., Glia, Vol:56, Pages:809-820
et al., 2007, Microarray analyses support a role for Nurr1 in resistance to oxidative stress and neuronal differentiation in neural stem cells, Stem Cells, Vol:25, ISSN:1066-5099, Pages:511-519