Medical Genetics

Medical Genetics

University Teacher Dr. Leah Marks

Dr Leah Marks
University Teacher
School of Medicine, Dentistry & Nursing
Academic Medical Genetics & Pathology
Room L2/B/118, Laboratory Medicine Building
Queen Elizabeth University Hospital

Tel: 0141 357 4177

University Teacher in Medical Genetics

My main role as a University Teacher is within the MSc Medical Genetics, a long established and highly successful programme which attracts between 25-40 students per year, a large number of whom are international. In this context I teach through a variety of methods including lectures, problem based learning, small group tutorials, laboratory classes and one-to-one. I have a wide range of interests in teaching, in particular with respect to support of international students and using technology to enhance teaching and learning.

As well as the MSc, I also have a significant role within the Undergraduate MBChB programme. I have been the BMedSci (Women's and Children's Health) Deputy Course Coordinator since session 09/10. As part of this role I supervise students research projects in a variety of areas. in recent years, student projects I have supervised have included: 'Variants of Unknown Significance in Gastric and Breast Cancers' and 'Temporal and Spatial Distribution of Matrix Metalloproteinase 2 and its Role in the Pathogenesis of Preeclampsia'.

I am Year 1 MBChB block coordinator for 'Keeping People Healthy' an integrated Development and Public Health block. This block has run for the first time in session 2012/13 and I was heavily involved in the development and planning stages as well as being responsible for its overall implementation.

Additionally, within Medical Genetics I coordinate two SSCs for Undergraduate Medical Students; Screening Programmes in Medical Genetics (2nd Year) and Medical Genetics (3rd Year) and am an advisor of studies for students from Years 1-5 on the MBChB programme.

I am the lead academic on the course ‘Cancer in the 21st Century: The Genomic Revolution' - the University of Glasgow's first MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) which ran in May-June 2014 and attracted over 7500 registrations from over 40 countries.

Best Postgraduate Teaching Team Winners 2014

The MSc in Medical Genetics Teaching Staff were winners in the 2014 UK-wide  Prospects Postgraduate Awards for the category of Best Postgraduate Teaching Team (Science, Technology & Engineering), to recognise and reward excellence and good practice. This is the second year running that the team have reached the finals.


I have been a Fellow of the Institute for Learning and Teaching in Higher Education since 2008. Recent educational research presentations (journal, oral and poster) are listed below.

April 2009

Oral presentation: University of Glasgow Learning and Teaching Conference

Experiences in supporting international students during their studies in the UK

(Leah Marks & Maria Jackson)

June 2010

Poster Presentation: University of Glasgow Learning and Teaching Conference

Impact of an online tutorial on postgraduate students' literature research skill

(Leah Marks, Maria Jackson, Douglas Marks and Douglas Wilcox)

March 2011

Oral Presentation: University of Glasgow MBChB Facilitators Meeting

Problem Based Learning: A different context

(Leah Marks & Maria Jackson)

June 2012

Oral Presentation: MVLS Annual Conference in Educational Scholarship

Student Experience of an MSc Course Assessed by Peer Review

(Leah Marks)

December 2012

Journal article published in OERJ

Does use of touch screen computer technology improve classroom engagement in children?

Marks, D; Laxton, T; McPhee, I; Cremin, L; Sneider, A; & Marks, L.

Link to article

Study Summary

Many studies have shown that the use of technology in the classroom may influence pupil engagement. Despite the recent widespread use of tablet technology, however, very little research has been carried out into their use in a primary school setting. We investigated the use of tablet computers, specifically Apple's 'iPad',  in an upper primary school setting with regard to children's engagement. Cognitive, emotional and general engagement was higher in lessons based on iPads than those which were not. There was no difference in behavioral engagement. Of particular significance was the increase in engagement seen in boys, which resulted in their engagement levels increasing to levels comparable to those seen in girls. These findings suggest that tablet technology has the potential as a tool in the classroom setting.

February 2013

Invited speaker at European Conference of International Schools, 2013

'How Do We Know It's Effective?' A Research-based approach to studying the effects of technology in the classroom

(Leah Marks and Douglas Marks)

May 2013

Journal article published in HEA Bioscience Education Journal

Student Experience of Peer Assessment on an MSc Programme

(Leah Marks and Maria Jackson)

Ongoing Studies

'Does assessed reflection promote greater student engagement with feedback?'

(Leah Marks and Maria Jackson)

Summary of Study

Feedback on students' work is an area which is increasingly highlighted in relation to student satisfaction. Feedback can take various forms, and can be either formative or summative. However it is not always clear what students actually do with the feedback they are given and how effective this is in helping them to improve their performance. It is important to gain insight into how students use feedback and whether there are any strategies that can be used to help them engage more effectively with the feedback that they are given.

'Student Expectations of MSc/PhD study'

(Leah Marks, Maria Jackson, Alison Parrett and Emilie Combet)

Summary of Study

We aim to investigate the expectations of students prior to beginning either a taught masters programme (MSc) in Medical Genetics or Human Nutrition or a PhD in the School of Medicine through asking them to complete an online questionnaire. This is a vital area to investigate as it is necessary to determine if there are differences between the expectations and the actual experience in this group of students. Targeting areas where expectations and experience are inconsistent can only be possible once these are identified. The implications of this study relate not only to our own situation but much further afield, with postgraduate taught and research students likely to continue to constitute one of the largest growth areas of UK higher education in coming years. How we manage the expectations and experience of these students will remain one of  our biggest challenges.


Marks, L., Zamudio, S and Lyall, F.(2002)  MMP-9 expression is abnormal in placentae at high altitude: A link to chronic hypoxia. Hypertension in Pregnancy;21:111-111

Lyall, F., Marks, L., Cousins, F. & Duffie, E. (2004a) MMP-2 is temporally and spatially expressed in placentae throughout pregnancy. Journal of the Society for Gynecologic Investigation, 11, 85.

Lyall, F., Marks, L., Cousins, F. & Duffie, E. (2004b) MMP-9 is temporally and spatially expressed in placentae throughout pregnancy: Possible roles in invasion, tissue restructuring and vascular modelling. Journal of the Society for Gynecologic Investigation, 11, 440.

Lyall, F., Marks, L., Duffie, E., Cousins, F. & Zamudio, S. (2004c) Endothelial activation and E-selectin concentrations in the maternal circulation of high altitude pregnancies. Journal of the Society for Gynecologic Investigation, 11, 566.

Lyall, F., Newby, D., Marks, L., Cousins, F. & Duffie, L. (2004d) Villous explant culture: Evaluation of outgrowth in relation to measured oxygen concentrations. Placenta, 25, A60-A60.

Lyall, F., Newby, D., Marks, L. & Duffie, L. (2004e) Villous explant studies: A quantitative analysis of outgrowth in low and high oxygen concentrations. Journal of the Society for Gynecologic Investigation, 11, 634.

Newby, D., Marks, L., Cousins, F., Duffie, E. & Lyall, F. (2005a) Villous explant culture: Characterization and evaluation of a model to study trophoblast invasion. Hypertension in Pregnancy, 24, 75-91.

Newby, D., Marks, L. & Lyall, F. (2005b) Dissolved oxygen concentration in culture medium: Assumptions and pitfalls. Placenta, 26, 353-357.

Marks, L. & Lyall, F. (2005a) HIF-1a is temporally and spatially expressed in the placenta throughout pregnancy. Journal of the Society for Gynecologic Investigation, 12, 439.

Marks, L., McCaig, D., Cousins, F., Roberts, J. & Lyall, F. (2005b) Uncomplicated pregnancy and spontaneous miscarriage: The role of PECAM-1
in the placenta and placental bed. Placenta, 26, P803.

Marks, L., Zamudio, S., Cousins, F., Duffie, E. & Lyall, F. (2006a) Endothelial activation and cell adhesion molecule concentrations in
pregnant women living at high altitude. Journal of the Society for Gynecologic Investigation, 13, 399-403.

McCaig, D., Marks, L., Newby, D. & Lyall, F. (2006b) Effects of hypoxia & reoxygenation on expression of heme-oxygenase 1 protein in vitro. Hypertension in Pregnancy, 25, 49-49