Medical Genetics

Dr Leah Marks

Lecturer in Medical Genetics

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

Tel: 0141 354 9457

Lecturer 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. I am also Programme Director for the newly established MSc Genetic and Genomic Counselling. 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 student research projects in a variety of areas.

I am Year 1 MBChB block coordinator for 'Keeping People Healthy' an integrated Development and Public Health block. I was heavily involved in the development and planning stages of this teaching block and am responsible for its implementation each year.

Additionally, I coordinate five SSCs for Undergraduate Medical Students; Screening Programmes in Medical Genetics (2nd year), Medical Genetics (3rd year), Cancer in the 21st Century (3rd year), ‘MOOCs in Medical Education’ (4th year) and ‘MOOC Creation In Medical Education’ (4th year) and am the deputy coordinator of the SSC programme for the Medical School.

I am also an advisor of studies for students from Years 1-5 on the MBChB programme.

I am the joint 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 first in May-June 2014 and attracted over 7500 registrations from over 40 countries.

Five subsequent runs of the MOOC have taken the total student enrolments to over 35,000. In collaboration with colleagues from the College of Social Sciences we have produced a review of our experiences of developing Glasgow first two MOOCs. This work was funded by an LTDF grant.

In the past year I have been responsible for the exciting development of two MOOC's as student-educator partnerships. 'So you want to study life science?' and 'Basic First Aid: how to be an everyday hero' which have been extremely well received. The first of these showcases both the life sciences in general and also highlights some of the many areas of excellence here at the University of Glasgow. The First Aid MOOC has allowed students to participate in public engagement in an important area.

I also enjoy science communication and run workshops for early years (P4-7) to engage and challenge children to consider relevant issues in genetics as well, and i have given talks on science careers to secondary school age children. I have also given talks to the 'University of the Third Age' groups on these topics.

Best Postgraduate Teaching Team Winners 2014

Prospects 2014 Winners Logo

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.

In July 2017 myself and my colleague Maria Jackson received the 'Enhancing Student Learning Award' for our 'Closing the Feedback Loop' project at the Herald Higher Education Awards.

Scholarship and Research

I have been a Fellow of the Institute for Learning and Teaching in Higher Education since 2008 and gained Senior Fellowship in June 2016. I now mentor other staff through Glasgow's RET process.

During a recent visit to the University of Adelaide as an Erasmus Scholar I investigated their approach to MOOC pedagogy as well as sharing our own extensive experience. 

Recent educational research presentations (journal, oral and poster) are listed below and a full list can be found at:

Students as Educators:Enhancing Medical Education Through MOOC Creation (2017) Association for Medical Education in Europe (AMEE) Annual Conference 2017, Helsinki, Finland, 26-30 Aug 2017. Marks, L., McFadden, D., Shuttleworth, E. and Glasgow, K.

Students as Educators in MOOCs (2017) 10th Annual University of Glasgow Learning and Teaching Conference, Glasgow, UK, 30 Mar 2017. Marks, L. and Glasgow, K.

Is Peer Review an Appropriate Form of Assessment in a MOOC? (2016) Student Participation and Performance in Formative Peer Review. Sarah E. Meek Louise Blakemore and Leah Marks, Assessment and Evaluation in Higher Education.

What to do with a MOOC?  Using the latest e-learning trend to enhance medical education. (2016) L Marks, Sarah Meek & Maria Jackson. Presentation at HEA Teaching and Learning in Health and Social Care conference, Glasgow

Playing the numbers game: Students as assessors in a MOOC context. (2016) L Marks, Medical Genetics, Sarah Meek, Medical School, Camille Huser. Oral presentation: University of Glasgow Learning and Teaching Conference

Using MOOCs to increase exposure to genomics in an undergraduate medical curriculum.(2016) L. Marks, S. Meek and M. Jackson. European Society for Human Genetics. Poster presentation.

Is peer review an appropriate assessment and feedback tool for a MOOC? (2015) Sarah Meek, L Marks & Louise Blakemore. Oral presentation at AMEE E-learning Symposium, Glasgow.

Plagiarism Detection in MOOC Peer Review. (2015) L. Marks. Oral Presentation at Futurelearn Academic Network

Improving the effectiveness of feedback by use of assessed reflections and withholding of grades. (2015) Jackson, M. and Marks, LAssessment & Evaluation in Higher Education

Building and Executing MOOCS: A practical review of Glasgow’s first two MOOCs. (2015) Kerr, J. Houston, S. Marks, L. Richford, A.

MOOC-ing: expanding educational boundaries -with insights into the Genomic Revolution. (2015) L. Marks. Invited speaker at East Lothian University of the 3rd Age.

The Making of a MOOC: Reflections from the Journey. (2014) Leah Marks, Sarah Meek, Camille Huser and Louise Blakemore. Poster presented at University of Glasgow Learning and Teaching Conference. 

'How Do We Know It's Effective?' (2013) A Research-based approach to studying the effects of technology in the classroom. L Marks & D Marks. Invited speaker at European Conference of International Schools.

Student Experience of Peer Assessment on an MSc. Programme (2013) Leah Marks and Maria Jackson. HEA Bioscience Education Journal.

Does use of touch screen computer technology improve classroom engagement in children? (2012) Marks, D; Laxton, T; McPhee, I; Cremin, L; Sneider, A; & Marks, L. Open Educational Research Journal.  Link to article

Student Experience of an MSc Course Assessed by Peer Review. (2012) L. Marks. Oral Presentation at MVLS Annual Conference in Educational Scholarship

Impact of an online tutorial on postgraduate students' literature research skill (2010) L. Marks, Maria Jackson, Douglas Marks and Douglas Wilcox. Poster Presentation at University of Glasgow Learning and Teaching Conference

Experiences in supporting international students during their studies in the UK (2009) L. Marks & Maria Jackson. Oral presentation at University of Glasgow Learning and Teaching Conference

Current projects:

  • Audio versus written feedback in a PGT programme (LTDF funded study)
  • Students as creators in a MOOC context
  • Blending MOOCs into Medical Education


Previous Publications

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.