Professor Edward Tobias
- Professor of Genetic Medicine (Medicine)
Prof Edward Tobias is a (multi-award-winning) educator and researcher in medical genetics and genomics. He is also an (honorary) consultant clinical geneticist in the NHS.
Personal qualifications: BSc (1st class Hons), MBChB, MRCP, PhD (Molecular Biology), FRCP, FHEA.
He currently supervises post-graduate research (into developmental genes) by exomic sequencing, in a formal grant-funded collaboration with the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute. He is also Chief Investigator of an ethically-approved whole genome sequencing (WGS) study & a co-investigator on the £6m CSO/MRC-funded WGS Scottish Genomes Partnership (in addition to the £3.4 MRC/EPSRC Molecular Pathology Node mentioned below). In the past, with a personal MRC Fellowship award, he undertook a PhD in the molecular biology of receptor signalling, followed by post-doctoral research in molecular cancer genetics & bioinformatics. After subsequent training in NHS Clinical Genetics, he won a GSK Senior Clinical Research Fellowship, funding his tumour suppressor gene research, publishing results in Nature Genetics.
Also passionate about teaching & training, & having previously gained Fellowship of the Higher Education Academy, he is lead author of international textbooks, chapters, educational websites and smartphone apps, used worldwide. He is Clinical Director of the MSc in Medical Genetics & Genomics (which has now won UK, Scottish & university awards) as well as the MSc in Genetic and Genomic Counselling. He is also lead for a masters-level cutting-edge practical Clinical Genomics course (with 57 Masters students in 2019) and for multi-award-winning undergraduate MBChB year 3 Genetics teaching. He is currently joint lead of the training workstrand of the £3.4m MRC/EPSRC Glasgow Molecular Pathology Node & joint Clinical Director of the MSc in Molecular Pathology. He has co-created new virtual reality software for the education of bio-medical students. He is also a member of an 2017-award-winning STEM public engagement team and very recently won a teaching award following voting by a class of 300 final-year medical students (May 2018). He is a member of the Scottish Genetics Education Network (ScotGEN) Steering Committee, the European Society of Human Genetics (ESHG) Education Committee and the Medical Genetics and Genomics branch of the European Board of Medical Genetics (EMBG). He is also an invited active participant in the Clinical Genetics and Genomics examination board of the European Union of Medical Specialists. His new educational genetics and genomics website (EuroGEMS.org) has been adopted by the ESHG as their principal online education source and has already been used in over 100 countries.
He enjoys receiving genetics questions from students, on any course - even those questions that a student might think are "daft"!
He is enormously grateful to all of his colleagues in the university and in the NHS, past and present, for all of their invaluable assistance and support.
Prof Tobias is one of the work-strand leaders (and was one of the co-applicants) for the Glasgow Molecular Pathology Node (which received £3.4 million grant funding from the MRC and EPSRC in 2015). He is also the Chief Investigator of the ethically-approved and UK CRN-listed Genetic Investigation of Rare Disorders (exomic and whole genome sequencing) study, with funding from the Wellcome Trust for exomic sequencing and which recently benefited from further substantial funding and an extension until 2022, permitting WGS analysis on cutting-edge HiSeq X machines. He is a co-investigator of the Scottish Genomes Partnership whole genome sequencing project which has been awarded a total of £6 million grant funding by the MRC and Scottish Executive Health Department. Through this work, he aims to maximise the clinical and research benefits of next generation sequencing.
His research group has strong interests in the genetic basis of DSD conditions and Parkinson's disease and he has multiple collaborators, for example at Oxford, at the Sanger Institute, Cambridge, and at London’s Francis Crick Institute. The research of Prof Tobias was included in the university’s Research Excellence Framework (REF) submission, 2014. Please note that the Publications and Grants pages are currently being updated.
Previously, he was awarded an MRC Training Fellowship and won a prestigious 6-year £400,000 GlaxoSmithKline Senior Clinical Fellowship. Subsequent molecular genetic work identifying a new candidate tumour suppressor gene, was graded "Excellent/clearly outstanding" by the Scientific Committee of the Chief Scientist Office. In addition, molecular genetic work in elucidating the parent-of-origin effect in SDHD-related tumourigenesis led to the award of a prize to Prof Tobias from the British Society of Human Genetics. Several other projects have led to the award of prizes to students he has supervised.
Grants and Awards listed are those received whilst working with the University of Glasgow.
- Frequency of disorders of sex development and novel genetic associations in children with neurodevelopmental disorders
Glasgow Children`s Hospital Charity
2016 - 2018
- ISSF Toward universally feasible molecular diagnostics in kidney transplantation through development of novel transcriptomic approaches making use of routine diagnostic tissue
2016 - 2018
- The Scottish Genomes Partnership
Chief Scientist Office
2016 - 2019
- Glasgow Molecular Pathology (GMP) Node
Medical Research Council
2015 - 2019
- Exome Sequencing for the Genetic Diagnosis of Rare Diseases: Fostering a New Working Relationship between the NHS, the University of Glasgow and Glasgow Polyomics (ISSF)
2013 - 2015
- Understanding variability in phenotype, and assessing the risk of serious cardiac events, in women and children with long QT syndrome.
Glasgow Children`s Hospital Charity
2013 - 2015
- Molecular genetic investigation of familial joint instability
Yorkhill Children's Foundation
2007 - 2015
- Molecular genetic analysis of the putative tumour suppressor gene,TES,in human breast cancer
2006 - 2012
- Identification of high-penetrance gene alterations that predispose to familial melanoma in Scottish patients
Scottish Executive Health Department
2006 - 2008
Prof Tobias enjoys teaching and strives to deliver the most up-to-date, interactive and enjoyable teaching to students of all levels. He is a member of the Steering Committee of the Scottish Genetics Education Network (ScotGEN) and is an invited member of the Education Committee of the European Society of Human Genetics(ESHG) and the Medical Genetics and Genomics branch of the European Board of Medical Genetics (EMBG). He is an active participant on the Clinical Genetics and Genomics Examination Board of the European Union of Medical Specialists (UEMS).
Interactive and innovative teaching by Prof Tobias led to him receiving “Best College Teacher Awards” in two consecutive years from the Student Representative Council (SRC), to his personal Teaching Excellence Award from the Principal of the University of Glasgow and to an SRC award for “Best Subject Area” (Medical Genetics) taught at the university.
In addition, in 2014, he and his MSc Medical Genetics teaching colleagues won the 2014 UK Prospects Postgraduate Teaching Team Award and, in 2017, a Herald Scotland Higher Education award, as well as University of Glasgow College-level and University-level Teaching Excellence Awards.
At the undergraduate level, he was also a member (as lead for Genetics) of the Year 3 MBChB teaching team that, in 2017, won a Teaching Excellence Award. He is a member of a 2017-award-winning STEM public engagement team and was honoured to receive another award, from a class of 300 final-year medical students (in May 2018). Please see Additional Information for a list showing other teaching awards received (although it is currently being updated).
INTERNATIONAL TEXTBOOKS & CHAPTERS
Prof Tobias is the lead author of an updated edition of a large medical genetics textbook (Essential Medical Genetics 6th edition; 332 pages) that is in use at Cambridge University and in many countries in Europe, Asia, Australasia and North America. It is currently being translated into five foreign languages. He is also the lead author of another textbook on medical genetics, for specialists, entitled: Medical Genetics for the MRCOG and Beyond, 2nd edition (2014).
He has also published many book chapters including an extensive chapter on the human genome (in the international Handbook of Pharmacogenomics and Stratified Medicine, Elsevier, 2014), a chapter on next generation sequencing (Karger, 2014), a chapter on inherited cancer syndromes (Springer, 2016) and a 60-page chapter on the molecular biology of cancer in an international medical genetics reference book (Principles & Practice of Medical Genetics, Elsevier, 2013).
EDUCATIONAL APPS USED WORLDWIDE
He designed two educational Clinical Genomics apps (for smartphones and tablets) that he has made freely available via the Apple and Android Play Stores and which are now in use in approximately 60 countries worldwide. These apps have been endorsed by clinical and laboratory professionals in many countries as well as by international specialist organisations such as the European Society of Human Genetics (ESHG). The development process of the apps has been published in the open-access journal Applied & Translational Genomics in an invited paper and recently cited as a key reference in a recent article from Oxford and Nairobi on the value of mobile technology for medical education in low-income countries. The apps were shortlisted in the 2017 Herald Higher Education Awards for Scotland, in the Innovation Technology Excellence Award category and currently being expanded.
In September 2019 he published three further educational apps: Inheritance Quiz apps A, B and C, for undergraduate students, on both App Stores.
He has recently created an educational genetics & genomics website that is freely accessible at wwwEuroGEMS.org which has already provided resource guidance to thousands of visitors from over 100 countries. The website was fully endorsed by the ESHG Executive and Board in Milan, June 2018 and has since been adopted by the ESHG as their principal online education source.
REVIEWING & EXTERNAL EXAMINING
He has reviewed documents for many publishers and research grant providers e.g. Elsevier Press, British Medical Journal, Nature.com, Oxford University Press, the Wellcome Trust and the Medical Research Council. He has served as an external examiner and reviewer for postgraduate medical genetics & genomics at Aberdeen, Dundee and Newcastle universities. He is currently external examiner for the PGCert in Clinical Bioinformatics at the University of Manchester and also for the PGCert in Molecular Pathology and Genomic Medicine at the University of Edinburgh. He is now also Educational Advisor for Southampton University.
GENETICS & GENOMICS TEACHING in GLASGOW & BEYOND
At the University of Glasgow, he is the lead for the undergraduate curriculum in medical genetics for MBChB year 3. For that course, he created and delivered a new series of interactive lectures and case-based learning sessions, leading to the multiple awards mentioned above. Please also see Additional Information for award details.
Prof Tobias lectures on several other undergraduate and postgraduate courses at the University of Glasgow. In particular, he is involved, as Clinical Director, in running the internationally renowned and award-winning MSc in Medical Genetics & Genomics course, which attracts a large number of students from all over the world. For that MSc and others, he runs a new 5-week Clinical Genomics (with 57 students for 2019) and practical bioinformatics course. He is also Clinical Director of the new GCRB-accredited MSc in Genetic & Genomic Counselling and joint Clinical Director of the MSc in Molecular Pathology. He is also an educator on the new University of Glasgow Massive Open Online Course (MOOC), Cancer in the 21st Century: The Genomic Revolution, teaching many thousands of students, worldwide.
As mentioned previously, Prof Tobias is enormously grateful to all of his colleagues in the university and in the NHS, past and present, for all of their invaluable assistance.
Professional activities & recognition
Prizes, awards & distinctions
- 2018: Medical student teaching award (Final year GU students)
- 2017: Finalist in the Innovation Technology Excellence award category (Clinical Genomics Apps for Smartphones and Tablets: Edward & Adam Tobias) (Herald Higher Education Awards for Scotland)
- 2017: Winning entry in the Enhancing Student Learning category (Closing the Feedback Loop: Leah Marks, Maria Jackson & Edward Tobias) (Herald Higher Education Awards for Scotland)
- 2017: Poster presentation prize awarded to one of Prof Tobias's post-graduate research students, Dr Gabriella Gazdagh. Co-authors: R McGowan, SF Ahmed, DDD study & ES Tobias (Biotexcel NGS 2017 conference)
- 2017: Team MVLS Teaching Excellence Award (won by the MBChB Year 3 Teaching Team; personal involvement: Lead for Genetics) (College of Medical, Veterinary & Life Sciences)
- 2017: Individual Finalist in SRC Student Teaching Award category: Best College Teacher in MVLS (Student Representative Council, University of Glasgow)
- 2017: Individual Finalist: SRC Student Teaching Award - Best Online Learning Experience (Student Representative Council, University of Glasgow)
- 2016: Team Finalist (University of Glasgow Medical Genetics Teaching Team) (Herald Higher Education Awards for Scotland)
- 2016: Individual Finalist: SRC Student Teaching Award in the category of Outstanding Contribution to Teaching (Student Representative Council, University of Glasgow)
- 2015: Individual Finalist: in SRC Student Teaching Award in the category of Outstanding Contribution to Teaching (Student Representative Council, University of Glasgow)
- 2014: Best Post-graduate Teaching Team (MSc Medical Genetics), Award winners - Manchester (Prospects UK)
- 2014: Winner of SRC Student Teaching Award for "Best College Teacher, MVLS" (Student Representative Council, University of Glasgow)
- 2014: Teaching Excellence Award (from the University Principal; awarded to the MSc Medical Genetics teaching team members) (University of Glasgow)
- 2014: Teaching Excellence Award to the MSc Medical Genetics Teaching Team (College of MVLS)
- 2013: Post-graduate Teaching Team (MSc Medical Genetics), Finalists Award - Manchester (Prospects UK)
- 2013: Research prize to PhD student, Catriona Brown, for her analysis and presentation regarding cardiac causes of sudden death. (Royal Medico-Chirurgical Society of Glasgow)
- 2013: SRC Student Teaching Awards: winner of award for Best College Teacher, MVLS, following detailed nominations from approximately 40 students. (Student Representative Council, University of Glasgow)
- 2012: Teaching Excellence Award, for a Career Distinguished by a Significant and Sustained Commitment to Excellence (University of Glasgow)
- 2012: SRC Student Teaching Award for Best Teacher MVLS (shortlisted) following detailed nominations from approximately 20 students. (Student Representative Council, University of Glasgow)
- 2012: Winner of SRC StudentTeaching Award for Best Subject Area - Medical Genetics. (Student Representative Council, University of Glasgow)
- 2011: Research prize for work on the elucidation of the molecular genetic basis of the SDHD-related parent of origin effect. Annual conference. University of Warwick. (British Society for Human Genetics)
- 2009: Grading of melanoma gene work as Excellent/clearly outstanding by the Chief Scientist Office Scientific Committee. (Scottish Executive Health Department)
- 2008: Prize to a postgraduate student for the analysis of BRCA1 and BRCA2 variants by computational methods. (Scottish Breast Cancer Network Dundee)
- 2007: Prize awarded for molecular genetic work on the role of the TES gene in breast cancer, by another student in Dr Tobias laboratory. (UK Women's Federation)
- 2012: Higher Education Academy
Professional & learned societies
- 2018: Invited member, European Board of Medical Genetics
- 2017: Invited to join (as the sole UK member) the Education Committee of the ESHG, with responsibilty for Educational Materials for that internationally renowned society, European Society of Human Genetics (ESHG)
- 2016: representative for Glasgow University on the ScotGEN Steering Committee, Scottish Genetics Education Network (ScotGEN)
- 2015: Invited to join the COST working group - Action BM1303 (DSDnet), planning pan-European online collaboration regarding clinical research-related NGS results, European Cooperation in Science & Technology (COST)
- 2012: Elected as Member, Association of Physicians of Great Britain & Ireland
- 2004: Elected Fellow, Royal College of Physicians