Dr Lauren Buck

Lauren BuckUniversity Teacher - Human Anatomy

Department of Biomedical Science
The University of Sheffield
Western Bank
Sheffield S10 2TN
United Kingdom

Room: B105 Addison building
Telephone: +44 (0) 114 222 2391
Email: l.buck@sheffield.ac.uk

General

Brief career history

  • 2016–Present: University Teacher, Level 1 Year Tutor.
  • 2013-2016: University Teaching Associate, University of Sheffield.
  • 2012-2013: University Teaching Assistant, University of Sheffield.
  • 2008-2012: PhD student (BBSRC CASE) jointly supervised through the MRC Centre for Developmental and Biomedical Genetics (University of Sheffield), AstraZeneca Safety, Health and Environment (Brixham Environmental Laboratory, Devon) and Safety Assessment UK, AstraZeneca R&D (Alderley Park).
  • 2005-2008: BSc (Hons) Biomedical Science, University of Sheffield.

Research interests

My research has been focussed on the use of the zebrafish as a model organism to identify the unwanted ototoxic effects of compounds at the early pre-clinical stages of drug development. Specifically, the research aimed to assess the comparative translational capability and validity of this model system by using a combination of established histological and novel functional assays. More detailed investigations into the underlying mechanisms of cisplatin-induced hair cell damage were performed to further validate the model, giving rise to a number of potential routes for further exploration.  

Professional activities

  • Fellow of the Higher Education Academy
  • Senate Fellow – Early Career Senate Award (2015)
  • Member of the Anatomical Society.
  • Member of CBMNet.
Research

Research

I am interested in using the zebrafish inner ear and lateral line systems to model compound-induced hearing and balance impairment in humans. My research has investigated the cellular and functional consequences of exposure to medicines that damage the hearing and balance systems as an off-target effect (ototoxins). I am especially interested in the effects of cisplatin (a platinum-based compound used in cancer treatment) and cisplatin-like compounds.

I currently hold a teaching (100%) position within the university but retain a fervent interest in ototoxicity research, particularly concerning the underlying mechanisms of cisplatin-induced hair cell damage and the prevention of cisplatin-induced ototoxicity.

In 2014/15 I acted as Co-PI, supervising two PG Masters Students. The first project was part-funded by Action on Hearing Loss and involved collaboration with the Chemistry department; it focussed on testing newly synthesised photo-activated cisplatin-like compounds for their toxicity, and more specifically, toxicity to hair cells. The second project was tailored to a Taught Masters programme (MSc Molecular Medicine) and was entitled “The zebrafish as a screening tool to identify compounds with protective effects against cisplatin ototoxicity.”

The screening project identified a number of novel protective compounds against cisplatin ototoxicity and further work will be required to validate and characterise these hit compounds and to understand their underlying mechanisms of action.

Learning and Teaching focus (projects):

  • Incorporating enterprise education into the anatomy teaching curriculum. This work has been funded through a USE Enterprise Curriculum Development Grant and the Senate Award for Excellence in Learning and Teaching. The aim of the project is to encourage students to become creative problem-solvers, to apply their academic knowledge to real life situations and to develop skills in managing limited resources.
  • 2014/15 Strategic focus report: Overcoming Challenges in Anatomy Teaching in Response to Increased Student Numbers. Involved survey of 201 Level 2 students.
  • I have recently procured a 3D printer for use in undergraduate teaching and widening participation. I am currently exploring and developing projects and activities focussed on 3D printing technologies, including:
    • A sustainable not-for-profit project involving the creation of anatomically correct 3D models for revision purposes designed by students for students.
    • ‘Print a hand’ outreach activity aimed at students aged 12-14 (email correspondence with Widening Participation Activities Officer and planning in progress).
    • Library projects at Level 3
  • he use of technology in large group teaching scenarios. This work was funded by the Physiological Society. The aim of this work was to develop up-to-date teaching materials in order to enhance the delivery of Physiology laboratory classes for both staff and students. This work involved the production of accessible video resources and interactive web pages to guide students through a variety of practical classes in “Classical Physiology” and facilitate independent learning.

Funding

  • Senate Award Grant (institutional) 2015
  • HEFCE
  • USE/HEIF (Enterprise Curriculum Development Grant)
  • Action on Hearing Loss (previous work 2014/15)
Teaching

I specialise in Anatomy education at undergraduate level. I am interested in the way that students learn and the use of enterprise activities in the learning environment. I am currently working on a project which aims to encourage students to become creative problem-solvers by applying their academic knowledge to real life situations.

Teaching Goals and Future Directions

“Introduction to Human Anatomy” is a 20 credit module that runs throughout the academic year. Students often struggle to retain knowledge acquired in the first semester and additionally have little evidence of how they have used subject specific knowledge to find solutions to real-life problems and communicate their science.

The Organ Donation Project is being developed to meet these requirements. The aim is to enhance student learning by incorporating enterprise and science communication skills into the curriculum, whilst maintaining academic rigour. The focus on Semester 1content creates the opportunity for the revision of previous learning, providing a more coherent module.

The project brief centres on the problem of the lack of registered organ donors in the UK and is posed as both a biomedical and “supply and demand” issue. Students are asked to create a novel, anatomically relevant advertising campaign promoting the donation of a specific organ to a subset of the general public. Students work in groups to plan their campaign, create an innovative advert and pitch their advert to judges. They are also required to submit a succinct application for kick-starter funding.

The project is under continual development. Collaborations have been established with external partners from Diva Creative and Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust. New online support materials have also been developed.

Future plans include assessing student perceptions of the project through focus groups and building on the sustainability of the project and of relationships with external collaborators.

Undergraduate and postgraduate taught modules

Level 1:

  • BMS109 Laboratory Skills in BMS
  • BMS109 Introduction to Organ Systems

Level 2:

  • BMS246 Introduction to Human Anatomy (Coordinator)

Level 3:

  • BMS352 Forensic Anatomy
  • BMS339 Patients as Educators Project
  • BMS349/BMS359 Extended Library Project

Publications

Journal articles

Conference proceedings papers