School of Medical Education

Staff Profile

Dr Iain Keenan

Lecturer in Anatomy



  • Lecturer in Anatomy, School of Medical Education, Newcastle University (2015-present)
  • Teaching Fellow in Anatomy, School of Medical Education, Newcastle University (2012-2015) Academic teaching and scholarship position involving lecturing and delivering practical sessions in gross anatomy, histology and embryology for MBBS, BMS and BDS degree programmes, pedagogic research in anatomical and medical education.
  • Senior Postdoctoral Research Associate, Institute of Genetic Medicine, Newcastle University (2010-2012) British Heart Foundation funded postdoctoral research fellowship investigating the role of Wnt planar cell polarity signalling and Rac1 in the regulation of vertebrate cardiovascular development.
  • Postdoctoral Research Fellow, University of St Andrews (2007-2008) Industrially funded research project investigating the regulation of gene expression by insulin-like growth factor signalling in muscle growth.
  • Postdoctoral Research Fellow, University of Dundee (2004-2007) Cancer Research UK fellowship investigating fibroblast growth factor and mitogen-activated protein kinase signalling in the regulation of gene expression in vertebrate development and cancer.
  • PhD Student, University of York (2000-2003) BBSRC studentship involving studying the regulation of Cdx gene expression by fibroblast growth factor and Wnt signalling in head to tail patterning during vertebrate development.


  • PhD, Biology, University of York (2004)
  • BSc (Hons), Biology, University of York (2000)
  • Masters in Medical Education (2016)
  • Postgraduate Diploma in Clinical Education (2015)
  • Postgraduate Certificate in Clinical Education, Merit (2014)
  • Postgraduate Certificate of Advanced Studies in Academic Practice Modules 1 and 2 (2013)
  • Newcastle Teaching Award (2013)

Areas of expertise

  • Anatomy teaching
  • Anatomy education research

Anatomical Society: Iain has been a member of the Anatomical Society Council since December 2015. He is currently Website Management Officer and Social Media Editor for the Anatomical Society and is a member of the Society membership and meetings committees. 

Higher Education Academy: Iain has achieved Fellow of the Higher Education Academy status, having achieved Descriptors 1 and 2 of the UKPSF (United Kingdom Professional Standards Framework). 

 Society Memberships

  • Anatomical Society
  • Association for the Study of Medical Education (ASME)
  • Association for Medical Education in Europe (AMEE)
  • British Society for Developmental Biology (BSDB)
  • The Alliance for Useful Evidence

Background and previous roles Iain has broad knowledge and experience in anatomical and biological sciences having undertaken medical science research from beginning his doctorate in 2000 and leaving the field in August 2012 to take up a teaching fellow position in anatomy. Iain has specific expertise in anatomy, developmental biology and embryology and has conducted research in several model systems within four world-class research institutions. Iain's biomedical research has yielded several publications in recognised peer-reviewed journals.

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SCOPUS: Click here.


Teaching: Iain has lectured and taught practicals in gross anatomy, embryology and histology for the MBBS programme since 2012 and was module lead for the Life Cycle 1 and Life Cycle 2 units of study 2014-2017. Iain currently leads Case 10 for the new MBBS curriculum beginning in 2017/18. Iain is the academic timetable co-ordinator for the MBBS programme. Iain also delivers anatomy teaching for dental, biomedical and postgraduate medical and biomedical degree programmes. Iain received the Teaching Excellence Award for Innovative Teaching Methods (Faculty of Medical Sciences) in 2015, an award that is voted for by Newcastle University students. Iain was also nominated for this award in 2014, 2016 and 2018.

Teaching Excellence Award: Iain received the Teaching Excellence Award for Innovative Teaching Methods (Faculty of Medical Sciences) in 2015, an award that is voted for by Newcastle University students. Iain has also been nominated for this award in 2014 and 2016. 


Research: Iain leads a research programme and supervises a PhD project in anatomy education. Iain graduated with a Master of Medical Education degree from Newcastle University in 2016. Iain's current research theme concerns employing student partner approaches for the strategic design, evaluation and curricular implementation of innovative and creative technology-enhanced 3D learning approaches. Iain has published his work in anatomy education and medical education journals and also acts as a peer reviewer. Iain was the guest co-editor for a theme edition ‘Life Sciences in an Integrated Curriculum’ for the MedEdPublish journal in 2017.

ERDP Awards: Iain has successfully obtained funding for his research via two Faculty of Medical Sciences Educational Research Development and Practice (ERDP) Awards. These awards were made in 2015, for a project investigating the use of social media in higher education, and in 2016, for a project involving implementation and evaluation of an observational drawing workshop for anatomy educators from around the UK.

Artatomy and NICAP Award: Iain has developed a network of student partners and artistic, medical and academic collaborators in order to enhance, develop and expand his research which has allowed him to found Artatomy, an exhibition of anatomical artwork created by medical and biomedical students that was presented at the Centre for Life in Newcastle during summer 2015 and was funded by Iain's 2014 NICAP Award.