I am Course Leader for the BSc (Hons) Biological Sciences program, which is accredited by the Royal Society of Biology. I am a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy, have an MA in Higher Education (University of Westminster) and am a Fellow of the Royal Society of Biology.
I am a Senior Lecturer in Biochemistry and lead undergraduate and postgraduate modules in Molecular Biology. I am joint academic lead for the iGEM project (International Genetically Engineered Machine). I am the Local Ambassador for the Biochemical Society and a member of the British Pharmacological Society.
My introduction to teaching was at the University College London where I was a tutor in the Medical School for a couple of years. Since joining University of Westminster I completed the Certificate of Higher Education (2007) becoming a Fellow of the HEA (2008), Senior Fellow of teh HEA (2015) and completing MA in Higher Education (University of Westminster, 2015). I was awarded a University of Westminster Teaching Fellowship in 2016-17. I am actively involved in pedagogic research into the impact of virtual laboratory simulations and peer-marking on teaching.
I am the course leader for the Biological Science program. I currently lead Level 5 Molecular Biology and Genetics and level 6 and 7 Advanced Molecular Biology modules. I contribute teaching in bioethics, biochemistry, cell signalling and molecular biology to foundation, undergraduate and postgraduate students.
I have always believed that research should inform teaching and I supervise undergraduate and postgraduate research projects. I am actively involved with the Graduate Centre as an MPhil and PhD Chair and examiner.
Following on from a BSc (Hons) degree in Medical Biochemistry (University of Surrey), during which I spent a fascinating Sandwich year working with Dr Steven Gross at Cornell University Medical College looking at the calcium and calmodulin regulation of nitric oxide synthases. I went back to New York to research transcriptional regulation of the GTP cyclohydrolase gene, which encodes for an important enzyme in tetrahydrobiopterin biosynthesis, an essential cofactor for the production of tyrosine, catecholamines and serotonin, as well as Nitric Oxide.
My PhD thesis "Pterin biosynthesis, binding and modulation of eNOS catalytic function" was examined and awarded by University of Surrey. As a post-doctoral research fellow at UCL I worked with Prof Patrick Vallance researching the pathophysiological effects of asymmetric dimethylarginine on the cardiovasculature. I am still interested how novel compounds can contribute to the control of this molecule.
University of Westminster has broadened my research horizons taking techniques I had expertise in and applying them to new areas. This is how I developed collaborations with KNUST, Kumasi, Ghana through a project looking at how the incidence of malaria is influenced by alpha-thalassemia genotype and the roles of cancer stem cells in osteosarcoma.
My current research interest is on the role of melanocortins in the male and female reproductive axes. In addition to endothelial cell signalling in the cardiovascular system most recently investigating thiol isomerases on endothelial activation with Dr Gordge.
I’m delighted to have contributed to the doctoral supervision of these talented scientists:
Opoku-Okrah, Clement (2012) An investigation of the protective effect of alpha+-thalassaemia against severe Plasmodium falciparum amongst children in Kumasi, Ghana.
Basnett, Pooja (2014) Biosynthesis of polyhydroxyalkanoates, their novel blends and composites for biomedical applications.
Dowejko, Monika (2014) Characterization of MC3 and the other melancortin receptors (MC) in the hypothalamo-pituitary-gonadal system of the mouse.
Jenks, Andrew (2014) The role of cancer stem cells in osteosarcoma.
Nasrin Nuri A. Berruien (2018) Effect of age and pregnancy on the murine melanocortin system in the female reproductive system.
I am currently collaborating with Dr Sharron Rossiter and University of Hertfordshire and Dr Joanne Murray, University of Edinburgh. I collaborate with the Applied Biotechnology and Cancer Research Groups. I am the University of Westminster Local Ambassador for the Biochemical Society which exists to advance the molecular and cellular biosciences. I have received funding from the Biochemical Society and Nuffield Society.
In 2016 we were recently awarded £915 Practical Skills Grant from Society of Endocrinology https://www.endocrinology.org/ for Nasrin Berruien to learn a novel Protein-Fragment complementation Assay at University of Edinburgh, Dr Joanne Murray, to investigate the potential cross talk between Adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) and ghrelin within the gonadotrophs and the somatotrophs
In 2017 £400 Biochemical Society sponsored Events Grant Scheme for the University of Westminster iGEM (International Genetically Engineered Machine) team
British Pharmacological Society bursary to attend and present poster "In silico and in vitro approaches to develop Dimethylarginine dimethylaminohydrolase-1 inhibitors". At "In silico and in vitro methods in modern drug discovery", University of Nottingham 24-25th April 2017 http://www.pa2online.org/abstracts/vol15issue1abst006.pdf
2016-2020 Quintin Hogg Trust £25000 to support student teams for International Genetically Engineered Machine (iGEM project)
2015-2018 Quintin Hogg Trust £159000 to support development of Westminster based Labster simulations and evaluate their effectivenessin teaching
I am interested in how virtual laboratory simulations influence student learning and have presented findings at national and international conferences. https://blog.labster.com/my-labster-experience-caroline-smith-westminster-university
For details of all my research outputs, visit my WestminsterResearch profile.