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Doctor Claire Smith

Clair smith

Dr Claire Smith

Head of Anatomy
T: +44 (0)1273 877579
Location: Medical School Teaching Building, Brighton and Sussex Medical School, University of Sussex, Brighton, BN1 9PX

DA: Lisa Costick/Ellen Thomas

T: +44 (0)1273 877579

Other roles: Deputy Phase 1 Director; Research Lead for the Department of Medical Education
Area(s) of Expertise: Anatomy; anatomical pedagogy, curriculum design, medical education


  • Senior Teaching Fellow, University of Southampton, Faculty of Medicine, 2007-2013

  • Teaching Fellow, University of Southampton, Faculty of Medicine 2002-2007

  • Dissector, St Georges Hospital Medical School, 2001-2002


Dr Claire Smith's research focuses on understanding the student learning experience so that the learning can be improved. Her seminal research has led the field in understanding how students learn. Her recent focus has been on student psychometrics including; approaches to learning, learning styles, personality and spatial ability. Claire has also published in the areas of assessment, standard setting and e-learning. She has also contributed quirky and creative papers to the literature.

Claire was the Principle Investigator and lead author on the revised Core Anatomy Syllabus for Medical Students (Produced in collaboration with the Anatomical Society, Hull York Medical School  and the University of Newcastle)

She was the first in the UK to begin printing 3D anatomy body parts for students scanned from a donated human cadaver.

Claire's current collaborations include:

  • Developing Core Syllabi in Anatomy (Collaboration Hull York Medical School, Newcastle University, Royal College Surgeons Ireland).
  • Understanding students Motivation in anatomy education (Collaboration University of Belfast, University of Murdoch, Australia).
  • Understanding Postgraduate Anatomy (Collaboration with University Malta, University of Cardiff, Belgrade University Serbia).


Dr Claire Smith teaches across all areas of gross anatomy and the anatomy related to histology, embryology, radiology and living anatomy. Dr Smith is responsible for the strategic direction of anatomy teaching at BSMS. Dr Smith and her team deliver over a thousand hours of teaching every year to medical and allied health professionals.

As a teacher, Claire has been awarded a teaching excellence awards by the Universities of Southampton, Brighton and Sussex which reflects her ability to deliver high quality anatomy education. She uses innovative teaching methods including 3D printing, Technology Enhanced Learning and creative methods to help students understand core concepts. Claire has experience in creating and delivering new modules, courses and programmes. Claire was awarded the titled Educator Innovator 2017 by the Association for the Study of Medical Education.

Claire teaches anatomy to undergraduates and postgraduates and supervised a number of research students at MSc and PhD level. She is an external examiner to a number of UK Universities and is a member (previous Chair) of the Education Committee for the Anatomical Society advising and leading initiatives in anatomy education nationally and internationally. Claire is a member of the Court of Examiners for the Royal College of Surgeons and frequently examines on the MRCS. Claire is the Secretary General for the European Federation of Experimental Morphology.Claire has co-authored two books including a new title in the Gray’s series Gray’s Surface Anatomy and Ultrasound.

She is a Designated Individual for the Human Tissue Authority and Chair of the HTA committee University of Sussex.

Selected publications

C.Smith, N. Tollemache, M. Johnson, D. Covill. Take Away Body Parts! An investigation into the use of 3D-printed anatomical models in undergraduate anatomy education. (Anat Sci Educ), 2017 In press

C. Smith, G. Finn, S. Border. Learning Clinical Anatomy. European Journal of Anatomy. 2017 In press

C. Smith, C. Stockholm, R Sinha, F Ponkiwer, M Birch. Interplays of psychometric abilities on learning gross anatomy. MedEdPublish. 2017.

C. Hennessy, E. Kirkpatrick, C. Smith and S. Border. Social media and anatomy education: using Twitter to enhance the student learning experience in anatomy. Anatomical Sciences Education (Anat Sci Educ), 9;6:505-515. 2016.

M. Sango, C. Smith. Assessment of Anatomical Knowledge by Practical Examinations: The effect of Question Design on Student Performance. Anat Sci Educ, 9;5:446- 452. 2016.

S. R. Hall, J.R. Stephens, E.G. Seaby, M. Gesteira Andrade, A.F. Lowry, W.J.C Parton, C. Smith and S. Border. Can Medical Students Accurately Predict Their Learning? A Study Comparing Perceived and Actual Performance in Neuroanatomy. Anat Sci Educ, 9:448-495. 2016.

C. Smith, G. Finn, J. Stewart and S. McHanwell.  Anatomical Society Core Regional Anatomy Syllabus for Undergraduate Medicine: The Delphi Process. Journal of Anatomy. 228:2-14. 2016.

Smith C, Finn G, Stewart J, McHanwell S. Anatomical Society core regional anatomy syllabus for undergraduate medicine: the Delphi process. J Anat. 2015;228(1):2-14.

Smith C, Hall S, Border S, Adds P, Finn G. Interprofessional anatomy education in the United Kingdom and Ireland: Perspectives from students and teachers. Anatomical Sciences Education. 2015;8(4):360-370.

Brenner E, Chirculescu A, Reblet C, Smith C. Assessment in Anatomy. European J Anatomy. 2015;19(1):105-124.