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Professor Claire Smith

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Professor Claire Smith

Professor of Anatomy, BSMS, and Deputy Pro Vice Chancellor (Education and Innovation), University of Sussex
T: +44 (0)1273 877579
Location: Medical School Teaching Building, Brighton and Sussex Medical School, University of Sussex, Brighton, BN1 9PX

Departmental Assistant


Areas of expertise: Anatomy; Pedagogy, Digital Learning, Curriculum Design, Medical Education

Other relevant positions: Lead for Medical School Digital Strategy


  • 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


Prof 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. She has published over a 100 peer review articles and has over a thousand citations. Her recent focus has been on developing core curricula and on understanding the decisions involved in the process of body donation. Prof Smith is the Lead author of Gray’s Surface Anatomy for Students and the faulty advisor for Crash Course Anatomy and Physiology. Prof Smith has contributed book chapters to several books including: Teaching Anatomy, 30 Second Anatomy and Biomedical Visualisation, Claire is an Associate editor for Anatomical Sciences Education - the world-leading journal for anatomy education.

Claire was the Principal 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). Claire is a member of the world Anatomy Education Committee  (FIPAE)

She was the first in the UK to begin printing 3D anatomy body parts for students scanned from a donated human cadaver and recently has contributed to two publications on the impact of Covid 19 on Anatomy Education.


Prof Claire Smith teaches across all areas of gross anatomy and the anatomy related to histology, embryology, radiology and living anatomy. Prof Smith is responsible for the strategic direction of anatomy teaching at BSMS. Prof 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. In 2018 Prof Smith was awarded National Teaching Fellowship by Advance Higher Education. In 2020 Claire achieved Principle Fellow status of Advanced Higher 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.

Selected publications

C. Smith, R. Munro, D. C. Davies, T. Wilkinson, H. Shaw, K. Claridge, S. Llewellyn, P. Mc Ateer, S. Ward6, T. Farsides. Understanding beliefs, preferences and actions amongst potential body donors. Anat Sci Educ In Press

H. Lacey, H. Oliphant, C.Smith, M. Koenig, S. Rajak. Topographical anatomy of the annulus of Zinn. Sci Rep 121064 (2022).

T. Farsides, P. Sparks, C. Smith. Beyond “altruism motivates body donation”. Death Studies 2021.

C.F. Smith, S. Freeman, D. Heylings, G. Finn, D.C. Davies. Anatomy Education for Medical Students in the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland in 2019. Anat Sci Educ 15:1-14. 2021

C.F. Smith, W. Pawlina. A journey like no other: Anatomy 2020! Anat Sci Educ.14:5-7.2021

C.F. Smith,  Good Death Anat Sci Educ. Anat Sci Educ 13:657-663. 2020.

G.J. Longhurst, D.M. Stone, K. Dulohery, D. Scully, T. Campbell, C.F. Smith. 2020. Strength, Weakness, Opportunity, Threat (SWOT) Analysis of the Adaptations to Anatomical Education in the United Kingdom and Republic or Ireland in Response to Covid – 19 Pandemic. Anat Sci Educ 13:301-311. 2020

C. Hennessy, D. Royer, A. J. Meyer, C. F. Smith. Social Media Guidelines for Anatomists. Anat Sci Educ 13:527-539. 2020.

Farsides, T. L. and Smith, C. F. Consent in body donation. Eur J Anat 24: 239-248. 2020.

J. Holland, C. F.Smith, M. OShea, J. Stewart, C. Ockleford, G.Finn The Anatomical Society Core Embryology Syllabus for undergraduate medicine. Journal of Anatomy 235: 847-860. 2019.

C. Smith, G. Finn, C. Hennessy, S. McHanwell. The initial impact of the anatomical society gross anatomy core syllabus for medicine in the United Kingdom: student and teacher perspectives. Anat Sci Educ. Early View DOI 10.1002/ase.1826 2018.

G. Finn, G. Hitch, B. Apampa, C. Hennessy, C. Smith, J. Stewart, P. Gard. The Anatomical Society Core Anatomy Syllabus for Pharmacists: Outcomes to Create a Foundation for Practice. Journal of Anatomy, 232 (5): 729-738.  2018.

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