Medicine, Nursing and Allied Health Professions


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Dr Musarrat Maisha Reza

Dr Musarrat Maisha Reza

Lecturer in Biomedical Sciences (Education & Scholarship) & Race Equality Resource Officer

 College House 


College House, University of Exeter, St Luke's Campus, Heavitree Road, Exeter, EX1 2LU, UK


Dr Reza is a lecturer in Biomedical Sciences (Education and Scholarship) and the Race Equality Resource Officer at the College of Medicine and Health at University of Exeter. She received her PhD from Nanyang Technological University, Singapore in 2017. Her research investigated the role of Irisin on skeletal muscle growth, repair and regeneration. In 2019, she began her lectureship journey in the UK with University of East Anglia (UEA) as a lecturer in Biomedicine, teaching undergraduate and postgraduate students. She taught a wide range of modules including Biomedicine, Physiology, Pharmacology, Human Diseases, Translational Medicine and Molecular Medicine.  In her leadership journey, she has garnered well-rounded expertise while leading BAME networks, advising strategies on boards and writing policies for new academic programmes aligned with equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI) in order to facilitate BAME student retention, progression and sense of belonging. At Exeter, Dr Reza is leading the anti-racist movement at the College of Medicine and Health.

She developed a new module- CSC2024, Decolonizing Science and Medicine, encouraging students to investigate the extent to which Science and Medicine from the Global North as we know it today, have been largely founded on colonialism, oppression, slavery, discrimination and injustice.

Outside academia, she remains stalwart in her advocacy for youth rights and participation in decision making. She has been installed by the Secretary General (Commonwealth) as the Chairperson of the Commonwealth Students’ Association, working to unify and represent the needs and aspirations of national student councils and student organizations in the Commonwealth. She is also an Associate Fellow of the Royal Commonwealth Society. Appointed to the Founding Board of Trustees of the 100 Million Campaign, she advocates for a world where all young people are free, safe and educated. She has also been nominated as an ASEAN Youth Fellow, into a network of next generation leaders, who will influence and inspire youth to take the ASEAN community forward as a strong and unified entity. Most recently (2021), Dr Reza has been appointed as a Youth Representative on the UNESCO Global Education Monitoring Report Advisory Board.

Dr Reza has represented young people on various high-level international panels and to decision makers around globally. She has made recommendations to His Royal Highnesses The Prince of Wales and The Duke of Sussex, Education Ministers and Foreign Ministers of the Commonwealth for inclusive policies and initiatives, ensuring no young person is left behind in fulfilling their potential. She was also invited to speak at a United Nations High-Level Event on Global Citizenship Education. While working in the academia, Dr Reza, retains her passion for global advocacy and representation on issues close to her heart.


  • 2019- present: Fellowship of the Higher Education Academy, AdvanceHE, UK (ongoing)
  • 2019- presentPostgraduate Certificate of Higher Education Practice (PGCert HEP), University of East Anglia, UK (ongoing)
  • 2017-2019: Research Fellow, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore and Karolinska Institutet, Sweden
  • 2013-2017: Doctor of Philosophy, School of Biological Sciences, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore
  • 2009-2013: Bachelor of Science, School of Biological Sciences, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore


  • 2020- presentLecturer in Biomedical Sciences, Education and Scholarship, University of Exeter, Exeter, UK
  • 2019-2020: Lecturer in Biomedicine, Academic Teaching and Scholarship, University of East Anglia, Norwich, UK
  • 2017-2019: Skeletal Muscle Biologist, Research Fellow, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore and Karolinska Institutet, Sweden

Leadership (National)

  • 2021- present: Medical Schools Council EDI Alliance, University of Exeter EDI Lead, UK
  • 2020- presentAcademic Intersectionality Mentoring in Medical School, Founding Committee, UK [LINK]

Leadership (University of Exeter)

  • 2020- present: Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Working Group, College of Medicine and Health [LINK]
  • 2020- present: BMBS Board of Studies, College of Medicine and Health
  • 2020- present: BMBS and Medical Sciences Staff-student Liaison Committee, College of Medicine and Health



Research interests

Student Impact on Higher Education Globally (SIHEG)
The SIHEG research project examines student agency in higher education, maps existing opportunities for students to influence higher education and societies more broadly and investigates student perceptions of impact.
A collaborative project between researchers from Harvard University and the Global Student Forum representing 196 student unions across 119 countries.
| Overview | Researchers | Personal Profile |

Researcher-led Initiative (RLI) Award 2020/2021, Doctoral College, University of Exeter 
Building a cross-college ECR community through Diversity, Inclusion, Cohesion and Equality (DICE) training. 
Funded by the University of Exeter Researcher Development and Research Culture team.

Journal Publications

1. Reza, Musarrat Maisha, B. Brett Finlay, and Sven Pettersson. "Gut microbes, ageing & organ function: a chameleon in modern biology?." EMBO molecular medicine 11, no. 9 (2019).

2. Lahiri, Shawon, Hyejin Kim, Isabel Garcia-Perez, Musarrat Maisha Reza, Katherine A. Martin, Parag Kundu, Laura M. Cox et al. "The gut microbiota influences skeletal muscle mass and function in mice." Science translational medicine 11, no. 502 (2019): eaan5662.

3. Reza, Musarrat Maisha, Nathiya Subramaniyam, Chu Ming Sim, Xiaojia Ge, Durgalakshmi Sathiakumar, Craig McFarlane, Mridula Sharma, and Ravi Kambadur. "Irisin is a pro-myogenic factor that induces skeletal muscle hypertrophy and rescues denervation-induced atrophy." Nature communications 8, no. 1 (2017): 1-17.

4. Reza, Musarrat Maisha, Chu Ming Sim, Nathiya Subramaniyam, Xiaojia Ge, Mridula Sharma, Ravi Kambadur, and Craig McFarlane. "Irisin treatment improves healing of dystrophic skeletal muscle." Oncotarget 8, no. 58 (2017): 98553.

5. Bose, B., Sudheer Shenoy, Musarrat Maisha Reza, C. D. McFarlane, Mridula Sharma, and R. Kambadur. "Plasticity of muscle derived stem cells to undergo pluripotent conversion without pluripotency factors or small moleculres.” Cytotherapy 16, no.4 (2014): S71

6. Bipasha Bose, Sudheer Shenoy, Musarrat Maisha Reza, Craig Desmond McFarlane, Mridula Sharma, Ravi Kambadur (2014). Plasticity of muscle derived stem cells to undergo pluripotent conversion without pluripotency factors or small 10 molecules. 20th Annual Meeting of International Society for Cellular Therapy, April 24-26, Paris, France (Abstract ID# Poster 246)


1. Reza, Musarrat Maisha (2021, August 12). A new Global Youth Development Index shows improvement in the state of 1.8 billion young people around the world. World Education Blog.

External Engagement and Impact

External positions

1. UNESCO Global Education Monitoring (GEM) Advisory Board (Link) I 2021– 2022 I
The GEM Report’s aims to serve as the main resource for decision makers who seek comparative research and knowledge to inform their actions on inclusive and equitable quality education at national, regional and global levels.

2. Founding Board of Trustees, 100 Million Campaign (Link) | 2020 – Present |
A campaign for every child to be free, safe and educated globally.

3Chairperson, Commonwealth Students’ Association (CSA) | 2018 – Present 
Empowering the students of the Commonwealth to influence change in education, contribute to their societies and amplify the student voice.

4. Board of Director, Global Peace Chain (GPC) | 2018 – Present 
Working with young people to build peace globally and implement the sustainable development goals.

5. Associate Fellow, Royal Commonwealth Society | 2018- Present 
Committing to the Commonwealth values and improving the lives of Commonwealth citizens.

6. Finalist, 2018 Queen’s Young Leaders Award | 2018 – Present |
This award recognizes and celebrates exceptional young people across the Commonwealth, who are taking the lead in their communities and using their skills to transform lives.

7. Global Youth Ambassador, A World at School, Theirworld | 2017 – 2021 |
A worldwide network of over 700 young advocates and campaigners supporting the movement to get every child into school.

8. Leader of Tomorrow Alumni, 46th St. Gallen Symposium | 2017- Present |
Advocating for gender equality, equal opportunities and resources for women.

Keynote addresses or prestigious public lectures given in international forums

1. Mobilising resources for education: the crucial role of Commonwealth countries |2021|
Discussing innovative financing for education at a virtual roundatble, an official side-event of the Global Education Summit 2021, hosted by the UK Prime Minister, Rt Hon. Boris Johnson and Kenyan President, His Excellency Uhuru Kenyatta.
| Press Release and Video

2. Climate Action: The Role for Education |2021| 
Representing the Global Student Forum to share the student perspective on climate education for children and young people on a high level panel co-organized by OECD – Education International- UNESCO.
Concept Note | Press Release |

3. Universities: Past, Present, And Future, Harvard University |2021| 
Student Impact On Higher Education Globally- Perspectives from Leaders of Regional Student Union Federations And The Global Student Forum. Seminar Sponsored by Mahindra Humanities Centre.
Webpage | Speaker Bios |

4. Laureates and Leaders, Fair Share for Children Summit |2020| 
Speaking alongside Nobel Laureates and World Leaders on 'The Education Crisis: How to Ensure We Don't Lose A Generation Due to The Pandemic'.
Programme | Speakers | Profile Page | Meeting Report | Press Release

5. BBC News, Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM), London |2018|
Interviewed by BBC News, as Chair of the CSA to speak about the role of young people making positive change across the Commonwealth and the relevance of the Commonwealth to young people.
[Link to Video]

6. Opening Ceremony, Commonwealth Youth Forum, London |2018|
Hosting the Opening ceremony of the Commonwealth Youth Forum, introducing the Duke of Sussex, Prince Harry, Chair of the British Youth Council, Chair of the Commonwealth Youth Council, United Nations Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth. 
[Link to Video]       

7. Foreign Ministerial Presentation, Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting, London |2018|
Presenting recommendations from young people and students as the Chair of CSA to Foreign Ministers across the Commonwealth on issues such as TVET, gender equality and enabling students have a voice at the decision-making table.

8. Opening Ceremony, Conference of Commonwealth Education Ministers, Fiji |2018|
Welcome address as Chair of CSA in the opening ceremony of the IPF, together with Rt. Hon Patricia Scotland QC, Secretary-General of the Commonwealth and Honorable. Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum, Attorney-General & Minister for Education, Government of Fiji.

9. Youth Respondent, United Nations SDG High Level Event, New York |2017|
Invited to speak at the United Nations High Level Education Event at the UN Headquarters in New York to provide policy recommendations on global citizenship education.
[Link to Video]


Conferences, Panels and Invited Presentations

1. Navigating Anti-racism at the College of Medicine and Health | September 2021| [LINK]
Anti-Racist Practice in Medical Education (ARPME) 2021, Brighton and Sussex Medical School 

2. CMH Journey Towards Anti-racism, Ongoing Victories and Challenges |July 2021| [LINK]
Decolonize STEMEXE Seminar and Discussion Series, University of Exeter 

3. International Women's Day, Choose to Challenge |July 2021| 
College of Medicine and Health IWD Panelist.

4. Unconscious Bias in Your Workplace |March 2021| [LINK]
The Inclusivity Project, The European Centre for Environment and Human Health

5. How a Predominantly White Faculty Can Empower BAME Students​ |February 2021| [LINK]
The Inclusivity Project, The European Centre for Environment and Human Health

6. Investigating our Unconscious Biases, Empowering BAME Students | November 2020| [LINK]
Faculty Development Educational Seminar Series, College of Medicine and Health


Leadership Development

1. Exercising Leadership: Foundational Principles, HarvardX, edX, April 2021
Verified edX Credentials

2. The Leadership Difference, University of Exeter, Spring 2021
Leadership development programme for departmental leadership teams, Associate Deans, Heads of Department and Directors (Education, Research & Impact).



1. Driven Women Podcast |2019|
Episode 4: Redefining The ‘F’ Word for The Modern Woman
Hosted by Sophia Bryan, to explore the success stories of women leaders from all over the globe who have overcome the hurdles in fields typically dominated by men.  
[Listen to Podcast]

2. Better Angels Podcast |2018|
Hosted by Theirworld President, Sarah Brown, celebrating the activist spirit of youth working to make a positive impact.
[Listen to Podcast]

3. Digging Deep, Best People, Best Conversations (Link) |2018|
Episode 9: How to Advocate for Women’s Empowerment in Worldwide Youth Leadership
Hosted by Touhid Kamal, A Touhid Kamal Series.
[Listen to Podcast]



Medical Sciences and SEMS, Undergraduate

  1. Lead Academic Tutor, Medical Sciences & Sports and Exercise Medical Sciences | Year 2 |
  2. MODULE LEAD: Experimental Design and Statistics, CSC2023 Year 2 |
  3. MODULE LEAD: Decolonizing Science and Medicine, CSC2024 Year 2 |
  4. Disease, Diagnostics and Therapeutics, SSGL, CSC2012 Year 2 |
  5. Introduction to Pharmacology, CSC2005 | Year 2 |
  6. Fundamental Skills for Medical Scientists, CSC1004 | Year 1 |
  7. Academic Tutor Group, Medial Sciences & Sports and Exercise Medical Sciences | Year 1 |

Medicine, Undergraduate

  1. Problem Based Learning, BMBS | Year 1 |
  2. Special Study Units, BMBS | Year 1 |

Postgraduate Supervision

  1. Independent Research Project Supervision, Masters of Clinical Education, HPDM135
  2. Researching Clinical Education, PGCert of Clinical Education, HPDM061 



Supervision / Group

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