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University of Exeter Medical School

Dr Musarrat Maisha Reza

Dr Musarrat Maisha Reza

Senior Lecturer in Biomedical Sciences | Director of Equality, Diversity & Inclusion | Senator

 College House G.06


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


Dr Reza is a Senior Lecturer in Biomedical Sciences and the Director of Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) at the Department of Clinical and Biomedical Sciences (CBS) in the Faculty of Health and Life Sciences (FHLS). She received her PhD from Nanyang Technological University, Singapore in 2017. She began her lectureship journey in the UK in 2019 and is a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy, ASPIRE Senior Fellow and Education Incubator Fellow.

She is an elected Senator (2022-2026) and a member of the University Education Board- Taught Programmes, actively contributing to Exeter's Education Strategic Performance Targets. She is the Module Lead and tutor on the core (CSC2023 Experimental Design and Statistics) and optional module (CSC2025 Decolonizing Medicine, An Introduction). Her pedagogical contributions extend to a diverse range of modules including, Disease, Diagnostics and Therapeutics, Human Physiology, and Pharmacology and facilitating special study units (SSU) and problem-based learning (PBL) for Medical students. She mentors final-year project students and those undertaking Masters Projects in Clinical Education, Extreme Medicine and Healthcare Leadership and Management programmes. She was the Year 2 Lead for the Medical Science Programme (2020-2023), providing leadership, management and oversight to Academic Tutors and Module Leads. Dr Reza is a Visiting Professor (2023) at Venice International University (VIU) in Italy for the VIU Globalisation Programme.

Dr Reza has garnered well-rounded expertise in advising strategies and policies for EDI boards. Her tenure as the Race Equality Resource Officer (2020-2023) at the Medical School underscored her dedication to leading initiatives to enhance the retention, progression, and sense of belonging for ethnic minority and international students. As the Director of EDI, Dr Reza works with Directors at a strategic level to embed EDI across the department, encompassing both education and research. Her work is directly aligned with the university's Success for All strategy and the vision to ‘Lead the progress towards creating a fair, socially just and inclusive society’. She represents Exeter on the UK Medical Schools Council (MSC) EDI Alliance and co-chairs the national Decolonizing Medical Curricula Working Group. 

Outside academia, Dr Reza remains a stalwart in her advocacy for youth rights and participation in decision-making. She served as the Chairperson of the Commonwealth Students’ Association representing the needs and aspirations of national student councils in the Commonwealth. Her commitment to international collaboration is exemplified through her appointment as an Associate Fellow of the Royal Commonwealth Society and an ASEAN Youth Fellow. She was also appointed to the UNESCO Global Education Monitoring Report Advisory Board. Of note, she was invited to speak at a United Nations High-Level Event on Global Citizenship Education. While working in academia, she retains her passion for global advocacy and representation on issues close to her heart.


  • Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy, AdvanceHE, UK, Aug 2023
  • ASPIRE Senior Fellow, University of Exeter, UK, Aug 2023
  • Fellow of the Higher Education Academy, AdvanceHE, UK, Dec 2021 
  • Postgraduate Certificate of Higher Education Practice (PGCert HEP), University of East Anglia, UK, 2021
  • Doctor of Philosophy, School of Biological Sciences, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore, 2017
  • Bachelor of Science (Hons), School of Biological Sciences, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore, 2013


  • Visiting Professor, Venice International University, Italy, 2023
  • Senior Lecturer in Biomedical Sciences, Education and Scholarship, University of Exeter, UK, Feb 2022 - 
  • Lecturer in Biomedical Sciences, Education and Scholarship, University of Exeter, UK, Aug 2020- Jan 2022
  • Lecturer in Biomedicine, Academic Teaching and Scholarship, University of East Anglia, UK, 2019-2020
  • Skeletal Muscle Biologist, Research Fellow, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore and Karolinska Institutet, Sweden, 2017-2019

Leadership (UK)

Leadership (University of Exeter)

  • Senator (2022-2026)
  • Member of the University Education Board- Taught Programmes
  • Student Outcomes Steering Group (SOSG)
  • Underrepresented Students Working Group, Success for All

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Research projects

2023-24. Exeter Education Incubator Fund- Education Incubator Fellow.
Project Co-lead: Co-designing numeracy assessment to tackle numbers/maths anxiety: a more authentic approach to numeracy skills for Medical Scientists and Neuroscientists, awarded a grant of £5000.

2022-23. GW4 Building Communities Development Awards: GW4 Equity, Diversity & Inclusivity hub (GW4 EDI hub).
Developing a GW4 EDI Hub and GW4 EDI STEMM 2-day conference- Redefining the Status Quo in Academia. £5000 grant awarded to build a ‘community of EDI practice’ in STEMM with the goal of achieving cultural change across the GW4 institutions in this area. 

2022. Decolonisng the Curriculum- Collaborative Digital Learning Resource.
This collaborative digital learning resource is a British Council Funded Project that blends Western and South Asian perspectives to explain the concept of 'decolonisation', thereby supporting staff and students in working towards decolonisation of the curriculum, higher education, and society.

2021-24. Student Impact on Higher Education Globally (SIHEG) - Core Reasearch Group & Regional Research Lead, Asia.
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 |

2021-23. Making environmental and health equal, diverse, and inclusive: Reflections from a Centre of Environment and Human Health (REACH), Expert Advisory Board.
Led by Professor Lora Fleming from the European Centre for Environment and Human Health. A grant of £100,000 has been awarded by the UKRI Natural Environment Research Council (NERC).
Keywords are missing: Insights from the publication keywords, abstracts and titles of an environment and human health research group

2020-21. Researcher-led Initiative (RLI) Award, 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.

Times Higher Education Digital Publications

Reza, MM, & Gillison, MR (2023). A checklist for advancing equity, diversity and inclusion in medical sciences and education, part two. Article
Reza, MM, & Gillison, MR (2023). A checklist for advancing equity, diversity and inclusion in medical sciences and education, part one. Article
Reza, MM, & Khan, N (2023). Medical teaching resources need to represent all skin colours to enable doctors to serve a diverse population. Article
Reza, MM, McEwan, A, & Calvo-Hobbs, E (2022). Decolonising your learning resources: representation matters. Article
Reza, MM, & Calvo-Hobbs, E (2022). Decolonising medicine, part three: uncovering the full picture with silenced voices and histories. Article
Reza, MM (2022). Decolonising medicine, part two: empowering students. Article
Reza, MM (2022). Decolonising medicine, part one: taking the first steps. Article

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Team GEMR, UNESCO (2022). Youth Report – Global Education Monitoring Report Non-state actors in education: Who chooses? Who loses?., UNESCO Publishing. Abstract.

Journal articles

Reza MM, Nyinoh IW (2024). Addressing microaggressions: Empowering medical schools with effective training. Medical Education, 1-2.
Derbyshire DW, Barnett-Naghshineh O, Roberts BR, Ghemmour R, Reza MM, Rogers M, Fleming LE (2023). Keywords are missing: Insights from the publication keywords, abstracts and titles of an environment and human health research group. Equity in Education & Society, 2(3), 303-316. Abstract.
Salihu S, Hart H, Wort C, Reza MM (2023). Students bridging the diversity gap in dermatology—A mixed methods study of medical education. JEADV Clinical Practice
Reza MM, Finlay BB, Pettersson S (2019). Gut microbes, ageing & organ function: a chameleon in modern biology?. EMBO MOLECULAR MEDICINE, 11(9).  Author URL.
Lahiri S, Kim H, Garcia-Perez I, Reza MM, Martin KA, Kundu P, Cox LM, Selkrig J, Posma JM, Zhang H, et al (2019). The gut microbiota influences skeletal muscle mass and function in mice. SCIENCE TRANSLATIONAL MEDICINE, 11(502).  Author URL.
Reza MM, Subramaniyam N, Sim CM, Ge X, Sathiakumar D, McFarlane C, Sharma M, Kambadur R (2017). Irisin is a pro-myogenic factor that induces skeletal muscle hypertrophy and rescues denervation-induced atrophy. NATURE COMMUNICATIONS, 8  Author URL.
Reza MM, Sim CM, Subramaniyam N, Ge X, Sharma M, Kambadur R, McFarlane C (2017). Irisin treatment improves healing of dystrophic skeletal muscle. ONCOTARGET, 8(58), 98553-98566.  Author URL.


Reza MM, Goh EYL (2024). Singapore: the Metamorphosis of Student Unions. In Klemencic M (Ed) The Bloomsbury Handbook of Student Politics and Representation in Higher Education, London: Bloomsbury Academic, 288-306.
Reza MM, Goh EYL, Haughton O (2024). The Commonwealth Students’ Association: Journey of a Newly Established Multi-Regional Student Organization. In Klemencic M (Ed) The Bloomsbury Handbook of Student Politics and Representation in Higher Education, London: Bloomsbury Academic, 52-64.


Reza MM, Dhayal S, Clarke A, Akpata O, Briggs K (2023). Decolonising Medicine: Travelling through Time. British Science Festival 2023. Abstract.
Baskaran T, Reza MM (2022). Challenging Exclusion through Images. Transform MedEd: Adaptation, Innovation, Transformation organised by Imperial College School of Medicine, London & Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine, Singapore. 11th - 12th Nov 2022.
Reza MM (2022). Keynote Speaker: Looking into our blindspots for active inclusion. Clinical Education Day, Training and Retaining Our Workforce organised by Northern Ireland Medical and Dental Training Agency (NIMDTA) and Queen's University Belfast.
Reza MM (2021). Navigating Anti-racism at the College of Medicine and Health. Anti-Racist Practice in Medical Education (ARPME) organised by Brighton and Sussex Medical School.
Reza MM, Kodjie PK, Berger S, Darmanin M, Santos BBD (2021). Student Impact on Higher Education Globally - Perspectives from Leaders of Regional Student Union Federations and the Global Student Forum. Harvard University, Mahindra Seminar: Universities: Past, Present and Future.

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

5. 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.

6. 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.

7. 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. BBC World Questions: Is the Commonwealth of Nations still relevant? |2022|
World Questions is a series of international events created in partnership with the British Council. Following the Commonwealth Heads of Government conference in Rwanda and in the lead up to the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, Anita Anand presents this special edition of World Questions.
| BBC Sounds- World Questions Episode | 

2. 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

3. 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 |

4. 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 |

5. 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'.
Press Release |

6. 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]

7. 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]       

8. 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.

9. 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.

10. 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. Keynote Speaker at Clinical Education Day, Training and Retaining Our Workforce |September 2022| [LINK]
Delivering a keynote speech titled, 'Looking into our blindspots for active inclusion' and a workshop titled 'Navigating Microaggressions on Clinical Placements'. Conference organized by Northern Ireland Medical and Dental Training Agency (NIMDTA), Queen's University Belfast and Ulster University.

2. Teaching and Learning Symposium 2022, University of East London |September 2022| [LINK]
Presenting a seminar on 'Designing a module on decolonization'

3. THE Campus+ Webinar: Decolonising the Curriculum |July 2022| [LINK]  
Times Higher Education Campus Webinar hosted by Eliza Compton

4. 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 

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

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

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

8. How a Predominantly White Faculty Can Empower BAME Students​ |February 2021| [LINK]
Faculty Development Educational Seminar Series, College of Medicine and Health

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

Leadership Development

1. ELEVATE, Nov 2021- May 2022
Leadership and development programme For Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) women

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

3. 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]

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Medical Sciences and SEMS, Undergraduate

  1. Year 2 Lead for Medical Sciences
  2. Module Lead: Experimental Design and Statistics, CSC2023 Year 2 |
  3. Module Lead: Decolonizing Medicine, An Introduction CSC2025 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. Integrated Human Physiology, CSC1005 | Year 1 |
  8. Academic Tutor Group, Medical Sciences & SEMS | Year 1, Year 2 & Year 3 |
  9. Final Year Project, CSC3028 & CSC3029 | Year 3 |

Medicine, Undergraduate

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

Postgraduate Supervision

Independent Research Project Supervision, HPDM148

  • Masters of Clinical Education
  • Masters of Extreme Medicine
  • Masters of Healthcare Leadership and Management



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Supervision / Group

Postgraduate researchers

  • Basel Al Bawab : FYP Student
  • Keith Gomes Pinto: MSc Healthcare Leadership and Management
  • Roger Grimshaw: MSc Extreme Medicine
  • Wasi Karim : FYP Student
  • Phil Keane: MSc Extreme Medicine
  • Mohamed Riyash Mohamed Kassali: MSc Healthcare Leadership and Management
  • Stephanie Radoja: MSc Extreme Medicine
  • Lyuben Truykov : MSc Clinical Education
  • Noemi Welsch : MSc Extreme Medicine


  • Vaani Mahapatra, MSc Clinical Education : Effect of white and other than white students’ placement experiences on perceived learning outcomes |2021|
  • Sint Sint, MSc Clinical Education : A systematic review on qualitative evidence of interventions targeting communication, social, learning and training challenges encountered by international medical graduates |2022|
  • Yinka Umeh, MSc Clinical Education : Perceptions of Mentoring Support by white women and other than white women undergraduates of medicine and allied health professions |2022|

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