Skip to main content


Loading content
Dr Musarrat Maisha Reza

Dr Musarrat Maisha Reza

Senior Lecturer in Biomedical Sciences | Year 2 Lead for Medical Sciences | 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 Senior 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 and has lectured on a wide range of modules including Biomedicine, Physiology, Pharmacology, Human Diseases, Translational Medicine and Molecular Medicine. She obtained her Fellowship with AdvanceHE, UK in 2021.

She holds several leadership roles in the college as the Year 2 Lead for the Medical Science Programme, Academic Co-chair of the College Equality, Diversity & Inclusion (EDI) Committee and Module Lead on core (CSC2023 Experimental Design and Statistics) and optional modules (CSC2025 Decolonizing Medicine, An Introduction). CSC2025 is a bespoke module that empowers 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. She teaches on several Medical Sciences Modules; Disease, Diagnostics and Therapeutics and Introduction to Pharmacology and facilitates problem-based learning for medical students. She also supervises post graduate students on the Masters in Clinical Education programme.

Dr Reza has garnered well-rounded expertise in leading BAME networks, advising strategies on boards and writing EDI policies for new academic programmes aligned to facilitate BAME student retention, progression and sense of belonging. At Exeter, she is leading the anti-racist and decolonial movement at the College of Medicine and Health. She is also on the Research and EDI working group [sub-group of the University’s Research and Impact Executive Committee (RIEC)] to develop a five-year action plan for the university to make the research environment at Exeter more inclusive, equitable and just. Her work is directly aligned with the university's Success for All strategy, contributing to Strategy 2030 and the vision to ‘Lead the progress towards creating a fair, socially just and inclusive society’. She represents Exeter on the Medical Schools Council EDI Alliance, a network of medical schools across the UK, providing practical guidance to support medical schools to become fair, diverse and inclusive environments in which to study and work. 

Outside academia, Dr Reza remains stalwart in her advocacy for youth rights and participation in decision making. She served as the Chairperson of the Commonwealth Students’ Association, working to unify and represent the needs and aspirations of national student councils 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 and appointed as a Youth Representative on the UNESCO Global Education Monitoring Report Advisory Board.

She has represented young people on high-level international panels, education ministers across the Commonwealth and to decision makers globally. Of note, she was 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- 2021: Fellowship of the Higher Education Academy, AdvanceHE, UK 
  • 2019- 2021: Postgraduate Certificate of Higher Education Practice (PGCert HEP), University of East Anglia, UK 
  • 2017- 2019: Research Fellowship, 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 (Hons), School of Biological Sciences, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore


  • Feb 2022: Senior Lecturer in Biomedical Sciences, Education and Scholarship, University of Exeter, Exeter, UK
  • Aug 2020- Jan 2022: Lecturer 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)

  • Medical Schools Council EDI Alliance, University of Exeter EDI Lead, UK
  • Academic Intersectionality Mentoring in Medical School, Founding Committee, UK [LINK]

Leadership (University of Exeter)

  • Research & EDI Working Group, subgroup of the Research and Impact Executive Committee, University of Exeter [LINK]
  • Academic Co-chair, Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Working Group, College of Medicine and Health [LINK]
  • Medical Sciences Staff-student Liaison Committee, College of Medicine and Health
  • Medical Sciences Board of Studies, College of Medicine and Health
  • Student Partnership Board, 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 |

THE Campus, Times Higher Education Articles

1. Reza, Musarrat Maisha (2022, April 14). Decolonising medicine, part two: empowering students. THE Campus Learn, Share, Connect | Times Higher Education. Retrieved from

2. Reza, Musarrat Maisha (2022, April 13). Decolonising medicine, part one: taking the first steps. THE Campus Learn, Share, Connect | Times Higher Education. Retrieved from

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)

Advocacy Articles 

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.

Research Advisory Boards

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).

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.



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

2. 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 

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

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

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

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

7. 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]




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. Academic Tutor Group, Medical Sciences & SEMS | Year 1 & 2 |

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

Postgraduate researchers

  • Sint Sint : Current Student AY2021-2022
  • Yinka Umeh : Current Student AY2021-2022


  • Vaani Mahapatra | Effect of white and other than white students’ placement experiences on perceived learning outcomes | 2021

Back | Edit Profile