Professor Steven Tucker
Professor Steven Tucker

Professor Steven Tucker

SFHEA

Personal Chair

About

Room 6.32 Institute of Medical Sciences Foresterhill Aberdeen AB25 2ZD Telephone +44(0)1224 437491 Laboratory Telephone +44(0) 437518

Biography

Having been raised and schooled locally (Portlethen Academy), I graduated from the University of Aberdeen with a 1st class honours degree in Biomedical Sciences (Pharmacology) in 2000, winning both the class prize and the University Quincentenary Award. I then completed my PhD studies in the laboratory of Professor Dave MacEwan in the Department of Biomedical Sciences at the University of Aberdeen in 2004.

I then completed a series of post-doctoral research posts:

  • 2003-2005 - Professor Matt Wright's laboratory, University of Aberdeen - investigating cell signalling in liver fibrosis and the role that hepatic stellate cells play in liver pathology.
  • 2005-2006 - Dr Huw Roddie's laboratory, Western General Hospital, University of Edinburgh - studying antibody-targeted therapies in the treatment of acute myeloid leukemia.
  • 2006-2008 - Dr Derryck Shewan's laboratory, University of Aberdeen - developing a state-of-the-art imaging system for studying signalling within neuronal growth cones.

In 2008, I moved into a more teaching centred role and became a Teaching Fellow in the School of Medical Sciences at the University of Aberdeen. In 2010, I gained my first promotion, was further promoted in 2012 to Senior Teaching Fellow before becoming a Senior Lecturer (scholarship). I was promoted to Professor of Pharmacology Education in 2021. 

Throughout these teaching posts, I have remained research active in areas relating to cell signalling, primarily involving the role cAMP binding proteins play in the pathology of breast cancer and how these might be targeted therapeutically. 

Outside academia, I have a keen interest in music and play drums, bass guitar and keyboard (throwback to my youth in the 1980s!!). I also love sport including football, cricket, tennis, American football, cycling and golf.

My favourite joke of all time is:

"what do you do if you find a trumpet growing in your garden?"

"root it oot"!!

 

Memberships and Affiliations

Internal Memberships

Committee Membership:

School / Institute

SMMSN examination board (UG and PG)

SMMSN executive teaching committee 

SMMSN teaching and learning committee 

SMMSN Mitigating circumstances committee

SMMSN practical assessment group

SMMSN written and anatomy assessment group

IEMHS student support group

Postgraduate course coordinators group

Postgraduate good cause committee

Postgraduate research project working group

Postgraduate plagiarism committee

ITR preparation working group

BSc Review Group

Blackboard Ultra Transition Group

 

University:

Enhancement Theme Steering Group Convener

Enhancement Theme Community of Practice Convener 

University Education Committee

University Student Support Committee

University Pastoral Review Working Group

University Student Monitoring, Absence and Engagement Working Group

Digital learning representative / elearning / VLE project

International Higher Education Teaching and Learning Association Conference Organising Committe

External Memberships

Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy

External Examining:

UG external examiner at:

  • Newcastle University (Pharmacology; since 2016)
  • Swansea University (Medical Pharmacology; since 2018)
  • Leeds University (Pharmacology since 2022)

PG external examiner at:

  • University College London (Biomedical Science MSc; since 2020)

External Validation:

External validator for new UG pharmacology programmes in 2018, St George’s University London (Clinical Pharmacology) and Swansea University (Medical Pharmacology)

The British Pharmacological Society:

  • Vice President Academic Development
  • Co-chair of Inclusive Education Steering Group
  • Chair of Education and Training Committee
  • BPS ambassador coordinator 

International Pharmacology Core Concepts Project:

  • Research Team Pharmacokinetics Co-Lead

Editorial Roles:

Invited to act as an editor for several high profile national and international journals / initiatives:

Prizes and Awards

Rang Prize for contributions to Pharmacology Education Awarded by the British Pharmacological Society 2019.

Funniest Lecturer Award - University of Aberdeen Excellence Awards 2020

Postgraduate Best Lecturer Award - University of Aberdeen Excellence Awards 2014

Undergraduate Best Lecturer Award - University of Aberdeen Excellence Awards 2011

Nominations for various teaching and support roles through the University of Aberdeen and Aberdeen University Students' Association 2010-2022.

Research

Research Overview

General Interests

Mammalian cell signalling cascades and targetting these pharmacologically.

Abberant cell signalling processes underlying Gastrc Cancer (GC) and new targetted technologies in the treatment of GC.

Reproductive physiology and its endocrine control.

Current Interests

Examining the role of the novel cAMP binding Popeye Domain Containing (POPDC) proteins in breast cancer. Particularly how these proteins are involved in proliferative and migratory control. 

Pedagogic Research

Development and enhancement of innovative methods for teaching life sciences, especially relating to practical skills and practical classes.

Previous Research

Tumour necrosis factor (TNF) signalling in human cancer cells

Studied the control of cellular fate downstream of TNF-receptor activation and focussed mainly on promotion of survival (NF-kB) versus promotion of apoptosis (c-Jun N-terminal kinase). Investigated inhibitory cross talk between these opposing signalling cascades.

Liver fibrosis and signalling in the hepatic stellate cell (HSC)

Investigated inflammatory signalling in HSCs and their correlation with liver fibrosis. Studied mechanisms of selectively inducing apoptosis in these cells using a fungal toxin (gliotoxin), which interacted directly with the intrinsic apoptotic pathway at the level of the mitochondrial permeability transition (MPT).

 

 

Current Research

Ongoing Research

Investiagting the downregulation of cAMP binding Popeye Domain Containing (PODC) proteins in breast cancer. In particular down regulation of POPDC proteins coincides with cancer initiation and correlates with increased prliferation and migration of breast cancer cells. As transmembrane proteins, POPDCs play a key role in cellular interactions with the extracellular matrix, and one of the early steps in its dysregultion during malignant development is withdrawal from the membrane. CUrrent research is investogating the mechanisms behind this and whether stabilisation of te protein within the membrane may reduce the progression of the malignant phenotype in breast cancer.

Pedagogy

Currently involved in pedagogic research aimed at developing interactive and innovative practical teaching practices to enhance the student learning experience. Also, involved in enriching hands-on practical teaching, which I feel is a central component of any science degree. Specifically, I have done a lot of work developing teaching practices for pharmacokinetics - a key aspect of pharmacology.

I also have interests in student retention, and the development and implementation of provisions and centralised frameworks to support students from all backgrounds through all aspects of their degree studies.

Collaborations

Collaborations ongoing with Swansea University to use blackworms as an in vivo model organism for pharmacology practical teaching.

Funding and Grants

Dates

Funding body

Title

2014 – 2017

University of Aberdeen (Elphinstone Scholarship)

The roles of Popdc proteins in the migration and proliferation of breast cancer cells

 

 

 

2017-18

Internship funding from School of Medicine, Medical Science and Nutrition University of Aberdeen

Development of an online pharmacokinetics module

2016-17

University of Aberdeen (LTEP)

Development of interactive laboratory simulations for induction of incoming PG students

2015-16

University of Aberdeen (LTEP)

Joining the dots between conversion, induction and retention

2013-14

University of Aberdeen (LTEP)

Student-led development of pharmacokinetic resource hub

2012-13

University of Aberdeen (LTEP)

Development of maths skills support tutorials for medical science students

 

 

 

2019-2020

BPS Teaching Grant

A simple, interactive and user-friendly application to conduct dose-response analysis 

2014-15

BPS Teaching Grant

Development of flexible practical suite for pharmacokinetic teaching

2012-13

BPS Teaching Grant

Bringing pharmacokinetics to life with a simple laboratory exercise

Teaching

Teaching Responsibilities

 

Degree programme coordinator for:

         BSc (Hons) Pharmacology

         BSc (Hons) Immunology and Pharmacology (with Dr Isabel Crane)

         MSc Clinical Pharmacology

         MSc Drug Discovery and Development

 

Course Co-ordinator for:

BI25B2 - Physiology of Human Organ Systems

PA3004 - Biochemical Pharmacology and Toxicology

PA4303 - Current Topics in Pharmacological Research

MT5010 - MSc Induction

MT5518 - Pharmacokinetics

 

Contributions made to the following courses:

SM1001 (Introduction to Medical Sciences), SX1006 (The Mind Machine), SM1501 (The Cell), SX1505 (Science and the Media), SM2001 (Foundation Skills for Medical Sciences), BI20B2 (Physiology of Human Cells),  SM2001 (Foundation Skills for Medical Scientists), SM2501 (Research Skills for Medical Sciences), BI25B2 (Physiology of Human Organ Systems), SM3002 (Frontiers of Biomedical Sciences), PA3004 (Biochemical Pharmacology and Toxicology), PA4005 (Molecular Pharmacology), PA4303 (Current Topics in Pharmacolgical Research), BM4501 (BMS honours projects), SM4901 (Honours General Paper), SM4902 (Honours Data Analysis Paper), BT5007 (Industrial placement year), MT5010 (MSc Induction), BT5013 (Small Molecule Drug Discovery), MT5024 (Molecular Pharmacology), MT5029 (Toxicology), MT5024 (Molecular Pharmacology), MT5518 (Pharmacokinetics), MB5903 (MSc Research Project).