Dr Isla Gemmell

Senior Lecturer (Teaching)

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Senior Lecturer in Epidemiology and Statistics and Deputy Programme Director on the MPH/MRes Postgraduate Programmes in Public Health and Primary Care


I am a Senior Lecturer and Deputy Programme Director on the MPH/MRes Postgraduate Programmes in Public Health and Primary Care in the Faculty of Biology, Medicine and Health. I lead the Practical Statistics for Population Health course unit in semester 2 and I teach on the Fundamentals of Epidemiology course in semester 1.

Having enjoyed a successful research career in epidemiology and statistics I first got involved in the online distance learning MPH programme in 2005 becoming module lead for Biostatistics 2006 and re-writing the module in 2007. I reduced my research commitments and continued to develop my teaching role taking the lead in the Fundamentals of Epidemiology module from 2008 to 2017. I have recently completed a second re-write of my module, now named Practical Statistics for Population Health.

As one of the Deputy Programme Directors I am involved in many other aspects of the programme including leading the Commonwealth Scholarship Commission (CSC) awards process, selection and recruitment of CSC students, EDI co-lead, curriculum development, programme amendments, student experience and linking with the Divisional PGT lead.

Additionally, I carry out research in teaching and learning with specific focus on transnational students’ experience and outcomes on the MPH programme.


I graduated from Aberdeen University with an honours degree in Statistics in 1991 and obtained my masters degree in Medical Statistics from Leicester University in 1992. I began working for the NHS Information and Statistics Division in Edinburgh before moving to Glasgow University to work on a research project on seasonal patterns of morbidity and mortality. During my time at Glasgow I completed my PhD titled ‘Seasonal patterns of mortality and morbidity in Scotland: modelling time series of counts’ and I was involved in other research projects on heart failure and housing and health.

During my research career at the University of Manchester I was based at the National Drug Evidence Centre, the Evidence for Population Health Unit and the National Primary Care Research and Development Centre. During this time I was involved in research on prevalence of problem drug use in Greater Manchester, the population impact of interventions for heart disease, the influence of infant growth on risk factors for CHD and several other research projects in population health. In 2008 I moved from research into teaching as a Lecturer in Biostatistics and Epidemiology on the MPH/MRes programme.


BSc Statistics (1st Class hons), University of Aberdeen 1991

MSc Medical Statistics, University of Leicester 1992

PhD Statistics and Public Health, University of Glasgow 2000

CStat Royal Statistical Society 2008

Post Graduate Certificate in Higher Education, University of Manchester 2017

Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy 2019

Memberships of committees and professional bodies

Higher Education Academy

Society of Social Medicine

Royal Statistical Society

External positions

External Examiner, London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine

1 Jan 202030 Nov 2023

Research Networks and Beacons

Biology, Medicine and Health (BMH) Domains

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