Biology Teaching Organisation

The Student Support Team

Who we are and what we do


Dr Nadia Tuzi (Senior Academic Tutor)

Dr Nadia Tuzi

Teaching: I am a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. I tutor on Molecules, Genes and Cells 1 (MGC1) and the Dynamic Cell 2 (TDC2).  I floor-lead laboratory practicals for MGC1, TDC2 and Genes and Gene Action 2 (GGA2). I can offer academic support for TDC2, MGC1 and GGA2. Please contact me by email to make an appointment, you can come on your own or in small groups.

Background: I studied Biology at Napier in Edinburgh when it was a college. I went on to do my MSc in General Biochemistry at King's College, University of London and then a PhD in London at the Imperial Cancer Research Fund (which became part of Cancer Research UK).  My PhD involved studying type I receptor tyrosine kinases. Upon completing my PhD I went on to become a post-doctoral, then a senior post-doctoral, research scientist at the Institute for Animal Health in Edinburgh before setting up my lab there. My research group was involved in investigating the Transmissible Spongiform Encephalopathies, also known as TSEs or prion diseases, such as Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE) and Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD). I moved to my current post in 2007 and now have several roles including being the Senior Academic Tutor, a Personal Tutor, the leader of the BTO Student Support Team and the Associate Director of Teaching for Student Experience.

Dr Abigail Cabrelli


Background: I am a tutor for Biology, Ecology and Environment (BEE1), Molecules, Genes and Cells (MGC1), Origin and Diversity of Life (ODL1) and Evolution in Action (EIA2). My background is in ecology with a particular focus on understanding the consequences of disturbance on species and ecosystems. Before joining the BTO Student Support team, I worked in the Department of Geosciences as part of a research team investigating the responses of tropical savannas to fire, and for my PhD, I investigated the impacts of climate change on Australia’s reptiles.

Dr Hazel Cruickshanks

Background: I studied Biochemistry at Glasgow University and then undertook my PhD at Edinburgh University studying conservation of chromatin-mediated gene silencing in yeast and plants. Following my PhD I worked in several research labs studying repetitive elements within the human genome and how changes in their DNA methylation and their aberrant expression can affect cancer and aging. I became a student support tutor in 2013. I am currently a tutor for Molecules, Genes and Cells (MGC1) and Origin and Diversity of Life (ODL1) and I am a floor leader on the following courses: Origin and Diversity of Life (ODL1), Biology, Ecology and Environment (BEE1) and Genes and Gene Action 2 (GGA2).

Dr John Curtis

Dr John Curtis

Teaching: I am a tutor and floor-leader on Origin and Diversity of Life (ODL1), Molecules, Genes and Cells (MGC1), The Dynamic Cell 2 (TDC2) and Animal Biology 2 (AB2).

Background: I studied Biochemistry and Physiology at the University of Leeds and obtained a PhD in Neuroscience.  I worked on synaptic physiology, neuronal dendritic modelling and signal integration.  I moved to Edinburgh, where I continued to study neuronal and synaptic physiology in relation to Prion protein and associated neurodegenerative diseases. This led to work looking at mitochondrial physiology and the mitochondrial involvement in regulating neuronal function and a possible link to neurodegenerative diseases and oxidative stress.  During this time I have used a wide variety of methods to record neuronal activity (intracellular sharp and patch clamp microelectrodes techniques) and produce quantitative models by ‘dye filling’ and reconstructing the anatomy of individual neurones.  I have also used ion sensitive fluorescent indicators to record intracellular ion activity (particularly calcium ion concentrations) and simultaneous changes in membrane potential and cell firing.   My experience working with various neuronal preparations (in-vivo, in-vitro slices, primary neuronal culture and cell line culture) led to my involvement with the Scottish Microelectronic Centre (SMC).  This collaboration focussed on projects developing, planar patch clamp devices and the integrated patterned growth of neurones and glia on various silicon based substrates.

Dr David Radford  

Dr David Radford

Teaching: I am a tutor on Origin and Diversity of Life (ODL1), Molecules, Genes and Cells (MGC1) and The Microbial World (TMW2). I floor-lead practical classes in Evolution in Action (EIA2), MGC1, Biology, Ecology and the Environment (BEE1) and TMW2.

Background: I studied Microbiology at Newcastle University for my honours degree and Industrial Biotechnology at MSc. I specialised in the low-GC Gram positive bacteria Bacillus subtilis, B. cereus and B. anthracis: my PhD involved studying transition metal homeostasis in B. subtilis working with Jen Cavet and Colin Harwood at Manchester and Newcastle universities; while my career post-PhD has been in microbial biotechnology, working in vaccine development at Cobra Biologics Ltd, characterisation of Bacillus and Clostridium endospores in Anne Moir’s lab at Sheffield University, and developing an arsenic biosensor using B. subtilis in Chris French’s lab in Edinburgh. I joined the BTO Student Support team in 2016.