Dr Stephen Maclean

Lecturer in Anatomy

Dr Stephen Maclean

Anatomy Lecturer

  • Anatomy@Edinburgh
  • Edinburgh Medical School: Biomedical Sciences
  • University of Edinburgh

Contact details



Doorway 3
Medical School
Teviot Place

Stephen holds a BSc (hons) Forensic Anthropology at the University of Dundee, graduating with First Class Honours in June 2012. Following this, Stephen was awarded a Greenhouse Learning and Teaching Scholarship to complete a PhD at the Centre for Anatomy and Human Identification, University of Dundee, under the supervision of Professor Sue Black and Dr Craig Cunningham. This doctoral research investigated the application of medical imaging technologies, including radiography and micro-computed tomography, to understanding early ontogenetic changes in the juvenile ischium. He received his PhD in May 2017. 

Later in May 2017, Stephen took up his current post as an Anatomy Lecturer within the College of Medicine and Veterinary Medicine at the University of Edinburgh, where he is the course organiser for a new Level 10 Honours elective module, Applied Human Osteology, in addition to a wide range of teaching roles within the anatomical department.

Stephen is also a certified Forensic Anthropologist with the Royal Anthropological Institute of Great Britain and Ireland, at the FA-III level. He operates under the mentorship of Ms Gaille MacKinnon. This has led him to assist a number of police forces around the UK with the identification of discovered skeletal remains, and to work as part of the anthropology team with the Metropolitan Police Service on an incident of national significance. Stephen also sits on the RAI Committee for Forensic Anthropology, the professional accrediting body for Forensic Anthropologists in the UK.


Stephen contributes widely to the teaching and assessment of anatomy across a number of programmes and courses including Y1-5 MBChB, Y2 – 4 BSc anatomy courses and the MSc Human Anatomy programme. This includes anatomical areas such as gross anatomy, histology, embryology, imaging anatomy and neuroanatomy, in addition to the supervision of taught post-graduate research dissertations.

Stephen specialises in osteology and musculoskeletal anatomy and, in September 2018, he designed and launched a Level 10 Honours elective, Applied Human Osteology. This module builds on past teaching to emphasise the importance of the human skeleton in the structure and function of the body and examines the ways in which the skeleton can continue to prove vital after death through the identification of unknown skeletal remains. He also redeveloped the anatomy component of the Y1 MBChB Bones, Cartilage and Joints module.

Stephen has also played an active role in the development and implementation of new educational resources for the teaching of anatomy through medical imaging. Building on a partnership with Dr Jeremy Jones (Royal Hospital for Sick Children, Edinburgh) and the online imaging repository Radiopaedia, Stephen has overseen the widespread integration of digital imaging to Y1 and Y2 MBChB practical anatomy education.


Stephen’s research is primarily concerned with ontogenetic patterns in human skeletal development. This involves the application of two- and three-dimensional imaging technologies to examine changes in cortical and trabecular bone microarchitecture, with the aim of identifying potential factors which inform early skeletal development and their implications for bone form and health.

In an additional line of research, Stephen is also investigating the resources available in the skeletal collections at the University of Edinburgh for the purposes of human identification and clinical investigations.

These areas of interest have formed the basis for three MSc dissertations to date, and students interested in these topics are encouraged to contact Stephen to discuss potential projects.


Maclean, S.J., Black, S.M. and Cunningham, C.A. (2014). The developing juvenile ischium: Macro-radiographic insights. Clinical Anatomy 27 (6): 906-914

Maclean, S.J. (2018). Identified Skeletal Collections: The Testing Ground of Anthropology (Book Review). Journal of Anatomy (early access)DOI: 10.1111/joa.12879

Maclean, S.J., Cunningham C.A. and Black, S.M. (2018). S35 Constructive regression in the juvenile human ischium: a qualitative analysis. IN: Solving Clinical Problems with Anatomical Solutions: Winter meeting of the Anatomical Society 2017. Journal of Anatomy 232 (6): 1048

Maclean, S.J., Cunningham C.A. and Black, S.M. (2018). P42 Constructive regression in the juvenile human ischium: a quantitative analysis. IN: Solving Clinical Problems with Anatomical Solutions: Winter meeting of the Anatomical Society 2017. Journal of Anatomy 232 (6): 1063

Maclean, S.J., O’Malley, A.S., Cunningham, C.A. and Black, S.M. (2015). Extensive bone remodeling in the Juvenile Girdles: A new phase of development In: Abstracts presented at the Summer Meeting of the British Association of Clinical Anatomists on 3rd July 2014 at the Plymouth University, Peninsula Schools of Medicine and Dentistry, Portland Square Building, Plymouth, United Kingdom. Clinical Anatomy 28 (3): 416

Maclean, S.J., Cunningham, C.A., Black, S.M. (2014). The macro-radiographic development of the juvenile ischium In: Abstracts presented at the Winter Meeting of the British Association of Clinical Anatomists on 18th December 2013 at the Stopford Building, University of Manchester, Manchester, United Kingdom. Clinical Anatomy 27 (8): 1342

Professional Membership

  • Fellow of the Royal Anthropological Institute of Great Britain and Ireland (RAI)
  • Early Career Member of the Anatomical Society
  • Member of the British Association of Human Identification (BAHID)
  • Member of the British Association of Forensic Anthropologists (BAFA)