Dr Mark Evans

Job: Lecturer in Biomedical/Medical Science

Faculty: Health and Life Sciences

School/department: School of Allied Health Sciences

Address: De Montfort University, The Gateway, Leicester, LE1 9BH.

T: 0116 2577888

E: mark.evans@dmu.ac.uk

W: www.dmu.ac.uk/beh

Social Media:

 

Personal profile

Dr. Mark Evans is a Lecturer in Biomedical and Medical Science.  He is a graduate of Brunel University (BSc.) and Louisiana State University (PhD) with an extensive academic and research background in the area of free radical biology and oxidative stress.  

During his career he has worked in the areas of cigarette smoking-induced lung disease, automimmune disease (rheumatoid arthritis, lupus) and cancer and prior to coming to De Montfort University was a post doctoral scientist then lecturer at The University of Leicester.  His primary interests lie in the area of DNA damage/repair and role in disease pathogenesis.  Additionally he has worked in the area of human biomonitoring, examining excreted markers of nucleic acid oxidation and their biological sources, particularly the role of nudix hydrolases.  

Dr. Evans also has active research interests in the therapeutic potential of natural products, primarily anti-cancer activity and mechanism.  Dr. Evans has significant experience of teaching/teaching administration for undergraduate, postgraduate and research students, as well as design of and academic lead for MSc. programmes.

Research group affiliations

Biomedical and Environmental Health Group

Publications and outputs 

  • Addressing student retention and engagement using new technology.
    Addressing student retention and engagement using new technology. Pena-Fernandez, A.; Evans, M. D.; Pena-Fernandez, M. A. A range of strategies to improve retention and progression of Biomedical Science students at De Montfort University (DMU) implemented in 2016/17 included: an intensive induction week with social/networking events involving academics; an increment in the number of lectures and tutorials on STEM topics; the creation of regular drop-in sessions for each module. These strategies might have translated into a trend in the reduction of the percentage of students that failed in year 1, due to academic circumstances, from 19% in 2014/15 to 9.6% in 2016/17. More actions being developed include creation of a complete website covering fundamental biology and chemistry.
  • Histology resources for promoting blended learning
    Histology resources for promoting blended learning Pena-Fernandez, A.; Ramos, I.; Young, C.; Gray, D.; Evans, M. D.; Randles, M.; Zhu, Lan; Lobo-Bedmar, M. C. Human health courses at universities are facing different challenges to provide students with real laboratory experiences due to the combination of large course cohorts with a shortage of academic staff, resources and time. Future health professionals are encouraged to have a complete understanding of human anatomy and histology as well as to have some pathology and diagnostic skills including the necessary skills to use a microscope. However, students often find learning histology challenging as they usually need to learn how to use a microscope in a limited time during a practical timetabled with several peers, in which they are also required to undertake other activities such as tissue embedding, cutting and staining. To address these factors, different web-based resources have been made available to enhance learning of anatomy and histology, however they are directed to medical students so their use by non-medical students (e.g. pharmacy, biomedical science, nursing, etc.) is limited due to their complexity. As a result, De Montfort University (DMU, UK) is leading an international project to develop an on-line package for teaching and learning biology, named DMU e-Biology, which will cover not only the foundation but also the latest scientific knowledge on human biology. This novel resource is also equipped with a Virtual Microscope and a Virtual Laboratory. The Virtual Laboratory will present different subsections with a range of units regarding biomedical techniques and equipment, which will be developed following previous successful experience from the team. Units will be highly engaging and will contain short videos of academics and/or technicians working hands-on with equipment and/or techniques shown to bring the laboratory to the student’s house. Videos will be enhanced with audio and subtitles in English and the user will be able to complete a series of voluntary self-assessments throughout each unit to enhance engagement and self-assessment by providing the user with tools to evaluate their acquisition of knowledge. A subsection will cover all the elements to perform routine histological techniques in a biomedical laboratory, including the use and practicalities of the microtome, how to perform paraffin embedding and tissue sampling, and common staining techniques such as haematoxylin & eosin (H&E) and periodic acid–Schiff stain (PAS). The histology section will be publicly available from the DMU website in 2018 here http://parasitology.dmu.ac.uk/ebiology/biologyLaboratory_units.htm. Additionally, this resource is supported by a virtual microscope in which the user will be able to explore a library of virtual histological slides from different human tissues and organs; the virtual microscope will transfer the practicalities of a microscope to study human histology. These resources will be tested with first year BSc Biomedical Science and BMedSci Medical Science students enrolled in the module Basic Anatomy and Physiology at DMU by implementing blended learning, i.e. a pedagogy that integrates e-learning resources and materials with formal teaching (lectures, workshops and practicals), as different studies have pointed out that this pedagogy can enhance self-learning and facilitate acquisition of knowledge and long-term retention of information. This paper will provide a description of these novel resources and explore their practicalities with non-medical science students. The file attached to this record is the author's final peer reviewed version. The Publisher's final version can be found by following the DOI link.
  • Creating a reflective pedagogic strategy to enhance human health students’ professional practice at De Montfort University.
    Creating a reflective pedagogic strategy to enhance human health students’ professional practice at De Montfort University. Pena-Fernandez, A.; Pena, M. A.; Evans, M. D. Reflection is a critical skill for healthcare workers as their professional practice requires undertaking continuous learning for professional development. The aims and objectives of this exercise were to assess and develop students’ critical thinking and reflective learning skills. A novel pedagogic reflective strategy implemented in large groups of human health students at De Montfort University consisted of the sequential provision of three specialised clinical case studies, which required students to reflect on their knowledge to answer them. Students received comprehensive feedback between each reflective question regarding the ability to extract and synthesise information and to reflect and comment.
  • Interventions to enhance the teaching of toxicology at a UK University
    Interventions to enhance the teaching of toxicology at a UK University Pena-Fernandez, A.; Pena, M. A.; Lobo-Bedmar, M. C.; Evans, M. D. Following the recent communication from the European Societies of Toxicology (EUROTOX) advising that toxicology training and expertise is being eroded in the European Union, we have reviewed the teaching status of this subject in all the bioscience undergraduate courses offered at De Montfort University (DMU, UK). The courses reviewed were: Biomedical Science, Health and Wellbeing in Society, Speech and Language Therapy, Medical Science, Pharmaceutical and Cosmetic Science, Forensic Science and Pharmacy. None of these courses dedicate a complete module to the study of toxicology although they teach some aspects of toxicology following the subject-specific threshold standards described by the UK Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education. Similar results are found in other UK Universities, although a comprehensive study on the status of toxicology teaching is needed. We have not found any undergraduate courses currently offered in the UK that contained the word “toxicology” in their title. These results are in agreement with EUROTOX, which indicated that toxicology has been generally integrated into other bioscience disciplines and is mainly offered as part of a taught postgraduate degree programme in Europe. Owing to these observations, our teaching group is performing different strategies to enhance the teaching of toxicology at DMU as we consider that the learning of this science is critically important to enable future health professionals to protect human health. These strategies included the development of specialised teaching/workshop sessions in toxicology that can be easily included in any undergraduate bioscience module. Thus, during 2016/17 we collected comprehensive feedback (during an Erasmus+ mobility grant for academics) from human health students about their views on the teaching of toxicology and one of the specialised workshops in a programme that does not offer a module in toxicology (BMedSci Medical Science, DMU) and one that does (MPharm. Pharmacy, University of San Pablo CEU, Spain). A high proportion of the students consulted requested more teaching of toxicology or the introduction of more specialised toxicology in their programmes. Thus, 85% of second year BMedSci students indicated that they would like to receive more toxicology training. Also, 42.9% (57.1% neither agree nor disagree) of fourth year MPharm. students suggested the incorporation of specialised environmental toxicology workshops within their course and all of them considered the environmental toxicology training relevant to their general toxicology module. Other strategies implemented include the enhancement of research in toxicology in our university by offering final projects on these topics to undergraduate and postgraduate students, as well as completion of PhDs. Finally, DMU has recently recruited two toxicologists as academic staff, allowing us to promote the teaching/research of toxicology as well as exploring the possibility of developing postgraduate content for the teaching of toxicology. More efforts should be considered to enhance the teaching of this subject in any bioscience programme, as the current status of toxicology in the UK has been eroded.
  • Development of a virtual environment for teaching and learning biomedical techniques and equipment for the study of human pathogens.
    Development of a virtual environment for teaching and learning biomedical techniques and equipment for the study of human pathogens. Pena-Fernandez, A.; Fenoy, S.; Evans, M. D.; Sgamma, Tiziana; Hurtado, C.; Izquierdo, F.; Randles, M.; Young, C.; Acosta, L.; del Aguila, C. An international innovative teaching group from different EU Universities (De Montfort University, Leicester, UK; University of San Pablo CEU, Madrid, Spain; University of Miguel Hernandez, Elche, Spain) and biomedical scientists registered by the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC, UK) are developing a complete e-learning package in medical parasitology for undergraduate and postgraduate students that study Health Sciences. This package, named DMU e-Parasitology, is accessible through the DMU website (http://parasitology.dmu.ac.uk) and will present different modules including a virtual laboratory module for the study of traditional and novel biomedical laboratory techniques and equipment for detecting, identifying and studying human pathogens, specifically parasites. These techniques could also be potentially used to study other pathogens such as bacteria or viruses. The virtual biomedical laboratory is under development, but is available in the DMU website here: http://parasitology.dmu.ac.uk/learn/laboratory.htm. To develop this new module of the DMU e-Parasitology, we are using Storyline 360 software and the scaffolding and methods used to build the theoretical module (Peña-Fernández et al., 2017) [1]. To facilitate the navigation, study and comprehension of the final user, we have divided the virtual laboratory into a series of sub-sections that include different units; the sub-sections so far are: microscopes (with units such as the electron microscope); molecular biology (e.g. polymerase chain reaction and gel electrophoresis); biological safety cabinets and cell/parasite culture; biochemical and immunological techniques (e.g. magnetic immunoseparation); histology (e.g. microtome) and staining techniques (e.g. Kinyoun staining). The virtual laboratory units are highly interactive and present short videos of academics and/or technicians working in real conditions with the different laboratory equipment such as a thermocycler, a microtome, or a biological safety cabinet, as well as performing a specific technique such as a staining to determine pathogens. Therefore, the user of this virtual environment will receive a complete and “real” experience of the work in a biomedical laboratory. The DMU e-Parasitology package, and specifically its virtual laboratory environment, could help technicians and students across the world to learn how to work in a biomedical laboratory as well as to perform techniques to identify and diagnose human pathogens such as microsporidia or Plasmodium spp. Thus, the virtual resource is supported by a virtual library that includes a real collection of clinical slides that will provide the user with the functionality of a light and/or an immunofluorescence microscope. In conclusion, the virtual laboratory may serve as a high quality and reliable on-line environment for the learning of techniques and equipment. These resources can be used to improve the learning of undergraduate and postgraduate students of human health sciences as well as to develop CPD training. Moreover, the virtual laboratory module may impact in the teaching of laboratory techniques and skills in developing countries due to their limited resources. This communication will explore the design and development of the virtual laboratory environment that will be publicly accessible by the end of 2018.
  • Developing a novel resource for teaching and learning parasitology: DMU e-Parasitology.
    Developing a novel resource for teaching and learning parasitology: DMU e-Parasitology. Pena-Fernandez, A.; Ollero, M. D.; Magnet, A.; Fenoy, S.; Izquierdo, F.; Bornay, F.; Acosta, L.; Pena, M. A.; Hoosen, H.; Evans, M. D.; del Aguila, C. Background: The study of parasitology has become essential to develop future health care professionals with skills to respond to public health threats such as the recent outbreak of Cryptosporidium in the UK. To facilitate the teaching of parasitology, which is negligible across the different undergraduate and taught masters degrees at De Montfort University (DMU, UK), a group from different EU Universities [DMU and the Spanish universities: University of San Pablo CEU (USP-CEU) and University Miguel Hernández] and clinicians are developing an on-line package for teaching and learning parasitology named DMU e-Parasitology. The development of this teaching resource will cover a gap in the traditional teaching and learning methods that are currently used and provided in the participating universities. Materials/methods: The DMU e-Parasitology resource is being created for undergraduate and postgraduate human health science students, with corresponding degrees of difficulty on the DMU website (http://parasitology.dmu.ac.uk/). To develop the theoretical section, a preliminary unit about the helminth Toxocara was initially developed to be used as a model for this section: http://parasitology.dmu.ac.uk/learn/modules/toxocara/story.html. Volunteers that studied Parasitology during the first term in 2016/17 [n=27; 6 European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System credits (ECTS); 3rd year module] from the bilingual Pharmacy and Biotechnology degree at USP-CEU provided comprehensive feedback for this preliminary unit at the beginning of the second term. The module was tested with these students because of their knowledge of parasitology. Results: Students described the initial unit as interactive and presenting the appropriate content and resources to study the parasitic disease addressed (toxocariasis). Limitations were the poor navigability in the formative exercise section and the excessive information provided in some slides that could hinder their understanding. Conclusions: The team has addressed these limitations and is using this unit as a model to build the DMU e-Parasitology, which will be accessible through the website (http://parasitology.dmu.ac.uk) in 2018. We consider that this teaching and learning resource will overcome barriers of time, space, equipment and resource. Finally, this resource could facilitate the introduction of parasitology in any health science programme with limited time for teaching this subject in their curriculums.
  • MTH1 deficiency selectively increases non-cytotoxic oxidative DNA damage in lung cancer cells: more bad news than good?
    MTH1 deficiency selectively increases non-cytotoxic oxidative DNA damage in lung cancer cells: more bad news than good? Abbas, H. H. K.; Alhamoudi, K. M. H.; Evans, M. D.; Jones, G. D. D.; Foster, S. S.
  • Medical Science students opinion on training to address the antibiotic resistance phenomenon
    Medical Science students opinion on training to address the antibiotic resistance phenomenon Pena-Fernandez, A.; Evans, M. D.; Torrado, G.; Pena, M. A.
  • Developing a digital environment for teaching and learning parasitology.
    Developing a digital environment for teaching and learning parasitology. Pena-Fernandez, A.; Magnet, A.; Acosta, L.; Evans, M. D.; Fenoy, M.S. Eukaryotic parasites represent serious human health threats that require health professionals with the necessary foundation in parasitology to prevent infections and minimise morbidity and mortality in humans. However, the teaching of parasitology is usually a small part in the curricula of microbiology courses, and recent surveys have highlighted a poor understanding of zoonotic diseases by medical practitioners. To facilitate the teaching of parasitology and parasitic infectious diseases, teaching which is negligible across the different undergraduate and taught masters degrees at De Montfort University (DMU, UK), a group from different EU Universities [DMU and the Spanish Universities of San Pablo CEU (USP-CEU) and University Miguel Hernández], and practising Biomedical Scientists from the UK National Health Service are developing an on-line package for teaching and learning parasitology named DMU e-Parasitology. This package will be publicly available on the DMU website here http://parasitology.dmu.ac.uk/ when completed in 2018. The DMU e-Parasitology will have three sections: a theoretical module with up-to-date units to study major human parasites from a multidisciplinary, translational programme, which covers all the challenges for addressing these serious and chronic disabling diseases; a virtual laboratory module with units related to techniques and equipment for detecting, identifying and study parasitic diseases; and a virtual microscope with a real slide collection of clinical samples of parasites. This digital learning environment will reinforce self-learning, so units present different formative assessments in the form of a quiz, activity and/or exam. Additionally, interactive clinical case studies with different degrees of difficulty are being created to facilitate the acquisition of clinical and parasitology skills including key transversal competences such as critical thinking and problem-solving skills. Students will use the virtual microscope to resolve the case studies by identifying morphologically the parasite(s) in different clinical samples displayed in the case studies. The first theoretical unit was created in 2016 on Toxocara and tested with a focus group at USP-CEU that provided feedback to build an appropriate and robust unit that is being used as a model. The focus group’s perception of the DMU e-Parasitology was overwhelmingly positive. We consider that this novel digital learning environment will facilitate the introduction of parasitology in any human health science degree by overcoming barriers of time, space, equipment and resources. Finally, this resource could actively engage students’ interest in parasitology by promoting active and self-learning.
  • Promoting internationalisation in human health degrees
    Promoting internationalisation in human health degrees Pena-Fernandez, A.; Evans, M. D.; Fretwell, L.; Pena, M. A.

 

To see all of Mark's publications and outputs click here.

Research interests/expertise

Free radicals and oxidative stress
Oxidative and free radical damage to nucleic acids; analysis of biomarkers of damage to nucleic acid; biological meaning and sources of urinary nucleic acid oxidation products; repair/processing of oxidatively-damaged nucleic acids; biomarkers of repair of oxidatively-damaged DNA; Nudix hydrolases.

Cancer
DNA damage and repair in carcinogenesis; potential use and mechanism of chemical agents derived from natural products as anti-cancer agents.

Areas of teaching

  • Chemistry
  • Biochemistry
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Pharmacology

Qualifications

PhD Biochemistry/Organic Chemistry (Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge)
BSc. (Hons) Applied Biochemistry (Brunel University)

Courses taught

BSc. Biomedical Science
BMedSci. Medical Science
MSc. Advanced Biomedical Science

Honours and awards

Diploma from the Polish Ministry of Science and Higher Education recognising contribution to oxidative stress research in lung cancer, 2006.

Membership of professional associations and societies

Member of The Royal Society of Chemistry

Fellow of The Institute of Biomedical Science
Honorary member Lupus UK/West Midlands Lupus Group

Past:
Biochemical Society
Society for Free Radical Research
UK Environmental Mutagenesis Society

Current research students

First supervisor
Ibrahim Alhabib (PhD)

Philip Okyere (DHSci)

 

Second supervisor

Hesham Khodeir (PhD)

Gurminderjeet S. Jagdev (PhD)

Sian Atkin-Smith (MRes)

 

Professional esteem indicators

2005-2008 Editorial Board, Eurekah Bioscience.

Jan. 2009 Invited Chair, session on ‘Interpretation of urinary DNA oxidation products’ at 2nd Copenhagen Workshop on DNA Oxidation, Copenhagen, Denmark.

Oct. 2009 Guest at No.10 Downing St. for Lupus UK Reception hosted by Sarah Brown as part of Lupus Awareness month.

Invited Speaker at the IFRA UK Fragrance Forum 2016, The Royal Society, London, UK, October 2016. 

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