Professor Rachel Ashworth

Dr Rachel Ashworth

Founding MBChB Phase 1 Lead, Professor of Education in Physiology


Contact Details


Professor Ashworth has a BSc (Biological Sciences) and a doctorate (PhD Physiology and Biochemistry) and trained initially as a research scientist. She worked as postdoctoral researcher in the United States before returning to the UK and setting up a laboratory at University College London.

In 2006, Professor Ashworth was appointed as a lecturer in Physiology at Queen Mary University of London. Professor Ashworth’s early career in scientific research laid the foundations for her subsequent development as a physiology educator and champion for learning through active practical experience and scientific discovery. She has taught physiology on the dental, biomedical sciences, and medical programmes.

Professor Ashworth has published her research in many scientific journals and supervised postgraduate and undergraduate research projects. 


2019 MA Education for Clinical Contexts, Queen Mary University.
2015 Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy
2009 Postgraduate Certificate in Academic Practice (PGCAP), Queen Mary University
1993 Ph.D. Biochemistry & Physiology, University of Reading
1989 B.Sc. (Hons) Biological Sciences (Physiology), University of Birmingham

Teaching Interests

Professor Ashworth is Principal Lecturer in Biomedical Science and Founding MBChB Phase 1 Lead at the Three Counties Medical School (TCMS). Previously she was lead of Physiology, at Barts and The Royal London Medical school, Queen Mary University of London. She is committed to delivering an outstanding student experience through creating an innovative and stimulating educational environment. 

Research Interests

Professor Ashworth’s current research interests lie in medical education, she is a senior fellow of the HEA and recently completed a MA in Education for Clinical Contexts. Using Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA), her dissertation explored the lived experience of scientists teaching in medicine. She is passionate about the integration of biomedical sciences into the medical curriculum and has recently published in this field. She is a reviewer for the American Physiological Society Publication “Advances in Physiology Education”.

Professor Ashworth has a background in scientific research, and initially trained as a laboratory scientist, managing an independent research laboratory with grant funding from the Research Councils (BBSRC, MRC). She has published over 26 papers, 2 book chapters, and has presented her work at many international conferences.

Professional Bodies

The Physiological Society

Association for the Study of Medical Education


Remember to breathe: teaching respiratory physiology in a clinical context using simulation.
Bintley HL, Bell A, Ashworth R.
Adv Physiol Educ. 2019 Mar 1;43(1):76-81. doi: 10.1152/advan.00148.2018.
PMID: 30694707

Role of Active Contraction and Tropomodulins in Regulating Actin Filament Length and Sarcomere Structure in Developing Zebrafish Skeletal Muscle.
Mazelet L, Parker MO, Li M, Arner A, Ashworth R.
Front Physiol. 2016 Mar 31;7:91. doi: 10.3389/fphys.2016.00091. eCollection 2016.
PMID: 27065876 Free PMC article.

Female and male gamete mitochondria are distinct and complementary in transcription, structure, and genome function.
de Paula WB, Agip AN, Missirlis F, Ashworth R, Vizcay-Barrena G, Lucas CH, Allen JF.
Genome Biol Evol. 2013;5(10):1969-77. doi: 10.1093/gbe/evt147.
PMID: 24068653 Free PMC article.

Novel 3-nitro-1H-1,2,4-triazole-based compounds as potential anti-Chagasic drugs: in vivo studies.
Papadopoulou MV, Bloomer WD, Rosenzweig HS, Ashworth R, Wilkinson SR, Kaiser M, Andriani G, Rodriguez A.
Future Med Chem. 2013 Oct;5(15):1763-76. doi: 10.4155/fmc.13.108.
PMID: 24144412 Free PMC article.

Evaluating the developmental toxicity of trypanocidal nitroaromatic compounds on zebrafish.
Buchanan-Kilbey G, Djumpah J, Papadopoulou MV, Bloomer W, Hu L, Wilkinson SR, Ashworth R.
Acta Trop. 2013 Dec;128(3):701-5. doi: 10.1016/j.actatropica.2013.07.022. Epub 2013 Aug 2.
PMID: 23916507

Heat shock induces rapid resorption of primary cilia.
Prodromou NV, Thompson CL, Osborn DP, Cogger KF, Ashworth R, Knight MM, Beales PL, Chapple JP.
J Cell Sci. 2012 Sep 15;125(Pt 18):4297-305. doi: 10.1242/jcs.100545. Epub 2012 Jun 20.
PMID: 22718348 Free PMC article.

Ryanodine receptors, a family of intracellular calcium ion channels, are expressed throughout early vertebrate development.
Wu HH, Brennan C, Ashworth R.
BMC Res Notes. 2011 Dec 14;4:541. doi: 10.1186/1756-0500-4-541.
PMID: 22168922 Free PMC article.