School of Health Sciences

Image of Alison Mostyn

Alison Mostyn

Professor of Pharmacology Education for Health, Director of Teaching and Learning, Faculty of Medicine & Health Sciences



Alison Mostyn graduated with a first class BSc (hons) in Biomedical Science (Pharmacology) from the University of Aberdeen (1998) and went on to study for a PhD in the School of Human Development, University of Nottingham; graduating in 2001. She then spent 2 years at Imperial College London as a post-doctoral scientist, followed by 2 years as a University of Nottingham Senior Research Fellow in the School of Human Development. In 2006 she moved to the School of Nursing, Midwifery and Physiotherapy as a Lecturer in Biological Sciences. Alison joined the School of Veterinary Medicine and Science in 2009 as a Lecturer in Comparative Cellular Physiology. Alison returned to the School of Health Sciences in 2015 to lead the pharmacology elements of a new distance learning non-medical prescribing programme. Alison was the PG Assessment Lead for the School of Health Sciences 2017-2020, Deputy Director of Education and Student Experience (March 2020-September 2023) and is currently the Director of Teaching and Learning. Alison represents the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences on the Quality and Standards Committee.

Expertise Summary

Alison Mostyn is a Professor in Pharmacology Education for Health. In 2014 Alison was awarded Senior Fellowship status of the Higher Education Academy (SFHEA). Alison's previous wet-lab research interests lie in adipose tissue regulation, obesity and developmental origins of health and disease. Currently Alison is engaged in pedagogical research focussing on biological and pharmacological sciences education in health care and non-medical prescribing.

Teaching Summary

Alison is a professional, enthusiastic Higher Education (HE) lecturer committed to engaging students with a high quality, pedagogically sound teaching and learning experience. As a facilitator of… read more

Research Summary

Pharmacology and biological sciences education

Alison underpins her teaching with sound pedagogy and enjoys developing and evaluating innovative methods for delivering lectures, practicals and workshops. Wherever possible, Alison shares best practice through publications. Most recently Alison has published research on the use of podcasting and audience response technology.

Current work includes the assessment of spontaneous peer-assisted learning in pharmacology, flipped-learning, distance learning for prescribing education and assessment criteria.

Selected Publications

Alison is a professional, enthusiastic Higher Education (HE) lecturer committed to engaging students with a high quality, pedagogically sound teaching and learning experience. As a facilitator of learning, she aims to offer a variety of teaching types to suit many learning styles - often in a blended fashion; she believes learning should be flexible; by providing materials through a variety of innovative electronic methods she can promote independent learning and access outside core hours to non-typical students. Alison's previous biological science "wet-lab" research informs her teaching and she underpins her materials with relevant, current evidence.

Commitment to providing excellent teaching has led to collaboration, competitive funding success and publication of educational research projects. Alison was awarded Senior Fellowship status of Advance HE in 2014 and a Lord Dearing Award in 2017. Alison acts as a mentor and assessor for the Nottingham Recognition Scheme.

Alison is responsible for developing the curriculum, learning materials and assessments for the pharmacology components of the post- graduate non-medical prescribing programme run as a distance or attended route.The course is available to a range of health care professionals including nurses, midwives, physiotherapists and podiatrists.

Past Research

Previous basic science research

Developmental origins of health and disease: Animal and human epidemiological studies have established that sub-optimal maternal diet throughout pregnancy results in offspring that are at increased risk of later metabolic disease including diabetes and obesity. This has become known as the developmental origins of health and disease (DOHaD) hypothesis. Many DOHaD studies are based upon under-nutrition during pregnancy; however, dietary excess is more characteristic of the diets consumed by many pregnant women in the developed world. Many regulators of lipid and glucose metabolism are nutritionally sensitive in the developing fetus and, if altered, may transmit long-lasting adverse changes to the offspring. Low birth-weight offspring may be particularly at risk. Many of the genes which regulate fat and glucose metabolism are sensitive to changes in nutrition during fetal development, therefore may be affected by maternal over, or under-nutrition. If these genetic changes are long-lasting and persist into adulthood they may impair the physiological and endocrine systems in the offspring and lead to disease such as type 2 (or age onset) diabetes or obesity.

Similarly, low birth-weight offspring, who may have experienced sub-optimal conditions in the womb, are also at an increased risk of metabolic diseases and often develop greater fat stores than their normal weight siblings. The exact timing and type of nutritional imbalance may be crucial in determining the outcome for the offspring. I am using several porcine models with collaborators from Imperial College, Cambridge and Southampton University to investigate the effects of low birth weight and maternal diet on long and short term effects on cellular physiology, in particular in adipose tissue, liver and muscle.

Influence of genotype

Neonatal mortality is greater in commercial porcine genotypes compared to the ancient Meishan breed that rapidly lay down adipose tissue, despite lower birth weight and large litter size. Meishan sows are obese and produce milk with a higher fat content than commercial sows, which may be one factor responsible for the apparent resistance to hypoglycaemia and hypothermia observed in their piglets. I am investigating the role of adipose tissue development and genes which regulate metabolism on neonatal survival in these animals.

Influence of delivery method

Evidence is emerging from animal and human studies that caesarean section delivery is associated with long-term physiological changes, as well as the well-known short term effects. Along with a collaborator from Imperial College, I am investigating the molecular changes in adipose tissue, liver and muscle in response to caesarean section delivery.

Adipose tissue and obesity

I have a general interest in adipose tissue, adiposity and obesity across a wide range of species. Recent projects include investigating the impact of a novel dietary and exercise intervention equine obesity, morphology and gene expression in elephant adipose tissue, adipokine regulation in obese dogs and genetic regulation of canine lipoma.

Future Research

Alison is interested in using text network analysis to analyse student perceptions of prescribing.

School of Health Sciences

B236, Medical School
Queen's Medical Centre
Nottingham, NG7 2HA

telephone: +44 (0)115 95 15559