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Dr Louise MacBrayne

Profile summary

Professional biography

I graduated from the University of Surrey in 1999 with a Bsc (Hons) in Chemistry. I went onto undertake a Glaxo Wellcome funded PhD at the University of Reading (supervised by Prof. Wayne Hayes) investigating the molecular imprinting of steroidal drugs.

After completing my PhD I went to work for BP as a development chemist, working in their Castrol division looking at new production innovations and green technology for diesel fuels. I moved to the West Coast of Scotland in 2008 to join a biotechnology start up company where my research returned to a more biological focus, investigating the use of novel marine microbial metabolites as potential oncology agents. 

I joined the Open University in 2011, initially as an Associate Lecturer teaching on a new practial science module SXC288 - this ignited my interest in virtual and remote laboratory instrumentation and I remain interested in the teaching of practical science and associated skills online to this day. I went onto teach a range of other modules in science at levels 1, 2 and 3 in chemistry and interdisciplinary science at level one up until the project dissertation modules at level 3.

I became a staff tutor in chemistry and interdisciplinary science in 2018 working in the School of Life, Health and Chemical Sciences. At present I am module team co-chair alongside Marcus Badger of the module S112 (Science concepts and practice), and am link staff tutor on S315 (Further Concepts in Chemistry), S350 (Evaluating Contemporary Science) and SXN390 (Science in Society project module). I also manage clusters on SDK100 and S290. I am one of the production authors of S285 (Investigative Approaches in Biology and Chemistry).

I am currently teaching as an Associate Lecturer on the interdisciplinary science modules S111 (Questions in Science) and S112 (Science Concepts and Practice). I am a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (SFHEA).

In March 2022 I took over as the Qualification Director for Q64 BSc Natural Sciences and chair of the Undergraduate Science Group.

Research interests

I have a strong interest in scholarship involving innovative pedagogical teaching practices within a digital setting. I have worked alongside teaching colleagues in the School of Life,Health and Chemical Science to consider differences between tutor and student expectations for synchronous online tuition. The project was noted for its strategic importance and impact on university policy within a complex and evolving environment.

​My previous research has involved a collaboration with colleages in learning innovation and learning design to investigate the relationship between learning design, learning behaviours and student outcomes on 4 x level 2 STEM modules, to establish any significant correlations.

Currently my scholarship is focused on investigating the awarding gap for Black students on S112 and exploring the Black student experience both within this module and our other level one modules.

Teaching interests

Currently I am involved in the production of two new modules:

S285 Investigative skills in biology and chemistry (contributing author)

S290 Investigating human health and disease (staff tutor)

I am particularly interested in the use of virtual and remote instrumentation within module design to teach practical science in the distance learning setting and have utilised Open Science Lab Apps on several modules including S215, S315, SXHL288, SXC288 and S112.


Impact and engagement

From 2018 - 2021 I was employability lead for the School of Life, Health and Chemical Sciences and as such am in regular communication with colleagues across other schools in STEM, working towards a common goal to incorporate and embed employability skills into our curriculum design. This role also involves working with colleagues in both the careers service directly, but more specifically the Enhancing Employability and Career Progression Programme.

In 2022 I took over as Qualification Director for Q64 BSc Natural Sciences, having oversight of the broad interdisciplinary natural science degree pathway together with the subject specific natural sciences pathways.


Achieving Student Centred Facilitation in Online Synchronous Tutorials (2018)
Butler, Diane; Cook, Lynda; Haley-Mirnar, Vikki; Halliwell, Catherine and Macbrayne, Louise
In : 10th EDEN Research Workshop 2018 (24-26 Oct 2018, Barcelona) (pp. 76-82)