Dr Ruth Joplin

  • Position: Anatomy Lead, Fundamentals of Body Structure Block Lead 
  • Email: R.Joplin@aston.ac.uk
  • Room Number: VS110


I am a career clinical anatomist with NHS experience and extensive expertise in medical education. I have 40 years of experience in human clinical anatomy including NHS experience as a NHS Radiographer (1979-1984).  After graduating from Birmingham University with First Class Honours in Anatomical Studies (1986) I was attached to the Liver Unit, Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham where I achieved my PhD (1991).  I subsequently held academic research and teaching appointments of increasing seniority until in 2006 I became Director of Anatomy at Birmingham University. In this role, I oversaw all aspects of Anatomical education for students of Undergraduate and Graduate Entry Medicine, Dentistry and Biomedical Sciences.  I went on to contribute to anatomical education at a number of UK Medical Schools, most recently as Associate Professor of Anatomy at Nottingham University, Derby Campus where I am involved in the accelerated Graduate Entry Medicine programme.

I believe strongly in evidence based practice and have researched medical students’ perceptions about their anatomical education.  Initiatives arising from my research reflect in changes to course design for medicine and dentistry and assessment processes. I have driven a number of new initiatives including development of an electronic interactive virtual prosectorium resource presented via the award-winning Birmingham Dental School facility, introduction of clinical imaging as integral to anatomical learning and development of new approaches for visual presentation of anatomy to students. I am currently reviewing the curriculum for Graduate Entry Medicine at Nottingham University. Anatomical and clinical imagery have always been at the forefront of my activities and continue to inform my anatomy teaching. I am a productive collaborator and aim to share my extensive experience with others. Consistent themes throughout my career include informing on three-dimensional form by visual means.  At a cellular level I developed novel three-dimensional culture systems for human liver cells and adapted established microscopic techniques for analysing three-dimensional arrangements of cells.  

  • PhD Normal and pathobiology of human liver 1991, University of Birmingham
  • MA Fine Art 2013(merit), University of Wolverhampton
  • BSc Human Anatomy 1986 (1st class hons), University of Birmingham
  • Fellow of the HEA 2005,
  • DCR(T) (Diploma of the College of Radiographers)1981, Birmingham
  • 2015 - Current   Associate Professor, Graduate Entry Medicine, University of Nottingham, Medical School, Royal Derby Hospital, Uttoxeter Road, Derby DE22 3DT – Current Roles - anatomy lead; Graduate entry medicine curriculum review and development lead.
  • 2013-15  University of Oxford, anatomy tutor BMBS
  • 2013-15 University of Keele, Clinical Anatomy and histology / histopathology tutor, MBChB.
  • 2009-2013  Senior Lecturer, Craniofacial Anatomy Lead, BDS, College of Medical and Dental Sciences, University of Birmingham.
  • 2006-2009  Director of Anatomy, (Senior Lecturer level), Graduate entry Medicine, MBChB, BDS, BMedSci, College of Medical and Dental Sciences, University of Birmingham.
  • 2002 –2006 Lecturer, BDS, Dental anatomy lead, MBChB University of Birmingham
  • 2000-2002  Teaching Fellow, Anatomy small group teacher, MBChB, BDS anatomy lead, University of Birmingham
  • 1997-2000  Anatomy Demonstrator / Senior Researcher, Department of Anatomy / Senior Liver Researcher, Liver Unit / Department of Medicine, University of Birmingham
  • 1996-1997     Senior Research Fellow, Liver Research Laboratories, University of Birmingham
  • 1991-1996     Post-doctoral Research Fellow, Liver Research Laboratories, Birmingham
  • 1986-1991     Research Assistant / Research Associate, University of Birmingham/Liver Unit, University Hospital Birmingham, Queen Elizabeth.

I secured a number of international collaborations including in Europe and the US. I have been involved with writing, editing and proof reading a number of books (for example McMinns atlas of anatomy) that draw on both my academic and artistic expertise. I find that comprehension of three-dimensional arrangements can be conveyed efficiently through astute use imaging to reveal the pertinent clinically relevant concepts.  Applied anatomy including clinical imaging and living anatomy strongly influence my approach. I regularly contribute to University open days and promotional events.  I have experience of public engagement with science through display and exhibition in public spaces including community (2013) and hospital (2012) settings. I enjoy the challenges of working with students from disparate backgrounds and widening participation projects. In addition to my anatomical interests I have extensive experience in human biomedical research including PI status on major grants in human liver biology and pathobiology.

  • Hepatology and liver cell biology;
  • Assessment of anatomy in modern Medical education;
  • Accelerated (graduate entry medical degrees); Visualizing conceptually difficult 3-dimensional anatomical/microanatomical structure; 

My research was funded by a number of grants from the Children’s Liver Foundation, The MRC and The Wellcome Trust. Examples are given below.

  • Children’s Liver Disease Foundation. Joplin R, Kachilele S. Source, locality and lineage progression of human liver cell precursor populations. 2008-2010 £17K
  • Children’s Liver Disease Foundation. Joplin R. PhD student fellowship. Hepatic progenitor cells as a solution to re-populating the failing human liver: an achievable objective with realistic therapeutic potential? 2004-2007 £67K
  • Children’s Liver Disease Foundation. Joplin R, Neuberger JM. Ductular morphogenesis in the human biliary tract. 110k 2001-2004
  • MRC, project grant; Joplin R, AJ Strain, JM Neuberger, In vitro studies of the mechanisms of human intrahepatic biliary epithelial cell damage (1993-1997) £95k

Member of the British Association of Clinical Anatomists. 

  • 2010-2012  External Lecturer, Dental Anatomy, MSc, Dental Implants, University of Warwick
  • 2003-7   External examiner, Anatomy, University of Sheffield

I presented my research at major international conferences. Examples are given below.

  • 2003 Infectious aetiology of primary biliary cirrhosis. International Falk Symposium. Germany.
  • 1997   Isolation and cloning of antimitochondrial antibodies. Update on primary biliary cirrhosis, AASLD Chicago USA.
  • 1996   Biliary epithelial cells in health and disease. British Association for the Study of the Liver, Birmingham, UK.
  • 1994   Isolation and culture of human intrahepatic biliary epithelial cells. AASLD Airlie, Virginia, USA.
  • 1993   Studies of human intrahepatic biliary epithelial cells in vitro. University of Padova, Italy.

I publish in high impact journals. Examples of recent key publications relevant to my major research interests are given below.

2017 Massimiliano Cadamuro, Simone Brivio, Carlo Spirli, Ruth E. Joplin, Mario Strazzabosco and Luca Fabris.  Autocrine and Paracrine Mechanisms Promoting Chemoresistance in Cholangiocarcinoma.  Int J Mol Sci. 2017 Jan; 18(1): 149.  Published online 2017 Jan 13. doi:  10.3390/ijms18010149 PMCID: PMC5297782

2015 Stuart Duncan Morton, Massimiliano Cadamuro, Simone Brivio, Tommaso Stecca, Marco Massani, Nicolò Bassi, Alberto Furlanetto, Ruth Elizabeth Joplin, Annarosa Floreani, Luca Fabris, Mario Strazzabosco. Leukaemia Inhibitory Factor Protects Cholangiocarcinoma Cells from Drug-Induced Apoptosis via a STAT-3-independent, PI3K-dependent, Mcl-1 Activation Oncotarget 22;6(28):26052-64.8

2010 Bhangu A, Boutefnouchet T, Yong X, Abrahams P, Joplin R Medical Students’ attitudes towards anatomy teaching and their career aspirations; a 3 year prospective longitudinal cohort study. Anat Sci Educ 3(4):184-190

  • 2016  Nominee, Lord Dearing teaching excellence award. University of Nottingham
  • 2002  King’s College Hospital, Paediatric Prize for work presented by M Auth. Growth and ductular morphogenesis of biliary epithelial cells from normal and diseased human liver in vitro.
  • 2000   American Association for Study of the Liver, Dallas. Paediatric Prize for work presented by M Auth at the AASLD conference. Coculture of normal hepatocytes with intrahepatic biliary epithelial cells improves long-term differentiated metabolic and synthetic function in vitro.
  • 1995  European Society for Organ Transplantation Award. Structural and functional studies of
  • human hepatocytes and biliary epithelial cells co-cultured in collagen gels.
  • 1986 Bertram Windell Anatomy Prize for distinguished undergraduate research, thesis title, “Change in size and synthetic activity of nuclear populations in chronically stimulated skeletal muscle”, Department of Anatomy, University of Birmingham