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Duncan Cole

Dr Duncan Cole

Clinical Reader in Medical Education

School of Medicine


I am a Clinical Reader in the Centre for Medical Education in the School of Medicine, and an Honorary Consultant in Medical Biochemistry and Metabolic Medicine. I am the Deputy Director for the MB BCh programme, with responsibilty for the curriculum. I have interests in curriculum development, clinical reasoning and clinical decision making, and in technology-enhanced learning.   My work in these areas was recognised when I won the Rising Star award at the national BMA Cymru Wales Clinical Teacher of the Year awards in 2015.

My clinical interests are in adult inherited metabolic disease (IMD), where I am the clinical lead for the All Wales IMD service, and also in medical biochemistry, where I am consultant lead for several specialist services. The All Wales IMD service is nationally comissioned and cares for both children and adults.    We provide services for people with lysosomal storage disease and are the only in centre in Wales that provides enzyme replacement therapy. We have recently been commissioned to develop our services for people with non-lysosomal storage disease, and to improve access to care for those in north Wales.   Our unit is also a centre for the National Acute Porphyria Service, commissioned through NHS England. We host both clinical and laboratory services, including the Wales Newborn Screening Laboratory, and have a growing research base.










I started my research career in complement biology, working with Prof Paul Morgan, and with my senior appointment have developed my research interests in medical education and inherited metabolic disease.  My current medical education projects are listed in the Teaching section, and are focussed on clinical reasoning, the transition to clinical learning, and technology-enhanced learning. My interests in inherited metabolic disease focus on maintaining patient registries, and developing new tests for clinical use.

Medical education

I am interested in how medical students develop their ability to reason through a clinical problem, and make clinical decisions, during their journey through the medical course,and how we can improve and train this skill. I am also interested in how students adapt to new ways of working and studying when they transition from the more structured phase 1 of the course to less structured learning in extended clinical placements. This is important, as if this can be improved, students will have a better experience, and will be enabled to make best use of the learning opportunities available to them.

I have developed an interest in the use of internet-based curation tools such as, Wakelet, and Diigo to support student learning. These tools allow staff and students to gather relevant resources freely available on the internet in one place, critically comment on them, and share them with others. We run projects evaluating their use and exploring how they can be integrated into teaching practice.

Inherited metabolic disease

We are currently running a project evaluating biomarkers in Fabry disease, which involves both laboratory and clinical studies. This is being lead jointly by myself and Prof Stuart Moat. We also participate in disease-specific patient registries, collaborate with colleagues in the School of Biosciences on projects involving other inherited metabolic diseases, and have an active programme of quality improvement.


I am Deputy Director of the MBBCh programme in the School of Medicine. I have designed and developed several components of the new "C21" medical undergraduate course. My current roles include:

  • Lead for curriculum in the undergraduate Medicine programme
  • Lead for clinical placements in the undergraduate Medicine programme
  • Applied Clinical Sciences module lead (Year 3)
  • Delivery metabolism teaching (Year 1)
  • Development and delivery of medical biochemistry teaching (all years)
  • Question writing (Single best answer MCQs)
  • Examiner for year 2 and year 4 ISCEs
  • Supervision of Student Selected Components (topic areas include medical education, inherited metabolic disease, and medical biochemistry)
  • Delivery, planning and assessment on the intercalated BSc module on Biomarkers
  • Chair of the C21 eLearning Strategy Group
  • Member of the Professionalism Steering Group

I am also currently leading on a curriculum review, with a specific focus on the transition to clinical learning and provision of small group learning across the MBBCh course.

I have interests in technology-enhanced learning and clinical reasoning, and have led the following projects in this area:

  • Acquisition of clinical reasoning skills by medical students in the new C21 curriculum: evaluation and assessment
  • Supporting blended learning with digital curation tools (funded by Cardiff University's Centre for Education Innovation)


I trained in medicine in Cardiff and South Wales, and obtained the MRCP in 2002, following which I undertook a PhD whilst on an MRC Clinical Training Fellowship with Professor Paul Morgan. I went on to train in Chemical Pathology and Metabolic Medicine, gaining the FRCPath in 2010 and sub-specialising in inherited metabolic disease. During this time I took an increasing role in teaching and curriculum development within the Department and medical school, and was appointed as a Clinical Senior Lecturer in 2011 on a teaching and scholarship track. In 2018 I was appointed Deputy Director of the undergraduate Medicine degree programme.

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