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Hannah Shaw

Dr Hannah Shaw


School of Biosciences

+44 29208 79383
Sir Martin Evans Building, Room Cardiff School of Biosciences, The Sir Martin Evans Building, Museum Avenue, Cardiff, CF10 3AX, Museum Avenue, Cardiff, CF10 3AX


I am Head of the Wales Centre for Anatomical Education (WACE) at Cardiff University.  I have an undergraduate degree and PhD in Anatomy.  My principle scientific interest in the attachment of tendon and ligaments to bone (entheses) and the importance of adipose tissue at these sites. I have extensive experience of teaching anatomy to students enrolled on broad range of different degrees (science, medicine, dentistry, optometry, pharmacy, and podiatry) and use a multitude of different approaches to facilitate learning; including blended learning, flipped classrooms and social media.  The aim of this blended approach is to ensure that students are supported before and after their contact/practical anatomy sessions.  In 2017, I was awarded ‘Most Effective Teacher’ by the Cardiff University Students Union. I am a Fellow HEA and Fellow of the Anatomical Society, as well as member of Anatomical Society Education Committee with responsibility for the education pages of the website and digital curation of online resources.


  • Head: Head of the Anatomy Centre
  • Degree Scheme Coordinator: Anatomy
  • Module Lead: BI3354 - Advanced Anatomy













My PhD focussed primarily on the structure, function, and pathology of entheses, specifically on the calcaneal (Achilles) tendon enthesis organ.  An enthesis is the site of attachment of a tendon, ligament or joint capsule to bone. However, at most sites, entheses are not isolated structures; they are frequently associated with other components including adipose tissue and synovium.  My PhD illustrated that although entheses are common sites of pain in pathology, under normal conditions, the enthesis itself and associated fibrocartilages are avascular and aneural.  The related adipose tissue, however, is highly innervated and may therefore play a role in proprioception, and potentially be a source of pain in enthesopathies.  From this research I have developed an interest in the functional role of adipose tissue in the musculoskeletal system and have recently supervised projects which investigated the structure and development of the plantar fat pads.

Since starting as a Professional Tutor I have developed a keen interest in the use of online tutorials.  In particular, with regard to their use by students to improve satisfaction and performance in practical classes.  At present this study is focussing primarily on anaotmical teaching the dissection room, but hopefully in future will branch out to other science disciplines.


I graduated from Cardiff University in 2004 with 1st class honours degree in Anatomical Sciences, and the Fritz Jacoby prize.  Following this I remained within Cardiff to pursue a PhD funded by the Anatomical Society (AS) supervised by Prof Mike Benjamin, Dr Rob Santer and Dr Alan Watson.  During this time I was the first student member to serve on the Council of the society.  The study focussed on the structure, development and pathology of entheses, focussing principally on the calcaneal (Achilles) tendon.

During my PhD I spent a month in the AO research institute in Davos, Switzerland working with Dr Stephan Milz.

After completing my doctoral degree in 2007, I was appointed as a Professional Tutor specialising mainly in anatomical education.  In 2010, I was part of the first cohort to complete the postgraduate 'Anatomy Training Program' co-ordinated by the Anatomical Society and the American Association of Anatomists.  I am also currently a member of the Anatomical Society, where I serve on the Education Committee, and a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (HEA).