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School of Medicine, Pharmacy and Health

Staff Members

Dr Marina Sawdon, BSc (Hons), PhD, PGCert

Telephone: +44 (0) 191 33 40340
Fax: +44 (0) 191 33 40321
Room number: C140, Holliday Building, Queen's Campus, Stockton
Director in the Centre for Medical Education Research
Member of Medicine and Health Postgraduate Programmes
Senior Lecturer in Physiology (CVRR Strand Leader) in Phase 1 Medicine

(email at


Dr Marina Sawdon graduated in 2002 with a Ph.D. in the cardiorespiratory response to trauma at the University of Durham. She is currently Strand Leader for the Cardiovascular, Respiratory and Renal Medicine (CVRR) strand of Phase I Medicine at Durham University, Queen’s Campus and conducts research into medical education as well as whole body cardiovascular physiology. She works in an established area of research at Durham University and also in the Department of Academic Emergency Medicine, James Cook University Hospital and collaborates closely with research groups at DSTL, Porton Down.

Marina graduated from Durham University in June 2008 with a Postgraduate Certificate in Learning and Teaching in Higher Education and is a fellow of the Higher Education Academy.

Medical Education Research

Currently the main focus of Marina's medical education research has involved investigating the use of an electronic remote audience response system (KEEpad) to assess students’
• prior knowledge
• learning
• knowledge retention/ decay
as well as improving student satisfaction of feedback on their progress through CVRR. Other studies include assessing peer evaluation of professionalism in medical undergraduate students. Future studies aim to investigate methods of assessing Professionalism in anaesthetic registrars, as well as the use of ultrasound in teaching the measurement of blood pressure.

Physiology Research

Briefly, the main focus of Marina's physiology research is the interaction between the responses to injury and that to haemorrhage, and the consequences of changes in patterns of blood flow and hence oxygen delivery to organs that require constant levels of both (e.g. the vital organs such as the gut, liver and kidneys).

Studies have included investigations into how two different forms of injury both modify the cardiovascular response to blood loss, and how drugs affect these responses. Further work focused on the effects of resuscitation following injury and haemorrhage.

Marina's physiology research divides into three main areas:
• Cardiovascular response to thoracic (pulmonary) blast injury, haemorrhage and subsequent fluid resuscitation
• Haemodynamic response to simulated musculo-skeletal injury and secondary tissue damage
• Changes in autonomic control of the heart during simulated musculo-skeletal trauma and drug administration in human volunteers


Marina is part of the Durham University School of Medicine and Health Running team and ran 3 miles for Sport Relief in 2008, and the Great North Run in 2009 and 2010 to raise money for the Butterwick Hospice. She is also a member of Tees Rowing Club and won a gold medal at Durham Regatta in 2008.

Sport Relief 2008


Books: sections

  • Kirkman, E, Watts, S, Sapsford, W & Sawdon, M (2007). Effects of blast injury on the autonomic nervous system and the reponse to resuscitation. In Explosion and Blast Injuries. Atkins, J & Elsayed, N Elsevier.

Conference papers

Journal papers: academic

Research Groups

School of Medicine, Pharmacy and Health

Wolfson Research Institute for Health and Wellbeing

  • Applied Health Research Special Interest Group

Teaching Groups

  • Gateway to Medicine
  • Medicine Phase 1