A leading doctor who is under investigation at one of Scotland's oldest universities has come under fire for a 'sexist' image that was shown to medical students.

Professor John Paul Leach, a consultant neurologist who is head of undergraduate medicine at the University of Glasgow, displayed a graphic of the female brain as part of a teaching session with a large area designated the ‘headache generator’.

A tiny part is labelled  ‘sex initiation’ gland while driving skills and ‘realisation of wants vs needs’ are shown as dots. An image depicting the brain of fictional TV character Homer Simpson can be seen behind the slide.

Prof Leach, who performed as a stand-up comedian in the 1990s, is said to have removed the graphic from an online student portal following complaints.


He is separately facing an internal investigation by the university believed to be related to gendered bullying and discrimination.

The professor performed as a stand-up comedian in the 1990s while working as a research registrar at the Western Infirmary and wrote and produced a Fringe show with Still Game’s Ford Kiernan. He has also previously presented a football show for the radio station Scot FM.

However, the Scottish Feminism Network said the image went “beyond banter”, saying it was characteristic of “insidious” behaviour that risked undermining the confidence of female undergraduates.

According to the university the slide did elicit student complaints.

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A screengrab of the image shows it was uploaded to Moodle, a student online portal. 

Prof Leach, a neurologist at Glasgow's Queen Elizabeth University Hospital, whose Twitter biography includes the line ‘thinks he’s funny’ is said to have shown the slide to students a year or so after being appointed to the senior role in 2016.

Writing on Twitter he 'apologised unreservedly' for the slide.

The university is currently considering the findings of an internal inquiry, believed to be related to allegations of discriminatory behaviour towards female academics within the medical school.


A spokeswoman for the Scottish Feminism Network said: “How can female students expect to be treated with respect by peers or by lecturers if that is considered acceptable? 

“This goes way past “banter” and could seriously undermine the confidence of the female students.

“This is insidious and can cause serious long term consequences.”

In January Morag Ross QC was appointed by the university to carry out a review of the institutions’s approach to addressing gender-based violence including harassment and harmful practices that are “committed disproportionately by men against women”,

Interviews have been carried out with staff and students and the report is due to be published within weeks. 

It comes after research by the British Medical Association showed nine in 10 female doctors have experienced sexism at work in the UK, including unwanted physical contact and denial of opportunities.

The BMA said the results were appalling and the incidents made for shocking reading.

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The survey shows that 91% of female doctors have experienced sexism at work.

It found that, while just 4% of men felt that their clinical ability had been doubted or undervalued because of their gender, 70% of women who responded said that it had

A spokesman for the University of Glasgow said: “The University of Glasgow condemns discrimination of any kind and is committed to promoting equality and diversity across its community and campus. 

“The University treats all complaints seriously and investigates them appropriately, but we do not comment on individual cases.”