The University of Leeds Bioscience Education Research Group (ULBERG) has been formed by a dedicated group of teaching and scholarship staff to establish an education research group to broaden the impact of excellence in teaching and scholarship across the Faculty’s staff and students and to further the institutional and Faculty L&T strategies. The overarching aim of the group is to be recognised as a centre of excellence for bioscience teaching, scholarship and innovation in the UK and internationally. The education research group at Leeds will also act as a regional hub for colleagues in other northern universities focusing on education and scholarship in bioscience. One of the major aims of the group will be to continue to bid for significant external funding which will maintain and extend the research projects.


  • Undertake activities which directly improve undergraduate and taught postgraduate student engagement, and enhance the quality of the student educational experience
  • Undertake innovative pedagogy and scholarship of research-led education and research-based learning in the Biosciences
  • Provide a forum for sharing and dissemination of pedagogic and scholarly research and innovative teaching practice
  • Facilitate the wider academic community’s engagement and involvement with scholarship of teaching and learning and the development of student education in the Biosciences
  • Enhance the professional development opportunities for student education focused staff

Group Members

Members of ULBERG

Dave Lewis

Dave Lewis is the Group Leader of ULBERG. A pharmacologist, bioethicist and science communicator, he is interested in laboratory animal sciences, enhancing graduate employability and public engagement.

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Aysha Divan

Aysha Divan is a molecular biologist who is interested in curriculum development, in particular the sustainability of postgraduate taught education and employability. 

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Tim Goodall

Tim Goodall is an employability and professional development officer interested in career development, counselling and enhancing graduate employability.

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Henry Greathead

Henry Greathead is an animal scientist interested in rumen fermentation and the use of new technologies to enhance teaching.

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Charlotte Haigh

Charlotte Haigh is a physiologist who is interested in teaching, schools outreach and public engagement.

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Christopher Hassall

Christopher Hassall is an ecologist and evolutionary biologist who is interested in the pedagogical applications of technology.

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Matthew Lancaster

Matthew Lancaster is a cardiac physiologist. He is interested in the use of technology to support learning and novel approaches to teaching practical skills.

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David Marples

David Marples is a renal physiologist, with a long-standing interest in computer-assisted and blended learning.

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Stephanie McBurney

Stephanie McBurney is a cell biologist, with interests in personal tutoring, academic advising and enhancing graduate employability.

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Sue Whittle

Sue Whittle’s research interests centre on transitions into and during undergraduate programmes, the development of undergraduate students’ transferable and subject-specific skills, and the use of on-line resources to support student learning.

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Veronica Volz

Veronica Volz is the Blended Learning Enhancement Officer for the Faculty of Biological Sciences. Her efforts involve continually improving the high quality of teaching and student learning by creating engaging and reusable digital resources.

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Laura Britten

Laura Britten is a Sport and Exercise Scientist who is interested in helping students with the transition to studying at University and enhancing the overall student experience.

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Camilla Nykjaer

Camilla Nykjaer is a nutritional epidemiologist. She is interested in the different student transitions into university and how this may influence student expectations and educational experience.

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Dan Donnelly

Dan Donnelly is a senior lecturer in molecular pharmacology. He is interested in the structure, function and molecular pharmacology of GPCRs.

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Awards and Prizes

The diverse contribution of ULBERG members to enhancing student education across multiple disciplines has been recognised by highly prestigious national and international awards including:

  • Higher Education Academy National Teaching Fellowship
  • Six Fellowships or Senior Fellowships of the Higher Education Academy
  • British Pharmacological Society’s Rang Prize in Basic Pharmacology
  • UK Physiological Society’s Otto Hutter Teaching Prize
  • Seven University of Leeds’ Student Education Fellowships


Our activities encompass projects to enhance graduate employability, student transitions, blended and e-learning, laboratory animal sciences, personal tutoring and public engagement.  Current and recently funded projects include:

*External partner or co-author, **International partner or co-author

Building capacity for pre-clinical research and drug discovery in Northern & Sub-Saharan Africa. DI Lewis (2018-19), Research Councils UK Global Impact Accelerator Award, £50,000, Partnership with ICLAS**, SAALAS** & ATSAL**

Discovering, evaluating and disseminating non-animal (alternative) educational resources for education and experiential learning in research animal sciences and in-vitro pharmacology. DI Lewis (2018-19), British Pharmacological Society Teaching Grant, £2,550.

Building capacity for pre-clinical research and drug discovery in South Africa: A Continuing Professional Development course for research animal vets. DI Lewis, CO-I’s T Fourie** & B Mohr**, South African Association of Lab Animal Sciences (2018), HEFCE Grand Challenges Fund, £48,160.

Developing and sustaining India’s capacity for pre-clinical Drug Discovery. DI Lewis & BD Kumar** (Indian Pharmacological Society) (2017-2020), UK-India Educational Research Initiative, £46,000.

Final Year undergraduate research projects at a research-intensive University: Student and staff expectations, outcomes and impact on employability. DI Lewis (2017-18), Leeds Institute of Teaching Excellence Teaching Enhancement Project, £30,000.

A data-driven approach to understanding non-engagement with employability initiatives: a cross-institutional perspective. K Watkins, J Balfour, A Divan, S McBurney, T Goodall, G Koutsopoulou, C Pitts (2017-18), ), Leeds Institute of Teaching Excellence Teaching Enhancement Project.

Sponsorship of SAALAS “One Africa, One World” conference. DI Lewis (2017), Biomedical Research Education Trust & British Pharmacological Society, £7000**.

Final Year Undergraduate Research Projects: Diversity, impact and outcomes. DI Lewis (2017-2020), University of Leeds Laidlaw UGrad Research Leaders Scholarship (C Palfrey), £15000.

Development and delivery of “Train the Trainer” courses in Laboratory Animal Sciences in China. DI Lewis & CNPHAR** (2016), Chinese National Pharmacological Society & IUPHAR. $10,000.

In-vivo pharmacology education courses. DI Lewis (2015-18), British Pharmacological Society, £9500.

Digital learning and assessment in the Biosciences: approaches, successes & future horizons. M Lancaster, DI Lewis, C Finlay*, P Scott*, M Walsh* (2016), HUBS/Royal Society of Biology, Bioscience Learning and Teaching Workshop Series Award, £1000.

University Student Education Fellowship: Social Media in Higher Education. C Hassall (2015-18) University of Leeds, £4000.

In-vivo pharmacology education courses.  DI Lewis, (2005-16), British Pharmacological Society, £32,600.

Communicating research beyond the University. C.Haigh (2015-2018) University of Leeds Student Education Fellowship, £10,000

Evaluating the impact and outcomes of Final Year undergraduate research projects. DI Lewis (2015-18), Higher Education Academy National Teaching Fellowship Project Award, £10,000

Helping students to help themselves – enhancing the Personal tutorial system. S McBurney (2015-16), Faculty of Biological Sciences Strategic Fund, £1500.

Assessing the impact of employability initiatives on the development of key attributes in FBS taught students.  S McBurney & A Divan (2015-16), Faculty of Biological Sciences Strategic Fund, £1500.

Establishing accredited training programmes for laboratory animal science personnel in Southern Africa. DI Lewis (2015-16), World Universities Network, British Pharmacological Society, University of Leeds, Laboratory Animals Ltd & ICLAS, £14,500.

Digital resources for the teaching of physiology. C Hassall & DI Lewis & V Volz (2015-16), Physiological Society, £6,900.

Science Slam: Battle of Bodies, Brains and Theatre. C.Haigh (2015) Physiological Society £2,000

Research-led teaching: using REF case studies to create undergraduate teaching resources. S Whittle (2014-2017) University of Leeds Student Education Fellowship, £10,000

Engaging with dementia: from bench to bedside.  DI Lewis & V Volz et al. (2014), Alzheimer’s Society, £29,872.

The pedagogical benefits and pitfalls of virtual tools for teaching and learning laboratory practices in the biological sciences. DI Lewis (2014), Higher Education Academy,  £1875.

Enhancing employability and building bridges:  Evaluation of public engagement opportunities within undergraduate STEM curricula. DI Lewis (2013-14), Society for Research into Higher Education, £5000

Digital Resources projects as Final year Undergraduate Research projects. DI Lewis, S McBurney, V Volz & T Goodall (2013-14), Higher Education Academy/JISC, £4993.

Aligning Masters training to Industry requirements. A Divan (2013-2015) University of Leeds Student Education Fellowship, £10,000

Barriers to the integration of technology into student education. C Hassall (2013-2014) University of Leeds Student Education Fellowship, £4,000

Physiology Friday. C.Haigh (2013) Physiological Society (2013)

Life at the Extremes. C.Haigh (2013) Physiological Society Teaching grant £9,016

Aligning Masters training to Industry requirements. A Divan (2012-15) University of Leeds Student Education Fellowship, £10,000

Evaluation of the Personal Tutorial system. S McBurney (2012-13) University of Leeds Student Education Fellowship, £4000

Physiology and Pharmacology of Performance Enhancement. C Haigh & DI Lewis (2012-13), Wellcome Trust Peoples Award, £29,000.

Evaluation of eBook resources for enhancing employability, internationalisation and discipline specific learning. NP Morris, S Horn, B. Middleton, Frith, SJ McBurney, SR Whittle & G Scott, (2012), Higher Education Academy, £59,922

ETRIS: Education and Training Resources in In-vivo Sciences.  DI Lewis (2010-13) University of Leeds Student Education Fellowship, £10,000



Burch VC**, Sikakana CN**, Gunston GD**, Whittle SR, Murdoch‑Eaton D* (2018). Pre‑university education curriculum reform and the generic learning skills of medical school entrants: Lessons learned from South Africa. Educ Health 31:25-31.

Collis M*, Lewis D, Nandi M*, Zecharia A* (2018) Using animals in biomedical research: why education is the key. Times Higher Education.

Ross SJ, Volz V, Lancaster MK & Divan A (2018) A Generalizable Framework for Multi-Scale Auditing of Digital Learning Provision in Higher Education. Online Learning 22: 249-270. doi:10.24059/olj.v22i2.1229


Bennett D**, Knight E**, Kuchel L**, Divan A, Horn J**, van Reyk D**, Burke da Silva K** (2017). How do research-intensive research universities portray employability strategies? A review of their websites. Australian Journal of Career Development 26 (2), 52–61. doi:

Divan A, Matthews KE**, Ludwig L**, Motle P**, Tomljenovic-Berube A** (2017). Survey of Research Approaches utilised in the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning Publications. Teaching & Learning Inquiry 5 (2), 16-29. DOI:

Hassall C & Lewis DI (2017). Institutional and technological barriers to the use of open educational resources in medical and biomedical education. Adv Physiol Edu 41 (1): 77-81.

Law B, Abbas K, Lewis DI, Chung L, Bilton J & McCartney D (2017) How Animals Help Us – Taking part in the University of Leeds Discovery Zone. LASA Forum, Summer 2017.

Lewis DI (2017). Extracurricular partnerships as a tool for enhancing graduate employability. International Journal of Students and Partners 1: Available at:


Collis M*, Lewis DI & Zecharia AY* (2016). What’s next for UK in vivo education and training? Lessons from the Integrative Pharmacology Fund. Pharmacology Matters 9 (3): 8-9.

Davies GF*, Greenhough B*, Lewis DI et al (2016). Developing a collaborative agenda for humanities and social scientific research on laboratory animal science and welfare. PLoS ONE 11 (7): e0158791.

Divan A, McBurney S (2016). Understanding how students manage their employability. New Directions in the Teaching of Physical Sciences 11 (1). eISSN: 2051-3615. Available at:

Lowe JWE*, Collis M*, Davies GF*, Leonelli S*, Lewis DI & Zecharia AY* (2016) An Evaluation of the Integrative Pharmacology Fund: Lessons for the future of in vivo education and training. London: British Pharmacological Society. Available at:

Lewis DI (2016). Students as Partners: Extracurricular opportunities enhancing student learning in the Biosciences. University of Leeds Student Education Bulletin 16, 4.

Lewis DI, Betts T*, Darling F*, Millar I* (2016). New Directive, new learning outcomes, new assessments. LASA Forum, Summer 2016.

Lewis DI, Collis M* & Zecharia AY* (2016). What’s next for UK in vivo education and training? Insights and recommendations from the Integrative Pharmacology Fund. LASA Forum, Summer 2017: 37-49.

Whittle SR (2016). The second-year slump– now you see it, now you don’t: using DREEM-S to monitor changes in student perception of their educational environment. Journal of Further and Higher Education 1-10, DOI:10.1080/0309877X.2016.1206854

Divan, A & Royds, J. Molecular Biology: a very short introduction. Oxford University Press, Oxford. Publication date: August 2016.

Mohr B & Lewis DI (2016). Education and Training in Laboratory Animal Sciences in Southern Africa. South African Veterinary Association Newsletter 83, 32-33.

Lewis DI (2016). Educating and training the next generation of Indian in-vivo pharmacologists. Indian Journal of Pharmacology 48 (3):233-236

Lewis DI (2016). New Directive, new learning outcomes, new assessments. Pharmacology Matters 9 (1): 18-19.

Lewis DI (2016). Education the next generation of reproductive health researchers. Journal of Reproductive Health 2 (1): 43-45

Whittle SR (2016) The Second Year slump – now you see it, now you don’t. Journal of Further & Higher Education, In press


McBurney S (2015). Developing reflective practice in level 1 Life Scientists with the use of an e-workbook. Vignette in Technology for Employability (Nov 2015), Chatterton P & Rebbeck G JISC

Mohr B** & Lewis DI (2015). SAALAS Press Release: Solutions for Education & Training in Laboratory Animal Science in Southern Africa. Available at:

Dickinson, J., Binns, R., Divan, A. (2015). Embedding employer engagement and employability into Masters programmes: process, implementation and evaluation. Journal of Practice and Evidence in Learning and Teaching in Higher Education 10 (2): 136-153.

Mann J & Marples D (2015) Physiology. JP Medical Ltd, London

Lewis D.I. (2015) Students as partners: Extracurricular opportunities to enhance student learning in the Biosciences. Society of Biology.

Whittle SR (2015). Second year is an enormous step up: Understanding and supporting transitions within undergraduate degree courses. Available at

Whittle SR & Bickerdike SR (2015). Online preparation resources help first year students to benefit from practical classes. Journal of Biological Education 49 (2): 139-149.


Bickerdike S, Whittle SR & Pickering JD (2014). Do lecture audio-recordings support engagement and flexible learning? Medical Education 48: 522-523 (2014)

Divan, A & Mason S. (2014). A programme-wide training framework to facilitate scientific communication skills development amongst biological sciences Masters students. Journal of Further and Higher Education. DOI: 10.1080/0309877X.2014.1000276

Levesley A, Paxton S, Collins R, Baker A & Knight C (2014) Engaging students with plant science: the Plant Science TREE. New Phytol 203 (4): 1041-1048.

Lewis DI (2014). The pedagogical benefits and pitfalls of virtual tools for teaching and learning laboratory practices in the biological sciences. Higher Education Academy. Available at:

Lewis DI (2014). Enhancing employability and building bridges: Evaluation of public engagement opportunities within undergraduate STEM curricula. Society for Research into Higher Education. Available at:

Lewis DI (2014). ETRIS. Facilitating research and training in in-vivo pharmacology. Pharmacology Matters 7 (3): 26.

Lewis DI (2014). ETRIS. Facilitating research and training in in-vivo physiology. Physiology News 97: 42.


Divan, A & Royds, J (editors). (2013). Tools and Techniques in Biomolecular Science. Oxford University Press. Oxford.

Divan, A., Bowman, M., Seabourne, A. (2013). Reducing unintentional plagiarism amongst international students: an embedded academic writing development programme. Journal of Further and Higher Education. DOI:10.1080/0309877X.2013.858674.

Matthews, K. E., Divan, A., John-Thomas, N., Lopes, V., Ludwig, L., Martini, T.S., Motley, P., Tomljenovic-Berube, A.M. (2013). SoTL and students’ experience of their degree-level program. Teaching & Learning Inquiry: The ISSOTL Journal 1 (2), 75–89.


Lewis DI (2012). Educating the next generation of in-vivo scientists: Meeting the needs of industry and academia. ALTEX Proceedings 1, 361-364

Lewis DI (2012). Young people’s perceptions of the use of animals in scientific and medical research in the United Kingdom. ALTEX Proceedings 1, 271-274

Morris NP, Lewis DI, Butcher C (2012) Embedding OER institutionally.

Morris NP & Lewis DI (2012) Case studies from OER practitioners at the University of Leeds.

Murdoch-Eaton D, Manning D, Kwizera E, Burch V, Pell G & Whittle S (2012). Profiling undergraduates’ generic learning skills on entry to medical school; an international study. Med Teach 34: 1033-1046.

Murdoch-Eaton DG & Whittle SR (2012). Generic skills in medical education – developing the tools for successful lifelong learning. Medical Education 46: 120-128.

Educational Resources

British Pharmacological Society, Collis M, Lewis DI, Nandi M, Zecharia A (2018) Curriculum for the use of research animals. Available at

McBurney S & Binns R (2017) Personal Tutoring Guides: Guide to Personal Tutoring for Staff in FBS & Guide to Personal Tutorials for Students in FBS. Hosted on the FBS Student Education Intranet (Personal Tutors tab).

Hassall C & Lewis DI & Volz V (2016) Repository of Online Physiology E-Resources. Available at

Lewis DI, Chakrabarty S, Almond NM, O’Connor, RJ (2016). CPRes.  Engaging the public with Faculty research into Cerebral Palsy

Lewis DI, Byrne A, Choppin C, Davies D, Watkins C, Chakrabarty S, McBurney S, Volz V, Wilshaw S. (2015) Creating Xerte e-learning resources: An easy to use student guide.

Haigh C (2013) Life at the Extremes. Resources to support teaching about physiology in extreme environments

Lewis DI & Jopson SJ & Volz V (2014).  Engaging with Dementia.  Resources and OERs to engage the public with research into Alzheimer’s  disease.  Available at:

Lewis DI (2014).  ETRIS: Education and Training Resources in In-Vivo Sciences. Repository of in-vivo education and training OERs.  Available at:

Haigh C & Lewis DI (2012).  Performance 2012: Physiology and pharmacology of performance enhancement in sport.  Resources to engage the public with physiology and pharmacology of performance enhancement .  Available at:

Whittle, SR & Bickerdike, SR (2012) Virtual labs: preparation resources to support first year laboratory work. Available at:

Haigh C (2011-2016) Transition Programme To support incoming students to FBS