Dr Karen Gresty

Dr Karen Gresty

Faculty Academic Enhancement Lead

Faculty of Science and Engineering

Dr Karen Gresty can be contacted through arrangement with our Press Office, to speak to the media on these areas of expertise.
  • Teaching and learning


Visiting Teaching Fellow, Faculty of Science and Engineering, University of Plymouth, (May 2021-2024)

Faculty Academic Enhancement Lead (August 2020- April 2021), Faculty of Science and Engineering, University of Plymouth

Associate Dean Teaching & Learning (2011-2020)
Faculty of Science and Engineering, University of Plymouth


Principal Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (2013)

HEA National Teaching Fellow (2009)

Associate Professor (Biological Sciences) 2006 -2021

Fellow of the Higher Education Academy 2007-2013

TLHE & SEDA qualifications 1998

Lecturer in Biological Sciences (Plymouth) 1996-2006

0.5 Associate Lecturer in Biological Sciences (University of Plymouth) 1995-1996

Part-time Biological Sciences demonstrator (University of Plymouth) 1993-1994.

Research Fellow (Parasitology) in Zoology Department at The Natural History Museum, London, 1991-1993.

Ph.D. Marine Parasitology (University of Exeter) 1991.

B.Sc (Hons) Marine Biology (University of Liverpool) 1987.

Professional membership

FLF, Fellow of the Leadership Foundation

FLS, Fellow of the Linnean Society (London)

PFHEA, Principal Fellow of the Higher Education Academy

STEM Ambassador

Roles on external bodies

Advance HE STEM Conference Submission Reviewer 2019 (for Jan 2020 event) and 2020 (for Jan 2021 event)
Higher Education Academy (HEA) Member of Quality Advisory Board 2017-2019
Member of Cambridge Access Validation Agency (CAVA) HE Review Panel for City College Plymouth 2018
Member of HEA Higher Education Achievement Report (HEAR) National Advisory Committee (2016 - 2017)
HEA National Teaching Fellowship Scheme Reviewer (2013- 2016)
Member of International Advisory Panel on NTFS funded project at University of Gloucestershire (2010- 2013)
External Advisor on HEA Bioscience Employability Project at University of Leicester (2013, with Dr Mark Goodwin)
Co-opted Member of The Biosciences Federation 'Education Committee' (2006-8)
BBSRC School Science Local Co-ordinator, Plymouth (1997 - 2011)



Teaching interests

Recent teaching responsibilities include biological aspects of health within the Faculty of Health on the BSc Midwifery (MID224) programme. In addition to this, I also contributed to physiology & pathology delivery and assessment (BHCS1005) on several BSc programmes within the same Faculty.  




Research interests

My research interests centre on risk in research-informed teaching (RiT), and also the role of undergraduate e-journals to support RiT. 


Other research

Conference Presentations Include:  

Truscott, J. & Gresty, K. (2018) Encouraging STEM undergraduate students to make the leap into publishing research: The Plymouth Student Scientist e-journal. Plymouth University VC's Teaching & Learning Conference, Poster Presentation, June 2018.

Stander, J., Dalla Valle, L., Gresty, K., Eales, J. & Yinghui W. (2018) Stakeholder Perspectives on Graphical Tools for Visualising Student Assessment and Feedback Data.  Plymouth University, PedRIO Conference Poster, April 2018.

Cotton, D., Gresty, K., Fuller M. & Nash, P. (2015) The PEP Project: Exploring the expectations, barriers and experiences of PGT students. Plymouth University VC's Teaching & Learning Conference Presentation.

Gresty, K., Fuller M. Cotton, D. & Nash, P. (2015) Enhancing the postgraduate taught student experience. Plymouth University VC's Teaching & Learning Conference Workshop.

Nash, P., Cotton, D., Gresty, K. & Fuller M. (2015) The PEP Project: Exploring the expectations, barriers and experiences of PGT students. Plymouth University VC's Teaching & Learning Conference Poster.

Gresty, K.A & Edwards-Jones, A. (2014) 10 strategies for encouraging innovation and minimising risk in research-informed teaching. Plymouth University VC's Teaching & Learning Conference Presentation, UK

Gresty, K.A. & Edwards-Jones, A. (2013) Uncovering Risks in Research-informed Teaching. PedRIO Conference Presentation, Plymouth University. April 2013.

Edwards-Jones, A., Gresty, K., Pan, W. & Heffernan, T. (2012) Research-informed teaching: risks uncovered? Poster presentation. PedRIO Conference, Plymouth University. April 2012.

Gresty, K.A. & Edwards-Jones, A. (2012) Research into Practice: An alternative format for final year Bioscience honours projects. Poster Presentation at University of Gloucestershire Symposium: Enhancing dissertations and final year projects: experiences, embedding, and the future' (February 2012)

Gresty, K.A. & Edwards-Jones, A. (2011) Making the unknown known: Supporting transition into final year science programmes. University of Plymouth VC's Teaching & Learning Conference, Plymouth. UK.

Edwards-Jones, A. & Gresty, K. (2010) The Plymouth Experience of Undergraduate e-Journals. Poster Presentation at the International Perspectives on Undergraduate Research and Inquiry event (Pre-ISSOTL seminar). Liverpool, UK. 19/10/10.

Gresty, K. & Edwards-Jones, A. (2010) Making a Difference to Transition From Foundation Degrees into Final Year University Science Programmes. Presentation at 5th International Inquiring Pedagogies Conference 'Conceptualising Impact: Exploring the effectiveness of practice through pedagogic research'. University of Coventry (IPED, 2010).

Barlow, M.J., Findlay, M., Gresty, K. and Cooke, C.B.(2009) Oral Creatine supplementation has no significant effect on body composition, repeated upper body anaerobic power and competition performance in club level surfers.  Presentation at The British Association of Sport and Exercise Sciences Annual conference, Leeds. 

Edwards, A. & Gresty, K. (2009): Exploring both sides of an undergraduate journal: celebrating excellence and supporting academic writing. Presentation at 4th International Inquiring Pedagogies Conference 'Researching Beyond Boundaries, Academic Communities without Borders’. University of Coventry (iPED 2009)

Edwards, A. & Gresty, K. (2009) Enhancing Final Year Projects: A Stakeholder Study. Poster presentation at the Science Learning and Teaching Conference, Heriot-Watt University.

Barlow, M.J, Findlay, M, Gresty, K and Cooke, C.B. (2008) Anthropometric measures and prediction of competitive national rank in male high performance junior British surfers. Conference paper at the British Asociation of Sport and Exercise Sciences annual conference, Brunel University, September 2008. 

Barlow, M.J, Findlay, M, Gresty, K and Cooke, C.B. (2008) Can physiological indices of fitness predict competitive national rank in high performance junior British surfers? Poster presentation at The European College of Sports Science (ECSS) 13th Annual congress, Estoril, Portugal, July, 2008.

Edwards, A, Gresty, K., Kingston, K. & Auburn, T. (2008) The Plymouth Student Scientist. Presentation at The Full 360: Mapping the Undergraduate Research Inquiry Landscape conference at University of Gloucestershire, UK.

Gresty, K., Auburn. T., Kingston, K. & Edwards, A. (2008) Using an e-journal to support research-informed teaching. Presentation at Informing Active Engagement in Learning and Teaching for 21st Century Universities conference, University of Gloucestershire, UK.

Gresty, K., Evenden, A. & Wright, L. (2008) Developing and re-enforcing practice learning links in a clinical setting. Poster presentation at Sharing Innovation in Placement Learning Conference, University of Plymouth, UK.

Gresty, K. & Evenden, A. (2007) Thinking in Practice: Supporting the development of genetics competencies.  Presentation at the Higher Education Academy Annual Conference, Harrogate, UK.

Gresty, K., Evenden, A., Skirton, H. & Green, G. (2006) From competencies to learning outcomes: The GeneSense Example. Pedagogical Research in Higher Education Conference Poster Presentation, Liverpool Hope University, UK.

Cotton, D. & Gresty, K. (2005) Research in E-learning: How can it be improved? Presentation at the Higher Education Academy Annual Conference, Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh, UK.

Gresty, K. & Cotton, D. (2005) Exploring students' experience of online learning using the think aloud method. Presentation at the Society for Research into Higher Education Conference, Edinburgh, UK.

Research degrees awarded to supervised students

Matt Barlow (PhD awarded 2013)
Title: The effects of anthropometrical, physiological and environmental factors on surfing performance. 

Cathy Schofield (PhD awarded 2018)
Title: Exploring the Teaching-research Nexus in College Based and University Higher Education

Grants & contracts

Grants/Awards obtained post-2000: 

2014-16 HEFCE-funded Postgraduate Experience Project (PEP), £1.85M project led by Kingston University (K. Gresty with Profs Mick Fuller and Debby Cotton). Plymouth University element of funding £157,000.

2011, University of Plymouth PedRIO Award £18, 035 for 'Risk Management in Research-informed Teaching: An interdisciplinary enquiry' (K. Gresty, W. Pan & T. Heffernan).

2009, Higher Education Academy National Teaching Fellowship £10,000 (K. Gresty)

2009, EL-CETL Staff Development Award, £2,800 for 'Turning Point' interactive hardware equipment (K. Gresty)

2009, University of Plymouth TQEF Research-informed Teaching Award, £10,000. Plymouth Student e-journals: embedding and disseminating good practice (K.Gresty, A. Edwards, O. Kelly, C. Pettinger).

2009, BBSRC £3,200 Men in White Meet The Fly. Two outreach events to encourage a dialogue between scientists and the public, and to provide hands-on laboratory experience for high school pupils. The events highlight the genetic similarity between humans and the fruit fly Drosophila – in particular how this links in to Darwin's evolution concept. (J. Chilton & K. Gresty).

2008, University of Plymouth Experiential Learning (EL-CETL) Award £338 for the development of two hands-on 'Bone Boxes' for Paramedic Practitioner students in Lab+ (K.Gresty)

2008, University of Plymouth TQEF Award £13, 969 for the development of two new Plymouth Student e-journals (a research-informed teaching project).(K.Gresty, R. Jones, O. Kelly & A. Edwards).

2008, HEA Centre for Bioscience Departmental Teaching Enhancement Award, £9,087. Enhancing Final Year Projects: A stakeholder Perspective (K.Gresty)

2007, University of Plymouth CETL/CEPPL £3,425.38 Innovations Award Supporting critical thinking skills in practice: The GeneSense Toolkit. (K. Gresty, A. Evenden, L. Wright)

2007, University of Plymouth TQEF Award £55,000 for a Faculty of Science undergraduate e-journal to promote student research involvement and research-informed teaching. The Plymouth Student Scientist can be accessed at The Plymouth Student Scientist (K. Gresty, K. Kingston, T.Auburn & A. Edwards).

2006, Higher Education Assistive Technology/ TECHDIS Award (Health Sciences & Practice) £386.25 for a teaching/learning intervention entitled: 'Play it again: enhancing learning using portable digital recorders' (K.Gresty & A. Evenden) (See report below)

2006 University of Plymouth CETL/CEPPL £5,000 Innovations Award: Supporting genetics in midwifery placements. (K. Gresty, A. Evenden, H. Skirton & F. Doris).

2005-6 BBSRC £4,998. Syncapoda: Exploring Insect Biology through Dance. A collaborative project with the Barbican Theatre group, bringing together science and drama for a public engagement community initiative (P.Smithers & K. Gresty).

2005 BBSRC £2,000. Images and Experience - exploring the human impact of genetics. A National Science Week event for sixth formers and the general public at the Plymouth City Museum, to explore ethical issues generated by use of genetic technologies (K.Gresty, H. Skirton, A. Evenden, H. Fothergill).

2004-5 HEFCE LTSN Health Sciences & Practice £4,000. Using a think aloud protocol to evaluate an on-line resource for nursing students (K. Gresty & D. Cotton) (See report below).

2004-5 BBSRC £5,000. A little of what you fancy: making balanced food choices. A nutrition-based public engagement with science activity at the Plymouth City Museum, in conjunction with a Bristol-based science company, 'Explorer Dome'.(K. Gresty, P. Smithers, F. Phillips, A. de Looy)

2004 HEFCE. Active Community Fund £1,000. To support and develop voluntary community activities in conjunction with the Mount Street Community Environmental Project (K. Gresty & P.Smithers).

2003-4 University of Plymouth Teaching Fellowship Award £5,000 for GeneSense Project (K. Gresty, A. Evenden, H. Skirton & G. Green).

2003 BBSRC £2,000. Brain Awareness Event. B3L: Brain, Biology, Behaviour & Learning on 16th & 18th March 2004 (K. Gresty, A.Evenden & P.Farrand).

2003-4 BBSRC £2,000. Mount Street Community Environmental Project. To develop and support an environmental and educational green site area for local community use in Plymouth. (K. Gresty & P.Smithers).

2002 BBSRC £2,000 National Science Week grant for 10 public performances of the puppet show ‘Real Bugs’ activity (K. Gresty, R.Williamson & P.Smithers)

2001 University of Plymouth SCIL grant £1,500 for Feedback Focus online feedback and learning resources database for nursing students (K. Gresty & A.Evenden).

2000 BBSRC £7,500 Public Understanding of Science grant for minibeast puppet show (in conjunction with a local theatre company) to communicate scientific concepts to a non-specialist audience (K. Gresty L.Ebdon & P.Smithers).

Creative practice & artistic projects

In 2000, I received a BBSRC £7,500 Public Understanding of Science grant to develop a puppet show in conjunction with a local theatre company, Jacolly Puppet Theatre, and with another University colleague (Pete Smithers). The aim of the project was to communicate scientific concepts to a non-specialist audience, exploring the issues of local biodiversity, food chains and invertebrate feeding mechanisms. The project was entitled 'Real Bugs' and the show has been performed by Jacolly Puppet Theatre at numerous venues around the country including the B.A Festival of Science, the Natural History Museum (London) and also at the Birmingham ThinkTank. A supplementary resource pack for classroom use to accompany the show was developed and made available for teachers to use (free of charge), published jointly by the BBSRC and the University of Plymouth.

In addition to the above, I was the only female scientist from the University involved with the 'Weird Worlds' steering group, which organised a two month long science exhibition at the Plymouth City Museum during March and April 2003. I jointly co-ordinated the 'Bugs Alive' week, which featured a leaf-cutter ant colony, the 'Real Bugs' puppet show, other live invertebrates and an opportunity to find out about helpful and harmful bugs/germs.

 Another venture funded by the BBSRC was the 'Syncapoda' project, which was a joint activity with Pete Smithers and the Plymouth Barbican Theatre. This project brought together scientists, dancers and young people to explore how insects move. It was targeted at both school children and the wider community, performing at a number of venues in the south west during summer 2006.




Pedagogic Publications:

Stander, J., Dalla Valle, L., Gresty, K., Eales, J. & Yinghui W. (2018) Stakeholder Perspectives on Graphical Tools for Visualising Student Assessment and Feedback Data.  Research in Learning Technology 26. https://journal.alt.ac.uk/index.php/rlt/article/view/1997

Gresty, K., Heffernan, T., Pan. W. & Edwards-Jones, A. (2015). Minimising Risks in Research-informed Teaching. Higher Education Review, 48 (1), p40-67. ISSN 0018-1609

Walkington, H., Edwards-Jones, A. & Gresty, K. (2013) Embedding Student Research Publication Opportunities: Strategies for Widening Engagement with Undergraduate Research Journals. CUR Quarterly 34 (1), p24-30 .

Gresty, K., Pan. W., Heffernan, T. & Edwards-Jones, A. (2013). Research-informed teaching from a risk perspective. Teaching in Higher Education 18(5), p570-585. DOI: 10.1080/13562517.2013.795937 

Schofield, C., Cotton, D.R.E., Gresty, K., Kneale, P. and Winter, J. (2013) Higher Education Provision in a Crowded Market Place.Journal of Higher Education Policy and Management, 35 (2) p193-205 

Gresty, K. & A. Edwards (2012) The Plymouth Student Scientist: An undergraduate research e-journal in 'How to start an undergraduate research journal' p81-84 (Ed. D. Alexis Hart). Council on Undergraduate Research ISBN: 0-941933-41-5

Gresty, K. A. & Edwards-Jones, A. (2012) Experiencing research-informed teaching from the student perspective: Insights from developing an undergraduate e-journal. British Journal of Educational Technology 43(1) p153-162

Cotton, D.R.E. & Gresty, K. A. (2007) The rhetoric and reality of e-learning: using the think aloud method to evaluate an online resource. Assessment and Evaluation in Higher Education 32 (5) p583-600.

Gresty, K., Skirton, H. & Evenden, A. (2007) Addressing the issue of e-learning and online genetics for health professionals. Nursing and Health Sciences 9 (1) p14-22.

Cotton, D. & Gresty, K. (2006) Reflecting on the think aloud method for evaluating e-learning. British Journal of Educational Technology 37 (1) p45-54.

Gresty, K.A & Cotton, D.R.E. (2003) Supporting Biosciences in the Nursing Curriculum: The development and evaluation of an on-line resource. Journal of Advanced Nursing 44 (4) p339 –349.

Other Publications:

Barlow, M.J, Gresty, K., Findlay, M. & Cooke, C. (2015) Associations of power at VO2peak and anaerobic threshold with rank in British high performance junior surfers. Human Movement 16 (1) 28-32. DOI:10.1515/humo-2015-0023

Barlow, M., Gresty, K., Findlay, M., Cooke, C. & Davidson, M. (2014) The effect of wave conditions and surfer ability on performance and the physiological response of recreational surfers.
Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research 28(10):2946-53. doi: 10.1519/JSC.0000000000000491

Barlow, M., Findlay, M., Gresty, K. & Cooke, C. (2012) Anthropometric variables and their relationship to performance and ability in male surfers. European Journal of Sport Science, 14 Suppl:1, S171-S177. DOI:10.1080/17461391.2012.666268 2014

Attrill, M.J., Gresty, K.A., Hill, R.A. & Barton, R.A. (2008) Red shirt colour is associated with long-term team success in English football. Journal of Sports Sciences, 26(6) p577-582. (DOI: 10.1080/02640410701736244)

Barlow, M., Findlay, M., Gresty, K. & Cooke, C. (2010) Oral Creatine supplementation has no significant effect on body composition, repeated upper body anaerobic power and competition performance in club level surfers. Journal of Sports Sciences 02/2010; 27(Supp 2):S44

Skirton, H., Gresty, K.A., Green , G. & Evenden, A.J. (2006). A proposed set of learning outcomes for genetic competency in nursing and midwifery. Available at Education Online: http://www.leeds.ac.uk/educol/documents/150944.htm

Gresty, K. (2005) Teaching Fellowships - what's in it for me? Ethos 6 (May), Invited article, University of Plymouth.

Green, G., Skirton, H., Gresty, K. & Evenden, A. (2004) Genetic education for health professionals - GeneSense, an online interactive resource. Journal of Medical Genetics, 41 S84 Supplt. 1. 

Gresty, K.A., Boxshall, G.A. & Nagasawa, K. (1993) The fine structure and function of the cephalic appendages of the branchiuran parasite, Argulus japonicus Thiele. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society, London B. 339 p119-135.  

Gresty, Karen A. (1992) Ultrastructure of the Midgut of the Copepod Mytilicola intestinalis Steuer, an Endoparasite of the Mussel Mytilus edulis L. Journal of Crustacean Biology 12(2) p169-177. 

Gresty, K.A. & Quarmby, C. (1991) The Trophic Level of Mytilicola intestinalis Steuer (Copepoda: Poecilostomatoida) in Mytilus edulis L., as Determined from Stable Isotope Analysis. Proceedings of the Fourth International Conference on Copepoda; Bulletin of the Plankton Society of Japan, Special Volume. p363-371. 

Gresty, K.A. (1990) The Feeding Biology of Mytilicola intestinalis Steuer, in the mussel host Mytilus edulis L., and other host - parasite relationships. Ph.D Thesis, University of Exeter, (Unpublished) England, pp196.


Smithers, P., Gresty, K. & Jay, C. (2003) Real Bugs Resource Pack. Published jointly by the University of Plymouth and Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council. ISBN: 07084 06505.


Cotton, D.R.E. & Gresty, K.A (2008) Barriers to Student Engagement with Educational Technology: Insights from a think-aloud study. Chapter 7 in 'New Educational Technology’, pp149-163 (Edited by R. Kobayashi). Nova Publishers, USA. ISBN: 978-1-60456-037-4

Evenden, A.J. & Gresty, K.A. (2007) The Physiology of Human Ageing. Chapter 2 in 'Medication Management In Care of Older People' pp19-38 (Edited by M. Banning). Blackwell Publishers, UK. ISBN 978-1-4051-5174-0

Gresty, K.A., Boxshall, G.A. & Nagasawa K. (1993) Antennulary sensors of the infective copepodid larva of sea lice (Copepoda: Caligidae). In: Pathogens of Wild and Farmed Atlantic Salmon: Sea Lice. Ellis Horwood Books. p.83-98. ISBN: 0-13-015504-7

 Gresty, K.A. & Warren, A. (1993) Incidence of Ciliate Epibionts on Lepeophtheirus salmonis from Salmon in Japan and Scotland. In: Pathogens of Wild and Farmed Atlantic Salmon: Sea Lice



Reports & invited lectures

Advisory Panel Member on (NTFS) HEA-funded international project at University of Gloucestershire and Invited member of Symposium Q&A Panel at Gloucestershire (February 2012): 'Enhancing dissertations and final year projects: experiences, embedding, and the future'

Invited case study for NTF Project (Creative Hops), University of Gloucestershire:

Gresty, K. (2010) Research into Practice: An alternative format for final year Bioscience honours project

Invited case study for Centre for Active Learning (CeAL), University of Gloucestershire
Gresty, K. (2009) 'The Plymouth Student Scientist': an undergraduate e-journal

Conferences organised

The Centre for Recording Achievement, 16th Annual Residential Symposium: Manchester University December 2016.

The Centre for Recording Achievement, 15th Annual Residential Symposium: Sheffield University December 2015

The University of Plymouth 'VC's Teaching & Learning Conference' Steering Group Member, 2004- 2007 and subsequent PedRIO steering group member until 2019.

Peninsula Bioethics Research Group One Day Seminar (7th July 2006) entitled: 'Bioethics Horizons: new tools for new challenges?'

Other academic activities

Manuscript reviewer for:

Studies in Graduate and Postdoctoral Education; International Journal for Researcher Development; Health Education Review; Educational Research and Reviews; Journal of Biological Education

Book reviewer for Oxford University Press; Jones & Bartlett Publishers; Routledge Publishers.

BBSRC 'Public Engagement with Science' Grant Reviewer & Panel Member 2006-7

The Postgraduate Experience Project: The Good Practice Guide - developing and acquiring employability skills, competencies and attitudes at postgraduate taught STEM level through collaboration. Edited by Michelle Morgan & Deborah Anderson (2016) Guide from ResearchGate: DOI: 10.13140/RG.2.1.1479.5128

The Postgraduate Experience Project. Widening and sustaining postgraduate taught (PGT) STEM study in the UK: a collaborative project Creating change through understanding expectations and attitudes towards PGT study, experiences and post-study outcomes from the perspective of applicants, students, universities and employers. Edited by Michelle Morgan (2016) Available from ResearchGate DOI: 10.13140/RG.2.1.5121.3843

An Anthology - MSc scholarship stories from the Postgraduate Experience Project (2015) Edited by Michelle Morgan. Available from ResearchGate: DOI: 10.13140/RG.2.1.2528.0884

Technical report: Postgraduate Experience Project Report for Plymouth University, Nash, P., Cotton, DRE, Gresty, K. & Fuller, M (2015) DOI: 10.13140/RG.2.1.3971.3761
ABSTRACT The PEP project was a multi-institutional HEFCE funded project led by Kingston University conducted over the academic year 2014/15 to investigate the expectations and attitudes towards postgraduate taught (PGT) study in Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) subjects.

Gresty, K . (2007) Play it again: enhancing learning using portable digital recorders.TechDis HEAT Funded project for Health Sciences & Practice Subject Centre.

Gresty, K. & Cotton. D. (2006) Using a think-aloud protocol to evaluate an on-line resource for nursing students. Health Sciences & Practice Subject Centre funded project. Peer-reviewed report.

Additional information

Executive Editor for the undergraduate research e-journal 'The Plymouth Student Scientist' 


Headstart In Biology

This is a free, biology online support package for healthcare students. You need to register online for access. Site available online at:


This is a free, genetics support and information resource for healthcare professionals (both staff and students). Site available online at: