Professor Steven Burr
Profiles

Professor Steven Burr

Professor in Medical Education

Peninsula Medical School (Faculty of Health)

Biography

Biography

Deputy Director of Assessment for Peninsula Medical School

Co-Lead for Physiology teaching to medicine

Quality Lead for Peninsula Medical School

University Chair for Quality and Standards

Qualifications

BSc(Hons).MSc.PGDE(FAHE).MMedSci(ClinEd).PhD.

Professional membership

FIBMS.FAcadMEd.FRSB.PFHEA.

Roles on external bodies

General Medical Council - Education Associate (2016-24); Panel member for GMC’s National Review of Scotland (2017-18); Panel member for GMC's accreditation of Aston Medical School (2018-23) 

University of Nottingham School of Medicine - External Examiner for year 3 of BMBS (2021-25)

University of Buckingham School of Medicine - External Examiner for year 2 of MBChB (2018-23)

National University of Ireland (Dublin, Cork, Galway, & Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland) - Extern Examiner for Physiology (2017-2019)

University of Manchester School of Medicine - External Examiner for year 3 of MBChB (2016-20)

University of Liverpool School of Medicine - External Examiner for year 1 of MBChB (2015-19)

Medical Schools Council - Member of Assessment Alliance Reference Group (2010-22), Member of Equality Implementation Working Group (2017-19), Lead for assessment adjustments and mitigating circumstances survey (2018-19)

Ministry of Justice, Lord Chancellor's Advisory Committee: Member for Avon & Somerset (2017-19); Member for Avon, Somerset & Gloucestershire (2019-26); Chair of South West Regional Conduct Committee (2019-26)

European Board of Medical Assessors - Online Adaptive International Progress Test; Erasmus project - Partner member (2018-22)

Research

Research

Research interests

I have developed expertise in several areas, primarily revolving around either medical education or neurotoxicology. My neurotoxicology research has used electrophysiological methods to help elucidate mechanisms of action. My interests in medical education include promoting the progressive integration and improvement of Computer Aided Learning and Assessment. I am also a passionate advocate of clinical relevance. My aims are to do all I can to help students fulfil their ambitions to become competent professionals, and to help institutions improve the quality of their assessments.

Other interests include the philosophy of physiology and the limits of human physiology in extreme environments. See Burr SA (2006) The body in balance: A physio-philosophical view of life (ISBN 978-0-9554151-0-4).

Publications

Publications

Key publications

Key publications are highlighted

Journals
Articles
Watson HR, Dolley M, Perwaiz M, Saxelby J, Bertone G, Burr S, Collett T, Jeffery R & Zahra D (2022) '‘Everyone is trying to outcompete each other’: A qualitative study of medical student attitudes to a novel peer‐assessed undergraduate teamwork module' FEBS Open Bio , DOI Open access
Burr S, Martin T, Edwards J, Ferguson C, Gilbert K, Gray C, Hill A, Hosking J, Johnstone K & Kisielewska J (2021) 'Standard setting anchor statements: a double cross-over trial of two different methods' MedEdPublish 10, (1:32) 1-13 Publisher Site , DOI Open access
Gray CP & Burr SA (2019) 'Timing is key to providing modified assessments for students with specific learning difficulties' Perspectives on Medical Education 9, (1) 49-56 , DOI Open access
Burr S, Leung YL & McManus KS (2019) 'Sustainability of equality: a paradox for democracy' The Journal of Population and Sustainability 3, (2) 79-85 Open access
Ley T, Kisielewska J, Collett T & Burr SA (2019) 'Improving communication for learning with students: expectations, feedback and feedforward' MedEdPublish 8, (1:14) 1-10 , DOI Open access
Zahra D & Burr SA (2018) 'Analysis of question text properties for equality monitoring' Perspectives on Medical Education Author Site , DOI Open access
Watson HR & Burr SA (2018) 'Twelve tips for teaching twelve transferable skills' MedEdPublish 7(3:39), 1-9 , DOI Open access
Watson HR & Burr SA (2018) 'Research in medical education' MedEdPublish 7, (3:13) 1-4 , DOI Open access
Burr SA, Morrison JM & Salih VM (2018) 'When another assessment attempt is bad for progress' MedEdPublish 7, (3:9) 1-11 , DOI Open access
Burr SA, Salih VM, Gale T, Moles D, Vallance T & Bristow D (2017) 'Making progression and award decisions' MedEdPublish 6, (4:31) 1-7 , DOI Open access
Burr SA, Zahra D, Cookson J, Salih VM, Gabe-Thomas E & Robinson IM (2017) 'Angoff anchor statements: setting a flawed gold standard?' MedEdPublish 6, (3:53) 1-7 , DOI Open access
Burr SA, Collett T & Leung YL (2017) 'The value and challenges of collegiality in practice' British Journal of Hospital Medicine 78, (9) 486-487 , DOI Open access
Burr S, Neve H & Leung Y (2016) 'Evaluating your professionalism' British Journal of Hospital Medicine 77, (11) 634-637 , DOI Open access
Zahra D, Robinson I, Roberts M, Coombes L, Cockerill J & Burr S (2016) 'Rigour in moderation processes is more important than the choice of method' Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education 1-9 Author Site , DOI Open access
Burr SA, Chatterjee AC, Gibson S, Coombes L & Wilkinson S (2016) 'Key points to facilitate the adoption of computer-based assessments' Journal of Medical Education and Curricular Development 3, 77-77 Publisher Site , DOI Open access
Zahra D, Hedge C, Pesola F & Burr S (2016) 'Accounting for test reliability in student progression: the reliable change index' Medical Education 50, (7) 738-745 , DOI Open access
Burr SA, Whittle J, Fairclough LC, Coombes L & Todd I (2016) 'Modifying Hofstee standard setting for assessments that vary in difficulty, and to determine boundaries for different levels of achievement' BMC Medical Education 16, (1) , DOI Open access
Burr SA & Leung YL (2015) 'Promoting equality by assessing discrimination in clinical practice' British Journal of Hospital Medicine 76, (11) 642-645 , DOI
Coombes L, Roberts M, Zahra D & Burr S (2015) 'Twelve tips for assessment psychometrics' Medical Teacher 38, (3) 250-254 , DOI Open access
Burr SA & Leung YL (2015) 'Towards a better understanding of clinical leadership' Br J Hosp Med (Lond) 76, (5) 276-280 Author Site , DOI
Pratten MK, Merrick D & Burr SA (2014) 'Group In- Course Assessment Promotes Cooperative Learning and Increases Performance' ANATOMICAL SCIENCES EDUCATION 7, (3) 224-233 Author Site , DOI
Burr SA & Leung YL (2013) 'Towards promoting and assessing clinical compassion' BRITISH JOURNAL OF HOSPITAL MEDICINE 74, (12) 677-681 Author Site , DOI
Burr SA, Brodier E & Wilkinson S (2013) 'Delivery and use of individualised feedback in large class medical teaching' BMC MEDICAL EDUCATION 13, Author Site , DOI Open access
Abu Bakar MF, Mohamed M, Rahmat A, Burr SA & Fry JR (2012) 'Cellular assessment of the extract of bambangan (Mangifera pajang) as a potential cytoprotective agent for the human hepatocellular HepG2 cell line' FOOD CHEMISTRY 136, (1) 18-25 Author Site , DOI
Fry JR & Burr SA (2011) 'A double-blind atropine trial for active learning of autonomic function' ADVANCES IN PHYSIOLOGY EDUCATION 35, (4) 438-444 Author Site , DOI
Leung YL, Adesara S & Burr S (2011) 'Learning to make better clinical decisions' BRITISH JOURNAL OF HOSPITAL MEDICINE 72, (11) 642-645 Author Site , DOI
Burr S (2011) 'Obituary-David Ray' NEUROTOXICOLOGY 32, (1) 169-169 Author Site , DOI
Burr S & Brodier E (2010) 'Integrating feedback into medical education' Br J Hosp Med (Lond) 71, (11) 646-649 Author Site , DOI
Abu Bakal MF, Mohamad M, Rahmat A, Burr SA & Fry JR (2010) 'Cytotoxicity, cell cycle arrest, and apoptosis in breast cancer cell lines exposed to an extract of the seed kernel of Mangifera pajang (bambangan)' FOOD AND CHEMICAL TOXICOLOGY 48, (6) 1688-1697 Author Site , DOI
Abu Bakar MF, Mohamed M, Rahmat A, Burr SA & Fry JR (2010) 'Cytotoxicity and polyphenol diversity in selected parts of Mangifera pajang and Artocarpus odoratissimus fruits' Nutrition & Food Science 40(1), 29-38
Leung YL & Burr SA (2010) 'Trapdoor technique for intertransverse process arthrodesis of the lumbar spine' Techniques in Orthopaedics 25(4), 237-239
Breckenridge CB, Holden L, Sturgess N, Weiner M, Sheets L, Sargent D, Soderlund DM, Choi J-S, Symington S & Clark JM (2009) 'Evidence for a separate mechanism of toxicity for the Type I and the Type II pyrethroid insecticides' NEUROTOXICOLOGY 30, S17-S31 Author Site , DOI
Burr S (2009) 'Integrating assessment innovations in medical education' Br J Hosp Med (Lond) 70, (3) 162-163 Author Site , DOI
Burr S (2009) 'Integrating teaching innovations in medical education' Br J Hosp Med (Lond) 70, (2) 104-106 Author Site , DOI
Ray DE, Burr SA & Lister T (2006) 'The effects of combined exposure to the pyrethroids deltamethrin and S-bioallethrin on hippocampal inhibition and skeletal muscle hyperexcitability in rats' TOXICOLOGY AND APPLIED PHARMACOLOGY 216, (2) 354-362 Author Site , DOI
Burr SA & Ray DE (2004) 'Structure-activity and interaction effects of 14 different pyrethroids on voltage-gated chloride ion channels' TOXICOLOGICAL SCIENCES 77, (2) 341-346 Author Site , DOI
Mulheran M, Degg C, Burr S, Morgan DW & Stableforth DE (2001) 'Occurrence and risk of cochleotoxicity in cystic fibrosis patients receiving repeated high-dose aminoglycoside therapy' Antimicrobial Agents & Chemotherapy 45(9), 2502-2509
Holton JL, Nolan CC, Burr SA, Ray DE & Cavanagh JB (1997) 'Increasing or decreasing nervous activity modulates the severity of the glio-vascular lesions of 1,3-dinitrobenzene in the rat: effects of the tremorgenic pyrethroid, Bifenthrin, and of anaesthesia' Acta Neuropathologica 93, 159-165
Letters
Todd I, Burr S, Whittle J & Fairclough L (2014) 'Modifying the Hofstee method may overcome problems' Med Teach 36, (4) 358-359 Author Site , DOI
Books
Burr SA (2006) The body in balance: A physio-philosophical view of life. Nottingham University Press
Chapters
Burr SA & Leung YL (2016) 'Towards a better understanding of clinical leadership' in McKimm J; O'Sullivan H Clinical leadership made easy: integrating theory and practice London Quay Books 121-134
Burr SA & Leung YL (2015) 'Towards a better understanding of clinical leadership' in McKimm J; O'Sullivan H Clinical leadership made easy: integrating theory and practice 121-134
Burr SA (2014) 'Acid-base physiology' in Randall MD Medical Sciences at a Glance Oxford Wiley-Blackwell 68-69
Leung YL & Burr SA (2014) 'Botulinum toxin' in Wexler P USA Elsevier Inc., Academic Press 540-542
Burr SA (2014) 'Chemical Warfare' in Wexler P Encyclopedia of Toxicology USA Elsevier Inc., Academic Press 814-816
Burr SA (2014) 'Chemical Warfare Delivery Systems' in Wexler P Encyclopedia of Toxicology USA Elsevier Inc., Academic Press 817-821
Burr SA (2014) 'Control of breathing' in Randall MD Medical Sciences at a Glance Oxford Wiley-Blackwell 66-67
Burr SA & Leung YL (2014) 'Curare (D-Tubocurarine)' in Wexler P Encyclopedia of Toxicology USA Elsevier Inc., Academic Press 1088-1089
Burr SA & Leung YL (2014) 'Cyanide' in Wexler P Encyclopedia of Toxicology USA Elsevier Inc., Academic Press 1093-1095
Burr SA (2014) 'Cypermethrin' in Wexler P Encyclopedia of Toxicology USA Elsevier Inc., Academic Press 1120-1121
Burr SA (2014) 'DDT (Dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane)' in Wexler P Encyclopedia of Toxicology USA Elsevier Inc., Academic Press 1141-1143
Burr SA (2014) 'Deltamethrin' in Wexler P Encyclopedia of Toxicology USA Elsevier Inc., Academic Press 1158-1159
Burr SA (2014) 'Gas transport' in Randall MD Medical Sciences at a Glance Oxford Wiley-Blackwell 64-65
Ray DE & Burr SA (2014) 'Pyrethrins/Pyrethroids' in Wexler P Encyclopedia of Toxicology USA Elsevier Inc., Academic Press 1152-1158
Burr SA (2014) 'Respiratory pathophysiology' in Randall MD Medical Sciences at a Glance Oxford Wiley-Blackwell 70-71
Burr SA (2014) 'Respiratory physiology' in Randall MD Medical Sciences at a Glance Oxford Wiley-Blackwell 62-63
Conference Papers
Burr SA, Mulheran M, Degg C & Collinson J (1998) 'Differences between two types of spontaneous otoacoustic emission in a patient group receiving frequent gentamicin therapy compared with control subjects' 84-85
Burr SA, Mulheran M & Degg C (1997) 'Characterization of 'click-synchronized spontaneous oto-acoustic emissions' (CSSOAEs) in humans' 93-94
Mulheran M, Burr SA & Degg C (1997) 'Frequency resolution in audiologically normal young subjects compared with a patient group receiving frequent gentamicin therapy' 93-93
Personal

Personal

Additional information

While working for the Home Office as a forensic scientist in 1995 I was a member of the team that first introduced the UK’s National DNA Database (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_Kingdom_National_DNA_Database).

For my MSc I discovered that it was possible to protect regions of the brain from chemical damage by keeping them active processing sensory input (Holton et al., 1997).

I began teaching medical students in 1996, and I have worked for three medical schools in a very wide variety of academic roles. My aim is to empower students to fulfil their potential and multiply their positive impact on society.

For my PhD I worked with people who had cystic fibrosis at several hospitals to optimise antibiotic drug dosage, to maximise treatment of their lung infections while minimising irreversible side effects to improve the quality of life and life expectancy of all people with cystic fibrosis (Mulheran et al., 2001).

As a postdoctoral lab researcher I overturned the dogma that the mechanistic difference between type I and type II pyrethroids was attributed to chloride ion channel effects (Burr & Ray, 2004).

I have mentored various academic staff, and also initiated and led an interprofessional day conference focussed on assessment every year for 10 years. These were themed around feedback in 2010, standards in 2011, transition in 2012, psychometrics in 2013, e-assessment in 2014, professionalism in 2015, equality in 2016, student perceptions in 2017, modified assessment provision in 2018, and teamwork in 2019.

Since 2015, I have been an external examiner to six other medical schools; and since 2016 I have worked as an Associate for the General Medical Council, where I have been involved in the review of quality and standards in medical education at four further medical schools. My aim is to help institutions to improve the quality of their assessments.

I am the inaugural chair of the Quality and Standards committee at the University of Plymouth. As such I had responsibility throughout the COVID-19 pandemic for safeguarding the policies and regulations affecting all students (approximately 18,000 including enrolments at partner institutions) and for the quality and standard of their awards.

Since 2019, I have been working pro bono as the inaugural chair of the southwest Regional Conduct Advisory Committee for the Ministry of Justice, overseeing conduct matters for all magistrates for 11 benches within 7 counties of England (approximately 1200 magistrates). I led the structural reorganisation of processes, created our first Terms of Reference, and initiated delegation of authority to establish the committee as an empowered and sustainable team. I am responsible for overseeing decisions about all complaints related to the conduct of magistrates across the region, and thereby maintaining public confidence in justice.

I initiated in 2019, and subsequently led, the publication of a comprehensive textbook dedicated to supporting candidates to pass the GMC’s Medical Licensing Assessment Applied Knowledge Test. The examination is a pre-requisite for registering to practice as a doctor in the UK from 2024, and must be passed by all final year medical students in the UK (approximately 10,000/year) and all international doctors (approximately another 10,000/year) who wish to practice in the UK. The book also created development opportunities throughout the COVID-19 pandemic for significant numbers of doctors to maintain their scholarship; mostly practicing clinicians from all specialties, including 2 co-editors, 23 section editors, and 300 topic authors. All royalties from Cambridge University Press are pledged to be used charitably to support medical scholarships.

In 2020, when reimagining all of the knowledge assessments for the medicine programme at the University of Plymouth, I had the idea for progress testing that adapts by content (Content Adaptive Progress Testing). I led the development of the concept over 2021-22, to start implementation in 2023. Content Adaptive Progress Testing has the potential for profound and widespread impact on current approaches to examining performance, to ensure ability in all aspects required when determining whether a standard has been achieved.