Dr Cheryl Hurkett

Lecturer in Natural Sciences

School/Department: Genetics and Genome Biology, Department of

Telephone: +44 (0)116 373 6279


Address: Henry Wellcome Building, Room 0/26


Dr Cheryl Hurkett is a teaching-focussed lecturer on the Natural Science degree programme, with the role of convening the physics and mathematics contents of the degree.

Dr Hurkett has a Postgraduate Certificate in Academic Practice in Higher Education, and is a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.

After graduating from the University of Leicester in 2004 with a first in Physics with Astrophysics (MPhys Hons), Cheryl went on to complete a PhD in X-Ray Astronomy, graduating in 2008. This research involved working as part of an international collaboration to analyse data from extremely violent extra-galactic explosions called Gamma Ray Bursts (GRBs) with the NASA mission called Swift.

Dr Hurkett’s more recent research has revolved around innovative teaching practices in STEM subjects in higher education, particularly those involving Research/Problem Based Learning approaches.


Dr Hurkett’s most recent research is focussed on STEM pedagogy, specifically the Research/Problem Based Learning (R/PBL) methodology, funded by the University of Leicester.


DP Williams, CP Hurkett, SL Symons, SN Gretton, CT Harvey, PE Lock and DJ Raine.
A Framework for Student-Instructor Partnerships. International Journal of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education. 2020;32(3):454-462.

CP Hurkett
Open Journal System: enabling student-led journals. Journal of Learning and Teaching in Higher Education 2018;1(2):189-193

CP Hurkett, SL Symons, SN Gretton, CT Harvey, PE Lock, DP Williams and DJ Raine.
The benefits of sustained undergraduate inter-programme collaborations between international partners. Journal of Learning and Teaching in Higher Education 2018;1(1):31-42

RLC Starling, K Wiersema, AJ Levan, T Sakamoto, D Bersier, P Goldoni, CP Hurkett et al.
Discovery of the nearby long, soft GRB 100316D with an associated supernova. Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society 2011;411(4):2792-2803

CP Hurkett, S Vaughan, JP Osborne, PT O'Brien, KL Page, A Beardmore et al.
Line searches in Swift X-ray spectra. The Astrophysical Journal 2008;679(1):587

CP Hurkett, JP Osborne, KL Page, E Rol, MR Goad, PT O'Brien et al.
GRB 050505: a high-redshift burst discovered by Swift. Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society 2006;368(3):1101-1109

PT O'Brien, R Willingale, J Osborne, MR Goad, KL Page, S Vaughan, CP Hurkett et al.
The early X-ray emission from GRBs. The Astrophysical Journal 2006;647(2):1213

A Nousek, C Kouveliotou, D Grupe, KL Page, J Granot, E Ramirez-Ruiz, CP Hurkett et al.
Evidence for a canonical gamma-ray burst afterglow light curve in the Swift XRT data. The Astrophysical Journal 2006;642(1):389.

N Gehrels, CL Sarazin, PT O'Brien, B Zhang, L Barbier, SD Barthelmy, CP Hurkett et al.
A short gamma-ray burst apparently associated with an elliptical galaxy at redshift z= 0.225. Nature 2005;437(7060):851-854


Dr Hurkett supervises BSc and MSc research projects on complex systems, the origin of life, and pedagogy (including research/problem based learning).


Dr Hurkett teaches on the following modules:

  • NT1003: Networks and Circuits
  • NT1004: Biophysics, Physiology and Metabolism
  • NT1005: Laboratory, Computing and Scientific Skills I 
  • NT1006: Mathematics for Science 1 
  • NT1008: Principles of Science: Bonds, Molecules and Cells 
  • NT2001: Astrophysics, Astrochemistry and Astrobiology 
  • NT2002: Evolution
  • NT2003: Laboratory, Mathematical and Scientific Skills II 
  • NT2009: Mechanics, Electricity and Magnetism 
  • NT2010: Light and Matter, Waves and Quanta
  • NT3001: Research Project III 
  • NT3003: Interdisciplinary Research Journal 
  • NT3010: Electromagnetic Fields and Relativity, Quantum Physics and Particles 
  • NT3011: Condensed Matter and Statistical Physics
  • NT4001: Research Project IV
  • NT4002: Modelling of Complex Systems
  • NT4009: Quantum Mechanics and Radiation and Matter
  • NT4011: Astrodynamics
  • NT4012: Electronics
  • NT4013: Python
  • NT4014: Numerical Programming in C


  • Editor of New Directions in the Teaching of Physical Sciences (2016-2022)
  • Editor of Journal of Interdisciplinary Science Topics (2013-)
  • University of Leicester: University Distinguished Teaching Fellow (2019)
  • HEA Collaborative Award for Teaching Excellence (Winner, 2017)
  • HEA Collaborative Award for Teaching Excellence (Finalist, 2016)


  • Postgraduate Certificate in Academic Practice in Higher Education
  • Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy
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