All Majors & Minors

Rebecca Roberts

Rebecca Roberts is an active member of the Biology Department and the Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Program.  She heads an active laboratory where 6-10 students work with her as research collaborators every semester. She studies the effect of hormonal regulation of enzymes, with a focus on the roles of estrogen and bisphenol A in autoimmune diseases and cancer.  She also carries out pedagogical research, funded by the National Science Foundation, on incorporating genuine inquiry into upper-level biochemistry laboratory courses.

After completing a postdoctoral fellowship at Harvard Medical School, she became a Visiting Professor at Carleton College in Northfield, MN, where she first became interested in the environmental estrogen, bisphenol A. As a scientist and mother of three young children, she has been active in educating the public about bisphenol A and is interested in the role of science in social justice issues. She has twice presented expert testimony to the Pennsylvania House of Representatives regarding toxin-free toddler and baby products and is often interviewed about bisphenol A by the media.


Associate Professor of Biology




  • B.A., Clark University
  • Ph.D., University of Massachusetts


Biochemistry I
Structural Biology
Cell Biology and Genetics of Health and Disease

Research Interests

Hormonal regulation
Environmental Endocrine Disruptors
Antigen processing and presentation

Recent Work

Paul Craig and R.A. Roberts.  Using protein function prediction to promote hypothesis-driven thinking in undergraduate biochemistry education.  NSF Envisioning the Future of Undergraduate STEM Education.  April 2015. Washington DC.

Dao, J. and R.A. Roberts. Bisphenol A: Mothers Shouldn’t Have to be Scientists. Chapter in edited collection titled “Liberation Science: Putting science to work for social and environmental justice”. Available online.

Roberts, R.A., et al., B cells from Lupus-prone mice respond more vigorously to lipopolysaccharide stimulation. Experimental Biology April 2014, San Diego.

Roberts, R.A. Bisphenol A exposure and health effects: Physician and patient education. American Family Physician June 1, 2012.

Roberts, R.A. Primary author of Learning Curve BioPortal assessments for Stryer’s Biochemistry 7th ed. and Tymoczko’s Biochemistry: A short course. W.H. Freeman Publishers. (2010-2013)

Roberts, R.A. What You and Need to Know About Bisphenol A. Physicians News Digest, November, 2011.

Roberts, R.A. Bisphenol A in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit: Exposure and Biological Effects. Neonatology Today. Volume 4: issue 11, 2009.

Biswanger, C.*, L. Davis*, and R.A. Roberts. Estrogenic Impurities in Tissue Culture Plastic Ware Are Not Bisphenol A. In Vitro Cellular & Developmental Biology – Animal. 42:294-297, 2006.