Photo of Rebecca Roberts
Photo of Rebecca Roberts

Rebecca Roberts

My research focuses on understanding how to best move students from thinking like students to thinking like scientists.

Rebecca Roberts is an active member of the Biology Department and the Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Program. She is interested in developing the best ways to move undergraduate students toward thinking as true scientists. She helped develop a biochemistry lab curriculum that challenges students to work with proteins in the Protein Data Bank whose structures have been solved but whose functions are still unknown. The BASIL: Biochemistry Authentic Scientific Inquiry Lab curriculum and associated research has been funded by three National Science Foundation grants. To learn more about the BASIL CURE (Course-based Undergraduate Research Experience) being used at colleges and universities around the country, go to

Dr. Roberts is also a member of the steering committee of BioMolViz, an organization focused on developing biomolecular visual literacy. With both BASIL and BioMolViz, Dr. Roberts travels nationally to facilitate workshops for faculty who wish to learn how to best develop scientific thinking and biomolecular visual literacy in their own students.

In previous years at Ursinus she involved students in her research laboratory studying the effect of hormonal regulation of enzymes, with a focus on the roles of estrogen and bisphenol A in autoimmune diseases and cancer. 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. She has twice presented expert testimony to the Pennsylvania House of Representatives regarding toxin-free toddler and baby products




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


BCMB-351 Biochemistry I: Protein Biochemistry

BCMB-452W Biochemistry II: Metabolism

BIO/BCMB-452W Structural Biology

BIO-220 Innovation in Biology

BIO-102 Cell Biology

CIE-200 Common Intellectual Experience Seminar

Research Interests

Understanding how students learn biomolecular visualization skills
Understanding how students develop collaborative skills across disciplines
Hormonal regulation
Environmental Endocrine Disruptors
Antigen processing and presentation

Recent Work

Ringer McDonald, A, R. Roberts, B. Hall, and J. Koeppe. (2022) Undergraduate structural biology education: A shift from users to developers of computation and simulation tools. Invited review. Curr. Opin. Structural Biology 72:39-45.

Lubin, J.H., C. Zardecki, E.M., Dolan, C. Lu, Z. Shen, S. Dutta, J.D. Westbrook, B.P. Hudson, D.S. Goodsell, J.K. Williams, M. Voigt, V. Sarma, L, Xie, T. Venkatachalam, S. Arnold, L.H.A. Alvarado, K. Catalfano, A. Kahn., E. McCarthy, S. Staggers, B. Tinsley, A., Trudeau, J. Singh, L. Whitmore, H. Zheng, M. Benedek, ,J. Currier, M. Dresel, A. Duvvuru, B. Dyszel*, E. Fingar, E.M. Hennen, M. Kirsch, A.A. Khan, C. Labrie-Cleary, S. Laporte, E. Lenkeit, K. Martin*, M.O.M. Ortiz-Alvarez de la Campa, I. Paredes, B. Wheeler, A. Rupert, A. Sam, K. See, S.S. Zapata, P.A. Criag, B.L. Hall, J. Jiang, J.R. Koeppe, S.A. Mills, M.J. Pikaart, R. Roberts, Y. Bromberg, J. Steen Hover, S Duffy, J. Tischfield, F.X. Ruiz, E. Arnold, J. Baum, J. Sandberg, G. Brannigan, S.D. Khar, and S.K. Burley. (2021) Evolution of the SARS-CoV-2 proteome in three dimensions (3D) during the first 6 months of the COVID-19 pandemic. Proteins: Structure, Function, Bioinformatics.

Sikora, A., Irby, S.M., Hall, B.L., Mills, S.A., Koeppe, J.R., Pikaart, M.J., Wilner, S., Craig, P.A., and Roberts, R. (2020) Responses to the COVID-19 pandemic by the Biochemistry Authentic Scientific Inquiry Lab (BASIL) CURE Consortium: Reflections and a mini case study on the switch to remote learning. J. Chem. Ed. 97(9):34555-3462.

Burley, S.K., Bromberg, Y., Craig, P., Duffy, S., Dutta, S., Hall, B.L., Hudson, B.P., Jiang, J., Khare, S.D., Koeppe, J.R., Lubin, J.H., Mills, S.A., Pikaart, M.J., Roberts, R., Sarma, V., Singh, J., Tiscfield, J.A., Xie, L., Zardecki, C. (2020) Virtual Boot Camp: COVID-19 Evolution and Structural Biology. Biochem and Mol Biol Ed. 1-3.

Procko, K., Engelman, S., Jakubowski, H., Beckham, J. T., Dean, D., Franzen, M., Novak, W., Roberts, R., Roca, A., Shor, A., Terrell, C., D. Dries. (2020) BioMolViz Workshops for Developing Biomolecular Visualization Assessments. Biochem and Mol Biol. Educ. 1-9.

Procko, K. and R. Roberts. (2020) The surprising comfort of learning objectives.

Roberts, R. and N. Reyna (2020) CURE Sustainability: Make it Flexible.

Bonnie L. Hall, Rebecca Roberts, Julia Koeppe, Paul A. Craig. (2020) Attending a Conference When You Don’t Have the Budget. ASBMB Today. Editor reviewed.

Roberts, R., Hall, B., Daubner, C., Goodman, A., Pikaart, M., Sikora, A,, Craig, P. (2019) Flexible Implementation of the BASIL CURE. Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Education. 47(5):498-505.

McDonald, A.R., Bernstein, H.J., Daubner, S.C., Goodman, A., Irby, S.M., Koeppe, J.R., Mills, J.L., O’Handley, S.F., Pikaart, M.J., Roberts, R.A., Sikora, A., Craig, P.A. (2019) BASIL Biochemistry Curriculum.

Sikora A, Craig, P.A., Bernstein, H.J., Daubner, C., Goodman, A., Irby, S.M., Koeppe, J.R., Mills, J.L., O’Handley S.F., Pikaart, M., Ringer McDonald, A., Roberts, R. (2019) CURE Sustainability: Biochemistry Authentic Scientific Inquiry Lab (BASIL), Ursinus College.

Craig, P.A., Anderson, T., Bernstein, H.J., Daubner, C., Goodman, A., Irby, S., Koeppe, J., Mills, J.L., Pikaart, M., Ringer McDonald, A., O’Handley, S., Roberts, R., R. Stewart. (2018) Using protein function prediction to promote hypothesis-driven thinking in undergraduate biochemistry education. The Chemist, Journal of the American Institute of Chemists. 91:(1).

Chakhtoura, M., Sriram, U., Heayn, M.*, Wonsidler, J.*, Doyle, C.*, Dinnall, J., Gallucci, S., Roberts, R.A. (2017). Bisphenol A does not mimic Estrogen in the promotion of the in vitro response of murine Dendritic Cells to Toll-Like-Receptor ligands. Mediators of Inflammation, vol. 2017, doi:10.1155/2017/2034348

Dao, J.* and Roberts, R.A. (2012) 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”. Edited by Steven Emerman. ISBN: 978-1-300-43792-5