Dr Rebecca LeBard

Senior Lecturer
138, Biological Sciences Link Wing
(+612) 9385 2026
(+612) 9385 1483



BSc (Hons), University of Sydney

PhD, University of Sydney

Grad Cert (university learning and teaching), UNSW


Australian University Teaching Award, Citation for contributions to student learning, 2016

Vice Chancellor’s Award for Teaching Excellence, 2015


My scholarship in learning and teaching focuses on the importance of mathematics to STEM students (particularly those in biology. I developed a model of our signature pedagogy in science, and how mathematics is integral to learning the practice of science. My current work investigates how maths taken in high school and confidence in maths influences success in tertiary biology. This work is significant nationally, as the number of students taking maths is at its lowest levels in fifty years, and as there is predicted to be a shortage of STEM graduates for future jobs. This work will help inform the levels of maths needed to ensure success for students studying STEM courses, and the need for interventions in biology.

I am a molecular microbiologist, completing my PhD at the University of Sydney on the molecular characterisation of mechanisms maintaining multi-drug resistance plasmids in Staphylococcus aureus. In my time at UNSW, I've supervised honours and PhD students in projects investigating how how plasmid DNA is inherited in Archaea, how molecular markers can be used to trace sources of water pollution, and the production of secondary metabolites.


Courses I teach

I convene the following courses:

BABS1201 Molecules, cells and genes 

BIOC2201 Principles of Molecular Biology

I teach into the following:

BIOC2101 Priciples of Biochemistry (advanced)

BIOC2181 Fundamentals of Biochemistry

CHEM1829 Biological chemistry for optometry students

Phase one of the medical program

Professional affiliations and service positions

Vice-president (elect) communications, Australian Society of Microbiology (2017-)

Faculty of Science Teaching and Quality Committee (2015-2016)

Program Committee member for the Australian Conference on Science and Mathematics Education planning committee (2014)

Faculty of Science Education Committee, Faculty of Science (2013-2014)

Phase 1 committee, Faculty of Medicine (2013-)

Strategic Priorities in Learning and Teaching, Faculty of Science (2008-2009)

CSIRO Scientists in Schools participant

Author for The Conversation

Research Contribution

  • Microbial source tracking using indicator organisms to detect the source of faecal pollution in waterways. Current work is investigating human and animal specific genetic markers from Clostridum perfringens and Bacteroides sp.
  • Characteristion of plasmid partitioning systems in Haloarchaea.
  • Learning and teaching research on academic numeracy and threshold concepts.


Click here for Dr LeBard's publications list