Dr Rebecca LeBard
Senior Lecturer

Dr Rebecca LeBard

BSc (Hons), University of Sydney

PhD, University of Sydney

Grad Cert (university learning and teaching), UNSW

MEd (higher education), UNSW

School of Biotech & Biomolecular Science

Rebecca is a senior lecturer in the School of Biotechnology and Biomolecular Sciences and Associate Dean Education, innovation and student experience for the Faculty of Science at UNSW.

Rebecca completed a BSc (hons) and later a PhD at the University of Sydney on the mechanisms for maintaining multi-drug resistance plasmids in Staphylococcus aureus. Following this, she worked on projects investigating plasmid DNA inheritance in Archaea, microbial molecular markers to trace sources of water pollution, and microbiological production of secondary metabolites.

She also holds a MEd (higher education) from UNSW, and teaches undergraduate courses in the Faculty of Science and the medical program. Rebecca is a Senior Fellow of Advance HE (formerly the Higher Education Academy UK). She was awarded the UNSW Vice Chancellor’s Award for Teaching Excellence in 2015, and a citation for contributions to student learning in the Australian University Teaching Awards, 2016, recognising her teaching excellence.

Rebecca's scholarship in learning and teaching focuses on the importance of quantitative skills to STEM students (particularly those in biology). She developed a model of our signature pedagogy in science, and is interested in how students can gain competence and confidence in quantitative skills in their science learning.

She is also interested in helping education focused academics evaluate their teaching practice to demonstrate impact. She obtained $123,000 in funding to lead a community of practice collaboration to develop a series of videos and website on this, resulting in Evaluating Teaching Practice.

(+61 2) 9385 2026
Room 220D Biosciences (D26)
  • Journal articles | 2021
    Kurtboke I; Lyras D; LeBard R; MacReadie I; Barnard R; Barton M, 2021, 'Research communications of early career scientists', Microbiology Australia, vol. 42, pp. 102 - 103, http://dx.doi.org/10.1071/MA21030
    Journal articles | 2021
    Lebard R, 2021, 'STEM Matters. But how do we best communicate it?', Microbiology Australia, vol. 42, pp. 54, http://dx.doi.org/10.1071/MA21014
    Journal articles | 2021
    Yasar SA; Mills TJT; Uluturk ZI; Ruszczyk JMS; LeBard RJ; Neilan BA, 2021, 'Quantitative detection of human- And canine-associated Bacteroides genetic markers from an urban coastal lagoon', Water Science and Technology, vol. 84, pp. 1732 - 1744, http://dx.doi.org/10.2166/wst.2021.341
    Journal articles | 2019
    Kurtböke I; Lyras D; Macreadie I; Barnard R; Barton M; Blackall L; Bramwell P; LeBard R; Lum G; Manna S; Meyer W; Owens C; Power C; Rawlinson W; Ross T; Selleck P; Smith D; Smith H, 2019, 'Editorial', Microbiology Australia, vol. 40, pp. 155 - 156, http://dx.doi.org/10.1071/MA19046
    Journal articles | 2019
    Quinnell R; Wegener M; LeBard R; Beames S, 2019, 'When science meets the arts: Bridging the subjective-objective divide', International Journal of Innovation in Science and Mathematics Education, vol. 27, pp. 1 - 3
    Journal articles | 2017
    Delaney SK; Mills J; Galea A; LeBard RJ; Wilson J; Gibson K; Kornfeld G; Ashraf G, 2017, 'Analysis of Alternative Strategies for the Teaching of Difficult Threshold Concepts in Large Undergraduate Medicine and Science Classes', Medical Science Educator, vol. 27, pp. 673 - 684, http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s40670-017-0453-x
    Journal articles | 2017
    LeBard RJ; Quinnell R; Hibbert B, 2017, 'Practice in digital research spaces to engage students with eScience', Teaching Science, https://eric.ed.gov/?id=EJ1142186
    Journal articles | 2014
    LeBard RJ; Thompson R; Quinnell R, 2014, 'Quantitative skills and complexity: How can we combat these challenges and equip undergraduate students to think and practice as biologists?', International Journal of Innovation in Science and Mathematics Education, vol. 22, pp. 1 - 14
    Journal articles | 2013
    Montgomery K; Charlesworth JC; LeBard R; Visscher PT; Burns BP, 2013, 'Quorum sensing in extreme environments', Life, vol. 3, pp. 131 - 148, http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/life3010131
    Journal articles | 2013
    Quinnell R; Thompson R; LeBard RJ, 2013, 'It's not maths; it's science: Exploring thinking dispositions, learning thresholds and mindfulness in science learning', International Journal of Mathematical Education in Science and Technology, vol. 44, pp. 808 - 816, http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/0020739X.2013.800598
    Journal articles | 2008
    Kwong SM; Lim R; Lebard R; Skurray RA; Firth N, 2008, 'Analysis of the pSK1 replicon, a prototype from the staphylococcal multiresistance plasmid family', Microbiology, vol. 154, pp. 3084 - 3094, http://dx.doi.org/10.1099/mic.0.2008/017418-0
    Journal articles | 2008
    LeBard RJ; Jensen SO; Arnaiz IA; Skurray RA; Firth N, 2008, 'A multimer resolution system contributes to segregational stability of the prototypical staphylococcal conjugative multiresistance plasmid pSK41', FEMS Microbiology Letters, vol. 284, pp. 58 - 67, http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1574-6968.2008.01190.x
    Journal articles | 2008
    Lebard R; Jensen SO; Isabel IA; Skurray RA; Firth N, 2008, 'A multimer resolution system contributes to segregational stability of the prototypical staphylococcal conjugative multiresistance plasmid pSK41.', FEMS Microbiology Letters, vol. 284, pp. 58 - 67, http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1574-6968.2008.01190.x/pdf
  • Conference Presentations | 2013
    Quinnell R; Thompson RE; Lebard , 2013, 'Characterising the underlying dysfunctional attitudes and stances of students in biology and medicine adopt when faced with calculations.', presented at CETL-MSOR Conference, Coventry University, England, 10 September 2013 - 11 September 2013, http://www.sigma-network.ac.uk/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/Quinnell_R_CETLMSOR_2013_abstract.pdf
    Conference Papers | 2012
    Quinnell R; Thompson R; LeBard RJ, 2012, 'Academic numeracy in Life Science learning: challenging perceptions', in Aiming for excellence in STEM learning and teaching proceedings, Higher Education Academy (UK), Imperial College and The Royal Geographical Society London, England, pp. 1 - 9, presented at STEM Annual Conference 2012, Imperial College and The Royal Geographical Society London, England, 12 April 2012 - 13 April 2012, https://www.heacademy.ac.uk/sites/default/files/Rosanne_Quinnell.pdf
    Conference Papers | 2010
    Allen B; Crosky AG; Yench E; Lutze-Mann L; Blennerhassett PJ; Lebard R; Thordarson P; Wilk KE, 2010, 'A model for transformation: A transdisciplinary approach to disseminating good practice in blended learning in a science faculty', in Curriculum, technology & transformation for an unknown future. Proceedings Ascilite Sydney 2010, Queensland University Press, St Lucia, Queensland, pp. 36 - 48, presented at Ascilite 2010, Sydney, 05 December 2010 - 08 December 2010, http://www.ascilite.org.au/conferences/sydney10/procs/Allen-full.pdf
    Conference Papers | 2010
    Quinnell R; Thompson RE; Micolich AP; Lebard R, 2010, 'Numeracy as an obstacle to learning for students entering the discipline domains of science and medicine', in Third Biennial Threshold Concepts Symposium, UNSW, Sydney, Australia, presented at 3rd Biennial Threshold Concepts Symposium, Sydney, Australia, 01 July 2010 - 02 July 2010, http://www.thresholdconcepts2010.unsw.edu.au/Abstracts/QuinnellR_etal.pdf
    Conference Papers | 2009
    Lebard R; Thompson RE; Micolich AP; Quinnell R, 2009, 'Identifying common thresholds in learning for students working in the 'hard' discipline of science.', in UniServe Science Conference : motivating science undergraduates : ideas and interventions, UniServe Science, University of Sydney, Sydney, NSW, pp. 72 - 77, presented at UniServe Science 2009, Sydney, NSW, 01 October 2009 - 02 October 2009, http://sydney.edu.au/science/uniserve_science/images/content/2009_papers/LeBard.pdf
    Preprints |
    Schumacher MA; Chan HY; Jensen SO; LeBard RJ; Figgett WA; Lai E; Simpson AE; Brzoska A; Connolly AM; Cordwell SJ; Travis BA; Nguyen VD; Salinas R; Skurray RA; Firth N, Molecular Analysis of Psk1 Par: A Novel Plasmid Partitioning System Encoded by Staphylococcal Multiresistance Plasmids, http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.4145569

R LeBard (2019) Quantitative skills in biology. Australian Council of Deans of Science - Teaching and Learning Centre. $1000

R LeBard & A Torda (2018-2019) A support network for evaluation of teaching practices & innovation, ensuring educational excellence. UNSW Education-focused foundation funding. $123,000

Kornfeld, G; Lutze-Mann, L; Polly, P; Wijenayake, G; LeBard R (2016) Integration of real and virtual experiences in undergraduate laboratories. UNSW SEF#4 Learning and Teaching Funding $20,000

LeBard R (2012) Demonstrating the ability of putative partitioning systems from the haloarchaeal model organism Halobacterium sp. NRC-1 to enhance plasmid maintenance. UNSW ECR grant $7,500

LeBard R (2010) UNSW Faculties of Excellence Funding $3,000

Thompson RE; Micolich AP; LeBard RJ (2009) Critical conversations: designing an institutional process to constructively challenge perceptions about academic numeracy of students and staff. UNSW Seed funding for ALTC Learning & Teaching Grant Applications $3,700

LeBard R (2009) UNSW VC Childcare support fund for women researchers $1,000

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.

Vice-president (communication), Australian Society of Microbiology (2017-)

CSIRO Scientists in Schools participant

Author for The Conversation

ABC Catalyst interview 

UNSW leadership positions

Faculty of Science Educational Excellence Committee (2018-2019)

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 (2013-2021)

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

I currently convene the following courses:

  • BABS1201 Molecules, cells and genes 
  • BABS1202 Applied Biomolecular Sciences

I currently teach into the following:

  • BIOC2101 Principles of Biochemistry (advanced)
  • BIOC2181 Fundamentals of Biochemistry
  • CHEM1829 Biological chemistry for optometry students
  • Phase one of the medical program