Heather Verkade: Molecular Biology Education Scholarship

Research Overview

Heather’s science career started at Melbourne University with a Bachelor of Science, honours in Genetics, and a PhD in cell cycle genetics at the Peter MacCallum Cancer Institute. She then researched zebrafish developmental genetics at UCSF and the Ludwig Institute, and started as an academic at Monash University in 2007. Throughout this career journey, she realised that her main interest lay in teaching students both in the laboratory and in the classroom, and she started to carry out Scholarship of Teaching and Learning in the biomedical sciences. This culminated in a teaching specialist role at the University of Melbourne in 2014, as a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, where she is promoting the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning in the Faculty. In 2019, she was promoted to Associate Professor as a Teaching Specialist, based on excellence in teaching, education research and scholarship, and leadership in the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning in the School and Faculty.

Heather Verkade investigates ways to improve student outcomes through our teaching in the undergraduate Biomedical Sciences, specifically in the area of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology.

Current research interests

Methods to address student misconceptions in Molecular Biology and Biochemistry, through the implementation of active learning approaches.

Approaches to create student-centred learning and active learning in large class settings.

Scaffolding and supporting students in their interactions with the scientific primary literature during undergraduate science teaching.

Career support and mentoring for academic staff in education scholarship.

Funding, awards and prizes

  • 2018 Contributor to Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health Sciences, Seed grant $4920
  • 2017 Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health Sciences Award for Learning and Teaching by a team, University of Melbourne, $5000
  • 2017 ASBMB Shimadzu Education award, $2500
  • 2016 University of Melbourne Learning and Teaching Initiatives Grant $29,800
  • 2012 Faculty of Science Education grant $8000

Research Publications

Verkade H, Mulhern T, Lodge J, Elliott K, Espinosa A, Cropper S, Rubinstein B I P, Horton A, Elliott C, Frankland S, Dooley L, Mulder R, Livett M. (2017) Misconceptions as a trigger for enhancing student learning in higher education. A handbook for educators. The University of Melbourne. ISBN 978 7340 5410 4  http://hdl.handle.net/11343/197958

Verkade, H., Lodge, J.M., Elliot, K., Mulhern, T.D., Espinosa, A.A., Cropper, S.J. & Rubinstein, B.I.P. (2017). Exploring misconceptions as a trigger for enhancing student learning. In R.G. Walker & S.B. Bedford (Eds.), Research and Development in Higher Education: Curriculum Transformation, 40 (pp 392-401). Sydney, Australia, 27–30 June 2017.

Verkade H, Lim S-H. (2016) Undergraduate science students’ attitudes toward and approaches to scientific reading and writing. The Journal of College Science Teaching 45(4):83-89

Verkade H, and Lim S-H. (2015) Uptake of optional activities leads to improved performance in a biomedical sciences class. Journal of Scholarship of Teaching and Learning 15(6):48-62

Verkade H. (2015) Training final year students in data presentation skills with an iterative report-feedback cycle. Journal of Scholarship of Teaching and Learning, 15(2):70-82

Verkade H, Bryson-Richardson R. (2013) Student acceptance and application of peer assessment in a final year genetics undergraduate oral presentation. Journal of Peer learning 6:1-18

See a full list of Heather’s publications at https://orcid.org/0000-0002-2817-0509.

Research Projects

For project inquiries, contact our research group head.

School Research Themes

Scholarship of Teaching and Learning

Key Contact

For further information about this research, please contact Associate Professor Heather Verkade

Department / Centre

Biochemistry and Pharmacology

Unit / Centre

Heather Verkade: Molecular Biology Education Scholarship

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