Heather Bergan-Roller

Heather Bergan-Roller

Assistant professor

Recent national reports have emphasized the need for biology education to help prepare all students to understand core biological concepts and apply their knowledge so that they can critically evaluate situations, creatively generate solutions, and make informed decisions about global issues troubling societies now and in the future. My research addresses those needs by investigating student learning and understanding of natural phenomena.  More specifically, I examine how undergraduate students think about and learn concepts related to biological phenomena and scientific skills. I also develop novel learning activities and investigate how these activities can help students conquer difficult concepts and skills. 

My recent projects include

1) investigating how student engagement in scientific skills promotes understanding of biological systems and persistence in science,

2) developing and accessing best practices for students to communicate science, and

3) understanding the unique challenges to learning the concepts and skills involved in anatomical sciences.

Representative Publications

For the most recent list of publications, please see my profile on Google Scholar.

Biology Education Research

Daemicke, A.K.*, Galt, N.J., Samonds, K.E., Bergan-Roller, H.E. 2020. Challenging Endocrinology Students with a Critical Thinking Workbook. Advances in Physiology Education. 44(1), 72-79. https://journals.physiology.org/doi/pdf/10.1152/advan.00101.2019

Wack, J.U, Jaeger, C., Yuan, S., Bergan-Roller, H.E. In press. A Framework and Lesson to Engage Biology Students in Communicating Science with Non-experts. The American Biology Teacher.

Bergan-Roller, H.E., Galt, N.J., Chizinski, C.J., Helikar, T., Dauer, J.T. 2018. Simulated Computational Model Lesson Improves Foundational Systems Thinking Skills and Conceptual Knowledge in Biology Students. BioScience 68, 612–621. https://doi.org/10.1093/biosci/biy054

Crowther, A., Bergan-Roller, H.E., Galt, N.J., Booth, C., Dauer, J.T., Helikar, T. 2018. Discovering Prokaryotic Gene Regulation with Simulations of the trp Operon. CourseSource. https://doi.org/10.24918/cs.2018.9

Bergan-Roller, H.E., Galt, N.J., Dauer, J.T., Helikar, T. 2017. Discovering Cellular Respiration with Computational Modeling and Simulations. CourseSourcehttps://doi.org/10.24918/cs.2017.10 

Biology Research

Bergan-Roller, H.E., Sheridan, M.A. 2018 The Growth Hormone Signaling System: Insights into Coordinating the Anabolic and Catabolic Actions of Growth Hormone. General and Comparative Endocrinology 258: 119-133. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0016648017302824

Bergan-Roller, H.E., Ickstadt, A.T.U, Kittilson, J.D., Sheridan, M. 2017. Insulin and insulin-like growth factor-1 modulate the lipolytic action of growth hormone by altering signaling pathway linkages. General and Comparative Endocrinology 248, 40-48. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0016648017302666


Curriculm Vitae


Postdoc, 2015-2017,
University of Nebraska-Lincoln
Biology Education Research

Ph.D., 2014,
North Dakota State University
Cellular and Molecular Biology

B.S., 2010,
North Dakota State University

Fields of Interest

Biology Education Research, Science Communication, Modeling, Anatomical Sciences Education, Scientific Practices, Active learning, Learning Interventions.


Heather Bergan-Roller
Office: MO 447
Lab:  MO 425
Dept. of Biological Sciences
Northern Illinois University
DeKalb, IL 60115

See also: