Rebeccah Lijek


  • Assistant Professor of Biological Sciences
Rebeccah Lijek

Rebeccah Lijek is a molecular biologist who investigates how interactions between microorganisms and the immune system can lead to diverse outcomes such as pathogen clearance and protection or chronic inflammation and tissue damage.

Her research examines the sexually transmitted bacterial pathogen Chlamydia trachomatis and how it triggers immunopathology in the female genital tract. She welcomes students interested in using molecular biology, cell culture, and mouse models to study the intersection of microbiology, immunology, and women’s health. 


  • Ph.D., Perelman School of Medicine - University of Pennsylvania
  • B.S., Haverford College

Happening at Mount Holyoke

Recent Campus News

For the first time in its history, Mount Holyoke College has been selected as a Beckman Scholars Program awardee by the Arnold and Mabel Beckman Foundation. The foundation chose the College after a rigorous application process.

A new class teaches Mount Holyoke students about vaccine development, assessment and implementation — and how to be scientists in the world.

In a New York Times article, Mount Holyoke College assistant professor Rebeccah Lijek describes the pressures faced by junior researchers in academia.

Recent Grants

Received a grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) for “Collaborative Research: Developing Biology Undergraduates’ Scientific Literacy and Identity Through Peer Review of Scientific Manuscripts,” under the IUSE (Improving Undergraduate STEM Education: Education and Human Resources) program. The project is for three years.

Recent Publications

McDowell, G.S., Fankhauser, S., Saderi, D., Balgopal, M. and Lijek, R.S. (2022), Use of preprint peer review to educate and enculturate science undergraduates. Learned Publishing, 35, 405-412.

Dresler M, Aries O, Fallman E, Farrukh R, Guzman-Rubalcaba S, Shrum V, Wang R, Yin S, & Lijek RS. (2022). A Rubric to Evaluate Preprint Peer Reviews. Zenodo.

Webster, E. [MHC'20], Seiger, K. W. [MHC'19], Core, S. B., Collar, A. L., Knapp-Broas, H. [MHC'20], Graham, J. [MHC'19], Shrestha, M. [MHC'22], Afzaal, S. [MHC'19], Geisler, W. M., Wheeler, C. M., Chackerian, B., Frietze, K. M., & Lijek, R. S. (2022). Immunogenicity and Protective Capacity of a Virus-like Particle Vaccine against Chlamydia trachomatis Type 3 Secretion System Tip Protein, CT584. Vaccines, 10(1), 111.

McDowell, G. S., Niziolek, C. A., & Lijek, R. S. (2021). How to bring peer review ghostwriters out of the dark. Molecular Biology of the Cell32(6), 461–466.

Recent Honors

Gave a talk "Developing undergraduates’ scientific literacy and identity using preprint peer review" at the 2022 American Society for Microbiology Conference for Undergraduate Educators.

R. Lijek with Mount Holyoke student co-authors M. Dresler, E. Webster, L. Berclaz, S. Breen, D. Hardrick, A. Taylor, J. Graham, and K. Seiger, presented research on Chlamydia pathogenesis and vaccines at the 2022 Gordon Research Conference on Microbial Toxins and Pathogenicity.

Was selected as one of ten national ImmunoReach Education Scholars for 2022, an NSF-funded faculty mentoring network for immunology educators.

Was invited to join the inaugural Junior Editorial Board of mBio, a journal of the American Society for Microbiology.


Co-led a session "Public preprint review as a tool to empower the next generation of socially-conscious peer reviewers" at the 2021 FeedbackASAP meeting on peer review hosted by ASAPbio, HHMI, DORA, and the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative.

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