Faculty Directed Student Research Opportunities
Cell and Molecular Biology
Hammond Campus Prof. Farnell is currently collaborating with Dr. Chandra S. Mayanil (Director of Neural Tube Research) at Children’s Memorial Hospital, affiliated with Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, to study the role of transcription factors in neural tube development and neural crest cell differentiation.
Hammond Campus Prof. Stanic’s research interests include understanding the functional and structural properties of the G protein-activated inwardly rectifying potassium ion channel (GIRK) family. These channels mediate electrophysiological signals in the cell in addition to coupling to other biochemical signaling complexes.
Hammond Campus Prof. Wang’s research relates to the role of myosins in axonal pathfinding; cellular motility and the molecular mechanisms underlying the neuronal outgrowth and axonal pathfinding. This is done through examination of the function of individual members of myosin superfamily in filopodial and lamellipodial motility and in growth cone turning.
Ecology and Evolution
Hammond Campus Prof. Choi’s research centers on restoration of sand dune communities, oak savannas, prairies and wetlands in the southern coastal areas of Lake Michigan. His focus is in investigating trajectories of restored vegetation in the prairies and wetlands of northwestern Indiana and Northeastern Illinois.
Hammond Campus Prof. Creighton’s research focuses on behavioral and evolutionary ecology with an emphasis on factors affecting patterns of parental investment, ecological immunology, and interactions between reproduction and immunity. Part of this research is done with the federally listed endangered American burying beetle with the primary goal of understanding its decline and to aid in its recovery.
Westville Campus Prof. Quinn’s research interests are in the area of animal behavior. Past and current projects in her lab have included: studies on the impact of human foot traffic on butterfly oviposition behavior, the impact of mode of communication on crayfish aggressive behavior, and chemical communication in crayfish. She is interested in understanding how animals signal to conspecifics in the areas of aggression and mate choice. The type of signal an animal uses to communicate is influenced by the environment, the type of information that is being transmitted, and individuals who will receive the information.
Westville Campus Prof. Spaulding is a paleontologist whose research focuses on fossil mammals. She is most focused on reconstructing evolutionary relationships between modern and extinct groups. Her research program is currently actively investigating the evolutionary history of the carnivoran (dogs and cats) brains using micro-CT methodology. She is part of an international NSF funded project that is studying mammals from the dawn of the Cenozoic (roughly 65 million years ago), shortly after the extinction of the non-avian dinosaurs. This project seeks to identify the living descendants, if any, of these long extinct first modern mammals.
Microbiology and Immunology
Westville Campus Prof. Bates’ research seeks to harness the power of modern molecular methods to broadly investigate how assemblages of microbes (archaea, bacteria, fungi, and other microbial eukaryotes) function in their environment, change across different spatial scales, and interact with one another in terrestrial ecosystems. He also has a keen interest in mycology, taxonomy, and has been involved in developing bioinformatic software (e.g., http://funguild.org) and databases (e.g., http://mycoportal.org).
Westville Campus Dr. Gielda’s research lab examines mechanisms of bacterial resistance and susceptibilities to antimicrobial compounds. Currently, they are examining the dynamics of E. coli colonization of spinach tissue, including bacterial-plant binding mechanisms and the role of antimicrobial secondary metabolite production by endophytic fungi in controlling E. coli colonization of plant tissue. Additionally, they are studying the co-evolution of antimicrobial properties of animal sera with bacterial resistant mechanisms.
Hammond Campus Prof. Ting’s research currently centers around two projects: the performance of three bacterial spore formers as self-healing agents in concrete and the effect of environmental conditions on mycotoxin production in oil seeds. She is currently accepting qualified students to assist with research in her lab. For more information click here.
Hammond Campus Prof. Zimmer’s research focuses on immune responses to lipid antigens, in particular the function of lipid-reactive T cells in health and disease as well as we the function of granulysin, a multifunctional antimicrobial peptide produced by cytotoxic lymphocytes.