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Academic Research

As a Loyola student, you have the opportunity to work alongside our talented professors to partner in collaborative research. Learn more about some recent research and projects currently underway.

Conservation of imperiled Okaloosa Darters - Jordan Lab

Since 1992, Professor Frank Jordan and students from the Department of Biological Sciences and the Environment Program have been collaborating with stakeholders from the US Geological Survey, the US Fish & Wildlife Service, and the US Air Force to study the biology, ecology, and conservation of Okaloosa Darters. This species of small fish is geographically limited to six small streams that are located primarily on Eglin Air Force Base in northwestern Florida. These studies included annual population monitoring surveys at a network of about 20 sites; periodic range-wide surveys at over 50 sites; development of sampling statistics and evaluation of visual sampling methods; characterization of microhabitat abundance and use; restoration of impounded stream sections; analysis of population genetic structure; analysis of movement and longevity; and most recently quantifying effects of canopy removal. Collectively, results of these studies largely informed the decision to remove (delist) the species from the Endangered Species List in July 2023. This is a significant conservation milestone because – once listed – few species are recovered enough to come off the List. Read more about this research here.

Biology Research Seminar Series

Before exploring the various research programs of our faculty below, note that the Department of Biological Sciences holds a series of seminars each Fall and Spring semester in which guest speakers from around the country present their latest research findings. Attending these talks provides a great opportunity to learn about different kinds of research currently being conducted in of life sciences.


A list of this semester's lineup and an archive of past research seminars is provided here. Seminars are typically on Tuesday at 12:30 in Monroe Hall 610.

Effects of aging on cognitive function - Earls lab

The Earls Laboratory is interested in developmental processes that occur in the adult brain.  Rather than treat the adult brain as a monolith, we study how the brain continues to execute programmed molecular changes well into adulthood.  Our studies are focused on the hippocampus, a region of the brain that is important for learning and memory, and which ages according to a unique molecular program.  We use electrophysiology, behavior, genetics, molecular biology and biochemistry to determine the rules that govern hippocampal maturation during early adulthood.  These studies have important implications for understanding cognitive diseases, many of which emerge only within specific stages of adulthood.  By studying normative early aging, we can better understand the age-dependent cognitive symptoms of diseases such as schizophrenia. More info coming soon.

Molecular mechanisms of arthritis - Mix Lab

Arthritis is a major public health problem and one of the leading causes of disability worldwide.  Genetic and environmental factors contribute to the onset of degenerative joint diseases such as osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. The heterogeneity of these chronic diseases presents therapeutic challenges and joint replacement surgery remains the only viable strategy to restore joint function in advanced disease. Research led by Dr. Kim Mix aims to elucidate the molecular and cellular events driving cartilage degradation and synovial inflammation in arthritis. Learn more about this research here.