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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.


Biophysics studies complex properties of living organisms using physical methods. It is a bridge between biology which investigates life in its variety and complexity and physics that searches for first principles, simple mathematical laws characterizing natural processes. Biophysicists study life phenomena at different levels, from atoms and molecules, through cells, organs, organisms, to ecosystems. 

Biophysics Lab in the Physics Department at Loyola University is devoted to cellular biophysics, and specifically to physical mechanisms of membrane transport, such as ion channels. Ion channels are proteins in cellular membranes that control the exchange of ions between a cell and its surroundings. It is known that ions such as potassium, sodium, or calcium play a fundamental role in important physiological processes, e.g. neuron signaling or muscle contraction.

Biophysics research combines experiments, computations, and theoretical analysis. Student researchers in the Biophysics lab can choose between doing experiments (preparing biological samples, performing patch-clamping experiments) and computational work (analysis of raw experimental data generated from patch-clamping experiments, simulation of ionic currents, and building models of channel gating kinetics).

Epidemiology and Control of Chagas Disease

Dr. Patricia Dorn and a team of undergraduate researchers focus on interrupting transmission of Chagas disease, a leading cause of heart disease in Latin America, caused by the parasite Trypanosoma cruzi, and transmitted by kissing bugs. Through investigating the kissing bugs, they improve control methods and prevent people from becoming infected with this deadly parasite. 

Virtual Reality Research

Dr. Dupuis conducts research examining the effects of gaming and virtual reality on social behaviors including interpersonal violence and attitudes toward women. Her students have used virtual reality to examine concepts such as street harassment, sexism, embodiment, and aggression.

Statistical and Computational Physics

Statistical Physics is the science concerned with how small-scale interactions among the building blocks of large systems influence the shape, design and behavior of macroscopic systems or phenomena. As such, its scope is vast and covers phenomena as complex as the folding of biopolymers, the dynamics of granular materials, the formation of droplets in liquids, etc. One of the goals of statistical physics is to explore the similarities among different phenomena and to develop mathematical descriptions, which can describe those universal aspects. The use of computer simulation is a powerful tool for working in statistical physics, and requires excellent programming skills. Undergraduate students interested in working in statistical physics learn the necessary basic skills of computer programming. As part of ongoing research projects, students learn how to model large-scale systems at the microscopic level, and are guided to observing and studying the dynamics exhibited by such systems under the change of external or internal conditions. 

Synthetic Organic Chemistry

Dr. Stephenson focuses on the synthesis of sensors based on supermolecular interactions, utilizing synthetic organic chemistry to form useful new materials; in other words, his main interest is in studying the interaction of molecules in order to make biocompatible sensing materials. Specifically, Dr. Stephenson's projects work to synthesize and study new sensors based on xanthene dyes such as rhodamine B.  The sensors are formed by modifying existing dyes to have specific functions.  


Robert Verchick's Recent Publications and Presentations on Environmental Law

This year (2015-16) Robert Verchick a faculty member in the Environment Program has written and published a variety of works on Environmental Law. Robert has also spoke on many important environmental topics here in the US and internationally. See more detailed information below: 


Disaster Law and Policy (WoltersKluwer/Aspen 3d ed. 2015) (with Daniel A. Farber, Jim Chen, & Lisa Grow Sun)

Feminist Legal Theory (NYU Press 2d ed. 2016) (with Nancy Levit and foreword by Martha Minow)


Dr. Anthony Ladd's Recent and Forthcoming Publications and Presentations on Fracking

Professor Ladd’s research has yielded many publications and invitations to speak, which include:

Ladd, Anthony E. (ed). 2017. Fractured Communities: Risk, Impacts, and Protest Over Hydraulic Fracking in U.S. Shale Regions. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press (forthcoming).

Senior Capstone Projects

All majors in French, Latin American Studies, and Spanish prepare a senior Capstone project which is normally presented during their last semester at Loyola. Projects vary greatly, from literary analysis, to concerts, to social research, or whatever makes sense with the student's background and interests. For some examples, click here.

Organic Superconductor Synthesis

Students working under Dr. Qin will have the opportunity to synthesize novel charge transfer complexes based on sulfur-rich, aromatic, heterocyclic molecules; students will then test these compounds as new organic conductors and superconductors that could help form the basis for superconducting power grids.