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.
Dr. Kate Yurgil, Assistant Professor of Psychology, pursues multidisciplinary research that integrates measures of human behavior, cognition, and neurophysiology. Her most recent work, to be funded through a Department of Defense Congressionally Directed Medical Research (CDMR) Program Neurosensory and Rehabilitation Research Award, focuses on tinnitus (i.e. ringing of the ears) and hearing loss in relation to blast injuries, which have been deemed the signature wounds of the recent wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. An estimated 12-23% of returning service members attest to a traumatic brain injury, and among those exposed to explosions, up to 77% sustain permanent hearing loss and 60-75% report tinnitus. Dr. Yurgil will collaborate with Dr. Dewleen Baker, Research Director at Veterans Affairs Center of Excellence for Stress and Mental Health in San Diego, CA and Professor of Psychiatry at University of California San Diego, the PI, who directs multiple research programs on post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injury. Drs. Yurgil and Baker, together with a team of physicians, scientists, and clinicians, integrate biological, physiological, psycho-social, and neuroimaging techniques to investigate predictors of mental health risk and resilience in service members deployed to combat zones.
Dr. Emily Casanova uses both clinical and computational methods to study autism from various perspectives, including investigation of its overlap with hereditary connective tissue disorders such as Ehlers-Danlos syndromes and fragile X premutation, as well as the investigation of major effect autism susceptibility genes and their evolution. Related to the study of autism gene evolution, Dr. Casanova has also been investigating a large group of developmental regulatory genes, their roles in metazoan evolution, and how they relate to evolutionary theories such as Punctuated Equilibria.
Dr. Laurie Earls uses rodent models to investigate molecular processes that impact brain development over the lifespan. Her studies focus on molecular changes that occur in the hippocampus, a region of the brain that is important for learning and memory. Dr. Earls uses 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.
Dr. Hillary Eklund:
"Teaching Social Justice Through Shakespeare"
Dr. Christopher Schaberg:
"Pedagogy of the Depressed"
Dr. Mark Yakich:
"Poetry: A Survivor's Guide (Edition 2):
Dr. Charles Cannon:
"I Want Magic"
Spintronics (spin+electronics) is a multidisciplinary research field that uses the magnetic (spin) and electronic properties of magnetic materials to develop devices. Spintronic devices are used in magnetic memories and sensors such as hard disk drive, STT-MRAM, and digital compass (used in navigation systems). Physicists work with engineers (electrical, mechanical, mechanical, chemical engineers) and material scientists in designing and developing such devices and improving their performance. Moreover, the demand for smaller, faster, more reliable, and more energy-efficient devices is only increasing, emphasizing the importance of this research.
Dr. Beik Mohammadi and her research group use numerical and experimental techniques to investigate magnetic systems for spintronics applications. Currently, a GPU accelerated simulation package (called Mumax) is used to perform micromagnetic simulations. In addition, experimental research is performed in collaboration with the University of New Orleans. These studies aim to understand the interplay of magnetic properties and how they affect the performance, speed, and energy consumption of spintronic devices.
Current student researchers working on this project:
Elliott Clay, 2019-present
Former student researchers working on this project:
Jonathan Andino, 2020
J. Beik Mohammadi and A. D. Kent: Spin-torque switching mechanisms of perpendicular magnetic tunnel junction nanopillars, Applied Physics Letters 118, 132407 (2021)
N Statuto, J Beik Mohammadi, AD Kent: Micromagnetic instabilities in spin-transfer switching of perpendicular magnetic tunnel junctions, Physical Review B 103 (1), 014409 (2021)
Reduced Exchange Interactions in Magnetic Tunnel Junction Free Layers with Insertion Layers, ACS Applied Electronic Materials 1 (10), 2025-2029 (2019)
J. Beik Mohammadi, K. Cole, T. Mewes, C. K. A. Mewes: Inhomogeneous perpendicular magnetic anisotropy as a source of higher-order quasistatic and dynamic anisotropies, Physical Review B 97 (1), 014434 (2018)
All living cells in order to survive and to perform their physiological functions continuously exchange various atoms and molecules with the extracellular medium. Of particular importance are ions such as sodium, potassium, or calcium. Their controlled exchange with the extracellular medium is crucial to action potentials in neurons, muscle contraction, etc. Since the cellular membrane is normally impermeable to ions, their exchange is facilitated by special proteins called the ion channels, which are embedded in the membrane and form gated microscopic pores.
The focus of our research is to better understand the function of these proteins and their nonequilibrium properties. We know they can detect certain environmental factors, such as changes in electric field, presence of cer
tain ligands or even mechanical stress, and can open or close in response to these factors (ion channel gating). This way they can control and regulate various physiological processes. We use the experimental technique of patch-clamping and recent advances in mathematics and statistical physics to better characterize and control the process of channel gating. We also look at the interaction of inorganic nanoparticles, e.g. multiferroic nanoparticles, with biological cells.
- Remote control of voltage-sensing biological macromolecules using multiferroic nanoparticles - with L. Malkinski (University of New Orleans)
- Conductance hysteresis in ion channels
- Experimental detection of nonequilibrium kinetic focusing in voltage-gated ion channels
- Optimization of wavelet-based voltage protocols for ion channel electrophysiology
- Quantum biology - modeling photosynthesizing complexes in plants - with L. Celardo (University of Puebla, MX)
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). Our experiments use modern ion channel electrophysiology methods, such as the patch clamping technique. The lab is equipped with two patch-clamping stations, one of which is devoted to student training. Most of the numerical simulations are done using MATLAB.
Current members of the lab are:
- Brad Kerkhof
Former lab members:
- Kimiasadat Mirlohi (Physics'22)
- Megan Adamson (Physics'21)
- Ariel Hall (Physics'20)
- Cole Green (Physics'20)
- Kaough Baggett (Physics'18)
- Ilyes Benslimane (Physics'17)
- Antonio Ayala (Physics'17)
- Dustin Lindberg (Physics'14)
- Douglas Alexander (Physics'14)
- Michael Kammer (Physics'12)
- David Vumbaco (Physics'12)
- Warner Sevin (Physics'11)
- Stella von Meer (Physics'09)
- Meagan Relle (Biology'08)
Recent publications from the Lab:
- A. Kargol: "Introduction to Cellular Biophysics. Vol. II. From membrane transport to neural signaling". IOP Concise Physics, Morgan & Claypool Publishers 2019
- A. Kargol: "Introduction to Cellular Biophysics. Vol. I. Membrane transport mechanisms". IOP Concise Physics, Morgan & Claypool Publishers 2018
- A. Kargol, L. Malkinski, R. Eskandari, M. Carter, D. Livingston: “Cellular Defibrillation”: Interaction of Microscale Electric Field with Voltage Gated Ion Channels. J. Biol. Phys. (2015)
- A. Ayala, J.D. Alexander, A.U. Kargol, L. Malkinski, A. Kargol: Piezoelectric micro- and nanoparticles do not affect growth rates of mammalian cells in vitro. J. Bionanosci. 8 (2014) 309-312
- L. Ponzoni, G.L. Celardo, F. Borgonovi, L. Kaplan, A. Kargol: Focusing in Multiwell Potentials: Applications to Ion Channels. Phys. Rev. E 87 (2013) 852137
- A. Kargol: Wavelet-based protocols for ion channel electrophysiology. BMC Biophysics 6:3 (2013)
- A. Kargol, L. Malkinski, G. Caruntu: Biomedical applications of multiferroic particles. In: Advanced Magnetic Materials, InTech (2012)
- A. Kargol, M. Kargol: Passive transport processes in cellular membranes. In: Porous media: Applications in biological systems and biotechnology, Taylor and Francis Group, LLC (2011)
Dr. Duggar’s research emphasizes the use of traditional tools and techniques to yield more discriminating scientific data, and the determination of the pragmatic applicability of research-laboratory-based results on real-world samples. Particular areas include SEM-EDS analysis of particulate transfer evidence and the study of the persistence and significance of trace evidence in an urban environment.
Dr. Chuck Nichols' project seeks to better understand the correlates, causes, and effects of wanting and working toward collective betterment. Caring about and helping close others and even complete strangers can provide strong psychological benefits for the helper as well as the helped. However, some surveys suggest that individuals may be becoming more selfish and less other-focused in recent decades, potentially undermining overall well-being. This project employs survey and experimental methodology to explore what leads people to care about and act to help others.
Dr. Erin 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.