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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.

First-Year Seminar on Cultural Blending

Islam, Spain, New Orleans
(This course is ONLY open to students who are enrolled into the Honors program)

Professor Eileen J. Doll, Department of Languages and Cultures

Disciplines:  Literature, Medieval History

Making a better world: A project examining motivation to improve collective well-being

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.

Mental Health Risk and Resilience in Service Members Deployed to Combat Zones

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.

Senior Capstone Projects

The central component of the Department of Sociology's required Senior Capstone course is a one-to-one faculty-mentored, collaborative research project. The department also has a consistent record of incorporating students into grant funded research projects.

National Identity After A Conflict

Dr. Natasha Bingham is writing a paper with a student entitled "Redefining National Identity after a Conflict: National Identity Formation among Northern Irish Youth."

Nanomaterial Synthesis

Dr. Heinecke’s research interests focus on nanomaterials synthesis and their applications in biomedicine and electronic devices. She is interested in 1) developing cationic nanomaterials as a platform for multivalent display of host defense peptides as novel antibiotic agents and 2) building defined molecular assemblies of these small materials for electron transport properties. This type of multidisciplinary research will afford students the opportunity to learn a wide variety of scientific techniques.

Epidemiology and Control of Chagas Disease

Dr. Patricia Dorn and a team of undergraduate researchers focuses on understanding the epidemiology and control of transmission of Chagas disease, a leading cause of heart disease in Latin America, caused by the parasite Trypanosoma cruzi, which is known as the "kissing bug."

Effects of Rouseau Cane on Coastal Wetlands

For almost a quarter century, Loyola University New Orleans biologists and ecologists Donald Hauber, Ph.D., Craig Hood, Ph.D, David White, Ph.D., and several undergraduate honors students, have studied the origination and effects of the common reed known locally as Rouseau Cane on the marshes and coastal wetlands of southeast Louisiana.

Quantum Optics

Experiments using light quanta – photons – have proven to be very effective probes of a large range of phenomena, including quantum entanglement. This phenomenon has long fascinated scientists, and exemplifies the mystery and ‘weirdness’ of quantum physics. It also points the way towards the possibility in the future of extremely powerful quantum computers.

In the Quantum Optics Lab in the Physics Department at Loyola University we are in the process of setting up an experiment to explore quantum entanglement, in particular by testing something known as Bell’s theorem.

Students are involved in all aspects of the work, from putting together and aligning optical components, to building electronics, to using computers to acquire, analyze and model the data. 

Biophysics

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).

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