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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.

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.

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. 

A Within Host Model of Dengue Virus Infection

Dr. Jeremy Thibodeaux and senior mathematics student Michael Hennessey have derived a system of differential equations that model certain blood cell and particle populations in the body when it is infected with Dengue virus. The model aims to capture the relevant physiological processes to provide researchers a tool to develop more effective antiviral drugs and treatments in the fight against Dengue Fever.

Cosmology

Both theoretically and observationally cosmology has growning in stature over the last decade or so. Still several puzzling questions remain: How did it all start, did our universe emerge from a singularity? Was there a beginning of time, or can one trace time all the way back to –infinity? What about dark matter and dark energy, what are they made of?

Dr. Biswas research tries to address these questions. His current projects involve cyclic cosmological models and the dark energy puzzle.

 

Gravitational Physics

Gravitational physics,  both theory (Dr. Brans and Dr. Biswas) and experiments (Dr. McHugh), has been a major focus of research in the physics department.

Physics Professor Emeritus Carl Brans research of relativity is closely related to Einstein’s theory of general relativity. Its presently known inadequacies have led to speculation on various alternatives to the standard Einstein equations. Dr. Biswas' research mostly focuses on investigating the consistency and viability of such alternative models of gravity. He is especially interested in cosmological applications of string theory inspired gravity models. Martin McHugh has worked on the experimental search for gravitational waves – most recently as part of the large international collaboration known as LIGO. While his more recent research interest involves quantum optics, he is also working on a project about the history of physics, which includes a biography of Robert H. Dicke. 

The participation of most undergraduates generally starts with learning the necessary mathematical tools to enter and make contributions to this field. This includes learning special and general theory of relativity, tensor calculus, and partial differential equations. The students can then get involved in research in areas such as dark energy, inflationary cosmology, experimental tests of gravity, etc.

Biochemistry

Chemistry students have the opportunity to study the secondary structure of large biomolecules using circular dichroism spectroscopy under the direction of Chemistry Professor William Walkenhorst. Dr. Walkenhorst and his research students also investigate antimicrobial peptides in collaboration with scientists at Tulane.

Just Desserts

Dr. Karen Rosenbecker has an article “Just Desserts: Reversals of Fortune, Feces, Flatus, and Food in Aristophanes’ Wealth” that will appear in Harvard Studies in Classical Philology, vol. 108, spring 2015.

Currency Exchange

Dr. Karen Rosenbecker and Professor Artemis Preeshl have had their article, “Currency Exchange: Staging Aristophanes’ Wealth in New Orleans” published in the journal, Didaskalia.

Greeking Out

Dr. Karen Rosenbecker and Mr. Brian Sullivan have had their article  “‘Greeking Out’: Creating Digital Tutorials and Support Materials for Beginners” published in the journal Teaching Classical Languages (5.2, spring, 2014). 

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