Research

Research

The Biology Department believes that participation in scientific research can be a valuable part of a student's undergraduate education. ‌Biology majors may gain research experience by participating in faculty research projects, through summer programs and with other research institutions. More than one-third of the graduates of our program conduct collaborative research with Loyola Marymount faculty or faculty at other institutions. Interdisciplinary coursework and research in other science and engineering departments is also encouraged.

  • Faculty Research Interests
    Faculty Name Research Interests
    Wendy Binder Functional, biochemical and evolutionary aspects of carnivore feeding, both in extinct and extant species
    Victor Carmona Evolutionary ecology of mutualisms, spatio-temporal variability, stable isotope ecology/chemical ecology, exotic/ invasive biology, and sexual dimorphisms. My work focuses on the conditionality of specialized interactions; specifically how mutualisms vary with the local abiotic/biotic environment and the effect of variable outcomes on ecological processes as well as across landscapes.
    Lab Website 
    Deepa Dabir Understanding the mechanism of protein import into mitochondria of budding yeast and determining the process by which defects in mitochondrial protein translocation lead to disease.  Developing small molecule inhibitors of protein import for use in mammalian systems to elucidate disease mechanisms.  My research is interdisciplinary combining conventional yeast genetics, chemical biology approaches, and tissue culture.
    Kam Dahlquist The analysis of gene regulatory networks in budding yeast using DNA microarrays and mathematical modeling; development of bioinformatics software (XMLPipeDB); assessment of the diversity of soil bacteria and the identification of biochemical pathways responsive to urban pollution in the Ballona Wetlands.
    Lab Website
    Wesley Dowd Physiology and ecology of marine and estuarine invertebrates and fishes,in particular the ecological and evolutionary consequences of environmental stress (salinity change, hypoxia and oxidative stress, temperature extremes, global change). His research combines proteomics, organismal physiology, acoustic telemetry, environmental monitoring, and evolutionary modeling.
    Lab website
    Philippa Drennan Plant stress biology, especially ecophysiological and ecological aspects of water stress and salt stress of desert and estuarine species.  Structure/function relationships in plants with emphasis on secretory structures.
    Nancy Fujishige Improving crop productivity on poor soils through the use of plant-growth promoting bacteria and fungi; assessing the role of microbes in improving nutrient acquisition, management of abiotic and biotic stress, and producing phytohormones in plants.
    Michelle Lum Plant-microbe interactions. In particular, the nitrogen-fixing symbiosis that occurs between soil bacteria of the Rhizobiaceae and plants of the legume family.
    Lab website
    M. Cathy McElwain Gene regulation in Drosophila melanogaster and science education K-16.
    Mac Fly Lab
    Martina Ramirez The projects in the LMU Spider Lab constitute scientific studies of selected biological phenomena in three areas: conservation genetics, reproductive biology, and environmental toxicology.
    Eric Strauss Biological and human social dynamics of urban ecosystems, behavioral ecology of animals in urbanizing habitats, public engagement in the doing and teaching of science
    Carl Urbinati The molecular genetics of gene expression, RNA transport/localization, structure and function of ribonucleoproteins.
    Carolyn Viviano  
    John Waggoner

    Factors affecting the distribution of intertidal organisms. Energetics, population biology, reproduction and distribution of Yucca species.

    Heather Watts

    Behavioral ecology, behavioral endocrinology, and reproductive physiology. Her research investigates the relationships between environmental variation, life history patterns, and the behavior of individuals in birds and mammals. Lab website

    Roy Houston (Professor Emeritus) Functional morphology and ecology of marine gastropods, intertidal and subtidal ecology, coral reef ecology.
       
  • Research Instruments
    Multimode microplate readerwhich can be used for examining the rates of biochemical reactions or for other measurements that depend on changes in light absorbance, light emission, or fluorescence of a sample.
    Microarray scanner which measures the differences in gene expression between individuals or samples.
    Gel imaging devices for documenting and analyzing DNA and protein gels for studies in molecular biology and biochemistry.
    Cell culture growth apparatus for research in cell and development biology.
    Confocal, Scanning electron and Epi-fluorescent Microscopes used for nano-scale imaging, for example, in bacteria morphology studies;
    Inductively Coupled Plasma-Mass Spectroscopy (ICP-MS) applied in biochemical analysis in studies such as retention of heavy metals in plant or animal tissues.
    High-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) used to separate different compounds from the mixture which is necessary for instance, if one wants to separate and identify a certain biological compound in animal tissue sample. 
    The Science Computer Laboratory equipped with PCs, Macs, statistical software, and multimedia equipment is available to all LMU students in science courses.
    Laboratory facilities used for maintaining aquatic and terrestrial animals to study physiology, ecology, genetics, and adaptation.
    The Department has a wide variety of field equipment and a large specimen collection. The University's location right on the coast allows easy access to a diverse range of ecological habitats (desert, mountains, offshore islands, chaparral, rocky coast, beach, salt marsh, etc.). Frequent field trips are a significant part of several upper-division Biology courses that fulfill the “Field course” degree requirement. 
  • Student Conferences

    Annual LMU Undergraduate Research Symposium

    The LMU Undergraduate Research Symposium invites undergraduate students to give formal presentations or displays of faculty-mentored research or creative activity in all academic areas.

    Beta Beta Beta Western Regional Convention

    Student Tri-Beta society holds annual district and regional conventions of students and faculty providing a great possibility to share current research and discuss scientific issues. Field trips have become an important part of the national convention which is often centered around some biological feature unique to the convention locale. Learn more about LMU Tri-Beta Student Society
    National Biennial Convention at Bethel Univ, St. Paul, MN, May 30 - June 3, 2016

    The National Conference on Undergraduate Research (NCUR)

    NCUR is annual 3-day long multi-disciplinary conference for undergraduate students.

    30th NCUR at The University of North Carolina Asheville, April 7-9, 2016
     The SACNAS National Conference

    SACNAS (Society for the Advancement of Chicanos and Native Americans in Science) holds its own anual conference which gathers together young researchers from all disciplines of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.

    2015 SACNAS National Conference in Washington D.C.
    The Southern California Conference on Undergraduate Research (SCCUR)

    SCCUR is broadly multi-disciplinary, including the sciences, humanities, social sciences, arts, and performing arts. 

    SCCUR Website

    West Coast Biological Sciences Undergraduate Research Conference (WCBSUR)

    WCBSUR is the oldest, intercollegiate Conference of its kind in the nation.

    41st Annual WCBSUR Conference at Point Loma Nazarene University in San Diego, April 9, 2016
    37th Annual WCBSUR Conference at Loyola Marymount University, April 2012

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

Our students have access as undergraduates to top-of-the line research-grade instrumentation.

Many of our undergraduate research students are supported by scholarships. Learn more about how to apply here.

Current research areas in which students are participating include yeast genetics, developmental genetics, marine biology, plant molecular biology, animal physiology, the population genetics of spiders and plant ecological physiology.‌

Which research is best for you? There are several ways to find out:

  • A great way to learn about faculty research is attending the Department regular seminar series with presentations from members of the faculty and researchers from the wider scientific community. Undergraduates, including freshmen, are encouraged to attend these seminars and participate in the discussion. Please, look for announcements on our Calendar. 
  • Many faculty have their own Web-pages with the description of research they are conducting. 
  • Loyola Marymount students frequently publish the results of their research or present them at Student Conferences.After presenting their posters often hang on the hallway near research labs, check them out.
  • And remember, you can always talk directly to the faculty about the research possibilities in their lab.