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.

  • Wendy Binder

    Functional, biochemical and evolutionary aspects of carnivore feeding, both in extinct and extant species.

    Sarah Bittick

    Marine Ecology and conservation science.

    Kristen Covino

    Research encompasses many scales of inquiry, ranging from avian physiology to continental-scale migratory movements, and seeks to understand the movement biology and whole life-cycle biology of migratory birds

    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

    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.

    Cory Evans

    Molecular genetic mechanisms underlying blood cell development and function in Drosophila which provides experimental insight into human cell fate specification, progenitor/stem cell biology, and innate immunity.

    Maxellende Ezin

    Understanding aspects of heart development by studying cardiac neural crest cells including their role in congenital heart disease.

    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

    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.

    Demian Willette

    Applied ecology, biological invasions, fisheries, and environmental policy.
    Willette Lab

    Roy Houston (Professor Emeritus)

    Functional morphology and ecology of marine gastropods, intertidal and subtidal ecology, coral reef ecology.

    • Multimode microplate reader which 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.
  • 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

    The 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.

    The National Conference on Undergraduate Research (NCUR)

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

    The SACNAS National Conference

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

    2019 SACNAS National Conference in Honolulu, Hawaii

    The Southern California Conference on Undergraduate Research (SCCUR)

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

    West Coast Biological Sciences Undergraduate Research Conference (WCBSUR)

    WCBSUR is the oldest, intercollegiate Conference of its kind in the nation. The next annual WCBSUR Conference at Loyola Marymount University, April 2020.

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 how to apply.

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.
  • Many faculty have their own websites 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.