As a biology student at North Park, you will have opportunities to conduct original hands-on research under the guidance of experienced faculty mentors. Your undergraduate research experience will teach you the practical applications of classroom knowledge and lab techniques and will give you a tremendous advantage when applying to graduate school.
Current Research Opportunities
Undergraduate research positions are open to all interested North Park students, regardless of your major. Here is what we’re working on right now:
Lyme Disease Research
Three biology faculty members—Dr. Matthew Schau, Dr. Jeff Nelson, and Dr. Drew Rholl—are conducting both fieldwork and lab work to track the presence of disease-bearing ticks in the Chicago area and to identify the unique genetic markers of the Lyme disease bacterium. Student researchers help identify and collect ticks in neighboring counties and will conduct molecular fingerprinting of deer ticks using three molecular biology lab techniques.
Molecular Biology and Bioinformatics
Dr. Timothy Lin leads a group of students researching the function and expression of specific genes in the sequenced genome of the plant Arabidopsis thliana, a model organism long studied by plant biologists. By researching public data on the plant’s genome, students can turn certain genes “on” or “off” and observe the changes in seed dormancy, secondary metabolism and plant growth.
Medical and Behavioral Research
Dr. Diana Park’s research centers on the neurochemistry of the brains of rats with Parkinson’s disease. Dr. Park and her undergraduate research assistants are currently exploring the interaction between dopamine neurons and another type of striatal neuron to determine their impact on motor behavior in both a normal and Parkinson’s brain.
Summer Research Fellowships
We encourage biology majors to apply for a number of national undergraduate research fellowships during the summers. Theses 8- to 10-week fellowships are located at colleges and universities across the country and provide extensive and unique opportunities for research. We’ll help you find the research experience that’s right for you and your future goals for graduate school or your career.