Undergraduate Programs

Research Opportunities

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

Undergraduate research positions are open to all interested North Park students, regardless of your major. Here is what we’re working on right now:

Dr. Lindsey Alexander: Nanomedicine

Our laboratory’s research is driven entirely by undergraduate students and centers around investigating a single technology, biologically and chemically modified nanoparticles (termed nanoconjugates), within in the context of three different areas of nanomedicine. Two applied research applications focus on developing these nanoconjugates for use in cancer diagnostics and therapeutics, as well as surface sterilization technologies that can be used in hospital settings to prevent the spread of bacterial and viral infections. A third, basic science focus of our laboratory’s research is to investigate the effects of different nanoparticle surface modifications on interactions between nanoparticles and DNA. These three research foci are investigated using a diverse set of techniques including atomic force microscopy, confocal fluorescence microscopy, eukaryotic cell culture, and gel electrophoresis.

Dr. Yoojin Choi: Developmental Neurobiology

My area of research has been in Developmental Neurobiology, specifically the role of Sonic Hedgehog protein in the mitogenic niche of the developing mouse cerebellum. At North Park, I am excited to explore the Chlamydomonas model system to extend my knowledge of Sonic Hedgehog into its involvement in cilium and flagellum development. Neuronal precursors and other human cells depend on cilium formation and function during development. While the green alga Chlamydomonas seems far removed from humans, their flagella share a lot of similarities with mammalian cilia and thus provide a great model system.

Dr. Matthew Schau: Tick-borne Pathogens

Our lab focuses on the molecular analysis and characterization of tick-borne pathogens in the greater Chicago area. We use these data to inform public health officials and physicians as to the potential risk of locally acquired Lyme disease, anaplasmosis, and babesiosis. Lab techniques include tick collection, DNA extraction, polymerase chain reaction, genetic cloning, and sequence analysis. This work has established the presence of several human pathogens in this heavily populated region of the United States and continues to monitor risk.

Dr. Drew Rholl: Bacterial Antibiosis and Pedagogy Research

Bacteria are constantly at war with each other, which is good news for humans. My lab examines various antibiotic-producing bacteria and uses genetic and traditional microbiology methods to identify the genes for compound production. I also work with biology pedagogy within microbiology and immunology. Student-designed and distributed studies are based on validated research tools to improve education.

Dr. Tim Lin: Bioinformatics

My research focuses on the application of bioinformatics in modern biological research. One of the two current approaches is using computational analysis to identify the function of gene(s) of interest. Students will be able to select a gene or a biological function of interest, then propose, design, and perform experiments to analyze the function of this gene. The other project is to use DNA Barcode database and molecular biology experimental tool to survey invasive species host plants. Students using either approach will learn modern genomic database, computational analysis, and traditional biological experimental skills.