Faculty Research Projects


Dr. Jennifer Busch

Dr. Jennifer Busch

Dr. Busch’s research focuses broadly on signal transduction and specifically on kinases, an important class of proteins within these transduction pathways.  She studies mechanisms by which specific kinases modulate cellular responses to stressors.  Currently, she is using the small invertebrate Cordylophora as a model organism. 

Nadine Rorem

Dr. Nadine C. Folino-Rorem

Marine & Invertebrate Zoologist
Dr. Rorem and her research students are studying the ecology and molecular taxonomy of the invasive colonial hydroid, Cordylophora. Current areas of interest are how physiological adaptations may explain the global distribution of this invasive hydroid and the predatory role of this hydroid in aquatic systems.  She is also interested in cnidarian biology with a focus on freshwater cnidarians.

Vanya Koo

Dr. Vanya Koo

Dr. Koo is primarily interested in how bacteria regulate gene expression. She uses a model bacterium, Yersinia pseudotuberculosis, a close relative of the plague-causing Yersinia pestis, to understand the molecular mechanism of how small non-coding RNAs (sRNAs) turn genes “on” and “off.” One of the specific goals in Dr. Koo’s research is to identify genetic factors that control the expression and stability of previously identified sRNAs and their targets.

Ray Lewis

Dr. Raymond J. Lewis

Dr. Lewis' research involves characterizing the factors that control the growth and reproduction of marine brown algae. Specifically, growth and gametogenesis of microscopic gametophytes of the large and ecologically significant kelps are characterized in response to salinity, pheromones, pH, and nutrients.

Kristen Page

Dr. L. Kristen Page

Dr. Page’s research involves answering questions about how diseases are transmitted, and trying to understand how disease transmission changes as humans alter landscapes and habitats. Many of the projects conducted with her research students investigate the transmission dynamics of raccoon roundworm in urban landscapes.

Rodney Scott

Dr. Rodney J. Scott

Dr. Scott uses techniques of molecular biology (microsatellite markers and molecular barcoding) to conduct studies in conservation genetics. In one study he uses molecular markers to study a phenomenon called “multiple paternity” in an endangered species found in Illinois called Blanding’s turtle. In another project, he and his students are collaborating with a biologist at the Shedd Aquarium to study a cryptic species of minnow that is native to Illinois. He is also studying the population genetics of two freshwater turtle species using samples from Costa Rica that he obtained during his sabbatical there, and he is developing new tools to study a tropical bird species using samples that he obtained from US Zoos.


Dr. Nathaniel Thom

Dr. Nathaniel Thom is interested in modifying factors that promote an adaptive response to stress. More specifically, he uses psychophysiological and neuroimaging methods to better understand how physical and mental training programs alter brain-behavior relationships in ways that promote a healthy response to and recovery from stress. Dr. Thom’s research evaluating interventions to promote physical activity, has also provided an interest in advanced statistical techniques including meta-regression and structural equation modeling, which he employs when analyzing brain imaging data. 

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