Research at the College of Arts and Sciences
Our students and faculty are actively innovating in their respective fields within the College of Arts and Sciences.
Students have unique opportunities to conduct original research and to present their work at conferences and symposia. In recent years, students have participated in research events such as:
Missing, Abused, Exploited and Trafficked Children Symposium
This course, specifically for undergraduate and graduate students with no previous archaeological experience, focuses on building important skills by using state-of-the-art field-based research technologies and teaching the fundamentals of archaeological survey, excavation, stratigraphic profiling and site mapping. You can travel to the Shaw Creek Archaeology Research station in the middle Tanana Valley and participate in an ongoing research program pertaining to the late Pleistocene Peopling of the Americas.
For more information on field work programs in Alaska, please contact:
With Mumbai as the foreground, this course brings you into the center of a complex urban environment—the epicenter of Bollywood and the financial capital of India—where traditions, old and new, intersect with history, culture and innovation.
Through fieldwork at NGOs, excursions, and classroom-based learning, students will observe and gain exposure to a range of social concerns and challenges that affect social work practice.
For more information on fieldwork programs in India, please contact:
As a biology student, you have the opportunity to undertake guided research in the laboratory or in the field under faculty supervision. To receive credit, you must first contact a specific faculty member and arrange to perform research with them. Then, you must register for the appropriate research course.
If you plan to fulfill your capstone experience requirement by completing a research thesis, and/or are seeking honors in biology, you should take Guided Research (BIO 498) followed by Guided Research: Capstone Experience (BIO 499).
If you are looking to get research experience but are not seeking honors in biology and will not use a research thesis to fulfill their capstone experience requirement, you should begin with Guided Research in Biology (BIO 497). You can choose to continue in your research either with BIO 498 (thesis not required) or with BIO 499 (thesis required).
Should you enroll in these courses, you will be required to present your research at the end of each semester in the Biology Department Undergraduate Research Seminars.
As a biology student, you have access to many resources, perhaps none more important than our leading faculty. Experts in their fields, our faculty members are consistently performing research around the globe. Here are their stories.
Hannah Cates, PhD, Assistant Professor
The Cates lab studies the epigenetics of addiction using bioinformatics and molecular biology. A main focus of the lab is on the noncoding portions of the genome, previously called “junk DNA,” and how these regions are affected by drugs of abuse.
Tandra Chakraborty, PhD, Professor
Dr. Chakraborty focuses on three chief issues in the interplay between endocrinology and neurobiology: Changes in the estrogen receptors with senescence, Changes with obesity and The action of estrogen in the glucose homeostasis and apoptosis of cell in tissues subjected to hypoglycemic conditions.
Jonna Coombs, PhD, Associate Professor
Bioremediation is the use of living organisms (usually plants or bacteria) to clean up environments that have been contaminated with hazardous wastes. Dr. Coombs’ research in heavy metal bioremediation focuses on three major questions: What kinds of bacteria are capable of bioremediation, and how do these bacteria survive in environments contaminated with hazardous waste?, What are the structural changes that affect the stability, catalytic efficiency and substrate specificity of the proteins involved in metal resistance? and How has horizontal gene transfer (HGT) played a role in the evolution of metal resistance and other environmentally relevant traits?
Michael D’Emic, PhD, Assistant Professor
Dr. D’Emic studies the evolution and ecology of dinosaurs and other reptiles. Each summer he leads fieldwork expeditions to dig up dinosaurs and other extinct animals in the western USA. He also studies how bones and teeth grow at the cellular level in a variety of animals.
Dominic Evangelista, PhD, Assistant Professor
I am an evolutionary biologist interested in how insect biodiversity originates through evolutionary processes. My current research aims to infer phylogenies using genome-scale data, map biological trends over evolutionary histories, and to improve upon phylogenetic methods. My past research explored palaeoentomology, tropical community ecology, niche evolution, and species delimitation. View my lab webpage.
Matthias Foellmer, PhD, Professor
Dr. Foellmer’s research interests include the evolutionary consequences of anisogamy (in particular the evolutionary significance of sexual dimorphism, gender roles, and sexual conflict), as well as the ecology of Long Island salt marshes, focusing on anthropogenic effects such as habitat fragmentation and pollution. Dr. Foellmer uses spiders and insects as model organisms.
Aaren Freeman, PhD, Associate Professor
Dr. Freeman’s research interests are in marine biology, evolution and ecology of marine organisms, biology of invasive species, predator-prey interactions, phenotypic plasticity and trait-mediated indirect interactions.
Alexander Heyl, PhD, Associate Professor
Dr. Heyl works on the evolution and function of signaling pathways. In particular, he is interested in the origin and in the molecular mechanisms of the signal transduction pathway of a class of plant hormones called cytokinins. Wet lab experiments and bioinformatics analysis tools are used towards these goals.
Lawrence Hobbie, PhD, Professor
Dr. Hobbie collaborates with Dr. Alexander Heyl in studies of the function and evolution of genes and proteins in the signaling pathway of the plant hormone cytokinin. Dr. Hobbie is also investigating teaching practices among the science faculty at Adelphi, and implementation of evidence-based instructional practices.
Alan Schoenfeld, PhD, Professor
Dr. Schoenfeld performs research on cancer genetics, in particular the class of genes known as tumor suppressor genes. His investigations have centered on uncovering the normal cellular function(s) of the protein products of the von Hippel-Lindau (VHL) tumor suppressor gene.
Aram Stump, PhD, Associate Professor
Dr. Stump’s research involves the evolution of genes. He has studied how the iron-binding protein lactoferrin evolved to have an antibacterial activity in certain mammals. He’s also mapped the evolution of an important part of eukaryotic RNA polymerase II that is involved in the regulation of gene expression.
Eugenia Villa-Cuesta, PhD, Associate Professor
Dr. Villa-Cuesta is interested in how genes and environment influence aging and disease, and her research uses Drosophila melanogaster and cultured cells to study the molecular mechanisms by which nutrition influences life span and health span.
Andrea Ward, PhD, Department of Biology Chair, Professor
In her research, Dr. Ward incorporates evolutionary biology, functional morphology and developmental biology. She specializes in the evolution of the elongate body form in fishes, and she has examined the developmental origin of body elongation as well as the effect of body elongation on locomotion.
Benjamin Weeks, PhD, Professor
Dr. Weeks focuses on the effects of xenobiotics on the cellular mechanisms of development and disease.
Horace McDonell Fellowship
Awarded annually, the Horace McDonell Fellowship is an 8-week summer program that supports undergraduate student research. Thanks to alumnus Horace McDonell ’52, ’02 (Hon.), former chairman and CEO of the Perkin-Elmer Corporation, up to six Adelphi science majors will receive up to $4000 to conduct full-time research with a faculty mentor.
Research with Faculty
Every Chemistry and Biochemistry major is required to conduct research under the mentorship of a faculty member while at Adelphi. Students interview faculty in their first semester and may join groups right away or may wait but at the end of their sophomore year, each student must choose a research group. Students also learn professional development skills such as how to read the literature, how to write an abstract or how to present research in the Chemistry Research Seminars course, where all majors and faculty meet weekly.
Adelphi’s annual Research Conference provides a platform for students and faculty to display their scholarship and inspire the campus to community to engage and research and scholarly pursuits. The University has also hosted the annual Undergraduate Research Symposium, giving undergraduate chemistry majors throughout the New York Metropolitan area the chance to present the results of their research.
Students in the History Department have the opportunity to attend and present at a variety of regional and national research conferences.
National Conference on Undergraduate Research (NCUR)
At University of Wisconsin-La Crosse
- Manjot Khehra – “British Religious Attitudes Before 1622”
- Jennifer Lin – “How the Spanish Colonization Model Nearly Destroyed Early Jamestown”
- Bianca Levaglia – “True Agency or True Womanhood: The Struggle of Female Slaves to Gain Recognition as Women and Power as Individuals” (awarded Outstanding Undergraduate Oral Presentation in the Arts and Humanities)
- Frank Smith – “From Shackles to the Patent Office: Skilled Slaves and Slave Craftsmen”
- Elina Kats – “Enduring Spirits: Evolution of Protestant Missionary Attitudes Toward Ancestor Worship in 20th Century China”
- Ashley Casella – “Far More Terrible For Women: An Examination of Female Slave Stereotypes, their Origins, and their Implications among Post-Bellum and Ante-Bellum Female Slave Narratives”
- Jennifer Cohen – “Sex Discrimination Against Women in Academia”
- Stelios Karakonstantis – “Kung Fu and Health: Bridging the Gap Between Practice and History”
- Elina Kats – “Dissecting the Western Gaze Toward Chinese Medicine: From Superstition to Science”
- Marissa Wolf – “Journey to the West: A Valuable Teaching Tool for Learning about Chinese Culture”
Phi Alpha Theta Northeast Regional Conference
At Ramapo College of New Jersey
- David M. Campmier – “Dennis H. Mahan and William T. Sherman: Tactical, Strategic, and Logistical Thought and its Application”
Best Paper Award Winner
- Bianca M. LaVeglia – “True Power or True Womanhood: the Struggles of Female Slaves to Gain Recognition as Women and Power”
Best Paper Award Winner
Recent history student publications.
Students in the History department have also successfully submitted research they have done in our departmental seminars for publication.
The undergraduate history journal, Visions and Revisions (Department of History and Anthropology, Edinboro University of Pennsylvania) will be publishing papers by:
- Samatha Rescigno – “Powerless Resistance: The American Slave as a Subaltern,” which was done in Prof. Cristina Zaccarini’s Sophomore Seminar on the History of Slavery
- Emily Meritz – “Loyal until the End: The Changes of Chinese Perspectives on Female Suicide in the Context of Marriage Choice,” which was done in Prof. Cristina Zaccarini’s course on “Gender in Modern China”
Conducting research can be one of the most exciting experiences in academia. Research requires a combination of knowledge, creativity, and determination, and involves the study and investigation of original problems.
In mathematics, research may involve developing formulas, creating mathematical models, investigating patterns, or analyzing data. In computer science, research may involve designing algorithms, developing software, or implementing technological solutions.
Majors in mathematics or computer science interested in pursuing a research project are encouraged to contact a professor with whom they would like to work and inquire if the professor is currently working on any projects that have a component suitable for student research or investigation.
Students that wish to pursue advanced topics but not at a research-level may be interested in enrolling in a Topics Course, an Honors Seminar, or an Independent Study. The material covered in these classes changes from year to year depending on the interests of the professor and the students.
Quantum and Nonlinear Optics
Quantum and nonlinear optics are two exciting areas of physics that explore fundamental questions about the universe while at the same time developing new technologies for our ever-changing world. Equipped with the latest in laser technology, the laboratory provides an environment where students can be introduced to hands-on research. With experiments ranging from the propagation of very intense laser pulses to quantum teleportation with single photons, the laboratory offers opportunities as broad as the imagination.
Sensors Using Quantum Cascade Lasers
Research by Dr. Gottipaty Rao focuses on methods of detecting very small amounts of various gasses. This has important uses in applications including monitoring pollutants, detecting explosives, studying combustion, and medical diagnostics. The research laboratory provides a wealth of opportunities for undergraduate students.
Highly Sensitive Resonant Photo-acoustic Spectrometer for Trace Gas Detection
Recent advances in the detection of trace gases with very high sensitivity, selectivity and in real time have opened a variety of new applications. Photoacoustic spectroscopy offers high sensitivity, compact size, ruggedness, simple optical alignment, low cost, and can be employed in an industrial environment. We are developing a highly sensitive photacoustic spectrometer with a multi-pass cell for the detection of nitrogen dioxide at parts per billion level based on quantum cascade lasers. The technique has extensive applications in environmental science and the power industry.
Development of Cavity Ring-Down Spectrometer (CRDS)
We are developing a high sensitivity cavity ring-down spectrometer to measure the rate of absorption of a light pulse confined in a stable optical cavity with a high Q-factor formed by two highly reflective mirrors (reflectivity R > 99.99%). A short laser pulse coupled into the cavity is reflected back and forth and, every time the light is reflected, a small fraction (1-R) leaks out. This leads to an exponential decay of the pulse in the cavity. The light is detected by a photomultiplier and the data recorded. The ring-down time of the cavity is measuorange from the exponential decay of the intensity of light leaking out of the cavity. We will use the spectrometer for trace gas detection of species such as nitrogen dioxide and nitric oxide at the sub-parts per billion level.
Trace Gas Detection Employing Quantum and Interband Cascade Lasers Employing Amplitude and Frequency Modulation Techniques
The recent developments in the availability of mid-infraorange quantum cascade lasers have opened exciting possibilities to detect and estimate trace gases in real time at sub-parts-per billion levels and in favorable cases at sub-parts-per trillion levels. We are developing an extremely sensitive sensor for nitrogen oxides based on amplitude and frequency modulation techniques coupled to a multi-pass Herriott cell. The sensors have applications in medical diagnostics, environmental monitoring, combustion studies, and a variety of industrial applications.
High-Resolution Laser Spectroscopy
Atomic Hyperfine Structure Studies Employing High-Resolution Laser
The hyperfine structure of atomic levels can be described in terms of the interaction of atomic electrons with the nuclear multipole moments—nuclear charge, magnetic dipole, electric quadrupole, magnetic octupole, and higher order terms. Doppler free techniques such as saturation spectroscopy and its variants, intermodulated optogalvanic spectroscopy (IMOGS) and polarization intermodulated excitation (POLINEX) and Doppler limited spectroscopy techniques are employed for the measurement of the hyperfine structure of atomic states.
Adelphi’s state-of-the-art laser optics lab allows undergraduate students the opportunity to become familiar with current optics technology and its applications. Dr. Gottipaty Rao oversees holography research.
One such application is in using bacteriorhodopsin as a recording material for dynamic holographic applications.
For approximately ten years, we have been preparing excellent quality optical holograms using films and plates. Now we are investigating the possible utilization of bacteriorhodopsin (BR) as a recyclable, real-time holographic recording material. BR offers excellent high resolution for holographic recording (better than 5000 lines/mm) which is comparable to or better than the best available emulsions, a wide range of spectral sensitivity (400-600 nm) covering most of the visible part of the electromagnetic spectrum, write and erase timescales in the microsecond range, and millions of write/read operations. This material needs no further processing or wet chemical development procedures after exposure. One additional feature of the BR films is that polarization recording is possible. When fully developed, this technique has applications in optical holography, industry, and defense.
Energy and Intelligence Flame Analysis System (IFAS)
Adelphi’s Department of Physics includes many undergraduate opportunities for energy research. Notable past research has been done with flame analysis and diagnostics, coal-oil mixtures (“coal slurries”) as sources of energy, etc.
IFAS, or the Intelligent Flame Analysis System, is a flame analysis and diagnostic tool developed at Adelphi. The system uses a unique combination of spectral imaging techniques and special computer software to determine combustion gas distributions in furnace flames. Under the direction of Dr. John P. Dooher, undergraduate students have the opportunity to work with the IFAS for a variety of applications.
Paper: IFAS Presentation (PDF 1MB)
As a political science student, you have access to many resources, perhaps none more important than our leading faculty. Experts in their fields, our faculty members are actively engaged in scholarship. Here are their stories.
Regina S. Axelrod, Ph.D., Professor
Dr. Axelrod was Chair and Discussant at the panel “The Future of Nuclear Energy,” and Chair of theroundtable: “Innovative Teaching of International Environ-mental Governance and Policy,” at the International Studies Association (ISA) conference in San Francisco on April 4th, 2018. She has also spent the year continuing her research on problems of global nuclear energy and completed the 5th revision with her book with Stacy D. VanDeveer, The Global Environment: Law, Institutions and Policy, with an anticipatedfall publication date. Prof. Axelrod’s recent course offeringsinclude: Introduction to Politics, Environment and Politics, Hate and Conflict, and the Seminar in Public Policy.
Margaret Gray, Ph.D., Associate Professor
Dr. Gray continues her research on New YorkState farmworkers and her latest publication is “Food and Labor,” a chapter In Twenty Lessons in Food and Agriculture,edited by Maki Hatanaka and Jason Konefal for Oxford University Press (2018). Prof. Gray was honored to be named an Adelphi Teaching Fellow for the 2017-2018 academic year and to immerse herself in pedagogical theory and instructional techniques. She also received a 2018 Summer Professional Development Grant to focus on academic writing practices. In November 2018, she gave akeynote address at a conference titled “Pastures of Plenty? Food, Justice and Labor in the Hudson Valley,” hosted byMohonk Consultations at the Mohonk Mountain House. In January-March 2019, she spoke on a farmworker panel at the Museum of Food and Drink, SUNY New Paltz, LIU Post, and the Yonkers Public Library. She also gave a talk on dairy workers in February 2019 at Montclair State University. She presented on her research at the University of Toronto in March 2019, including a cooking demonstration based on recipes by NYS farmworkers. Prof. Gray serves as Secretary of the Adelphi AAUP faculty union and in the summer of 2018 she volunteered with the New Sanctuary Coalition to help asylum seekers complete and submit theirapplications. Prof. Gray’s most recent course offerings in-clude: Introduction to the American Political System, Race and Politics, and Research Design and Methods. She willoffer “Food Politics” in the fall of 2019.
Katie Verlin Laatikainen, Ph.D., Associate Professor
Dr. Laatikainen’s presented a paper and participated in a roundtable at the International Studies Association (ISA) conference in San Francisco in April 2018. At that conference, she was elected to serve on the International Organization Executive Committee of the ISA for 2018-2020. In spring 2018, she was appointed to the Advisory Board of the United Nations University Institute for Comparative Regional Studies (UNU-CRIS) in Bruges, Belgium for a three-year term. She has co-authored (with Martin Palous) a research paper, “Contested Ground: The Campaign to Enhance the Status of the European Union in the UN General Assembly,” published by the Globus Research program. She also co-authored a book chapter with Knud Erik Jørgensen, “The Political Impact of the EU’s Interaction with International Institutions” which will be published in the Research Handbook on the European Union’s Engagementwith International Organizations, edited by Ramses A. Wessel & Jed Odermatt and published byEdward Elgar Publishers. She and Professor Gupta (Adelphi’s School of Business) designed the firstInternational Studies Study Abroad course which will travel to Finland in May 2019. She has helped complete a partnership with the University of Tampere in Finland which will enable student exchange for Political Science, International Studies, and Business majors between the twouniversities from 2019. Prof. Laatikainen’s recent political science courses include: Theories andPractices of International Relations, National Model United Nations, and European Politics.
Traci Levy, Ph.D., Associate Professor
Dr. Levy’s attended the 18th Annual Faculty Institute at Barnard College in June 2018 with Prof. Gray. Prof. Levy continued her pedagogical training in the Reacting to the Past approach that uses role-playing games based on key historicalmoments and primary texts. As part of Adelphi’s diversity initia-tive, she also continued her role co-facilitating the “Title IX and Gender Bias” workshops with Adelphi’s Title IX Coordinator,Renaire Frierson, J.D. Together, they run workshops for Adelphi faculty, staff, and administrators as well as local middle and high school personnel. Additionally, Prof. Levy presented at a February 2019 panel at Mount Holyoke College on MaraBenjamin’s book The Obligated Self: Maternal Subjectivity and Jewish Thought. On March 1st, Prof. Levy presented her article manuscript, “Caresharing and Care-Pooling: Lessons from Disabled Parents and Young Careers,” co-authored with Professor Deborah Little (Associate Professor, Sociology), at the Five College Women’s Studies Research Center’s works-in-progress seminar. Prof. Levy’s recent political science courses include:Introduction to Politics; Modern Political Theory; and Family and Sexuality in Political Theory, and Seminar in Justice and Social Policy.