Department of Biology - Undergraduate
- 1. WHY DO RESEARCH?
- 2. AMPHIBIAN RESEARCH - Dr. Brodman
- 3. FORENSIC ENTOMOLOGY RESEARCH - Dr. Haskell
- 4. OTHER PROJECTS - Dr. Wistrom and Rev, Dr. Stang
WHY DO RESEARCH IN COLLEGE?
A. Employers and graduate schools look
for laboratory, field method and scientific writing skills. Research teaches
you all three. Nearly all of our recent graduates who were accepted
to medical schools, physical therapy schools and graduate programs in the
sciences gained experience by doing research here at Saint
Most of the graduate schools are mainly looking to see if you have
learned the methods and disciplines of research. For example, medical schools have happily
accepted that our students did research in Amphibian Ecology.
B. 15% higher graduation rates are
seen in students who do research or internships compared to students who do
Overall opportunities for student research
at Saint Joseph's College include:
Vertebrate Anatomy, Microbiology, Entomology (insects), Forensic Science,
Biochemistry, Water Quality, Geochemistry, Environmental geology, Habitat
restoration, Amphibian ecology & conservation. Students may do
research as independent study projects worth from 1-3 credit hours.
MAJOR AREAS FOR RESEARCH AT SAINT
JOSEPH’S COLLEGE: The two
main areas of ongoing research at Saint Joseph's
College are in Amphibian Ecology and Forensic Entomology, both supervised by
nationally recognized PhD professors here. Other research projects may be
organized in biochemistry or in comparative vertebrate anatomy.
1. Amphibian Ecology and Conservation
with Dr. Robert Brodman PhD.
Brodman's focus is ecology, evolution and
zoology. His research focuses on the ecology and conservation of
amphibians in the Midwest. Many students become
part of this research. In preparation, students take a course on using
field surveys and monitoring amphibian populations. Students then
participate in one or several of the following areas of study:
-long-term studies monitoring population fluctuations in amphibian
species in our 5 county area
-studying the relationship between water & habitat quality of
wetlands and amphibian abundance
-determining how behavioral ecology such as predator avoidance and shifts
in habitat use allow species to coexist
-documenting the affect of predation by amphibians on pest control
-performing wetland delineation and habitat restoration.
Several of our students have become coauthors of scientific papers that were
published in state and national scientific journals.
- For More information on Student involvement in Dr. Brodman’s Amphibian Research, click here.
- For More information on Dr. Brodman’s
Amphibian Research, click here.
- Click the name to contact Professor Robert
2. Forensic Entomology: with Dr. Neal
Neal Haskell has been doing ongoing research at his farm seven miles from Saint
Joseph's College. Dr. Haskell discovered that a
pig carcass decomposes and has insect infestations at the same rate as a human
body. He proved this in his work at the “Body Farm” at the University
of Tennessee. There Dr. Haskell placed pigs alongside human
bodies to demonstrate the rate similarities. Here in Indiana
Dr. Haskell obtains pigs from Purdue University
and then sets them out in his field in a variety of conditions and
situations. If a murder victim is discovered in a car trunk in the
summer, Dr. Haskell puts a pig in a car trunk in the summer and monitors the insect
infestations, life cycle rates and other decomposition data. The data is
then used in the investigation to help determine the time of death or when the
body was placed inside the car. Here is
to one article on such pig research.
Saint Joseph's College
undergraduate students have participated in Dr. Haskell's research. They
help in collecting and analyzing data, attending conferences and accompanying
him to sites in other parts of the US
and the world. Students may become coauthors of scientific articles. The
data is used in criminal investigations and trials throughout the United
States. For more information, click here. Dr. Haskell can be contacted here.
3. Other Projects
3. Biochemistry & Genetics with Dr.
Cheryl Wistrom PhD.
Dr. WEistrom often sponsors student research
or independent studies in biochemistry and Genetics. Most recently,
several of her students extracted potential anti-tumor chemicals from the bark of
the Paw-Paw tree. They then assayed the potency of these chemicals
against plant tumors. Another of her students is studying tablet
dissolution rates to better predict the rate at which tablets release
medicines. Dr. Wistrom can be contacted here,
4. Vertebrate Anatomy with Fr. Stang M.D. Several Saint
Joseph's College students, with interest in animals,
have researched and then assembled vertebrate skeletons. The research
includes visits to the Chicago Field Museum of Natural History. Students learn the characteristics of the
various bones and how the bones come together in the integrated skeletal
structure. They learn not only the names
of the bones but also the names of the various tubercles, foramina, fossa and other structures that provide joints, tendon and
ligament attachment, nerve and neuro-vascular
penetration points. Study may include
methods of cleaning, preserving and mounting bones. The final project is the assembly of the full
skeleton. With Fr. Stang,
students have assembled the whitetail deer and red fox skeletons shown below.
Our latest was a group collaboration that produced an adult horse skeleton
(below right). We have the bones and research material for an adult pig.
For more information on this contact Fr. William Stang
Biology Home Page