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Biological Sciences Undergraduate Research

During the course of their studies, Biology major students may choose to participate in the Undergraduate Research Program in Biology (URPB). The URPB offers motivated students an opportunity to conduct original laboratory and/or field research in a variety of different areas of Biology under the guidance of a faculty mentor.

For additional information or questions, feel free to contact the following faculty members below.


Christopher W. Appelt, Ph.D.
Associate Professor
Phone: 773-298-3521
Email: appeltFREESXU

Research Interests
Animal Behavior, Ecology and Conservation

Ongoing Projects

  • Examining the role of play behavior on the development of predatory behavior of grasshopper mice
  • Examining the impacts of non-native feral Monk Parakeets on native bird species in the Chicago area

Jason Crean, M.S., Ed.D.
Assistant Professorial Lecturer
Email: jcreanFREESXU

Research Interests
Animal Nutrition, Conservation Education, Three-Dimensional Science Teaching and Learning

Ongoing Projects

  • Examining the role of diet in the ex-situ conservation of endangered avian species
  • Analysis of the nutritional content of the diet used in the captive recovery effort of the Red Siskin (Spinus cucullata)
  • Developing critical thinking exercises from authentic data sets to bring real conservation science to students
  • The impact of biologically appropriate enrichment on animal behavior

Randy Krohmer, Ph.D.
Associate Professor
Phone: 773-298-3527
Email: krohmerFREESXU

Research Interests
Neuroendocrine control of courtship behavior in a species exhibiting a dissociated reproductive pattern, the red-sided garter snake

Ongoing Projects

  • The role of sex steroids and hibernation on the development of brain nuclei
  • Distribution of aromatase immunoreactive cells in the spinal cord of the garter snake
  • Is courtship behavior in the male red-sided garter snake regulated by aromatase activity during low temperature dormancy

Ricardo Monzon, Ph.D.
Associate Professor
Phone: 773-298-5241
Email: monzonFREESXU

Research Interests
Regulation of gene expression in tumorigenesis, development and neuronal function

Ongoing Projects

  • Regulation of matricellular genes in development and tumorigenesis
  • Mechanisms of gene expression in synaptic plasticity
  • Development of invertebrate model systems for comparative analysis of genes involved in tumorigenesis, development and neuronal function

William Santus, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor
Phone: 773-298-3517
Email: santusFREESXU

Research Interests
Human and animal bacterial and fungal microbiota; bacteria and fungi associated with soil and human food
Ongoing Projects

  • Identification of fungal species from commonly consumed human food
  • Role of oral hygiene in influencing human oral microbiota and mycobiota

Tatiana C. Tatum, Ph.D.
Phone: 773-298-3408
Email: tatumFREESXU

Research Interests
Cytogenetics and Environmental Science

Ongoing Projects

  • Effects of diesel fuel contamination on the physical characteristics of brine shrimp and Forage Kochia
  • Examining the effects of environmental contaminants on various animal and plant species
  • Analysis of genetic and phenotypic variation among clones of the H. rosa across multiple spatial and temporal scales