It was an overwhelming sight at the George H. W. Bush Conference Center on November 12 at the 4
annual campus-wide
Faculty Research Expo
. This event has been hosted by the
Office of Undergraduate Research
since its inception and is a true manifestation of the office’s commitment to providing research opportunities to its undergraduate students.

I ran into
Dr. Jason Keller
, a wetlands ecologist and associate professor at Chapman University, and he explained to me that just a few years ago the Faculty Research Expo was composed of only a few science faculty who would present their research in presentation form. Today, the Expo is a bustling marketplace where ideas are traded and new understandings are entertained by the minds of all who attend.

The Expo boasted faculty booths and posters from all disciplines of research ranging from the science of literature to the physical and life sciences. Eager crowds of students circled around the room as indispensible faculty members attempted to communicate the most profound yet complex concepts of their respective fields. I personally learned about some of the latest developments in cancer research and the digitalization of ancient Mayan Codices.

Marco Bisoffi, PhD
is a professor of
biochemistry and molecular biology
and he researches breast and prostate cancer. Dr. Bisoffi’s current research is on the molecular mechanisms underlying “
field cancerization
” or the “field effect” in human tissues affected by cancer. He will be accepting students in the coming semesters for research opportunities in the field of biomedicine.

Christopher Kim, PhD
is associate dean of academic programs at Schmid College, and Co-Director of the Office of Undergraduate Research. Dr. Kim is the lead author of several papers published in peer-reviewed academic journals, including the Journals of Environmental Monitoring, Environmental Science and Technology, Applied Geochemistry, and Aeolian Research.
Dr. Kim’s research focuses on the pathways of arsenic and mine waste into the environment and the potential impacts of mine waste contamination. He even has his own newsletter for his lab, called the
Kim Environmental Geochemistry (KEG) Lab
. Dr. Kim will be a valuable resource to those who wish to get involved in undergraduate research, as he is currently looking for students to join his lab.

Professors like Dr. Jason Keller and
Dr. Hesham El-Askary
are looking to work with students doing research for the interterm and spring term. Dr. Keller, who I mentioned earlier, is doing
on carbon cycling in peatlands and wetlands. Students working with Dr. Keller do field research in California wetlands and lab work involving measuring concentrations of organic compounds and soil microbes. His work will further our understanding of the cycles of powerful greenhouse gases like methane and its effects on climate change.

Dr. El-Askary is engaged in fascinating research on the effects of dust storms on the formation of hurricanes and changes in earth’s surface albedo. Dr. El-Askary uses the latest technologies in remote sensing and satellite imaging to collect data for his research.
As a student doing research with him
, one would learn how to utilize the data sets collected from remote sensing and satellites for research on earth systems- not to mention become obsessed with dust!

I also visited with
Dr. Jennifer Funk
, an associate professor of biology who is doing research in plant ecology and invasive species. Dr. Funk will be looking for student researchers for the interterm and spring term. Her research will further our understanding of plant ecosystems so that we will better understand how to restore ecosystems. To keep up-to-date with Dr. Funk’s work check out her
Funk Lab’s website

Dr. Rosalee Hellberg
is assistant professor of food science, and she recently answered the question:
What is actually in our pet food
? Dr. Hellberg used DNA analysis to see if pet-food product ingredients truly were what their packaging stated. Dr. Hellberg is currently looking for a few students to aid her in ongoing research this summer. The commitment this summer would be full-time and would yield invaluable experience in Food Science research.

There are ample opportunities to get involved in undergraduate research here at Chapman. All you need to do is contact the Office of Undergraduate Research here:

The next event hosted by the Office of Undergraduate Research will be the
Fall Chapman University Student Research Day on Wednesday, December 10
. Students who have been involved in personal or faculty research projects will have the opportunity to showcase their work.