The Biology Department at St. Catherine University is committed to providing quality research experiences for students in the form of student-faculty collaborative research projects. This type of experience allows the student to discover the dynamic nature of the scientific process, and develop the skills necessary for understanding the vital part that research plays in biological disciplines.
- How it Works »
- Research for Credit »
- Conferences »
- Current Collaborations »
- External Research Opportunities »
The student and mentor work together to develop a clear experimental plan and then carry out the research. Then they analyze and
Dr. Norton and Morgan Wright.
interpret that data, and formulate a plan for the student to present the results. A research project thus requires commitment from both the student and faculty member, and a clear set of responsibilities for each which we have outlined here.
If you are interested in doing research with a faculty member look below to see the research interests of each faculty member, then ask them about it.
Students typically do research during the summer or the month of January, but many have done research projects during the semester. Projects are generally related to the research interest of the mentor, but student projects have grown out of classroom inquiry and independent laboratory projects as well. If you have an interest, feel free to pursue it.
Research for Credit
Research may be taken for credit (in which case the student must register for BIOL4910, for either 2 or 4 credits) or as a non-credit experience. In either case, the faculty mentor and student may apply for 3M Grant support to fund the research. These awards support student-faculty collaborative research in the sciences with special emphasis on encouraging student researchers. Awards include a stipend for the student and faculty mentor and some money for research supplies. More information on funding and other general research questions can be found at The Office of Research and Sponsored Programs website.
Asst. Professor of Biology, Dawn Foster-Hartnett, and biology student, Britta Wass.
Part of conducting scientific research is communicating your findings to peers and colleagues. As part of the student collaborative research experience we try to encourage our students to travel and present their results at regional and national conferences, and, when possible, help faculty write full-length papers for peer-reviewed journals. Some travel grants are available and you should ask your research mentor about possible conference opportunities as you plan your research experience.
Dr. Lynne Gildensoph studies the structure and function of ATPases and wetland and pond ecology.
Dr. Marcie Myers studies anthropological and biological connections. Learn more »
Dr. Cindy Norton focuses on the reproductive biology and behavior of hermaphroditic freshwater snails, Helisoma trivolvis. Learn more »
Dr. John Pellegrini focuses on handedness & brain lateralization as well as cortisol secretions in response to media images. Learn more »
His most recent project undertaken with Swathi Seshadri was to determine if left-handed individuals (sinistrals) differ from right-handed individuals (dextrals) in their expression and perception of emotion. In most individuals, the right hemisphere of the brain is thought to be more sensitive to emotion and more emotionally expressive. Since there is evidence that sinistrals demonstrate less brain lateralization for certain other functions (e.g. language), we examined differences between sinistrals and dextrals for emotional function. Our data suggest that perception of emotion may indeed be less lateralized in sinistrals than dextrals.
Dr. Martha Phillips is a plant ecologist and a wetland ecologist. Her work focuses on what long-term monitoring can tell us about the stability of wetland communities, along with a more recent emphasis on invasive species (both European buckthorn, which has invaded the woods on campus, and Reed Canary Grass in the wetlands she studies. Learn more »
Dr. Kay Tweeten has collaborated with numerous students in her research laboratory on cellular and molecular analysis of regeneration, sexual reproduction, and embryonic development in Lumbriculus variegatus and Lumbriculus inconstans. Learn more »
Dr. Jill Welter’s research program is focused on the study of both terrestrial and aquatic (mostly rivers)ecosystems, focusing on the factors that influence species assemblages, food webs, and the cycling of carbon, nitrogen, and phosphorus currently from river networks in the Eel River Watershed in northern California to restored Minnesota prairies. Working with a large committee of St. Kate’s students, staff, and faculty, she is also coordinating efforts on campus to calculate and reduce our greenhouse gas emissions, and promote sustainability efforts. Students are involved in all aspects of these research projects, including immersive summer experiences working in rivers and year-long positions working as coordinators and researchers involved in the St. Kate’s greenhouse gas emissions surveys. Learn more »
External Research Opportunities
In addition to on-campus research opportunities, there are many opportunities to gain research experiences at other institutions. Many of these projects prefer that students already have some research experience, and most are quite competitive. Deadlines for application for Summer Undergraduate Research Programs are usually in December or January. If you are interested in pursuing this route, you should talk with your advisor, look for current opportunities on the bulletin board near the elevator, or visit one of the following websites:
- The National Science Foundation Research Experiences for Undergraduates (NSF-REU): On this website you can search for opportunities in specific fields or experiences in particular areas of the country.
- Mayo Clinic’s Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowships (SURF): This is Mayo’s summer program for students interested in Biomedical Research
- University of Minnesota Life Sciences Summer Undergraduate Research Programs: This program offers the opportunity to work with U of MN researchers for 10 weeks during the summer.