Scholarly Research

Dr. Mark Gathany

As an ecologist my research investigates biogeochemical processes in forests, agricultural fields, and streams. These processes include soil to atmosphere gas exchange, microbial activity, carbon sequestration, nitrogen cycling, plant production and decomposition. I am interested in how disturbances (natural and anthropogenic) change ecosystem functioning and structure.

Additionally, I am also concerned with environmental stewardship and sustainability on our campus and in the community. I conduct research along this socio-ecological boundary as part of the ongoing study “An energy use and emissions inventory of Cedarville University”. I have been involved with several campus mapping projects using GIS technology. I serve as faculty advisor for Pro Terra Forma and a campus representative for the Au Sable Institute for Environmental Studies.

Professor Matthew Ingle

Professor Ingle is interested in population genetics. He spent time working in Central America working with a population of olive ridley sea turtles, studying how migration and multiple paternity affect overall genetic health. Since joining the Biology faculty, he has shifted his focus to local fauna. He is researching the role parasites can play in the population genetics of local vertebrates, and overall genetic health. Some of the projections he is working on involve studying microevolutionary changes in raccoons due to the high parasite load they carry, and how the rate of microevolutionary change might be affected by this parasite load. He is also involved in mapping animal distributions and home ranges, searching for a correlation between these ranges and location of parasites. Students will have the opportunity to get involved in these exciting opportunities, discover how parasites affect community and ecosystem health, and think through how Creationists can use this information to better understand stewardship.

Dr. William Jones

The primary research focus of Dr. William Jones is examining the understanding of the nature of science among preservice teachers.

Specifically, Dr. Jones is interested in (1) describing preservice science teachers’ understanding of the nature of science, (2) comparing preservice science teachers’ understanding of the nature of science to views espoused in national science education reform documents, and (3) identifying academic variables and undergraduate teacher education program features correlated to preservice science teachers’ understanding of the nature of science. Dr. Jones has received grants from the Ohio Higher Education Network for Science and Mathematics to develop and write model assessments for use by teacher education programs in Ohio to meet the National Science Teacher Association (NSTA) and The National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) science teacher licensure program requirements. Several assessments were recognized by NCATE as “excellent examples of assessments that were successful in meeting NCATE standards.” In addition to projects related to science education, Dr. Jones has conducted research on avian use of experimental wetlands in Ohio.

Dr. Heather Kuruvilla

Have you ever wondered if Tetrahymena feel your pain? Dr. Kuruvilla and her students use the ciliated protozoan, Tetrahymena thermophila, as a model system for pain signaling in other organisms. These protozoans respond to many human pain signals by showing avoidance reactions, or trying to get away from the signal. We are trying to determine how Tetrahymena "feel" this pain by using pharmacological inhibitors to block avoidance behavior, and using these data to map signal transduction mechanisms. How do Tetrahymena feel your pain? Work with us and help us find out!

Dr. Kaleb Pauley

Have you ever been really nervous, perhaps in an interview or public speaking event, and experienced that dreaded “cotton mouth” feeling? Imagine having to deal with that level of dryness on a daily basis not only in your mouth, but also in your eyes. This is the reality for many Sjögren’s syndrome patients. Sjögren’s syndrome is a systemic autoimmune disorder characterized by severe xerostomia (dry mouth) and xerophthalmia (dry eye) symptoms resulting from the loss of secretory function due to immune cell infiltration in salivary and lacrimal glands.

We are interested in improving the quality of life for Sjögren’s syndrome patients through the development of better diagnostic markers and therapeutic strategies. Specifically, we are studying the differential expression of certain microRNAs in Sjögren’s syndrome patients compared to healthy individuals and the involvement of those microRNAs in disease pathogenesis. Additionally, we are developing a novel therapeutic strategy for Sjögren’s patients in the form of a secretagogue-siRNA conjugate that has the potential to induce secretion while simultaneously delivering small interfering RNA (siRNA) into secretory cells to alter gene expression and preserve secretory function.

Dr. Lisa Schaffner

Bone remodeling is a dynamic process which involves the formation of new bone by osteoblasts and the absorption of old bone by osteoclasts. The balance between these two key processes is necessary to maintain healthy bone structure. We are interested in studying how this balance is maintained by determining how signal transduction cascades are integrated into a biological response, specifically at the level of transcription. Our lab is focused on trying to identify and characterize new proteins that interact with the transcription factor MITF. Different genetic and biochemical approaches are being used including techniques such as cell culture, yeast two hybrid screens, and the expression of recombinant proteins for in-vitro binding assays.

Dr. Nathan Hnatiuk

The use of Lithium salts is growing at a rapid rate. With Lithium ion battery technology booming and Lithium salts used for the treatment of psychosis, the need for a quick, affordable, and easy Lithium ion detection method is growing. Currently, there are very few ways to optically detect Lithium in aqueous solutions. The goal of our research is to synthesize a water soluble, fluorescent Lithium ion sensor using the 4, 4-difluoro-4-bora-3a, 4a-diazaindacene or BODIPY fluorophore. The project will incorporate aspects of organic, analytical, and physical chemistry.

Dr. Aaron Hutchison

Mercury remediation: I have been working on the synthesis of relatively large, sulfur-containing molecules that will bind to mercury atoms in water and form insoluble compounds. I have already developed a series of such compounds that are very effective at precipitating mercury, but are not water soluble. The objective of my current work is to modify these compounds so they will be water soluble and non-toxic.

Rapid formation of salt deposits: The existence of huge salt deposits in the geologic record has long been an area of interest for creation scientists. Uniformitarian geology claims that these were formed by the evaporation of salt water over millions of year, but this does not fit with the geologic evidence or scripture. I have been working on understanding hydrothermal mechanisms by which supersaturated brines could develop at the seafloor and form these deposits very quickly.

Rapid formation of Dolomite: Calcium magnesium carbonate (dolomite) is a common mineral in sedimentary rocks, yet there is currently no good model for its formation. I have been attempting to precipitate dolomite out of simulated hydrothermal and acid runoff solutions, with the objective of demonstrating how this mineral might have formed rapidly during the Flood.

Dr. John Whitmore

Dr. John Whitmore Professor of Geology is actively involved in several research projects and has several areas of interest within Geology. He has been investigating the Coconino Sandstone of the Grand Canyon since 1997. His goal is to demonstrate that this famous formation was water laid, not wind-blown as many conventional geologists believe. He has also been investigating the minerals and the particle sizes that make up modern sand dunes. Dr. Whitmore's specialty is fossil fish taphonomy, or the process of fish fossilization. He studied the fossil fish of the Green River Formation in Wyoming as part of his doctoral work. His interests in Creation research involve placement of the Flood post-Flood boundary in the rock record and the meaning of the fossil record.

Dr. Jennifer Hutchison

Dr. Hutchison’s research is in set-theoretic topology. She is currently studying thin-type properties of dense sets in product spaces. Points of a dense set in a product space will have several coordinates in common with a randomly chosen point of the space; thin-type properties describe various ways in which the points of the dense set can be spread out, or have fewer coordinates in common. The existence of thin-type dense sets is related to various conditions on the factor space, including the criteria (GC) and (NC), which are also of independent interest.

Dr. Dali Luo

An ellipse has two foci. The shape of the body of a violin looks like two (partial) ellipses joined together. Mathematically, how does the structure of a violin reflect the sound? I have started to work on a project that studies the relationship between ellipses and the structure of a violin.

1 & 2 Chronicles starts with a long genealogy - nine chapters! How does the genealogy relate to present-day readers? Many of the stories in the Chronicles have been told elsewhere in the Old Testament, such as 1 & 2 Samuel and 1 & 2 Kings. Why, then, is the author re-telling the same stories? I completed a commentary on 1 & 2 Chronicles.

Dr. Otis Wright

Dynamical systems, especially those exhibiting chaotic or near-chaotic dynamics, used to model a wide variety of phenomena including predator-prey interactions, epidemics, root-finding algorithms, integrable wave equations, nonlinear wave propagation in optical fibers and the formation of exotic quantum states.

Dr. Steve Gollmer

Dr. Gollmer is studying the Quaternary Ice Age in the context of a global flood. Using climate models developed by the Goddard Institute for Space Studies and the National Center for Atmospheric Research, scenarios are run to see if a warm post-flood ocean and extensive volcanic activity are sufficient to initiate an ice age of the magnitude recorded in the geological record. Additional factors, such as ocean cooling rates and climate cycles, are studied in this context.