Research Streams

Each student is placed into one of our 11 research streams. Weekly, the Research educator and students discuss the project background, design experiments, troubleshoot experimental pit-falls, analyze data and present their results. During these group meetings, FRI students learn how to communicate about their research and design their next experimental steps. Students also spend approximately six hours in the laboratory setting each week, learning techniques, using high-level instrumentation and conducting their research. Students finish the three-semester program with a research manuscript and a public poster session displaying their results.

Current Research Streams

Ten of the Research Streams are available to students admitted to the Harpur College of Arts and Science. Two of the research streams are available to students admitted to the Thomas J. Watson College of Engineering and Applied Science: Clean Energy and Image and Acoustic Signals Analysis.

  • Biogeochemistry

    Focus on sustainability of earth systems from perspectives of human and ecosystem health. This research stream is particularly interested in microbes and their geochemical interactions with metals and other contaminants, resulting in their coupled short- and long-term impacts on physical, chemical and biological interactions. Modern and ancient oceans, the atmosphere, watersheds and wetlands provide the field sites for our studies. The stream is led by Research Educator Jonathan Schmitkons, and the team of faculty stream collaborators include Joseph Graney, Thomas Kulp, Tim Lowenstein, and Weixing Zhu. 

    This stream is available to HARPUR admitted students only.

    Explore Biogeochemistry

  • Biomedical Chemistry

    Focus on molecular targets for treatment and delivery. The biomedical chemistry research stream studies the structure and function of select biological macromolecules, in particular proteins, which are important for our understanding of patho-physiological processes, as well as for biomedical applications. The goal is to identify molecular mechanisms of action of these proteins, and to develop new strategies and methodologies to study them, and potentially control their activity. The stream is led by interim Research Educator Zihan Xu, and the faculty stream collaborators from the Department of Chemistry include Brian Callahan, Christof Grewer, Susan Bane, and Wei Qiang. 

    This stream is available to HARPUR admitted students only.

    Explore Biomedical Chemistry

  • Clean Energy

    Focus on harvesting and storing energy. Demand for energy, particularly alternative and sustainable energy, will increase substantially over the coming years. The research carried out by students in this research stream encompasses new materials and devices for better energy generation and storage, such as photovoltaic systems, thin film electronics, thermoelectric systems, lithium-ion batteries and super-capacitors.  The stream is led by Research Educator Yiliang Luan, and the team of faculty stream collaborators include Bruce White, Manuel Smeu, Nikolay Dimitrov, Stan Whittingham, and Tara Dhakal. 

    This stream is available to both HARPUR and WATSON admitted students.

    Explore Clean Energy

  • Community and Global Public Health

    Focus on collecting and analyzing data to create better solutions to health problems and better inform public health policy. Using collected survey data and public databases and techniques developed by researchers, students in this research stream test hypotheses; analyze data; and examine patterns to inform policy relating to: mental health, maternal and child health, obesity, chronic disease prevention research and/or social determinants of health. The stream is led by Research Educator Jodi Dowthwaite, and the team of faculty stream collaborators consists of Miesha Marzell, Titilayo Okoror, and Yvonne Johnston. 

    This stream is available to HARPUR admitted students only.

    Explore Community & Global Public Health

  • Drug Discovery

    Focus on transforming new biological discoveries into therapeutic agents that can positively impact human health. The drug discovery research stream is specifically focused on identifying new drug leads that can be used for the treatment of human diseases. We employ methods such as high-throughput screening, in silico screening and molecular modeling to identify “hits” from large compound collections. These hits will be evaluated in various binding assays and functional assays in order to open up new avenues for drug discovery and development. The stream is led by Research Educator Patricia Wolfe, and the research projects are performed in close collaboration with faculty in the School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences (L. Nathan Tumey, Mohammad Ali, Tony Davis, and Tracy Brooks) and in the Department of Chemistry (Ming An). The long-term goal of our work is to develop new treatment options for cancer, autoimmune disorders and infectious diseases.

    This stream is available to HARPUR admitted students only.

    This is a new FRI research stream that will begin fall 2023!

  • Ecological Genetics

    Focus on current issues on how ecological factors influence the evolutionary trajectory of populations by using state-of-the-art techniques in genetics, evolutionary biology and ecophysiology. Given the many ways that we humans have and are influencing our environments -—- natural, agricultural, urban -— there are many important questions to answer. The stream is led by Research Educator Christina Baer, and the team of faculty stream collaborators include James Sobel, Kirsten Prior, and Thomas Powell.

    This stream is available to HARPUR admitted students only.

    Explore Ecological Genetics

  • Environmental Visualization with Drones

    Focus on natural and archaeological resources by applying geospatial mapping technologies across landscapes and beneath the earth's surface. Students in this research stream do hands-on field research using geophysical instruments (e.g., magnetometry, active and passive source seismic, resistivity, ground penetrating radar), image analysis (e.g., aerial photography, satellite imagery, multispectral sensing) and active sensing (LiDAR) collected from UAVs (drones) and from land-based platforms. The stream is led by Research Educator Joe Panzik, and the  team of faculty stream collaborators include Alex Nikulin, Carl Lipo, and Jeffrey Pietras. 

    This stream is available to HARPUR admitted students only.

    EXPLORE ENVIRONMENTAL VISUALIZATION WITH DRONES

  • Image and Acoustic Signals Analysis

    Focus on robotics, human-computer interaction, acoustics and computer vision. This Thomas J. Watson College of Engineering and Applied Science interdisciplinary team focuses on research and development in robotics, multimedia, human computer interaction, acoustics and computer vision. The team engages students in seeking and developing new algorithms and techniques to help computers see and understand the world by; designing novel immersive environments that will shape future trends in human-computer interaction; creating methods to understand and generatte new digital image and video contents; and developing and testing the computer vision technology. The stream is led by Research Educator Umur Ciftci, and the four-faculty stream collaborator team consists of Kenneth Chiu, Lijun Yin, Scott Craver, and Shiqi Zhang. 

    This stream is available to WATSON admitted students only.

    Explore Image & Acoustic Signals Analysis
  • Microbial Biofilms in Human Health

    Focus on biofilms that plague industry and hospitals. Biofilms are communities of microorganisms living on surfaces and encased in a self-secreted, protective slime matrix. Biofilms are the cause of the majority of chronic infections and can be up to 1,000 times more resistant to antimicrobial treatments than free-swimming cells. To improve the outcome of anti-biofilm therapeutic methods, students in this research stream investigate biofilm resistance associated with human chronic infections. The stream is led by Research Educator Whitni Redman, and the team of faculty stream collaborators include Caitlin Light, Cláudia N. H. Marques, David G. Davies, Jeffrey W. Schertzer, Karin Sauer, Laura Cook, and Peter McKenney.

    This stream is available to HARPUR admitted students only.

    Explore Microbial Biofilms in Human Health
  • Molecular and Biomedical Anthropology

    Focus on population genetics, human genetics and Lyme disease. This stream's current research focuses on two main topics: human genetic diversity in the understudied populations of the Middle East and Oceania, and genetics of Lyme disease bacteria and other tick-borne diseases. Members of our laboratories utilize genetic data from numerous large databases as well as an extensive archive of biological specimens housed at Binghamton University’s Biospecimen Archive Facility. The stream is led by Research Educator Michel Shamoon Pour, and the team of faculty stream collaborators include D. Andrew Merriwether, J. Koji Lum, and Ralph M. Garruto. 

    This stream is available to HARPUR admitted students only.

    Explore Molecular & Biomedical Anthropology

  • Neuroscience

    Focus on the neurophysiology of anxiety and depressive disorders using an animal model. This research stream's current focus is Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), a chronic neuropsychiatric condition that affects 2-3% of the U.S. population. Modern OCD treatments are only effective in 40-60% of patients, do not fully alleviate symptoms, have a delayed onset, and are associated with problematic side effects. The neuroscience stream uses an OCD animal model to explore more effective therapeutic strategies. The stream is led by Research Educator Deb Kreiss, and the team of faculty stream collaborators include Anushree Karkhanis, Chris Bishop, Terry Deak.

    This stream is available to HARPUR admitted students only.

    Explore Neuroscience

FRI IASA

Through our extensive work in the lab, I’ve learned much about hardware, software, and coding, despite the previous experience I had as a computer science major. Since our focus was computer vision, it was only natural for me to gain a more comprehensive understanding of the workings of the cameras and sensors in the laboratory that we would use. This semester also introduced me to databases and various image analysis tools, such as OpenCV and Microsoft Visual Studio, that are integral to research in the field of computer vision. One of my favorite aspects of the course was that it introduced us to coding in C++."

FRI Image & Acoustic Signals Analysis Student