Undergraduate Research Opportunities

The College of Health Sciences and Technology is firmly committed to undergraduate research opportunities. Our College provides every student the opportunity to engage in independent research either during the school year or during the summer. Opportunities for research exist on the St Thomas campus and with partnered universities and colleges across the state and country. The undergraduate experience at St. Thomas offers a hands-on approach to scientific development. Our science programs offer small class sizes of fewer than 20 students. This approach allows our faculty to provide personal attention to our students in the classroom and in the laboratory. Small class and laboratory size also ensures that our students are well trained in the latest techniques needed by today’s scientist.

Why Is Research Experience Important?

Participation in research provides our students with an experience unlike anything that they can realize inside a classroom as they encounter first-hand the excitement of discovery and a new vantage point of what doing science involves. Our students learn the time, effort, and dedication needed to succeed in a scientific career, lessons that are crucial to ensure their success in graduate and professional schools.

Our students also learn a completely new way to think critically about science. No longer are our students merely reading textbooks, listening to lectures, or working textbook problems. Rather, conducting research requires them to develop thinking skills that put them squarely in the middle of the scientific process of discovering the unknown, of asking new questions, of finding new answers, and of wondering if their own answers are correct. The security of the textbook with all of its marvelous answers vanishes from their everyday lives as never before.

Want to separate and analyze a complex mixture of unknown chemicals?

The newly installed Perkin-Elmer gas chromatograph/mass spectrometer will allow students the opportunity to do elemental separation and analysis of chemicals.

Want to clone and study a gene that may be involved in a particular disease condition?

Our facilities and professors enable students to accomplish the advanced techniques of molecular biology with modern equipment and close faculty supervision. Our molecular biology core is well equipped to handle all student research needs.

Want to analyze cellular or tissue samples from experiments performed in the lab?

Our dedicated histological and microscopy core enables students to analyze the finest detailed structures within cells and tissues. All data acquired within this facility is recorded in digital format for ease of publication of papers or theses.

Realize your Research Potential

  • Conduct your own research in a modern laboratory
  • Work with a faculty mentor
  • Receive training to improve your research skills
  • Enhance your writing and presentation skills
  • Attend scientific conferences or meetings
  • Prepare for standard grad school admission exams (MCAT, PCAT, DAT, etc…) and the application process for each school
  • Network with graduate students and scientists in your field
  • Participate in extracurricular activities with other students and your lab group

Some Active Research Projects

Dr. Tapanes-Castillo’s research program integrates cell biology, molecular biology, and genomics. She collaborates with faculty at St. Thomas University to screen chemical extracts prepared from medicinal plants for anticancer properties. She has also partnered with Galatea Bio, a local biotech startup, to expand human genomics data from diverse populations for precision medicine. Dr. Tapanes-Castillo has used several model systems and interdisciplinary techniques throughout her research career including Drosophila fruit flies, mice, zebrafish, adult human stem cells to study autism biology, and computer science tools for data analysis, bioinformatics, protein modeling, and gene expression studies.

bREAL Grant

The College of Health Science and Technology, under the direction of Dr. Pilar Maul as the Co-PI, is currently a subrecipient of the USDA-HSI-NIFA grant #2022-77040-37619 with Project Title “Building Research, Education, And Leadership for Agriculture and Related Career (bREAL – ARC)”. This project aims to expand an existing multi-institutional consortium in Florida and Puerto Rico for training Hispanic students in agricultural, plants and natural resources sciences and policies for career placement in agriculture and related careers. The Consortium consists of Florida International University (FIU), as the lead institution, Inter-American University (IAU), St. Thomas University (STU), and Miami Dade College Homestead (MDCH). The overall goal is to develop a scientifically challenging and innovative educational and leadership program. The objectives include: to broaden agriculture education through enhanced institutional collaboration, to enrich existing plant science and environmental curricula, to offer aggressive programs of internship and community engagement, and to prepare students for career placement in the USDA and agriculture-related careers. Students interested in participating in this program may contact Dr. Pilar Maul at pmaul@stu.edu.