Lab & Field Research

Groundbreaking Studies

Dr. Pierette Appasamy works with students on understanding the development and evolution of the adaptive immune response, which is essential for protection against viruses and bacteria. Her laboratory at Chatham is the first to comprehensively study the evolution of the IL7 (a molecule necessary for the development of the immune system) signaling system by examining its structure, development and function in African clawed frogs.

Mental Health Research

Dr. Appasamy also examines the interplay of stress, exercise, immune function and the microbiome in college students. Because of the current epidemic of mental health issues among college students, these studies are important in identifying factors associated with better mental health.

Water Science & Sustainability

Master of Sustainability + MBA students in the Falk School measure and monitor stream conditions to better understand the ways water quality changes, and how that can change everything around us.

Forest Health & Succession

Lichen species are a small, but important, part of our eastern forest ecosystem. Like other organisms, the biodiversity of lichen and their response to the environment may inform us about overall forest health and succession. Unlike others, though, foliose lichen can accumulate airborne heavy metal particulates in their tissues, and so also serve as historians for regional air quality conditions. This research program, headed by Dr. Linda MK Johnson, involving sustainability and environmental science students aims to investigate and record lichen species diversity in areas of western PA, such as Powdermill Nature Reserve and Chatham’s Eden Hall Campus.