Research Programs


College of Arts and Sciences


Many active biomedical researchers reside in academic departments throughout the College of Arts and Sciences, such as the Departments of Biological Sciences, Chemistry, Mathematics & Statistics, Physics, and Psychology. Their areas of investigation include

•    Stem cells for treating spinal cord injuries, and neurological and degenerative diseases  
•    Synthesis of materials that exhibit antiviral, anticancer properties  
•    Development of a blood test to identify Alzheimer's Disease
•    Multivariate statistical methods for biomedical research
•    Mechanism of transposition and gene capture, and its relationship to genetic disorders and cancer
•    Arsenic detoxification mechanisms
•    The electrical activity of nerves and muscle
•    Radiation damage to DNA
•    The immune system’s response to virus infection
•    Genes that regulate tumor growth
•    The molecular structure of articular cartilage and the onset of osteoarthritis
•    Biosensors and chemical sensors for rapid detection of biomarkers.  
•    The collective behavior of a large number of living cells during wound healing and tumor growth
•    Modeling disease dynamics such as Vibrio cholerae in the human intestine and Chagas disease in villages in South America
•    The behavioral and biological components that modulate drug-taking behavior and addiction
•    DNA copy number variation, and its relationship to disease
•    Mechanisms of sperm motility
•    The physiology of hypertension and cell signaling, and its implications for diabetes
•    Characterization of proteins that connect the plasma membrane to the underlying cytoskeleton

School of Engineering


The School of Engineering has an increasing number of research programs emphasizing the applications of engineering to the health sciences. These efforts support and build on the new Engineering Biology undergraduate major. Active research projects include

•    Optical measuring techniques for characterization of biomaterials  
•    Development of micro-electro-mechanical devices for biomedical research
•    Biomimetic tactile sensors to detect breast cancer
•    Design of high-speed precision scan probe microscopy processing systems for nanoimaging
•    Statistical signal processing applied to biomedical imaging
•    Image analysis of the brain using magnetic resonance imaging to study epilepsy

School of Nursing

The School of Nursing provides degrees at both the undergraduate and graduate level. Many faculty members in nursing are active researchers, studying

•    How HIV-infected mothers cope with a diagnosis of HIV and their resulting life circumstances
•    Use of multisensory environments in the home for people with dementia
•    How women regain a normal life after breast cancer
•    Factors associated with aggressive behavior among nursing home residents with dementia

School of Health Sciences

Oakland University’s School of Health Sciences serves the community health care needs and prepares students to become leaders in health care, wellness, safety and clinical laboratory sciences. The Prevention Research Center promotes translational research: research to determine which strategies work among high-risk groups such as youth, women, or senior citizens. Topics include

•    The Oakland University/Beaumont Adolescent Obesity Study, a prospective trial of lifestyle changes on risk factors in obese children
•    Wellness and health promotion in people undergoing treatment for cancer
•    A retrospective analysis of clinical records for members participating in Oakland University-based health assessment of metabolic syndrome
•    Evaluating clinical change and visual function concerns in drivers and nondrivers with glaucoma
•    Identification of symptom Domains in Ulcerative Colitis
•    Enhancing participation of older women in surgical trials
•    Optimism in women undergoing surgery for pelvic organ prolapse

Eye Research Institute

The Eye Research Institute conducts research into the underlying causes of eye diseases that result in blindness and loss of vision. Since its founding in 1968, the Eye Research Institute faculty have received more than $40 million in research grant support from private and federal health agencies, including the National Eye Institute, one of the National Institutes of Health. Some of the active research areas are

•    Mechanisms regulating the pump rate and energy supply of endothelial cells that separate the cornea from the aqueous humor, which may permit restoration of transparency in corneas made opaque by disease
•    Regulation of the drainage of fluid from the eye, with implications for glaucoma.
•    Maintaining transparency of the lens and determining the conditions that may predispose the lens to the formation of cataract
•    New surgical techniques and pharmacologic agents for treatment of diabetic retinopathy
•    Enzymes involved in activation of the visual pigments of photoreceptor cells of the retina
•    Cellular mechanisms leading to light-induced photoreceptor cell damage
•    The genetic basis of the blinding retinal diseases, determined by defining the chromosomal location and characterization of the defective genes
•    Developing pharmacologic agents and new surgical techniques to treat retinopathy of prematurity