Undergraduate Research in the Natural Sciences

Undergraduate research provides students with opportunities to engage in the process of scientific discovery through work with faculty mentors in pursuit of answers to relevant scientific questions. Students involved in research develop critical thinking and scientific reasoning skills that enable them to successfully enter doctoral programs, pre-health professional schools, and secure employment in scientific careers.


Biology Faculty 

Kevin Jansen

Dr. Kevin P. Jansen is an Associate Professor and the Chairman of Biology department who came to Drury University in 2009. His research interests include the life history, ecology, and evolution of vertebrates, particularly reptiles and amphibians; population genetics and phylogeography of animals, and the biogeography of southeastern vertebrates. Dr. Jansen’s recent studies with undergraduate students have focused on the effects of human land use practices on frog populations.


Ioana Popescu

After receiving her Ph.D. from the University of Cincinnati, Ioana held two visiting positions at: Whitworth College in Spokane WA (1999-2000), and Monmouth College in Monmouth, IL (2000-2001). At Drury, Ioana teaches a variety of botany classes: Diversity of Plants and Algae, Field and Systematic Botany, Medical Botany, as well as other general biology classes: Exploring Molecular Biology, Evolution, Biodiversity, and general education classes: Global Foundations: Plants and People, Science Goes Global.

Learn More about Dr. Popescu's research in botany.

Megan Ealy

Dr. Megan Ealy comes to Drury from Stanford University, where she had been a postdoctoral fellow studying inner ear development and regeneration. She has experience from a diverse range of institutions, including liberal arts, and her passion lies in teaching and mentoring the next generation of scientists. She holds a B.S. in biology from Ball State University; and a Ph.D. in genetics from the University of Iowa-Iowa City.


Nick Marra

Dr. Nick Marra received his Ph.D. in 2013 from Purdue University. His specialties are evolutionary genetics and vertebrate physiology.


Chemistry Faculty

Madhuri Manpadi

Dr. Madhuri Manpadi came to Drury University in 2012. She received her Ph.D. from the department of chemistry at New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology in 2008. Prior to joining the faculty at Drury, she did a teacher scholar postdoctoral position at Ohio Northern University, OH and a research postdoctoral position at Rutgers University, NJ. Her teaching interests include Organic Chemistry, Medicinal Chemistry and Biochemistry. She has been actively involved in undergraduate research and her interests involve in the field of medicinal chemistry, synthesizing new small molecules with anticancer properties.

Learn More about Dr. Manpadi's research in medicinal chemistry.


Albert Korir

Dr. Albert Korir came to Drury University in 2008. He received his Ph.D. from the department of chemistry at the University of Kansas in 2007. Prior to joining the faculty at Drury, Dr. Korir was a postdoctoral researcher at the chemistry department in University of California, Riverside. His teaching interests include Analytical Chemistry, Instrumental Methods of Analysis and Environmental Chemistry.

Learn More about Dr. Korir's research in analytical chemistry.

  Physics Faculty

Brant Hinrichs

Dr. Hinrichs has spent much of his time investigating how his students learned and didn't learn, and now, when time permits, does work in physics education research, comparing how students learn and understand microscopic and macroscopic models of physics phenomena. He collaborates on this work with his colleague Dr. Beth Ann Thacker at Texas Tech. He currently is an Associate Professor at Drury, where he teaches the gamut from General Physics to senior-level quantum mechanics.

Learn More about Dr. Hinrichs' research in physics.


Greg Ojakangas

Dr. Gregory Ojakangas is an Associate Professor of Physics at Drury University who joined this institution in 1996. His current research involves computational neuroscience and brain-machine interfaces, and he is a consultant for NASA's orbital debris program. He also continues to lead groups of students in experiments aboard NASA's reduced gravity "Weightless Wonder" aircraft.

Professional Career Story of Dr. Gregory Ojakangas

Learn more about Dr. Ojakangas's research in physics.