Discover, Explore, Innovate.

Research at SFU

 At Saint Francis University, almost every discipline incorporates research into the student experience. It isn't uncommon to see students as early as their freshman year working alongside a Ph.D. faculty mentor on projects that matter. 



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Supporting Student Research

The Office of Student Research at Saint Francis University works with faculty and students in all academic areas to promote, encourage, coordinate and develop research, scholarly and creative activities by undergraduate students.  

Ways the office supports student research:

Student Research Projects

The Office of Student Research funds research projects submissions from students from all disciplines. Annual submissions are considered.

2022-2023 Student Research

The following proposals received funding (names, research department/program, and title):


1. Anderson, Abigail, Faber, Kristen; Black, Suzanne; Daugherty, Morgan

            Social Work

            Integrating Macro Practice Skills into Participation in a Student Lead Empowerment Week

2. Baldini, Olivia; Salmon, Kevin; Strom, Marius

            General Engineering

SFU in the Stratosphere: Atmospheric Ballooning Project in Conjunction with NASA’s Nationwide Eclipse Ballooning Project

3. Barnett, Patrick; Kosicki; Wang, Guochang

            Petroleum and Natural Gas Engineering

            Physical Simulation of Compressed CO2 Energy Storage in The Fractured Shale Reservoirs

4. Cooper, Marie-Therese; Wisniewski, Kristofer

            Exercise Physiology

Association Between Measures of Body Composition and Functional Movement in Cancer Survivors

5. DeHetre, Kayla; Esposit, Koral; Kline, Christian; Moist, Marnie


Effective Fidget Toy Interactivity on Youth Cognition and Hyperactive Behavior

6. Flanagan, Hugh; Meehan, Abigail, Strom, Marius

            General Engineering

            SFU in the Stratosphere: Payload Development – Nationwide Eclipse Ballooning Project

7. Gregorich, Cheyanne; Thomas, Brennan


Helping Build St. Francis University’s Tapestries Magazine

8. Himes, Nicole; Keane, Mackenzie, Strom, Marius

            General Engineering

SFU in the Stratosphere: Atmospheric Ballooning Project in Conjunction with NASA’s Nationwide Eclipse Ballooning Project

9. Hite, Olivia; Miller, Faythe; Nealen, Valarie; Moist, Marnie


Relationship Between Job Satisfaction and Brain Personality Color in Occupational Therapy Profession

10. Koval, Joshua; Smith-Diemler, Ashley


Evaluating the stability and cytotoxicity of nanoparticle-drug complexes

11. LaRosa, Vittoria; Roman, Benjamin

            Environmental Engineering

            Phosphorus Uptake Rate and Storage Capacity of Duckweed (Lemna minor)

12. Luchs, Logan; Hargittai, Michele


Assessing the effectiveness of Acid Mine Drainage using HSP70 gene expression of Typha latifolia and its ability to be a phytoremediator

13. Luchs, Logan; Hargittai, Michele


Assessment of the HSP70 gene expression of Typha latifolia using western blot analysis

14. McDougall, Bailey; Birk, Matthew


            Jellyfish Bell Shape Influence on Movement Effectiveness

15. McDougall, Bailey; Flaisher-Grinberg, Shlomit


The Assessment of Cats’ Activity, Mobility, Rest, and Sleep: The Shelter vs. Campus Environments

16. McGinnis, Stephen; Cammarata, Nathan, Strom, Marius

            General Engineering

SFU in the Stratosphere: Atmospheric Ballooning Project in Conjunction with NASA’s Nationwide Eclipse Ballooning Project

17. Nagle, Avery; Hargittai, Balazs


The Roles of α-Crystallin, Caffeine, and UV protection in the Prevention of Cataracts

18. Ochs, Alexandra; Smith, Benjamin


            Spectroscopic Survey of Acids with a Focus on Wine Analysis??

19. Seese, Abigail, Ochs, Alexandra; Smith, Benjamin


            Using Vineyard Soil Analysis to Determine Favorable Ranges for the Fermentation Program

20. Stover, Anna Belle; Wheeler, Meagan; Strom, Marius

            General Engineering

SFU in the Stratosphere: Atmospheric Ballooning Project in Conjunction with NASA’s Nationwide Eclipse Ballooning Project

21. Swaim, Mercury; Zovinka, Edward


            DNA Nanostructures by Atomic Force Microscopy

22. Trueman, Aleah; Towne, William; Moist, Marnie


            Funding for travel to the Laurel Highland Conference



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Pre-College Research Academy

The purpose of establishing the Pre-College Research Academy at Saint Francis University was to connect with area high schools.Through the academy our objective was to help high school students better their understanding of and readiness for the college environment, using research as a catalyst to encourage them to consider potential academic career paths. By pairing them with Saint Francis University undergraduates, we wanted to enable the high school students to explore areas of interest and gain experiences and skills that will benefit them academically and professionally.


A generous grant from the A.J. and Sigismunda Palumbo Charitable Trust allowed us to bring the first group of high school students to our campus to participate in research projects with the University’s faculty and students.  We were fortunate to be able to continue the Pre-College Research Academy following the initial funding thanks to donations by Dr. Peter Melotti (’50 Biology) and the Seffernick and Nartker families, and due to continued support by the latter we are continuing to offer this wonderful event to local high school student, although on a slightly smaller scale than the initial academy.

Research News


Printing with a Purpose

University Communications & Marketing | 01/23/2024
An empty plastic Powerade bottle kicked off an unexpected journey for three Saint Francis University Biology/Pre-Medicine majors. Their quest for free filament to use in their personal 3-D printers has blossomed into something truly extraordinary.

13th Annual Student Research Day Held

Marie Young, University Communications & Marketing | 11/09/2023
Students from a wide spectrum of majors showcased current projects at the Thirteenth Annual Saint Francis University Student Research Day on November 9, 2023. This annual event celebrates student research projects conducted on campus and allows the University community to become familiar with the unique and interesting work SFU students do.

SFU one of 50 emerging research institutions to receive NSF funding

Marie Young, University Communications & Marketing | 10/10/2023
The U.S. National Science Foundation announced a $399,727 award to Saint Francis University as part of its first-ever Enabling Partnerships to Increase Innovation Capacity (EPIIC) grant program. The agency is investing $19.6 million to help nearly 50 emerging research institutions grow their capacity to participate in and drive regional innovation.

Conservation genomics presentations free to public

Biology Department | 06/16/2023
The Biology department is hosting ConGen 2023, an international conservation genomics training workshop next week. Free evening presentations are open to the public on topics related to conservation biology and genetics/genomics.

Saint Francis joins Nationwide Eclipse Ballooning Project with NASA

University Communications & Marketing | 06/14/2023
Officially joining the Nationwide Eclipse Ballooning Project (NEPB) with NASA, the Saint Francis team will gather and contribute valuable scientific and engineering data by casting weather balloons far into Earth's atmosphere during solar eclipses in 2023 and 2024.

Biology professor interviewed on NPR about octopus RNA research

University Communications & Marketing | 06/14/2023
SFU biology professor, Dr. Matthew Birk, is one of the scientists featured in an NPR interview that delves into an article in the journal Cell, where researchers report that octopuses can edit genetic information.

NASA Anchor: Portable Moon Museum Exhibit

Science Outreach Center | 10/04/2022
Space Sciences and Engineering Mobile Interactive Exhibit for Rural Areas: Earth to Moon is a three-part display being built by faculty, staff, and students for display in rural communities of the Appalachian Mountains in Central Pennsylvania.

SFU to Host K-12 PA Statistics Poster Competition

Saint Francis University is happy to announce that SFU Science Outreach Center will again host the Pennsylvania Statistics Poster Competition for 2021. The competitions, held virtually, will offer cash prizes and certificates for first, second, third, and fourth place in each category. Certificates are awarded for honorable mentions in each category. The winning posters from the Pennsylvania Competition are submitted to the National Statistics Poster Competition. Posters MUST be registered/submitted electronically by midnight on Friday, March 12, 2021. General Information: A statistics poster