Natural and Applied Sciences Annual Report 2019-2020

Letter from Dr. Bahram Roughani, Associate Dean for Natural and Applied Sciences

Natural and Applied Sciences has been impacted by two major events during the past twelve months. The global pandemic has transformed how we teach, learn, and conduct research, engage with one another and serve our community. At the same time, the renewed national movement for racial justice is a motivation to reexamine how we can contribute to the efforts aiming at meaningful and systemic change in support of social justice. In case of NAS, this may include reexamining ways to level the playing field for the success of all students majoring in STEM related fields of study. Our thriving Natural and Applied Sciences (NAS) community has continued its progress towards a brighter future. I like to highlight three significant new NAS initiatives during the past year; the establishment of the very first endowed chair position in sciences, the formation of the very first endowed divisional medal in the university, and the launch of the Haig Scholars program. There are more achievements and success stories about our NAS community members in this annual report.

Dr. Bahram Roughani, Associate Dean for Natural and Applied Sciences

NAS by the Numbers

This six departments within Natural and Applied Sciences comprise 27% of all undergraduate student majors at Loyola University Maryland (32% including interdisciplinary majors) and 48% of undergrad majors within Loyola College of Arts and Sciences. The division continues on an upward growth trend over the past ten years, offering three interdisciplinary programs (data science, forensic studies and pre-health programs), six interdisciplinary minors (natural science, biomedical physics, data science, environmental and sustainability studies, forensic studies and innovation and entrepreneurship), and two graduate programs (data science and forensic pattern analysis).

Figure 1. NAS program growth from 2009 - 2019 based on academic major headcount for NAS and interdisciplinary majors.

While undergraduate academic headcounts for NAS majors have remained steady the past several years, the percentage of students majoring in the sciences in comparison to all other majors at Loyola has steadily increased, from 20% in 2009 to 27% in 2019. This trend is even more apparent when measuring the total number of NAS and interdisciplinary majors (many of which fall in part under NAS programs). The total number of students with NAS and interdisciplinary majors has increased from 23% of all university majors in 2009 to 32% in 2019.

Figure 2. Percentage of NAS and Interdisciplinary majors in comparison to all other majors at Loyola University in 2009 (left) and 2019 (right).



"Our thriving Natural and Applied Sciences (NAS) community has continued its progress towards a brighter future." -Bahram Roughani, PH.D.

First Divisional Medal at Loyola University Maryland

The Choudhury Sarkar-Dey Support Fund for Natural and Applied Sciences was established in 2019 through the philanthropy of professor of mathematics and statistics Dr. Dipa Sarkar-Dey. A portion of the fund supports NAS students and part funds the Choudhury Sarkar-Dey medal, the first divisional medal at Loyola University Maryland. Biology major Sarah Kujala, ’20, received the inaugural medal. Additional 2020 medal nominees included Ann Ernst (Engineering), Chiara Maalouf (Computer Science), Zac Metzler (Mathematics and Statistics), Ethan Mullen (Physics), and Jennifer Valencia (Chemistry and Biochemistry).

Read more at https://www.loyola.edu/loyola-college-arts-sciences/divisions/natural-applied-sciences/student-opportunities/choudhury-sarkar-dey-medal.

First Endowed Chair for NAS Division

Michael Tangrea, Ph.D., ’96 biology major, rejoined Loyola University Maryland as the NAS division’s first endowed professor on August 1, 2020 and will help to expand scientific research in biohealth and promote economic and entrepreneurial success in the state of Maryland. This was made possible by a $500,000 grant awarded to Loyola by the Maryland E-Nnovation Initiative Fund (MEIF) with matching $500,000 raised by Loyola’s Advancement to assist with initiatives fostering innovation and entrepreneurship at the University. Dr. Tangrea has been an active member of the Natural and Applied Sciences Steering Board for the past several years before being appointed to his new role.

New Leadership Program for NAS Scholars

The Haig Scholars Program celebrates student achievement and the legacy of beloved faculty member, Rev. Frank Haig, S.J., professor emeritus of physics. In spring 2020, the NAS division designated 23 students as the university’s inaugural Haig Scholars. The juniors and seniors were nominated by faculty from all six departments within the natural and applied sciences and chosen based on demonstrated academic achievement, leadership experience and potential, commitment to service, and community engagement. The scholars will participate in a 1-credit seminar course during spring 2021 and receive recognition at commencement.

Read more at https://www.loyola.edu/news/2020/0427-haig-scholars.

New Graduate Program in Forensic Pattern Analysis

A new Master of Science in Forensic Pattern Analysis degree program began active recruitment in fall 2020. “Loyola’s program is anticipated to be one of the first of its type in the United States, positioning the University to become a top destination for education and training in forensic pattern evidence," said David Rivers, Ph.D., professor of biology.

Learn more at https://www.loyola.edu/academics/forensic-studies/forensic-pattern-analysis.

Community Engagement

Loyola Makers Contribute to 3D printing of Face Shields for Healthcare Community

Makers in the Loyola community joined the Baltimore Open Works Makers Unite movement in spring 2020 to provide much needed personal protective equipment (PPE) to the local healthcare community. Matthew Treskon, technology librarian; Billy Friebele, MFA, assistant professor of fine arts; and Yanko Kranov, laboratory manager and affiliate professor of engineering generously contributed their time and talent, utilizing Loyola's 3D printers to produce nearly 800 face shields total. Some were donated to Open Works to distribute as needed, while others were distributed to Lifebridge Health and Mercy Medical Center for use in units most impacted by the pandemic and most in need of PPE.

Engineering professor and lab manager Yanko Kranov's set up of 3D printers and shield printing, and a healthcare provider receiving a delivery of donated face shields at Mercy Medical Center in April 2020.



Drs. Afra Hersi, teacher education, and Tim Clark, mathematics and statistics, have been awarded a $75,000 capacity building grant from the National Science Foundation's Robert Noyce Teacher Scholarship Program for their 12-month project titled, “Building Capacity for a STEM Learning Network to Prepare Highly Effective STEM Teachers for Teaching in High-Need Schools.” The official start to this one-year grant is July 1, 2020.

The grant represents a collaborative effort among faculty in the Teacher Education Department, mathematics and science faculty in LCAS, and the Baltimore County Public Schools. Dr. Ramon Goings and Stacey Williams also serve as senior personnel on the project. The STEM-Network grant will begin in July and aims to provide the infrastructure for developing a pipeline of highly qualified teachers with strong backgrounds in STEM content as well as training in effective culturally and linguistically responsive pedagogies. The long-term vision of the STEM-Network is to close the student-teacher diversity gap in the Baltimore region.


Loyola has been awarded a $500,000 grant from the Maryland Department of Commerce. The award matches $500,000 raised by Advancement.

The Maryland E-Nnovation Initiative Fund (MEIF), administered by the Maryland Department of Commerce has awarded $500,000 in funding to Loyola University Maryland to establish an endowed professorship in innovation that will help to expand scientific research in biohealth and promote economic and entrepreneurial success in the state of Maryland. The funding will match $500,000 raised by Loyola to assist with initiatives that foster innovation and entrepreneurship at the University through 2021. Several NAS faculty were instrumental to the development of the grant including Rebecca Brogan, Ph.D., Christopher Thompson, Ph.D., Bahram Roughani, Ph.D., and David Rivers, Ph.D. (PI).

Loyola University press release: Maryland Department of Commerce grant will advance biohealth innovation at Loyola

Maryland Department of Commerce press release: Governor Hogan Announces Funding for Research Positions at Four Higher Education Institutions


Since 2018, CPaMS (Computer Science, Physics and Mathematics and Statistics) Scholars program has been in the process of transitioning from an NSF-supported to Loyola-supported program, with a new CPaMS leadership team:

  • Megan Olsen, Associate Professor of Computer Science (director and PI)
  • Mary Lowe, Professor of Physics (Co-PI)
  • Sibren Isaacman, Associate Professor of Computer Science (Co-PI)
  • Prince Chidyagwai, Associate Professor of Mathematics
  • Lisa Oberbroeckling, Associate Professor of Mathematics

Other faculty involved in CPaMS are:

  • Timothy Clark, Associate Professor of Mathematics & Statistics
  • Roberta Sabin, Professor Emeritus of Computer Science
For more information about CPAMS success, visit www.loyola.edu/cpams.
  • The yield rate of accepted students across the first four cohorts is 29%, and 37% for students offered scholarships. As a comparison, Loyola’s overall yield rate was 13%.
  • Across the first two CPaMS cohorts, graduation rate of women and ALANA majors is higher than students in NAS majors in general (73% vs 38% for women, and 67% vs. 7% for ALANA).
  • Of graduating seniors, 91% participated in research or summer internships.
  • 100% of CPaMS graduates plan a career in STEM, compared to 80% of surveyed graduates in the same majors.
CPaMS class of 2023 cohort (left) and class of 2024 cohort (right).


The following grants have been awarded and are active or have been submitted and are pending:

  • Development of a Multi-Institution Flow Cytometry Core Facility at Loyola University Maryland: Acquisition of a Fluorescence Activated Cell Sorter. Co-PI. ($412,470; Pending Kendig, Thompson, Geiman,)
  • Building Capacity for a STEM Learning Network to Prepare Highly Effective STEM Teachers for Teaching in High-Need Schools. Content Expert. (Awarded $75,000)(Thompson)
  • Currently in year 5 of the NIH R25 cancer training grant (NSIP). (Geiman)
  • Supplement award to NSF RCN-UBE grant, $11,240. (Awarded to Scheifele, June 4, 2020).
  • Summer 2020 was the second year of the NIH R25 CURE grant with the University of Maryland (Rivers).

Pre-Health Program Updates

It was a record year for Loyola’s pre-health programs in terms of acceptance rates and scholarships. In 2020, 91 percent of Loyola’s medical school applicants to allopathic or osteopathic medical schools and 67 percent of applicants to dental school received an acceptance. Similarly strong numbers were seen with other health professions applications, including those to physician assistant and optometry schools as well as to top-ranked graduate programs in nursing. Students also received major scholarships, such as Ph.D. research funding to dental school, full merit scholarship to medical school, and full air force health professions scholarship to osteopathic medical school.

For more information about Loyola's Pre-Health program, visit www.loyola.edu/Prehealth
Health Outreach Baltimore celebrated 5 years at Mercy Medical Center with a special event and presentation by Dr. Joshua M. Sharfstein, “How to Get More Health out of Healthcare” on Thursday, January 23, 2020. Attendees included HOB advocates and leaders past and present, university leaders and healthcare partners from Mercy Medical Center.

Hauber Summer Research Fellowship Program

The 2019 Hauber Summer Research Fellowship Program brought together 15 students across all NAS departments to engage in undergraduate research with faculty mentors supported by the Hauber endowed account and contributions from Whiting Turner, Grace, the Lowe Family and CPaMS program. In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, on-campus research was not possible during summer 2020. However, 14 dedicated students and faculty adjusted initial project proposals, conducted and shared research remotely. The 10-week program culminated with recorded presentations and live question and answer sessions held via Zoom with attendance by industry partners from Whiting Turner, Grace and Booz Allen Hamilton, and members of the Loyola community. The 2020 program was supported by the Hauber endowed account with contributions from Whiting Turner, Grace and CPaMS. Read more at www.loyola.edu/hauber.

2019-2020 Events

Summer programs and events

June 2019 & June 2020: The annual Cosmos & Creation Conference was held on campus during summer 2019 with keynote speaker Robert Bishop, Ph.D., professor of Philosophy and History of Science at Wheaton College, who presented “A Trinitarian Doctrine of Creation and Science.” The 2020 conference was held in a remote format with keynote speaker Philip Clayton, Ph.D., Ingraham Professor, Claremont School of Theology presenting public lectures on the topic “In What Sense is the World Spirit?”

July-August 2019: Loyola Engineering professor Dr. Suzanne Keilson teamed up with two summer programs in 2019 to inspire local youth to pursue interests in science and engineering. Engineering Innovation, a program developed by Johns Hopkins University, is a four-week summer program available to motivated high school students who receive JHU credit upon successful completion.

Loyola welcomed local wrestler-scholars from Beat the Streets Baltimore to campus for the second year for a three-week program which runs from July 15 - August 2, 2019.

July 2019: Biology professor and director of Forensic Studies at Loyola Dr. David Rivers and affiliate biology professor Dr. Alan Thoms-Chesley developed and implemented a one-week forensic academy in July 2019 for high school students from Baltimore City.

July 2019: The International Astronomy Teaching Summit (IATS), was hosted by the Physics department in July 2019. Professor Inge Heyer was the lead of the local organizing committee, supported by lab manager Barry Dalrymple. 82 guests attended, most of whom were college, high school, and planetarium instructors, and the successful conference increased Loyola’s visibility in the Astronomy community.

Fall 2019

September 2019: The September 2019 Grand Seminar featured keynote speaker Elodie Ghedin, Ph.D, professor of epidemiology and global public health, molecular parasitologist and virologist, and 2011 MacArthur Fellow, who presented “(Microbial) Networking Going Viral.” Ghedin’s timely lecture described how respiratory pathogens, including influenza, interact with drug-resistant variants and impact virus evolution. She also discussed the work being done with microbial and viral ecology in the upper and lower respiratory tract. View the recording of Dr. Ghedin’s seminar here.

Prior to the seminar, guests attended a reception showcasing research posters by the 2019 Hauber Summer Research fellows. During the reception, Bahram Roughani, associate dean for Natural and Applied Sciences, and Stephen Fowl, dean for Loyola College of Arts and Sciences, presented an award to distinguished alumnus Michael Hinkey, ’80, retired VP and general manager of Airborne C41SR Systems at Northrop Grumman, for his mentorship and support of NAS programs. Mr. Hinkey is an active member of the Natural and Applied Sciences Steering Board whose generous philanthropy has supported science students with scholarships.

October 2019: Baltimore Health Justice In Action, a panel discussion, was held on Tuesday, Oct. 1, 2019 from 7—9 pm in the 4th Floor Program Room. Attendees heard personal and community stories about health care justice and joined in discussions on how we all may contribute to positive change in Baltimore.

The annual STEM Career Fair was held on Wednesday, Oct. 2, 2019 in McGuire Hall connecting 24 employers with nearly 100 NAS students. According to the Career Center, average full-time salaries for NAS majors in the class of 2018 were the highest across disciplines at Loyola at over $61,000.

November 2019: Biology professor Dr. Bernadette Roche designed and led a toxic tour of Baltimore on November 2, 2019 with Dante Swinton (Baltimore Mayoral Candidate) of the Energy Justice Network, for Messina. This event was funded by Messina and Associate Dean Roughani.

Spring 2020

January 2020: Health Outreach Baltimore celebrated 5 years at Mercy Medical Center with a special event and presentation by Dr. Joshua M. Sharfstein, “How to Get More Health out of Healthcare” on January 23, 2020. Attendees included HOB advocates and leaders past and present, university leaders and healthcare partners from Mercy Medical Center.

February 2020: Celebration of Science, a week of seminars, interactive demos, special events and activities, was held during the week of February 17, 2020. Events included guest speakers, a Data Science networking and panel event, pop-up classes, robotics and physics club demos and a Loyola motorsports’ BAJA team display.

student success

Research Publications and Presentations

Three Physics majors and past Hauber fellows co-authored publications with Physics faculty in 2019 - 2020:

  • Erdas, A. and Metzler, Z., Magnetic field effects on neutrino oscillations, International Journal of Modern Physics A Volume: 34, Number: 23 (August 2019). Zachary Metzler, ’20, is a Loyola Physics major and 2019 Hauber fellow.
  • G. N. Derry, E. Mullen, and K. A. Marcelino, Effects of Dynamical Time Scale Mismatch on Time Series Analysis Using Event Intervals, Communications in Nonlinear Science and Numerical Simulation 80 (2020) 104986. Ethan Mullen, ’20, and Kenneth A. Marcelino, ’21, are Loyola Physics majors and 2018 - 2019 Hauber Fellows.

Four Computer Science majors and past Hauber fellows published or presented research with CS faculty:

  • Computer Science major Chiara Maalouf, ‘20, presented a poster in the Winter Simulation Conference (WSC) in December 2019.
  • Computer Science major Richie Kogut published a poster on the Hot Topics of Science of Security (HoTSoS), to be held virtually in October 2020.
  • Computer Science major Sydney Pugh, ‘19, published and presented a paper in Metamorphic Testing workshop at the International Conference in Software Engineering (ICSE) in May 2019.
  • Also co-authored by Sydney Pugh,'19 and CS professor David Binkley - Leon Moonen, David Binkley, Sydney Pugh. On Adaptive Change Recommendation. Journal of Systems and Software Volume 164, June 2020

Student Research Experiences

  • Eighteen biology students participated in an internship experience during AY19-20 (BL001 or BL399.
  • Forty-seven biology students participated in research during AY19-20 with faculty members.
  • Nine chemistry students participated in undergraduate research for credit during AY19-20.


Biology and forensic studies double major Daniella Colavita, ’20, was awarded the Whelan Medal for the graduating senior with the highest academic average in the University. This is the second year in a row a biology major has earned this honor. Daniella was also one of three students in the first graduating class from forensic studies in spring 2020.

Alyssa Hubal, '20, was awarded the first ever Biochemistry major graduation medal.

Student Club Achievements

Loyola’s VEX U robotics team competed at the CSM tournament in La Plata, MD on February 14, 2020. They made the playoffs and won their quarterfinal match against UMBC, finishing in third place. Congratulations, HoundBots!

The VEX U Robotics Team at the CSM tournament in February 2020.

Loyola’s UAV team participated in the AUVSI SUAS Competition on June 15, 2019 at the Patuxent River Naval Air Station in Maryland. Placing 25th out of 75 teams, the team was awarded a total of $700 in prize money, including $200 for flight, $250 for autonomous flight, and $250 for waypoint capture. It was a successful first competition for the team. To view the competition results, visit www.auvsi-suas.org/competitions/2019.

The UAV team has remained active while off campus, practicing drone photography and videography and produced the below aerial tour of Loyola's campus during summer 2020.

Faculty Success


Scientific Reports – Nature: Physics professor Mary Lowe authored “Carbon Nanotube Porin Diffusion in Mixed Composition Supported Lipid Bilayers” published by Scientific Reports – Nature in 2020. Nature is one of the most prestigious journals in all sciences. Coauthors were Aleksandr Noy, a senior scientist at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, and two Loyola undergraduate students, Kylee Sullivan and Joseph Lopez.

The department of biology published five manuscripts in fall 2019, all in good to very good journals. Highlights are as follows:

  • Rivers (Shoeffield and Brogan): International Journal of Legal Medicine – this manuscript had two student authors
  • Rivers. Journal of Medical Entomology
  • Lane. Biological Bulletin – In press
  • Geiman. Journal of Cancer Education
  • Kazi. Journal of Steroid Biochemistry

The department of biology submitted and presented six abstracts:

  • Rivers. Annual meeting of North American Forensic Entomology Association
  • Scheifele. Allied Genetics Conference
  • Thompson. ASM MICROBE annual national meeting (with students)
  • Thompson. ASM MICROBE annual national meeting (with different students)
  • Thompson. ASM Maryland’s annual poster meeting (with student)
  • Thompson. ASM MICROBE annual national meeting

Dr. Raunak co-wrote the editorial column for IEEE Computer volume 53, issue 4 as guest editor. The issue was published in April 2020. https://www.computer.org/csdl/magazine/co/2020/04/09062371/1iTqFENvSZa

Chemistry publications during AY19-20 included:

  • Hastings. Manuscript accepted for publication in Green Chemistry.
  • Nguyen. Contact.

Awards and Recognition

Top left to right: Elizabeth Dahl, Ph.D.; Robert Pond, Ph.D.; Lisa Scheifele, Ph.D.; Jesse More, Ph.D.; Bottom left to right: Christopher Thompson, Ph.D.; Theresa Nguyen, Ph.D.

Chemistry Professor Receives 2020 Faculty Award for Excellence in Transformative Teaching: Elizabeth Dahl, associate professor of chemistry, was the recipient of the 2020 Faculty Award for Excellence in Transformative Teaching. This award recognizes a colleague for achievement in an imaginative and effective teaching practice based on peer nominations.

Engineering Professor named ASM Fellow: Congratulations to Engineering professor and newly honored ASM Fellow Robert Pond, Ph.D. - "For excellence and dedication to the education of college and high school students in materials, metallurgical and mechanical engineering fields."

NAS Faculty serve a High-Impact Practices Faculty Fellow: Lisa Sheifele (Biology) and Jesse More (Chemistry) were both high-impact practices faculty fellows for a second year.

Biology Professor receives gift in support of research: A gift of five thousand dollars was given to support Dr. Christopher Thompson’s Research laboratory. The gift was from parents of one of his current research students and will allow him to continue his current research program, extend his research questions and offer new opportunities to future student researchers.

Chemistry professor Theresa Nguyen was invited to give the 2019 ALANA breakfast keynote speech.

Faculty and Staff Retirement

The following faculty and staff from Natural and Applied Sciences retired at the end of the 2019-2020 academic year. We thank them for their combined 151 years of service to Loyola and wish them the very best in retirement!

  • Margaret Daley, Administrative Assistant for Engineering and Computer Science (48 years)
  • Gregory Derry, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Physics (34 years)
  • Wayne Elban, Ph.D., Professor of Engineering (35 years)
  • Christopher Morrell, Ph.D., Professor of Mathematics & Statistics, Director of Data Science Program (34 years)
Margaret Daley (top left), Gregory Derry, Ph.D. (bottom left), Christopher Morrell, Ph.D. (bottom center), Wayne Elban, Ph.D. (right)

Alumni & steering board highlights

Thomas Horn, '13, Computer Engineering (pictured left)

Loyola science alumni provide mentorship and generous support to students and help our programs grow and thrive. Thomas Horn graduated from Loyola in 2013 (Computer engineering concentration) and currently works for Northrop Grumman. Not only does he spend time helping out with the Robotics club, but he is also assisting Professor Hoe with the technical advising of a senior design project, and serves as a member of the Computer Science Industrial Advisory Board. Please join us in thanking Thomas for his many contributions!

Todd Marks, '98, named one of Maryland's Most Admired CEOs of 2019 by The Daily Record

Todd Marks, '98, founder and CEO of Mindgrub was named among Maryland's most admired CEOs of 2019 by The Daily Record. A Loyola alumnus, member of the Natural and Applied Sciences Steering Board, and advocate for the use of technology for greater socioeconomic equality, Todd is much deserving of this honor. He was also recognized as a most admired CEO in 2013. Read more here >>>

Natural and Applied Sciences Steering Board (2019-2020)

  • William Olsen, MBA, '95, Director of Launchpad Operations, MasterPeace Solutions (Board Chair)
  • Brennen Baylor, '12, Associate Patent Attorney, McBee Moore Woodward & Vanik IP, LLC
  • Thomas Clark, '91, Supervisor of the Electro-Optical and Infrared Systems & Technology Group, The Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory
  • Tim Durkin, '79, NBCT Physics, Liberty High School
  • Gino J. Gemignani, Jr., '71, Former Senior VP, Whiting-Turner
  • Michael E. Hinkey, '80, Former Vice President & General Manager, Airborne C4ISR Systems, Northrup Grumman
  • Todd Marks, '98, founder and CEO of Mindgrub Technologies
  • Dr. Lisa Mazzuca, '91, Mission Manager, NASA Search and Rescue
  • Dr. Timothy E. Mueller, '85, VP of Science and Technology, Delaware Innovation Space
  • Dr. Karen Snetselaar, Chair & Professor, Biology Dept., St. Joseph’s University
  • Jennifer Tancreto, '95, Assistant Division Chief, Survey Methodology, Demographic Statistical Methods Division, U.S. Census Bureau
  • Dr. Michael A. Tangrea, '96, Director, Translational Research, Alvin & Lois Lapidus Cancer Institute, Sinai Hospital

Pictured right, board member Gino Gemignani, speaks with students in Loyola Motorsports BAJA SAE team following their presentation to the NASSB.

Thank you for your interest in the Natural and Applied Sciences at Loyola University Maryland. For more information, visit https://www.loyola.edu/loyola-college-arts-sciences/divisions/natural-applied-sciences.

Created By
Jennifer Sullivan


Loyola University Maryland