Research

Academic Departments

Browse below to explore research being conducted by faculty within our departments or, view a list of our research centers.

Anthropology

The Department of Anthropology specializes in sociocultural anthropology—the study of human social and cultural diversity. Faculty research focuses on the political, economic and cultural aspects of contemporary globalization. Through ethnographic study of communities across the globe, we seek to better understand the linkages between economic processes, political structures, modes of knowledge and cultural meanings in a globally connected world.

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Art & Art History

The Department is dedicated to the creation and study of the visual arts, including film and new media, through an investigation of their historical and contemporary relevance. Strengths exist in studio arts through an exploration of form, space and function in two and three-dimensional media, and emphasis is given to the role of digital media in contemporary art theory and practice. In art history, departmental teaching and research focuses on space and urbanism, media studies, modern and contemporary art, and art theory. The graduate program in Visual and Cultural Studies provides extensive research opportunities to study visual culture from a social, historical, and theoretical perspective.

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Biological Sciences

The department is united by a common interest in genetic processes, which has created a continuum of research interests among the different laboratories. Areas of special focus are cellular biology, developmental biology, molecular biology and ecology and evolutionary biology.

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Biomedical Engineering

Research activities include medical imaging (ultrasound sonoelastography, MR image analysis for computer aided diagnostics, and optical imaging for cancer characterization), molecular, cell and tissue engineering (biomaterial scaffolds for tissue generation, cell-cell and cell-molecular interactions in inflammation, nano-structured materials for bioseparations and bioeffects of ultrasound in wound healing and tissue patterning), neuroengineering (cell to systems level investigations of the auditory system) and biomechanics ( computational models of musculoskeletal tissues in relation to obesity and gait, cellular mechanics, and the mechanics of adhesion).

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Brain and Cognitive Sciences

Research spans the disciplines of cognitive, computational, and neural sciences. Concentrations of expertise are in Perception and Action, Language Processing and Acquisition; Learning, Development, and Neural Plasticity; Cognitive Neuroscience; and Neural Computation.

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Chemical Engineering

Research activities include biotechnology (3D human lymph node engineering, 3D bone marrow tissue cultures, and nanofiber-based tissue engineering), nanotechnology (solid-solid charge transfer in nanoparticles, nanostructured organic donor-acceptor interfaces for organic photovoltaics), advanced materials (polymer microcapsule development for laser fusion targets, vapor deposition polymerization of structured polymers, and the development of novel gene-delivery platforms for algal cells) and alternative energy (hybrid solar cells with organic and inorganic components, proton conducting ceramics and proton exchange membranes for use in fuel cells, and creation of new organic solar cells).

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Chemistry

The Department has ongoing research in the traditional fields of biological, inorganic, organic, materials and physical chemistry, as well as a variety of interdisciplinary areas. Faculty expertise spans virtually all areas of modern chemical research and related fields. The Department has strong research programs in photochemistry, nanotechnology, organometallic, catalysis, biophysical, bioorganic, bioinorganic, and synthetic organic chemistry. The Department is home to two members of the National Academy of Sciences and a National Medal of Science winner. The faculty have received a total of 18 National and American Chemical Society Awards for research and 12 Local Awards for teaching and research.

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Computer Science

Research is focused on Systems (program analysis and compiler technology, cluster-based server technology, routine support systems, and parallel and distributed systems mobile computing), theory (algorithms and computational complexity, with application in computational social choice theory, cryptography and security, and Markov chains/counting), artificial intelligence (knowledge representation and reasoning, machine learning, statistical natural language processing, AI-based assistive technology, and bioinformatics) and human-computer interaction (human computation research, information systems, human-backed access technology, and ability-based interfaces).

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Earth and Environmental Sciences

The department's research integrates a multi-disciplinary, systems-based approach involving chemistry, physics, and biology to the study of Earth and planetary systems. Faculty have research foci in paleomagnetism, geodynamics, structural geology, tectonics, applied geophysics, sedimentology, and natural and anthropogenic climate and environmental change. Geochemistry expertise includes noble gasses, trace and major elements, light isotopes, and radiogenic isotopes in both solid Earth and environmental sciences. New faculty bring strengths in climate change research.

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Economics

Faculty fields of research include capital theory, economic history, econometrics, finance, game theory, general equilibrium theory, industrial organization, international economics, labor economics, macroeconomics and monetary theory, positive political theory, applied economics and public finance.

 

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English

Research encompasses the full range of British and American literatures. The department has a long history of strength in medieval studies, modern literature, text editing and theory, and creative writing, and has developed more recently strengths in cultural studies and in film theory. Most faculty emphasize a combination of aesthetic, formal, and historical analysis.

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History

The research and writing interests of the faculty fall into three spheres on inquiry: 1) the world of nations, which emphasizes the complication of government, nationalism, war, and power; 2) the world of goods, which concentrates on commerce and trade, the supporting institutions and the consequence of various modes of production and consumption, and 3) the world of ideas, which focuses on the production and uses of knowledge. Because these areas of inquiry are not confined to a single nation-state, the department focuses on transnational and comparative study and faculty are historians with expertise in American, European and Global history.

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Linguistics

Research areas include experimental syntax, experimental semantics, phonetic and phonology, documentary linguistics, language and music, typology, historical linguistics and sociolinguistics. Faculty work closely with the Center for Language Sciences.

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Mathematics

Research groups work in five broad areas: The Algebra and Number Theory group has expertise in analytic and algebraic number theory, arithmetic dynamics and arithmetic geometry. The Analysis group has interests in partial differential equations, harmonic analysis and geometric measure theory. The Geometry group combines geometric and analytic techniques to answer questions from differential geometry, topology and some areas of modern mathematical physics. The Probability group focuses on the study of stochastic partial differential equations, important for modeling both natural and manmade phenomena. The Topology group has experts in algebraic topology, particularly in homotopy theory, who have been involved in some of the major recent advances in the field; there are also growing connections to robotics and sensors.

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Mechanical Engineering

Specific topics include nonlinear finite element analysis, solar magneto hydrodynamics, material fracture and fatigue, blood cell deformation, glass grinding and polishing, laser fusion, high energy density physics, plasticity of amorphous materials, bubble dynamics, the mechanics of the human heart, mechanics of ancient structures.

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Modern Languages and Cultures

The department of combines research of modern cultures, literatures, and languages, within specific national traditions, with the investigation of literary and cultural theory and practice across national and disciplinary boundaries. In their research, faculty examine cultural productions such as "Great Books," popular film, visual art, and nonliterary texts in relation to their historical contexts and with a view toward questioning traditional assumptions about gender, ethnicity, and nationality. MLC offers advanced coursework in literature, culture, and comparative literature, as well as instruction in French, German, Italian, Japanese, Russian, Spanish, and Chinese. The department is also home to the interdisciplinary Russian Studies Program.

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Music

The department specializes in composition, conducting, history/theory, music in world cultures, musical theater, performance, or popular music/ jazz, along with "core courses" in music theory, music history, musicianship, and keyboard skills. The music department is closely aligned with the Eastman School of Music, a world-renowned school of music.

 

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Optics, The Institute of

Research in fundamental optical physics includes quantum optics, nonlinear optics, ultrafast optics and high field sciences, and physical optics. Fundamental-to-applied research includes biomedicaloptics, fibers and optical communications, nano-optics, optical materials, optoelectronics and lasers. Applied research includes imagescience and systems, optical fabrication and testing, and optical engineering and design.

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Philosophy

The department has a variety of specialties in philosophy. Issues addressed in research include traditional areas of philosophy such as epistemology, ethics, history of philosophy, logic, metaphysics, philosophy of language, and philosophy of science, as well as recent contemporary concerns in bioethics and philosophy of education. The techniques brought to bear on these issues are analytical, formal and historical. The department stresses Western philosophy, ancient and modern, and gives particular emphasis to recent and contemporary Anglo-American philosophy.

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Physics and Astronomy

Core research areas in the department are: Astronomy & Astrophysics, Condensed Matter Physics, High Energy Physics and Quantum Optics. The Astrophysicists focus on the formation, evolution and deaths of stars, planetary systems, black holes, and galaxies using modern astronomical telescopes, developing instrumentation and detector arrays  and improving theoretical knowledge both analytically and through computer simulations. The Condensed Matter group investigates fundamental questions concerning the behavior of very large numbers of strongly interacting degrees of freedom, providing knowledge of the macroscopic physical phenomena and properties that arise from what are usually well-understood basic microscopic interactions. High Energy Physics faculty explore the fundamental constitutes of matter and their interactions. Experimental activity focuses on the use of high-energy accelerators to reach extreme conditions, and theoretical approaches which lead to frontiers of modern mathematics in attempts to crystallize and unify understanding. The Quantum Optics group studies optical radiation and its interaction with matter. Presently, more than a dozen cross-disciplinary research groups at UR are involved in some aspect of quantum optics in AS&E.

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Political Science

Traditional strengths in formal theory, statistical methods, and the study of Congress now augmented by new initiatives in comparative politics, international relations, normative theory, and a broad range of subjects in American politics, including race and ethnic politics. The department supports research and teaching centers in African-American politics and international politics.

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Psychology, Clinical and Social

Research in three signature areas: Motivation, Developmental Psychopathology, and Interpersonal Relationships. Motivation includes two theoretical approaches, Self-Determination Theory and an approach-avoidance model of achievement motivation. Developmental Psychopathology includes autism and related developmental disabilities, deficits in executive function in children with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, treatment and adaptation of children exposed to family adversity, coping and adaptation of children exposed to family conflict, and the impact of parent-adolescent relations on adolescent adjustment. Interpersonal Relationships focuses on marital distress, impact of family processes on adolescent development, and intimacy and responsiveness in close relationships.

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Religion and Classics

The department explores the great, classical civilizations of the west and the east, along with the major religions that emerged from them. Through important classical, biblical, and religious writings, either in the original language or in translation, researchers critically examine the beliefs, ideas, values, rituals, and traditions which have shaped western and Asian cultures. They moreover investigate the ways these have persisted and changed from ancient times to the present.

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