Research, Graduate Studies, and Postdoctoral Training

Zhiliang Xu, associate professor in the Department of Applied and Computational Mathematics and Statistics, talks with a graduate student at the chalkboard

As a Catholic university, one of [Notre Dame’s] distinctive goals is to provide a forum where, through free inquiry and open discussion, the various lines of Catholic thought may intersect with all the forms of knowledge found in the arts, sciences, professions, and every other area of human scholarship and creativity.

    —From Notre Dame’s Mission Statement

Research and graduate education have an inextricable connection to one another. Both professors and students benefit from working together, the former by mentoring new colleagues who can provide not only assistance but also fresh perspectives, and the latter by learning how one contributes to the body of knowledge in a particular field.

Quite often faculty seek out postdoctoral scholars to join their teams, as well. In addition to significantly enhancing a group’s research capacity and further developing their own professional identities, these recent Ph.D. recipients bring an understanding of the demands pursuing a doctorate entails, making them a tremendous asset to graduate students currently navigating that process.

Nitesh Chawla, Frank M. Freimann Professor of Computer Science and Engineering, presents at TEDxUND

Notre Dame fosters an outstanding environment for these wide-ranging collaborations, as they naturally depend, first and foremost, on the strength of the faculty, and ours are among the best at what they do.

Indicators of their excellence are numerous, ranging from an impressive fellowship record in the liberal arts to partnerships such as the Notre Dame Deloitte Center for Ethical Leadership and the Joint Institute for Nuclear Astrophysics—Center for the Evolution of the Elements. These faculty in turn bring their considerable expertise to the graduate programs administered by the School of Architecture, the Mendoza College of Business, the Graduate School, and the Law School, allowing the University to offer approximately 30 doctoral and 60 master’s degrees as well as the J.D.

Building on our commitment to support scholarship at the most advanced levels, recent University initiatives—highlighted by the Strategic Research Investments, Notebaert Premier Fellowships for graduate students, and the Office for Postdoctoral Scholars—promise to raise the bar even higher. This is a fitting trajectory for an institution founded on the premise that it would someday be “one of the most powerful means for doing good in this country.”

Indeed, those words, spoken by Rev. Edward Sorin, C.S.C., when Notre Dame was little more than an idea, continue to drive our research agenda some 175 years later.

Research News

New method improves stability, extends shelf life of protein drugs

Author: Jessica Sieff

Gaining access to important biopharmaceuticals needed to treat illnesses and autoimmune diseases is one of the biggest obstacles developing countries face. Now, a study led by Matthew Webber, assistant professor in Notre Dame’s Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, and appearing in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences reveals a new way to improve the stability of common protein drugs and extend shelf life. Read More

“The Frankenstein effect” of working memory: Researchers examine how brain stimulation affects memory reactivation

Author: Brittany Collins Kaufman

Working memory is a process psychologists are trying to understand better, though there are several theories about how it works. A new study from Nathan Rose, assistant professor of psychology at Notre Dame, examined a fundamental problem your brain has to solve, which is keeping information “in mind,” or active, so your brain can act accordingly. Read More

Bethlehem Star may not be a star after all

Author: Jessica Sieff

Studying historical, astronomical and biblical records, Grant Mathews, professor of theoretical astrophysics and cosmology at Notre Dame, believes the event that led the Magi was an extremely rare planetary alignment occurring in 6 B.C. and the likes of which may never be seen again. Read More

New discovery paves way for improved efficacy of pancreatic cancer treatments

Author: Jessica Sieff

Patients suffering from pancreatic cancer may soon face better treatment options due to the latest discovery by Reginald Hill, Archibald Assistant Professor of Cancer Biology in the Department of Biological Sciences at Notre Dame and researcher at the Harper Cancer Research Institute. Hill’s research focuses on drugs that are already approved by the FDA to find out why those drugs are not working in patients with pancreatic cancer. Read More

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