Faculty Research

The world-class faculty members at Penn State Lehigh Valley conduct cutting-edge research in a variety of fields and disciplines. Often times, Penn State Lehigh Valley students have the opportunity to work closely with these faculty members to conduct undergraduate research.


Dr. Jacqueline S. McLaughlin
Associate Professor of Biology
CHANCE Founding Director
2019 National Academies Jefferson Science Fellow

Whether working as a cell and developmental biologist on cancer cell lines in her PSU-LV biology lab or as a conservation scientist studying the effects of anthropogenic changes on ecosystem health and sustainability in the fields of Africa, Australia, Bolivia, China, Costa Rica, Cuba, Ecuador, Panama, Peru, and now Romania, Dr. McLaughlin's overall mission is to create learning environments where students at any level are inspired and effectively learn science by engaging in undergraduate research. She is the founding director of Connecting Humans and Nature through Conservation Experiences (CHANCE), Penn State’s award-winning environmental education program – a distinctive model which combines study abroad with undergraduate research in environmental sustainability. She has served as an appointed visiting professor at Jiangnan University, Wuxi China; National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine-appointed Jefferson Science Fellow to the U.S. Department of State; Embassy Science Fellow to the U.S. Embassy in Bucharest, Romania; and currently a special counselor to the vice-rector of research at the University of Bucharest, Romania. Currently, Dr. McLaughlin is trailblazing a new area of research – benefits of international course-based undergraduate research experiences (CUREs) in short-term study abroad instruction. Be it the life sciences, environmental sciences, or education-based science research, Dr. McLaughlin offers devoted and motivated students the quality mentorship opportunities they need to excel as undergraduate researchers.

For more information, visit Dr. McLaughlin's website >>

Dr. Julie Ealy
Associate Professor of Biology

In 2008 Julie B. Ealy began research with undergraduates to computationally examine the hydrogen bond interactions of small molecules in the active site of HIV-1 integrase. Computation on 41 molecules resulted in a poster presentation, “Relationship of Hydrogen Bond Interactions of Inhibitors in the Active Site of HIV-1 Integrase and Lipinski's Rule of Five for Drug-like Properties,” at the Retroviruses Meeting, Cold Spring Harbor, NY, 2010. Nicole Zekind and Peter Khoury contributed to the research. Hydrogen bond research on 159 small molecules was completed in 2012, and a poster was presented at the American Chemical Society meeting in Philadelphia in August, 2012 by three undergraduate research students: Sarah Israel, Robert Huff, and Talia Katz. In August 2013, Dr. Ealy represented her undergraduate research students – Sarah Israel, Robert Huff, Talia Katz, and Paolo Flauta – in Wuhan, China, where she presented at an international conference. Undergraduate students continue to do research with Dr. Ealy with the research being repeated on the prototype foamy virus (PFV) intasome.


Dr. Roger Egolf
Associate Professor of Chemistry

Dr. Roger Egolf has chemical training in drug design and the synthesis of biologically active compounds. His current research is in the general field of the history of chemistry. His historical focus is currently the development of graduate and undergraduate chemical education in the United States during the 19th and early 20th centuries.


Dr. Margaret Christian
Professor of English

Dr. Christian’s work on early modern English poetry and religious rhetoric involves thinking about sixteenth-century sermons and liturgy as dramatic texts. She is also interested in how people read the Bible during the early modern period—and what that reveals about how they understood allegorical poetry.

Dr. Christian's articles have appeared in Studies in Philology, Christianity and Literature, Sixteenth Century Studies, and Spenser Studies, among other journals. Her book Spenserian Allegory and Elizabethan Biblical Exegesis is forthcoming from Manchester University Press (2016).


Dr. Mark Gruskin
Assistant Professor of Finance and Accounting

Dr. Gruskin conducts empirical research investigating the evolution of firm choices for external financing. He is currently investigating reverse leveraged buyouts (RLBOs), i.e., firms that go private in a leveraged buyout and later return to being publicly traded. A key issue of this research is assessing what factors determine whether stock returns are positive or negative after the RLBO. These factors include restructuring activities while private and the quality of the underwriter used in the offering. Dr. Gruskin is also investigating the increase in firms that use little or no debt in their capital structure over the last 30 years.


Dr. Denise T. Ogden
Professor of Marketing

Dr. Ogden’s research areas are in retailing and integrated marketing communication (IMC). In retailing her interests are in consumer behavior (retail), including multicultural aspects of consumer behavior. Under IMC, her research is in tactical areas such as public relations and advertising, especially at the retail level. Of particular interest is how companies coordinate and integrate marketing communications that emanate from an organization. In addition to her peer-reviewed publications, she has co-authored two textbooks in marketing/retailing and one in IMC. Dr. Ogden also sits on the board of the Center for Retail Solutions.


Dr. Tai-Yin Huang
Professor of Physics

Dr. Tai-Yin Huang’s research interests include, but not limited to, gravity waves dynamics, energetics and airglow chemistry in the Mesosphere and lower thermosphere (MLT) region, Lightning-Induced Transient Emissions (LITEs) in the airglow layers, global warming and climate change, specializing in analytical approach, numerical simulation, and data analysis. Her research has been primarily funded by the NSF. She is also involved in the R&D of LED lighting and conducting research in harvesting and utilizing electrical energy released by lightning.


Dr. Kevin J. Kelley
Assistant Professor of Psychology

Dr. Kelley is a counseling psychologist licensed for the independent practice of psychology in the state of Pennsylvania. He has published in the areas of cross-cultural variations in adjustment, Internet addiction and health, and empathy education in the Nursing profession. He has recently completed a manuscript for a training manual on Active Listening used to teach undergraduates the beginning skills for effective helping relationships. His research interests are now focused on issues of attachment and psychological trauma. Specifically, Dr. Kelley is examining how college student’s attachment to their primary caregivers (parents) and history of exposure to adverse events (trauma history) affects the student’s ability to manage emotion (otherwise known as Emotion Regulation). Both his past and current research has included work on statistically analyzing the reliability and validity of research questionnaires.

Dr. David Livert
Professor of Psychology

Dr. Livert is a social psychologist whose research broadly examines how individuals are influenced by their social environments. More specifically, his research has focused on how intergroup contact – the interaction between individuals from different groups, perspectives, ethnicities, or cultures – influences attitude change, friendship formation, and team performance. Dr. Livert has investigated these effects in situations ranging from the training of professional chefs to students studying abroad to residents of senior housing. His other main area of research activity involves program evaluation in the areas of professional training, education and aging. Livert has carried out multi-method evaluations for the National Science Foundation GK-12 Project, New York State Department of Education, Office of the California State Librarian, and Allentown Housing Authority, among others.


Dr. Jennifer Parker
Associate Professor of Sociology

Dr. Parker’s research focuses on globalization, immigration, entrepreneurship, business organizations, labor markets, employment relations, and social mobility. She is interested in understanding how individual and group-level opportunity gets shaped by larger global and economic forces. She is currently writing a book on multinational business strategy and global consumption culture in India based on research that started on a Senior Fulbright Fellowship at the Delhi School of Economics. Her work on the immigrant economies of American franchises in the United States has recently appeared in Journal of Asian American Studies. Her book Fast Food Fast Track: Immigrants, Big Business and the American Dream (Westview Press) examines the interactions between global corporations, all-American brands, and immigrant opportunities. Her work has appeared in Wall Street Journal, NPR, BBC, among others.