The motivation for our research activities involves sustaining the environment, protecting our homeland, and improving the quality of life for others. Given that the nature of our work is cross-disciplinary, student researchers in PIRL come from a variety of academic backgrounds including engineering, computer science, materials science, physics, health sciences, biology, and psychology. PIRL undergraduate and graduate researchers engage in mathematical and computational research, materials analysis and spectroscopic studies, as well as prototype development. Many of the technological problems that the PIRL group investigates are relevant for critical defense capabilities (such as cyber-physical systems), environmental protection (such as detection, monitoring, and assessment), and the study of biological processes (such as post-translational modification, cellular proliferation, and differentiation). This undertaking involves emerging instrumentation capabilities that enable a closer look at chemical reactions on surface structures, biochemical reactions in situ, and resolved analysis of cell signaling in controlled environments. The research activities taking place in PIRL are exciting, cutting edge, and have the potential to develop new technological capabilities well beyond imaging, including nanotechnology, particle science, and big data analysis. Our collaborative nature is what makes us who we are.
PIRL members also realize the moral imperative to be active members in the community. We participate in outreach activities for kindergarteners through adults. While the mission of the lab is to explore new concepts and theories, an important component to PIRL is the dissemination of knowledge to all academic fields and the invitation to those who are interested in exploring potential collaborations.