Research at Clark

Research at Clark

Transforming knowledge and improving lives

Clark University research binds inspiration to experimentation, links analysis with discovery, and shapes action. The institution is committed to expanding the frontiers of knowledge while seeking the elusive answers to consequential questions — whether that’s accomplished through the lens of a microscope, pursued within the pages of ancient texts, or achieved through the kind of social immersion that discerns the behaviors shaping a community and a culture.

Our researchers contribute to an essential store of knowledge: serving the common good in the here and now, and providing the broad shoulders upon which will stand the scholars and scientists of tomorrow as they strive for their own breakthroughs.


Research That Connects

Even when Clark researchers head down avenues rarely traveled, they do not walk alone. Their work is often girded by academic, community and organizational partnerships, allowing for a deeper understanding and a reach that extends beyond traditional parameters. Perspectives are meshed, disciplines spanned and boundaries crossed. This collaborative approach might be considered intensely original elsewhere, but here it is the norm. Nurtured by our departments and multidisciplinary centers and institutes, Clark research informs learning at both the graduate and undergraduate levels. Our students are exposed to pioneering ideas and practices that drive their own searches for illumination in a range of fields. The result is a continuum of knowledge-creation connecting Clark to the wider world.

Biologist John Gibbons deals with the big questions regarding DNA and the evolution of genomes. By studying the genes of fungi, he seeks to understand how disease-causing microbes evolve and emerge as threats to human health.


Psychologist Nicole Overstreet examines sociocultural factors that contribute to mental and sexual health disparities among black women and other marginalized groups.

Social Sciences

A photographer on the faculty of the Department of Visual and Performing Arts, Stephen DiRado focuses on long-term documentary projects. Here, he interjects himself (standing, left) into the photo as an observer of a family meal, "Lobsterville, MA, June 26, 2012," part of his "Dinner Series."


As E. Franklin Frazier Chair of African American Literature, Theory, and Culture and assistant professor of English, Esther Jones researches, writes, and teaches about subjects ranging from identity formation and intimate partner violence in popular culture to race, gender, and bioethics in science fiction.


Research Centers and Institutes


In addition to the wealth of scholarship and creative activity that goes on within academic departments, Clark’s research centers and institutes provide vibrant interdisciplinary hubs where research, learning and practice come together in innovative ways around thematic areas of focus.

Adam Institute for Urban Teaching and School Practice

The Adam Institute aims to develop and understand teaching that enables all students, especially those underrepresented and underprepared, to grow intellectually and personally and to qualify for post-secondary education. To meet this goal, the Institute works closely with urban school partners as a community of practice and inquiry, strives to cultivate powerful models of professional and student learning, and conducts research with Clark’s Hiatt Center for Urban Education and other colleagues.

Clark Labs

Best known for its flagship product TerrSet, which includes the IDRISI GIS and Image Processing software, Clark Labs researches and develops geospatial technologies for effective and responsible decision-making in environmental management, sustainable resource development and equitable resource allocation. Clark Labs’ innovative and customized tools provide software solutions for a wide range of difficult environmental problems including climate change monitoring, adaptation and mitigation, biodiversity conservation and ecosystem service protection.

George Perkins Marsh Institute

The George Perkins Marsh Institute conducts transformative research on relationships between humans and their surrounding natural, technological and socio-economic environments. Among the hallmarks of the Institute is collaborative, systems-based research that addresses global challenges such as climate change, socio-ecological sustainability and human development.

Hiatt Center for Urban Education

The Center connects scholars, practitioners and youth through the development of educational environments that advance our understanding of powerful learning and teaching in urban settings. The goal is to merge research and practice to promote community-building, knowledge creation and collaborative action. The Center’s work encompasses the worlds of schools, local neighborhoods and national/international networks, as well as the expanding virtual and digital universe.

Higgins School of Humanities

The Higgins School of Humanities enhances the intellectual and cultural life of Clark University by fostering connections across the humanities, social sciences and sciences; supporting humanities faculty research; and offering public programming and innovative courses. Its varied activities permit faculty, students, staff and the broader community to frame significant questions, reflect on them in substantial and multiple contexts, and develop new approaches and insights. Creating opportunities for dialogue, the School encourages more conscious approaches to discourse and exchanges across difference.

Mosakowski Institute for Public Enterprise

The Mosakowski Institute for Public Enterprise supports Clark faculty and students in analyzing problems in actual contexts, often in partnership with practitioners charged with solving pressing challenges to the public good. The Institute builds connections between knowledge and practice in the areas of health and well-being, sustainability, education and midsized cities.

Strassler Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies

The Strassler Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies, through an offering of rich undergraduate and graduate programs, is dedicated to teaching, research and public service surrounding the Holocaust, the Armenian Genocide, and other genocides worldwide. The Center offers the world’s only doctorate in Holocaust history and genocide, and trains the next generation of historians, scholars, teachers, museum directors and curators, and changemakers in nongovernmental organizations and government agencies.

"Clark thrives on the synergy between research excellence and engaged teaching. Research by nationally recognized faculty inspires undergraduate and graduate students, advances frontiers of liberal education, and results in research of consequence."

Yuko Aoyama
Associate Provost and Dean of Research


“We are more aware of the planets and stars that shape our universe than the earth just a few meters underground. Our study is broadly motivated and concerns conditions under which fluid flow results in erosion or transport of materials. The fluid can be water, oil, and gas but also liquefied CO₂ for potential carbon sequestration.”

Arshad Kudrolli
Professor and Chair