Hiram College

Application for the Louis Henry DiSalvo Research Assistantship in Microbiology

Undergraduate research is an important component of the Hiram College student's educational experience and one of the most distinctive characteristics of the Center for Scientific Engagement at Hiram College. Offered to all life science students through the curriculum and many others through independent projects, undergraduate research brings curricular topics to life and sparks curiosity in science. Students gain technical and analytical advantages after their time at Hiram, and many students who are introduced to research in classes choose to pursue independent research projects with a professor.

The Louis Henry DiSalvo Research Assistantship in Microbiology was established by Lucia DiSalvo Swanson ’70 and her family to honor her late brother, Louis Henry DiSalvo. Dr. DiSalvo spent 30 years in Chile researching, publishing and teaching marine microbiology, aquaculture and ecology. As a teacher and researcher, Dr. DiSalvo was a pioneer in the study of the benthic fauna of the Chilean coast, in the development of aquaculture of scallops and abalone and in the study of a unique animal — the Chilean “loco.” Through the practical application of his microbiology expertise he became instrumental in helping to establish that part of the Chilean aquaculture industry that cultivates scallops, abalone, and similar animals. In addition, he became one of the world’s foremost experts on the marine biology of Easter Island (a territory of Chile).

Dr. DiSalvo’s joyful pursuit of scientific discovery in marine microbiology and ecology inspired many of his students and other scientists around the world. A naturalist who tirelessly studied the biological diversity in many oceans around the world, he built one of the most extensive private collections of Pacific Ocean and Easter Island mollusks in existence. Dr. DiSalvo published more than one hundred scientific articles and scientific papers during his successful career and was the translator and editor of many more scientific works published by South American scientists.

The Assistantship

The Louis Henry DiSalvo Research Assistantship in Microbiology is offered as an annual, competitive award to one or more Hiram College students in the spring of the student’s sophomore or junior year for the purpose of undertaking independent microbiology research at Hiram College. The Assistantship offers a $3,500 stipend for a ten-week, summer research experience. The successful applicant will complete research with a faculty mentor who is a member of the Center for Scientific Engagement.


Applicants must have completed Hiram College Molecular & Cellular Biology and Genetics courses and must be enrolled in or have completed the Microbiology course. The successful sophomore or junior student will be selected based on his or her willingness and ability to undertake independent research, and the successful applicant will have demonstrated curiosity, perseverance and creativity in pursuing scientific knowledge. It is hoped that armed with these attributes that the student may find in the research experience some of the joy of discovery that Dr. DiSalvo experienced in his life and career.

Application Process

Applicants must submit to the Center Director a two-three page research proposal by March 15th of each academic year. The proposal should be written by the student applicant after consulting with a mentoring faculty member who will sign the proposal and serve as the student’s mentor for the research project. Review of applications will take place in March and be awarded in April in each academic year. Selection of the successful candidate will be made by the Director of the Center for Scientific Engagement in consultation with two other Center faculty members. If no successful candidate emerges from the applicant pool, the award will not be offered in that academic year.

Requirements of the Assistantship

The recipient of the Assistantship will work closely with a faculty mentor on a specific research project in the summer months following the announcement of the recipient. The student will play an active role in designing and carrying out the research project, the results of which will be shared on campus in the academic year following the assistantship. A written summary of the research experience will also be shared with the DiSalvo family upon completion of the research project. The student, working in consultation with the faculty mentor, will also have an opportunity to submit a research abstract to present the research work at one or more regional or national conferences, attendance at which will be provided from the Assistantship Fund.