Physics and Engineering Department

Dr. Justin Link

Professor and Chair, Physics and Engineering Department

Dr. Justin Link earned his bachelor's degree in Physics and mathematics minor from Xavier University in 2002. He received his Ph.D. from The Ohio State University in 2008 in experimental biophysics under Dr. Dongping Zhong. His dissertation, "Ultrafast Protein Conformation Dynamics," utilized nonlinear ultrafast laser spectroscopy coupled with an interdisciplinary approach involving biochemistry and molecular biology to investigate the ultrafast conformational dynamics of heme proteins. He joined the physics faculty at Xavier in 2008.

Dr. Link has two primary areas of research each encompassing an interdisciplinary approach to further elucidate the conformational influences of site-directed mutations in proteins. Studies performed in his lab include both the light sensing protein cryptochrome and the model heme proteins of myoglobin and cytochrome c. Optical techniques such as absorption, fluorescence, and circular dichroism are used in combination with molecular biology and chemistry methodologies to study structure, folding, and stability properties of these proteins and associated mutants.

Dr. Link is pursuing funding at the federal level, National Institutes of Health and National Science Foundation, to further enhance international research experiences for our students and faculty to study cryptochrome. Dr. Link's collaborators include Dr. Margaret Ahmad who is an Affiliate Associate Professor to the Department of Biology and Research Scientist at the University of Paris, France, Dr. Dorothy Engle in the Department of Biology, Dr. Stephen Mills in the Department of Chemistry, and Dr. Dongping Zhong at The Ohio State University.

Since working at Xavier, Dr. Link has developed the Biophysics major.  Students performing research with Dr. Link are exposed to interdisciplinary approaches and have been members of the department of physics or biology. They quickly become the primary users on research grade instruments and gain working knowledge in the science of proteins. Several students have presented their work at international conferences such as the March Meeting of the American Physical Society.

Dr. Link's passions are teaching and family. He especially enjoys goofing around with his wife, two daughters, and son. In his free time, Dr. Link is a self-proclaimed Cleveland sports fan, rough life he knows. When he can, he enjoys outdoor activities such as camping, fishing, and hunting and dabbles in golf, softball, and soccer. When he is not in the class or in his lab, he can often be found with an office full of students quenching their thirst for knowledge.

First Year at Xavier



  • BS, Xavier University;MS, Ph. D., The Ohio State University

Awards, Honors, Certifications

  • Undergraduate Research Mentor of the Year (URMY) Award Recipient, 2017
  • National Science Foundation Award No. 1658640 ($249,291 for three years) IRES: PUI Undergraduate Interdisciplinary Research in Paris Characterizing a Crucial Plant Blue Light Photoreceptor
  • Joan G. McDonald Award for Outstanding Teaching in the Sciences, Xavier University, 2013
  • The Ohio State University Graduate Associate Teaching Award, 2007
  • Outstanding Teaching Assistant Award from the American Association of Physics Teachers (AAPT), The Ohio State University, 2006
  • Hazel Brown Outstanding Teaching Associate Award, Department of Physics, The Ohio State University, 2003 and 2005