MIT's Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP)
MIT: Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Current Research: Project Openings

Below are currently advertised UROP projects available to MIT, CME and cross-registered Wellesley College undergraduates. All projects, regardless of mode (pay, credit, or volunteer) are expected to be worth MIT academic credit and be supervised by MIT faculty. Projects appear on this list in the order they have been received.

These projects do not represent all available UROPs as many faculty do not submit project listings for this site. Rather, they expect interested students to contact them based on their general research to discuss potential UROPs.

Available UROPs

UROP Project listings are posted for approximately one month before they are removed, unless we are asked to re-post.

5/20/15
Summer 2015
Department/Lab/Center: Plasma Science and Fusion Center (PSFC)
Faculty Supervisor: Leslie Bromberg

Project Title: Engine-based chemical reactors for distributed manufacturing of liquid fuels

Project Description: The goal of the project is to develop technologies that will permit small scale manufacturing of liquid fuels (for transportation and cooking). The project uses conventional engines as chemical reactors. We are investigating the possibility of using mass-produced units (engines) in small scale to compete against technologies that so far are economic only in large scale. The work is mostly experimental at MIT's Sloan Automotive Laboratory, but there is the possibility of doing substantial modeling if there is interest. Some mechanical and/or electrical experience needed, some programming experience helpful.

The program also involves faculty from the Mechanical and Chemical Engineering Departments.

Contact: Leslie Bromberg, brom@psfc.mit.edu


5/20/15
Summer 2015
Department/Lab/Center: Plasma Science and Fusion Center (PSFC)
Faculty Supervisor: Leslie Bromberg

Project Title: High temperature superconducting magnets for fusion applications

Project Description: High temperature superconductors enable very attractive coils for magnetic fusion. We are looking for help evaluating some of the options using high temperature superconductors. The work involves computer simulation and design. If time allows, the goal would be to benchmark the models using a small experiment, operating at liquid nitrogen temperatures.

Contact: Leslie Bromberg, brom@psfc.mit.edu


5/20/15
Summer 2015
Department/Lab/Center: Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL)
Faculty Supervisor: John Fisher

Project Title: A probabilistic approach to superpixel segmentation and its applications in computer vision

Project Description: Superpixel segmentation, a compact and visual intermediate representation of an image, is a key step in many computer-vision tasks. The goal of this project, which involves computer vision and machine learning, is to extend our recent state-of-art superpixel algorithm in several interesting directions as well as to utilize superpixels in various challenging computer-vision problems. This project will be supervised by Oren Freifeld, a postdoc at John Fisher's Sensing, Learning and Inference group.

Prerequisites:
1) Experience with Python is a must.
2) Experience with Python's numpy is highly desired.
3) Experience with CUDA/C/C++ is a plus.
4) Having taken a class in probability and/or statistics is a must.
5) Having taken a class in linear algebra is a must.
6) Having taken at least one class in either computer vision or machine learning is highly desired.

URL: http://groups.csail.mit.edu/vision/sli/

Contact Name: Oren Freifeld
Contact Email:freifeld@csail.mit.edu


5/20/15
Summer 2015
Department/Lab/Center: Brain and Cognitive Sciences (Course 9)
Faculty Supervisor: Gloria Choi

Project Title: Deciphering circuit dynamics underlying social learning using optogenetics

Project Description: Oxytocin is a key molecule underlying social behaviors. It is intimately involved with an array of innate behaviors from pair bonding, social recognition, sex, to aggression. In addition to innate behaviors, we have shown that oxytocin changes the fundamental processes that underlie associative learning. In order to decipher how oxytocin is involved in associative learning, we use a combination of techniques including behavior and optogenetics. Our current work is centered around the oxytocin system between the hypothalamus and the olfactory cortex. We would like to take on motivated enthusiastic UROPS with strong work ethic and interest in neuroscience. Initial work will involve technical work including the construction of optic fibers for optogenetic experiments. For dedicated students, we are interested in increasing the duration of the UROP period beyond the summer. We ask that you work for school credit 10- 15 hours per week during the academic year for at least one year if possible. This will be a very enriching experience for UROPs interested in long term research in neuroscience.

For more information about the lab please visit our website: http://www.gloriachoi.org/

Contact: If you are interested and want more details about the research/project, please email Michael Reed (m_reed@mit.edu) or Han Kyoung Choe (choehank@mit.edu) with your CV and a brief message about yourself.


5/20/15
Summer 2015
Department/Lab/Center: Sloan School of Management
Faculty Supervisor: Prof. Karen Zheng

Project Title: A Big Data Approach for Addressing Non-traditional Adulteration of Food and Drug Products Emanating from the Global Supply Chain

Project Description: This is a project focused on using big data to develop a risk management framework for detecting non-traditional adulteration of food and drug products emanating from the global supply chain. As supply chains have become more globalized, such adulterations have become a serious issue and have prompted new strategic initiatives at the FDA. The aim of this initiative is to incorporate a wide array of big data sources such as online news sites, blogs, and academic articles into a set of analytic tools and capabilities which will automatically detect, manage and mitigate the risk associated with instances of imported adulterated food and drug products.

Responsibilities: The project will involve searching for and collecting data from a wide array of online sources and electronic databases, performing content analysis, converting unstructured text data into a structured database, and performing basic analysis on the data.

Prerequisites: Must be able to read and type simplified Chinese at the level of a native speaker. A background in biology, chemistry, pharmaceutical engineering, economics, or political science is preferred. Intermediate programming skills for web-crawling and databases are desired.

Hours: Start as soon as possible. 15+ hours/week during the summer. End date is negotiable. Work can be done remotely as long as the UROP has internet access. Up to 6 UROPs are needed.

Pay: Project for credit

Contact: Please send your resume to Professor Karen Zheng, yanchong@mit.edu


5/20/15
Summer 2015
Department/Lab/Center: Brain and Cognitive Sciences (Course 9)
Faculty Supervisor: Professor Ki Goosens

Project Title: The role of ghrelin in fear acquisition in humans

Project Description: Recent work from the Goosens laboratory suggests that ghrelin, a hormone made primarily by endocrine cells in the stomach, is a stress hormone that plays a critical role in the regulation of fear in rodents. The aim of this project is to reproducibly measure circulating endogenous ghrelin levels around the time of fear acquisition in humans. Components of the research involve the organization of the study visits and data collection in healthy participants. The UROP would be primarily involved in the recruitment of participants for the study, running behavioral tests, collecting hormone samples and data analysis.

Prerequisites: Interest in cognitive science is highly preferred. This position is available starting in June 2015. There may be opportunities to work on brain imaging subprojects in healthy participants and translation to rodents.

Hours: 12 hours per week for academic credit. Schedule may be arranged on appointment to fit with classes.

Contact: To apply, please send your CV and statement of interest to Maria Dauvermann (mariad@mit.edu).


5/18/15
Summer 2015
Department/Lab/Center: Plasma Science & Fusion Center (PSFC)
Faculty Supervisor: Joe Minervini

Project Title: Stress analysis of a Magnet System Concept Design for a Fusion Reactor

Project Description: Demountable high field magnets with high temperature superconductors can be a “game-changer” for a fusion power plant design. They allow for easier, faster maintenance, while operating far from operational limits. This kind of magnet design has unique engineering conditions in the joint area, where large Lorentz loads must be supported in a very limited space, with minimum displacements to avoid damage to the superconductors.

We are looking for a UROP student to perform FEM stress simulations of the magnets and the joints, analyze the results and help improve the design based on the analysis.

Prerequisites: Experience with SolidWorks and Comsol is preferred but not required.

Contact: Franco Mangiarotti: fjm@psfc.mit.edu


5/18/15
Summer 2015
Department/Lab/Center: MIT Media Lab
Faculty Supervisor: Ramesh Raskar

Project Description: How can we create cameras of the future? This project will be devoted to embedded system design of an ultrafast (billion-fps) 3D camera. This 3D camera uses "echoes" of light to reconstruct high-quality 3D maps of scenes. In this UROP, the student will work with a senior engineer to improve the design of a PCB that interfaces a lock-in CMOS sensor with a controller system (Altera FPGA). Following completion of this task, the student will derive a signal acquisition model that characterizes the system and work toward publication of research results.

Prerequisites: Skills in Verilog or PCB Design preferred. A consistent time commitment of 30+ hours/week during the summer. Finally, a passion to publish academic research.

About us: We are the Camera Culture group at MIT Media Lab directed by Professor Ramesh Raskar (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y_9vd4HWlVA).

Contact: To join, please contact Achuta Kadambi (achoo@mit.edu). Welcome!


5/18/15
Summer 2015
Department/Lab/Center: Research Lab for Electronics (RLE)
Faculty Supervisor: Muriel Medard

Project Title: Reliability Driven Optimisation: when Boole meets Shannon

Project Description: "Reliability Driven Optimisation: when Boole meets Shannon" Faculty Advisor: Muriel Medard Mentor(s): Emanuel Popovici (Engineering, University College Cork); Contact e-mail: e.popovici@ucc.ie Research Area(s): Design for reliability, Boolean Networks, Error control coding, Boolean Network Coding, Decoding using faulty decoders. Traditional logic synthesis methodologies are driven by timing, area or power consumption constraints. However, due to aggressive technology shrinking and lower power requirements, circuit reliability is fast turning out to be yet another major constraint in the VLSI design flow. Soft errors, which traditionally affected only the memories, are now also resulting in logic circuit reliability degradation. The classical optimisation techniques are making in fact the circuit more error prone by reducing the redundancy. Current techniques for reliability improvement are based on local transformations and combinatorial optimization techniques. In this project we propose a systematic and integrated methodology to address and improve the Boolean Network reliability that are fundamentally rooted in Shannon s theory. The project will involve the design and evaluation of methodologies of synthesis tools for reliable digital circuits and will benefit from initial results achieved as part of the i-RISC project (www.i-risc.eu).

The ideal candidate will have interest in coding and information theory, digital logic synthesis, design automation for reliability and will have the opportunity to spend a 12 week internship at University College Cork, Ireland in summer 2015. All the costs will be paid.

Contact Name: Muriel Medard
Contact Email: medard@mit.edu


5/18/15
Summer 2015
Department/Lab/Center: Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences (Course 12)
Faculty Supervisor: Prof. Maria Zuber

Project Title: Extreme Genomics on Earth and Beyond

Project Description: Sequencing of life’s basic building blocks, RNA and DNA, has undergone a revolution over the last decade, with the $1000 human genome now in sight. Nucleic acid sequencing technologies are now becoming small enough to enable their use in aerospace and ocean applications such as: searching for life on Mars, mapping the global diversity and transport of life using unmanned aerial/underwater vehicles (UAVs/UUVs), or diagnosing astronauts during long duration space missions. We are building a miniature low-power DNA/RNA sequencer for these applications; remaining challenges focus on sample acquisition and preparation.

Potential projects include:
1. Help design, build, and validate a life detection instrument for Mars, the Search for Extra-Terrestrial Genomes (SETG). Useful skills: 3d design, rapid prototyping, electronics, molecular biology, genomics. We will be integrating nucleic acid isolation and nanopore based sequencing into a single instrument, tested in a thermal vacuum chamber.

2. Study the environmental metagenomics of terrestrial analogs of Mars, Enceladus, or Europa, such as samples from acid hot springs at Volcan Copahue, hypersaline environments such as Spotted Lake, or synthetic analogs of Mars. Can we successfully extract genomes from these samples using novel bioinformatics approaches paired with long-read nanopore sequencing?

3. Engineer an aerospace system to sample atmospheric microbes from the surface to the stratosphere, for use onboard a UAV or high altitude balloon.

4. Demonstrate the potential to sample life while orbiting Saturn’s moon Enceladus: Show whether we can successfully sample particles from plumes emanating from the South Polar Terrain of Enceladus while preserving organics including, possibly, nucleic acids.

You will have an opportunity to work with an interdisciplinary team, to gain expertise in a variety of disciplines, to develop skills applicable to future research and industry, carry out experiments, build hardware, test under space-like conditions in a thermal-vacuum chamber, and ultimately, deploy space hardware. The sky is not the limit.

Prerequisites: Biology background desirable. You must be highly motivated, technically excellent, with strong analytical and problem solving skills, able to work independently and contribute to an interdisciplinary team, and have excellent communication and interpersonal skills. Experience in aerospace / mechanical / electrical / biological engineering, biology, geology, or a related field is a plus. We also highly value creativity, drive, and dedication to the search for life beyond Earth. Experience with molecular biology, high throughput sequencing, embedded systems, microcontrollers, mechanical design, thermal modeling, space instrumentation, and other relevant skills highly valued but not required. Freshman welcome.

Time Commitment and Location: Full time 10+ weeks during summer, based one T-stop from MIT at the Massachusetts General Hospital (185 Cambridge St, Boston MA 02114).

URL: setg.mit.edu, carrlab.org

Contact: To apply, please send email with “UROP” in the subject line, resume/CV, and a short statement of interest by May 25 to Christopher Carr (chrisc@mit.edu).


5/18/15
Summer 2015
Department/Lab/Center: Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences (Course 12)
Faculty Supervisor: Prof. Maria Zuber

Project Title: The Search for Extra-Terrestrial Genomes (SETG)

Project Description: Explore the limits of life and build an integrated genomics platform for life detection beyond Earth. This NASA-funded effort, the Search for Extra-Terrestrial Genomes (SETG, setg.mit.edu), has the potential to provide the first direct evidence for life on Mars and on icy moons, as well as enable diverse environmental and clinical applications. This is an opportunity to 1) develop, evaluate, and integrate technologies for bioseparation and sequencing, including nanopore-based single molecule approaches, to 2) design, develop, and validate the instrument in the lab, and in the field at terrestrial analogs of Mars or other extreme environments. This position is based in the Department of Molecular Biology at the Massachusetts General Hospital. You will work closely with the Science PI, Christopher Carr (carrlab.org), in association with the project PI Maria Zuber at MIT, the MGH Institutional PI Gary Ruvkun, and other academic and industrial partners.

Prerequisites: You must be highly motivated, technically excellent, with strong analytical and problem solving skills, able to work independently and contribute to an interdisciplinary team, and have excellent communication and interpersonal skills. Experience in aerospace / mechanical / electrical / biological engineering, biology, geology, or a related field is a plus. We also highly value creativity, drive, and dedication to the search for life beyond Earth. Experience with molecular biology, high throughput sequencing, embedded systems, microcontrollers, mechanical design, thermal modeling, space instrumentation, and other relevant skills highly valued but not required. Freshman welcome.

URL: setg.mit.edu, carrlab.org

Contact: To apply, please send email with “UROP” in the subject line, resume/CV, and a short statement of interest by May 25 to Christopher Carr (chrisc@mit.edu).


5/18/15
Summer 2015
Department/Lab/Center: Media Laboratory
Faculty Supervisor: Kevin Slavin

Project Title: AutomaTiles

Project Description: Playful Systems is working on a series of devices that expose computational logic and emergent behavior with hands on objects. The projects have room for development on both the industrial design as well as electrical engineering. One such project is called AutomaTiles, which is a set of simple tessellating tiles which act like cellular automata. All of the engineering will be happening at a relatively small scale, so rapid prototyping will be a focus and we will have great access to the Media Lab's fabrication lab. The ideal ME candidate has experience in CAD such as Rhino, Solidworks, or Inventor and is comfortable designing for real world constraints. An ideal EE candidate has experience with Eagle as well as hands on experience debugging hardware with an oscilloscope. Depending on prior experience the summer position can be full time or part time. For an idea of scale, current prototypes of AutomaTiles can be seen here: https://instagram.com/p/2Sd5OnjjG7/.

Prerequisites: CAD -> EAGLE, SolidWorks, Rhino, Inventor

Contact Name: Jonathan Bobrow
Contact Email:jbobrow@media.mit.edu


5/18/15
Summer 2015
Department/Lab/Center: Media Laboratory
Faculty Supervisor: Kevin Slavin

Project Title: Cordon Sanitaire

Project Description: Playful Systems is bringing an experimental realtime cooperative, geolocative game to the iOS appstore this summer and is looking for a UROP with interest in design as well as development. The application is written in Swift as a native iOS app and there are components that are written in javascript for game management, analytics and more. This is a great opportunity to get experience developing and deploying an app in an iterative design process. An ideal candidate has some iOS familiarity. Other positives are HTML, CSS, Javascript experience. Depending on prior experience the summer position can be full time or part time.

Prerequisites: Github, iOS experience (Objective-C or Swift), Javascript, HTML, CSS

URL: http://cordonsans.tumblr.com/

Contact Name: Jonathan Bobrow
Contact Email:jbobrow@media.mit.edu


5/12/15
Summer 2015
Department/Lab/Center: Biological Engineering (Course 20)
Faculty Supervisor: Prof. Alan Jasanoff

Project Title: Voltage sensitive MRI microprobes

Project Description: This project involves highly innovative interfacing between live neurons and nano-fabricated probes for the magnetic resonance imaging of neural activity. The project includes primary neural cell culturing on nano-fabricated devices and magnetic measurements of cells. The student's role involves performing the neuron culture growth on the devices and participation in magnetic recordings.

Prerequisites: Year long commitment, motivation.

URL: http://web.mit.edu/jasanofflab/

Contact Name: Aviad Hai
Contact Email:aviadhai@mit.edu


5/12/15
Summer 2015
Department/Lab/Center: Brain and Cognitive Sciences (Course 9)
Faculty Supervisor: Ann Graybiel

Project Title: Testing the role of striatal processing in learning and decision making

Project Description: The striatum is an important brain region for movement, procedural learning and motivation but its exact role and the underlying circuit mechanisms remain elusive. In this project we will manipulate parts of the striatal microcircuitry in order to test existing hypotheses about the way the striatum contributes to learning and behavioral control.

Description of work: Your work will consist of performing behavioral tests on mice and manipulating specific parts of the striatal circuitry using optogenetics. In following experiments we will combine this with advanced electrophysiological recordings to unravel the underlying mechanism.

Requirements: We are looking for a highly motivated student who is serious and eager to learn state of the art neurophysiological methods. Work will take between 9 and 18 hours a week. We strongly prefer a student who wants to continue working on this project after this summer. Initially it will be on a voluntary basis but later credits will be provided.

Contact: Please send you CV and a cover letter to Bernard Bloem (bbloem@mit.edu)


5/12/15
Summer 2015
Department/Lab/Center: MIT Media Lab
Faculty Supervisor: Prof. Tod Machover

Project Title: Music Technology Systems Engineering

Project Description: Opera of the Future is looking for developers with at least 2 years experience working in NodeJS/Javascript, Objective-C, and C++, especially with experience in embedded programming, DSP, and computer vision. We are developing a number of projects for large musical performance commissions for the Lucerne Festival in Switzerland. There is the potential that successful candidates will be invited to Switzerland to support customized performance systems.

Students should be self motivated and able to work independently. Those who do well in Opera of the Future are creative at finding answers and solutions even when they are not sure exactly what path to take.

Research Roles: Maintain a large codebase for several upcoming productions and working with Opera of the Future researches to develop performance capture, data processing and control systems. Proficiency with version control (git) and bug tracking platforms such as phabricator is preferred.

Contact: Please e-mail Simone Ovsey (sovsey@mit.edu) with your resume/CV and related experience.


5/12/15
Summer 2015
Department/Lab/Center: Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences (Course 12)
Faculty Supervisor: Sai Ravela

Project Title: Functional interpretation of genomes using biological networks

Project Description: The MIT CAOS project (caos.mit.edu) seeks to develop UAS based solutions for environmental monitoring with active deployments at the Popocatepetl volcano and for climatological study of shallow cumuli. In this project we seek to develop persistent multi-UAS autonomous mapping methods by combining gathering data and models of the environment to sample more effectively. The research opportunity is for the design and use of a new hybrid-wing, hybrid-propulsion, and adaptive sampling, and mapping algorithms with current aircraft and the new ones. For those interested, additional projects in tracking Sea Lions is also a possibility. We are both a methodological and experimental group so that your interest at many levels can be supported towards the project outcomes.

The project is for juniors or seniors in nearly any department with an interest in flying, machine learning, controls, and aerodynamics.

Contact: Sai Ravela (ravela@mit.edu).


5/12/15
Summer 2015
Department/Lab/Center: Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences (Course 12)
Faculty Supervisor: Sai Ravela

Project Title: Functional interpretation of genomes using biological networks

Project Description: The MIT Sloop project is a leading animal biometrics research program that develops vision, learning and community based algorithms to aid conservation. It does this by recognizing individual animals from photographs taken by biologists in natural habitats (sloop.mit.edu). Many species are of interest, jaguars, whale sharks, salamanders, skinks, toads, frogs, mosquitos to name a few. We are looking for seniors going on MEng, seniors and juniors. The research opportunity or assistantship involves you adopting a species and developing an algorithm to recognize individuals using available tools and others you might want to create. We then deploy it for the user, and watching them create biological inventories to solve conservation questions is simply precious. Students have published in excellent journals and conferences in the past. Deployments being of immediate value, they have sometimes found themselves mentioned in popular press.

If you are interested in algorithms, interfaces or intelligence and excited about conservation, and are looking for support, please apply!

Contact: Sai Ravela (ravela@mit.edu).


5/12/15
Summer 2015
Department/Lab/Center: MIT Department of Biology, The Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard
Faculty Supervisor: Aviv Regev

Project Title: Functional interpretation of genomes using biological networks

Project Description: The rapid improvements in our ability to interrogate genomes for variation associated with diseases, has lead to an explosion in genomic data. Systematically assigning function to variants in these large datasets, and understanding how variation in different genes converge on functional molecular networks, remains a major challenge. This limits our progress towards biological insight and therapeutic intervention. The specific goal of this UROP project is to participate in a team that develops large-scale computational methods to functionally interpret genomic data using biological networks (i.e., networks in which genes are connected if they are functionally associated in some experimental system). A dozen biological networks exist in the public domain that have been generated by weaving together data from tens of thousands of experiments and the student will make quantitative comparisons of these networks. Moreover, he/she will incorporate these networks into a computational pipeline being built at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard for genome interpretation. The student will also be involved in testing the pipeline and running analyses on new genomic datasets. A pilot version of the pipeline is already being used widely in the genomics community and the student will have the opportunity to interact with computer scientists, computational biologists, software developers and researchers in areas such as cancer and psychiatric disorders where the pipeline is being implemented. The student is expected to continue into the summer after the spring semester, and the project can lead to scientific publications.

The project will be mainly supervised by Kasper Lage (Instructor, Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School); and co-supervised by Aviv Regev (Director, Klarman Cell Observatory, the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, Associate Professor of Biology, MIT).

Prerequisites:
- Highly motivated student in computer science, bioinformatics, computational biology or the likes.

- An interest in the genetics of common disorders and cancers.

- Strong computational skills in R, Perl, C++, Python or Java.

- The ability and will to work in cross-disciplinary teams.

- Knowledge about biology and genetics is a plus, but not a must.

Contact: Please send your application to lage.kasper@mgh.harvard.edu. The application should contain a CV, your availability schedule, and a brief paragraph on your interests and expectation of the project.


5/12/15
Summer 2015
Department/Lab/Center: Media Laboratory
Faculty Supervisor: Dr. Roz Picard

Project Title: TIMagotchi : a digital pet for your health

Project Description: We re building a tamagotchi-style virtual pet mobile application, in which you use your diet and exercise to care for your creature. We re engaging people in a unique, gamified way to encourage them to manage their health and stress. Upon completion we will be launching this game in our undergraduate community in order to understand student health and experiment with positive behavior interventions. Currently, we ve mocked up a web-app version which has been tested with 20 users using Javascript. It connects to the Fitbit API to collect exercise data. We d like to build out the back end (integrating more device support) and build an entirely new front end (a new animated pet, new game mechanics, and new interactions with your pet, with your data, and with others pets). We re still in the brainstorming phase, so you can help shape the future of this project. We believe we can make a really compelling game experience that can change campus health with your help. If you re a self-starting programmer who is interested in game design and health tech, please reach out to us!

Prerequisites: The ideal student would have a strong interest in health intervention and gamification, as well as:
-Cordova/PhoneGap Experience -(AND/OR) Front-End Experience in Javascript/HTML
-(AND/OR) Back-End Experience in Javascript/Node/DBs and RESTful APIs
-(AND/OR) Animation and Graphic Design Experience for Web
-(AND/OR) UI Design Experience -(AND/OR) is a Recovering/Relapsing Tamagotchi Addict

We re also open to going fully native (iOS or Android) with the application, if you have those skills. We re looking forward to hearing from you!

Contact Name: David Ramsay
Contact Email: dramsay@mit.edu


5/8/15
Summer 2015
Department/Lab/Center: Media Laboratory
Faculty Supervisor: Ethan Zuckerman

Project Title: First upload: Finding the first breaking video uploaded on social

Project Description: The Future of News initiative, part of the Center for Civic Media at the MIT Media Lab, is creating software to help journalists verify the authenticity of videos uploaded to social media. Verification is hugely important because of the staggering number posts uploaded about important images of events, from the chilling to the amusing. Yet it can be incredibly difficult to authenticate these videos, greatly hindering journalists who are trying to inform viewers. Cases of outright fraud or deception are distressingly common. We are seeking a UROP to create a tool to help determine which viral video or photo was uploaded first, scanning social media sites ranging from YouTube to Facebook. Finding the first upload provides a vital piece in the verification chain that journalists create to prove authenticity. This is a joint project between YouTube, Bloomberg, and the Future of News. The developer would be working with a small group of advisors from all three organizations, and possibly others as well. The student would learn a lot about API integration, collaboration, verification, and journalism.

Prerequisites: The ideal student would have a strong interest in news and journalism, as well as skills in:
-Programming in Python and/or Java
-Experience in web programming
-Being able to work with public APIs of services like Twitter and Reddit
-Experience with data collection through scraping websites
-Experience in developing user-interfaces

Contact Name: Matt Carroll
Contact Email:matt54@media.mit.edu


5/6/15
Summer 2015
Department/Lab/Center: Civil and Environmental Engineering (Course 1)
Faculty Supervisor: Prof. Franz-Josef Ulm

Project Title: Quantifying brittleness and ductility of hydrocarbon-bearing rocks at sub-micron scale.

Project Description: The focus of this project is the investigation of functional relationship between elastic properties, yield strength, as well as the resistance to crack propagation of gas shale and formation temperature. The brittle-to-ductile behavior of shale will be systematically studied at submicron scale with novel micro-indentation and scratching techniques. For this purpose, an innovative temperature-controlled scratch-indentation platform will be developed and tested in the Laboratory for Materials in Extreme Environments (X.Lab). We are looking for a summer UROP student interested in the mechanical behavior of composite materials, capable of and interested in conducting experimental research, with strong analytical skills. Successful candidate will be guided in the experimental work by Dr. Konrad J. Krakowiak, and supervised by Prof. Franz-Josef Ulm. Funding is available through MIT Energy Initiative Summer 2015 UROP program.

Prerequisites: This position requires in-depth understanding of mechanics of materials and statistical analysis of experimental data. Previous experience in experimental research is a plus. Experience using MATLAB, Microsoft Office is necessary. Strong analytical skills and ability to conduct and communicate research are required.

URL: https://cee.mit.edu/ulm

Contact: To apply, please send CV and a short statement of interest by May 31 to Konrad J.Krakowiak (kjkrak@mit.edu).


5/6/15
Summer 2015
Department/Lab/Center: Media Laboratory
Faculty Supervisor: Ethan Zuckerman

Project Title: Data Visualization Researcher

Project Description: We are seeking a UROP student to research data visualization tools, organize and add to our existing database, experiment with learning the tools and evaluating their documentation, conduct interviews with toolmakers and users, and help us develop a taxonomy and classification system for these tools. The ideal student would have a strong interest in data visualization, journalism & civic media, and democratization of technology. Our research seeks to come up with a systematic way of classifying and evaluating data visualization tools in order to guide practitioners in choosing data visualization tools and in order to create design recommendations for building new tools. You will come away with strong data literacy skills and a deep knowledge of tools and approaches to data visualization for beginners.

Prerequisites: This role requires good written communication skills. Experience with Wordpress is a plus. Technical skills desired include HTML/CSS, python, and basic data analysis or visualization.

Contact: Rahul Bhargava (rahulb@media.mit.edu)


5/4/15
Summer 2015
Department/Lab/Center: Media Laboratory
Faculty Supervisor: Ethan Zuckerman

Project Title: Deepstream - a platform for curating livestreams

Project Description: The Center for Civic Media at the MIT Media Lab is developing a new platform that lets people re-imagine the livestream experience. Based partly on FOLD (a reading, authoring, and publishing platform recently developed in the Center), Deepstream is a curation platform to present livestreams in context, and for connecting viewers to global events in ways that emphasize local perspectives and deeper engagement, while maintaining the experience of immediacy and authenticity that is at the core of livestreaming. We are looking for a summer UROP to work under the guidance our lead developer, with direction from our design team, to help build out the app and add and maintain features as development progresses. The work will include a mix of independent work and in-person collaboration with other members of the team at the Media Lab. We anticipate an average of 20 hours of work per week for the duration of the summer.

Prerequisites: The position requires a high level of programming ability, as well as experience with JavaScript or demonstrated ability to learn new programming languages quickly. Experience with Meteor is a plus. Much of the work to be done on Deepstream centers around the user interface, so attention to detail and ability to work towards a polished product is essential.

Contact: Interested students should send a resume and a statement of interest to Gordon Mangum (wgmangum@mit.edu). Portfolios, github links, etc. strongly encouraged.


4/29/15
Summer 2015
Department/Lab/Center:Media Laboratory
Faculty Supervisor: Alex (Sandy) Pentland

Project Title: Developing a behavioral data collection platform using customized hardware to study corporate innovation

Project Description: We are a joint Media Lab and Sloan team of researchers that are exploring how innovative teams interact to develop new projects and products. We are using technology from Sandy Pentland s lab to record real-time data on interactions between teammates to generate new insights into how different organizational practices drive team performance. Upon successful implementation, UROP will have an option to continue developing the platform, participate in planning and executing field experiments during the fall semester. We are looking for two developers:

Position #1: Arduino/Hardware developer

Description: UROP will develop the next generation of wearable device for connecting interaction data. This will include improving the prototype board design, enhancing Bluetooth capabilities to capture nearby devices, adding an ultra-low energy accelerometer and other sensors to capture new signals, and improving overall power consumption.

Required: Arduino or other lower level embedded programming

Advantage: familiarity with Low Energy Bluetooth, experience with PCB design, Python
_____________

Position #2: Android/iOS developer

Description: UROP will develop the next generation of wearable device for connecting interaction data. This will include improving the exiting board design, enhancing Bluetooth capabilities to capture nearby devices, adding an ultra-low energy accelerometer and other sensors to capture new signals, and improving overall power consumption.

Required: experience with Android development or/and iOS

Advantage: experience developing apps that communicate with Bluetooth Low Energy devices

Prerequisites: We are looking for students that are able to contribute a minimum of 10 hours of work a week.

Contact Name: Oren Lederman
Contact Email: orenled@media.mit.edu


4/29/15
Summer 2015
Department/Lab/Center: Laboratory for Information & Decision Systems (LIDS)
Faculty Supervisors: Professors Patrick Jaillet and Dimitris Bertsimas

Project Title: Simulating Manhattan taxis: Data-driven Online Optimization

Project Description: In 2013, the New York City Taxi Commission’s released the data on all yellow cab rides in the city. Our aim is to use this data to create and simulate efficient taxi behaviors and decisions. The UROP project will involve data-driven online optimization and computer simulation. First, the goal will be to extract the customers’ information from the dataset and to reconstruct the Manhattan network. Then, we will apply different strategies of the taxis actions on this network and analyze the results. The project will be supervised by professors Dimitris Bertsimas (Sloan, ORC) and Patrick Jaillet (LIDS, ORC).

Prerequisites: Experience in a programming language (Python, Java, C…). Knowing how to use R or Julia is a plus. Interest in Operations Research or Transportations is welcomed too.

Contact: Interested students should contact Sebastien Martin (semartin@mit.edu)


4/29/15
Summer 2015
Department/Lab/Center: History (Course 21H)
MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Christopher Leighton

Project Title: China's Red Capitalists: Business under Mao

Project Description: China's resurgent reform-era economy has captured international attention since the 1980s; this project investigates the historical roots of this contemporary transformation by tracing the lives of prominent businessmen and women who lived through the founding years of the People's Republic, from 1949 to 1979. What was it like to live as a capitalist in an avowedly socialist China? How did China's business elite re-work their economic place and social position to transition from their bourgeois past to become accepted partners of a communist leadership? How did these people re-emerge and help guide China's reintegration into the global economy?

Tasks:
1) Collect biographical and memoir material written by and about Chinese business
2) Read, extract, and review primary material and secondary scholarship
3) Create mini biographies, genealogies, and life timelines of people and families
4) Analyze the above This task list is suggestive rather than comprehensive; UROPs are encouraged to suggest other work of mutual interest that will advance the project.

Prerequisites: Reading knowledge of Chinese highly desirable

Contact: Christopher Leighton (cleight@mit.edu)


4/29/15
Summer 2015
Department/Lab/Center: Sloan School of Management
Faculty Supervisors: Alberto Cavallo

Project Title: Validation of online prices as a source of high-frequency real-time data.

Project Description: Online prices have been attracting a lot of attention in economics and finance as a source of high-frequency data for the measurement of inflation and other macroeconomic indicators (see bpp.mit.edu). A common concern with the use of this type of data is that relatively few transactions take place online, so it becomes essential to compare the product-level behavior of online and offline prices. This project will be the first attempt to do it on a large scale in the US. We will form a team that will visit a number of offline retailers (also selling online) and, using an android app that we developed, scan products barcodes, take a picture of the tags and record the offline prices. The resulting database will then be compared with the prices collected by the Billion Prices Project at MIT.

During the Summer, the UROP will have to:
- Visit some retail stores every day (excluding Saturday and Sunday).
- Using a special android app, scan the barcodes of some products in each store, take a picture of the tags and record their prices (the same products must be scanned the following days in each store).
- Make on-the-spot decisions about product substitutions, coupon treatments, etc.
- Calculate and analyze some statistics using Stata (Data Analysis and Statistical Software).
- Provide feedback and help us to improve the mechanism used for offline-price collection.
- Per day, we estimate a total of 2,5 hours as maximum, plus 1 hour for travel if the location is not within walking distance of the MIT campus (or the place where the UROP resides during Summer). We will be paying the transportation costs.

Requirements:
- Must have access to an android smartphone to install and use the data collection app.
- Data or Wi-Fi connection are needed to send the information (you don’t need to have connection at the moment of scanning because you can send the data collected later).
- Minimal commitment of 2,5 hours per day during the Summer.

Contact: Please send resume to Maria Bernarda Fazzolari (mariabf@mit.edu) and Prof. Alberto Cavallo (afc@mit.edu).


4/28/15
Summer 2015
Department/Lab/Center: Sloan School of Management (Course 15)
Faculty Supervisor: Matthew Amengual

Project: GIS Analysis of Mining and Communities in Latin America

Large-scale mining presents both an opportunity and profound challenge for developing countries throughout the world. Mines are both a driver of economic activity and a source of intense conflict. In many cases, the short-term interests of mining companies, scarce economic spillovers from mining activities, and the corrosive political impacts of fiscal windfalls have combined to undermine development. Yet, the actions of companies, governments, and communities are not predetermined and, therefore, neither are the developmental outcomes. This project seeks to understand differences in the developmental impacts of large-scale mines in Latin America. The results will inform strategies employed by various actors to make extractives more likely to foster inclusive and sustained development.

As part of this project, we need someone who is already skilled in GIS analysis who can undertake a series of spatial analyses. These analysis will be key inputs into the broader study. The key qualification is GIS proficiency and an interest in development. In addition, basic Spanish language skills will be helpful as much of the data is from government sources and in Spanish.

Contact Name: Matthew Amengual
Contact Email: amengual@mit.edu


4/28/15
Summer 2015
Department/Lab/Center: Chemistry (Course 5)
Faculty Supervisor: Bradley Pentelute

Project Title: Automated Flow Peptide Synthesis

Project Description: The Pentelute group in Course 5 is seeking a motivated UROP to help develop the a next-generation flow peptide synthesizer in collaboration with Klavs Jensen's group in Chemical Engineering. This project is extremely exciting we have lots of interest from industry and we're making lots of headway in the field. We are looking for a UROP in Chemical or Mechanical Engineering to help out on various aspects of the project, ranging from data processing in Matlab to aspects of the mechanical engineering and chemistry, depending on your interests. The UROP projects will be coordinated by an experienced graduate mentor.

URL: pentelutelabmit.com

Contact: If you are interested, please send a resume and an introduction to both mijalis@mit.edu and dt3@mit.edu. We look forward to working with you!


4/28/15
Summer 2015
Department/Lab/Center: Mathematics (Course 18)
Faculty Supervisor: Simona Socrate

Project Title: SketchInput: an extensible graphical input and grading tool for online courses

Project Description: Want to break new ground in online education while applying your software engineering skills? Think it would be cool if students could sketch graphs of mathematical functions or draw forces on free body diagrams in their browser and receive instant, targeted feedback? We are developing an open-source graphical input tool which could significantly improve the effectiveness of online courses by permitting this type of free-form assessment. The tool will first be used in a free AP Calculus course offered on edX, but we are also designing it with extensibility in mind: by using a plugin-based architecture, we hope to enable the use of graphical problems in fields ranging from aeronautics to zoology.

This is a full-time summer UROP, with details based on your particular interests and experience. Some possibilities include:
- Creating new drawing tools or other client-side plugins to support a wider variety of problem domains
- Researching the dynamics of mouse-based drawing and developing algorithms to improve the feel and accuracy of mouse-drawn sketches
- Developing interfaces to make the tool accessible to less tech-savvy instructors
- Implementing real-time sketch recognition algorithms -- Working on issues surrounding accessibility and assistive technologies
- Improving the functionality and ease-of-use of the back-end grading libraries, or developing grading libraries for new subject areas
- {Your idea here?}

Depending on your choice of topic, you'll also gain experience with some cool modern tech: front-end code is written in ES6 (next-gen Javascript) and transpiled using Babel, with Karma/Jasmine for unit tests and jspm for browser-facing dependency management. Back end grading libraries are being written in Python and will ideally feature fluent APIs for evaluating student input.

Prerequisites: The ideal candidate would be interested in both production-quality software development and online education. 6.005 is preferred, but we'll also consider applicants without it. Front-end projects require either familiarity with core web application concepts (the DOM, events, Javascript/CSS, etc.) or strong software skills and a willingness to learn quickly. Back-end projects (e.g., developing grading libraries and APIs) require a good knowledge of Python and a knack for problem solving.

Contact Name: Martin Segado
Contact Email: msegado@mit.edu


4/23/15
Summer 2015
Department/Lab/Center: Health Sciences and Technology (HST)
Faculty Supervisor: Elazer Edelman

Project Title: Engineering polymeric matrices for local delivery of chemotherapeutic agents.

Project Description: We are looking for one student to help with research related to design and characterization of polymeric structures for local drug delivery applications. The goal of the project is to carry out structural characterization and drug release kinetics of such polymeric films. Typical analytical methods for testing include SEM, HPLC, Fluorescent microscopy, Spectrofluorimetry, etc. Student is expected to run experiments and material characterization. Ideal candidate is comfortable working both alone and in a group, committed to timeline and is driven by the passion to make an impact in translational research.

Prerequisites: The candidate should have previous research experience in biomaterials. Candidates with experience with HPLC and release studies are preferred. Hours: Student can start as soon as possible. Full time for summer 2015 (maximum 40 hours per week). This project also has an option of continuing during Fall 2015.

Contact Name: Laura Indolfi
Contact Email:lindolfi@mit.edu


4/23/15
Summer 2015
Department/Lab/Center: Broad Institute
Faculty Supervisor: Eric Lander

Project Title: Cell Fate Plug-and-Play: Methods and Mechanism

Project Description: Interested in stem cells? Want to explore new designs for cell fate conversion? Want to be free to try out your BOLDEST, COOLEST, CRAZIEST ideas? Selected students will work closely with a postdoctoral associate in the labs of Eric Lander and Rudolf Jaenisch on several projects related to cell fate conversion. Most importantly, we welcome creative, innovative minds and ideas – here, anything is possible and no solution too wild!

Prerequisites (if any): Imagination and passion! Strong work ethic and commitment to research. We are seeking a highly-motivated student who is willing to work full time during the summer and can commit to continuing for at least one year.

Contact: Jian Shu (jianshu@broadinstitute.org)


4/23/15
Summer 2015
Department/Lab/Center: Media Lab
Faculty Supervisor: Cesar Hidalgo

Project Title: DIVE: A platform for semi-automatic and exploratory data visualization

Project Description: Come build the next-generation of tools for visualizing and communicating data. The Macro Connections group at the MIT Media Lab is developing a platform for semi-automatically generating web-based, interactive visualizations of arbitrary datasets. We aim to build a human-centered tool that allows anyone, whether they're a journalist or a scientist, to easily create beautiful data visualizations. The project, the Data Integration and Visualization Engine, has been in development for over a year and is approaching a beta release in Fall 2015. We are looking for an undergraduate who wants to play an active role across the stack in realizing the vision for the tool and getting it ready to deploy by Fall. You ll be working in a team environment, in collaboration with corporate sponsors, to make a platform that is useful and usable. We are looking for someone passionate, energetic, and disciplined that ideally continues working with us past the summer. You'll be funded through the MIT Media Lab, but can work for credit if preferred.

Prerequisites:
- Strong web development background (e.g. building RESTful APIs, designing user interactions, implementing auth and sessions)
- Comfortable with Python and Javascript
- Knowledge of AngularJS and Flask, or a willingness to learn
- Experience with D3 is a major plus

URL: macro.media.mit.edu, dive.media.mit.edu, pbpb.co/dive

Contact: Interested students should send a resume, links to relevant work (code is best!), and a statement of interest to Kevin Hu (kzh@mit.edu).


4/23/15
Summer 2015
Department/Lab/Center: Media Lab
Faculty Supervisor: Pattie Maes

Project Title: Meditating with Oculus Rift

Project Description: We are looking someone to build an immersive meditation environment using Oculus rift and spire. The environment should attempt to calm the user down and aid in meditation through the use of music, visual aids, respiratory monitoring and head tracking. The researcher should determine the best ways to direct novice meditators and the best environments for successful meditation and try to replicate this digitally. Feedback should be given to the user to aid them throughout the process.

Prerequisites: Programming Experience - Javascript (required), Unity (preferred)
Game Design Experience (preferred)

Contact: Niaja Farve (nfarve@mit.edu)


4/23/15
Summer 2015
Department/Lab/Center: Aeronautics and Astronautics (Course 16)
Faculty Supervisor: Bruce Cameron

Project Title: Understanding the Intellectual Property Architecture of Software

Project Description:Within complex sociotechnical systems there are many different architectures (physical architectures, functional architectures, formal architectures, etc.). However, intellectual property (IP) architecture is a little studied form of system architecture. This is counterintuitive because defects IP architecture are just as likely to cause cost overruns or life-cycle issues as any other architectural defect.

The goal of this project is to develop a process to map IP architecture in software. Specifically, we will develop code necessary to scrape copyright notices from the source code of an operational Air Force flight simulator program. Candidates will have the opportunity to work hands-on with a multi-million dollar code base and provide feedback directly to the Air Force on the finding .

Position is for credit and available for Summer 2015 (flexible work schedule) with a possibility of renewal based on mutual interests.

Prerequisites:
-EECS Student (6.x) or anyone with relevant experience.
-Candidates must have strong programming skills (specifically, MATLAB and C++ is required)

Contact Name: Chris Berardi
Contact Email: cberardi@mit.edu


4/23/15
Summer 2015
Multiple Projects
Department/Lab/Center: Architecture
Faculty Supervisor: Prof. Mark Goulthorpe

Project Title: Designing a Fabrication Facility/Logic for Robotic/Composite Housing Manufacture as a contribution to the SOLVE Conference in Fall 2015 (in the Make category)

Project Overview: Provide an explanation/background of your UROP project that includes with whom and where you are conducting research.

This is part of an on-going research initiative that looks to bringing innovative composite material/fabrication methods to permit a radical new housing methodology. This involves liaising with some leading composite manufacturing groups (principally in Rhode Island, a center of global excellence), so students will gain insight into a range of emerging material-processing logics. We have been building prototype buildings with them, and we are testing them for fire and thermal performance (with Worcester Polytechnic Fire Dept), as well as working out a series of design-to-build protocols with a group of ex-Intel programmers (Asitazz, SF): this will give students insight into emerging CAD-CAM logics. We have also been validating the environmental and economic advantages that such a new material paradigm might offer, looking to address the stringent need for housing globally that seems to conflict with mounting environmental concerns (with Stanford Enviornmental Engineering Dept).

Goals: But the prime focus of the UROP will be the design of a manufacturing logic for a factory in Brazil where we intend to roll out this new manufacturing method. This will be a facility that initially builds itself using this quasi-automated composite fabrication method, but then looks to enable non-standard yet mass production of a diverse range of building types. This will benefit from students who have decent CAD skills, and either architecture or automation/manufacturing aptitude. So the project requires a combination of imaginative and pragmatic design skills.

The ultimate goal is to have a comprehensive design for a new house-building method to be showcased at the MIT SOLVE Conference in Fall 2015, as part of the “Make” challenges: “How to House 10 Billion?” So the design will get good exposure, and may even get built!

Personal Role & Responsibilities: I will steer the design (as an architect), but I always look for initiative and self-motivation from UROPs: most especially we will be seeking expertise in manufacturing processes and liaising with groups who supply equipment into such automated production processes (and doubtless inventing processes with them). You should emerge with keen insight into composite manufacturing, and with an understanding of global housing/manufacturing/environmental issues.

We will visit fabricators in RI, and you should witness some prototype manufacture and testing. You will end up with a factory/manufacturing process in your portfolio that you have been instrumental in shaping, and some insight into emerging architecture/design processes.

Contact: Prof. Mark Goulthorpe (mg_decoi@MIT.EDU)


4/23/15
Summer 2015
Department/Lab/Center: Sloan School of Management
Faculty Supervisor: Prof. Evan Apfelbaum

Project Title: Race, Gender, Differences in Negotiation

Project Title: Sloan faculty member and doctoral student seek UROP for credit during Fall semester of 2015 (with continuation into the Fall semester, contingent on excellent work). UROP student would serve as a Research Assistant for social psychological studies on a large variety of topics focusing on race, gender, and class in life outcomes (e.g., do women/ people of color receive worse customer service than men/ white people?), as well as how to get people involved in environmental issues (e.g., what makes people want to compost, how do people tell what is "clean" and what is not).

Seeking a student to conduct literature reviews, create stimuli, create and finalize online surveys to administer on online populations, extensive proof-reading, clean data and conduct basic statistical analyses, among other tasks related to the research projects.

Pre=requisites: Applicants must be highly motivated, highly responsible, very attentive to detail, creative, and independent. No prior knowledge of above topics is required. Proficiency with Microsoft Excel, online survey software (such as Qualtrics), statistical program R, basic statistical analysis knowledge is a major plus. Must be able to work at least 8-12 hours per week throughout the Fall semester. Preference will be given to those who are interested in pursuing graduate studies in psychology or organizational behavior, as well as those who are interested in continuing research apprenticeship until graduation.

To Apply: Interested students should e-mail Heather Yang at hjy@mit.edu. Your e-mail should include a copy of your resume and a brief note indicating your background, interests, year in school, major, GPA, and any relevant experience. Applicants should also include a Word document (or open source equivalent) with 150 words (or less) answers to each of the following questions: 1) How would this research assistantship help achieve your future career goals?; 2) What do you aim to get from this research experience?; 3) What makes you an ideal candidate for this research team?


4/17/15
Summer 2015
Laboratory for Manufacturing and Productivity (LMP)
Faculty Supervisor: Brian Anthony

Project Title: Design and construction and instrumentation - tomographic ultrasound system for human limb imaging

Project Description: Ultrasound, an inherently safe and low-cost imaging modality, is used widely in clinical settings. The overall goal of this project is to collect volume ultrasound data on muscle and to guide the design and fabrication of a device to do so. To this end, we are working to build a tomographic ultrasound imaging system, specifically designed to acquire volumetric and quantitative data of a limb. Your UROP project will involve aiding in the basic mechanical design and CAD of different aspects of the ultrasound system, as specified by the research mentor. Some expected deliverables by the end of the semester include: (1) Design brackets to hold different ultrasound probes, including a clipping mechanism to allow straightforward attachment and removal of the probe, (2) Design and fabricate setup to allow for volumetric imaging of a human limb, and (3) Work on automation strategies for quick image acquisition.

Prerequisites: Candidates must be proficient in CAD (Solidworks or AutoDesk) and have some prototyping/fabrication experience.

URL: http://devicerealization.mit.edu/

Contact Name: Bryan Ranger
Contact Email:branger@mit.edu


4/17/15
Sloan School of Management (Course 15)
Faculty Supervisor: Juan Pablo Vielma

Project Title: Wearable Devices and Worker Productivity

Project Description: Sloan professors Tauhid Zaman and Juan Pablo Vielma need a tech-savvy UROP to entrust with managing an experimental study they will be conducting this summer. The study is related to the new wave of wearable technology (smart watches, etc.) and will involve a series of experiments involving human subjects.

The position requires:
- familiarity with Python
- experience working with data and performing statistical analyses
- strong communication skills
- professionalism and organization skills for running a study with human subjects

The positions consists of:
- training to run a study with human subjects
- 10 hours of work per week for at least 3 weeks during the study
- follow on work analyzing the results of the study
- potentially work on additional studies conducted later in the summer

Contact: Please contact Professor Zaman and Vielma's research assistant Carter Mundell (cmundell@mit.edu) with questions about the position.


4/15/15
Summer 2015
Department/Lab/Center: Literature (Course 21L)
Faculty Supervisor: Sandy Alexandre

Project Title: Assisting in the completion of research for a book on material culture & ownership in American literature

Project Description: This book project will examine the role that fictional and actual material things play in black-American literature and culture. The book analyzes cultural products ranging from fictional literary narratives and black memorabilia to black inventions in order to glean an ethics from the transition of enslaved black people being owned as things to their condition as free blacks who own, curate, and patent material things themselves. It explores the ethical implications of black thinghood on the reasons why and the ways in which African Americans empathize with, organize, and deploy objects in their lives. Using literary analysis, studying material artifacts, and engaging the work of black collectors, the volume documents how the subject-object relationships formed between black people and their material possessions not only create what Alexandre calls a 'culture of significance' within African-American culture, but also proffer an immanent critique of consumer capitalism, particularly because those relationships privilege the political, ecological, spiritual and aesthetic value of material things. This first book-length study on the role of race in the study of thing theory demonstrates how to have a cogent discussion about the productive intersections among American literature, art, the history of American slavery. Throughout, Alexandre argues that both the meaning and significance that black people impute to and with which they imbue such material objects as their heirlooms, inventions, and packed suitcases constitute a heretofore unexamined branch of black subjectivity, perseverance, and innovation. Placing enslaved black people at the center of her project, Alexandre crafts a necessary challenge to the fields of object-oriented ontology, thing theory, and new materialism, contributing to the fields of American literature, African American cultural history, and American studies.

Prerequisites: I would like to work with Cynthia C. Odu over the summer; she is reliable, self-motivated, and keenly interested not only in the subject matter, but also in learning more about what the work of being a college literature professor entails. These are exactly the qualities that I seek in a student researcher/worker, and I look forward to explaining to her how to do the work of research. I would prefer her to work 20 hours per week.

Contact: Sandy Alexandre (alexandy@mit.edu)


4/15/15
Summer 2015
Department/Lab/Center: Laboratory for Manufacturing and Productivity (LMP)
Faculty Supervisor: Brian Anthony

Project Title: Mechanical design of tomographic ultrasound system for human limb imaging

Project Description: Ultrasound, an inherently safe and low-cost imaging modality, is used widely in clinical settings. The overall goal of this project is to collect ultrasound data on the residual limb of amputees, and use this to guide the design and fabrication of prosthetic sockets (the interface that connects a prosthesis to the limb). To this end, we are working to build a tomographic ultrasound imaging system, specifically designed to acquire volumetric and quantitative data of a limb. Your UROP project will involve aiding in the basic mechanical design and CAD of different aspects of the ultrasound system, as specified by the research mentor. Some expected deliverables by the end of the semester include:

(1) Design brackets to hold different ultrasound probes, including a clipping mechanism to allow straightforward attachment and removal of the probe,
(2) Design and fabricate setup to allow for volumetric imaging of a human limb, and
(3) Work on automation strategies for quick image acquisition.

Prerequisites: Candidates must be proficient in CAD (Solidworks or AutoDesk) and have some prototyping/fabrication experience

URL: http://devicerealization.mit.edu/

Contact: Bryan Ranger (branger@mit.edu)


4/15/15
Summer 2015
Department/Lab/Center: Electrical Engineering and Computer Science (Course 6)
Faculty Supervisor: Martha Gray

Project Title: neuroQWERTY

Project Description: In 2013, the average US adult spent 2:21 hours interacting with a mobile device. Every day. Not including voice calls. In this project, you will contribute to developing technology able to detect early decline in motor function as is seen in many neurological diseases (e.g. Parkinson's disease). We are looking for an outstanding, highly motivated student with cross disciplinary interests in computer science and medicine. Your initial role will be the development of low latency Android keyboard for acquiring non sensitive data. The system you develop will be employed in clinical studies in Boston and Madrid. Our studies so far, in which we made measurements on a laptop keyboard, suggest this approach is very promising for detecting subtle changes in motor function. Your work on an Android platform would help advance the technological development, and if successful, could have a major impact in our understanding of and ability to detect neurological disease.

Prerequisites: Android development skills are required. iOS development and Python/Matlab are a plus.

URL: https://www.neuroqwerty.com

Contact: Luca Giancardo (gianca@mit.edu)


4/15/15
Summer 2015
Department/Lab/Center: Chemical Engineering (Course 10)
Faculty Supervisor: Professor Klavs F Jensen

Project Title: Evaluation of platinum embedded within microporous carbon spheres for oxygen reduction reaction

Project Description: Oxygen reduction reaction (ORR) is a very important reaction in a wide variety of processes including energy conversion systems. The most commonly used catalyst for oxygen reduction in fuel cells, platinum/carbon catalyst, suffers from poor stability and deactivation. Different approaches have been taken to improve the electrocatalyst stability while maintaining the activity. The purpose in all those methods is to inhibit the nanoparticles from dissolution and agglomeration and hence increase the active life cycle of the catalyst. In this project, we aim to use a simple one-step method to synthesize platinum/carbon catalyst with high activity and stability for oxygen reduction reaction. Instead of traditionally utilized impregnation technique to disperse the platinum active sites on the carbon support, platinum nanoparticles with controlled size will be embedded within the porous structure of carbon particles. The porous carbon is predicted to act as a protecting media and increase the stability of platinum nanoparticles. In order to maintain high activity, porosity and size of the carbon particles need to be controlled, as well, which will be achieved by using a surfactant-assisted polymerization technique. The project will involve synthesis, characterization of the synthesized catalysts and electrocatalytic oxygen reduction measurements.

Prerequisites: General knowledge about porous materials, nano particles and electrochemistry

Contact: Maryam Peer (mpeer@mit.edu)


4/14/15
Summer 2015
Department/Lab/Center: Comparative Media Studies (21 CMS)
Faculty Supervisor: Federico Casalegno

Project Title: aWEARness design wearable for safety in extreme environments

Project Description: Interested in VR and AR applications? Working and training for jobs in extreme environments is a challenge that we have yet to solve. aWEARness is a project in collaboration with an Italian company that deals with the challenges of working in extreme conditions. As part of our ongoing research and collaboration, we would like to develop a better emulator for the training. Our goal is to develop a simulator that can help trainers and trainees to learn and emulate real life challenges that the people working in those type of scenarios might face. We are planning to use Oculus Rift, MYO and potentially integrate with CAVE to create a simulator.

Position 2: We would like to see experience integrating multiple platforms to talk to each other, in this case we need someone to connect MYO SDK > Oculus Rift and leap motion SDK to mention a few. Also comfortable working with embedded system i.e Beagle bone black, Raspberry Pi, ARM or Arduino.

Prerequisites: We are seeking two experienced and motivated students, most likely from course 6 or related. Position 1: We would like to see experience with Oculus Rift and Unity and someone who has worked with AR or VR systems in the past. Student would also need to be comfortable with programming and device prototyping (software & hardware)

Contact: Guillermo Bernal (gbernal@mit.edu)


4/13/15
Summer 2015
Department/Lab/Center: Electrical Engineering and Computer Science (Course 6)
Faculty Supervisor: Hugh Herr

Project Title: Nerve Regeneration in Bi-Directional Prosthesis Interface

Project Description: Advances in microfabrication and nerve regeneration have enabled a wealth of new opportunities for peripheral nerve interfaces. Using electrophysiology and biomechanics techniques, we hope to decode the biological effects of unique neural interface designs, enabling us to rapidly iterate optimal parameters for microfabricated interfaces. Specific Summer 2015 UROP tasks include performing gait monitoring studies in animals in vivo while simultaneously recording from peripheral nerve signals to develop a correlation between the nerve signal and the biomechanical data. Ideal candidate would have experience / be comfortable working with animals, have basic circuits & software experience, is comfortable working both alone and in a group, and most importantly has a desire to perform revolutionary translational biological work.

UROP candidate to provide ~40 hours/week during the summer. The opportunity to apply for direct funding is available.

URL: http://biomech.media.mit.edu/

Contact: Send Resumes to: Benjamin Maimon at bmaimon@media.mit.edu


4/13/15
Summer 2015
Department/Lab/Center: Chemical Engineering (Course 10)
Faculty Supervisor: Professor Bernhardt L. Trout

Project Title: Characterization of Polymeric-Thin-Films for Pharmaceutical Manufacturing

Project Description: An ongoing project at NVS-MIT Center for Continuous Manufacturing is focusing on employing polymeric films for pharmaceutical products, as opposed to conventional approach of using powder. The goal of the project is to carry out mechanical/physical characterization for such polymeric-films. Typical analytical methods for testing include DSC, SEM, AFM, etc. UROP is expected to assist graduate student in running experiments and material characterization.

Prerequisites: Self-motivated, willing to commit time for lab-work. Lab experience is a plus.

Contact: Nikhil Padhye (npdhye@mit.edu)


4/13/15
Summer 2015
Department/Lab/Center: Sea Grant Program
Faculty Supervisor: Chyssostomus Chryssostomidis

Project Title: The effects of ocean acidification and warming on the calcification of New England mollusks

Project Description: Atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide (pCO2) has increased from approximately 280 to nearly 400 ppm since the Industrial Revolution, causing the pH of surface seawater to decrease by 0.1 units since then. As this increase in atmospheric pCO2 is largely due to the anthropogenic combustion of fossil fuels and deforestation, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change predicts that the pH of high latitude surface seawater will decrease by another 0.3 0.4 units by the end of this century. This, in turn, will result in a nearly 50% reduction in the carbonate ion concentration of seawater, making it more difficult for many calcifying organisms to produce and maintain their shells and skeletons. The proposed research seeks to advance our understanding of the combined effects of pCO2 and temperature on critical aspects of shell/skeletal mineralization during the juvenile stage for five economically and ecologically important species of mollusks found in Massachusetts waters. This area has among the highest sensitivity to the potential effects of ocean acidification in the nation due to its economic dependence on the shellfish industry and strong use of shellfish resources. This highlights the importance of understanding the impact of acidification on the early life stages of the mollusks that support these shellfish industries. Lab training will include one or more of the following: maintenance of carbonate chemistry and living organisms in seawater, 3-D stereomicroscopy (to measure key shell morphometric parameters), Bulk powder XRD analysis of CaCO3 and use of X-ray diffractometer (for polymorph mineralogy), TESCAN scanning electron microscope and petrographic microscope (for analysis of ultrastructure and of shell/skeletal thin-sections).

Prerequisites: Self-motivation and reliability. Prior lab experience preferred but is not required

Contact: Carolina Bastidas
(bastidas@mit.edu)


4/13/15
Summer 2015
Department/Lab/Center: Sea Grant Program
Faculty Supervisor: Chyssostomus Chryssostomidis

Project Title: Experimental validation of a computational study of heat transfer around high current power cables

Project Description: Power cables with high current cause temperature rise in the cable core, the insulation material and in the surrounding air. The temperature rise, if significant, can damage the insulation materials or violate safety protocols, and designs that lead to temperatures beyond the permissible values must be avoided. We have developed a high-fidelity computational package that can compute the temperature inside and around the cables. The goal of this project is to conduct experimental measurements of temperature to validate the computational tool. The primary physical mechanisms involved in this problem includes: (1) heat generation in the power cables due to the electric resistance, (2) heat exchange between the cable and its surrounding medium through natural convection, conduction and radiation.

Primary Responsibilities: You will work as a part of an interdisciplinary team, with electrical engineers, fluid and thermal engineers, and computational scientists on a realistic design problem. You will be working to set up an experimental test. The initial test will use an existing experimental apparatus. Subsequent tests will include modifying the existing apparatus or building a new one to allow more comprehensive tests. Some analysis of the experimental data and comparison with theoretical predictions is also expected.

Prerequisites: A basic understanding of heat transfer, fluid mechanics and power transfer. We will give preference to students with experience with experimental measurements.

Contact: Hessam Babaee (babaee@mit.edu)


4/13/15
Summer 2015
Department/Lab/Center: MIT Media Lab
Faculty Supervisor: Prof Ramesh Raskar

Project Title: Urban Computing using Big Visual Data and Machine Learning

Project Description: You will be working on a follow-up project for StreetScore (streetscore.media.mit.edu). The project includes a combination of data analysis, computer vision and data visualization. We already have a strong team in place and you will get an opportunity to make substantial contributions to the project.

Relevant Skills: You need to have strong web programming skills, including Javascript and HTML. Knowledge of Python/MATLAB/C++ is a plus but not required. SQL is also a plus

Timeline: Position is available for Summer 2015 with a possibility of renewal based on mutual interests.

Funding: Sponsored research funds are available to support this project

Contact: Interested students should contact Nikhil Naik (naik@mit.edu). Include a brief description of your past projects and skills.


4/13/15
Summer 2015
Department/Lab/Center: Sloan School of Management (Course 15)
Faculty Supervisor: Robert Pindyck

Project Title: The Economics of Potential Global Catastrophes

Project Description: I am looking for one or two students to help with research related to the economics of catastrophes, including possible catastrophic climate change, and such events as nuclear terrorism or a mega-virus. I am concerned with the economic and policy implications of multiple sources of uncertainty, and with the statistical characterization of low-probability outcomes. What is the willingness to pay to avert such events, and which events should be the primary focus of policy. I also address the macroeconomic and financial implications of possible global catastrophes. (For more information, go to my website and download Uncertain Outcomes and Climate Change Policy, The Climate Policy Dilemma, and Averting Catastrophes: The Strange Economics of Scylla and Charybdis. ) This work will involve a detailed literature review of the likelihoods, potential impacts, and costs of averting various types of catastrophes. It may also involve programming in MATLAB and some statistical analysis. Candidates should have a good background in economics, and also a good working knowledge of MATLAB. They should also be able to work independently.

Contact: If you are interested, please send a resume and transcript to: Professor Robert Pindyck, Sloan School of Management, Room E62-522, rpindyck@mit.edu.


4/13/15
Summer 2015
Department/Lab/Center: Mechanical Engineering (Course 2)
Faculty Supervisor: Dick K. P . Yue

Project Title: Design, Modelling and Tests of Intelligent Marine Systems for Renewable Energy Applications

Project Description: Vortical Flow Research Laboratory is looking for two or three UROPs who are interested in working on a novel design project for deployable, autonomous, non-moored buoys for various renewable energy-related applications. The applications include autonomous, persistent operation as sea environment measuring buoys; tunable buoys as members of wave energy arrays; swarming buoys that use networking concepts to achieve reconfigurable, autonomous networked sensory arrays. The UROPs will assist VFRL researchers in developing the mechanical design, take a part in constructing the prototypes and testing their performance, work on developing and implementing control algorithms for buoy operation and wireless communication, and conduct some hydrodynamic calculations. Ideal candidates have some experience with Python and/or MATLAB, and have a background in controls and mechanical design.

The appointment is available for credit, or for direct UROP funding.

Contact: Grgur Tokic (gtokic@mit.edu), Yuming Liu (yuming@mit.edu), Dick K.P. Yue (yue@mit.edu)


4/13/15
Summer 2015
Department/Lab/Center: Edgerton Center (EC)
Faculty Supervisor: Dr. Rich Fletcher

Project Title: Efficient power amplifier design for induction stove

Project Description: Believe it or not, most of the people in the world still use biomass fuels for cooking and/or heating. Burning biomass (wood, coal, dung, etc.) produces smoke which is extremely harmful for family members, particularly pregnant mothers. One of the largest causes of death and most common public health concern around the world is this so called "Household Air pollution. We are currently developing a new efficient design for a cooking stove using magnetic induction, which is commonly found in commercial restaurants and starting to appear in consumer kitchens in urban india and africa. This "out of the box" design represents a huge revolution in the way most of the world cooks their food.

UROP tasks include: We are currently seeking 1-2 UROP students to help design and test efficient FET amplifiers that can drive a 1KW load with very high efficiency. We are looking for students with a solid analog design background with knowledge of transistor amplifiers and circuits. Coursework in and Analog and power electronics, and control systems is a plus. The student should be able to work independently, and attend weekly group meetings to check on progress. At this time we are interviewing students who are interested in working for summer and possibly interested in continuing into the fall. Pay or credit is available, or UAP project consideration.

EECS Student (6.x) or anyone with relevant experience

Contact: Dr. Rich Fletcher (fletcher@media.mit.edu) (and mention to which project you are applying)


4/13/15
Summer 2015
Department/Lab/Center: Edgerton Center (EC)
Faculty Supervisor: Dr. Rich Fletcher

Project Title: Mobile App Development for Alzheimers

Project Description: Approximately 12 percent of US people over age 65 have Alzheimers disease, and this is predicted to rise to 20 percent by 2050, as the populattion ages. Our group is developing tools for early detection of Alzheimer's disease for the middle-aged and elderly population. Tools include a mobile app, as well as server-side software to receive data and also send out text messages. This app will be tested with a partner in India. Our group is developing other mental health apps as well with other partners here in the US.

UROP tasks include: We are seeking students with an interest in psychology or cognitive science as well as mobile programming who are motivated to create new ways to revolutionize mental health assessment and treatment. We are looking for students with programming backgrounds to help develop software for Android mobile devices in JAVA and/or C++. Experience with game design is a plus. Alternatively, we also welcome students who are interested/capable of assisting with server-side programming to provide services via a web site with integration to VOIP and SMS. (experience with DRUPAL or VOIP, Twitter, or text messageing servers is a plus). The student should be able to work independently, and attend weekly group meetings to check on progress. At this time we are interviewing students who are interested in working this summer and will hopefully continue into the fall.

Student in Course 9 or EECS or anyone with relevant experience

Contact: If you are interested, please send an email to Dr. Rich Fletcher (fletcher@media.mit.edu) and mention which UROP posting you are responding to.


4/13/15
Summer 2015
Department/Lab/Center: Chemical Engineering (Course 10)
Faculty Supervisor: Jean-Francois Hamel

Project Title: Production of lignin-derived target molecules by natural and engineered strains of Pseudomonas putida

Project Description: The student would participate in all aspects of this bioenergy project, and team up with group members in the field. The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) has pioneered the use of aromatic catabolic pathways in soil microbes for lignin valorization (Linger et al., PNAS 2014 and Vardon et al., Energy and Environmental Science 2015). Significant process considerations remain to make these types of processes viable and an undergraduate process development would be an ideal forum to investigate questions of optimal biological cultivation parameters and downstream separations options. In particular, we are interested in the production of muconic acid as a precursor for adipic acid production from lignin. NREL can provide an engineered strain of P. putida and fermentation conditions tested thus far on model aromatic substrates. The students in the course can examine the following topics: optimization of biomass growth to maximize titer, rate, and yield of muconic acid, oxygen sparging requirements, nitrogen consumption in the media for optimal conversion, develop kinetic models for the consumption of substrates and buildup of intermediates, and separation of muconic acid using activated carbon or ion exchange approaches. This work would be of direct relevance to lignin valorization research, which is a topic of significant interest currently in industry. There is a possibility of conducting very similar research in native or engineered strains of P. putida for the accumulation of polyhydroxyalkanoates, which also present relevant separations and cleanup problems that may be of interest.

Contact: Jean-Francois Hamel (jhamel@mit.edu)


4/13/15
Summer 2015
Department/Lab/Center: Chemical Engineering (Course 10)
Faculty Supervisor: Jean-Francois Hamel

Project Title: Production of isotopically-enriched serum albumin for biomedical research using Pichia pastoris as a biosynthetic host

Project Description: The student would participate in all aspects of this experimental project, and team up with group members in the field. Overall Objective: The project focuses on the development and optimization of the substrate yield of a novel process that uses [13C6]glucose and [15N2]ammonium sulfate to produce isotopically-labeled serum albumin from the yeast Pichia pastoris, with robust and consistent quantity and enrichment for biomedical research applications. While P. pastoris has been previously used to generate [13C]- and [15N]-labeled forms of protein, there do not appear to be any published accounts in which the extent of carbon enrichment was able to be controlled. Prior researchers have used a two-substrate system in which labeled glucose was first added to build the culture density and unlabeled methanol was subsequently used to induce protein expression (via a methanol-responsive promoter). In contrast, if serum albumin is placed under control of a constitutively-active glyceraldehyde 3-phosphate dehydrogenase (GAP) promoter, as through the pGAPZ vector from Invitrogen, a single carbon source such as glucose can be used both for growth and protein production, enabling isotopic enrichment to be directly determined by the substrate composition.

Student Work Plan:
1) Transform P. pastoris with basic and protease-deficient serum albumin expression plasmids, and screen colonies for production using Bradford assay or Bioanalyzer (a microfluidics-based instrument).
2) Optimize small-scale protein yield on glucose and ammonium through varying culture parameters (e.g. temperature, medium composition) in shake flasks.
3) Use 2 L bioreactor to scale up culture using optimized conditions from shake flasks and develop production protocol with unlabeled substrates.
4) Perform bioreactor culture using developed protocol using [15N2]ammonium sulfate and [13C6]glucose to produce labeled serum albumin.
5) (Time permitting) Concentrate labeled protein using membrane filtration and purify using affinity chromatography.

Contact: Jean-Francois Hamel (jhamel@mit.edu)


4/13/15
Summer 2015
Department/Lab/Center: Chemical Engineering (Course 10)
Faculty Supervisor: Jean-Francois Hamel

Project Title: Production of lipids in oleaginous yeast strains for renewable diesel blendstocks from biomass-derived C6-enriched sugars

Project Description: We are keenly interested in developing optimal conditions for the aerobic cultivation of oleaginous yeast strains such as Lipomyces starkeyi. Questions of interest include optimization of biomass growth relative to TAG accumulation, minimization of oxygen sparging rates, the optimal C/N ratios for TAG accumulation, the ability for cell wall lysis, and the separations and catalytic upgrading of the resulting TAGs after fermentation. For this project, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) will provide hydrolysate, yeast strains, our fermentation protocols to date, and a detailed list of the salient questions informed by preliminary techno-economic modeling at NREL for the cost-effective production of lipids for biofuel applications. The student will be involved in all experimental parts of this bioenergy project, and team up with other group members in the field.

Contact: Jean-Francois Hamel (jhamel@mit.edu)


4/13/15
Summer 2015
Department/Lab/Center: Sloan School of Management
Faculty Supervisor: Dr. Christian Catalini

Project Title: MIT Bitcoin Study - Big data and blockchain analysis

Project Description: The objective of this project is to develop new tools to analysis and understand transactions taking place on the Bitcoin blockchain. We will use a mix of machine learning and network analysis to understand patterns, describe and visualize activity taking place on the blockchain.

If you are interested in getting hands-on experience in economics research and data analysis as well as to understand the dynamics of Bitcoin, this would be a great learning opportunity.

Please do not apply if you do not have strong programming skills in python. Knowledge of R, machine learning, SQL, and basic statistics are a plus. Responsibility for this position include (a) writing code to collect data from the blockchain; (b) managing and analyzing data; (c) network and graph analysis; (d) visualizing data on the web.

Contact: Please email Christian Catalini (catalini@mit.edu) with your resume/CV. Also, please include your availability to meet.


4/13/15
Summer 2015
Department/Lab/Center: Mechanical Engineering (Course 2)
Faculty Supervisor: Cullen R. Buie

Project Title: The influence of hydrodynamic shear stress on electroactive biofilms

Project Description: The goal of this project is to understand how different shear stress conditions impact the structure and metabolism of electroactive biofilms. The student will maintain anaerobic bacterial cultures in both suspensions and in a microbial fuel cell. Some supervised scanning electron microscopy confocal laser microscopy may be conducted. The student may design a cheap, reusable continuous flow microbial fuel cell that can be used for quickly harvesting bacterial cells directly from an electrode for research, if time and skills permit.

Prerequisites: One undergraduate course in fluid mechanics

Contact: Andrew Jones (andrew3@mit.edu)


4/13/15
Summer 2015
Department/Lab/Center: Mechanical Engineering (Course 2)
Faculty Supervisor: Cullen R. Buie

Project Title: Optimizing Genetic Transformation for Synthetic Biology

Project Description: Synthetic Biology is a burgeoning field of science seeking to enable non-natural functionality in biology. Our group is devising novel microfluidic techniques and strategies to incorporate foreign genetic material into organisms that have been difficult to genitically manipulate. In this specific project the student will work with current graduate students and postdocs on a DARPA funded project to improve the efficiency of electroporation. We have designed a microfluidic assay that allows us to measure the electrical phenotypes of candidate organisms in seconds, and then use this information to alter electroporation conditions. We are looking for an undergraduate to help refine the design of this system and test it on new, high value microbes.

Prerequisites: One undergraduate course in fluid mechanics

Contact: Paulo Garcia (pagarcia@mit.edu)


4/13/15
Summer 2015
Department/Lab/Center: Mechanical Engineering (Course 2)
Faculty Supervisor: Cullen R. Buie

Project Title: Interfacial Electrophoretic Deposition of Nanocomposite Thin Films

Project Description: We are developing a novel method to fabricate hydrogel composite nanomaterials using electrophoretic deposition at the interface of two immiscible liquids. Hydrogels have been widely employed for bio-materials due to their outstanding bio-compatibility, high porosity, and notable swelling capabilities. Thin hydrogel membranes are highly desired because diffusion and mass transfer effects across the films can be improved. Here, we propose a novel process employing electrophoretic deposition (EPD) at the interface of immiscible liquids to create composite hydrogel films. During interfacial EPD, nanoparticles such as carbon nanotubes (CNTs) migrate to the oil/water interface, where cross-linking of polymers is induced to form composite hydrogel membranes. The key aspect of this method is that polymerization occurs away from a solid substrate while surrounded by both polar and nonpolar media, allowing for the integration of CNTs or other nanoparticles and hydrogel. This fabrication method is cost-effective and scalable for composite hydrogels with tunable electrical, mechanical, and biological properties. Potential applications include fabrication of doped hydrogels for drug delivery and conductive hydrogels for biological sensing.

Prerequisites: One undergraduate course in fluid mechanics

Contact: Youngsoo Joung (ysjoung@mit.edu)


4/13/15
Summer 2015
Department/Lab/Center: Mechanical Engineering (Course 2)
Faculty Supervisor: Cullen R. Buie

Project Title: Porous Thin Film Microfluidic Devices for Medical Diagnostics

Project Description: This UROP will develop a new methodology using highly wetting porous titania films to create microfluidic devices which can be employed for medical diagnostics. Capillary flows through thin porous media are attractive for small-scale liquid transport systems. In this work, a new fabrication technique is used to design porous films for capillary flow driven microfluidic devices. We employ breakdown anodization to produce highly wettable porous thin films, with predictable capillary flows. Advantages of this technique include design flexibility, fast analysis times, low sample volumes, and low-cost fabrication. This UROP will use the porous thin film microfluidic chips to identify various properties of a simulated urine sample including the identification of clinical biomarkers.

Prerequisites: One undergraduate course in fluid mechanics

Contact: Youngsoo Joung (ysjoung@mit.edu)


4/13/15
Summer 2015
Department/Lab/Center: Mechanical Engineering (Course 2)
Faculty Supervisor: Cullen R. Buie

Project Title: Electrophoretic Deposition of Nanoscale Surface Coatings for Enhanced Droplet Coalescence

Project Description: In this work we are developing high efficiency droplet coalescence surfaces for oil/water separation. Our previous work has shown that electrophoretic deposition (EPD) can be used to create superhydrophobic/superoleophilic surfaces. In addition, a bench-top apparatus demonstrating the effect of engineered surfaces on oil/water separation has been developed. Preliminaryz experimental results have shown that employing the separator with superhydrophobic/superoleophilic mesh media coated by EPD with hydrophobic silica nanoparticles resulted in a qualitative increase of separation efficiency compared with employing non-coated mesh media. Moreover, durability tests reveal that the superhydrophobic/superoleophilic surface maintains its wettability for more than 400 hours. This proposed UROP is intended to build upon the findings of our previous study, in particular the fact that surface wettability and structural design of the separation media can be coupled to achieve breakthroughs in oil/water separation. With respect to durability, we will determine how to design surfaces that can withstand the rugged mechanical wear and tear associated with oil/water separation. Preliminarily we have demonstrated that metal-based porous surfaces can be another solution for ultra-durable separator media, which can be used for several years.

Prerequisites: One undergraduate level course in fluid mechanics

Contact: Youngsoo Joung (ysjoung@mit.edu)


4/13/15
Summer 2015
Department/Lab/Center: Mechanical Engineering (Course 2)
Faculty Supervisor: Evelyn Wang

Project Title: Condensation on Superhydrophobic Nanostructured Surfaces

Project Description: Condensation on superhydrophobic nanostructured surfaces offers new opportunities for enhanced heat transfer, thermal management, and even water harvesting. After droplets of condensate nucleate and grow on a superhydrophobic surface, they can coalesce and jump away from the surface, even against gravity (try a YouTube search of jumping droplets to see this in action). This jumping mode of condensation allows droplets to shed at small radii and reduces thermal resistance. We fabricate many types of nanostructured surfaces including silicon micro- and nanopillars made in a cleanroom, copper oxide blades grown with wet chemistry, and other metals and metal oxides etched with acid. Once we create the nanostructure, we apply a layer of a hydrophobic chemical several molecules thick – this causes the structure to become superhydrophobic. Condensation on these superhydrophobic surfaces is then tested in a vacuum chamber with pure water vapor, a mixture of vapor and noncondensible gases, or even low surface tension fluids like ethanol and isopropanol to determine heat transfer performance. Our UROP student will fabricate and characterize superhydrophobic surfaces and operate the vacuum chamber for experimentation. We are looking for a dedicated student interested in multiple-term employment and eventual presentation or publication of their work in preparation for a research-oriented career or graduate school.

UROP Compensation: This opportunity is offered for pay or credit in the summer term. This project will continue indefinitely, so interested students may continue into the fall term. Note that the UROP direct funding deadline for the summer term is April 16th, so please reply ASAP.

Hours: 40 hours per week, flexible scheduling.

Prerequisites: 2.005/2.006 are preferred but not required.

Contact: Please send a resume and brief statement of interest to Daniel Preston (dpreston@mit.edu; web: http://drl.mit.edu/), along with your availability to meet and discuss this UROP opportunity.


4/13/15
Summer 2015
Department/Lab/Center: Mechanical Engineering (Course 2)
Faculty Supervisor: Evelyn Wang

Project Title: Alternating Voltage Electrowetting on Dielectrics

Project Description: Electrowetting on a dielectric (EWOD) changes the wettability, measured by the contact angle, of a fluid droplet by the application of an electric field through the droplet. The change in contact angle can be understood through an energy balance on the droplet, where the electric field induces capacitive energy storage across the dielectric layer and reduces the effective interfacial surface energy between the fluid and the surface, resulting in a reduction of the contact angle at the three-phase contact line. This phenomenon can be used to study interesting fluid dynamics and physics problems. For example, when an alternating voltage is applied to the droplet at its resonant frequency, the droplet may gain enough energy that it overcomes both gravitational force and adhesion effects and jumps upwards away from the surface. A senior mechanical engineering undergraduate thesis student has tested 1mM KCl droplets from 10 to 100 uL on a variety of surfaces including metal oxide nanostructures with hydrophobic coatings, Teflon, and Kapton tape. Initial results show that droplets electrolyze at low voltages when the dielectric layer is not sufficiently thick, as shown in literature. However, using conformal dielectric coatings applied by CVD, we have been able to induce jumping and visualize many droplet vibrational modes. The summer 2015 UROP student will fabricate test surfaces, maintain and run the experimental EWOD setup, and capture and analyze high-speed videos of droplet vibration and jumping.

UROP Compensation: This opportunity is offered for pay or credit in the summer term. This project will continue indefinitely, so interested students may continue into the fall term. Note that the UROP direct funding deadline for the summer term is April 16th, so please reply ASAP.

Hours: 40 hours per week, flexible scheduling.

Prerequisites: 8.02 preferred but not required.

Contact: Please send a resume and brief statement of interest to Daniel Preston (dpreston@mit.edu; web: http://drl.mit.edu/), along with your availability to meet and discuss this UROP opportunity.


4/13/15
Summer 2015
Department/Lab/Center: Mechanical Engineering (Course 2)
Faculty Supervisor: Evelyn Wang

Project Title: Carbon Nanotube characterization and fabrication for Capacitive Desalination (CNT-CDI)

Project Description: Capacitive deionization (CDI) is a desalination method where voltage is applied across high surface area carbon, adsorbing salt ions and removing them from the water stream. CDI has the potential to be more efficient than existing desalination technologies for brackish water, and more portable due to its low power requirements. In order to optimize salt removal in CDI, we need a better understanding of salt adsorption and the electrode properties involved in ion removal. Current materials are highly porous, with tortuous geometeries, overlapping double layers, and subnanometer diameters. Our group has been utilizing vertically-aligned carbon nanotube electrodes in our optimization studies to take advantage of its ordered geometry. The VA-CNTs, synthesized using a traditional chemical vapor deposition, have 2-3 walls, an average inner diameter of 5.6 nm and outer diameter of 7.7 nm, and a BET surface area of 540 m2/g. We then characterize its capacitance and desalination capabilities using a custom built flow cell and electrochemistry measurements. We are currently looking for a student to help conduct the experiments and characterize capacitance of these carbon nanotube electrodes. They will investigate the effect of densification of carbon nanotubes on capacitance and transport resistance. The work involves gaining skills in synthesis, imaging techniques, and making device level measurements.

UROP Compensation: This opportunity is offered for pay or credit in the summer term. We are excited to extend the work into the fall/spring terms or discuss continuing with an undergraduate thesis project.

Hours: 40 hours per week

Prerequisites: Experience with MATLAB and data analysis is beneficial. 2.005/2.006 and 2.60J are preferred but not required. Please indicate any cleanroom or microscopy experience as well, but not required. Availability in May for training is also beneficial (a couple hours a week).

Contact: Heena Mutha (hmutha@mit.edu)


4/13/15
Summer 2015
Department/Lab/Center: Biological Engineering (Course 20)
Faculty Supervisor: Paul Blainey

Project Title: Investigating the lung microbiome with next-generation sequencing

Project Description: This project aims to study the lung microbiome in mouse models in order to examine the dynamics and traits of the microbiota. We aim to identify how microbes populate the lung and change over time based on the environment. In this project, samples from mouse tissue will be processed to characterize the microbe population with sequencing techniques. The student will extract DNA from samples, amplify microbial DNA, submit samples for sequencing, and use 16S metagenomic analysis to characterize the microbiome. Bioinformatics tools will be used for sequence analysis, with the opportunity for the student to gain skills in computational genomics analysis.

Prerequisites: Qualified applicants must have a strong work ethic and commitment to research. We are looking for a highly motivated student who is willing to work full time during the summer and commit to continuing for at least one additional semester. A background in biological engineering, biology, chemical engineering, or other related areas is expected. The student should have a creative mindset and expect to engage in challenging and independent work. Previous experience with wet lab techniques such as PCR and cell culture is preferred.

Contact: Georgia Lagoudas (lagoudas@mit.edu)


4/13/15
Summer 2015
Department/Lab/Center: Aeronautics and Astronautics (Course 16)
Faculty Supervisors: Professors Dava Newman and Jeffrey Hoffman

Project Title: Planning, executing, and evaluating human-robotic missions on Mars

Project Description: Analog field missions serve as a low-risk sandbox to test new technologies and concepts that will one day be used for planetary exploration. MIT is part of the NASA-sponsored Biologic Analog Science Associated with Lava Terrains (BASALT) mission. BASALT uses lava fields in Idaho and Hawaii to test exploration concepts for Mars. The MIT portion of this project centers on the development of the Minerva software package, which is used to plan, optimize, execute, and assess extravehicular activities (EVA). We are also developing smart watch and heads up display systems to assist with astronaut communication in high-latency situations. The UROP will play an important role in working (from Cambridge) with the BASALT team and NASA engineers at Ames Research Center to add the brains to the NASA-standard Exploration Ground Data Systems (xGDS) software. Specifically, the UROP will implement resource-based path-planning capabilities into xGDS to allow for!
planning and re-planning of efficient traverses. This type of optimization has been pioneered by the Surface Exploration Traverse Analysis and Navigation Tool (SEXTANT) software, developed by the Man-Vehicle Laboratory. The UROP will also develop the interface between wearable technologies and Minerva. He or she will have access to an Apple Watch and Google Glass to design functional EVA displays. Both the Minerva tool and wearable technologies will be tested by astronauts in the field. Time commitment: Full time during the summer. UROP should apply for direct funding by April 16. Continuation throughout the fall semester is desired.

Prerequisites: Must be comfortable with both software and basic algorithms. Experience with Python, Django, MySQL, Javascript, and MATLAB will be very useful. Students must be self-motivated but unafraid to reach out for help. Contributions will be recognized by authorship (journal papers, conference papers, and/or conference posters).

Contact: Nikhil Vadhavkar (nvadhavk@mit.edu)


4/13/15
Summer 2015
Department/Lab/Center: Health Sciences and Technology (HST)
Faculty Supervisor: Mehmet Toner

Project Title: Genome Engineering

Project Description: The genomes of many species have been sequenced and are beginning to provide much insight into biology and human medicine. The challenge in the future is to understand the functionality of biomolecules that are encoded with the genome (e.g. proteins, microRNAs etc.). This project will use advanced bioinformatic techniques to mine through available genomes to find regions of interest for cloning and biological screening. Students specific research roles would be to mine genetic sequencing data to identify the targeted regions of DNA that will be captured by designer probes. The student will also perform capture experiments in vitro.

Prerequisites: The ideal candidate with have strong computer science skills and and an interest in cross-training in biological engineering. Training will be provided to implement state-of-the-art search techniques as well as designing and executing biological assays. This project is seeking two UROPs for the spring/summer semester and onwards. The individual(s) will be part of a dynamic and fast-paced research team and have the opportunity to meaningfully contribute to scientific abstracts and publications.

Contact: Ilana Reis (Ireis@sbi.org)


4/9/15
Summer 2015
Department/Lab/Center: Biology (Course 7)
Faculty Supervisor: David Bartel

Project Title: Long noncoding RNA function

Project Description: The goal of the project is to identify the mechanism(s) by which a long noncoding RNA functions. The UROP will take the lead on an independent project under the supervision of Ben Kleaveland, a postdoc researcher in the lab. The UROP will culture mouse cells, learn flow cytometry, molecular biology and biochemistry experiments, perform CRISPR/Cas9 screens, and prepare next generation sequencing libraries.

Prerequisites: self motivated student, general biology course (understanding of general biology), previous research experience preferred but not required, preference will be given to students who can commit to one year of research (through May 2016)

Contact: Ben Kleaveland (kleavela@wi.mit.edu)


4/9/15
Summer 2015
Department/Lab/Center: Engineering Systems Division (ESD)
Faculty Supervisor: Bryan Reimer

Project Title: Typeface Legibility Project

Project Description: The legibility of digital typography is becoming increasingly ubiquitous and important in our daily lives, especially with the rise of the smartphone and wearable computers. This project applies classical vision science techniques to the study of on-screen legibility, and seeks to examine legibility across a wide range of conditions and ages. The AgeLab is seeking a dedicated research assistant for a series of these experiments Duties would include participant recruitment (via our participant database), primary data collection, and basic data analysis.

Prerequisites: Self-motivation and strong attention to detail. Background in psychology and/or human factors preferred but not required.

URL: http://agelab.mit.edu

Contact: Jonathan Dobres (jdobres@mit.edu)


4/9/15
Summer 2015
Department/Lab/Center: Comparative Media Studies (21 CMS)
Faculty Supervisor: James Paradis

Project Title: Cultural history of Surveillance

Project Description: This is a study of the origins of modern social and cultural views about surveillance in the historical antecedents of emerging urban centers of the nineteenth century. Special attention is given to emerging communication technologies, visualization, legal history, print culture, and social institutions in nineteenth-century London and New York City. Research approach includes web-based research and archival work combined with statistical and content analysis.

Prerequisites: Some background in social sciences and design would be useful

Contact: J. Paradis (jparadis@mit.edu)


4/8/15
Summer 2015
Department/Lab/Center: MIT Media Lab
Faculty Supervisor: Prof. Ramesh Raskar

Project Title: Mobile context classification using optical features.

Project Description: Surface and object recognition is of significant importance in ubiquitous and wearable computing. While various techniques exist to infer context from material properties and appearance, they are typically neither designed for real-time applications nor for optically complex surfaces that may be specular, textureless, and even transparent. These materials are, however, becoming increasingly relevant in Human Computer Interaction for transparent displays, interactive surfaces, and ubiquitous computing. We developed a new sensing technology for surface classification of exotic materials, such as glass, transparent plastic, and metal. The technique extracts optical features by employing laser and multi-directional, multi-spectral LED illumination
that leverages the material's optical properties.

We are looking for multiple motivated Junior or Senior UROP to help continuing this effort by creating novel applications and making the device ands system compact, robust, and wireless.

Prerequisites: Applicants should have knowledge and experience with some of the following items:
- Machine learning, image processing, data visualization
- Rapid prototyping skills, including Arduino, Processing, laser cutting and 3D printing.
- Analog circuit design, circuit board fabrication/assembly, and ARM fCortex programming.

Start Date: Immediate opening

Hours per week: commitment of 10-20 hours/week, or full time for summer.

Contact: You will be working with Munehiko Sato, PhD (munehiko@media.mit.edu). If you are interested in joining the team, send an email with your CV (plus website and/or portfolio). Depending on the progress, funding is available for subsequent terms.


4/8/15
Summer 2015
Department/Lab/Center: Laboratory for Manufacturing and Productivity (LMP)
Faculty Supervisor: Brian W. Anthony

Project Title: Mechanical design of tomographic ultrasound system for human limb imaging

Project Description: Ultrasound, an inherently safe and low-cost imaging modality, is used widely in clinical settings. The overall goal of this project is to collect ultrasound data on the residual limb of amputees, and use this to guide the design and fabrication of prosthetic sockets (the interface that connects a prosthesis to the limb). To this end, we are working to build a tomographic ultrasound imaging system, specifically designed to acquire volumetric and quantitative data of a limb.

Your UROP project will involve aiding in the basic mechanical design and CAD of different aspects of the ultrasound system, as specified by the research mentor. Some expected deliverables by the end of the semester include:
(1) Design brackets to hold different ultrasound probes, including a clipping mechanism to allow straightforward attachment and removal of the probe
(2) Design and fabricate setup to allow for volumetric imaging of a human limb
(3) Work on automation strategies for quick image acquisition.

Prerequisite and Requirements: Candidates must be proficient in CAD (Solidworks or AutoDesk) and have some prototyping/fabrication experience.

About us: http://devicerealization.mit.edu; http://biomech.media.mit.edu

Contact: Please email Bryan Ranger (branger@mit.edu) if you are interested. Send an attached resume, list of relevant coursework or unofficial transcript, and hours per week desired for the summer. Feel free to include a link to any relevant projects you have worked on.


4/8/15
Summer 2015
Department/Lab/Center: CSAIL
Faculty Supervisor: Prof. Julie Shah

Project Title: Software development for robotic systems: visualization and interface with hardware.

Project Description: We are developing a robotic system for disaster response using a next generation dual arm highly dexterous robotic mobile manipulator. The system also includes two UAVs. We are seeking a UROP to extend the capabilities of our current 3D visualization system and integrate new robots, both mobile manipulators and UAVs, into the pipeline of visualization-planning-control. This project is ideal for a UROP looking for experience with state of the art robotics systems and human-robot interaction.

Dedication: We are seeking a full-time UROP during the summer, with the possibility of continuing during the fall.

Requirements:
*Strong background in Python.
*Working knowledge of C++ and MATLAB.
*Working knowledge of ROS (or willing to learn the basics quickly).
*Working knowledge of Git/Github will be helpful.
*Experience or interest in robotics and human-robot interaction.
*Interest in user interfaces and 3D visualization.
*Experience in interfacing software with hardware (no hardware work, just software interface to it).
*Experience with UAVs/quadrotors is a plus.

You will have the opportunity to work with the one of the most advance robotics systems in the world and gain valuable experience in the field.

LAB: Interactive Robotics Group at CSAIL.

Contact: Interested? Send a resume and a sample code (if available) to Claudia Perez D'Arpino (cdarpino@mit.edu)


4/8/15
Summer 2015
Department/Lab/Center: Sea Grant Program
Faculty Supervisor: Chrys Chryssostomidis

Project Title: RESCUE Manual Completion and Transformation to Web-based Platform

Project Description: We are looking for a student who is interested in helping complete a manual for local fishing communities to use in emergencies, particularly when fishermen or fishing vessels are lost at sea. Tasks proposed: 1. Update and ground-truth profiles of Gloucester, New Bedford, and Chatham (Massachusetts) and Pt. Judith, Rhode Island that were published in 2010 with 2007 landings and other economic data. 2. Take photos of commercial fishing vessels in each of these ports in situ, charting the local wharves (so that firefighters and police can respond when emergencies arise at the dock). This would also entail creating a database with the types of vessels (e.g., gear used) and/or distinguishing characteristics. 3. Develop a website to present the manual in an easily navigated form.

Prerequisites: We would like to have someone who is well-organized and able to work independently join us on the project. Website design experience preferred. Decent photography editing skills as well as willingness to check facts via telephone are essential.

Contact: Madeleine Hall-Arber (arber@mit.edu)


4/8/15
Summer 2015
Department/Lab/Center: Chemical Engineering (Course 10)
Faculty Supervisor: Prof. Paula Hammond

Project Title: 3D Polymeric Scaffolds for Tissue Engineering

Project Description: We are looking for one student to help with research related to engineer polymeric biomaterials for tissue engineering applications. Multiple project directions will be available based on preliminary findings and research interest. The work will involve designing and engineering novel 3D porous polymeric scaffolds for pancreas islet transplantation as well as for cardiac tissue engineering.

Prerequisites: Students should be highly motivated, eager to learn and have passion for applying towards translational research. The candidate should have basic knowledge of biomaterials science & engineering, chemistry and biology. Previous research experience in biomaterials, and cell culture is required. Candidates looking for a long term research position for summer and beyond are preferred.

Hours: Full time for summer 2015 (maximum 40 hours per week). This project also has an option of continuing during Fall 2015.

Contact: If you are interested, please send your cv ASAP to Dr. Mehdi Jorfi (jorfi@mit.edu)


4/7/15
Summer 2015
Department/Lab/Center: Architecture
Faculty Supervisor: Prof. John E. Fernández

Project Title: Resources and Urban Africa

Project Description: Predictions assert that Africa and Asia will account for 85-90 percent of growth in urban population in the coming four decades. Currently, the African continent hosts nine of the fifteen fastest growing national economies in the world[1]. By 2050 the African urban population will exceed 1.2 billion, an increase of 786 million new urban residents[2]. The research project “A Typology of African Urban Resource Consumption” seeks to understand this growth in terms of the physical resources consumed at present and required in the future. The main element of this work is the development of a typology of African cities using Material Flow Analysis and statistical analysis to establish a classification of cities based on distinct urban resource consumption profiles. The typology is based on the overall and per capita consumption of key resources including: water; materials; fossil fuel energy carriers; and CO2 emissions. Complementing this continent-wide typology research, this project has developed detailed resource maps showing the paths and volumes of resource extraction, acquisition, delivery and waste dispersal in six countries and the primary city/region in each: Cairo, Egypt; Gauteng, South-Africa; Lagos, Nigeria; Nairobi, Kenya; Kinshasa, DRC; and Luanda, Angola. Based on this information, and with the cooperation and engagement of local partners, the team aims to define specific strategies to guide sustainable development of African Cities in terms of energy and material flows.


Tasks and Responsibilities: We are looking for different profiles of UROPs to join our team:

1. Data-mining and statistical analysis (Math, EECS, or other): As UROP you will assist in the collection of data for a large set of cities spread over the African continent. You will cluster cities with similar resource consumption profiles based on the collected data, using R and other statistical methods/software, which will lead to the Typology of African Cities.

2. Infrastructural challenges analysis and new technology potential (MechE, CEE, or other): As a UROP you will assist on the continental scale in developing specific insight in the industrial, infrastructural and technological aspects of resource consumption defining the Typology of cities. On the national/urban scale you will assist the team in more detailed analysis of the existing infrastructures guiding resource flows and you will identify potential new technologies that can guide cities to an efficient and sustainable future of resource consumption.

3. Environmental policy & economic impact (CEE, DUSP, Econ): As a UROP you will develop an analysis on the continental scale of International African policies related to resource consumption in African cities. On the urban scale, you will develop a similar analysis for the 6 case study cities. You will develop policy change proposals that can be discussed with local authorities and identify the potential economic impact related to them.

4. Spatial implications of natural resource flows (Arch, DUSP): As a UROP you will assist in the spatial representation of resource flows for the 6 case study cities. You will engage in GIS-data collection and mapping as well as graphical representation of resource flows in diagrams. Depending on the development of the project you will potentially define strategic urban sites for which you will define stakeholders and key challenges to inform our discussion with local actors.

Prerequisites: For positions 1, 2, and 3 there are no specific subject or skill prerequisites. For position 4, candidates with prior knowledge of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) tools and practices will be given preference.

Travel: Candidates who join the team are offered the option to travel with the UMG to Cape Town South Africa for an international workshop (June 17-19, 2015). All travel and accommodation costs to be paid for by the UMG. Exact dates of travel to be determined but likely to be around June 14-21, 2015. UROP candidates are welcome to elect not to travel.

Pay or Credit: All positions listed below are offered for pay or credit

Start and End Dates: To be negotiated with each candidate

URL: www.urbanmetabolism.org/projects/resources-and-urban-africa/

Contact: Prof. John Fernández at fernande@mit.edu


4/7/15
Summer 2015
Department/Lab/Center: Nuclear Science and Engineering (Course 22)
Faculty Supervisor: Richard K. Lester

Project Title: How to test a nuclear reactor

Project Description: Developers of advanced reactors have called for the design and construction of test and prototype reactors -- as proof of concept and also to generate new engineering data for the design and licensing of larger commercial reactors. The purpose of this project is to draw lessons from the extensive reactor testing program that was undertaken at the National Reactor Testing Station (which later became the Idaho National Laboratory) as part of which 52 test reactors were designed and built. The key questions this project aims to answer are : What were the original and final missions of these reactors ? Who designed and operated them? What was learned from building and operating these reactors? How did the information generated by each of these test reactors influence the trajectory of commercial reactor development? Answers to these questions will help inform critical engineering-policy decisions about how the developers of advanced reactors ought to think about designing and using test reactors as part of the trajectory of reactor commercialization.

Contact: Aditi Verma (aditive@mit.edu)


4/7/15
Summer 2015
Department/Lab/Center: Chemical Engineering (Course 10)
Faculty Supervisor: Paul I. Barton

Project Title: Code-migration of software from Ubuntu to Windows platform

Project Description: The Process Systems Engineering Laboratory (PSEL) has developed software for parameter estimation in dynamical systems using global optimization methods. The bundled software relies on state-of-the art optimization algorithms developed in the laboratory, along with other open-source and commercially available third-party software. The current version of the software runs on Ubuntu platforms, and we are interested in developing a compatible version for Windows-installed machines. The ideal candidate is expected to take the initiative to develop a Windows version of the software from the Ubuntu version through code-migration.

Prerequisites: The ideal candidate should have: Major in Computer Science Programming experience with C/C++, FORTRAN and Python Experience with GNU Compiler collection (e.g, g++, gfortran) Experience with code-migration between OS Experience with developing software for multiple OS Initial appointment will be for the summer with a possibility of extension into the fall semester contingent on performance and availability of funding.

URL: https://yoric.mit.edu/barton_lab

Apply: To apply, please send your CV and statement of interest to Aditya Tulsyan (tulsyan@mit.edu). If you are interested in the specifics or would like to set up an individual meeting to further discuss the project, please send an email.


4/7/15
Summer 2015
Department/Lab: Picower Institute for Learning & Memory / Brain & Cognitive Sciences
Faculty Sponsor: Earl K. Miller

Project Title: Closed-loop feedback control of brain oscillations

Project Description: The brain is made up of billions of neurons (brain cells), which must work together in concert to process the information that lets us see, feel, think, and act. To coordinate, neurons must form “ensembles”, distributed groups that are processing information in separate brain areas, but in a coordinated fashion. Recent work in our labs has shown that this coordination can be detected as frequency-specific oscillations in the local field potential (LFP) - a voltage created in a small zone of brain tissue by the activity of thousands of neighboring neurons. That is, we can detect cells switching on and off at particular frequencies, and have found that different frequencies implement different kinds of computation in the brain. We are starting to develop that knowledge into technologies that could improve learning, memory, attention, or emotion regulation, which could be valuable tools for treating brain illnesses. This project will build the first step in that: a feedback circuit that can work to increase or dampen brain oscillations.

Primary Responsibilities: You will work as part of an interdisciplinary team, with a psychiatrist-engineer, two neuroscientists, and an analog circuit engineer. The first step will be working to design a stabilized analog feedback circuit capable of controlling brain oscillations at a variety of frequencies, then testing that design in simulation and with pre-recorded brain signals. If you are interested, and if things progress well, you would have the option of learning some rodent brain recording techniques and testing the circuit in a live brain. For an interested candidate who’s working out well, we are willing to expand the UROP beyond the summer.

Prerequisites: A basic understanding of analog electronics design and realization. Completion of 6.002 and 6.003 is best, but equivalents (including online study) are welcome. If you’ve built something with an op-amp in it, you have the skills you need. An interest in the brain and bio-electrical phenomena is essential. This would be a good project for a future biomedical engineer and/or someone interested in medical technology. You do not need prior wet lab or electronics lab experience, but it would be helpful, as would good coding skills.

Contact: Send a resume and brief note about your relevant skills and interest in the project to Alik Widge, awidge@mit.edu.


4/3/15
Summer 2015
Department/Lab/Center: Civil and Environmental Engineering (Course 1)
Faculty Supervisor: Harold Hemond

Project Title: Measuring methane bubble size distributions on Upper Mystic Lake

Project Description: Our lab studies the natural process of methane bubbling in Upper Mystic Lake, a small lake 20 minutes from MIT. Methane is an important greenhouse gas, and methane bubbling from lake sediments is a historically under-studied source of methane to the atmosphere. Our research project involves designing, building, and deploying custom bubble sizing sensors to intercept bubbles rising through the water column and record valuable information about their size. Bubble size distributions are critical to calculating what percentage of methane is released to the atmosphere, and what percentage dissolves into the water column. Project work will include many trips to Upper Mystic Lake for field work in a small boat, analyzing gas samples in the laboratory, manufacturing new sensors in the machine shop, and analyzing data on bubble size distributions.

Prerequisites: We are looking for a motivated, enthusiastic student excited about the diversity of work required for this project. We need someone who is interested in field work on Upper Mystic Lake, capable of running gas chromatograph analysis in the laboratory, and experienced using tools. We will give preference to students with machine shop training. This project also has an option of continuing during Fall 2015.

Contact: Kyle Delwiche (kyled@mit.edu)


4/3/15
Summer 2015
Department/Lab/Center: Mechanical Engineering (Course 2)
Faculty Supervisor: Domitilla Del Vecchio

Project Title: Modeling and Classification of Driver Behavior in Response to Warnings

Project Description: The objective of this project is to construct models that describe how drivers in the proximity of intersections respond to warnings. These models will be in the form of mixed dynamical systems and automata, where the automaton describes the decisions a driver may take in response to stimuli and the dynamical system describes the consequent vehicle dynamic behavior. These models will be constructed from data obtained from experiments in a driving simulator performed by human factor experts. The models will be instrumental to predict the driver behavior and design appropriate warning and override systems to prevent collisions at traffic intersections.

Funding: Sponsored Research funding from the Faculty is available, student can also pursue UROP for credit.

Contact: Domitilla Del Vecchio (ddv@mit.edu)


4/3/15
Spring 2015
Department/Lab/Center: Mechanical Engineering (Course 2)
Faculty Supervisor: Alexie Kolpak

Project Title: Mobile Simulators: development of the heat diffusion equation solver with CUDA

Project Description: The broader project aims at the development of next-generation computational tools, which run on mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets. This novel paradigm would enable "on the fly" computations and bypass the need of having a Internet connection for complex-science applications. The ideal candidate should be able to build a solver for heat diffusion equation within Android, relying on the CUDA programming paradigm. This solver will run on a NVidia graphic card (i.e. Tegra K1).

Prerequisites: Ideally, the successful candidate's background include CUDA development and experience with Android programming. However, willing to learn how to develop a simulator on graphic cards is enough. Knowledge of heat transfer is not a prerequisite.

Contact: To apply, please send your CV and statement of interest to Giuseppe Romano (romanog@mit.edu) by 4/31/15


4/3/15
Summer 2015
Department/Lab/Center: Chemical Engineering (Course 10)
Faculty Supervisor: Klavs F Jensen

Project Title: Precious metal - based catalyst recycle strategies in flow

Project Description: More than 80% of all chemicals and active pharmaceutical ingredients are made using catalysts on an industrial scale. Many of these catalysts contain varying amounts of precious metals such as ruthenium and palladium. These metals are 'precious' (and thus very expensive) because of their low abundance on the earth's crust. For example, 0.001 grams of ruthenium is present in 1000000 grams of crust. These metals are often rendered unusable after a catalytic reaction and not recovered. This project aims to recycle ruthenium metal based catalysts for the production of pharmaceutically relevant chemicals in continuous flow. Flow synthesis represents a departure from traditional, batch-based pharmaceutical production and promises more efficient, safer production. The project will draw upon the UROP's interest and aptitude in performing lab-based experiments such as the construction of small-scale reactors and the study of organic reactions.

Prerequisites: Ideally a minor in organic chemistry. At the least an appreciation for organic reaction mechanisms and some knowledge of reaction engineering.

Contact: Dr. Saurabh Shahane (shahane@gmail.com)


4/3/15
Summer 2015
Department/Lab/Center: Aero/Astro (Course 16)
Faculty Supervisor: Alvar Saenz-Otero

Project Description: The Zero Robotics (http://zerorobotics.mit.edu/) competitions allows high-school students (in the Fall) and middle-school students (in the Summer) to program the SPHERES satellites (http://ssl.mit.edu/spheres) and compete first in simulation; then the finalists have their code run by astronauts aboard the International Space Station!

During the Fall 2014 a team of UROPs worked with the MIT GameLab to create a new game for the High School Tournament 2015. The game "beta version" is being programmed during Spring 2015. A team of up to 4 UROPs (including some continuing from Spring 2015) will complete the programing of the 2015 game and perform thorough testing by creating multiple simulation competitions amongst yourselves. The team may also organize an internal MIT competition to test the game with other MIT students (but keeping the game secret within MIT, as it will not be announced until September 2015). The game is deployed in "phases" to the High School students, therefore the UROP team will have to program and test all phases of the game.

Requirements:
* Programming in C/C++ (or similar language) or python (for website) helpful
* Working knowledge of MATLAB helpful
* Experience with JavaScript, ActionScript, HTML5, and/or FLASH helpful
* Experience with Linux based systems (programing, configuring) helpful
* Alum of a FIRST robotics team a plus

Hours:
* Summer: minimum 20 hours per week, maximum 40 hours per week
* Summer: expected to work at least 10 weeks during the summer

Contact: Interested students should send their resume and introduction letter to spheres@mit.edu and can sign up for an optional interview at:
http://doodle.com/dq7z8qdbxxb9mimr


4/3/15
Summer 2015
Department/Lab/Center: Materials Science and Engineering (Course 3)
Faculty Supervisor: Prof. Antoine Allanore

Project Title: Development of a new phosphate fertilizer

Project description: We are recruiting one student to work in the laboratories headed by Prof. Antoine Allanore within the department of Materials Science and Engineering. We work in collaboration with a mining company with the ultimate goal to provide local sources of fertilizers to agriculture-intensive countries in the southern hemisphere, e.g. Brazil. Specifically, the candidate will be involved in the chemical design, synthesis and characterization of a new form of phosphate fertilizer. This UROP project suits for a motivated and committed student willing to contribute to a multidisciplinary project at the intersection of materials science, industrial chemistry and geology. The student will learn the use of analytical techniques such as Inductively Coupled Plasma Mass Spectroscopy (ICP-MS), X-Rays Diffraction spectroscopy (XRD) and Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM).

Students from Materials Science and Engineering, Chemistry, Chemical Engineering, and possibly Mechanical Engineering (with demonstrated chemistry experience) are welcome to apply. This UROP opens immediately and will be paid or used for credits, depending on the student choice. Candidates that are planning to join our laboratories for the entirety of the summer will be strongly preferred.

Contact: Interested candidates please send a CV and a short cover letter expressing interest in the position directly to both Dr. Davide Ciceri (ciceri@mit.edu) and Dr. Carole Gadois (cgadois@mit.edu), and add in carbon copy Prof. Antoine Allanore (allanore@mit.edu).


4/3/15
Summer 2015
Department/Lab/Center: Mechanical Engineering (Course 2)
Faculty Supervisor: John Hart

Project Title: High-speed additive manufacturing of composite structures

Project Description: Additive manufacturing is utilizes universal tooling to create unique geometries from a variety of materials with little to no waste. These traits make it ideal for short-run production of frequently customized items and manufacture of parts with high-value high-cost materials. Our team is developing a scalable, modular technology for the additive manufacture of composite structures, with application to rapid fabrication of large structural components. The project is multidisciplinary, requiring synthesis of novel material formulations, design of new high-performance machine modules, analysis of heat transfer and fluid dynamics, feedback control, and system integration. For this project, we are seeking a full-time UROP to join our team during summer 2015. The UROP will work closely with the project lead and sponsoring research scientist yet be expected to work independently to contribute key ideas and results from machine designs to reports and publications. The UROP should have proficiency in mechanical design, prototyping, and machine operation; background in electronics and electronic fabrication are also desirable. The UROP will work on one major aspect of system construction and testing, and contribute to other aspects of the project as organized by the team.

Contact: Interested candidates please email your CV/resume along with a brief statement of your interest in the project to Jamison Go (jamisong@mit.edu) and John Hart (ajhart@mit.edu).


4/3/15
Summer 2015
Department/Lab/Center: Research Lab for Electronics (RLE)
Faculty Supervisor: Marin Soljacic

Project Title: Nanoparticle Transparent Displays

Project Description: Join an exciting project with many commercial applications already receiving media attention! We are seeking a Chemistry, Chemical Engineering, or Materials Science student to help us embed selective-wavelength-scattering nanoparticles in transparent polymer resins. No previous research experience is required, though coursework or experience with polymers may be useful. More Info:http://www.engadget.com/2014/01/21/mit-transparent-display/ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0aw58MUciWw

Contact: Emma Anquillare (eanquill@mit.edu)


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