MIT's Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP)

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

IAP-Spring 2015
Department/Lab/Center: Brain and Cognitive Sciences
Faculty Supervisor: Laura Schulz

Project Title: Online research in cognitive development

Project Description: Lookit ( is a bold new approach to studying how children learn. Instead of recruiting families to come in to the lab, we've developed a website where any family can participate at any time by doing a quick activity in their web browser. Video is recorded via webcam and streamed back to our lab. We're starting by replicating several classic studies in developmental psychology, on topics ranging from early comprehension of grammatical categories to intuitive understanding of probability. The broader vision is of a citizen-science partnership framework that lowers the barriers to participating in research about development both for families and for researchers. Online studies can make it easier for single, low-income, and rural parents to take part in research, thereby representing a more diverse population; allow researchers outside of historically specialized labs to work with special populations (e.g. children with developmental disorders or unusual language backgrounds); make longitudinal designs and repeated measures in individual children feasible; and increase transparency, replicability, and communication to the public.

As a research assistant on the Lookit project, you will be responsible for helping to analyze data from online participants by watching videos of children's participation and recording their responses (primarily verbal responses from preschoolers, looking measures from infants and toddlers).

Details: We prefer a commitment of at least 16 hours/week during IAP but will consider fewer hours for students continuing during the Spring semester. This project may be pursued for credit or pay.

Contact: Kim Scott ( if interested.

IAP-Spring 2015
Department/Lab/Center: Mechanical Engineering (Course 2)
Faculty Supervisor: Evelyn Wang

Project Title: Studying Carbon Nanotube Properties For Electrochemical Desalination

Project Description: Carbon nanotube electrodes for electrochemical systems have been getting more attention in recent years, being used in super capacitors, composite systems, and lithium air batteries. Our group is investigating the use of CNTs in capacitive desalination systems. 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. Developing fundamental understanding of the role of the pore volume and nanowire spacing in the transport properties of these devices is key to optimizing these systems. We are currently looking for a student to help conduct experiments and characterize the performance of these carbon nanotube electrodes. They will investigate the effect of densification of carbon nanotubes geometry and transport resistance. The work involves gaining skills in synthesis, imaging techniques, and making device level measurements. The contributions of this work can lead to a publication during the 2014-2015 school year.

Prerequisites: 2.005/2.006 and 2.60J are preferred but not required. Please indicate any cleanroom or microscopy experience as well, but not required.

Contact: Heena Mutha (

IAP-Spring 2015
Department/Lab/Center: Aeronautics and Astronautics (Course 16)
Faculty Supervisor: Jonathan How

Project Title: Self-Driving Vehicle Project

Project Description: The Aerospace Controls Lab (ACL) is looking for a UROP to aid graduate students with a self-driving vehicle project. Tasks include researching relevant sensor and actuator hardware, installation of hardware on the vehicles, collecting hardware data within the Robotic Operating System (ROS) infrastructure on a Linux architecture, visualizing sensor data in ROS, and a number of other computer simulations and hardware experiments for planning and decision-making algorithms.

- Machine Shop familiarity
- general hardware skills, electrical wiring and mounting
- experience working with Linux
- valid US driver's license with clean driving record

Preferred Skills:
- experience with robotic sensors and actuators
- programming experience, including familiarity with C/C++ and/or Python
- experience with ROS -CAD modeling


Contact: Justin Miller (

IAP-Spring 2015
Department/Lab/Center: Aeronautics and Astronautics (Course 16)
Faculty Supervisor: Prof. Karen Willcox

Project Title: Crosslinks: Curating the Landscape of MIT's Educational Materials

Project Description: As an MIT undergrad, you ve been there - scared when your 2.004 professor assumes you know how to compute eigenvalues and eigenvectors on the first day of class. Wouldn t it be nice if you could review all the prerequisite eigenvalue topics in one place? Crosslinks is that place - a wiki of linkages and learning resources for any topic, authored by students, for students. It s a place where you can find useful links to techniques for solving specific problems. It s a place where you can get links to videos that other MIT students have found helpful. Ultimately, it s a place where you can see how all the topics taught at MIT are dependent on each other. At least, it will be. That s why we are seeking an enthusiastic student interested in education to help seed Crosslinks with initial content. You are a good fit if you like to read up on classes, review learning material and interested in educational initiatives.

Responsibilities: You will join the Crosslink's UROP team and gain first-person-there glory when we launch the public beta in Spring 2015. You will identify key topics that cut across subjects at MIT, pinpoint the relationships among these topics and map out where in the MIT curriculum they are taught and used. You will also search for and identify good learning resources for each topic. As Crosslinks gains user adoption and collects analytics, you will engage in UX (user experience) analysis: you will analyze usage data, asking questions to hone in on user personas, determine the reasons behind user activity patterns and draw conclusions from findings to help improve Crosslinks. You will work with Prof. Willcox, Prof. Miller and Crosslinks project lead (Luwen Huang) on content creation, design direction and usability experiments.

Commitment: Start date is IAP with continuance through Spring 2015. Hours are flexible; 20 hours per week preferred for IAP and 10 hours per week preferred for Spring.


Contact: Interested students are asked to email Prof. Willcox ( and Prof. Miller ( with their resumes.

Department/Lab/Center: CMS
Faculty Supervisor: Eric Klopfer

Project Title: TaleBlazer: Location-based Augmented Reality on Smartphones

Project Description: Interested in location-based technology? Interested in games? Want to play with smartphones? Apply to be a UROP on the TaleBlazer team!

TaleBlazer is a location-based Augmented Reality game creation platform. Game designers build interactive games using the TaleBlazer Editor web application. Similar to Starlogo TNG, Scratch or AppInventor, the TaleBlazer Editor includes a blocks-based programming environment that allows the game designer to specify the game logic.

Game players use the TaleBlazer mobile application to download and play TaleBlazer games on GPS enabled smartphones (Android or iOS). As the players move around the real world, they meet virtual characters or objects in the game world that the game designers have built for them.

TaleBlazer is intended for educational purposes – the players explore subject matter in a new and exciting way in a real world context. We have worked with zoos, schools, after-school clubs, etc. to design and launch various professionally developed games with science, math, and history content. The TaleBlazer Editor can also be a valuable teaching and learning tool for student game designers, who learn programming skills and game design, while delving deeply into subject matter to create games about specific topics.

Openings: We have four (4) UROP positions available for IAP and Spring 2015. All four positions require a strong programming background. Experience with specific programming languages is not required. However experience with similar architectures and/or technologies is a plus.

(1) ANALYTICS – Help us take our recently launched Analytics platform to the next level, adding better ways of accessing and visualizing data and improving data collection. The TaleBlazer server is written in CakePHP on a MySQL database. The analytics component is written in NodeJS. Some work on the Mobile application may be needed. TaleBlazer Mobile is written in JavaScript using Appcelerator’s Titanium platform.

(2) MULTIPLAYER – Help us continue development of the multiplayer server and use your creativity to develop sample multiplayer TaleBlazer games. The multiplayer server is written in NodeJS. TaleBlazer Mobile is written in JavaScript using Appcelerator’s Titanium platform.

(3) MOBILE USER INTERFACE (NAVIGATION) – Apply UI skills and explore ways to help players intuitively use the TaleBlazer app, focusing on improving player navigation the real world. TaleBlazer Mobile is written in JavaScript using Appcelerator’s Titanium platform.

(4) APPLICATION DEVELOPER (GAME SELECTION) – This position involves many aspects of the TaleBlazer system, requiring coding on the front end and back end (mobile and server). Candidates will gain a broad range of coding experiences, as they help identify, specify, and iconify game attributes to help our game designers better market their games and our game players find games they are interested in. The TaleBlazer server is written in CakePHP on a MySQL database. TaleBlazer Mobile is written in JavaScript using Appcelerator’s Titanium platform.

If you are interested in any of the above positions, please send an email to and include:
* an overview of your programming experience (specific references to relevant courses and other development and programming projects would be very helpful) including any pertinent URLs
* which position(s) you are interested in
* a summary of any previous UROP and work experience (attach a resume if you have one)
* a short description of why you are interested in working on this project
* Please put "TaleBlazer UROP" in the subject line

IAP-Spring 2015
Department/Lab/Center: STS
Faculty Supervisor: Professor Louis Bucciarelli

Project Title: MOOC modules for a Liberal Studies in Engineering Bachelor of Arts degree program.

Project Description: Seeking a UROP student to research, edit and recast content of modules to be used in courses of an innovative undergraduate Bachelor of Arts degree in Liberal Studies in Engineering. - a course of study meant to attract students undecided about choice of a major but who have sufficient interest to enroll in a program that keeps open the possibility that they might pursue a career in engineering. For these individuals, the program will offer a smoother pathway into the profession. For others, it will serve as a new liberal arts program centered on STEM. It would take exemplary, substantive content of the “traditional” undergraduate engineering program - the engineering sciences, the laboratory tests, the design projects - and subject this to study from the perspectives of th humanities, arts, and social sciences. See for justification.

Tasks include:
* Research of module content
* Editing and recasting source materials to fit the objectives of the module. (Go to to see a exemplary Liberal Studies module)
* Structuring content for posting on the Edx platform (using studio.edge.edx).

Some Python skill/experience is desirable. (Some modules will include interactive simulations)

Paid UROP Position

Interested students should contact Professor Louis Bucciarelli at:

IAP-Spring 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 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 IAP/Spring, the UROP will have to:
-Visit some retail stores every day for 3 weeks (excluding Saturday and Sunday).
-Using a special android app, scan the barcodes of 10 products in each store, take a picture of the tags and record their prices (the same 10 products must be scanned the following days in each store).
-Make on-the-spot decisions about product substitutions, coupon treatments, etc.
-Validate other team members databases.
-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 IAP/Spring). We will be paying the transportation costs.

-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 3 weeks of the IAP or spring.

Contact: Please send resume to and

IAP-Spring 2015
Department/Lab/Center: Media Laboratory
Faculty Supervisor: Andrew Lippman

Project Title: Learning Media

Project Description: Learning Media is graphical programming interface and platform for digital, visual media. Learning Media provides the means and language for crafting personal rules around visual media viewing and experiences. This project is geared towards those with an interest and experience in programming. On this project, you will be coding functions for a video player that extend beyond 'pause, play, etc.' and/or writing scripts to read instructions and generate an edit decision list for the video player.

- Required: Javascript
- Preferred Additional Skills: MongoDB, NodeJS, Web Video Processing and Rendering, HTML5

Contact: Vivian Diep (

Spring 2015 (or Earlier)
Department/Lab/Center: Sloan School of Management (Course 15)
Faculty Supervisor: Professor Emilio Castilla

Project Title: Applications and Job Search

Project Description: Professor Castilla studies how social networks and organizational processes influence employment processes and outcomes over time. He tackles his research questions by examining different empirical settings with large datasets, both at the individual and the company levels. His focus is on the hiring, retention, and mobility of employees across and organizations and locations.

He is currently looking for an MIT student to help with one research project on job applications and employment. The project is about understanding the application process and the best predictors of applicants' success both during and after the job search. The project involves 1) extracting PDF files from a large database, 2) processing those PDFs to extract text, 3) coding the text, and 4) then assisting with the creation/management of the data set. a

Applicant should have great programming experience. In particular, applicant should be comfortable working with the file system and operating on a large number of files. Applicant should also be well-organized, capable of working independently, and willing to take initiative. Please send résumé with your contact information and interests to (with Subject Title: Research Assistant). For more information, go to:

Prerequisites: Proficient programming skills in java, python or c. Will need to work with Filemaker Pro (a database), but experience with it not necessary.

Contact: Please send résumé with your contact information and interests to (with Subject Title: Research Assistant). For more information, go to:

IAP-Spring 2015
Department/Lab/Center: Health Sciences and Technology (HST)
Faculty Supervisor: Rakesh Jain

Project Title: Normalizing tumor microenvironment to enhance drug delivery

Project Description: I am looking for one or two UROPs to help with research related to understand the tumor microenvironment and to develop strategies overcome drug delivery barriers to improve treatment of primary and metastatic cancers in mice. The student will be learning how to formulate several novel nanomedicines and test them in vivo (mouse). The student will be utilizing molecular biology techniques to analyze tumor samples, as well as performing image analysis on various cancer models.

Hours: 10-12 hours/week during semester and ~20 hours during IAP

Prerequisites: The successful candidate would be high motivated, eager to learn, and committed to the project. This project involves with a lot of in vivo mouse experiment, therefore the student needs to be comfortable with handling mouse. Basic knowledge of matlab is preferred. Ideal candidate would be someone with biology, biochemistry, bioengineering, or chemical engineering background.

Contact: Ivy Chen (

Department/Lab/Center: Chemical Engineering/Mechanical Engineering
Faculty Supervisors: Bernhardt L. Trout & Alexander H. Slocum

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 (

Term: IAP-Spring
Department/Lab/Center: Health Sciences and Technology (HST)
Faculty Supervisor: Rakesh Jain

Project Title: Normalizing Tumor Microenvironment to Enhance Drug Delivery

Project Description: I am looking for one or two UROPs to help with research related to understand the tumor microenvironment and to develop strategies to overcome drug delivery barriers to improve treatment of primary and metastatic cancers in mice. The student will be learning how to formulate several novel nanomedicines and test them in vivo (mouse). The student will be utilizing molecular biology techniques to analyze tumor samples, as well as performing image analysis on various cancer models.

Hours: 10-12 hours/week during semester and ~20 hours during IAP

Prerequisites: The successful candidate would be high motivated, eager to learn, and committed to the project. This project involves with a lot of in vivo mouse experiments, therefore the student needs to be comfortable with handling mice. Basic knowledge of matlab is preferred. Ideal candidate would be someone with biology, biochemistry, bioengineering, or chemical engineering background.

Contact Name: Ivy Chen (

IAP-Spring 2015
Department/Lab/Center: Media Lab
Faculty Supervisor: Kevin Slavin

Project Title: Builiding Alternative Timekeeping Devices

Project Description: Media Lab group Playful Systems is looking for a UROP help build alternative timekeeping devices. One device is a custom built smart watch built to encourage moments of reflection and mindful timekeeping. Another devices is a pair of stopwatches built to last decades that alter our relationship to time and memory. These electronic devices live between being a commercial product and an art piece. UROPs with electrical engineering backgrounds interested in product design and art will fit in nicely.

Responsibilities include:
*designing and developing schematics and board layouts in Eagle
*sourcing components from Digikey and Mouser
*building circuits
*programming electronics

Prerequisites: We're looking for someone with experience in the following areas:
* Arduino
* C
* Eagle
* Surface Mounted Electronics
* Analog Electronics

Bonus if you have experience with these areas:
* iOS
* Solidworks
* Low power electronics

Contact: Che-Wei Wang (

IAP 2014-Spring 2015
Department/Lab/Center: Biological Engineering (Course 20)
Faculty Supervisor: Darrell Irvine

Project Title: Enhanced vaccine delivery by synthetic nanoparticles

Project Description: We fabricate synthetic nanoparticles for enhanced cancer immunotherapy and vaccine delivery. We apply engineering approach to improve the treatment of cancer, infectious disease in the immunology setting. The synthetic materials we use include, but not limited to, lipids and polymers. Therapeutic molecules delivered include nucleic acid, small molecules, cytokine and antibodies, etc. The project involves various nanoparticle synthesis, in vitro cell culture testing and in vivo animal experiment.

Prerequisites: The candidate is expected to be highly motivated. Previous research experience is preferred. The candidate should have basic knowledge of biology, chemistry, material sciences and related fields. Immunology background is a plus.

Contact: Yuan Zhang (

Summer 2014
Multiple Openings
Department/Lab/Center: Lincoln Labs
Faculty Supervisor: Multiple Faculty

Project #1: Full-Time Summer UROP (Requisition 5526)

Project Description: The Tactical Defense Systems Group works on air defense issues, in particular, air vehicle survivability, vulnerability of United States Air Force (USAF) aircraft to weapons systems, electronic countermeasures, and air surveillance for homeland defense.

The group seeks a summer MIT UROP intern to assist our engineering staff with advanced concept demonstrations in the areas of data analysis, algorithm development, software development, and digital signal processing. At the conclusion of these demonstrations, the successful UROP intern will have the opportunity to document and present their results to the group.

The successful candidate will be pursuing an undergraduate degree at MIT in Electrical Engineering, Computer Engineering, Computer Science, Mathematics, Physics or a related field with hands-on experience in one or more of the following areas: software development, RF circuitry, analog receivers, IR systems, electro-optical measurements, graphical user interface development, MATLAB programming, Java programming, FPGA programming, digital design, digital signal processing, image processing, and data analysis.

MIT Lincoln Laboratory is an equal opportunity employer, and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, veteran status, or disability. U.S. citizenship is required.

Project #2: Full-Time Summer UROP in Robotics and Autonomous Systems (Requisition 5539)

Project Description: The Control Systems Engineering Group seeks a summer MIT UROP intern to assist in the development of robotics and autonomous systems. Topics include implementing navigation and perception algorithms, operating unmanned vehicles in a controlled environment, and melding data sources. The intern will work with Lincoln Laboratory staff and fellow interns to develop and implement algorithms and advanced capabilities on mobile unmanned platforms. The intern will test and debug the capability in simulations and/or field tests.

The successful candidate will be a current MIT undergraduate student with robotics, autonomy algorithm, or machine vision experience. Proficiency with Unix-based software development in C++, MATLAB, or Python is required. Knowledge of ROS (Robot Operating System) is strongly favored.

MIT Lincoln Laboratory is an Equal Opportunity Employer and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, veteran status, or disability. U.S. citizenship is required.

To apply to either of these positions: Please go to

Enter "summer" in the keyword search, select either/both of the requisition numbers above and apply to the position(s) of interest .

Contact: If you have questions, please feel free to contact

Gary Hackett
Human Resources
MIT Lincoln Laboratory
244 Wood Street
Lexington, MA 02420-9108

Fall 2014-IAP 2015
Department/Lab/Center: Materials Science and Engineering (Course 3)
Faculty Supervisor: Prof. Alexander-Katz

Project Title: Drug Delivery Systems

Project Description: Looking for students in MECHE and CheME for a project related to drug delivery systems. Students will participate in design, fabrication, characterization of controlled release systems. Prototyping tools include 3D printing. Students should have passion for learning and applying towards translational research with focus on social impact. Various positions are open for this project. For further information, please check website.

Contact: Dr. Noel Elman (

Fall 2014-IAP 2015
Department/Lab/Center: Materials Science and Engineering (Course 3)
Faculty Supervisor: Prof. Alexander-Katz

Project Title: Navigation System for Drones

Project Description: Looking for students in CS, EE, MECHE for a project related to geo location, navigation of drones and actuator design and implementation. Students will participate in code optimization as well as electro-mechanical design of actuators. Prototyping tools include 3D printing. Students should have passion for learning and applying towards translational research with focus on social impact. Various positions are open for this project. For further information, please check website.

Contact: Dr. Noel Elman (

Department/Lab/Center: Economics
Faculty Supervisor: Professor 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. A working knowledge of MATLAB is also a plus. 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,

Department/Lab/Center: MIT Media Lab
Faculty Supervisor: Pattie Maes

Project description: (IoT + Wearable Devices). We will be creating the second version of an aesthetic and fashionable wearable device (bracelet,smart band or jewelry) that seamlessly connect our daily life style, evolving alongside human behaviors to augment, replicate or react to natural abilities and inputs, creating an increasingly connected relationship between people and their devices/environment.

Responsibilities: Produce the 3D model and visual design of the bracelet - from concept to execution (3d printing). You will be working with different materials for 3D printing as well as sizes and shapes. You will be able to create and iterate designs that reflect the project and inject beauty and life into it. We are willing a person who push creativity, challenge established thinking, and has fun!

Requirements: (UROP paid by MIT Media Lab) - Ideal candidate will have strong background in fabrication and sketch/artistic drawing. Electronic/Software skills will be a very welcomed plus. There is a possibility for extending this to the Spring semester, for subsequent phases of this project.

Additional information: This project has been developed during one year, so we are planning to design and develop the final version with flexible electronics, and flexible materials (that's why we need you :)). You will be working in an interdisciplinary team of electronic engineers, designers and software developers.

Contact: If interested, please send resume/portfolio to or

Fall 2014-IAP 2015
Department/Lab/Center: Aero/Astro
Faculty Supervisor: Prof. Wesley Harris

Project Title: Local, Off-Grid Power Solutions for The Republic of Liberia

Project Description: About 2/3 of the population of The Republic of Liberia live in regions of the country that are not on the country s small power grid. Much of the power infrastructure outside of the capital city of Monrovia, is in a degraded or inoperable state. Rebuilding the existing infrastructure or extending the power grid in new, remote areas is costly and will take many years. The government is looking to identify inexpensive, off-grid power solutions to deliver energy to many remote and isolated regions of the country. We are seeking a UROP to help us survey potential technologies at MIT that can potentially help solve these problems quickly and at a low cost.

Prerequisites: Sophomore year or higher. Preferably Junior or Senior, with an interest in developing nations, energy, and low-cost emerging technologies.

Contact: Yonatan Tekleab

Department: Sloan School of Management
Faculty Supervisor: Prof. Jim Utterback

Project Title: Investigating the Ecology of Innovation

Project Description: Prof. Jim Utterback at MIT ‘s Sloan School of Management and Prof. Fernando Suarez of Boston University are pursuing a broad research project on “the ecology of innovation.” Questions being addressed in this work include: How do new industries begin? When do a variety of ideas become a concept for a new product, process or service? How are the building blocks assembled and brought together? What are the dynamics of transformation from novelty to commodity? Further, how are the boundaries of innovation and industry changing? When might one expect the convergence of separate functions, as in the combination of the telephone, camera, watch, music player and so into the mobile device industry? And what in general might we expect from the dramatic reduction in materials use in the provision of such functions: a pervasive movement from analog to digital, from real to virtual, from products to services, from ownership to sharing and so on?

One might consider each firm's investments and product introductions as experiments, which provide corrective and stimulating feedback to that firm and to the industry about product and market requirements. The earliest period in the development of a product line or industry, in which few firms participate, would necessarily be a period of relatively slow technical progress and productivity advance. Within the rich mixture of experimentation and competition at the start of a cycle some center of gravity eventually forms, usually in the shape of product standards or production practices. Before too long, the ecology of competing firms changes from many competitors to few. The bases of competition change radically, and firms are put to tests that very few pass. This pattern seems to occur repeatedly as in, for example, vacuum tubes, the transistor, and integrated circuits.

Requirements: The work required in this project is the documentation of a number of cycles of innovation and change with particular emphasis on phenomena at the beginning of one cycle and the decline of a previous one. Data are to be gathered at multiple levels; industry, firm, product design and product performance, variety and cost. Work to date includes data gathered on computer mainframes, minicomputers, the PC and mobile devices; and film, digital and cell phone cameras.

Deliverables: Data are to be gathered over a period of decades to a century on industry start-ups and other entrants as well as failures or other exits, industry and firm sales, product performance and cost. While some of the required recent data are available electronically, much of the desired data reside only in archival form, so this project will require much work with MIT and other local libraries.

Arrangements: This project may be pursued for creditor for compensation depending on the preferences of the student selected. We would prefer it be for credit during the spring term and payment during the summer, but arrangements can be flexible.

Contact: If interested please contact Stephanie Taverna to set up an interview or 253-2676.

Department: Comparative Media Studies
Faculty Supervisor: Federico Casalegno

Project Title: Bringing the wearable revolution to the work environment.

Project Description: How could wearable technology help workers in industrial plants increase the safety and lower the error margin in this type of dangerous and extreme environment.

Tasks of UROP: The student will work with us, helping to develop a design sensible suit and help us to represent ideas and data graphically at the user end and control room in conjunction with a developer.
Later on, we will develop the physical prototype, which will happen at the user end and control room. The student will research, collect and synthesize information on the best examples in the above area, as well as work with other team members to brainstorm and propose projects based on the researched cases.

Prerequisites: Adobe Suite skills, data visualization knowledge required. Experience in soft electronics/digital fabrication/smart materials is welcome but not required.

Hours per week: 12-15 hours/week, for credit or paid. We’re looking for someone to start as early as the week of Monday, October 27. This is an ongoing project, if student’s interest aligns with the project, there is a possibility to continue on the project in the following semester.

Contact: Guillermo ( and include a short statement of why you are interested in the project, the skills that you bring, samples of relevant work (portfolio of projects related to the above topics), and an up-to-date resume.

IAP & Spring 2015
Department/Lab/Center: Brain and Cognitive Sciences
Faculty Supervisor: Laura Schulz

Project Title: Learning and Exploration in Early Childhood

Project Description: Our lab studies how infants and young children learn about the world. Specifically, our research projects investigate how young children learn about causal relationships through active exploration. In addition, we study other topics in cognitive development such as language and moral reasoning. We have a partnership with the Boston Children's Museum where most of our experiments take place. As a research assistant in our lab, you will be involved in the full research process, including recruiting families to participate in research, conducting behavioral experiments with young children, coding behavioral data, and building stimuli (toys!) for research projects. We are looking for UROPs who are curious and who would be comfortable interacting with children and their parents. For more information, please visit our website: The lab is not accepting applications solely for IAP-- research beginning in January will continue through the Spring semester. Applicants solely interested in the Spring semester are also welcome.

Details: 9.00 and 9.85 are preferred but not required. Minimum requirement is 6 hrs/week, 9-10 hrs per week during IAP.

Contact: if interested.

Fall 2014-IAP 2015
Department/Lab/Center: Research Lab for Electronics (RLE)
Faculty Supervisor: Stefanie Shattuck-Hufnagel

Project Title: Speech, rhythm and tongue twisters

Project Description: UROP project for Fall/IAP: speech, rhythm and tongue twisters Interested in speech? In models of cognitive processing? In the role of intonation and rhythm in human behavior? In this project we are studying what makes a tongue twister hard to say, because we believe that the answer will tell us a lot about the process of planning and producing speech. Our hypothesis is that word lists (like top cop top cop top cop) elicit different patterns of errors than sentences (like The top cop saw a cop top), because the planning processes for these two types of utterances are very different. The audio recordings have been made, and the project involves analysis of these recordings: learning to use a speech display tool called Praat (freeware for either Mac or Windows) to view and measure certain aspects of the recorded speech waveforms. You will learn how to use Praat, what speech waveforms and spectra look like for different words and sounds, and how to use acoustic data to test models of cognitive processing. Some experience with signal processing, phonetics or experimental design is desirable but not required; we can train you.

This UROP requires a commitment of 6-8 hours per week during the remainder of the fall term, and 20 hours per week during the 4 weeks of IAP. Pays $10.50 per hour.

Contact: Dr. Stefanie Shattuck-Hufnagel, Speech Communication Group, RLE,

Department/Lab/Center: Brain and Cognitive Sciences (Course 9)
Faculty Supervisor: Mriganka Sur

Project Title: Virtual Reality navigation system for behaving mice

Project Description: The Sur lab aims to elucidate the neural mechanisms responsible for visually-guided behavior in mice. We use a host of sophisticated imaging techniques, spanning from two-photon imaging of single dendritic spines and axonal boutons to populations of thousands of neurons in awake, behaving mice, to answer basic questions about how the structure and function of the nervous system gives rise to complex behaviors.

We are particularly interested in:
1) How learning modifies the representation of visual information in early sensory areas
2) How visual information flows between cortical areas to sustain short-term memory
3) The effect of active engagement on the processing of visual information
4) How reward expectation and value modulates encoding of visual information

We are seeking a UROP to help advance these goals by designing and implementing a MATLAB/Python-based virtual reality system. In this system, the movement of a head-fixed mouse on a linear or circular treadmill will be translated to navigation in a virtual environment as the mouse performs specific behavioral tasks.

Key requirements:
1) Solid programming background -- must be fluent in either MATLAB or Python
2) Basic experience in computer game development software (e.g., Unity, jMonkeyEngine, Unreal Engine 4).
3) Experience with 3D (e.g., Blender) and 2D design (e.g., Photoshop, Illustrator, Gimp) software.

Successful applicants will be able to work in a team, be highly motivated and willing to learn. EECS students (Course 6) are particularly encouraged to apply. Pay or credit is available. Immediate start date.

Contact: If interested, email Rafiq Huda ( or Rajeev Rikhye ( Candidates will be invited for an on-site interview on a rolling basis.

Department: Brain and Cognitive Sciences
Faculty Supervisor: Joshua Tenenbaum

Project title: How do we recognize faces when we only partially see them?

Project description: The Computational Cognitive Science group is looking for a UROP to help design, implement, and analyze web experiments studying how humans recognize faces when they are partially visible, when they are viewed from unusual angles and under unusual light. These studies are motivated by computational theories of object recognition, and thus involve exciting interdisciplinary connections between psychology, computer science, and neuroscience.

Prerequisites: image and/or video processing and experience with web programming (HTML, javascript).

Contact: please e-mail Ilker Yildirim ( with a brief description of your background and interests.

Department/Lab/Center: Civil and Environmental Engineering (Course 1)
Faculty Supervisor: Prof. Oral Buyukozturk

Project Title: Innovative Material Development for Sustainable Structures

Project Description: UROP students would be involved in the development of engineered construction materials, specifically for concrete for durability in aggressive environment by incorporating into the concrete mix various additives that can be obtained from sustainable local raw material resources. This work represents innovative material development part of an umbrella project dealing with the sustainability of the built environment. Concepts of nano-engineered construction materials along with various micro-characterization techniques as well as computational modeling methods will be introduced.

Specific Tasks: The candidate will have opportunities to work in any or combination of following areas given below:
- Preparation of cement paste and concrete using sustainable additives in Portland based cement systems.
- Involvement in preparation of samples for micro-characterization.
- Various micro-characterization techniques may include X-ray diffraction, Fourier Transform Infra-red microscopy, Raman Spectroscopy and Scanning Electron Microscopy of cementitious materials.
- Opportunity to work and interact with the project team involved in computational modeling of cementitous gels and incorporation of experimental data in those models.

Undergraduate students at all levels including freshmen are encouraged to apply. For successful candidates limited funding may be available from the project and for freshmen from the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering.


Contact: Interested candidates should send a brief letter of interest and a bio sketch to Dr. Kunal Kupwade-Patil (

Department: Architecture
Faculty Supervisor: Les Norford

Project Title: Designing and implementing user interaction for sustainable urban design software

Project Description: We’re developing an urban design simulation tool that provides climate-specific advice for cityscape geometry and land use to assist the development of energy-efficient cities that are also thermally comfortable. The goal is to create a stand-alone tool as well as to integrate the tool into umi, an energy simulation tool in the CAD modeling environment Rhinoceros. Once created, it will be a first of its kind to integrate energy- and thermal comfort- based concepts in urban design.

We’re looking for a highly motivated student who will be responsible for designing and implementing user interaction in our current desktop GUI. The program has been written in C# using WPF in the .NET environment. The second goal of the project is to migrate the software within Rhino – you will be working with our backend developer to design a user interface for our software that would fit into the existing design for umi.

Requirements: C# programming skills required. Experience in creating a Rhino plug-in using RhinoCommon preferred. Knowledge in energy simulations and interest in sustainable urban design are a plus.

Contact: If interested, please send an updated resume/portfolio to Aiko Nakano (

Department: Chemistry
Faculty Supervisor: Matthew Shoulders

Project Title: Elucidating the role of host cell proteostasis on buffering influenza evolution.

Project Description: RNA viruses like influenza rapidly mutate and therefore produce new mutant viral proteins. In order for the virus to be infectious, these mutant proteins must be properly folded such that they are functional. Viruses are minimalist pathogens and do not have their own protein folding and homeostasis machinery. We are exploring how components of the human hosts protein folding machinery influence viral evolutionary trajectories using deep sequencing of evolved influenza and HIV populations.

Tasks of UROP: We are seeking a UROP with Python experience to design and write a program to help analyze our sequencing data. This project involves aligning sequencing reads to determine true mutations, and subsequent alignment to the influenza genome to model how the mutations influence the stability/functionality of influenza proteins. There are also opportunities to participate experimentally in wet lab aspects of the project if the UROP is interested in both computation and the biological sciences.

Prerequisites: Python experience, some background in computer science/biology/biophysics would be helpful.

Contact: Angela Phillips (

Department/Lab/Center: Media Lab (MAS)
Faculty Supervisor: Ramesh Raskar

Project Description: Computer science meets fabrication in the exciting field of computational fabrication. This UROP would be focused on 3-D printing specific, computational structures that will be used in ultrafast imaging. This is an excellent UROP for undergraduate students who are looking to publish their research in top venues and continue to CS graduate schools and careers.

Prerequisites: Successful candidates should have experience or be willing to learn how to use 3-D printers.

About us: We are the Camera Culture group at MIT Media Lab directed by Professor Ramesh Raskar (

Contact: To join, please contact Achuta Kadambi ( Welcome!

Department/Lab/Center: Sloan School of Management (Course 15)
Faculty Supervisor: Erik Brynjolfsson

Project Title: Automation and Jobs: Making Sense of Challenging Trends

Project Background: Rapid advances in digital technologies have profound implications for work. Popular wisdom says that robots are eating our jobs, but the situation is more complex than that. Many middle and low skill jobs have disappeared, contributing to increasing inequality, falling labor force participation and stagnating median incomes. Yet other jobs are increasing in demand, while still others are being created through new technologies. At the MIT Initiative on the Digital Economy, we are investigating the changes that have occurred in technology and jobs to (1) understand the drivers of change in job demand over the past two decades and (2) model how these trends may play out in the future. We are seeking two students to help us in this effort.

Project Description: Government agencies have documented the nature of specific jobs in great detail: requirements to hold different jobs, the activities performed in those jobs, and how many people have held those jobs. Unfortunately, many of these agencies have devised their own in-house methods of categorizing jobs, and even within an agency the categorizing criteria have changed over time. Since no single agency collects all of the information relevant to our research, and our period of interest spans longer than any single version of categories, it will be necessary to build crosswalks that allow the sources to be combined into a comprehensive dataset for analysis. The UROPs we seek will help to integrate and analyze datasets on occupations, skills, and industries as part of our research project. They may also have the opportunity to engage in qualitative text coding or online surveys to gather new data. The work can begin immediately, and is expected to run from Fall 2014 to Spring 2015. There may also be the possibility to continue working on projects for the Initiative on the Digital Economy in Summer 2015 or beyond.

Prerequisites: Deep experience is not required, but deep interest is; if you are passionate about the work, we can train you for skills that you may be missing. Ideally, we are looking for facility with Excel for building crosswalks, and potentially experience in using statistical analysis tools such as Stata or R. Students will need excellent English skills in order to work with data and job descriptions from US datasets. In addition, one of the datasets we may use is in German, so finding one student proficient in reading German would be a plus.

Contact: Interested students should send!
an email to Dr. George Westerman ( and Erik Brynjolfsson ( containing 1-2 paragraphs that explain how their background and interests make them a good candidate for the position. They should also include their resume, major, year in school, and GPA.

Department/Lab/Center: Architecture
Faculty Supervisor: John Ochsendorf

Project Title: Structural material quantities & their environmental impact

Project description: Within the department of architecture, the building technology program has built a database of material quantities in building projects in order to quantify the environmental impact of buildings. The key question of this research project is “What is the embodied carbon for different structures?” The aim of course is to build literacy around weight of structures and their embodied carbon, by collecting data on the embodied carbon equivalent (Global Warming Potential, or GWP, measured in mass of CO2e/m2) for structures.

Three primary ways will conduct the research.
1) Collect data from the published LCA literature over the last few decades.
2) Collaborate with leading firms to build a useful database of their projects.
3) Create an interactive growing database (similar to a Wikipedia page) where others can input projects
to include thousands of buildings worldwide.

Inputs are the amounts of steel, concrete, wood, etc.; the specifications on the material compositions; the area (gross and useable floor area) of the building, the type of building, the year of construction, the location, etc. Calculations are the Carbon Intensity Factors (kg CO2 / kg material), considering the material specifications and countries. Outputs are the Global Warming Potential (kg CO2e/m2) of the buildings and graphs that comparebuildings with others previously entered in the database.

The UROP will work on displaying graphs of the results using different filters: for example, we can
choose to show only tall office buildings in the area around Boston. The interactive online tool allows architects, engineers and researchers to input their data in a database and compare with other similar buildings.

You’ll be doing:
1. Adapting the web-based interface for inputting the data into the relational database of building projects
2. Working on the graphical and interactive display of the results

Students and skills preferred: Students interested in this project are required to have knowledge in website design and programming as well as in working with relational databases. A background or interest in computer science is necessary. Familiarity with relational databases, extensible markup languages, Microsoft sequel server, .Net, Java & html5, Lamp, Wiki, MongoDB etc. are strongly
recommended. Skills in computer aided design softwares such as Rhino and Revit are a plus. Interest in Sustainable Design is also a plus.

Time: 5 hours/week

Contact: Catherine De Wolf -

Fall 2014-IAP 2015
Department/Lab/Center: Aeronautics and Astronautics (Course 16)
Faculty Supervisor: Dava Newman

Project Title: Pathways for the future Manned Mission to Mars: A Decision Making Web Application

Project Description: Recently, the National Research Council has published a report explaining the different pathways to Mars, committing the US into an ambitious space exploration program. This new and innovative report received a large interest in the Congress. However, further steps need to be made to increase the general public awareness about this ambitious report. Developing an interactive web application version of the report is a way to better promote the report, to take the public along for the ride and help the politicians decision making process. It is a very topical subject with the recent NASA commitment in commercial spaceflight and the latest success of space exploration. The web application is a unique opportunity to have a broad impact both among the general public and the politicians. The work for this project would be to help developing a prediction model of Mars mission through an interactive web application, using new visualization tool (like d3).

Prerequisites: Familiarity with web application programmation languages: JavaScript, HTML, CSS

Contact: Pierre Bertrand (

Department/Lab/Center: Civil and Environmental Engineering
Faculty Supervisor: Prof. Moshe Ben-Akiva

Project Title: Smart-phone based travel survey

Project Description: Traditional paper based travel surveys have many known issues such as trip under-reporting, incorrectly reported times, etc. In this project, we develop a smartphone based travel survey system, Future Mobility Sensing (FMS), that uses GPS/GSM/Accelerometer/WiFi data collected by the phones to facilitate more accurate data collection (see for an example). The system consists of a smartphone application that collects sensor data from the phones; a backend server that processes the raw data to infer users' stops, activities, and modes of transportation; and a user interface (web or on-phone) that allows users to validate their activities, and provide feedback. The FMS system is a comprehensive platform to facilitate study of users’ travel behaviors and it is being extended to collect travel well-being information, social interactions information etc.

We are looking for a highly motivated and proactive UROP who will be responsible for development of the FMS iOS app, and also take part in other activities related to the project. The range of responsibilities includes:

- Development and testing of the iOS application
- Programming and testing of other mobile sensing devices (e.g. GPS loggers, On-board Diagnostic devices etc.)
- Assist in the development and testing of other components (backend, web-interface) of the system
- Assist in user support for survey participants

- Pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science or relevant field
- 1-3 years of related working experience preferred
- Independent and self-motivated, yet able to work as part of a multidisciplinary team.
- Familiar with iOS development
- Experience with ruby on rails, relational database, javascript is preferred

Contact: Katie Rosa <>

Department/Lab/Center: Civil and Environmental Engineering
Faculty Supervisor: Prof. Lydia Bourouiba

Project Title: Interface of fluid dynamics and disease transmission

Project Description: Seeking a motivated and self-driven UROP student interested in both experimental and mathematical modelling to tackle challenging problems at the interface of fluid dynamics and disease transmission. The goal is to evaluate how fluids and various forms of pathogens could interact to shape disease transmission in various contexts and populations (human, e.g. Ebola or SARS outbreaks, animal, e.g. H5N1 outbreaks, and plant diseases, e.g. Rust).

Seeking students who are self-motivated, creative, and very enthusiastic about 1) problem solving and hands on activities or 2) problem solving and mathematical modeling. Some interest in art and photography, Matlab and latex skills are required and ImageJ or image processing skills are considered to be a plus.

A strong Physics or Math-Physics background and experience or courses in fluid dynamics will be also considered to be assets.

Contact: If interested, please send an updated CV, including list of courses taken and previous projects/UROPs experiences to Prof. Lydia Bourouiba

Department/Lab/Center: Chemical Engineering
Faculty Supervisor: Prof. Allan S. Myerson

Project Title: The Design and Build of a Miniature Processing Plant for the End-to-End Production of Active Pharmaceutical Compounds.

Project Description: The current paradigm in pharmaceutical manufacturing is dominated by the use of batch process engineering. Very recent work on the continuous processing of pharmaceuticals has shown that lower costs, greater flexibility, better sustainability and novel production pathways of drugs can be achieved. Miniaturization of a pharmaceutical processing plant for the end-to-end production of bioactive compounds provides a greater response-to-demand flexibility to supply urgent medicines for those in remote locations facing crisis such as in regions of natural disaster or war.

In this project, the student will have the unique opportunity to engage with a multidisciplinary team of mechanical and chemical engineers working on downstream unit operations. Electrical engineering development and application is necessary to achieve control of miniaturized stirred tank reactors, valves and pumping systems for continuous unit operations. In addition implementation of level sensors and concentration sensors with feedback/feed forward control will also be required. The implementation of microelectronic circuit engineering to minimize the scale of plant electronics will be of great benefit.

The project requires a motivated electrical engineering student with proficiency in circuit design and the use of LabVIEW software.

Position available for credit or pay (willing to commit 5-10 hours a week).

Contact: If interested, please send your CV/resume to Marcus O’Mahony (

Department/Lab/Center: Mechanical Engineering (Course 2)
Faculty Supervisor: Peter So

Project Title: Optical elastography of biological cells using quantitative phase microscopy

Project Description: Optical elastography is an emerging new field to non-invasively distinguish various tissue pathologies based on biomechanical properties. The Laser Biomedical Research Center (LBRC) at MIT is developing an optical elastography setup for applications ranging from label-free stem cell sorting to understanding the origin of cardiovascular diseases at single cell level. We seek an undergraduate student interested in developing a cell culture chamber with an acoustic transducer (for mechanical loading). This device together with a state-of-the-art optical microscope will be used for various biological studies.

Prerequisites: The student should have a strong foundation in one of the scientific or engineering disciplines, and fluency with programming in Matlab (or related software packages). In addition, the student must be self-motivated, and capable of working both independently and within a group. The student is expected to fully participate in LBRC group meetings, and will be directly supervised by a Research Scientist in the Center. Experience with optics is preferred but not required.

Contact: Dr. Zahid Yaqoob (zyaqoob@MIT.EDU)

Department: Comparative Media Studies
Faculty Supervisor: Federico Casalegno

Project Title: Blending craftsmanship and technology: smart materials and digital fabrication for artisans in Tuscany, Italy

Project Description: Hand stitched leather, marbled Florentine paper, and wool textile are some of the products made by artisans in the region of Tuscany in Italy. With the advent of smart materials and digital fabrication tools, can we rethink the craft process and push the boundaries in the product design? What are the existing tools, and what new tools, fabrication methods, and materials can be introduced to artisans of Tuscany to enhance their creativity?

Tasks of UROP: The student will work on researching the potential use of smart materials and digital fabrication in the areas of leather, wool, and paper (both manufacturing process and consumer product). The student will research, collect, synthesize information on best examples in the above area, as well as work with other team members to brainstorm and propose projects based on the researched cases for a series of hands-on workshop with local Tuscan artisans. The student may travel with the team to Italy to organize and conduct the hands-on workshop with local artisans. Examples of possible research topics are use cases in conductive ink, flexible electronics/soft circuits, digital fabrication tools, conductive fiber, wearable electronics in the above mentioned industry sectors.

Prerequisites: Adobe Suite skills, knowledge and experience in soft electronics/digital fabrication/smart materials is a required.

Hours per week: 10-12 hours/week, for credit or volunteer. We’re looking for someone to start as early as the week of Monday October 13. This is an ongoing project, if student’s interest aligns with the project, there is a possibility to continue on the project in the following semester.

Contact: Yihyun Lim ( and include a short statement of why you are interested in the project, the skills that you bring, samples of relevant work (portfolio of projects related to the above topics), and an up-to-date resume.

Department: HST
Faculty Supervisor: Prof. Roger Mark

Project Title: Development of a Sana Mobile health app for Syrian refugees in Lebanon.

Project Description: Write code that matters and make a difference in the lives of refugees! We are looking for passionate, motivated, and skilled Android or Django developers to work on a mobile health application to treat non-communicable diseases in the Syrian refugee population. The project will be deployed and piloted on the ground in a year. Opportunities for travel and publications in journals exist.

As a result of brutal fighting in the Syrian Civil War, millions of Syrians have been displaced from their homes and forced to seek refuge in the surrounding countries. This has led to a massive influx of refugees to countries such as Lebanon. With a population of only 4 million, refugees account for almost a quarter of the population, placing tremendous strain on the health system. Non-communicable diseases such as diabetes and hypertension are major sources of disability and death. This project seeks to improve care to the refugee population by developing and deploying a mobile health system that will guide doctors in treatment with a decision support system and provide consistent care across clinics in this migratory population. It is a joint public health project between MIT, Johns Hopkins School of Public Health, and the International Organization for Migration. This is a pilot study to test for efficacy of such mHealth tools, and if successful, the system may be deployed in other locations as well by the IOM.

Prerequisites: We are using the codebase of an open-source mHealth platform called Sana Mobile ( developed here at MIT that has been deployed in many countries around the world. It consists of an Android app frontend, a dispatch server communication layer built on the Django framework, and a data storage backend on Android with cloud synchronization. Previous experience with Android development or Django is strongly preferred and UI/UX skill is a positive. With satisfactory performance and 2+ semesters of involvement, there will be opportunities for travel and publication in peer-reviewed journals. You will also have the opportunity to work with international leaders in the field of mobile health and people involved with healthcare IT startups. If interested, apply for this UROP by sending your CV to

Contact: If interested, apply for this UROP by sending your CV to

Department: Sloan School of Management
Faculty Supervisor: Prof. Renée Gosline

Project Title: Consumer Behavior ins Social Media

Project Description: Sloan faculty member seeks UROP for credit and pay for Fall semester with possible continuation in Spring 2015. UROP student would serve as a Research Assistant for studies on the effects of social media on consumer tastes.

Responsibilities include: literature review, collecting data from an internet site (data entry, coding), assisting with online experimental sessions, and preliminary data cleaning and analysis. Weekly time commitment will be 10-15 hours per week and can be flexible.

Pre-requisites: Must be highly motivated, highly responsible, and creative. Proficiency with collecting internet data and/or a statistical data package is a plus. Experience with Qualtrics, social media and/or Amazon Mechanical Turk is a plus.

Contact: Interested students should e-mail Professor Gosline at Your e-mail should include a copy of your resume and a brief note indicating your background, interests, year in school, major, and any relevant experience.

Department/Lab/Center: Sloan School of Management
Faculty Supervisors: Juan Pablo Vielma and James Orlin

Project Title: JuMP: software for modeling optimization problems in Julia

Project Description: From combinatorial problems like the traveling salesman and airline scheduling to convex model fitting in machine learning and statistics mathematical optimization is a broad field with many applications. JuMP, written in the numerical computing language Julia, is an open-source software package designed to make it easy for users to express such optimization problems using a natural, mathematical syntax. Both Julia and JuMP began development at MIT and have a growing user base in both research and courses at MIT and internationally. The goal of this project is to further the development of JuMP and help develop JuMP homework exercises and a JuMP tutorial for 15.053/8. Multiple UROP positions are available, and depending on your interests there are projects oriented towards usability (documentation, user interfaces), course development (homework problems for 15.053/8), theory (algorithms, formulations), and implementation (benchmarking, improving data structures, interfacing with existing optimization codes).

Prerequisites: Familiarity with mathematical optimization at the level of 15.053/8. Strong programming and/or writing skills. Experience with Julia is helpful but not required.

Contact: Please contact Jessica Olumets,

Department: Biology/Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research
Faculty Supervisor: Angelika Amon

Project Title: The role of aneuploidy in cancer development and progression

Project Description: Aneuploidy, or an abnormal number of chromosomes, is found in greater than 90% of human tumors. Yet, how aneuploidy affects tumorigenesis is poorly understood. Our lab is interested in studying the effects of aneuploidy on cell physiology and division. Understanding the ways in which aneuploid cells differ from normal, or euploid, cells will shed light on the biology of cancer and may elucidate genetic pathways that can be targeted to specifically kill aneuploid cells while leaving euploid cells unharmed.

In this project, we will be investigating the interactions between oncogenes, tumor suppressors, and the aneuploid state. We will be introducing genetic alterations commonly observed in cancer cells into euploid and aneuploid cells and then analyzing the resultant cell populations. We will attempt to determine whether aneuploidy has a synergistic or antagonistic interaction with these genetic drivers of cancer. As part of this project, the student will learn many common biology lab techniques, including cell culture, microscopy, RNA preps, and more.

Prerequisites: A schedule that allows the student to spend 10 or more hours a week in lab, and an interest in reading and engaging with the primary literature on cancer biology.

Contanct: Interested students should submit a cover letter, CV, and transcript (unofficial is fine) to Jason Sheltzer (<>).

Department/Lab/Center: Health Sciences and Technology (HST)
Faculty Supervisor: Prof. Ali Khademhosseini

Project Title: Innovative 3D Bioprinting

Project Description: 3D printing has become an enabling technique in biomedical research over the past few years due to its capability to generate precisely defined spatial patterns from cells and biomaterials in building functionally relevant tissues and organs that can greatly expedite the field of tissue engineering and regenerative medicine. However, currently available commercial 3D printers all have their limitations such as the types of materials that are printable and the capability in complex fluid handling, etc. To tackle with these issues, our lab is custom-building high-capacity 3D printers that are able to handle a variety of biocompatible materials as well as to conduct multiplexed fluid extrusion and mixing for advanced tissue bio-fabrication.

Prerequisite and Requirements: The candidate(s) should hold background in mechanical engineering, programming (e.g., MATLAB), and microfluidics.

Contact: Interested applicants should send your CV/resume to Shrike Zhang (, with a brief statement on your background skills that particularly fit our requirements and your overall expectations. Please also include your availability in conducting the researches.


Fall 2014
Sloan School of Management
Faculty Supervisor: Prof. Evan Apfelbaum

Project Title: Race, Gender Differences in Negotiation

Project Description: Sloan faculty member and doctoral student seek UROP for credit during Fall semester of 2015 (with continuation into the Spring 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, and potentially run live, in-person experimental sessions, among other tasks related to the research projects.

Prerequisites: 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.

Contact: Interested students should e-mail Heather Yang at 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?

Department/Lab/Center: Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences (Course 12)
Faculty Supervisor: Glenn Flierl

Project Title: software development for spherical display

Project Description: Develop software for an innovative spherical display which can portray all kinds of earth data and models for teaching about climate, plate tectonics, planetary data, even planetariums (see We want to couple this with a flat screen show that we can show synchronized information such as cross-sections, time history graphs, movies, etc. Use your imagination to make your own displays! Required: familiarity with OS-X development, xcode, and objective-C. Could be either UROP or part-time.

Prerequisites: familiarity with OS-X development, xcode, and objective-C


Contact: Glenn Flierl (

Department: Materials Science and Engineering
Faculty supervisor: Prof. Antoine Allanore

Project Title: Development of a microfluidic device for soil science

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. Specifically, the candidate will be involved in the design, realization and testing of a microfluidic device to study the dissolution rates of several mineral sources. This UROP project is suited for a motivated and committed student willing to learn and explore science at the boundaries between materials science, geochemistry and microfluidics. The student will learn the use of analytical techniques such as Inductively Coupled Plasma Mass Spectroscopy (ICP-MS), thin-section microscopy and possibly other such as Raman spectroscopy, Atomic Force Microscopy (AFM), X-Rays Diffraction spectroscopy (XRD) and Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM). This project can be easily modulated towards the interests of the student with the possibility to focus more on theoretical (microfluidic design and data modelling), experimental (device construction and chemical analysis) or both aspects.

Students from Materials Science and Engineering, Chemistry, Chemical Engineering, and possibly Mechanical Engineering (with prior chemistry experience) are welcome to apply. This UROP will be paid or used for credits depending on the student choice.

Contact: Interested candidates please send a short cover letter expressing your interest in the position and a CV to both Dr. Davide Ciceri ( and Prof. Antoine Allanore (

Department/Lab/Center: Center for Transportation & Logistics (CTL)
Faculty Supervisor: Dr. Chris Caplice

Project Description: Supply chain management is one of the fastest growing global jobs right now. The Center for Transportation & Logistics works with more than 40+ companies to assist them in the design and management of their supply chains and logistics systems. As part of its efforts here and on the educational front, CTL is creating an online course on supply chain management. We already have a team which is working on the development and launch of the first of a series of supply chain management online courses as part of MITx. We are looking for one more UROP to join the team, to help with the course upon launch next week. The UROPs will work directly with a graduate student (Santosh Stephen) and Dr. Chris Caplice to run this course to an audience of more than 18000 students worldwide.

Pre-requisites: Basic math skills coupled with curiosity and energy to help us create a world-class program.

Contact: Mr. Santosh Stephen (

Department/Lab/Center: Sociotechnical Systems Research Center (SSRC)
Faculty Supervisor: Donna Rhodes

Project Title: Model-Centric Systems Engineering Methods

Project Description: The Systems Engineering Advancement Research Initiative SEAri) research group program is investigating methods, processes and tools to accelerate the transition of systems engineering to a more model-centric discipline. This UROP project involves the design, development, and application of model-based methods involving human-model interaction in exploring the design tradespace. The goal of these methods is to rapidly conceive of systems and interact with models in order to make rapid trades to decide on what is most effective given present knowledge and future uncertainties, as well as what is practical given resources and constraints. The Fall semester UROP project will involve investigating the literature, gathering and analyzing research data, applying model-centric methods to a specific system case, and developing/testing of model-centric prototypes. It may include participating in writing of reports and technical papers. Candidates should have !
interest in working with a mixed team of research staff, graduate students, and undergraduate students as part of larger research program.

Prerequisites: Knowledge of MATLAB and Microsoft Office. Commitment to the work, good analytic, and systems thinking skills are needed to participate in collaborative research.


Contact: Donna Rhodes (

Department/Lab/Center: Electrical Engineering and Computer Science (Course 6)
Faculty Supervisor: Bradley Pentelute

Project Title: Automated Peptide Synthesizer Control systems and software

Project Description: The Pentelute group in Course 5 is seeking a motivated UROP to help develop the software control for automation of a next-generation peptide synthesizer. The use of peptides as therapeutic agents is an exciting, high-growth area in medicinal research. The project would be coordinated by an experienced graduate mentor and involve:

1) Using microcontrollers such as the Arduino or Raspberry Pi to control robots that prepare the peptide reactor for automated synthesis.
2) Developing a backend control system to control electrical heating of the reactor, as well as monitor real-time data about the chemical process.
3) Developing a user interface for the system.


Contact: Alex Mijalis (

Department/Lab/Center: Political Science (Course 17)
Faculty Supervisor: Evan Lieberman

Project Title: Votes and voices: Elections, protests, and service provision in South Africa.

Project Description: South Africa has recently become known as the “protest capital of the world”. Almost daily, many South Africans engage in active, sometimes violent, opposition to a lack of basic public service delivery including sanitation, running water, refuse disposal, and electricity. How and why do these protests occur? What are the political and service delivery consequences of those protests? Do protests act as a complement to electoral resistance (votes), or as a substitute? To study these questions systematically, we are building a database of “protests” that have happened in South Africa in the last ~15 years. The student(s) will assist in the creation of this database, and with analysis.

Prerequisites: The student should, first and foremost, have a keen interest in issues related to development, public goods provision, social science, or the region. Programming skills (Python, R) valued, as is competence with Excel. Please apply if you can work at least 9 hours a week for at least this semester, and possibly next semester.

Contact: Daniel de Kadt (

Term: Fall 2014 - IAP 2015
Department/Lab/Center: Materials Science and Engineering (Course 3)
Faculty Supervisor: Alfredo Alexander-Katz

Project Title: Advancing Moore s Law: directed self-assembly of block copolymer for nanoscale manufacturing

Project Description: Self-assembly behavior is prevailing in nature. It is this autonomous organization of organic molecules that enables the existence of life. Now in the semiconductor industry, there has seen a strong trend to adopt this bottom-up self-assembly process by the use of block copolymer for fabricating ever-smaller patterns and for further advancing the Moore s Law. We have been working on the design principles for fabricating these block copolymer-enabled nanoscale features, and are now expanding the self-assembled system to many varieties of metal/semiconductor materials. In this specific project, we will be focusing on fabricating organic/inorganic hybrid materials through directed self-assembly of block copolymers. This project will be mostly based on experiments, with the major focus on cleanroom fabrication (e.g., spin-coating, developing, reactive ion etching, electron beam lithography) and characterization (e.g. scanning/transmission electron microsco!
pe, atomic force microscopy, etc). Although this project will be experiment-oriented, the expertise of our group (Laboratory for Theoretical Soft Materials) also lies in simulation and theory. This project will therefore be in line with an ongoing research for the reverse design of the self-assembly patterns based on self-consistent field theory. Therefore, a basic understanding of statistical mechanics is preferred (not required).

Prerequisites: Expected background in materials science and engineering, chemistry, chemical engineering, electrical engineering or other related areas. Previous lab experience preferred (not required).

Contact: Yi Ding (

Term: Fall 2014-IAP 2015
UROP Department/Lab/Center: Electrical Engineering and Computer Science (Course 6)
Faculty Supervisor: Ian Hunter

Project Title: Rapid web development for robotics

Project Description: The way that humans interact with robots today is being rethought with the emergence of the Internet of Things. Instead of designing hardware to interact with robots, it is much easier to use web connected smartphones or laptops, which are now ubiquitous. The goal of this project is to develop a suite of web apps that act as the interface between humans and the sensors, actuators, and controllers of a robot. Job Description: Web apps will be rapidly developed using the Meteor framework in conjunction with the framework as the graphics engine. Experience with Meteor and is highly desired, but not required. The UROP position will be responsible for helping design web apps, then implementing them from start to finish utilizing test driven development. Example apps include teaching demonstrations for various sensors and actuators, a database manager for hardware, and an app for remote controlling a robot. A focus of the position will be on fast pace development.

Prerequisites: Required experience in: Web application design and implementation Test Driven Development Javascript Preferred experience: Meteor framework

Contact: Craig Cheney (


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