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.

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: Sea Grant Program
Faculty Supervisor: Chryssostomos Chryssostomidis

Project Title: Computer-Aided Design of High-Power Distribution Systems

Project Description: More power! In many systems, the component parts demand ever-increasing levels of power. In cars, computer systems and electrical components create the demand. In Navy combatant ships, the demand is from the weapons and sensor systems. Ubiquitous electronics demand power to operate and are an integral part of the operational capability of large systems. The focus of this project is to model the generation and distribution systems to support these power-hungry components, including both electrical power and cooling. As these support systems increase in size and importance, their specification can no longer be left to late stages of design; we seek methods to model these systems much earlier in the design process. Your specific interests will help drive the direction of this project.

The possibilities are wide:
- Constructing CAD models and programs for system visualization during design.
- Constructing CAD models distribution system equipment such as 90-degree cable bends, isolation devices, and tap-ons and tap-offs.
- Developing cable routing concepts for different ship configurations.
- Investigating thermal effects on cable routing
- Investigating survivability/reliability considerations
- Investigating control system design characteristics

Prerequisites: Knowledge of a CAD tool such as Rhino3D will be helpful.

Contact: Julie Chalfant (chalfant@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)


4/14/15
Summer 2015
Department/Lab/Center: Economics (Course 14)
Faculty Supervisor: Esther Duflo

Project Title: The Impact of Physical Pain on Productivity/ The Economic Effects of Sleep Deprivation

Project Description: Frank Schilbach will start as an assistant professor in economics at MIT in June 2015. He is looking for one or two undergraduate research assistants to work on two research projects at the intersection of development and behavioral economics.

Project 1: The Impact of Physical Pain on Productivity and Cognitive Function Chronic physical pain is highly prevalent among low-income workers in developing countries, and it may have widespread negative consequences for individuals cognitive function, decision-making, and productivity. Yet physical pain has largely been overlooked in development research and policy. This project seeks to understand the causal impact of physical pain on the lives of the poor. Using novel pain-measurement techniques in a randomized controlled trial of 400 low-income participants in India we examine how pain-reducing medication affects individuals productivity and cognitive function.

Project 2: The Economic Effects of Sleep Deprivation Among the Poor Poverty and health are closely linked. We study sleep, an important health behavior and outcome, and its impact on decision-making, cognitive function, and economic outcomes among the urban poor in a developing country. The medical literature has demonstrated the adverse effects of sleep deprivation on health and cognitive function in the lab. Given the challenging sleep environments found in urban areas in developing countries, these effects could matter greatly for the poor in their everyday environments. This study aims to: 1) measure the prevalence and causes of sleep deprivation among low-income individuals in India, 2) assess the effectiveness of interventions to alleviate sleep deprivation in a real-world environment, and 3) estimate the causal impact of reduced sleep deprivation on cognitive function, decision-making, including behavioral tendencies such as framing effects, and economic outcomes.

The UROP student will be working on a variety of tasks, including literature search, assisting ongoing fieldwork
(e.g. survey design) and data cleaning. The literature search will involve developing and writing overviews on the literatures in economics and psychology on cognitive and economic effects of sleep deprivation and physical pain. Data cleaning will include combining data from multiple sources, reconciling duplicates and flagging any data errors, and assisting with preliminary data analyses. The UROP will have the opportunity to learn about digital data collection, data cleaning and analysis, as well as strengthen their Stata skills.

Prerequisites: A candidate must be highly motivated, detail-oriented, and able to meet deadlines. Candidates should have taken 14.73, 14.74, or 14.75. Knowledge of Stata and econometrics is a plus. Additionally, the candidate should be familiar with RCTs and have an interest in development and behavioral economics.

Contact: Frank Schilbach (fnschilb@fas.harvard.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: Whitehead Institute/Biology
Faculty Supervisor: Prof. Harvey Lodish

Project Title: Mechanisms of Mitochondrial Oxidative Stress Signaling

Project Description: Reactive oxygen species (ROS) and mitochondrial dysfunction are linked to numerous diseases. The goal of this UROP project is to determine the role of mitochondrial respiratory chain components in ROS induced signal transduction. The student will have the opportunity to learn molecular biology, mammalian cell culture, flow cytometry and Western Blotting techniques. The student will be trained in critically evaluating the data and is expected to formally present the research in lab meeting by the end of the summer. A senior post-doc in the lab will supervise the project.

Prerequisites: Some biological coursework and/or prior laboratory experience in molecular biology is desired. Attention to detail and ability to keep an organized record of observations and results are essential.

Time: Full time during the summer 2015 with the option to start as soon as possible and the opportunity to continue the project in subsequent semesters.

Contact: Interested applicants should send a CV to Heide Christine Patterson, MD (ckunst@wi.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: Biological Engineering (Course 20)
Faculty Supervisor: Forest White

Project Title: Spatial systems modeling of a receptor family for cancer targeting and immunotherapy

Project Description: Our cells are spatially organized in intricate detail, and yet much of biology is studied only after these molecular patterns are homogenized. This project studies a family of receptors found aberrantly activated on cancer cells, and that modulate immune system activity. Previous work has shown that the spatial pattern of stimulus strongly influences activation of the receptors. By experimentally measuring receptor activation and developing computational models of how activation occurs, this work aims to develop optimally designed therapies for these receptors. Work within this project will involve purification of receptor fragments, biophysical characterization, quantitative assays measuring protein-protein interaction, and signaling assays measuring receptor activation in live cancer and immune cells.

Prerequisites: Candidates should have completed an introductory biology course. Previous research in a molecular biology lab, and/or completion of 20-320 or similar course, is helpful but not required. Preference will be given to candidates with an interest in developing toward research independence and long-term commitment.

URL: http://asmlab.org/research

Contact: Aaron Meyer (aameyer@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)


3/26/15
Summer 2015
Department/Lab/Center: Mechanical Engineering (Course 2)
Faculty Supervisor: John Hart

Project Title: Prototyping of soil sensors for rural Indian farmers

Project Description: Currently, rural Indian farmers suffer from information poverty with respect to the chemical composition of their soil, information critical for making accurate fertilizer and irrigation decisions on the farm. According to the Deshpande center, nearly 98% of farmers do not test their soil - due to either a lack of access, poor education, or inefficient and corrupt government soil testing centers. The aim of this project is to develop a low cost platform for farmers to test their soil chemistry; including a sensing device as well as an associated card or guide that converts the results of the sensor to recommended action items. This project is not only highly unique in its interdisciplinarity, from anthropology to mechanical engineering to electrical engineering - but also in the opportunity for consistent interaction with the end user via trips to India funded by the TATA center. Ideally a candidate could start as soon as possible, and continue throughout the summer for our ultimate month-trip to India during the end of summer.

The UROP project will vary according to the person's strong suit. As it stands, a few potential projects could form:
(1) Coding a microcontroller that converts a signal from the soil sensor to a colorimetric output
(2) Maximizing the stability of the device by optimizing surface chemistry and composition of the electrode
(3) Designing a roll to roll process to manufacture the sensors in streamlined way (4) Mechanically designing the enclosure of the reader device.

Prerequisites: Academic pre-requisites will vary as projects may take a rather interdisciplinary form (specifically among materials science, mechanical engineering, product design, chemical engineering, and even a little electrical engineering/computer science). Regardless, though, a strong background in chemistry, materials science, or chemical engineering is preferred. An ideal candidate would be highly fluent in engineering fundamentals, committed to put in the necessary time and effort, and perhaps most importantly - passionate about making devices that address real needs. This is a full-time summer position (40 hours/week paid) and the student may begin working part-time before the end of the spring semester if available.

Contact: Ron Rosenberg (Ronrose@mit.edu)


3/23/15
Spring 2015-Spring 201
Department: Theater
Faculty Supervisor: Alan Brody

Project Title: Catalyst Collaborative @ MIT (CC@MIT) Science Theater Project

Project Description: CC@MIT is a collaboration between MIT and Central Square Theater, dedicated to creating and presenting plays that deepen public understanding about science, while simultaneously providing artistic and emotional experiences not available in other forms of dialogue about science. CC@MIT’s mission is to engage audiences in thinking about themes in science and technology of social and ethical concern; to provide insight into the culture of science and the impact of that culture on our society; and to examine the human condition through the lens of science and technology that intersects our lives and the lives of the scientists whose work changes our world and their own.

There are opportunities for Spring, 2015 through Spring, 2016. Projects will be designed according to time, skill sets, and interests of the UROP student, who will be engaged in one or more of the following:

Dramaturgy. Research related to upcoming 2015-16 productions, in collaboration with Artistic Directors, to be used by stage directors, designers and performers.
Copenhagen, by Michael Frayn

- Einstein’s Dreams, by Wesley Savick, adapted from the novel by Alan Lightman
- Precious Little, by Madeleine George
- Arcadia, by Tom Stoppard

Finding and engaging expertise. Outreach to and engagement of scientists and other members of the community who could bring to bear valuable insight on the productions, both in conversation with the artists and with our audiences.

Communication with new audiences. Work with our artistic, community connectivity, and marketing staff to strategize ways of engaging new audiences.

Researching and Archiving Scripts. Read and catalogue scripts thematically related to science and technology. Help organize and expand CC@MIT’s existing database of scripts and playwrights.

Assist in launching CC@MIT Commissioning Program. Provide essential support in the creation of a new initiative dedicated to making possible new plays created by teams of playwrights and scientists.

Work will be centered at the Central Square Theater, 450 Mass. Ave., Cambridge.

This UROP is an outgrowth of the D’Arbeloff Fund course I developed 2013, Making Theater About Science. With my work as one of the co-directors of the CC@MIT and my work as a playwright (Small Infinities and Operation Epsilon, both science based pieces) I will be making use of the UROP in developing my next science based play.

The onsite supervisor will be Debra Wise, Artistic Director of the Underground Railway Theater at the Central Square Theater in close consultation with Professor Brody.

Opportunities exist for Spring/Summer 2015, Fall Semester 2015, and/or January/Spring 2016.

Prerequisites: Some experience in theater or other performing arts, either as an artist or through course work. Ability to articulate interest in exploring the useful synergy between theater and science. Ability to commit a minimum of 10 hours weekly during the semester, or 15-30 hours weekly over the summer.

Method of application: Submit resume to Faculty Supervisor, who will conduct preliminary interview as needed before referring to On Site Supervisor for an in-person interview.

Contacts: Alan Brody (Professor of Theater, CC@MIT CoDirector, Faculty Supervisor) brody@mit.edu; Debra Wise (Artistic Director of Underground Railway Theater, CC@MIT CoDirector, On Site Supervisor) dwise@undergroundrailwaytheater.org.


3/23/15
Department/Lab/Center: Brain and Cognitive Sciences (Course 9)
Faculty Supervisor: James DiCarlo

Project Title: Modeling the effect of cortical inactivation on object recognition behavior

Project Description: Our experimental findings show that optogenetic and pharmacological inactivation of small subregions of the primate visual cortex can affect specific object recognition behaviors. We are currently combining our findings with neural recordings to develop computational models for the observed effects, generalize them to the broader domain of object recognition and to understand how perception and behavior emerge from population patterns of neural activity in the brain. We are looking for a motivated student with strong computational background who wants to help us in this project. The project includes data analysis, programming, and active engagement in the discussions about the scientific questions related to this work.

Prerequisites: Some computer programming ability, including familiarity with Python

Contact: Dr. Arash Afraz (afraz@mit.edu)


3/23/15
Department/Lab/Center: MIT Media Lab
Faculty Supervisor: Prof Ramesh Raskar

Project Title: Algorithms for Structured Light 3D Imaging

Project Description: The goal is to develop algorithms for 3 dimensional imaging of a scene using a cheap projector--camera setup. See for example: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Structured-light_3D_scanner.

Project Goal: Developing new algorithms for structured light imaging systems.

Candidate Role: The student will implement computer vision and signal processing tools for 3D imaging data. Some part of this work is about implementing break through algorithms that were made in our lab. Exceptional effort may result in development of new algorithms.

Relevant Skills: Candidates should have ideally taken courses in computer vision and signal processing. Candidates should be proficient in Matlab.

Timeline: Position is available for Spring/Summer 2015.

Funding: Sponsored research funds are available to support this project

Contact: Interested students should contact Ayush Bhandari (ayush@MIT.edu). Include a resume and a list of relevant courses.


3/19/15
Department/Lab/Center: MIT Media Lab
Faculty Supervisor: Prof Ramesh Raskar

Project Title: Algorithms for 3D Imaging

Project Description: 3D imaging (e.g. Microsoft Kinect) is an active area of research and hi-tech industries with a number of commercially viable solutions. In this project, we are looking for enthusiastic candidates who can contribute towards developing algorithms for 3D imaging.

Project Goal: Developing new algorithms for 3D imaging problems.

Candidate Role: The student will implement machine learning and signal processing tools for 3D imaging data. Some part of this work is about implementing break through algorithms that were made in our lab. Exceptional effort may result in development of new algorithms.

Relevant Skills: Candidates should have ideally taken courses in linear algebra and signal processing. Candidates should be proficient in Matlab.

Timeline: Position is available for Spring/Summer 2015.

Funding: Sponsored research funds are available to support this project

Contact: Interested students should contact Ayush Bhandari (ayush@MIT.edu). Include a resume and a list of relevant courses.


3/19/15
Summer 2015
Department/Lab/Center: Electrical Engineering and Computer Science (Course 6)
Faculty Supervisor: Joel Voldman

Project Title: Developing an Automated Imaging Platform to Monitor Cell Health through Cell-based Sensors

Project Description: Healthy cells are required for any biological or clinical experiment. However, it is often challenging to assess a cell health quantitatively. Most specific assays require large cell numbers and are destructive, meaning that it is hard to monitor individual cell health over time. We have recently engineered a panel of cell-based sensors that report on cell health in microsystem environments. Specifically, when these cell sensors are stressed, they express fluorescence that corresponds to the activation of a particular stress pathway, and therefore report on the local environmental stress. This allows us to obtain a live-cell measurement for a live-cell readout each cells health state. These cell sensors will be highly valuable not only to the microtechnology community for evaluating experimental design, but also to the general biological community for gaining better understanding of cell physiology. We are looking for a summer UROP student to help create an automated imaging platform for assessment of cell-based sensors. In order to maximize the utility of these sensors, we culture all sensors together and assess the stress (fluorescence) level of each sensor type. We are looking for assistance in creating a software interface for long term image acquisition (sensor monitoring) using microscopy. This would allow for detection of each sensor identity and its readout via quantitative fluorescence. The student will investigate different imaging algorithms and methodologies to optimize for cellular identification and readout. The student will then automate the image acquisition for spatiotemporal measurements at single-cell level over various experimental conditions. Finally, the automation system will be tested in traditional dish-based cultures or in microfluidic cell cultures. These microfluidic devices are used in our laboratory for controlling cellular microenvironments. The student will learn about and help with Matlab graphical user interface software, instrumentation control, image acquisition, as well as fabrication and testing of microfluidic devices.

Prerequisites: We will consider all candidates, but as this is primarily a computational project, having prior programming experience is required (Matlab knowhow is desirable). Experience with microscopy, image processing and GUI development is a bonus. Additionally, experience with data acquisition or control systems is a plus.

Contact: Please send a pdf CV\resume to Prof. Joel Voldman (voldman@mit.edu), along with a paragraph in the email describing your interest in the project.


3/19/15
Summer 2015
Department/Lab/Center: Political Science
Faculty Supervisors: Chris Warshaw and Devin Caughey

Project Title: American Democracy Project

Project Description: Professors Chris Warshaw and Devin Caughey are interested in hiring 2–4 UROPs to work on the American Democracy Project. This project is designed to assess the relationship between public opinion and state policy outcomes in the United States between 1900 and 2012. We will examine questions such as: When state public become more liberal, do state policies move in the same direction? What is the relative importance of the public’s partisanship and its policy preferences? How much does partisan control of state governments affect policy outcomes? This is an exciting way to learn more about state politics and how democracy works in the United States.

The UROP will collaborate with a team including MIT faculty and graduate students. Some of the tasks that UROP students may work on include:
• Gathering information about each state’s policies on specific issue areas, such as abortion, gay marriage, and gun control.
• Gathering public opinion data from surveys in the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s.
• Gathering election data, such gubernatorial election results.
• Gathering information about the media coverage of state elections and congressional elections.
• Writing literature reviews about previous research on state politics and representation.

Skills Required: Internet research skills and familiarity with Excel. Advanced students with statistical skills in R or Stata may be able to take a larger role in the project.

Contact: Melissa Meek (mmeek@mit.edu)


3/19/15
Summer 2015
Department/Lab/Center: Physics (Course 8)
Faculty Supervisor: Marin Soljacic

Project Title: Glider Simulations in LaRCsim

Project Description: We want to program a remote-control glider to fly. Over the summer the UROP student will run simulations and develop a control algorithm for flying a small gliding drone in different wind conditions to maximize the glide time. The student will develop realistic models of the wind conditions and glider and develop the optimal algorithm to navigate these conditions. We may also start doing experiments to test our algorithms and the student may assist with these.

Prerequisites: 16.06, 16.30/16.31, more advanced course, practical experience, or enthusiasm; Java, C or C++

Contact: Scott Skirlo (sskirlo@mit.edu)


3/19/15
Spring 2015
Department/Lab/Center: Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL)
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 physical keyboards, 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: neuroqwerty.mit.edu

Contact: Luca Giancardo (gianca@mit.edu)


3/19/15
Department: Media Lab
Faculty Supervisor: Prof. Ramesh Raskar

Project Title: Smartphone Spectrometer for Skin Analysis

Project Description: We are developing a highly sensitive mobile phone based spectrometer that has potential to detect cancerous skin lesions in a rapid, non-invasive manner. Earlier reports of low cost spectrometers utilize the camera of the mobile phone to image the field after moving through a diffraction grating. These approaches are inherently limited by the closed nature of mobile phone image sensors and built in optical elements. Our system uses a novel integrated grating and sensor that is compact, accurate and calibrated. UV and visible LED sources built into the device can excite skin to emit fluorescence. Reports have shown that the fluorescence can be used as an indication of various skin conditions.
The mobile phone spectrometer will be coupled to a dermatoscope to perform rapid screening of skin conditions.

Prerequisites: We are looking for candidates with experience in android programming. The candidate will develop an app that gathers spectral information from the sensor and displays it on the phone. The App will be capable of carrying out basic operations like averaging and plotting data. Experience in Matlab, signal processing, optics, spectroscopy is preferred. Arduino programming is desirable as well. There may be exciting opportunities to test the device at local health facilities as well.

Contact: Please send your resume to Anshuman Das (ajdas@mit.edu)


3/17/15
Spring 2015
Department/Lab/Center: Media Laboratory
Faculty Supervisor: Kevin Slavin

Project Title: Project G.A.M.R. - Determining Cognitive Traits from Video Game Behavior

Project Description: The aim of the project is to create a cognitive model of video game players from their game behavior. The model will consist of cognitive traits such as personality and motivation. Data on cognitive traits will be collected through online surveys. Video game data will be extracted through APIs offered by game developers. Cognitive traits will be related to game behavior through the use of statistical and machine learning techniques.

Prerequisites: Experience with REST API's, database management (SQL), and either statistical or machine learning methods for data analysis. An affinity with video games is a plus.

Contact: Shoshannah Tekofsky (tekofsy@mit.edu)


3/17/15
Spring 2015
Department/Lab/Center: Mechanical Engineering (Course 2)
Faculty Supervisor: Alexie Kolpak

Project Title: Mobile Simulators: development of the Graphical User Interface

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 design the Graphical User Interface within android. The GUI will receive user input, solve for the heat diffusion equation and then plot the results.

Prerequisites: Ideally, the successful candidate's background include Android development and graphic designing within mobile Apps. Willing to learning the VTK format is plus. 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).


3/17/15
Summer 2015
Department/Lab/Center: Media Laboratory
Faculty Supervisor: Hiroshi Ishii

Project Title: Tangible Media Group : Atomulates (spring + summer)

Project Description: We aim to introduce a novel interaction method and construction space for simple structures and animation through the use of levitating physical radical atoms in mid air. Atomulates refers to Particulates or atmospheric particular matter and takes the notion of Tangible Bits, capable of rendering semi-3D content from one direction, such as with Shape Displays like "inForm" and allows the atoms to be manipulated freely from any direction in a controlled space. Using unmanned arial vehicles surrounded in basic primitives, the seemingly intangible quadcopter becomes an object that can be grasped, moved and combined with other atoms to form structures, record and playback animations and allows for the addition or removal of matter in a digital space. The opportunities are exciting even for a few atomulates however with many more, the ultimate goal is to make a 3D shape display. We are looking for a UROP who has a deep knowledge of programming in C++ and Open Frameworks.

Considering we will be using the Vicon system to track quadcopters with IR cameras any computer vision background would be ideal. Any prior work with UAV's would also be excellent. You will have the opportunity to work in the Tangible Media Group in both the spring and summer alongside researchers who are rather obsessed with making the digital world we know physical. Atomulates PDF Description https://www.dropbox.com/s/tphny14b2s8mpxo/Interaction%20Heriachy.pdf?dl=0

Prerequisites: C++, Open Frameworks (bonus), prior work or basic understanding of UAV's (drones), Computer vision knowledge (bonus)

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

Contact: Luke Vink (lajv@media.mit.edu)


3/17/15
Department/Lab/Center: Biological Engineering, Materials Science Engineering
Faculty Supervisor: Prof. Darrell Irvine

Project Title: Development of cancer immunotherapy via engineered biomaterials and nanotechnologies

Project description: The Irvine Lab is looking for a motivated UROP to work under a senior postdoc on a collaborative team including other UROPs. The central project revolves around engineering biomaterials for novel cancer immunotherapies.

This UROP will play a crucial role in the development, in vitro characterization, and in vivo testing of locally administered microparticle drug depots to modulate a candidate immunotherapy pathway in cancer and metabolism. Experimental duties include synthesis and validation of a small library of ligand and inhibitor particles, and basic mouse handling and assisting necropsies to evaluate different particle effects on cancer progression in mice; cellular analyses will be performed using microscopy and flow cytometry as described above. This work will also include advanced mammalian cell culture and molecular biology/immunology work including Western blots, real time RT-PCR, and ELISA.

Required participation in summer journal clubs, lab meetings and presentation. Independent experimental design and planning is also expected. Contributions will be recognized by authorship on impending publications.

The ideal candidate would have the following skills & goals: committed and organized with previous research experience in biology/engineering, works well in a team, desires increased research independence and the opportunity to generate and explore their own ideas, and is interested in learning more about cancer, immunology, and/or materials science.

Prerequisites: Must be comfortable assisting with mouse procedures. Preference will be given to candidates with previous experience in a biology or engineering research lab, but previous experience is not a requirement.

Time commitment: Volunteer basis immediately for 5-10 h per week to begin training. Full time during the summer (apply for pay from UROP office or bring your own funding).

Continuation throughout the fall semester is desirable, provided that project interests and working relationships are compatible. Preference will be given to candidates who have more time available and show particular desire to develop research independence to learn and implement principles in experimental design and planning.

Contact: Please email CV and email/letter of interest directly togszeto@mit.edu or gszeto@gmail.com.


3/17/15
Summer 2015
Department/Lab/Center: Chemical Engineering (Course 10)
Faculty Supervisor: Gregory Stephanopoulos

Project Title: Synthetic Biology Approaches to the Isoprenoid Pathway for the Production of Drugs and Biofuels

Project Description: Isoprenoids constitute a large and diverse class of metabolites with potential uses as fuels, drugs, and flavors/fragrances (examples include biofuels isopentenol and farnesene, the drugs Artemensin and Taxol, and the fragrances nootkatone and pinene). Due to the complex structures and number chiral centers, many of these molecules cannot be produced synthetically cheaply and are instead extracted from organic material (common sources include orange peels and tree leaves). However, as this process has low efficiency and is only moderately economically favorable, we aim to produce these molecules in a bacterial system for high-level production and eventual commercialization. All isoprenoids are derived from two molecules, IPP and DMAPP, and the largest hurdle to inexpensive production of isoprenoids relies on the availability of these two precursors within cells. The proposed project will apply standard synthetic biology and metabolic engineering techniques in order to improve the upstream pathway allowing for high-level production of these building blocks. This optimized upstream pathway can then be used be used to produce any known isoprenoid. Several areas of focus within the pathway are available depending on student interests, and focus on a downstream molecule (Taxol, anti-cancer, sales ~$5 billion/year) is also possible.

Position is for summer, though project will continue after, preference will be given to students who can commit for at least summer and fall. Credit or pay available, must apply for direct funding through UROP office for pay

Prerequisites: Intro biology required (7.012, 7.013, 7.014, or 7.016). Previous research in biology-related fields is helpful, but not required. Due to interdisciplinary research (biology, chemistry, engineering), students in any related major are encouraged to apply.

Contact: Steven Edgar (sedgar@mit.edu)


3/17/15
Summer 2015
Department/Lab/Center: Brain and Cognitive Sciences (Course 9)
Faculty Supervisor: Josh McDermott

Project Title: Independent Subspace Analysis of Natural Sounds

Project Description: Independent Subspace Analysis (ISA) is a statistical model inspired by information processing principles which are believed to underlie sensory processing in the brain. ISA has provided insights into the functioning of the visual system, and it is useful in a number of technical applications. In the auditory domain however, the ISA model generates unintuitive results, which are not well understood. The goal of this project would be to explore statistics of natural sounds using ISA. The project would involve running ISA using existing code, critically analyzing obtained results, and finally trying to compare them to known mechanisms of auditory processing.

Prerequisites: basic programming knowdledge (Matlab is a default tool, but other languages may be also used) interest in statistics / machine learning / signal processing knowledge of neuroscience / auditory physiology is not required

Contact: Wiktor Mlynarski (mlynar@mit.edu)


3/17/15
Spring 2015
Department/Lab/Center: Mechanical Engineering (Course 2)
Faculty Supervisor: Hiromi Ozaki

Project Title: Robotic Intimacy Technology: Designing and prototyping empathic robots

Project Description: Working in the realms of robotics, interaction design and industrial design, we explore novel ways of communication and human experience through mixed medium, inviting reflective evaluation about the implications of future robot-human interactions. We will be designing devices thatdemonstrate empathy towards human. We will test different prototypes and improve them to produce a polished final product. We will make the fictional real, bringing our fantasies into play.

Prerequisites: Prototyping skills SolidWorks Mechanism design Optional: Familiarity with a variety of shop machines (ShopBot, Laser Cutter, water jet, 3D printers Motion Design Basic mechanics Design of plastic and/or metal parts Fabulous communication skills Demonstrated empathy for other design disciplines Be self-directed toward excellent work outcomes Toy Design Programing Hardware, robotics, UI

Website: pixedge.com/robotics

Thesis: http://pixedge.com/download/dan_thesis.pdf

Contact: Dan Chen (dkc@mit.edu)


3/12/15
Spring 2015
Department/Lab/Center: Chemical Engineering (Course 10)
Faculty Supervisor: Patrick S. Doyle

Project Title: Synthesis of Functional Particles by Microfluidic Devices

Project Description: The use of polymeric particles has spread from applications requiring bulk quantities of particles to niche applications in photonics, diagnostics and tissue engineering where the properties of each individual particle are critical to their technological function. We are working on the preparation of non-spherical functional particles by Stop-Flow-Lithography based on microfluidic devices. This project involves synthesis and characterization of the particles, and their applications.

Prerequisites: No previous experience and backgrounds are required. There is a possibility for extending this project into the summer and/or into the Fall semester.

URL: https://doylegroup.mit.edu/

Contact: If you are interested, please send your CV to Seung Goo Lee (seunggoo@mit.edu) and Hyundo Lee (hyundo@mit.edu).


3/12/15
Term: Spring 2015
Department/Lab/Center: Architecture (Course 4)
Faculty Supervisor: John Ochsendorf

Project Title: Environmental impacts of long span roof structures

Project Description: When faced with the challenge of long span roofs, designers define the structural system primarily based on the span they have to cover and spatial properties they aim to achieve. Other considerations such as acoustic, thermal and fire efficiency come to play an important role. Therefore, the environmental impact in terms of embodied carbon is rarely taken into account in the design process. The research project under development aims to investigate the embodied carbon of iconic long span roofs. The UROP students are expected to propose and investigate some of the most iconic contemporary steel long span roofs. The architectural, spatial and structural challenges are explored together with the environmental impacts.

Prerequisites: No specific prerequisites are expected, a part from a strong interest in understanding how structures and architecture work together in defining large spaces. Moreover, interest in quantifying material and environmental impacts are required.

Contact: Ornella Iuorio (oiuorio@mit.edu)


3/12/15
Term: Summer 2015
Department/Lab/Center: Chemistry (Course 5)
Faculty Supervisor: Alan Jasanoff

Project Title: Chemical probes for MRI detection of cell signaling

Project Description: A UROP position is available in the lab of Prof. Alan Jasanoff in the Department of Biological Engineering at MIT and Prof. Peter Caravan at Mass General Hospital. The goal of the project is to synthesize an MRI contrast agent sensitive to cell signaling events in the brain. Components of the research involve organic synthesis, in vitro analysis, protein biochemistry, and imaging. The UROP will work closely with a postdoctoral chemist at MGH and a bioengineer at MIT. The successful candidate should be enrolled in a chemistry or bioengineering-related program at MIT, and should ideally have some experience with organic chemistry.

Prerequisites: General and Organic Chemistry Lab

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

Contact: Ben Bartelle (bartelle@mit.edu)


3/12/15
Term: Spring 2015
Department/Lab/Center: Mechanical Engineering (Course 2)
Faculty Supervisor: Kamal Youcef-Toumi

Project Title: Non-Intrusive Quantity Estimation of Things (2nd Recruitment)

Project Description: Internet of Things (IoT) is gaining major interest today. At the Mechatronics Research Laboratory, we are interested in non-intrusive estimation methods for measuring quantity of Things, such as liquid, tablets, etc...The approach requires wireless sensing devices, instrumentation, mobile application, data analysis, and interpretation. We are looking for new members to work with us in further developing both the experimental aspect along with the data analysis and mobile application. The work can be either for units or pay. Preferred starting date is around mid March. The sooner, the better.

Prerequisites: Applicants should be able to commit at least 10 hours per week during the academic year and have experience with creating a mobile application and strong interests in wireless sensing, programming, and instrumentation.

URL: http://mechatronics.mit.edu

Contact: Takayuki Hirano (thira@mit.edu)


3/11/15
Summer 2015
Department/Lab/Center: Health Sciences and Technology (HST)
Faculty Supervisor: Rakesh Jain

Project Title: Investigating the molecular determinants of lymph node metastasis

Project Description: Metastasis remains the principal cause of cancer mortality. Thus, the challenge is how to treat cancer cells that have spread to lymph nodes or distant organs in order to prevent their growth and ideally eradicate them from the body. A major goal of our lab is to dissect the molecular determinants of lymph node metastasis. Using multiple animal models of lymph node metastasis that are established in our lab, we will investigate the gene profiles of these tissues in order to determine what genes allow cancer cells to thrive in metastatic sites. With assisted guidance, student (s) will develop a protocol to extract and analyze tissue/cells for the purpose of RNA sequencing. Student(s) will be involved in the workflow of RNA sequencing and in the process, gain an understanding of several molecular biology techniques.

A long-term commitment represents the opportunity for co-authorship on a manuscript, in addition to experience with intravital imaging, immunofluorescence microscopy, tumor biology/immunology, cell culture and biochemical assays. We are searching for 1-2 dedicated and ambitious undergraduate researchers to assist with this project. The undergraduate researcher(s) will work closely with two postdoctoral fellows to execute the research plan.

Prerequisites: No prior research experience is necessary. Applicants should be self-motivated, interested in the project and reliable.

Contact: Please contact Ethel Pereira (epereira@steele.mgh.harvard.edu) if you are interested.


3/11/15
Spring 2015
Department/Lab/Center: Chemistry (Course 5)
Faculty Supervisor: Bradley Pentelute

Project Title: Mechanistic elucidation of a self labeling peptide

Project Description: Recently, this lab discovered several novel peptides sequences that are highly reactive toward select perfluoroaromatic compounds in which the peptide will covalently bond with a small molecule. Currently, the mechanism by which they achieve their reactivity is unknown. The main focus of this project will be to uncover this mechanism in addition to using these peptides to perform crucial chemo- and regioselective bioconjugation reactions on intact proteins. From an application standpoint, this discovery is quite exciting in the context of antibody drug conjugates, a burgeoning class of pharmaceuticals, in which controlled labeling of antibodies with drugs in paramount. This project will rely on peptide synthesis, purification and characterization techniques including various forms of mass spectrometry and liquid chromatography (in addition to protein expression) and teach experimental development and critical thinking.

Prerequisites: An interest in chemistry and/or chemical biology!

URL: http://pentelutelabmit.com/

Contact: Ethan Evans (eevans@mit.edu)


3/11/15
Department/Lab/Center: Sloan School of Management (Course 15)
Faculty Supervisor: Neil Thompson

Project Title: Examining how the presence of a scientific article on Wikipedia impacts scholarly discussion in academic journals.

Project Description: This project looks at how the presence of a scientific article on Wikipedia impacts scholarly discussion in academic journals. It does this by measuring how content added to Wikipedia is reflected in the text and citations of scientific articles. This is an important question for Wikipedia and for science in general. For Wikipedia, it matters because evidence of a large impact could help in the recruitment of contributors for scientific articles, and because it would further anchor its reputation as an important scientific commons. For science more generally, this question matters for policy, because a large impact would imply that bodies such as the National Academies should be very active in promoting contributions to Wikipedia and other forms of scientific commons.

This analysis will involve two parts:
(i) A retrospective analysis of how the addition of previous Wikipedia articles has impacted academic science
(ii) A prospective randomized control trial of adding Wikipedia articles and tracking their impact on academic science

Requirements: Data Scientist/Programmer to iteratively develop and execute custom-developed scripts that parse Wikipedia XML Dump files into consumable XML datasets for specific categories of Wikipedia information, and additionally to insert categories of Wikipedia information into MySQL databases in formats that can then be used for further research manipulation and analysis.
• Academic Research experience preferred
• Must be adaptable to changing needs and very analytically minded
• Strong scripting language skills for parsing large amounts of XML data. Python preferred.
• Either has a deep understanding of the Mediawiki XML Schema and data model used by Wikipedia, or has the ability to quickly get a deep understanding of it based on available online documentation
• Experience with working in a cloud computing environment such as AWS, Google or Azure.
• Experience loading and manipulating data in MySQL databases
• Able to develop scripts for parallel execution that address I/O intensive processing needs.
• Comfort with work that will be highly iterative, including working with members of the research team on experimenting with different output formats to find what outputs work best

Schedule: Project work would likely be substantial from ASAP until June, and then on an as-needed basis after that

Contact: Neil Thompson (neil_t@mit.edu) or John Letchford (Jletchfo@mit.edu)


3/5/15
Summer 2015
Department/Lab/Center: Mechanical Engineering (Course 2)
Faculty Supervisor: Nick Fang

Project Title: Optimization of TiO2 Photo-catalysis by Photon-Recycling at Nanoscale

Project Description: An potentially viable route to water treatment is the use of semiconductors to absorb visible light and generate electron-hole pairs. The electrons are then injected into the conduction band of the semiconductor and migrate to cathode-electrolyte interface for the reduction of environmental toxins. Over the past several years, chemists have developed synthesis procedures to tune the band gap of substrate materials for harnessing visible light. In this project we look for UROP students to fabricate and test nanostructured TiO2 for visible light photocatysts, which is stable, non-corrosive, environmentally friendly, abundant, and cost effective. We are also looking for students to simulate light absorption process in the proposed structures.

Prerequisites: Students with skills in material synthesis, experimental photochemical analysis or optical modeling are welcome.

Contact: Sang Hoon Nam (shnam@mit.edu)


3/6/15
Spring and Summer 2015
Department/Lab/Center: History (Course 21H)
Faculty Supervisor: Prof. Malick W. Ghachem

Project Title: The French Indies Company in the Eighteenth Century

Project description: This opening is for a research assistant to support work related to an ongoing study of the French Indies Company from roughly 1720 to 1800. A major theme of the study is how France, like Great Britain, became a global commercial power through the vehicle of a joint-stock trading corporation, and what effect this growth had on financial and colonial politics in the Atlantic revolutionary era. Among the principal research projects: creation of an historical timeline and map, using Neatline (a plugin for Omeka) or a similar software, that tracks the Company’s activities and locations over the course of the eighteenth century; organizing (on a Zotero database) manuscript documents (in French) detailing the principal legal disputes in which the Company was involved; potentially some work in local archives and libraries; and related tasks.

UROP type: credit/volunteer.

Website: http://history.mit.edu/people/malick-w-ghachem

Qualifications: Strong French reading ability is essential. Experience with Omeka, and Neatline (or similar programs) and Zotero is a plus but not a prerequisite. Students who can continue after this spring into the summer are preferred.

Contact: Prof. Malick W. Ghachem, mghachem@mit.edu


3/6/15
Spring 2015
Department/Lab/Center: Mechanical Engineering (Course 2)
Faculty Supervisor: Prof Kamal Youcef Toumi

Project Description: The goal of the project is to enable multiple robots working in the same environment to do a given task cooperatively. The robots are multi-linked armed manipulators. The work would involve instrumenting (design and placement of sensors including cameras) and developing algorithms (for motion planning) for these robots. Depending on their strengths, the UROP(s) have the option of choosing to work on mechanical/optical design for vision system, sensor placement and instrumentation, or development of algorithms for motion planning. In either case UROPs should be comfortable in writing embedded codes (in either Audrino, C++, MATLAB, or ROS) as it is needed to program the robots.

The project can start immediately and we are looking for potentially 2 UROPS.

Preferred majors: Course 2,6,16

Contact: Interested candidates should contact Amith Somanath (amith@mit.edu) and copy (cc) Prof Kamal Youcef Toumi (youcef@mit.edu) with a CV and relevant background.


3/6/15
Spring 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 April 2015 with an option to continue in summer. 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).


3/5/15
Summer 2015
Department/Lab/Center: Mathematics (Course 18)
Faculty Supervisor: Prof. Alan Edelman

Project Title: Spreadsheets, Big Tables, and the Abstract Algebra of Associative Arrays

Project description: Spreadsheets are used by nearly 100M people every day. Triple store databases (e.g., Google Big Table, Amazon Dynamo, and Hadoop HBase) store a large fraction of the analyzed data in the world and are the backbone of modern web companies. Both spreadsheets and big tables can hold diverse data (e.g., strings, dates, integers, and reals) and lend themselves to diverse representations (e.g., matrices, functions, hash tables, and databases). D4M (Dynamic Distributed Dimensional Data Model) has been developed to provide a mathematically rich interface to triple stores. The spreadsheets, triple stores, sparse linear algebra, and fuzzy algebra. This projects seeks to strengthen the abstract algebraic foundations of associative arrays. The student will work with the faculty advisor to develop the basic theorems of associative arrays by building on existing work on fuzzy algebra and linear algebra. Participants will be paid.

Website: http://www.mit.edu/~kepner/

Qualifications: Strong mathematical background (the student should have completed 18.701 and 18.702). Experience with Matlab is helpful, but not a requirement.

Contact: Dr. Jeremy Kepner, kepner@ll.mit.edu


3/5/15
Spring 2015
Department/Lab/Center: Media Laboratory
Faculty Supervisor: Hiroshi Ishii

Project Title: Kinetic Objects: Geometric Primitives as Building Blocks and Augmented Interactive Tokens on Shape Displays

Project Description: The MIT Media Lab's Tangible Media Group is looking for a student with Computer Vision skills for help with ongoing research around shape changing pin displays (see link). The focus of this project is to explore the possibilities and limitations of inter-material interaction. We will use the shape display to automatically translate and stack geometric primitives to assemble larger structures. Additionally, we will investigate how these building blocks can be used as interactive tokens. Moving the geometric primitives within the shape display environment can trigger different actions. We are looking at how we can seamlessly blend passive physical objects with the virtual dynamic physical objects. For that endeavor we need help with the camera tracking using the Microsoft Kinect and implementing different interactive scenarios. The position is open immediately.

Prerequisites: Experience in C++ and OpenCV (blob detection, color tracking, fiducial marker tracking) Experience using openFrameworks or Processing is a plus but not necessary.

URL: http://tangible.media.mit.edu/project/inform/

Contact: If interested or you have additional questions please contact Philipp Schoessler (phil_s@mit.edu)


3/5/15
Spring 2015
Department/Lab/Center: Media Laboratory
Faculty Supervisor: Basheer Tome

Project Title: Shape changing automotive interiors

Project Description: Physical objects can have a layer of expression through it's physical form. We seek to use a dynamic texture to manipulate physical form and enhance emotional experiences. The goal of this research is to connect a user with their environment through enjoyable emotional experiences. As a UROP, you will be working with us, alongside auto manufacturers from the industry as we look to manipulate aspects of a vehicle interior in order to convey vehicle emotions. Interested students should be independent workers and able to commit 10-15 hours/week in the Media Lab. Responsibilities: The UROP will be asked to help with the software and/or hardware prototyping of a demo piece able to showcase this compelling user experience.

Prerequisites: We are seeking an experienced and motivated student, most likely from course 6 or related. Experience with electronics, programming, device prototyping (software & hardware) and use of Arduino platforms is encouraged. Past experience of shop and rapid prototyping equipment (laser cutter etc) is a benefit but can be learned on the job.

Contact: Basheer Tome (basheer@media.mit.edu)


3/3/15
Spring and Summer 2015
Department/Lab/Center: Sloan School of Management (Course 15)
Faculty Supervisor: Christian Catalini

Project Title: Classification of Citations in Scientific Literature

Project Description: Citations are an integral part of the scientific process. However despite their importance, little is known about their collective usage patterns. Recent advances in computerized natural language processing and machine learning have allowed researchers to meaningfully study these citations en masse. We are researching the contexts in which different types of citations are used, and investigate any prevailing patterns.

One possible area of application is in the ranking of papers in journal databases. Currently papers are ranked without a systematic process, and even when they are, they rely on inaccurate heuristics like total inbound citations. By understanding the metaphorical anatomy of citations, we can build robust paper ranking systems that give extra credit to inbounding positive citations, and discount inbounding negative citations.

We are looking for candidates to help us build a catalogue of scientific citations and their associated properties. Candidates will read a wide array of cutting-edge scientific literature and track citation patterns. This catalogue will serve as our machine learning models’ source of objective truth or “golden standard” during training. All of our results will depend on the quality of this curated catalogue.

Ideal candidates should have:
• Strong ability to read and understand scientific literature
• Strong organizational skills
• Basic understanding of statistics or machine learning

Responsibilities will include:
• Reading cutting-edge scientific literature
• Track patterns of citation usage in journals

Steering the direction of machine learning feature engineering

Contact: Please email Christian Catalini (catalini@mit.edu) with your resume/CV and copy Edward Kim (edwardk@mit.edu).


3/3/15
Summer 2015
Department/Lab/Center: Electrical Engineering and Computer Science (Course 6)
Faculty Supervisor: Aude Oliva

Project Title: myMemory: Understanding and Improving Human Memory

Project Description: The goal of this project is to develop an application (desktop or mobile) to help people understand and improve their memory using the concept of 'memorability', (see http://facemem.csail.mit.edu). Our goal is to develop a variety of "games" that help people better understand their own memories (e.g. Person A might be better at remembering cats, while Person B is better at remembering dogs), and how they compare to the average of the population. We would also like to collect information about people playing these games to identify the factors that contribute to similarities and differences in memory. To attract users, we will do media outreach to generate interest in our application. If it takes off, this will provide a lot of extremely valuable data for further analysis. This project is quite flexible and once the initial application is developed, it can take a direction that best suits your goals. In general, we would like to work with you to best adapt the project to your liking while working towards a common end goal.

Prerequisites: Our ideal candidate would have experience in web and/or mobile development and should have taken, or be planning to take the computer vision course (6.869).

Contact: Aditya Khosla (khosla@mit.edu)


3/3/15
Spring 2015
Department/Lab/Center: Media Laboratory
Faculty Supervisor: Pattie Maes

Project Title: TRIBE: iOS mobile app development to enable behavior change experiment on strengthening human connections.

Project Description: Strong relationships enable you to live your life to the fullest. Unfortunately, when faced with major life changes like moving to a new city or graduating from school many people struggle to prioritize time for the relationships that matter most. TRIBE is an envisioned iOS mobile app that makes it easy to sustain relationships with up to 9 close friends and family. Major elements of the app will include making it easier to find convenient times to connect with loved ones through calendar synchronization and one-click scheduling, and making it easier to share moments at the end of your day through push notifications. While the objectives of the experiment are clear, we are looking to work with a UROP who can creatively translate those objectives into features. This initiative is being developed as part of the Media Arts & Sciences Course Behavior Change Lab. We are looking for a motivated UROP to build and test this app in March in preparation for launching the app in April as part of a behavioral experiment.

Prerequisites: Applicants should have knowledge and experience with front and back-end iOS mobile app development. Experience or knowledge of how to merge app databases with e-mail engines is a plus. An entrepreneurial mindset and ability to work well in a team are a must.

Start Date: Immediate opening

Hours per week: Total of approximately 20 hours between March 2nd and March 27th. This will be a paid position.

Contact: You will be working most closely with Chetan Jhaveri (cjhaveri@mit.edu). If you are interested, send an email with your CV (plus website and/or portfolio).

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