MIT's Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP)

Current Research: Project Openings

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

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

Available UROPs

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

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

Project Title: Seeking UROP for Internet of Things project

Project Description: The Fluid Interfaces Group ( is looking for a UROP student who has interest in robotics, industrial design and the Internet of Things. The UROP student will participate in building "smart" physical objects that have a virtual augmented interface for enabling advanced connected functionality. Your first task will be to add actuation and sensors to an office chair, desk lights and general purpose rotation knobs. Next you will define virtual interfaces for these objects using our "Reality Editor" toolkit.

Prerequisites: Applicants should have knowledge of electronics, Arduino and Web (javascript, html and css).

Contact: If interested, send your resume to Valentin Heun (

Spring 2015
Department/Lab/Center: Sloan School of Management (Course 15)
Faculty Supervisor: Thomas Malone

Project Title: Measuring Collective Intelligence as the Size of Teams increase

Project Description: Our project aims to measure the collective intelligence of groups of people working together over the Internet. We intend to do this by bringing large groups of people together over the internet to play a series of short online games. The scores from these games will be tallied and used towards measuring how intelligently the groups/teams played these games.

UROPS will be responsible for the following:
1) setting up experiments to run:
- advertising on MTurk
- setting up "sessions" on; our project website. [UROPS will need to familiarize themselves with our tool
- we will help them with this]
2) scoring the tasks using our automated tools
3) tracking of the expenses for the above, keeping track of how many subjects and sessions actually run, etc and being able to present the scores of the tasks in an excel sheet.

As all of this is online, UROPS can work at hours that are convenient to them at any remote location. There may be some initial weekly face to face meetings to help get the UROPs started. After that, emails and skype/cell phone meets will be fine. This is a fun UROP and our previous UROPS have done well afterwards - we are happy to write Letters of Recommendations for jobs or graduate school applications, etc.

Contact: Nada Hashmi (

Department/Lab/Center: Architecture
Faculty Supervisor: Les Norford

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

Project Description: We’re developing an urban design simulation tool that provides climate-specific advice for cityscape geometry and land use to assist the development of energy-efficient cities that are also thermally comfortable. Once created, it will be a first of its kind to integrate energy- and thermal comfort- based concepts in urban design. More information on the project can be found on

We’re looking for a highly motivated student who will be responsible for designing and implementing the user interface in our current desktop GUI. The program has been written in C# using WPF in the .NET environment. You will be working on visualizing the simulation outputs as well as improving our current beta prototype for a better user interaction.

Requirements: C# programming skills required. Knowledge in energy simulations and interest in sustainable urban design are a plus.

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

Spring 2015
Department/Lab/Center: Brain and Cognitive Sciences
Faculty Supervisor: Nancy Kanwisher

Project Title: Relating the limits of cognition with the organization of the brain.

Project Description: We are currently leading a large-scale project in which we relate the organization of the human brain (via fMRI) to the cognitive limits of the human mind. Specifically, we are interested in examining how the organization of the visual and auditory systems actually limits the amount of information that humans can remember, attend to, and consciously perceive. Broadly, We are interested in understanding which types of cognitive abilities are constrained by the organization of the brain and which are not. In addition, we are specifically focused on identifying which particular parts of the brain are the most related to different visual tasks. Most of the neuroimaging data has already been obtained, so we will be primarily be doing behavioral testing (visual and auditory psychophysics) and analyzing existing fMRI data.

Prerequisites: We're specifically looking for candidates who:
1) Will be able to help with my research for the upcoming academic semester (and hopefully will want to stick around even longer!) (hours/week preferably > 6).
2) Are willing to help with the human (interacting with / schedule participants) and technical (experimental/analytic) side of experiments.
3) Have an interest in cognitive neuroscience research.

Contact: Michael Cohen (

Spring 2015
Department/Lab/Center: Media Laboratory
Faculty Supervisor: Kent Larson

Project Title: LEGO-tized Reality: Tangible User Interface (TUI) Research

Project Description: Changing Places is looking for a UROP to contribute to the CityScope Project, an effort to build augmented reality city models out of Lego. These models are used as tangible, collaborative decision support systems for tackling complex urban problems (see website for more info). Throughout this UROP, a student will gain a comprehensive understanding of technologies that enable augmented reality tangible user interfaces (TUIs). Key topics include projection mapping, object scanning, computer graphics, and software development (likely in Processing/Java). While working hand in hand with Media Lab researchers, the UROP will have their own budget to design and deploy modular hardware systems for exhibit at the Lab and with client cities (including Boston and Andorra). During the early spring, the UROP will hone their skills by building and exhibiting prototypes in-house. By late spring, and ideally into the summer, the UROP will apply their skills to deploy actual CityScope prototypes in communities of Boston and Andorra. All the while, the UROP will be given the freedom to hack radical prototypes with ideas of their own.

This UROP is for pay.

The UROP might expect occasional travel (i.e. Andorra), as deployment is very hands-on work. There are no requisites, but the UROP should expect to tackle a broad range of problems. Some knowledge of A/V systems and computer graphics is helpful. If research goes well, UROP is encouraged to continue on into summer and beyond.


Contact: Ira Winder (

IAP-Spring 2015
Department/Lab/Center: Materials Science and Engineering (Course 3)
Faculty Supervisor: Polina Anikeeva

Project Title: Flexible materials for neural interfaces

Project Description: Restoration of motor and sensory functions in paralyzed patients requires the development of tools for simultaneous recording and stimulation of neural activity in the spinal cord. In addition to its complex neurophysiology, the spinal cord presents technical challenges stemming from its flexible fibrous structure and repeated elastic deformation during normal motion. To address these engineering constraints, we seek to develop highly flexible fiber probes, consisting entirely of polymers, for combined optical stimulation and recording of neural activity. The specific focus of this UROP project is to assist with the optical characterization and electrical characterization of the fiber probes. The fiber probe will be implanted to mice and the goal is to stimulate the spinal cords optically, get the neural recording simultaneously, and control the limb movements on demand. Besides characterization, students will learn how to fully assemble the fiber probes from a piece of polymer fiber into an implantable device. The UROP will begin during IAP or spring and can be extended

Contact: Chi Lu (

IAP-Spring 2015
Department/Lab/Center: Materials Science and Engineering (Course 3)
Faculty Supervisor: Polina Anikeeva

Project Title: Magnetic nanoparticle synthesis for application in neuronal stimulation

Project Description: Electrical deep brain stimulation is used to treat drug-resistant psychiatric and neurological disorders but is surgically-invasive and not specific to cell type. We seek to develop a new neuromodulation method using magnetic fields for wireless neuronal excitation. By dissipating the energy in alternating magnetic fields into heat using nanoparticle transducers, heat-sensitized neurons will depolarize on-demand. The specific focus of this UROP project is to assist with optimizing the synthesis of the magnetic nanoparticles to achieve high heating efficiency and its material characterization. Surface functionalization and integration into in vitro and in vivo pre-clinical models will also be demonstrated.

Prerequisites: The UROP will begin during spring and must be available to work in the summer. Sophomores and Juniors are strongly encouraged to apply. Coursework in Bioengineering, Chemistry, Chemical Engineering, or Materials Science may provide suitable background although not required. While previous lab experience is desired, we are open to providing students at various skill levels opportunities to broaden their research skill set. Students are expected to work at least 12-15 hours during the spring semester and full time (30 hours, with pay) during the summer.

Contact: Ritchie Chen (

Spring 2015
Multiple UROP Openings
Department/Lab/Center: Architecture (Course 4)
Faculty Supervisor: Prof. John E. Fernandez

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 . By 2050 the African urban population will exceed 1.2 billion, an increase of 786 million new urban residents . 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: - Data-mining and statistical analysis (Math 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.

- 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.

- Environmental policy & economic impact (CEE, Planning, Econ or other): 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.

- Spatial implications of natural resource flows (Arch, Planning or other): 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: No specific prerequisites are required. We are seeking students with special skills (as per the descriptions above) but will consider each applicant and their skill set on a case by case basis.


Contact: Phebe Dudek (

Department/Lab/Center: Architecture (Course 4)
Faculty Supervisor: Christoph Reinhart

Project Title: Developing Efficient GPU-Based Daylighting Simulations

Project Description: Daylight in buildings is both aesthetically pleasing and a sustainable means of offsetting heating and electric lighting costs. However, poor use of daylight can lead to veiling glare on monitors and discomfort glare that impedes worker productivity. Traditional means for predicting the lighting quality of indoor spaces through simulation are time-consuming, which inhibits exploration of daylighting potential in new buildings. The goal of this project is to speed up architectural lighting simulation using GPU-based parallel ray tracing. The work produced from this project will be incorporated into publically-available lighting simulation software produced by the lab.

Tasks of UROP: The student will develop CUDA code for efficient lighting simulation and implement new modules into an existing code base. The student will also carry out performance testing and may be involved in collecting data from physical settings to use in validation. As work progresses, there may be opportunities for original research.

Prerequisites: Applicants should be motivated and have strong programming backgrounds with experience in CUDA or C/C++ programming. The ability to write and assess efficient code is key to this project. Prior experience with graphics programming is a strong plus.

Hours per week: 10+ hrs/week during spring semester; potentially full time for summer 2015.

Contact: Please contact graduate student Nathaniel Jones ( to set up an interview.

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

Project Title: Domestic Biology Visualization

Project Description: Domestic Biology is a project of Julie Legault the Playful Systems group, directed by Professor Kevin Slavin. This project invites users to grow their own synthetic organisms in a custom built bioreactor. This bioreactor uses arduino based sensors (pH, Oxygen, Temperature) to monitor the growth of the organism and visualize it on-screen. We are seeking dedicated, creative, and highly motivated students to fill UROP positions (for pay or credits). You will be collaborating to create the visualization of data from the sensors. The visualization will need to run and be displayed on an android tablet.

Prerequisites: Android mobile development and visualization skills.

Contact: Interested candidates should send their resume and a brief paragraph about their background to Julie Legault (

IAP-Spring 2015
Department/Lab/Center: Mechanical Engineering/LMP
Faculty Supervisor: Tonio Buonassisi

Project Title: Automated Materials Discovery Project in Python

Project Description: Seeking a highly motivated UROP student with a computer science background and familiarity with Python. is a growing database of structural and electronic materials properties, and holds a tremendous wealth of data for materials scientists. We are using this database to discover new materials for solar energy, based on fundamental physical properties of these materials. We would like to be able to screen through a large number of materials using a script and the existing API.

This project will require knowledge of writing scripts in Python, and ideally some experience working with Python APIs and databases. It will also require some understanding of concepts in chemistry (3.091 is sufficient). The time period will be through the winter and spring of 2015, or until work is completed.

Contact: Riley Brandt (

Spring 2015
Department/Lab/Center: Media Laboratory
Faculty Supervisor: Ethan Zuckerman

Project title: Build the next generation of publishing tools

Project Description: The Center for Civic Media at the MIT Media Lab is seeking UROP candidates for Spring 2015 to help build an open-source authoring and publishing platform.

Jumping into complex news stories is difficult, particularly stories requiring historical, political, or technical context. The overwhelming complexity of some topics can cause readers to turn away from important news stories altogether. Here at the Media Lab, we are trying to solve this problem. FOLD is a tool for reading, authoring, and publishing modular stories wrapped in contextual information like photos, maps, videos, tweets, interactive visualizations, and more. More information can be found at

As a UROP, you will be working on developing crucial features of FOLD alongside MIT Media Lab graduate students and a professional developer. Some development tasks include building authoring capabilities, authentication systems, database design, and interaction design.

We aim to release a beta version of FOLD by the end of Spring 2014, so you can see your work out in the wild and tested by a diverse set of users.

Responsibilities: Help us build an awesome experience for our authors and readers. This includes: writing production code, integrating with different APIs to allow authors to bring in context, and contributing to conversations about the user experience.

Prerequisites: We are looking for students with full-stack web development experience, preferably with Coffeescript, LESS, and Meteor or a similar Javascript framework. MongoDB experience is a plus. A bigger plus is if you’re excited to help build a web application that will be released into the world.

This UROP is available for either pay or credit (up to you), with the possibility to continue over summer 2015.

Contact: Please send your resume to Alexis Hope at

IAP-Spring 2015
Department/Lab/Center: Civil and Environmental Engineering/HST
Faculty Supervisor: Lydia Bourouiba

Project Title: Interface of fluid dynamics and disease transmission

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

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

Strong Physics or Mathematical-Physics backgrounds and experience or courses in theoretical or experimental fluid dynamics will be considered as assets.

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

Spring 2015
Department/Lab/Center: Center for Biomedical Engineering (CBE)
Faculty Supervisor: Alan Grodinsky

Project Title: Detecting mechanical properties of biomaterial in micro, micro and nanoscale

Project Description: The objective of this research is to quantitatively assess the role of aging and running on the degradation of cartilage tissue and progression of osteoarthritis. At macro scale classical mechanical indentation testing will be used on hydrogels and tissues including mouse or cow cartilage. At micro and nano scale a novel atomic force microscopy (AFM) system will be used to measure the micro-mechanics and nano-dynamics of hydrogels and cartilage tissue. This unique project, implements state of the art measurement techniques as well as classical methods to measure both elasticity and visco-poro elasticity of biomaterials and hydrogels at different scales (e.i. Macro, micro and nano scale).

Prerequisites: Applicants will be Junior or Senior students from Mechanical Engineering (course 2) or Materials Science and Engineering (course 3) Departments with strong interests in instrumentation and experimental instrumentation including atomic force microscopy. Applicants should be able to commit at least 10-12 hours per week during the academic year


Contact: Please email Dr. Azadi ( to request a brief interview if interested.

IAP-Spring 2015
Department/Lab/Center: Civil and Environmental Engineering (Course 1)
Faculty Supervisor: John Ochsendorf

Project Title: Smart retrofit of historical cities

Project Description: UROP positions for IAP 2015 and Spring 2015 are now open. In Back Bay Resilient Group at Building Technology Lab, we are assessing the structural safety and energy performance of the historical masonry structures located in the remarkable neighborhood of Boston's Back Bay. The UROP role during IAP and Spring 2015 will be to conduct research about the historical building typologies and develop 3D models of a typical city block. For this work 2 UROP positions are available.

Prerequisites: Experience in using Autocad is preferred. Experience in using Rhino and/or GIS are a plus.

Contact: Ornella Iuorio (

IAP-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: Preparation of functional particles have been attractive to wide range of fields due to their potential applications including encapsulated release systems. We are working on the preparation of non-spherical functional particles by Stop-Flow-Lithography. We are looking for a UROP during IAP and the Spring 2015 semester to help this project.

Prerequisites: A background in engineering would be preferred.

Contact: Seung Goo Lee ( and Hyundo Lee (

IAP-Spring 2015
Department/Lab/Center: Media Lab
Faculty Supervisor: Rosalind Picard

Project Title: Web Designer & Data Visualization Ninja for Advancing Wellbeing

Project Description: What You Will be Doing Are you a web designer ninja? For this paid UROP over IAP (with possible extension into Spring 2015), you will implement design ideas into usable and functional UI's for web and mobile UI development with the latest in web and mobile development technology working closely with the principal investigators to develop awesome UI's for the Advancing Wellness initiative at the Media Laboratory. You will design and lead the implementation of the initiative s online presence. What You Need for this Position - At least 3+years of UI and UX development experience, including Drupal & Wordpress - Expert with jQuery, HTML5, CSS3, and AJAX and visualization frameworks such as D3js - Extensive experience with wireframes, mockups, and prototyping - Product Experience ***MOBILE EXPERIENCE IS A HUGE PLUS*** For more information, visit

Contact: Karthik Dinakar (

Department/Lab/Center: Sloan School of Management
Faculty Supervisor: Retsef Levi

Project Title: Data Driven Patient Flow and System Design for Massachusetts General Hospital

Project Description: Data-driven healthcare optimization is a growing and exciting field. We are at work with teams of clinicians and administrators at Massachusetts General Hospital on the analysis and (re)design of patient care processes in areas such as the Operating Environment, the Cancer Center, the Cardiac Catheterization and Electrophysiology Labs, the Neurosciences Units, and Primary Care.

Responsibilities: The student will support one of these projects as necessary and will generally be involved in any of the following:
a. Collect and contextualize data - participate in time studies, read peer review literature and meet with physicians, nurses and administrators at MGH in order to understand the clinical significance and reliability of data.
b. Analyze data - analyze large data sets of hospital data, construct optimization models, and create statistical models.
c. Present results - Produce and give presentations to stakeholders in the hospital. Contribute to writing research papers if interested.

Key qualifications:
· Highly motivated with an interest in data analysis and hospital operations.
· Knowledge of basic statistics
· Programming experience and a willingness to learn one or more of Matlab, SQL, SAS, R, or Python. Experience in any of these is a big plus.
· Either optimization or data mining experience is a big plus.

Project timeline: The position requires a minimum commitment through the end of the summer, with the Spring semester serving as an evaluation period to see if we are a good fit for each other. Preference will be given to applicants who can commit to a full year with our group. In the long term, a student can become an important member of the team and become an expert in data driven health care improvement. Specific goals and deadlines will be discussed at the beginning of and throughout the position. Early applications are encouraged; submissions are reviewed on a rolling basis.

Contact: David Scheinker (

Department/Lab/Center: Brain and Cognitive Sciences
Faculty Supervisor: Professor Ann M. Graybiel

Project title: Experiments on Brain Activity and Behavior Using Optogenetics

Project Description: Help us do experiments to solve the mysteries of the brain! In this project, you will assist us in performing experiments manipulating brain activity and behavior using the cutting-edge technique of optogenetics in rodents and in building micro-devices.

There is also the potential to assist in brain surgeries to implant micro-devices that you build and to do calcium imaging of brain activity using a miniaturized microscope.

This is an excellent UROP for students seeking laboratory experience in preparation for medical school or a research PhD program. No prior experience is required, but you must be highly motivated, conscientious and detail oriented. We will give preference to candidates who can commit to working at least 12 hours per week during spring and fall semesters for at least a year and at least 20 to 40 hours per week during IAP and summer. We can usually only provide academic credits (not payment) for new UROPs.

In this project, our goal is to understand the functions of the striatum, cortex, and other brain areas in decision-making tasks performed by rodents. The striatum is a key part of the basal ganglia that receives input from midbrain dopamine neurons, cortex, and thalamus. It is thought to be centrally involved in decision making and selection not only at the level of movements but also at the level of goals, strategies, thoughts, emotions, and sensory interpretations. It is implicated in movement disorders like Parkinson’s disease, Huntington’s disease, and dystonia, as well as addiction, depression, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), Tourette syndrome, autism spectrum disorders, aspects of schizophrenia, and other disorders.

Contact: Please send your resume to Leif Gibb, PhD ( and Alexander Friedman, PhD (

IAP-Spring 2015Department/Lab/Center: Chemical Engineering (Course 10)
Faculty Supervisor: Daniel Griffith Anderson

Project Title: Glucose-Responsive Protein Development for Self-Regulated Diabetes Therapy

Project Description: The overall objective of the proposed UROP project is to help in the development of conjugated proteins (e.g. insulin, glucagon) capable of mimicking the dynamic functionality of the pancreas as it relates to improving upon existing therapies used to treat diabetes mellitus. The selected UROP candidate will be expected to gain proficiency in understanding the scientific literature with respect to this project, learn the synthesis, purification, and characterization techniques associated with protein conjugation, as well as become proficient in cell culture techniques for in vitro testing of protein conjugates.

Prerequisites: Must be at least a sophomore, preferably in Course 10, 20 3, or 5. Successful UROP candidates are recommended to have at least a moderate background in chemistry, with knowledge in organic chemical synthesis being particularly helpful, as well as be willing to tackle project obstacles and troubleshooting.

Contact: Abel Bryan Cortinas (

IAP-Spring 2015
Department/Lab/Center: Linguistics and Philosophy (Course 24)
Faculty Supervisor: Donca Steriade

Project Title: Discovering relationships among words

Project Description: We are a team of two linguists interested in how the structure of lexical families can influence the pronunciation of words. We are currently studying relations among words in the derivational system of English how legendary comes to sound like legend , for example, or how the first vowel in phonetician can resemble the first vowel in either phone or phonic . We are looking for at least one additional member who can help us analyze lists of words and record various facts about them for example, their stress pattern and the stress patterns of related words. The work is slightly tedious, but the hours are flexible, and you will be learning with us about how the English derivational system works.

Prerequisites: A course in linguistics or the equivalent

Contact: Juliet Stanton (

IAP-Spring 2015
Department/Lab/Center: Media Laboratory
Faculty Supervisor: Kent Larson

Project Title: Are you an EE interested in Robotic Architecture?

Project Description: Key words: hardware, electronics, prototyping At the Media Lab we are creating a new ecosystem of architectural robots that allow to dramatically increase the utilization and responsiveness of space, by converting traditionally static & dumb spatial objects into transformable & connected architecture. Take the CityHome as an example: an urban home that can reconfigure and offer functionality equivalent to double or triple its size by converting your bedroom into your living room, your office into your dining room and viceversa. ( But housing is only the beginning. We are developing the hardware and software tools that will allow the same principles and technologies to be deployed at scale and be applied to redesign other urban spaces such as offices, restaurants, hotels, and so on.

Prerequisites: We are looking for EE students that: - have relevant prior experience with hardware prototyping and skills in one or more of the following: electronic hardware, board design and fabrication, sensors, embedded programming, power electronics. - want to experience a challenging position in product focused R&D before graduation


Contact: Hasier Larrea (

Department/Lab/Center: Comparative Media Studies/Writing (CMS/21W)
Faculty Supervisor: Suzanne Lane

Project description: Developing online, interactive communication instruction for Engineering Project Labs. We are developing a variety of instruction, including interactive exercises and apps, to teach communication concepts such as genre analysis, discourse analysis, rhetorical situation, etc. specific to communicating engineering research.

Responsibility: You will work with lecturers in Writing, Rhetoric, and Professional Communication to design interactive exercises and apps on the MITx system. Your role will be to write Python code for some of the more complex exercises, as well as perform data analysis on feedback. Javascript will also be useful for integrating apps. In addition, we’ll be looking for you to help us think through the design of the exercises and apps from the perspective of a student.

Commitment: 20 hours or more per week during IAP. Strong possibility of continuing through the spring semester at about 10 hours per week.

Key qualifications:
· Experience with Python (interest in pandas and NLTK is encouraged), Javascript, HTML, CSS;
· Interest in professional communication and online education
· Ability to work in a multidisciplinary team;
· Ability to meet deadlines and work independently

Previous experience with the MITx platform would be desirable, but is not necessary.

Contact: Suzanne Lane (

IAP-Spring 2015
Department/Lab/Center: Media Lab
Faculty Supervisor: Neri Oxman

Project Title: Architectural Glass 3D Printing

Project Description: The Glass 3D Printing Project is a collaboration between the MIT Media Lab's Mediated Matter Group and the MIT Glass Laboratory. We are seeking strong, driven candidates to aid with the development of one of the first ever Optical Glass 3D Printers. Proof of concept has been demonstrated through the first platform and the second prototype is underway. We are designing the platform to manufacture architectural sized glass components and aiming to build a collection of glass printed columns by Spring.

Prerequisites: We are looking for candidates (3rd year and up) with a EECS & MechE background:

EECS: Develop printer electronics and software
-Experience with numerous software controlling CNC equipment
-Experience building electrical systems for CNC milling machines & 3D Printers
-Experience with Arduino, Repetier, stepper and servo motor control
-Capable to build custom printer software and aid on the printer electrical system
-Experience with power electronics

MechE: Designing & building the 3D printer mechanical system
-High precision metal machining experience (CNC mill, water-jet, Bridgeport mill, CNC Lathe)
-Digital Fabrication experience with excellent craftsmanship
-Experience building 3D Printers and CNC milling machines (mechanical & electrical systems, timing belts, lead & ball screw, rack and pinion ect.)
-Sophisticated 3D skills (Rhino & Solid-works)
-Taken Thermodynamics courses at MIT
-Experience with power electronics

Commitment: Start date is IAP with potential continuance through Spring 2015- **Serious candidates only**

Contact: If interested, please contact Chikara Inamura ( & John Klein ( with a CV & PDF Portfolio

Interview is necessary and faculty references will be required.

IAP 2015
Department/Lab/Center: Biology (Course 7)
Faculty Supervisor: Prof. Amy E. Keating

Project Title: Design of novel anti-cancer peptides

Project Description: A UROP position is available in the lab of Prof. Amy E. Keating in the Department of Biology at MIT. The goal of the project is to help synthesize peptides with potential anti-cancer activities. Components of the research involve peptide synthesis, modification and in vitro biochemical analysis. The UROP will work closely with a senior chemist in the laboratory.

Prerequisites: The successful candidate should be enrolled in a chemistry or biochemistry-related program at MIT, and should ideally have some experience with organic chemistry. A minimum commitment of 10 hours/week is required.

Contact: Raheleh Rezaei Araghi (

Department/Lab/Center: Aeronautics and Astronautics (Course 16), Mathematics (Course 18)
Faculty Supervisors: Prof. Karen Willcox, Prof. Haynes R. Miller

Project Title: Crosslinks: an MIT-wide wiki initiative to help students learn by linking connections amongst topics and aggregating learning resources

Project Description: As an MIT undergrad, you’ve been there - scared when your 2.004 professor assumes you know how to compute eigenvalues and eigenvectors on the first day of class. Wouldn’t it be nice if you could review all the prerequisite eigenvalue topics in one place? Crosslinks is that place - a wiki of linkages and learning resources for any topic, authored by students, for students. It’s a place where you can find useful links to techniques for solving specific problems. It’s a place where you can get links to videos that other MIT students have found helpful. Ultimately, it’s a place where you can see how all the topics taught at MIT are dependent on each other. At least, it will be. That’s why we are seeking an enthusiastic student interested in education to help seed Crosslinks with initial content. You are a good fit if you like to read up on classes, review learning material and interested in educational initiatives.

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

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

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

IAP-Spring 2015
Department/Lab/Center: Sloan School of Management
Faculty Supervisor: Professors Karen Zheng and Yasheng Huang

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

Project Description: This is a project focused on using big data to develop a risk management framework for detecting economically motivated adulteration (EMA) of food and drug products emanating from the global supply chain. As supply chains have become more globalized, such adulterations have become a serious issue and have prompted new strategic initiatives at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The socio-economic, political and regulatory environments are key drivers for EMA of regulated products.

This project will focus on using objective data to measure regulatory quality in China. The project will utilize a wide array of data sources such as online news sites, blogs, and academic articles to construct the database, based on which a measure of regulatory quality will be developed.

Responsibilities: The UROPs will be responsible for searching and collecting data from various data sources, converting unstructured data into a structured database, and performing basic statistical analysis. The UROPs must be native Chinese speakers, and a background in political science or economics is preferred.

Type and Hours: 20+ hours/week during IAP 2015 and 10+ hours/week during Spring 2015. Work can be done remotely. Up to 6 UROPs will be hired. Project for credit.

Contact: Please contact Professor Karen Zheng,

Spring 2015
Department/Lab/Center: Chemical Engineering (Course 10)
Faculty Supervisor: Gregory Stephanopoulos

Project Title: High efficiency muconic acid microbial production by metabolic engineering

Project Description: Muconic acid is an industrially important compound that can be used for making bulk chemicals such as nylon and polyurethane. Due to the increasing environmental, economic and sustainability concerns, there are extensive research interests in using renewable resources such as biomass for production of muconic acid through building an efficient biosynthetic system. The goal of this research project is to explore the potential of using microbes to convert renewable biomass-derived sugars to muconic acid. This will be achieved by introducing the required biosynthetic enzymes into a microbial host to carry out the enzymatic reactions to make the desire product. The control of byproducts formation and coordinated expression of the pathway enzymes is the key to the success of the project. System biology, metabolic engineering and process engineering approaches will be utilized to achieve the research goal. There are extensive learning opportunities for student to get hands-on experience for building a functional biological system to make a valuable product from inexpensive substrates.

Hours: 10 hrs/week during spring semester.

Prerequisites: Student should be an engineering or science major. Chemical engineering major is preferred. Student should be self-motivated, willing to commit time for lab-work and interested in research. Lab experience is a plus. Willingness to working in summer is preferred.

Contact: Please email Dr. Haoran Zhang ( to request a brief interview if interested.

IAP-Spring 2015
Department/Lab/Center: Mechanical Engineering (Course 2)
Faculty Supervisor: Kamal Youcef-Toumi

Project Title: Non-Intrusive Quantity Estimation of Things

Project Description: Internet of Things (IoT) is gaining major interest today. At the Mechatronics Research Laboratory, we are intereted in non-intrusive estimation methods for measuring quantity of Things, such as liquid, tablets, etc...The approach requires wireless sensing devices, instrumentation, and 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 interpretation algorithms. The work can be either for units or pay. Prefered starting date is around mid January.

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


Contact: Takayuki Hirano (

IAP-Spring 2015
Department/Lab/Center: Comparative Media Studies (21W/CMS)
Faculty Supervisor: Federico Casalegno

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

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

Tasks of UROP:
The student will work with us, helping to develop a series design sensible companions to an on-going smart suit prototype and help us to represent ideas, data graphically and physically. We will develop quick physical prototype during the three weeks of IAP. The student will research, collect and synthesize information on the best examples in the above area, as well as work with other team members to brainstorm and propose projects based on the researched cases.

Openings: We have three (3) UROP positions available for IAP and Spring 2015. All three positions require a strong physical prototype/ hardware/ programming background (For example; Zigbee, BLE modules, MQ-2 - 9 gas sensors, Bio signals).

Prerequisites: We're looking for someone with experience in the following areas:
* Arduino
* C
* Eagle
* Surface Mounted Electronics
* 3D printing
* Analog Electronics

Bonus if you have experience with these areas:
* E-texties/ smart materials
* iOS
* Solidworks
* Rhino
* Low power electronics

Hours per week: 40 hours or 15-20 hours/week, paid or credit. We’re looking for someone to start as early as the week of Monday, January 5th. This is an ongoing project, if student’s interest aligns with the project, there is a possibility to continue on the project in the following semester.

Contact: Guillermo Bernal (

Spring 2015
Department/Lab/Center: Chemical Engineering (Course 10)
Faculty Supervisor: Prof. Paula Hammond

Project Title: 3D Stem Cell Microenvironments

Project Description: We are looking for one or two UROPs to help with research related to engineer 3D dynamic microenvironments to control stem cell fate and function. Multiple project directions will be available based on preliminary findings and research interest. The work will involve designing and engineering novel 3D biomimetic matrix scaffolds as model of stem cell niches as well as analysis of extracellular matrices.

Students should be highly motivated, eager to learn and have passion for applying towards translational research. Previous research experience is preferred. The candidate should have basic knowledge of biomaterials science & engineering, chemistry and biology.

Hours: 10-12 hrs/week during spring semester; potentially full time for summer 2015.

Contact: If you are interested, please send your cv to Dr. Mehdi Jorfi (

IAP-Spring 2015
Department/Lab/Center: Biological Engineering (Course 20)
Faculty Supervisor: James Collins

Project Title: Understanding Bacterial Stress Responses via Network Biology

Project Description: Antibiotic induces stress responses in bacteria that can greatly affect the success of treating infectious diseases. These stress responses are highly complex and are managed by complex gene regulatory networks. This UROP project seeks to infer the induction of bacterial stress responses from 'big data' microarray gene expression profiles from different bacteria. This student will complete the assembly of a gene expression compendia and apply various systems biology methods to generate hypotheses which can be tested experimentally. Depending on interest and progress, the student may have an opportunity to be trained in doing followup experiments to test his/her own model predictions. This bulk of this work will be completed at the Broad Institute. The ideal UROP student is a Course 20 or Course 6, 7 sophomore or junior who is very comfortable with MATLAB and interested in computational biology.

Prerequisites: Comfort working with MATLAB is required. Course completion in Linear Algebra, Cell/Molecular Biology, Signals and Systems and/or Control Theory preferred.

Type and Hours: Project is 10+ hours/week and for credit to start. May become a full-time project for pay during the summer.


Contact: If interested, please email Jason Yang ( with aCV, list of completed coursework and brief statement (2-3 sentences) indicating your goals in pursuing a UROP.

Spring 2015
Department/Lab/Center: Media Laboratory
Faculty Supervisor: Sandy Pentland

Project Title: Quantifying Social Inequality, Raising Social Awareness

Project Description: Would you like to use your programming skills to improve the social climate in your community and in the world? The Media Lab's Human Dynamics Group is currently looking for two UROPs to help us understand social inequality in online spaces, and help us improve social awareness in our local social networks. Specific projects include implementing a large-scale online experiment to test whether existing social inequalities are reinforced by online social networks, or helping to design and build a mobile app to improve communication about interpersonal issues.

Skills you should have already:
- web programming
- fluency in at least one of python, Java, C++, etc.

Skills you will learn/hone:
- experimental design
- data analysis

- experience leading student activities
- extensive experience with online social media

Prerequisites: A keen interest in social issues

Contact: Peter Krafft (

IAP-Spring 2015
Department/Lab/Center: Brain and Cognitive Sciences (Course 9)
Faculty Supervisor: Kay Tye

Project Title: Optogenetic and electrophysiological interrogation of neural circuitry underlying associative learning

Project Description: The Tye lab is looking for a highly motivated, meticulous student to assist with microelectrode fabrication for in vivo extracellular electrophysiology experiments in mice. A successful candidate will have extreme attention to detail and very good hand skills. Background in neuroscience research is not required, but curiosity and a love for designing and building things are a must. Depending on your interests and the depth of involvement you would like to experience, this position may also provide the opportunity to learn how to conduct electrophysiological experiments--from electrode design and fabrication, to recording and data analysis. This position is available for credit or pay, and may also result in co-authorship in publications and/or poster presentations.

Prerequisites: You must be available to work 10 hours a week during the semester, and be available to work on a more full time basis either during IAP, the summer, or both. Programming skills are a plus.


Contact: Chris Leppla (

IAP-Spring 2015
Department/Lab/Center: MIT Kavli Institute for Astrophysics and Space Research (MKI)
Faculty Supervisor: Herman Marshall

Project Title: X-ray Polarimetry Lab

Project Description: The X-ray Polarimetry Lab in NE83 contains a 17m long X-ray beamline used for testing components designed to be used in a telescope to measure the polarization of X-rays in the 0.2-0.8 keV band. We have successfully operated the beamline to test multilayer (ML) coated mirrors that polarize X-rays when reflecting at the Brewster angle (45deg for X-rays). The flight design involves the use of finely pitched transmission gratings to disperse X-rays and reflect them from new laterally graded ML mirrors. We have prototypes of these gratings and mirrors to test. The job entails operating the system (turning on the source, pumping down the beamline, etc.), taking data on a Unix system, and reducing the data. Reconfiguring is common, involving disconnecting and rearranging various parts and realigning with lasers and micrometers.

Prerequisites: Knowledge of Unix (running X-windows) desired. Practical programming in Matlab or IDL (preferred) is extremely useful.


Contact: Herman Marshall (

Department/Lab/Center: Aero/Astro
Faculty Contact: Dr. Kerri Cahoy

Project Title: MiRaTA CubeSat Hardware/Software Testing

Project Description: The MiRaTA CubeSat project is looking for a UROP for assistance in avionics hardware and software testing over the IAP 2015 term. MiRaTA is an innovative small satellite scientific mission in which students are designing and building a full spacecraft bus for launch into low earth orbit 2016. The project is in the middle of its design phase, with a critical design review coming up in April 2015.

The team is currently receiving hardware for the spacecraft's avionics and attitude determination and control systems, both of which interface with the spacecraft embedded flight computer. Over IAP, the team plans to test this hardware and the software modules that interface with it to ensure that they operate as expected. The UROP student will work with the team in performing these tests, getting in-depth experience with the inner plumbing and system integration of a complex, space-based robot (the satellite!).

We are looking for students highly interested in programming, embedded systems, and working with electrical hardware.

Desired previous experience:
* Strong programming background (particularly c/c++)
* Programming on embedded systems and microcontrollers
* Team-based class project work

UROP type: for credit, all IAP, prefer 40 hours per week

Contact: 2nd Lieutenant Jonathan James Schneider,

Department/Lab/Center: Aero/Astro
Faculty Supervisor: Dr. Alvar Saenz-Otero

Project Title: Fatigue and Situational Awareness During Satellite Operations

Project Description: In the last few decades fatigue and sleep deprivation has become increasingly more prevalent in today's society. Billions of dollars are spent or lost annually due to various problems related to sleep deprivation including work accidents, car accidents, and sleeping disorders. Sleep deprivation has been a factor in multiple major accidents in aerospace such as the Challenger Disaster and American Airlines Flight 1420. A study is being developed using the Synchronized Position Hold Engage and Reorient Experimental Satellite (SPHERES) testbed to determine the effects of fatigue on satellite operations with multiple assets, which addresses a current NASA research gap. The study will involve subjects avoiding collision with space debris. Subjects will be tested at a baseline condition and a condition of multiple nights of partial sleep deprivation. The test will also include use of an interface that will attempt to mitigate the negative effects of sleep deprivation.

I am looking for a student who is interested in programming, working with hardware, and being a part of a study involving humans as subjects. Your tasks will include assisting with code development for ground testing, assisting in executing ground tests, and assisting with logistics of the experiment.

Desired previous experience: Some programming background (preferably in C and/or Matlab)

UROP Type: for credit, all IAP, prefer 40 hours per week, prefer someone who is interested in working spring semester as well

Contact: 2nd Lieutenant Jonathan James Schneider,

IAP-Spring 2015
Department/Lab/Center: Electrical Engineering and Computer Science (Course 6)
Faculty Supervisor: Robert Langer

Project Title: Molecular Dynamics of Biological Interfaces

Project Description: This project aims to carry out atomistic/coarse-grained molecular dynamics simulations of various biomaterials and biological systems to characterize fundamental biological phenomenology and also to guide the development of novel nanoparticle delivery systems based on simulation results. Work will be conducted in the Langer Lab in the Koch Building in collaboration with a multidisciplinary team composed of molecular dynamics experts, chemists, chemical engineers and physicians.

Prerequisites: Have experience with Unix-like environments (Linux, Cygwin, etc). Familiarity with administrative work on a large computer cluster. Skilled in at least one programming languages (Fortune, Python, Matlab, etc)

Contact: Giovanni Traverso (

IAP-Spring 2015
Department/Lab/Center: Biological Engineering (Course 20)
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. The goal of the project is to help synthesize MRI contrast agent sensitive to cell signaling events in the brain. Components of the research involve organic synthesis, in vitro analysis, cell biology, and imaging. The UROP will work closely with a senior chemist in the laboratory.

Prerequisites: The successful candidate should be enrolled in a chemistry or bioengineering-related program at MIT, and should ideally have some experience with organic chemistry.


Contact: Ali Barandov (

IAP-Spring 2015
Department/Lab/Center: Brain and Cognitive Sciences (Course 9)
Faculty Supervisor: James DiCarlo

Project Title: Developing automated solutions for animal visual & cognitive behaviors

Project Description: A particular challenge in brain science is collecting large behavioral data sets. Under traditional methods, an experimenter can spend months training a single animal in the lab. Currently, we are developing an automated solution for training many subjects in parallel in their home cage on complex visual tasks, and web-based programs have been created to train animals "in the cloud." We are looking for a UROP student to scale this solution up, write automated training algorithms, and analyze the results for publication.

Prerequisites: Our lab works at the intersection of neuroscience and engineering. We are interested in students with a strong interest in experimental science and with high technical skill. Prior experience in at least one programming language is desired.


Contact: Elias Issa (

IAP 2015
Department/Lab/Center: Economics (Course 14)
Faculty Supervisor: James Poterba

Project Title: Do Hospital CEOs Matter?

Project Description: There is growing evidence that CEOs can have an important impact on both firm behaviors and performance. The well-documented productivity differences between hospitals and wealth of available data about hospital operations make this sector ideal for examining CEOs' influence on the firms they manage. Furthermore, do doctors or MBAs make better hospital CEOs? Are older or younger CEOs better for business? For patients? UROP will assist in creating a novel data set that links hospitals to CEOs and documents CEO characteristics. This data will be of tremendous value to the study of both health economics and corporate finance. Also opportunities for work with a variety of other health and hospital data and/or statistical software for interested students.

Position is paid for full-time (~40 hours per week) through IAP. Potential for continuation into spring. Interested applicants please send a 1-2 paragraph summary of interests and background relevant to the project.

Prerequisites: Experience with a programming language (Python or similar) Course 14 majors/minors encouraged to apply (not required)

Contact: Bryan Perry (

Spring 2015
Department/Lab/Center: Materials Science and Engineering (Course 3)
Faculty Supervisor: Silvija Gradecak

Project Title: Preferential alignment of sputtered zinc oxide nanoparticulate seeds on Si substrates

Project Description: Zinc oxide nanowire arrays grown on sputtered zinc oxide seed layers display preferential alignment with respect to the substrate, as observed by x-ray diffraction pole-figure analysis. Nanowire alignment is critical in enhancing the performance of devices with nanostructured architectures. We seek a student interested in investigating the effect of processing, including sputtering and annealing conditions, on nanowire alignment, as well as the fundamental reasons for possible heteroepitaxy of zinc oxide on silicon substrates. Experimental techniques include x-ray diffraction (XRD), scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and hydrothermal synthesis of nanowire arrays.

Prerequisites: Background in materials science and chemistry, chemistry, chemical engineering, or electrical engineering preferred.

Contact: Jayce Cheng (

Department: Edgerton Center/D-Lab
Faculty Supervisor: Eric Verploegen

Project Title: Energy and electronics curriculum development

Project Description: D-Lab is developing a curriculum intended for teaching the basics of energy and electronics to an international audience with no prerequisite formal education. This work is a part of D-Lab’s Creative Capacity Building program ( that provides an hands-on learning experience to train people how to make technologies that be used alleviate poverty in their communities. We are looking for a UROP (during IAP and/or the spring semester) to help with the development of hands-on training modules with the D-Lab team.

Contact: If you would like more information about the project, please contact Eric ( to meet and discuss further. Candidate must have the ability to work independently and think creatively, no prior technical experience needed. A minimum of 8 hours per week is expected, work time is highly flexible.

IAP-Spring 2015
Department/Lab/Center: Brain and Cognitive Sciences (Course 9)
Faculty Supervisor: John Gabrieli

Project Title: Brain bases of sustained attention and task-unrelated thought

Project Description: The Gabrieli Lab has an opening for a motivated UROP or volunteer to assist in a fMRI study examining how individual and age-related differences in brain structure and cognitive function contribute to mind-wandering tendencies.

Skills you will learn:
- How to collect and analyze behavioral and fMRI data
- Basic Neuroanatomy
- Freesurfer, SPM and other brain imaging software packages

Skills you should already have:
- Amazing organizational skills and detail oriented
- Great people skills
- Basic computer skills

Skills not required:
- a working knowledge of Matlab and/or Python
- experience with databases: xnat, mysql

Time commitment: Minimum 6 hours per week.

Contact: Please contact if you interested in helping us with this awesome study.

IAP-Spring 2015
Department/Lab/Center: Brain and Cognitive Sciences (Course 9)
Faculty Supervisor: Emery Brown

Project Title: Brain network activity during drowsiness and sleep

Project Description: How does the brain generate sleep? Why do we get tired and why do we dream? This project will use newly developed neuroimaging methods to study human brain activity during sleep. By measuring electrical activity through EEG, and spatial patterns of activity using fMRI, we plan to map how brain networks change between awake and asleep states. We are seeking a UROP to help run combined EEG-fMRI experiments and to assist with data analysis (primarily in Matlab).

Prerequisites: Seeking a student who is enthusiastic, hardworking, and interested in how the brain works! A background in programming and/or engineering would be very helpful, as would experience using Matlab. We would like at least a 10 hour/week commitment during Spring and preferably more during IAP. The UROP will be asked to assist with experiments that take place at the MGH-HST Martinos Center in Charlestown and that frequently occur in the evening.

Contact: Laura Lewis (

Department/Lab/Center: Biology (Course 7)
Faculty Supervisor: Jonathan King

Project Title: Environmental Microbiology; Effects of Thermal Stress on Marine Cyanobacteria and Cyanophage:

Project Description: The oceans are warming faster than predicted. Among the organisms sensitive to temperature are the photosynthetic cyanobacteria that form the base of the oceanic food chains, and also influence the carbon cycle directly. We are studying in the laboratory the thermal sensitivity of a marine cyanobacteria Synechococcus WH8109, and a dsDNA phage Syn5 that infects it in the oceans. The project involves determining the limiting temperatures for photosynthesis, cell growth and phage propagation, for incorporation into global marine ecology and climate models. Techniques include spectroscopy, SDS gel electrophoresis, light and electron microscopy. Hours: 20 hrs/week during IAP; 8 hrs/week during Spring semester; potentially full time for summer 2015.

Prerequisites: Biology 7.02. or equivalent biology laboratory experience, and in interest in the dynamics of global climate change.

Contact: Cammie Haase-Pettingell (

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

Project Title: Speech-accompanying gesture

Project Description: UROP position for IAP and Spring Term: How gestures and speech interact in spoken communication Speakers often move their hands, head and eyes as they talk, and growing evidence supports the view that these movements are timed with respect to the speech, that they contribute to the expression of meaning, and that they are part of the planning process for a communicative utterance. We have developed a gesture annotation system for quantifying the degree of similarity between pairs of successive gestures, which can be used to test the hypothesis that successive gestures are organized into groups. This project involves learning the annotation system during IAP, and applying it to the labelling of new video samples of speech during the spring term. Can be done for either pay or credit; requires commitment of 15-20 hours per week during IAP and 8-10 hours per week during the term. In addition to teaching you about the kinematic labelling system for gestur!
es, this UROP offers the opportunity to learn about the phonetics and phonology of speech, and to become familiar with tools for displaying and analysing videos of speech-accompanying movements and speech wave forms. Future possibilities include learning to label the prosody of speech (intonation and timing), and analysing the gestures of young children.

Skills: Some experience in phonetics/phonology, scripting in Praat (speech analysis freeware) or in video editing is a plus for this position, but we can train you.

Pay: $10.50 per hour

Contact: Stefanie Shattuck-Hufnagel (

IAP-Spring 2015
Department/Lab/Center: Nuclear Science and Engineering (Course 22)
Faculty Supervisor: Professor Richard K. Lester

Project Title: The Economics of a Nuclear Accident

Project Description: Nuclear accidents are expensive events. They have the potential to incur large direct costs at the site of the accident. They also have the potential to create trans-boundary costs -- both direct costs and reputational costs -- in other countries. The goal of this project is to study the responses to nuclear accidents in the US, France and Russia. What kinds of costs did these countries experience after each major nuclear accident (TMI, Chernobyl and Fukushima)? The magnitude of these costs will be compared with safety related changes made in each country after each accident to determine whether the responses to these accidents have been economically rational. This information will be gathered through newspaper and journal articles, interviews and archival work.

Contact: Aditi Verma (

IAP-Spring 2015
Department/Lab/Center: Nuclear Science and Engineering (Course 22)
Faculty Supervisor: Professor Richard K. Lester

Project Title: The Transfer of Technology and Risk Heuristics

Project Description: The purpose of this project is to understand the extent to which vendors or sellers of complex, high hazard technologies transfer organizational and institutional practices for managing risks to the buyers of the technologies. Do the buyers follow the approaches developed by the sellers or do they develop local practices for managing risks and ensuring safety? Specifically this project will be based on case studies of the transfer of nuclear reactor technologies. Did the buyer make modifications to the original technologies, organizations and institutions as transferred to it from the seller. If so, what were the motivations for these modifications? The UROP student will perform case studies of the transfer of PWR technologies from the US to France, Japan and Sweden, and also from the USSR/Russia to Finland, Slovakia and East Germany. This information will be gathered through newspaper and journal articles, interviews and archival work.

Contact: Aditi Verma (

IAP-Spring 2015
Department/Lab/Center: Nuclear Science and Engineering (Course 22)
Faculty Supervisor: Professor Richard K. Lester

Project Title: The Social Construction of Safety

Project Description: The purpose of this UROP project is to understand how safety is defined, designed into machines and operational procedures and enforced by organizational and institutional incentives. To this end, the UROP student will perform case studies of accidents in different high hazard industries - nuclear, railways, airlines, chemical, medical (or perhaps others). The plan of work is as follows:
1. Review literature on the classification of industries and accidents
2. Review and develop typologies for classifying technologies, industries and accidents
3. Select specific high hazard industries to be studied
4. Develop a criterion for selecting an accident from each industry
5. Study each accident:
a. Was the accident expected (within the design basis ) or unexpected?
b. How was the accident analyzed? How were the causes of the accident analyzed? What was determined to be the cause of the accident?
c. What was the cost of the accident? Who bore the cost of the accident?
d. What changes were made -- technological, organizational and institutional - following the accident to make the technology safer? Who proposed these changes? What alternative changes or solutions were proposed? How were alternatives evaluated?

This information will be gathered through newspaper and journal articles, interviews and archival work. Broadly the goal of this project is to understand how high hazard industries respond to accidents. More specifically, what mechanisms and opportunities - technological, organizational or institutional - are used to make post-accident changes to make the high hazard technology safer?

Contact: Aditi Verma (

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

Project Title: Characterization of a new type of mineral 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. More specifically the candidate will be involved in the characterization (and possibly synthesis) of a new type of fertilizer material. Experimental techniques might include X-ray diffraction (XRD) with interpretation and analysis of crystal structures, Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM), surface area and porosimetry analysis and Inductively Coupled Plasma Mass Spectroscopy (ICP-MS).

Students from Materials Science and Engineering, Chemistry, Chemical Engineering, and possibly Mechanical Engineering (with prior chemistry experience) are welcome to apply. This UROP will be paid or used for credits depending on the student choice. This UROP will be full time during IAP with possibility of extension into the spring semester.

Contact: Interested candidates please send a CV and a short cover letter expressing your interest for one of the position to both Dr. Davide Ciceri ( and Dr. Carole Gadois ( Make sure to include in the correspondence also Prof. Antoine Allanore by adding him in CC (

Spring 2015
Department/Lab/Center: Health Sciences and Technology (HST)
Faculty Supervisor: Ali Khademhosseini

Project Title: Micro/Nano 3D Printed "Kidney-on-a-Chip"

Project Description: This project entails using micro- and nanoscale 3D printing-based methods to create "Kidney-on-a-Chip" platforms. Using Solidworks CAD software, students will design 3D models of devices. These devices will be 3D printed and then adapted as a kidney cell scaffold. The "Kidney-on-a-Chip" systems will be used for drug screening and kidney disease modeling. Details: We are looking for highly creative, artistic, passionate, and driven individuals in their Sophomore or Junior years who want to impact diverse biomedical and engineering fields. A serious commitment (e.g., spanning the next 1.5 years) is preferred as this work will ideally result in a co-authored journal publication.

Prerequisites: Preferred Experiences: - Solidworks Modeling - Cell/Tissue Culture


Contact: Dr. Ryan D. Sochol (

Department/Lab/Center: Media Lab
Faculty Supervisor: Ramesh Raskar

Project Description: How can we create cameras of the future? Computation meets Optics in the exciting field of computational imaging, where we hack both bits and photons. This project will be devoted to embedded system design of an ultrafast (trillion-fps) camera. Specifically, the student will begin with the design of a PCB that interfaces a lock-in CMOS sensor with a Verilog FPGA. Following completion of this task, the student will derive a signal acquisition model that characterizes the system and work toward publication of research results.

Prerequisites: Verilog, PCB Design, and a passion to publish research results.

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

Contact: To join, please contact Achuta Kadambi (

IAP 2015
Department/Lab/Center: Mechanical Engineering (Course 2)
Faculty Supervisor: John B. Heywood

Project Title: Higher compression ratio gasoline engine data analysis

Project Description: Increasing efficiencies of gasoline spark ignition engine is a big issue in the auto-industry. Increasing the compression ratio allows higher thermodynamic efficiency, but it also increases chances of knock. A single cylinder gasoline engine was tested with various ethanol-gasoline blends to suppress knock and increase the efficiency. The main role of UROP student will be processing the single cylinder engine data. The student will have a chance to learn the gasoline engine fundamentals.

Prerequisites: data processing skills (especially MATLAB) engineering background (preferrably mechanical engineering)


Contact: Young Suk Jo (

IAP-Spring 2015
Department/Lab/Center: Engineering Systems Division (ESD)
Faculty Supervisor: Christopher L. Magee

Project Title: Understanding of technological change using patent analysis

Project Description: To understand the technological changes, patent analysis is one good approach. Particularly we are trying to analyze patent textual information using natural language processing (NLP) technique: rule-based extraction of technological domain specific noun phrases, or extraction of specific combination of part-of-speeches from patents might be a specific project for UROP. For the purpose we are looking for a student in computer science (definitely having good programming skill).

Prerequisites: Required: Python Preferred: Familiarity with natural language processing

Contact: Hyunseok Park (

Department/Lab/Center: Brain and Cognitive Sciences/McGovern Institute
Faculty Supervisor: Gloria Choi

Project Title: Deciphering olfactory circuitry for learning using optogenetics

Project Description: Our lab focuses on using optogenetic methods to study the olfactory system and social behavior in the mouse brain. Our goal is to study how olfactory neurons can be trained to produce a socially oriented behaviors. We’re specifically looking at the piriform cortex and the oxytocin neuron in the hypothalamus in the regard of its dynamics during social behavior using realtime fluorescent measurement.

Lab website:

We would like to take on motivated enthusiastic UROPS with strong work ethics that are proficient at programming software and hardware and are interested in neuroscience. This project specifically entails development of optical device that measures the activity of specific neuron in the brain during its etiological behaviors. Under a supervision of experts in optics and neuroscience, we would like to ask for your help in coding operation program for optical measurement device.

Prerequisites: Experience in LabView is strongly recommended. We ask that you work for school credit 10-15 hours per week during the academic year for at least one year if possible. This will be a very enriching experience for UROPs interested in long term research in neuroscience. Summer volunteers are very welcome.

Contact: If you are interested and want more details about the research/project, please email Nora Benavidez ( or Han Kyoung Choe ( with your CV and a brief message about yourself.

IAP-Spring 2015
Department/Lab/Center: Media Laboratory
Faculty Supervisor: Mitchel Resnick

Project Title: Para

Project Description: Para is a digital illustration tool tool that uses direct manipulation to define and edit procedural artwork. Through creating and altering vector paths, artists can define iterative distributions and parametric constraints. Para began as open source software in the Creative Technologies Lab at Adobe Research. Currently, Para is under development in the Lifelong Kindergarten Group at the MIT Media Lab. The software is part of a research project in broadening participation in procedural art and design. We are looking for an undergraduate research assistant to work in prototyping front-end UI interactions and visualizations for the software. In addition, the research assistant may contribute to developing the underlying representation for the software (models for managing parametric constraints and prototype inheritance).

Prerequisites: *Experience in front and back end object-oriented Javascript development. *Well versed in Git/ Github version control (if you have a Github account please feel free to link to it in your application email) *Experience in Backbone.js and/or Paper.js (not required, but a plus). *Prior experience in parametric CAD (e.g. Solidworks, Rhino/Grasshopper, AutoCAD) or vector-graphics software (e.g. Adobe Illustrator, Inkscape, Sketch) is not required but would be an asset.


Contact: Jennifer Jacobs (

Visit the Research section of the MIT website