MIT's Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP)

Current Research: Project Openings

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

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

Available UROPs

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

IAP-Spring 2015
Department/Lab/Center: Brain and Cognitive Sciences (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 2015
Department/Lab/Center: Sloan School of Management
Faculty Supervisor: Prof. Pierre Azoulay

Project Title: The Economics of Clinical Trials – Database Programming

Project Description: We are looking for one student to help with a research project on the economics of innovation in the setting of clinical trials. We are in the process of creating a novel database about historical innovation in the pharmaceutical industry, and are looking for a programmer to help construct and evaluate the data.

The work will involve building and analyzing a novel data set of clinical trials, drugs and patents. We are seeking a student with experience with Python and API programming (SOAP or REST). A 10 hour a week commitment starting in IAP is required (though opportunities for more work in the Spring semester may be available depending on the student’s skillset, availability and interests).

Contact: If you are interested, please send a resume and email describing your programming experience and availability to: Josh Krieger, Sloan School of Management,

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: Chemical Engineering (Course 10)
Faculty Supervisor: Prof. Daniel Anderson

Project Title: Targeted drug delivery

Project Description: We are working on a new generation of drug and RNA delivery vehicles to target specific tissues. We are looking for students with a strong commitment to research to join this project. You will be involved in the design, development, testing, analysis and optimization of these drug delivery vehicles. Multiple project directions will be available based on preliminary findings and research interest. Techniques include click chemistry, HPLC, protein purification, molecular biology, light microscopy, cell culture, cell biology, in vivo mouse work. Significant independence and prior research experience is a plus.

Hours: 20 hrs/week during IAP; 10-12 hrs/week during Spring semester; potentially full time for summer 2015.

Contact: Sinisa Hrvatin (

IAP-Spring 2015
Department/Lab/Center: The MIT Energy Initiative (MITEI)
MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: John Parsons

Project Title: Project on commodity derivative prices

Project Description: Research assistance needed for a project on commodity derivative prices, primarily in the energy complex. Responsibilities will include assembling data sets, cleaning and organizing data, and structuring analysis. The research is targeted to analyzing the dynamics of energy prices, including the changes over time, and to analyzing the information that can be extracted from derivative prices. An interest in financial markets, statistical analysis and energy economics is essential. Requires a minimum commitment of 5 hours per week on average during regular semesters, plus significantly extra time during IAP.

Contact: Tony Tran (

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 (

Spring 2015
Department/Lab/Center: Brain and Cognitive Sciences (Course 9)
Faculty Supervisor: Rebecca Saxe

Project Title: Studies on Theory of Mind development

Project Description: Are you interested in getting research experience in a social cognitive neuroscience lab? The Saxe Lab is looking for a UROP to help run various studies pertaining to theory of mind development. For more information about the lab, please visit our website:

We are looking for a UROP for the Spring 2015 semester. The first semester of involvement in the lab will be voluntary- credit/pay is an option after one semester of volunteering. Strong candidates must be comfortable working with children and be available to work on weekends. Specifically, this position will involve running behavioral studies at the Children's Museum in Boston (~4 hours per week), and helping collect fMRI data. This position will provide you with experience running studies and organizing data, as well as exposure to working with an fMRI scanner.

Contact: If you are interested and would like more information, please email Hilary Richardson ( by Monday, December 15th with a brief paragraph about yourself and a current resume.

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 (

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

Project Title: Studying Carbon Nanotube Properties For Electrochemical Desalination

Project Description: Carbon nanotube electrodes for electrochemical systems have been getting more attention in recent years, being used in super capacitors, composite systems, and lithium air batteries. Our group is investigating the use of CNTs in capacitive desalination systems. Capacitive deionization (CDI) is a desalination method where voltage is applied across high surface area carbon, adsorbing salt ions and removing them from the water stream. CDI has the potential to be more efficient than existing desalination technologies for brackish water, and more portable due to its low power requirements. Developing fundamental understanding of the role of the pore volume and nanowire spacing in the transport properties of these devices is key to optimizing these systems. We are currently looking for a student to help conduct experiments and characterize the performance of these carbon nanotube electrodes. They will investigate the effect of densification of carbon nanotubes geometry and transport resistance. The work involves gaining skills in synthesis, imaging techniques, and making device level measurements. The contributions of this work can lead to a publication during the 2014-2015 school year.

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

Contact: Heena Mutha (

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

Project Title: Self-Driving Vehicle Project

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

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

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


Contact: Justin Miller (

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

IAP-Spring 2015
Department/Lab/Center: Sloan School of Management
Faculty Supervisors: Alberto Cavallo

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

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

During the IAP/Spring, the UROP will have to:
-Visit some retail stores every day for 3 weeks (excluding Saturday and Sunday).
-Using a special android app, scan the barcodes of 10 products in each store, take a picture of the tags and record their prices (the same 10 products must be scanned the following days in each store).
-Make on-the-spot decisions about product substitutions, coupon treatments, etc.
-Validate other team members databases.
-Calculate and analyze some statistics using Stata (Data Analysis and Statistical Software).
-Provide feedback and help us to improve the mechanism used for offline-price collection.
-Per day, we estimate a total of 2,5 hours as maximum, plus 1 hour for travel if the location is not within walking distance of the MIT campus (or the place where the UROP resides during IAP/Spring). We will be paying the transportation costs.

-Must have access to an android smartphone to install and use the data collection app.
-Data or Wi-Fi connection are needed to send the information (you don’t need to have connection at the moment of scanning because you can send the data collected later).
-Minimal commitment of 2,5 hours per day during 3 weeks of the IAP or spring.

Contact: Please send resume to and

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

Project Title: Learning Media

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

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

Contact: Vivian Diep (

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

Project Title: Applications and Job Search

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

UROP is expected to assist graduate student in running experiments and material characterization.

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

Contact: Nikhil Padhye (

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

Project Title: Normalizing Tumor Microenvironment to Enhance Drug Delivery

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

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

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

Contact Name: Ivy Chen (

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

Project Title: Builiding Alternative Timekeeping Devices

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

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

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

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

Contact: Che-Wei Wang (

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

Project Title: Enhanced vaccine delivery by synthetic nanoparticles

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

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

Contact: Yuan Zhang (

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

To apply to either of these positions: Please go to

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

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

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

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

Project Title: Drug Delivery Systems

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

Contact: Dr. Noel Elman (

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

Project Title: Navigation System for Drones

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

Contact: Dr. Noel Elman (

Department/Lab/Center: Economics
Faculty Supervisor: Professor Robert Pindyck

Project Title: The Economics of Potential Global Catastrophes

Project Description: I am looking for one or two students to help with research related to the economics of catastrophes, including possible catastrophic climate change, and such events as nuclear terrorism or a mega-virus. I am concerned with the economic and policy implications of multiple sources of uncertainty, and with the statistical characterization of low-probability outcomes. What is the “willingness to pay” to avert such events, and which events should be the primary focus of policy. I also address the macroeconomic and financial implications of possible global catastrophes. (For more information, go to my website and download “Uncertain Outcomes and Climate Change Policy,” “The Climate Policy Dilemma,” and “Averting Catastrophes: The Strange Economics of Scylla and Charybdis.”)

This work will involve a detailed literature review of the likelihoods, potential impacts, and costs of averting various types of catastrophes. It may also involve programming in MATLAB and some statistical analysis. Candidates should have a good background in economics. A working knowledge of MATLAB is also a plus. They should also be able to work independently.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Visit the Research section of the MIT website