Research Opportunities Database

Search to find Penn State faculty members looking to fill open undergraduate researcher positions.

A form for faculty members interested in posting an opportunity can be found at Post an Opportunity.

Title Number of opportunities Posted Last Updated
3-D Printer Based Quadcopter

Design and build 3D-printer based quadcopters with image processing capability.

Mentor: Jay Amicangelo

3 January 18, 2018 May 9, 2018
3-D Printer Based Robotics

Design and build 3D-printer based small robots with programming capability, incorporating navigational and touch sensors.

Mentor: Asad Azemi

3 January 1, 2018 July 24, 2018
A Better Understanding of the Ecology of Sustainable Agriculture and Forest Carbon Fluxes

Sustainable agriculture depends on the promotion and management of healthy soils. Healthy soils support root growth and beneficial microbes, such as mycorrhizal fungi, to enhance soil quality, nutrient uptake and crop production. A student working on this project will investigate root and fungal interactions and how they relate to root and soil health.
Forests can be major sinks for carbon in a changing climate. One of the greatest uncertainties in terrestrial carbon fluxes is that occurring belowground. A student on this project will work on questions of how does soil moisture and nutrients affect root production and turnover and soil CO2 in a changing climate.

Mentor: David Eissenstat

undefined January 1, 2018 July 24, 2018
Additiive Manufacturing Sensing and Process Control

Process sensor data collected from 3D printing process, extract useful information from the data, and exploit the knowledge for better process design and control

Mentor: Hui Yang

2 January 1, 2018 July 24, 2018
Algorithmic Genomics: Computational Methods for Analyzing Big Genomic Data

The recent emergence of high-throughput sequencing technologies has revolutionized genomics by providing a new wealth of data for biologists to learn from. Projects such as the cancer genome atlas project (TCGA) has sequenced hundreds of tumors from various cancer types, and projects such as the Genome10K will sequence the genomes of thousands of different species. However, our ability to interpret these datasets is currently limited due to their size and complexity.

Mentor: Paul Medvedev

2 January 1, 2018 July 24, 2018
Assessing the strengths and weaknesses of methods to detect natural selection in admixed populations

Much research in evolutionary genomics has focused on Darwinian selection, also known as positive selection. Positive selection causes a beneficial allele to increase to high frequency in a population because individuals carrying that allele are more successful than those without it. Multiple methods exist to pinpoint genes that have undergone positive selection using a variety of approaches. However, these methods may miss or misidentify the signature of positive selection in a population that is admixed---that is, if alleles from another population have entered into the population of study. This is an important consideration as most natural populations do not evolve in isolation.For this project, we will evaluate the effect of admixture on the performance of multiple popular methods to detect positive selection from genomic data.

This study will allow us to ultimately figure out which methods perform best in the face of the misleading signal of admixture, and potentially propose a solution to circumvent the hurdle of admixture. This project will have a heavy programming component, requiring proficiency in a programming language (Python and R are typical), and the ability to quickly pick up a new language that will be used extensively to simulate actively evolving natural populations. In addition to simulating data, this project will also involve the analysis of publicly-available human genome data.This project will lead to interesting and important insights on the performance of commonly-used methods, and will provide an opportunity to learn new skills in the areas of population genetics, bioinformatics, and data analysis.

Mentor: Michael DeGiorgio

1 May 25, 2018 May 25, 2018
Authoring/Editing and tracking data on the Society of Exploration Geophysicists (SEG) Wiki

This project is an ongoing collaboration with the Society of Exploration Geophysicsts (SEG), an international organization that has established a geoscience-focused wiki. Since Summer 2015, undergraduate students have authored wiki articles on "Geology 101" topics. The collaboration seeks students interested in authoring new/editing existing pages and tracking data on accesses and edits on existing pages.

Mentor: Laura Guertin

1-2 January 1, 2018 July 24, 2018
Bacterial Genetics and Microbiology

My laboratory focuses on two areas that attempt to understand how physiological processes are regulated. One area involves understanding the molecular and genetic events involved in the initiation of sporulation in the bacterium Bacillus subtilis.

A second area of interest is an examination of the frequency and diversity of bacteriophages (bacterial viruses) in the environment. These viruses may offer a relatively unexplored reservoir for novel genes that could play a role in altering host cell physiology and have practical biotechnological applications.

There are several ongoing projects in the laboratory that use current microbiological, biochemical and molecular techniques in which students can participate.

Mentor: Tami Mysliwiec

2- 3 January 1, 2018 July 24, 2018
Behavioral Neurogenetics Lab

The focus of the Behavioral Neurogenetics Laboratory is to understand the genetic basis of complex traits. We are specifically focused on the role of nicotinic acetylcholine receptors in both alcohol and nicotine use. To this end we use an array of approaches.

Mentor: Helen Kamens

1 January 1, 2018 July 24, 2018
Biological Clock Control of Nocturnal Migration

We are looking for undergraduates interested in helping a research project on migrating birds. Duties involve sample collecting, animal care, behavioral testing and scoring of video. Advanced undergraduates will also have the opportunity to help with sample analysis in the lab.

Mentor: Paul Bartell

6 January 1, 2018 July 24, 2018