Research Opportunities Database

Search to find Penn State faculty members looking to fill open undergraduate researcher positions.
Note: This is not an exhaustive database. Undergraduates looking for positions should also consult with their academic unit websites.

A form for faculty members interested in creating an account to post an opportunity can be found at Apply for an Account.

Title Number of opportunities Posted Last Updated
Frost Museum: Collections care and development

The Frost Entomological Museum cares for three large, historical collections of arthropods from around the world. One of the these collections is dedicated to educating students about the diversity of arthropod form - i.e., their colors, shapes, and sizes - and how to recognize different kinds of arthropods. For example, how does a beetle differ from a lacewing or a fly? This collection is accessed frequently and needs constant curation and new specimens.

Mentor: Andrew Deans

2 November 22, 2019 November 22, 2019
Frost Museum: Spiders of Pennsylvania

The Frost Entomological Museum has a large, historical collection of spiders, primarily from Pennsylvania. These spiders were collected as long ago as 1880 and collectively represent hundreds of species. Museum staff are currently cataloging this collection, documenting diversity, and upgrading the storage containers. This collection would provide the materials necessary for an enthusiastic undergraduate researcher to investigate spider diversity in Pennsylvania, both past and present.

Mentor: Andrew Deans

2 November 18, 2019 November 19, 2019
Frost Museum: Digitizing parasitic arthropods

The Frost Entomological Museum holds one of the world's largest and most diverse collections of sucking lice (Anoplura), comprising >15,000 specimens and more than 300 species. These blood-feeding ectoparasites were collected from a diversity of mammals, including walruses, crabeater seals, aardvarks, elephants, rodents, humans, and other primates. The museum also has sizable collections of other parasitic arthropods, including chewing lice, mosquitoes, black flies, fleas, and ticks.


Mentor: Andrew Deans

2 November 18, 2019 November 19, 2019
Frost Museum: Freshwater entomology

The Frost Entomological Museum cares for a large collection of freshwater invertebrates, including mayflies, stoneflies, caddisflies, and many aquatic flies. This collection is currently being digitized and rehoused in new storage containers. There are opportunities during this process for students to "get their feet wet" in museum science and to help museum staff document the full diversity of aquatics insects represented in this collection. New specimens will be collected during some...

Mentor: Andrew Deans

2 November 18, 2019 November 19, 2019
Computational and Mathematical Biology

Mathematical models and simulations of biological processes help understand the logic of phenomena that are impossible to observe in the lab or in nature (for example over evolutionary time) and help us make predictions that can then be tested in the lab or in natural systems. We use models in two main fields: (1) Population Genetics and (2) Evolutionary Game Theory. We study a variety of topics including the evolution of DNA sequences, the evolution of cooperation, cancer dynamics,...

Mentor: Marco Archetti

1 September 26, 2019 November 13, 2019
Evolutionary dynamics of cancer

Cancer cells compete for space and resource, but also cooperate by producing diffusible molecules like growth factors, and this cooperation often enables tumors to be resistant against drugs. We study cooperation among cancer cells, the evolution of resistance to therapies, and how to overcome it, using a combination of theoretical and empirical methods. Our main goal is to develop a new type of cell therapy by impairing cooperation among cancer cells. We do this by genetically engineering...

Mentor: Marco Archetti

Variable, depending on semester and schedule September 26, 2019 November 13, 2019
Ecology and evolution of leaf autumn colors

We are looking for assitance in collecting leaves from the Penn State Arboretum in order to test a hypothesis on the evolution of autumn leaf colors. We will collect leaves from as many species as possible and measure their nitrogen content, in October-November and then again in spring 2020. The project is not very demanding and requires only following a simple procedure to collect leaves and deliver them to the lab that does the analysis.

Mentor: Marco Archetti

unlimited September 25, 2019 November 13, 2019
Child Health Study

The primary purpose of this study is to learn more about the different ways in which the environment and biology can affect a child’s health.  The information we learn will help us to understand more about children, adolescents and their families. We are looking at the ways in which boys and girls between the ages of 8 and 13 have different life experiences based on the different environments they live in and how these experiences shape child development.

Research assistant applicants...

Mentor: Cheri McConnell

4 per semester October 1, 2019 October 24, 2019
Research opportunities in physics and astronomy and related fields, all levels

I hold a Ph.D. in Astrophysics and do computational research. I can offer a project related to my research, or discuss a project idea that you might have. Most of the projects I mentor involve some form of coding, but if there is something else you want to do that involves some math and physics, I will be happy to help you form a project and guide your research.

Mentor: Agnes Kim

3 October 2, 2019 October 8, 2019
Human Language Technologies Lab

Natural language is integral to how we communicate, synthesize, and store information. My lab focuses on solving problems to enable computers to do meaningful work with large volumes of natural language text. We apply methods from natural language processing (NLP) to a variety of domains, including digital privacy, online social networks, web science, and digital libraries. For more information, visit

Mentor: Shomir Wilson

1 September 30, 2019 October 8, 2019