Advertised Project Openings


Below are currently advertised UROP projects available to eligible 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

9/25/17

Fall

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Chemical Engineering (Course 10)

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Michael S. Strano

Project Title: Functional 2D sheet-polymer composites

Project Description: We have recently developed a new type of composites that consists of polymer and graphene, atomically thin sheets. The goal of this project is to explore the new applications of the composites. We will work on a sensing property of the composite fibers, which are responsive to temperature, strain, etc.

Prerequisites: Basic skill of Matlab for data analysis

Relevant URL: http://news.mit.edu/2016/stack-nanolayered-composites-0721

Contact: Daichi Kozawa: dkozawa@mit.edu


9/25/17

Fall 2017

Department/Lab/Center: Mechanical Engineering (Course 2)

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Ahmed Ghoniem

Project Title: UROP for renewable energy and rural development 

Project Description: In many parts of the developing world, agricultural and other biomass waste is simply burned in the open air, creating much toxic pollution. Thermochemical treatment is a process whereby this waste can be converted into solid fuel. This has the potential to provide renewable energy, create new income and jobs, reduce waste, and in some cases cut down pollutions and greenhouse emissions.  You will help carry out chemical and thermal analyses of the fuel to help determine the optimal reactor conditions. You will learn the fundamental process of engineering design, and laboratory experimental techniques that are widely applicable to other areas of engineering. Successful projects will have potential follow-on travel opportunities (India, Kenya, etc.) to test viable prototypes. 

URL: http://tatacenter.mit.edu/portfolio/torrefaction-reactor/

Contact: Please send CV to Kevin Kung kkung@mit.edu in case of interest.


9/21/17

​Fall/IAP

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Brain and Cognitive Sciences (Course 9)

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Ann M. Graybiel

Project Title: Experiments on brain activity and behavior

Project Description: Help us do experiments to solve the mysteries of the brain! In this project, you will assist us in performing experiments manipulating and/or recording brain activity and behavior in rodents using cutting-edge techniques such as optogenetics and calcium imaging. You may help us run experiments, perform neurosurgeries, train animals and/or build micro-devices for manipulating and recording neural activity. Students with strong programming and mathematics skills may also assist in data analysis. This is an excellent UROP for students seeking laboratory experience in preparation for medical school or a research PhD program. Students majoring in Course 9 as well as those majoring in mathematics, physics, engineering, computer science, and other majors are welcome. In this project, our goal is to understand the functions of the striatum, cortex, and other brain areas in behavioral tasks performed by rodents. The striatum is a key part of the basal ganglia, receiving input from midbrain dopamine neurons, cortex, and thalamus. It is thought to be centrally involved in evaluation, selection, motivation, and decision making, 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. 

Prerequisites: 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 4-5 days per week (at least 1-2 hours per day). We will also give preference to students who can work during spring and fall semesters for at least a year and 20 to 40 hours per week during IAP and summer. Times are flexible; evenings and weekends are available. We can usually only provide academic credits (not payment) for new UROPs.

Relevant URLs: http://graybiel-lab.mit.edu/

Contact: Please send your resume to Leif Gibb, PhD (lgibb@mit.edu).


9/21/17

Fall/IAP

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Brain and Cognitive Sciences (Course 9)

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Ann M. Graybiel

Project Title: Computational/mathematical analysis of brain data

Project Description: This project will help us understand key brain circuitry underlying decision making and behavior. It gives you the opportunity to analyze large datasets collected from the rodent brain using cutting-edge neuroscience techniques. You should have strong programming skills, preferably in MATLAB, and basic knowledge of statistics. There may also be opportunities to create computational models of neural circuits. This is an excellent UROP for students with computer programming and mathematics skills who are interested in neuroscience. You can work on a flexible time schedule. 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. 

Prerequisites: We will give preference to candidates who can commit to working at least 12 hours per week during the spring and fall semesters for at least a year and at least 20 to 40 hours per week during the summer and IAP. We can usually only provide academic credits (not payment) for new UROPs.

Relevant URLs: http://graybiel-lab.mit.edu/

Contact: Please send your resume to Leif Gibb, PhD (lgibb@mit.edu).


9/21/17

Fall/IAP

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Health Sciences and Technology (HST)

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Amar Gupta



Project Title: Three Semi-Related Endeavors: Geographically Distributed Teams; Telemedicine; Healthcare Interoperability

Project Description:

1. In August 2017, the Veterans Administration (VA) announced a revised policy for Telemedicine that incorporates the opinion/recommendation that Dr. Gupta and his students have made in multiple papers published over the last six years.  Unlike in the past when VA medicine practitioners were permitted to offer telemedicine within state boundaries only, these practitioners can now offer medical services across state lines too with virtually no incremental overhead. This revised policy will have a major ripple effect in terms of other organizations adopting the same recommendation, leading to major growth of Telemedicine and Digital Health technologies and business processes in the US and abroad. This opinion is based on the experience with other innovations, including the concept of nationwide automated reading and processing of bank checks in which MIT students played a pivotal role.

2. In the case of Interoperability of Healthcare Hardware, Software, and EHR systems, there are hurdles in terms of technical issues (such as encryption and sharing of information), business issues (such as apportioning the costs, benefits, and risks), legal issues (such as dissimilar laws enacted by different countries as well as interstate barriers within the US), and strategic issues (such as the incorporating of new healthcare approaches in existing practices). This provides opportunity for students from different disciplines to work in this area.

3. Historically, geographic distance has been view viewed as a major impediment to team effectiveness. In growing number of cases, geographically distributed teams are able to outperform collocated teams using innovative concepts, such as the 24-Hour Knowledge Factory (termed originally coined at MIT) and a paper related to this topic was recently selected for Best Paper Award of 2016 by the concerned division of the Academy of Management.

A small subset of theses and papers written by earlier members of this group can be accessed via: http://web.mit.edu/profit/research.htm The above site highlights the diversity of options for thesis and papers. You can potentially work on systems design and programming aspects (such as the thesis of Salman Khan, who later founded Khan Academy), strategy aspects (such as the thesis of Madhav Srimadh who now works at Akamei), or other aspects such as business and public policy.

Prerequisites: Applications are invited from students at MIT and Wellesley College with preference for upperclassmen with demonstrated interest or background in the subject matter. The UROP can be for credit or pay.  Students who have previously taken HST.S58 (Telemedicine for Enhancing Global Health: Opportunities and Challenges) are encouraged to apply.

Relevant URL: learning-modules.mit.edu/materials/index.html?uuid=/course/HST/sp17/HST.S58#materials

Contact: Amar Gupta: agupta@mit.edu


9/21/17

Fall/IAP

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Materials Science and Engineering (Course 3)

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Antoine Allanore

Project Title: Development of an analytical method to analyze a new type of phosphate fertilizer

Project Description: We are recruiting one student to work in the laboratories headed by Prof. Antoine Allanore, within the department of Materials Science and Engineering. We work in collaboration with a mining company, with the ultimate goal to provide affordable fertilizers to countries in the Southern hemisphere. More specifically, the candidate will develop an experimental protocol to determine the amount of phosphorous in, and released by, a new type of mineral fertilizer synthesized in our laboratories. Envisaged experimental techniques include UV-VIS and 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 project will fit junior and senior students with strong interest in Chemistry. A minimum availability of 6 hours/week is requested. This UROP will be paid or used for credits depending on the student choice. This UROP can be extended full time into IAP.

Prerequisites: Junior and senior students with strong interest in Chemistry. A minimum availability of 6 hours/week is requested.

Contact: Davide Ciceri: ciceri@mit.edu


9/21/17

Fall/Spring

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Chemical Engineering (Course 10)

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Michael Strano

Project Title: Development of a nanosensing platform for continuous insulin monitoring for the treatment of diabetes

Project Description: This project focuses on the development of optical biosensors using carbon nanotubes.  The Strano lab has developed carbon nanotubes, which fluoresce in the near infrared, for use as optical nanosensors for a wide variety of biomolecules.  When a biomolecule interacts with the surface of the nanotube, it causes a shift in fluorescence that can be detected using a microscope or a camera.  Our goal is to translate the use of these nanosensors from the lab to patients.  The advantage of such an optical biosensing system is the significant increase in real time data collection from patients to help inform clinical decisions.  Continuous detection of insulin, used in conjunction with glucose monitoring, would be a huge boon to the diabetes treatment field.

For this project, we are working on translating our sensors to mice models and develop the imaging platform to quantify the changes in fluorescence in real time.  The project will involve learning a wide range of interdisciplinary skills need to translate the sensors to animals.  The students will have an opportunity to learn aspects of sensor development. Such as how to produce the nanotube sensors, how to encapsulate them using hydrogel synthesis, and how to image them by develop the platform needed to optically query the sensors.  Additionally, the students could learn how to work with mice (if they desire to do so, however this is not a requirement for the project).  The project will be a good opportunity to learn techniques from the fields of nanotechnology, chemistry, and optics

Contact: Naveed Bakh: bakh@mit.edu


9/21/17

Fall/IAP

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Sloan School of Management (Course 15)

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Chintan Vaishnav

Project Title: Data collection on China’s automotive industry for a global mobility project

Project Description: The global automotive market is undergoing a rapid transformation towards alternative fuel vehicles such as Battery Electric Vehicles, Hydrogen powered vehicles, etc. as well as new modes of transportation such as ride-sharing. The Chinese automotive market is growing at an enormous pace and is set to overtake the US as the World’s largest automotive market by the next decade or so. China is also at the forefront of electric vehicles development and sales, and innovative modes of transportation.

In this mobility project, we are modeling the diffusion of alternative fuel vehicles in various markets around the World using a variety of modeling techniques such as System Dynamics, agent based modeling, EPPA, etc. The project is being funded by a consortium of auto makers and suppliers, oil companies, and mobility services providers.

The UROP position will be focused on the System Dynamics model. Significant work has been done on model development and calibration for the US automotive market. The chosen candidate will collect data on the Chinese automotive market and will be involved in calibrating the System Dynamics model for the Chinese market. This will be a paid opportunity.

Prerequisites: Strong proficiency in Mandarin Chinese. A passion for mobility, automotive, and transportation is helpful. Proficiency in data collection tools and data analysis would be beneficial.

Relevant URL: http://energy.mit.edu/research/mobility-future-study/

Contact: Chintan Vaishnav: chintanv@mit.edu


9/21/17

Fall/IAP

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Electrical Engineering and Computer Science (Course 6)

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Amar Gupta

Project Title: Digital Health and Telemedicine: Clinical Decision Support Systems

Project Description: Non-experts increasingly prescribe expensive and risky interventions in medicine. This is particularly true in complex, acute care settings where numerous allied health personnel interact to make rapid decisions. While an attending physician is ultimately responsible for patient care, s/he may not be immediately available for minute-to-minute decisions. S/he may not be an expert in the specific domain where that urgent decision is required. In this context, guidelines supposedly direct care but they are often overlooked or ignored in favor of personal experience and historical practice patterns.

Previous research has demonstrated that while electronic medical record (EMR) alerts and other simple forms of Clinical Decision Support (CDS) marginally improve guideline compliance and modestly reduce the use of  low value interventions, such guidance is frequently over-ridden.  The guidance is perceived as intrusive and being an impediment to patient care by providers at the bedside, especially during critical situations.

Working closely with researchers of our group (headed by Dr. Amar Gupta, Principal Investigator) and those at Emory University, the selected student(s) will help to research, develop, and implement the prototype of a new version of CDS (termed CDS 2.0) with a human element by engaging domain experts using real-time mobile applications and dashboard technologies. This implementation will provide real-time expert opinion to providers and demonstrate improved compliance, reduced risk to patients, and overall, better care at lower cost.  Specific goals include: (i) building; (ii) testing; and (iii) extending functionality.

Prerequisites: Applications are invited from students at MIT and Wellesley College with preference for upperclassmen with demonstrated interest or background in the subject matter. The UROP can be for credit or pay. Strong background or enthusiasm related to software architecting with a focus in mobile technology, real-time data integration technology (such as AWS but preferably Oracle GoldenGate), and predictive machine learning models. Students who have previously taken HST.S58 (Telemedicine for Enhancing Global Health: Opportunities and Challenges) are encouraged to apply.

Relevant URL: learning-modules.mit.edu/materials/index.html?uuid=/course/HST/sp17/HST.S58#materials

Contact: Anne Kim: anneykim@mit.edu


9/21/17

Fall

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Sloan School of Management (Course 15)

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Valerie Karplus

Project Title: Explore Global Energy Systems through Politics, Markets, and Policy

Project Description: Join a small team preparing for the spring-term teaching of 15.219/17.399 Global Energy: Politics, Markets and Policy. For readings that will be assigned for the class, write one- to two-page summaries and help to develop thought-provoking questions for students to consider. For a subset of individual class sessions, create an overview of all associated readings. Share and discuss with the team reactions to the content and its flow across the course. This UROP is a great opportunity to dive deep into a broad set of global energy-related topics, and prepare for the inaugural offering in spring 2018.

The new Global Energy course will prepare students to use the tools of social science to interpret developments in energy politics, markets, and policy in a range of national and global contexts. Insights from the course will largely center on realizations of how actors shape systems, and give students the tools to think from multiple disciplinary perspectives about feasible pathways for a global transition to cleaner forms of energy.

Prerequisites: Demonstrated writing skills in the social sciences. Having completed an undergraduate microeconomics course will be very helpful.

Contact: If you are interested in the position, please send an email to Melissa Webster (melster@mit.edu) including your resume, approximately two paragraphs about your fit for the project, and an academic writing sample (1-2 pages).  


9/21/17

Fall

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Sloan School of Management (Course 15)

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: John Carroll

Project Title: On-line research participants – Why do they do it?

Project Description: MTurk is an on-line system to recruit participants for research studies.  Researchers pay MTurkers at a very low rate of pay, yet it is relatively easy to get participants, and these participants are generally employed adults.  Why would anyone spend their time doing on-line research studies?  Are they giving accurate and valid responses?  The project will examine what is known about MTurkers and potentially conduct a survey to find out more about their behaviors.

Prerequisites: Able to search libraries and on-line for information, background in social science (psychology, sociology, anthropology) would be useful.

Contact: John Carroll: jcarroll@mit.edu


9/21/17

Fall

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Sloan School of Management (Course 15)

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: John Carroll

Project Title: Safety Culture Improvement Strategies

Project Description: Organizations that deal with safety hazards, such as nuclear power plants and hospitals, have been emphasizing “safety culture” for some years now.  Most approach safety culture management by conducting surveys and trying to improve their scores with training and various kinds of projects.  It is hard to manage culture like “any other project.”  It is likely that those companies that succeed in improving culture will have focused directly or indirectly on how people treat each other, notably how managers treat workers.  We need to gather information from research literature and popular media on multiple cases of safety culture change, successful and unsuccessful, and derive some features that lead to success.  Case studies will be chosen to examine more deeply.  One possibility is Exxon Mobil that changed their culture dramatically after the Exxon Valdez oil spill in Alaska.

Prerequisites: Able to search libraries and on-line for information, curiosity about organizations

Contact: John Carroll: jcarroll@mit.edu


9/21/17

Fall

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Sloan School of Management (Course 15)

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Jacquelyn Gillette

Project Title: Exploring the effects of price transparency in bond markets on debt analyst behavior.

Project Description: The quality of the corporate debt market is one of the most important and contentious issues in finance today. Critics blame the 2008 financial crisis on the lack of transparency about derivatives markets and corporate debt securities. Improving the transparency of this market, therefore, continues to be a priority for regulators such as the SEC. This UROP provides students with the opportunity to participate in a research project that examines the consequences of increasing the transparency of the corporate bond market, and evaluates whether increased transparency may yield unintended adverse consequences. Specifically, this research paper will examine whether sell-side debt analysts stop performing research for firms that have more transparent securities. Overall, this project will help students learn more about the corporate debt market and the related issues in this area. The project entails reading relevant regulations and academic papers on this topic, collecting data on sell-side debt analysts and corporate bonds, and estimating regressions in SAS or STATA. The project will also help students understand how to develop research ideas and initiate research projects. Finally, this project will teach students how to work with different research databases such as CRSP, Compustat, and TRACE.

Prerequisites: Preference will be given to students with previous coding experience, preferably in STATA, SAS, or Python.

Relevant URL: https://www.sec.gov/news/speech/piwowar-remarks-finra-2016-fixed-income-conference.html

Contact: Cassie Reddick: creddick@mit.edu


9/21/17

Fall/IAP

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Sloan School of Management (Course 15)

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Chintan Vaishnav

Project Title: India Water Quality Monitoring Decision Tool

Project Description: This project aims at improving data-driven decision to reduce outbreaks caused by waterborne diseases in India. Waterborne diseases cause 450,000 deaths annually in India alone. With the advent of the new National Rural Drinking Water Program (NRDWP) the introduction of the Uniform Drinking Water Quality Monitoring Protocol in 2013 in India, there have been large shifts in the governance systems of rural drinking water quality management. However, it remains unclear whether these reforms have lead to improved water quality and therefore health. Added to this is the recently undertaken Clean India Mission (Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, SBM) that aims to build the sanitation infrastructure across India. This project is aimed at evaluating the impact of new policy practices, and informing the policymaker about how sanitation impacts water quality and health, and how decision making can be improved to reduce waterborne disease outbreaks . This project is of  highly interdisciplinary nature, combining knowledge in policy framework, statistically analysis and modeling building, as well as in the fact that it will be readily implementable (thus highly rewarding) where the results generated can be immediately communicated to local stakeholders in India to gain feedback and eventually institute actual change in the systems.

The UROP will be working with a team of volunteers across India and Boston, named Data for Improved Governance (DIG), on the following aspects:

  • Mining Integrated Management Information System (IMIS) and Swachh Bharat Mission (SBM) databases, supported by Government of India;
  • Building a Decision Support System (DSS) that allows agencies to address these gaps effectively and resolve the disconnect between sanitation and water data and an actual useful prescription of optimal and timely actions and policies.

Prerequisites:

  • Experience in Python, SQL;
  • Database design and management;
  • Knowledge of GIS (ArcGIS) a plus;
  • Interest in data-driven-decision-making;
  • Some fundamental knowledge about water quality, policy-making would be helpful, but not required.
  • Passion for collaborative work

Contact: Chintan Vaishnav: chintanv@mit.edu


9/21/17

Fall/IAP

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Sloan School of Management (Course 15)

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Chintan Vaishnav

Project Title: Mobile app development for a fertilizer recommendation engine for small-holder farmers in India

Project Description: Studies estimate that less than 5% of the 140 million farmers in India get their soil tested. As a result, improper fertilization is widespread, adversely affecting farm profitability, soil health, and long-term productivity of land. We are developing a point-of-use soil sensor that enables a farmer to test soil nutrient content on-site, and a recommendation engine that can convert the sensor’s output into “actionable” information for the farmer. In order to do so, the recommendation engine will consolidate existing agriculture knowledge into information that the farmer can access (via mobile phone), interpret and implement. The project is being funded by the Tata Center.

The UROP position will be focused on the recommendation engine. Significant work has been done on architecture of the database and model development. The chosen candidate will develop a web/phone based app that can be used to run field trials to evaluate performance in term of actionability. This will be a paid opportunity.

What you will gain:

  • Opportunity to work on an interdisciplinary project that spans areas as diverse as behavioral science and advanced manufacturing
  • Experience in full-stack web development
  • Opportunity to interact with users in India and gain insights on the problems of resource-constrained communities

Prerequisites: 

  • Strong coding background. Proficient in python programming, database design and web/app development. 
  • Experience in UI and front-end web development is a big plus.
  • A passion for solving problems of resource-constrained communities is a must.

Relevant URL: https://tatacenter.mit.edu/portfolio/low-cost-paper-based-sensors-for-soil-diagnostics/

Contact: Chintan Vaishnav: chintanv@mit.edu


9/20/17

Fall/IAP

UROP Department, Lab or Center: RLE

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Stefanie Shattuck-Hufnagel

Project Title: Voice quality variation as a cue to prosodic structure in speech

Project Description: How do speakers signal structure?  Speakers group words into phrases and give some words more prominence than others, signaling these structures by using prosodic cues such as intonation, duration and amplitude, and they sometimes also use changes in voice quality, such as creakiness or breathiness.  This project involves evaluating an algorithm for automatically detecting the occurrence of creakiness (irregular, widely-spaced pulses of the vocal folds) in typical speech, by comparing the episodes of voice quality change detected by the algorithm with those in an existing corpus of hand-labelled speech.  

Prerequisites: Knowledge of Matlab desireable; some experience with signal processing, speech signals and/or linguistic phonetics also a plus, but not required.  

Commitment: 8-10 hours per week

Funding: Pays $11.50 per hour; possibility of extension of the project into IAP and the Spring term.  

Contact: Dr. Stefanie Shattuck-Hufnagel, Speech Communication Group, RLE, sshuf@mit.edu.


9/20/17

Fall

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Mechanical Engineering (Course 2)

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: A. John Hart

Project Title: Optimization of Printed Sensors for Point of Use Soil Testing

Project Description: We are developing a point-of-use soil testing and nutrient management system to provide small holding farmers with actionable soil health information. The soil testing system will enable the accurate measurement of pH, nitrate, phosphate, and potassium - providing critical information for the farmer to efficiently utilize fertilizer inputs and maximize crop yields. We are seeking a student to investigate the impact of different parameters on the performance of our potassium and nitrate sensors, optimizing the designs for a pilot test in India.  The project will involve fabricating sensors, building a new potentiometry setup for characterizing the sensors, and analysis using profilometry and microscopy.

Prerequisites: The project is open to all relevant engineering majors. Enthusiasm and willingness to learn new experimental techniques are most valued.  Interest or experience in fabrication, electrochemistry, and/or design for resource constrained environments is great.

Relevant URL: http://mechanosynthesis.mit.edu/

Contact: If you are interested, please email Michael Arnold (mjarnold@mit.edu) with your resume/CV. Work hours are flexible and can be discussed in a pre-meeting. There is a possibility of continuing working in subsequent semester(s).


9/20/17

Fall/IAP/Spring/Summer

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Brain and Cognitive Sciences (Course 9)

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Mriganka Sur

Project Title: Molecular biology of brain plasticity Please supply the project title for this UROP

Project Description: The Sur lab is seeking highly motivated UROPs who are enthusiastically interested in researching the molecular neurobiology underlying brain plasticity. The lab utilizes interdisciplinary approaches to systematically investigate brain plasticity at the molecular, cellular, circuit, and behavioral level. UROPs have the unprecedented opportunity to acquire any combination of cutting-edge molecular neurobiology techniques of their choice such as molecular cloning, biochemical assays, DNA/RNA/protein purification and quantification, immunohistochemistry, RT-qPCR, rodent neurosurgery, slice electrophysiology, functional imaging of neuronal activity in awake mice using multi-photon excitation microscopy, and pharmacological and optogenetic manipulation of neural circuits. More importantly, UROPs will learn how to design experiments, evaluate and analyze experimental data, and how to effectively communicate your research. The Sur lab is committed to the exceptional mentorship of UROPs by providing an immersive and rewarding undergraduate research experience. We hope to foster an immersive training environment to ensure UROPs reach their full potential with the goal of providing of unparalleled preparation to pursue graduate studies and beyond.

Prerequisites: Prior research experience is not required but UROPs must be highly motivated and willing to commit for least one year. Start date and work hours is flexible as long you are able to commit at least 10 hours per week. UROPs have the option to continue research during IAP and summer, if desired. Rising freshmen/sophomore and those majoring in Course 7 and/or Course 9 are particularly encouraged to apply. Must be willing to work with animals.

Relevant URL: http://surlab.mit.edu/

Contact: Marvin Nayan: nayan@mit.edu


9/20/17

Fall/IAP

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research (WI)

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Dr. David M. Sabatini

Project Title: Understanding how adult stem cells sense nutrients and their environment

Project Description: We are interested to understand the molecular mechanisms of  how diet may affect tissue regeneration. The system we work with is the mouse intestine and in particular mouse intestinal stem and niche cells. We try to understand how these cells sense their environment and nutrients and how they in turn communicate with each other and regenerate the intestine. To address these questions we employ a large number of techniques such as metabolomics, RNA-Seq and CRISPR/CAS9 gene editing technology.

Prerequisites: General Biology. Previous laboratory experience is preferred but not required.

Contact: Maria Mihaylova: mihaylov@wi.mit.edu


9/20/17

Fall/IAP/Spring

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Sloan School of Management (Course 15)

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Greg Distelhorst

Project Title: Regulating Sweatshops from Overseas?  Studying Factories in China

Project Description: Consumers and activists in wealthy countries have long decried "sweatshops" in foreign countries.  To improve working conditions in these factories, most top consumer brands--Nike, Apple, Levis, etc.--monitor working conditions in their factories in China and elsewhere.  How effective are these programs, and how many jobs are actually improved through these efforts?

This project tries to answer these questions by combining industrial data from Chinese firms with information about private monitoring by western importers.  Participating undergraduates will contribute by developing a variety of empirical strategies for this project together with the faculty supervisor.  The work will include some econometrics and GIS scripting. However, the only prerequisites are coding skills, Chinese language, and eagerness to solve problems.

Prerequisite:

  • Chinese: spoken fluency and advanced reading.
  • Coding skills and willingness to learn new scripting languages.

Relevant URL: http://www.gregdistelhorst.com

Contact: Greg Distelhorst: gregd@mit.edu


9/20/17

Fall/IAP/Spring

Multiple Openings

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Media Laboratory

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Sputniko!

Project Title: Your Urge To Breathe is a Lie

Project Overview: Help develop fantastic, fabulous & weird futures! We are working on a world of underwater living, new forms of collective being, and acrobatic transformation!  This is a sponsored and paid UROP position. In order to apply please send samples of your work - CAD models, images of finished milled pieces, and/or writing samples

Project #1: Engineer/Design/Build

Project Description: Assist in bringing functioning prototype prosthesis to fully-functioning final form Seeking engineers and designers with experience with CNC milling. Must have solid CAD abilities. Experience with mold-making is a plus. Design abilities and/or interest is a plus

Prerequisites:

  • experience with CNC milling
  • solid CAD skills
  • mold making experience is a plus (but not required)
  • aesthetic design experience is a plus (but not required)

____________

Project #2: Research

Project Description: Interviews, site visits & secondary research (books) Research assistant looking into alternate theories of human evolution, histories of sea-faring peoples, music of the underwater world, sub-culture practices of free diving and synchronized swimming, politics of sea-gypsies in the Indian Ocean...and more. Please have some experience and strong writing skills. These are fall term positions, with potential to extend into next semester. If you stay on there is opportunity for paid trip to Florida for a film shoot next semester.

Design Fiction is a creative environment for independent students. We tell stories about the future, are interested in the role of emotion and desire in the development of new technologies, and concerned with the social, ethical and cultural implications of new technology.  

Prerequisites:

  • curiosity and tenacity
  • some experience with in-depth secondary research (for school is fine)
  • solid writing skills

Contact: Miriam Simun: simun@mit.edu


9/19/17

Fall/Spring

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Sea Grant Program

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Michael Triantafyllou

Project Title: Urban sustainability and resilience to climate change

Project Description: Major storms cause destructive flooding in coastal cities and towns. Superstorm Sandy did more than $60 billion of damage to the East Coast in 2012, and hurricanes Harvey and Irma very recently devastated communities in Texas and Florida, destroying property, infrastructure, lives, and livelihoods. Storms and flooding events are increasing in intensity as the planet warms and the climate changes, increasing risks to coastal communities.  Better planning and flood management practices can help mitigate or prevent damage from future flooding events.

Two projects are available for interested students:

  1. Research current actions and planning efforts coastal towns and cities are taking to improve their resilience to coastal flooding (e.g., green infrastructure and other engineering solutions, changing zoning and other regulations, etc.), to generate a curated list of options that can be shared with planners, managers, and decision-makers to help improve their communities; and
  2. Assist in developing green infrastructure plans for Fort Point Channel in downtown Boston, collecting data on the historic uses and research of the Channel, verifying old ideas and generating recommendations for improvements to the Channel. The student will also assist in developing an outreach plan and materials to assist with that outreach to ensure that the information is, not only used internally but distributed and shared to the outside community.

Useful for this position:

  • Comfort with primary and secondary document research
  • Skill at organizing and compiling large quantities of data into understandable format
  • An interest in science communication for lay audiences
  • A desire to help create more sustainable communities which are better prepared for a changing climate.

Contact: Juliet Simpson simpsonj@mit.edu


9/19/17

Fall 2017

Department of Urban Studies & Planning (Course 11)

Faculty Supervisor: Jinhua Zhao

Project Title: Data analysis and data visualization of low-income transit rider travel behavior.

Project Description: Policymakers and advocates are increasingly concerned with the impacts of growing inequity on the poor and underserved. The burden of transportation costs on the poor is increasing, limiting access to important goods and services, such as medical care, health food options, and training programs. With the poorest in urban areas relying mainly on public transportation, it is central to the discussion of equity. Rapidly increasing public transportation fares across the US is making accessibility more and more unaffordable for low-income riders. Despite these concerns, relatively little is known about how low-income households manage their transportation costs while also preserving their desired level and quality of mobility. When low-income households do find ways to cover their transportation expenditures, many of these strategies create hardship. 

In spring 2017, we ran a 2-month study providing 30 Boston transit riders with discounted CharlieCards to gain insights into changes in travel patterns and quality of life of the participants. We designed and programed an automated SMS/texting Chatbot to interact with participants to gather data on the purpose of their transit trips during the study. The technology that powers bots, artificial intelligence software, is improving dramatically. We also collected data on travel usage of their smartcard. 

We are looking for a UROP to (depending on student interest): 

  • Help with data analysis and visualization
  • Work with census data and GIS to better understand travel patterns and behaviors of low-income riders in Boston and other US cities.
  • Internet research tasks (e.g., identifying transit equity advocates in other cities)
  • Online survey deployment
  • Further development of the ChatBot
  • Miscellaneous tasks to support this research project.

Apply your technical skills to help address important social issues in society! Also, this is a great opportunity to gain 1-on-1 mentorship with technical and policy experts. 

Prerequisites: 

  • An interest in data analytics
  • General programming skills
  • Talents for visually presenting data
  • Database skills (like SQL) desirable.
  • GIS skills (or willingness to learn basic GIS)
  • An enthusiasm for public transportation and social equity a plus. 

URL: https://mobility.mit.edu/

Contact: Jeff Rosenblum: jeffreyr@mit.edu


9/19/17

Fall

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Sloan School of Management (Course 15)

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Georgia Perakis

Project Title: Analytics for Retail Customer Behavior and Promotion Planning at a Large Industry Partner

Project Description: Promotions are a prevailing tool for retailers to increase traffic in their stores, introduce new items, boost the sales of particular brands, capture customer segments that would normally not purchase at the regular price, and retaliate to competitors who are promoting their items. Promotions come in a variety of forms: temporary reductions of the retail price, placing products at the end of an aisle, dedicating an in-aisle display, sending out flyers, and broadcasting commercials, among others. Over the years, promotions have become ubiquitous for all retail verticals and now make up a significant portion of a retailer's profits. Together with a large South American industry partner, we are interested in developing analytical tools to forecast their customer demand and optimize their promotion planning. First, we develop an efficient data-driven approach that can estimate a dynamic and accurate demand model from real-world transaction data. The goal is to incorporate important consumer behavioral aspects of the customers. Second, given this predictive model, we develop a promotion optimization model that is tailored to business practice, in particular that of our industry partner. Our goal is to investigate when and what promotions to use and quantify the impact of our model.

Responsibilities: The UROP student will be a full member of the research team and the whole team will meet weekly. In these meetings, we will work on modelling the problem, devising algorithms, building theory, discussing results and setting further steps. Outside of research meetings, we will work with data, implement and test algorithms, and research literature. The most important responsibilities will be to process the data, code the algorithms and run the computational experiments with the retailer’s data. The directions will be decided upon during the meetings. 

Qualifications:

  • Experience with either Python, Julia, R, Matlab, or equivalent programming language is required
  • Experience with SQL is not necessary, but is a plus.

Contact Information: Please send applications or questions to Professor Georgia Perakis (georgiap@mit.edu), Lennart Baardman PhD student (baardman@mit.edu), or Tamar Cohen PhD student (tcohen@mit.edu). Applications should include your resume and a concise statement of why you are interested and why you would make a good fit.


9/19/17

Fall/Spring

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Science, Technology, and Society (STS)

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: David Kaiser

Project Title: Physicist Sidney Coleman Correspondence Project

Project Description: Professor David Kaiser is seeking a UROP student to help with a book project relating to famed theoretical physicist Sidney Coleman (1937-2007). Coleman was a professor at Harvard for decades, whose course on quantum field theory became legendary for generations of physicists. Well known for his clarity as well as his sense of humor, Coleman worked closely with several physicists who went on to win the Nobel Prize, and was in high demand as a speaker and lecturer around the world. A team is now working on publishing a selection of Coleman's correspondence, which sheds light on changes in physics and university life between the 1960s and 1990s. In addition to helping prepare selections of the letters for publication, the UROP student will also prepare a transcription of Coleman's well-known (but unpublished) lecture, "Quantum Mechanics in Your Face," from existing video footage. 10 hours per week, Fall 2017 semester. Possibility to extend for Spring 2018.

Prerequisites: None, though a background in physics preferred.

Contact: Prof. David Kaiser: dikaiser@mit.edu


 

9/18/17

Fall

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Mechanical Engineering (Course 2)

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Prof. Alex Slocum

Project Title: Precision dispenser for liquid medication to prevent overdose in children

Project Description: The objective of this project is to redesign and prototype liquid medication dispenser to achieve a better form factor and leak proof product.

Students will have access to a high resolution and industrial scale 3D printer for iterating prototypes. The current design is at an intermediate stage and the UROP is ideally expected to first understand the functionality of the product and redesign it to be more effective in terms of size, stability when attached to the medicine bottle, re-usability, final packaging, leakages, etc. Student will also interact with graduate students and a practicing clinician, and can eventually get involved in field testing of the product with patients or caregivers, if interested.

If you are interested in getting hands-on experience in product design of a healthcare product, this would be a great learning opportunity.

Prerequisites: Please only apply if you have very strong interest and skills in Solidworks, Intuitive Design, Product Design, 3D printing, and Hardware prototyping. Knowledge of Arduino (working with LCD, Timer and Bluetooth) is a plus.

Contact: Nevan Hanumara: hanumara@mit.edu


9/18/17

Fall

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Comparative Media Studies (CMS

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Federico Casalegno

Project Title: Please supply the project title for this UROP

Project Description:  The Design Lab is working on the next generation of running shoes in partnership with a global athletic wear brand. Our innovative approach is to merge the concept of auxetic metamaterials to the everyday foam midsole, creating running gear that is lighter yet offers superior programmable performance. This fall we will be working with our industrial partner to fine tune our design for manufacturing by meeting with materials suppliers and mold-makers. See the project page at http://design.mit.edu/projects/redesigning-fitness-experience

Prerequisites: We're seeking a student with Mechanical Engineering skills who is eager to work on simulation and optimization of design patterns. Familiarity with complex material simulation program and methods (such as Abacus) is strongly preferred.  Coursework in materials science would be helpful but not necessary. Background work and interest in 3D printing, injection molding and fabrication is also a plus.

Design Abacus or equivalent simulations using lab computer to better understand the deformation of performance footwear. Design simulations and prototype experiments to solve complex questions. This is an ideal position with someone with a strong eye for detail, who is eager to work on real-world problems in a production environment.

Relevant URL: http://design.mit.edu/projects/redesigning-fitness-experience

Contact: Will Walker: walkerw@mit.edu


9/18/17

Fall/IAP/Spring

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Economics (Course 14)

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Frank Schilbach

Project Description: Frank Schilbach is a faculty member in the MIT economics department. He is looking for various undergraduate research assistants to work on two research projects at the intersection of development and behavioral economics. The projects investigate the role of poverty in shaping human behavior by conducting randomized-controlled trials that evaluate the impact of sleep deprivation, depression, physical pain, loneliness, and substance abuse on cognitive function, labor market behaviors, and decision-making.

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

Prerequisites: A candidate must be highly motivated, detail-oriented, and able to meet deadlines. While not necessary, the ideal candidate has taken some economics courses, e.g. 14.01, 14.03, 14.13, 14.73, and/or 14.74. Knowledge of Stata and econometrics is a plus. Additionally, the candidate should be familiar with RCTs and have an interest in development and behavioral economics.   

Funding: Direct Funding (or for credit) 

Time Commitment: 10 to 20 hours/week 

Contact: If you are interested in the position, please send an email to Frank Schilbach (fschilb@mit.edu) including your CV and a brief description of your background and interest in the position.   


9/18/17

Fall/IAP/Spring

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Chemical Engineering (Course 10)

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Prof. Allan S. Myerson

Project Title: Self-Assembled Monolayers to Screen Rapidly for Polymorphs of Organic Crystals: Nucleation and growth studies

Project Motivation: The understanding and control of crystallographic polymorphism of small organic molecules is scientifically and financially important to the pharmaceutical industry. The identification of all possible polymorphs of a given compound is, however, experimentally difficult. Since the polymorph is determined at the nucleation of the crystal, to scan for polymorphism, we require a method that can create a large number of different substrates for nucleation. Self-assembled monolayers (SAMs) are organic assemblies formed by adsorbents on metal surface. SAMs are useful to tune the physical properties and also use to study the nucleation. Finally, SAMs can assist promising opportunity to target nucleolus on surface and also useful to control them. Here we will study the nucleation and polymorphic phase transformations of the different small molecules drugs on SAMs. 

Looking: I am looking for self-motive research fellow and prefer who is aware of Chemistry, CHEME, materials basics. 

Contact: Please contact Dr. Geetha Bolla (bollag@mit.edu) with resume.


9/18/17

Fall/IAP

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Materials Science and Engineering (Course 3)

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Polina Anikeeva

Project Title: Neural probes connection process optimization

Project Description: We are developing polymer-based neural probes that interfaces with the brain and allow modulation and recording of brain activity. One important step in the fabrication of these probes is the connection to external circuits. We are looking for an enthusiastic undergraduate to help us optimize the connection process. This project can be broken down into three subprojects that will involve parameter optimization of selective polymer etching using O2 plasma, optimization of probe-chip bonding procedure, and design of printed circuit boards for interfacing neural probes to data acquisition system.

Prerequisites: This project is open to all relevant engineering majors. Interest or experience in parameter optimization and machine learning would be beneficial. Interest in neuroscience would be beneficial, but not required.

Contact: Please email Marc-Joseph Antonini: mjanto@mit.edu with a brief explanation of why you are interested in this project and describe any relevant previous experience.


9/18/17

Fall

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Chemical Engineering (Course 10)

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: J. Christopher Love

Project Title: Screening for novel inducible promoters in Pichia pastoris

Project Description: Biologic drugs (recombinant protein products) represent a quickly growing sector of the pharmaceutical market. Of growing interest in the field is the use of alternative microbial hosts for manufacturing in lieu of commonly used Chinese Hamster Ovary (CHO) cells. One host of particular interest is the methylotrophic yeast Pichia pastoris, due to its propensity for clean secreted product, and a tightly controlled methanol-responsive promoter, AOX1. While useful for small scale purification purposes, methanol is not compatible with large scale industry due to storage and flammability concerns.

The objective of this UROP project is to screen Pichia cells for native promoters responsive to industry-friendly carbon sources or small molecule additives. Growth assays followed by RNA sequencing will reveal genes (and promoters) deferentially expressed with different small molecule inducers. This work will enable safe, scalable production of recombinant proteinproducts, and provide additional tools for genetic engineering of this host.

Prerequisites: Students in Course 10 or related. Weekly commitment of 10 hours. Prior experience with microbial cultivation and/or molecular biology. Positive attitude and sarcastic banter appreciated.

Relevant URL: http://love-lab.mit.edu/

Contact: Neil Dalvie: dalvie@mit.edu


9/18/17

Fall

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Chemical Engineering (Course 10)

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: J. Christopher Love

Project Title: O-linked glycan inhibition study

Project Description: Biologic drugs are pharmaceutical products manufactured using living host organisms. One common product class, monoclonal antibodies (mAbs), typically are produced using Chinese hamster ovary (CHO) cells for the expression and secretion of this heterologous protein with therapeutic properties. Following product expression during cultivation, protein biologics are purified using multiple downstream chromatography steps and purity is assessed to ensure product quality prior to patient administration. Protein biologics, like 80% of all expressed proteins, are often glycosylated, usually at Asn residues following the motif (XXX). Glycosylation at Ser and Thr residues can also occur, but this glycosylation does not follow a defined motif and is highly unpredictable. Protein glycosylation is species dependent, with sialylated bi-antennary glycan structures being favored by higher eukaryotes, like mammals, and high mannans typical in yeasts. While CHO cells are highly productive expression hosts capable of mammalian-type glycosylation, yeasts offer great potential to increase overall volumetric productivies, while dramatically reducing costs. Humanization of N-linked glycosylation machinery in yeasts has further extended their utility in biopharmaceutical manufacturing.

One existing drawback remains the persistence of unpredictable decoration of heterologous proteins with O-linked glycans during product expression and secretion. These glycans are typically comprised of mannose residues, up to 20 units in length, and may be immunogenic to humans. Furthermore, expression titers of proteins heavily mannosylated are typically low. Mitigation of this phenomenon could enable high yielding production of quality biologics from this simple expression host. Here, we propose a study of benzylidene thiazolidinediones as potential O-linked glycosylation machinery inhibitors (PMTi). Several of this class of compound have been used to inhibit protein mannosyl transferases (PMT) in the methylotrophic yeast Pichia pastoris. Inhibitors of PMT1 and PMT4 have been reported to particularly impact the observed titers of potentially mannosylated mAbs in P. pastoris fermentation. Further characterization of PMTi compounds should improve understanding of their performance and enable development of a general method for their use during biologic drug production in P. pastoris.

Prerequisites: Students in Course 10 or related. Weekly commitment of 10 hours. Prior experience with microbial cultivation and/or molecular biology. Positive attitude and sarcastic banter appreciated.

Relevant URL: http://love-lab.mit.edu/

Contact: Neil Dalvie: dalvie@mit.edu


9/15/17

Fall/IAP

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Materials Science and Engineering (Course 3)

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Yoel Fink

Project Title:  Multifunctional Membranes for High Efficiency Water Purification

Project Description: Membranes are at the heart of water purification technologies. However, membrane fouling, caused by growth of contaminants, isma persistent problem that causes deterioration of membrane performance and necessitates costly monitoring, maintenance, and replacement schedules. We are developing membranes designed to be not only more efficient, but also anti-fouling, self-cleaning, and reusable. These multifunctional membranes can disrupt the economics of water purification toward the common good of making water more clean, accessible, and affordable. We are seeking UROPs to assist us in developing the photocatalytic material and integrating the photocatalytic material into a fiber. The UROPs can expect to learn thermodynamics and kinetics of the fiber drawing process, chemistry of photocatalysis, self-assembly of nanomaterials, photonics of waveguides, and optics.

Prerequisites: The project is open to students majoring in materials science, electrical engineering, mechanical engineering, and other relevant fields. The UROP can be for credit or direct funding from the UROP office.

Relevant URL: http://www.rle.mit.edu/pbg/

Contact: Please email Gabriel Loke: gabloke@mit.edu to schedule an interview as soon as possible.


9/15/17

Fall/IAP

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Materials Processing Center (MPC)

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Lionel Kimerling

Project Title: AIM Photonics Academy Assessment Project

Project Description: Are you interested in the following paid UROP? This is a study for the American Institute for Manufacturing (AIM) Photonics, which runs AIM Photonics Academy at MIT. The goal of the AIM Photonics Academy is to train future engineers, scientists, technologists and technicians for high paying jobs in the photonics industry.

The main task for the UROP role is to conduct interviews at various companies, and help analyze data that has been gathered. The interviews are geared towards gaining a better understanding on how one should train the future workforce for Photonics. When visiting companies (Small and Medium Enterprises), the protocol is to have a 45-minute interview with individuals in several different roles at the company (i.e., engineering lead, CEO/executive administrator, and/or HR manager).

This person will (along with the lead PI):

  1. visit large-size companies to interview folks in different roles at each big company, all at the same visit; or
  2. visit separately visit SMEs to interview CEOs and also to serve as an outreach for introducing; or
  3. interview industry via phone/videoconferencing what AIM Photonics Academy can do for them (engage these SMEs).

All the interview questions have been set and approved already.

Skill set required:

  • Qualitative research methods (or the interest to learn and apply it).
  • Familiarity or interest in (integrated) photonics manufacturing would be helpful.
  • Passionate and hard-working.

Relevant URL: https://aimphotonics.academy/

Contact: Yashu Kauffman: yashu@mit.edu


9/15/17

Fall

Department/Lab/Center: Mechanical Engineering (Course 2)

Faculty Supervisor: Kripa K. Varanasi

Project Title: Interfacial engineering for enhancing efficiency in industrial applications

Project Description: Interfaces are ubiquitous, and fundamentally altering electro-chemo-mechanical interactions at the interfacial level is key to enhancing efficiency in numerous industrial applications. In this project, interfacial engineering will be studied to enhance efficiency in gas-trapping systems. Other applications such as anti-corrosion and anti-fouling will also be explored. The student will be supervised by a Ph.D. student and will build a test setup and design experiments, and study the fundamental science behind these interfacial phenomena. The student will be taught how to prepare special nano-engineered surfaces and will also learn a variety of imaging techniques. Interested candidates should email khansami@mit.edu with a brief explanation of why they are interested in this project and describe any relevant previous experience.

Prerequisites: Basic chemistry lab experience is desirable. A background in fluid mechanics and/or chemistry is a plus. Students from mechanical engineering, chemical engineering, chemistry, materials science and engineering are encouraged to apply. 

URL: http://varanasi.mit.edu

Contact: Sami Khan: khansami@mit.edu


9/15/17

Fall/IAP

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Chemical Engineering (Course 10)

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Heather J. Kulik

Project Title: Software for computational materials design

Project Description: The Kulik lab is developing strategies to automate the search for new inorganic materials using a combination of atomistic modelling and machine learning. We develop and distribute a python package, molSimplify (https://github.com/hjkgrp/molSimplify), which supports these aims. Our goal is a unified environment that manages simulations run on remote supercomputing resources and merges these with automatic analysis, surrogate modeling, and design logic. We are seeking help improving the usability, and expanding the functionality, of molSimplify.

Project aims, In collaboration with the Kulik group, you will:

  • test and report on the current user experience in molSimplify
  • update and improve the GUI and other user-facing functions
  • contribute to development of remote queue management and automated data analyses capacities
  • gain experience in programming, atomistic simulation and machine learning
  • contribute to activate research projects in the group
  • attend weekly group meeting and present your findings

Prerequisites: We are looking for students with strong python/scripting experience as this project will require substantial code development. Our GUI is written in QT5 and any UI or QT5 experience would be a strong advantage. Experience with Linux, statistical modeling in python/R, atomistic simulation or remote HPC resources is beneficial but not assumed. The UROP is for pay (or credit if preferred).

Relevant URL: http://molsimplify.mit.edu

Contact: Jon Paul Janet: jpjanet@mit.edu


9/15/17

Fall

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Mechanical Engineering (Course 2)

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: A. John Hart

Project Title: Visualization and Analysis of Nanoparticle Assemblies

Project Description: We are developing an additive manufacturing technique capable of assembling micro- and nanoparticles into three-dimensional colloidal crystals. Recently, we have acquired a three-dimensional x-ray scan of the colloidal crystal, and are looking for enthusiastic undergraduates to help us with visualization and analysis of this very unique data set. The UROP project will involve three-dimensional image reconstruction, segmentation, classification, and statistical analysis, leading to insights for this new additive manufacturing process.

Prerequisites: The project is open to all relevant engineering majors. Interest or experience in image processing, computer vision, and machine learning would be beneficial. Please email Alvin Tan to schedule an interview as soon as possible.

Relevant URL: http://mechanosynthesis.mit.edu/

Contact: Alvin Tan: alvintan@mit.edu


9/15/17

Fall

Multiple Openings

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Architecture (Course 4)

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Azra Aksamija

Project #1: Diaspora Scroll - A growing digital textile book of displacement

Project Description: The Diaspora Scroll is a growing textile book that narrates the history of transcultural encounters conditioned by migration and displacement through the sourcing, analyzing and sharing of textile art, design and techniques from artists around the world. Launched during the Summer of 2017 by the Future Heritage Lab at MIT, the Diaspora Scroll is aimed at creating an open-source knowledge base of our shared heritage utilizing textiles as a unique resource towards the cultivation of a future cross cultural heritage. To that end, this participatory art project invites both textile artists and museums to contribute with sharing items representative of their perspectives on the relationship between textiles and cultural hybridity. These contributions are used to assemble larger textile installations in three forms: (1) a scroll-like textile installation in the museum setting, (2) a public space pavilion and (3) an online lexicon of unique textile art and design (hi)stories and techniques.

We need team members skilled in one + of these areas: 

  • writing
  • website development
  • blogging
  • video editing

__________

Project #2: Developing a Code of Ethics for the Future Heritage Lab in the refugee camp

Project Description: The world is witnessing a refugee crisis of global proportions as war, persecution, and increasing poverty sequester growing refugee populations into isolated areas of camps, contention centers, forced labor zones, and slums. Today, more than 65 million people worldwide have been forcefully displaced. The response to the refugee crisis is carried out by a network of stakeholders of various capacities, intentions, and motivations. The line between solidarity and compassion towards profit and exploitation is easily crossed in this impure realm, and anyone intervening in the refugee crisis is forced to make compromises. Where do we draw the line? How can we, at and from MIT, address this crisis in light of the pressing political and ethical concerns?

The MIT Future Heritage Lab (FHL) is operating between MIT and its satellite location at the Al Azraq refugee camp in Jordan. Established in 2014, the Al Azraq camp is designed to become the region’s largest camp housing 150,000 people. The FHL in Al Azraq camp provides creative responses to conflict and crisis by connecting the needs of refugees with the contributions of art, architecture, and heritage preservation to advance humanitarian aid.  We collaborate with the residents of the Al Azraq camp to collect and preserve their unofficial stories and memories, to foster social cohesion between migrants and host communities, and to establish new models for a more efficient, ethical, and culturally sensitive forms of humanitarian relief.

Researching the best (and worst) practices intertwining art, architecture and urbanism developed in response to the refugee crisis, we are developing A Code of Ethics for cultural interventions in the refugee context, which will serve as a framework for the work of the MIT Future Heritage Lab in the Al Azraq refugee camp in Jordan.

We need different helpers skilled in one + of these areas:

  • writing
  • website development
  • video editing

__________

Project #3: Lightweaver - Developing an educational device for refugee camps that translates patterns into light

Project Description: Lightweaver is a playful kinetic lighting / educational device that translates stories from textiles and calligraphy into a sensory play of light, aiming to preserve cultural memory and inspire hope in refugee camps. The project was first prototyped at MIT and developed in collaboration with the artists, engineers, and inventors from the Al Azraq refugee camp in Jordan in the summer 2017. The Lightweaver employs light and a pinwheel-driven machine to animate stories designed by their creators through a three-dimensional weaving of light. The device can be used to personalize the interior and exterior spaces of the refugee camp shelters through the functional and poetic use of lighting technologies, textile patterns and calligraphy. The project is investigating the role of art and design as a means for the sensory enrichment of the refugee shelters and as a medium to dignify stateless people within conditions of limited resources, war and trauma. The project proposes a way of rethinking the shelter beyond its functionality as physical protection, addressing cultural and emotional needs of refugees. The project aims to provide immersive cultural environments within refugee camps, providing means for preservation of cultural heritage through play, knowledge exchange and sharing of stories.

Prerequisites: Graphic software (Illustrator, InDesign), and some experience in lay-outing and / or laser-cutting.

Relevant URL: https://www.futureheritagelab.com/

Contact: Melina Philippou: melphil@mit.edu


9/14/17

Fall

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Mechanical Engineering (Course 2)

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Evelyn N. Wang

Project Title: MIT Lab Energy Assessment Center

Project Description: The Device Research Lab recently won a grant from the MIT Green Labs program to found the Lab Energy Assessment Center (LEAC) at MIT.  The LEAC provides energy assessments free of charge to labs on campus with the goal of identifying ways that the labs can save energy and implement sustainable practices.  Each assessment is conducted by a team of students who use a wireless energy monitoring network based on the Wemo family of devices.  This wireless network is installed in the lab being assessed for period of a few days to collect energy use data. Following the data collection as well as a lab inspection and discussion with lab users, the team of students assessing the lab compile the data and inspection results in a comprehensive report that details power consumption patterns, recommends energy-saving and sustainable practices that could be implemented in the lab (for example, automatically turning off overhead lighting, changing freezer set points, adding a glove recycling program, etc.), and estimates the potential economic and environmental impact.

Prerequisites: We are interested in hiring an interdisciplinary group of students who either have a background in thermodynamics or energy analysis to analyze data and identify opportunities to save power or have experience in computer science and networking to operate and maintain the wireless sensor network during assessments and also develop new raspberry pi or jetson-based hardware for autonomous monitoring.  This UROP starts in Fall 2017 (paid or credit, up to 10 hr/wk).  For pay, please respond to this listing ASAP and before the end of the day on Sept 20th in order to apply for funding. Please send a resume , brief statement of interest, and your availability to meet and discuss this opportunity to join the MIT LEAC.

Relevant URL: leac.mit.edu

Contact: Daniel Preston: dpreston@mit.edu


9/14/17

Fall

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Urban Studies and Planning (Course 11)

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Alan Berger

Project Title: Designing Sustainable Neighbourhood Typologies for Native Housing in Abu Dhabi

Project Description: This project – a collaboration between the Leventhal Center for Advanced Urbanism at MIT and the iSmart program at Masdar Institute of Science and Technology – focuses on achieving higher levels of environmental, economic, and social sustainability in hot desert climates, using Abu Dhabi as a case-study. The current project phase entails the design and simulation of low-carbon housing typologies which simultaneously provide comfortable outdoor spaces for private and public use, increasing health and walkability in neighborhoods.

The UROP position will focus on aiding the project team in simulating the impacts of building and landscape design on outdoor human comfort levels. This position is ideal for students in either architecture or engineering who are interested in increasing their understanding of environmental sustainability broadly speaking, and especially for students who want to apply prior experience in human comfort modeling to a complex project.

Necessary Skills:

  • Python or C#

Beneficial Skills:

  • Prior experience with Grasshopper for Rhino.
  • Prior experience with outdoor human comfort simulation.

Contact: Pru Robinson: pru@mit.edu


9/14/17

Fall

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Mechanical Engineering (Course 2)

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Kamal Youcef-Toumi

Project Title: Inspection UAV in harsh environments

Project Description: We are building an UAV to perform inspection tasks in dusty and dimly-lighted environments. Sensor fusion and controller design will be tested. We are looking for UROPs to work side by side with graduate students to implement algorithms on a drone, perform testings, and do mechanical designs. The UROP is expected to commit at least six hours a week.

Prerequisites:

  • Familiarity with dynamics and control basics.
  • Prior experience with ROS.
  • Knowledge of C++ is a plus.

Contact: Bo Jiang: bojiang@mit.edu


9/14/17

Fall/Spring/Summer

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Biology (Course 7)

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Leonard Guarente

Project Title: Cell based modelling of human dysferlin mutations

Project Description: Mutations in the gene dysferlin cause a rare form of muscular dystrophy, LGMD2B or dysferlinopathy. Patients with dysferlinopathy, experience a late-onset limb-girdle type muscular degeneration eventually leading to loss of ambulation. We have developed a cell-based model to assess the pathogenicity of single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) known to occur in the human gene dysferlin. We are currently in the process of cloning over 100 such SNPs  in order to establish human cell lines expressing these mutant dysfelin constructs. These lines will be used to determine SNP pathogenicity and to create a panel of cell lines for use in  therapeutic drug discovery for the treatment of dysferlinopathy.

Prerequisites: Previous experience in molecular biology and wet lab work helpful.

Relevant URLs: https://www.jain-foundation.org/

Contact: Mohan Viswanathan: mohanv@mit.edu


9/14/17

Fall/IAP

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Aeronautics and Astronautics (Course 16)

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Afreen Siddiqi

Project Title: NASA Commercial Space Technology Roadmap Development

Project Description: One of NASA’s core objectives, as mandated by Congress, is to “seek and encourage, to the maximum extent possible, the fullest commercial use of space.” A wide variety of commercial space enterprises have been proposed (and some have been implemented, e.g. SpaceX, Blue Origin, Virgin Galactic/Orbit, Bigelow Aerospace, Planet), including space tourism, asteroid mining, data gathering from orbital satellites, satellite communications, launch services, and in-space manufacturing. Each enterprise has its own proposed customers, methods, and technology needs. Overall, technology development is one of the primary challenges for space commercialization -- new capabilities must be developed and implemented, and existing capabilities must be made more efficient and safe in order to enable cost-effective, profitable space enterprises.

In order to guide technology development for its own missions, including human and robotic spaceflight as well as aeronautics, NASA maintains a set of Technology Roadmaps (https://www.nasa.gov/offices/oct/home/roadmaps/index.html) that lay out specific goals and milestones in various technology areas. These roadmaps provide an integrated view of capabilities that are needed to accomplish future missions and identify candidate technologies, thus informing Agency technology development strategy. This research will develop a Commercial Space Technology Roadmap, in collaboration with NASA’s Emerging Space Office, to serve as a commercially-oriented companion to the existing NASA Technology Roadmaps. By focusing on the capability needs of the developing space economy, this new roadmap will help guide public and private technology development efforts to enable profitable commercial space enterprise.

This UROP is offered as a for-credit or volunteer opportunity. The UROP for this project will work closely with the graduate research team to develop this roadmap, working collaboratively as well as pursuing independent tasks as needed. Specific tasks may include: compiling information on commercial space enterprises from news outlets, patent applications, and technical literature; assessing the technology needs associated with these enterprises; organizing and analyzing compiled data to identify high-leverage technology areas; and communicating the results of this research to NASA stakeholders and the community via conference papers and presentations.

Prerequisites: Familiarity with spaceflight, especially in the context of commercial spaceflight. Experience with literature review and data compilation and organization. Familiarity with economics and technology development is valued, but not required. Ideal candidates will be self-starters who can work effectively on teams or independently.

Contact: Please contact Matthew Moraguez (moraguez@mit.edu) to apply, including a resume and brief email describing your background and interest in this project.


9/13/17

Fall/IAP/Spring

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Picower Institute for Learning and Memory (PILM)

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Matt Wilson

Project Title: Characterizing neuron firing during spatial navigation

Project Description: I am looking for an upper level course 6 student to assist with a variety of tasks, including debugging hardware, coding, and signal processing. My project involves taking electrophysiological recordings from neurons in vivo as the rat runs a maze. A vast quantity of data is collected and presents many signal processing challenges. Since this is a neuroscience project, a healthy interest in neuroscience is also needed! Looking for someone to stay at least a year, so if you're looking for a semester long project sadly this is not the UROP for you.

Prerequisites: Some of the following classes would be great. Please indicate which ones you have taken in your reply. You do NOT have to have taken all of these classes so don't be shy about applying

  • 6.101 or 6.115 or 6.111 or 6.131
  • 6.003
  • 6.011
  • 6.341 (know it is very unlikely this will have been taken)

Must also know some matlab (sorry it sucks I know). Familiarity with bash and C++ helpful but not required. Assuming knowledge of the command line/linux.

Relevant URL: http://web.mit.edu/wilsonlab/

Contact: Hannah Wirtshafter hsw@mit.edu


9/13/17

Fall

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Mechanical Engineering (Course 2)

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: David Wallace

Project Title: Online Media for Design Education

Project Description: We are putting together an online multimedia platform as a teaching tool for aiding in product design education. This project has interesting opportunities for work in mechanical design, prototyping, web design, multimedia development (photography and videography) and education. We'll be creating teaching resources including videos and web documents to help explain user-centered product design concepts, teach making and prototyping skills, and model the behavior of effective designers. These resources will be featured in courses like 2.009 Product Engineering Processes, 2.00b Toy Design, 2.744 Product Design, and 2.00 Introduction to Design.  Anyone interested in doing work in the fields of design, multimedia production, teaching, or web development (both front-end and and Django-based back-end) and would like to learn more, feel free to reach out!

Prerequisites: Preference will be given to those who have helped teach or have taken design courses at MIT, but students with a range of interests and experience are encouraged to reach out.

Contact: Josh Ramos: ramos01@mit.edu


9/13/17

Fall/IAP

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Biological Engineering (Course 20)

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Douglas Lauffenburger

Project Title: Improving monoclonal antibody therapeutics for cancer using computational modeling

Project Description: The immune function of the monoclonal antibody therapeutics is affected by an important post-translational modification called glycosylation. In this project, we will be investigating the regulation of this complex phenomenon in mammalian cells and their effect on the immune cell-mediated cancer therapeutics.

The project includes one or more of the following aspects: (1) Data-driven computational approaches to integrate multiple layers of OMICs data at the transcription, metabolomics, etc. levels, (2) modeling approaches to more mechanistically investigate antibody glycosylation, and finally (3) investigate the effect of glycosylation in immune cell recruitment and therapeutics. Due to the complexity of the system under study, it is required that UROPs commit to a minimum of two semesters to allow training and accomplishment of an interesting and meaningful project. While this is a UROP offering in the biological engineering department, highly motivated and talented applicants from Electrical Engineering and Computer Science departments are welcome to apply.

UROPS will work under the supervision of Dr. Dolatshahi in Dr. Lauffenburger’s lab and will:

  • learn the relevant literature and the intricacies of the glycosylation pathway and the important regulations
  • learn to analyze OMICs data using relevant data-driven approaches and find interest in a certain aspect of the complex regulation of glycosylation  more specifically determine their project of interest
  • learn and perform integrative data-driven and/or modelling techniques toward answering the question of interest

While this is a computational project, depending on the duration of the UROP training and the UROP’s interests, the project might expand and develop an experimental component toward the immunotherapeutic applications.

Prerequisites: Candidates (1) with computational background/experience interested in molecular cell biology or (2) with background in molecular cell biology interested in learning computational techniques are encouraged to apply.

Candidates of all experience levels will be considered. However, preference is given to candidates with:

  • experience with MATLAB and/or R
  • knowledge/background in immunology
  • strong theoretical background and experience in computational techniques like network inference, statistics, machine learning, bioinformatics, and other unique computational backgrounds

We will give preference to candidates who can commit to working at least 20 hours per week during IAP and summer and 10 hours per week during the academic year. We are offering academic credit for new UROPs.

Relevant URL: http://web.mit.edu/dallab/

Contact: Sepideh Dolatshahi: sepideh@mit.edu


9/13/17

Fall/IAP/Spring

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Biological Engineering (Course 20)

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Ron Weiss

Project Title: Design of living structural materials from bacterial cellulose using synthetic gene networks.

Project Description: In this ongoing project, we develop hybrid materials that combine structural properties of cellulose, the main component of wood traditionally used in building construction, with the living capabilities of microbial biofilm. We engineer hybrid cellulose biofilms that can autonomously produce dynamic materials whose structure and composition change over time. This is a unique interdisciplinary project combining methods of synthetic biology, materials science and architectural design. Priority will be given to students willing to continue working on the project during IAP and the Spring semester. This UROP position might include an opportunity to travel to Chile during the IAP period through MIT-Chile MISTI program.

Three UROP positions are currently available, specific goals include:

  • Designing a modular plasmid system for transformation into cellulose-producing bacteria Gluconacetobacter xylinus.
  • Creating a library of genetic parts validated in G.xylinus.
  • Constructing regulatory gene networks for G.xylinus.

Prerequisites: Biological laboratory experience, experience with synthetic biology is a plus.

Relevant URL: http://groups.csail.mit.edu/synbio/

Contact: Katia Zolotovsky: zolka@mit.edu


9/13/17

Fall

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Health Sciences and Technology (HST)

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Jonathan Polimeni, PhD

Project Title: 3D Brain Surface Modeling Software for Neuroimaging Data Analysis

Project Description: Our neuroimaging laboratory is looking for a student with experience in computer science and an interest in neuroscience to port software for 3D brain surface mesh creation, manipulation, and visualization from MATLAB to C/C++.  The student will have access to neuroscientists and software developers who are familiar with the detailed goals of the project. The software created during this project will be used by our lab to guide neuroimaging experiments and analyze the resulting imaging data.  Although flexible, we would ideally start this project  as soon as possible.

Time Commitment: 8 hours per week.

Prerequisites: Knowledge of MATLAB and C/C++ programming is required. A background in software development and computational geometry are highly desired.

Contact: Ned Ohringer: ned.ohringer@mgh.harvard.edu


9/13/17

Fall

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Aeronautics and Astronautics (Course 16)

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Sertac Karaman

Project Title: Vision-based Autonomous Drone Navigation

Project Description: Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) are becoming a critical asset in many societally relevant applications, including precision agriculture, search and rescue, disaster response, delivery, surveillance, construction, infrastructure and environmental monitoring. In many applications, UAVs are required to autonomously navigate among obstacles, due to bandwidth constraints and communication delays that prevent manual control, or simply to reduce the workload of a human operator. We are seeking an undergraduate researcher to (i) improve a state-of-the-art software for vision-based navigation, by adding obstacle detection and avoidance routines, (ii) implement the code on a UAV (multiple drone platforms available), (iii) test the vision-based navigation algorithms in fast indoor and outdoor navigation experiments. The faculty will mentor the undergraduate researcher, who will learn about advanced perception algorithms and real-world implementations for vision-based autonomous flight.

Prerequisites: Proficiency in C++ programming. Strong interest in computer vision and robotics (no prior knowledge required)

Relevant URL: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CsJkci5lfco

Contact: Luca Carlone: lcarlone@mit.edu


9/13/17

Fall

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Sloan School of Management (Course 15)

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Andre Hagiu

Project Title: Exploring network effects in start-up environment

Project Description: Professor Andrei Hagiu (area of expertise - multi-sided platforms) is conducting research with a start-up called www.deepbench.io founded by MIT Students. DeepBench was a member of the MIT New York City Start-up Studio program this summer. This student start-up connects industry professionals with clients that need their insights. They are growing rapidly and are shifting from a manual service into a more automated marketplace platform. As DeepBench explores this transition, with Professor Hagiu’s help, they are looking for at least 1 motivated undergraduate to help them with technical & business research.

Prerequisites:

  1. Interest in network effect / marketplace platforms.
  2. Front-end web development and / or back-end database programming experience.  (Product is built using Javascript - Node.JS & React Front end. Postgre SQL for database)
  3. Willingness to learn and work in start-up environment with MIT Sloan & Course 6 co-founders and faculty advisor.

Relevant URL: www.deepbench.io

Contact: Yishi Zuo: Yishizuo@mit.edu


9/13/17

Fall

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Chemical Engineering (Course 10)

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Professor Allan Myerson

Project title: Downstream process development for pharmaceutical manufacturing  

Project description: The overall aim for this project is to optimize downstream processes of crude work-up, purification through continuous crystallization and the filtration, washing and drying of the broad-spectrum antibiotic Ciprofloxacin Hydrochloride. This research is part of the DARPA Pharmacy on Demand project. 

Role: To support investigations with crude and commercial ciprofloxacin to further the understanding of pH control, continuous flow processing conditions and the effect of solvent composition on product characteristics (e.g. solubility, purity, morphology, agglomeration). Process development will include working with a pH control system and continuous flow equipment, in addition to determining solubility in a variety of mixed solvent systems. Assessment of product characteristics and process performance will be monitored through variety of techniques, these include: High Performance Liquid Chromatograph, differential scanning calorimetry, x-ray powder diffraction, microscopy, mass balance and yield calculations. 

Prerequisites: A knowledge of crystallization process design and experience with analytical techniques are desired but not essential

Contact: Naomi Briggs, e-mail:naomib@mit.edu


9/13/17

Fall

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Biological Engineering (Course 20)

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Prof. Robert Langer

Project Title: Gastrointestinal Drug Delivery

Project Description: We are developing novel biomaterials for drug delivery systems that respond to stimuli in the microenvironment of the gastrointestinal tract for biomedical applications. Specifically, we focus on engineering polymeric delivery systems for controlled release of therapeutics. The project involves delivery material characterization, rheological evaluation, drug release testing, imaging and other related techniques. The UROP student is expected to work closely with a postdoctoral fellow in the laboratory.

Prerequisites: We are looking for a UROP student who is highly motivated, responsible, creative, and have a strong background in general chemistry, general biology and related engineering disciplines. Having skills in chemical synthesis, imaging, or ELISA immunoassays is preferred but not required.

Contact: Sufeng Zhang: sfzhang@mit.edu


9/13/17

Fall/IAP

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Brain and Cognitive Sciences (Course 9)

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Guoping Feng

Project Title: Animal learning using web-based touchscreen system

Project Description: The project consists of setting up and using an in-cage testing apparatus running a web-based application on a tablet computer. We have the software and hardware components. The UROP has to put them together and test it. Then, we try it out and start collecting data (animal responses), which the UROP will analyze and use to make adjustments, training the animals to do a short term memory task. The UROP will not work directly with animals, but be in charge of setting up the system and analyzing the data. As it is web-based, the software is essentially a website (HTML, Javascript) which puts stimuli on the screen, gets the animal's response from the touch screen, and then actuates a pump dispensing liquid reward via Bluetooth (using a BLE nano development board). This is an interesting project if you are interested in integrating software and hardware to make an interactive machine, web apps, microcontrollers, and animal behavior and learning. If successful you can continue working on training animals and making improvements in the system.

Prerequisites:

  • Javascript
  • Experience using microcontrollers
  • Affinity with animal behavior

Contact: Rogier Landman: landman@mit.edu


9/13/17

Fall

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Brain and Cognitive Sciences (Course 9)

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Laura Schulz

Project Title: Learning and Exploration in Early Childhood

Project Description: The Early Childhood Cognition lab studies how infants and young children learn about the world. Specifically, our research projects investigate how young children learn about causal relationships through active exploration. In addition, we study other topics in cognitive development such as language and moral reasoning. We have a partnership with the Boston Children's Museum where our experiments take place.  As a research assistant in our lab, you will work closely with a graduate student on their project and be involved in the full research process, including building stimuli, recruiting families to participate in research, conducting behavioral experiments with young children, and coding behavioral data. We are looking for UROPs who are curious, reliable, and comfortable interacting with children and their parents.

Prerequisites: 9.00 and 9.85 are preferred but not required. Must be able to commit to 2 shifts per week at the Children's Museum; shifts can be any day of the week from either 10am-1pm or 1-5pm depending on your schedule.

Relevant URLs: eccl.mit.edu

Contact: Kary Richardson: karyrich@mit.edu


9/12/17

Fall

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Aeronautics and Astronautics (Course 16)

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Afreen Siddiqi

Project Title: NASA Goddard satellite constellation tradespace exploration project

Project Description: Distributed Spacecraft Missions (DSMs) and satellite constellation missions offer unique advantages to Earth Observing scientists, including improved performance for key global coverage metrics over monolithic spacecraft, but also present key challenges to system architects. NASA Goddard Space Flight Center is currently developing a software tool, the Tradespace Analysis Tool for Constellations (TAT-C), to conduct pre-Phase A tradespace explorations, and MIT’s Strategic Engineering Research Group (SERG) is working closely with the NASA GSFC team to provide the Cost and Risk modules for this tool. The undergraduate student or students selected to work on this project will have the opportunity to join weekly NASA teleconferences and contribute methodology that will be incorporated within the final software tool. 

Four UROP positions are currently available, and can be modified according to the student’s interest and level of experience:

  1. Validation and supplementation of the existing NASA TAT-C Cost Model, with a particular focus on constellation operating costs and the differentiation between dedicated and temporary (or virtual) ground stations.
  2. Creation and validation of a small satellite cost model relevant for cube-satellite constellation missions, such as the MIT Lincoln Lab mission TROPICS.
  3. Implementation and continuation of work done within SERG over the past year regarding parametric spacecraft subsystem sizing.
  4. Use-case testing for current and future distributed spacecraft missions (including CYGNSS and TROPICS)

Prerequisites: Course work relevant to satellite mission operations and design and MATLAB proficiency.

Contact: Veronica Foreman: vforeman@mit.edu


9/12/17

Fall

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Materials Science and Engineering (Course 3)

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: John Hart

Project Title: Computer vision of in-situ videos of carbon nanotube synthesis

Project Description: Carbon nanotubes (CNTs) are cylinders of graphite (common ingredient in pencils) a few nanometers in diameter with walls that are only a few atoms thick.  They exhibit exceptional mechanical, thermal, and electrical properties, but a better understanding of their growth mechanism is required to reliably manufacture them. We have developed a method of controllable, high-yield synthesis of CNTs, and have performed experiments within an environmental transmission electron microscope to record high-resolution in-situ videos of the growth process at 400 frames per second.

We are seeking an undergraduate researcher to develop a computer vision solution to analyze the images and videos of the CNT synthesis experiments in order to help determine the growth mechanism in the high-yield synthesis.

Prerequisites: No prior experience is needed, though familiarity with ImageJ or other computer vision solutions is useful.

Relevant URL: http://mechanosynthesis.mit.edu/

Contact: Nick Dee: nicktdee@mit.edu


9/12/17

Fall

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Mechanical Engineering (Course 2)

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Irmgard Bischofberger

Project Title: Let’s dry: from flower to cake

Project Description: Paintings, printings or more generally coatings are often obtained by the drying of a colloidal suspension. Particles, or pigments, are thus deposited on a substrate after solvent evaporation. Such a process can lead to cracks, such as famous craquelures in ancient paintings. The patterns of those cracks depend on the nature of the particles, the drying speed and the properties of the solid. In our study, we will model paint by a colloidal suspension of silica nanoparticles in water. Modifying the solid surface, we will be able to investigate a rich variety of different crack patterns, from flower-like to sliced-cake patterns. We will focus our study on the role of the wettability of the substrate and the concentration of particles to understand the generation of these cracks and their orientation.

Prerequisites: min. 10h/week

Contact: Philippe Bourrianne: pbourria@MIT.EDU and Irmgard Bischofberger: irmgard@mit.edu


9/12/17

Fall

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Mechanical Engineering (Course 2)

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Professor A. John Hart

Project Title: Process Physics of Nanoporous Flexographic Printing

Project Description: There is a growing industrial need in electronics manufacturing for a process that can print devices on flexible substrates with high resolution (<10 micrometers) and at high throughput (~m^2/s).  Conventional flexography is limited in resolution due to the instabilities associated with ink loading and transfer mechanisms. A recent invention from our research group, engineered nanoporous stamps composed of polymer coated carbon nanotube (CNT) forests, are highly porous (>90%) and can retain the ink within their volume rather than on their surface only and can transfer highly uniform ink layers under mechanical contact. Using this method, we have demonstrated direct printing of features with micron-scale lateral dimensions (<10 microns), fine-edge roughness (<1 micron) and highly uniform thickness in the sub-100nm range at a printing speed of >0.1 m/s. The goal of this project is to study the physics of our new printing process. We are seeking a student member to design and fabricate an experimental setup, that can precisely control the amount of liquid ink loaded on microstructured nanoporous stamps.

Who should apply?: If you are excited about machine design, precision engineering, mechatronics, and fabrication, this multi-disciplinary project will give enough opportunity to learn and hone your knowledge and skills in these areas while learning about a new manufacturing process. As the project evolves, you will also be conducting printing experiments and analyzing the printed samples using various techniques such as profilometry and microscopy.

If you are interested, please apply or email with your resume/CV. There is one UROP position for Fall 2017. Work hours are flexible and can be discussed in a pre-meeting. There is a possibility of continuing working in subsequent semester(s).

Prerequisites:

  • Course work : 2.007, 2.008
  • Tools : CAD (Solidworks, Onshape, Autocad)
  • Shop experience is a plus. Enthusiasm and willingness to learn new experimental techniques, enthusiasm for research and a scientific work ethic is highly appreciated.

Contact: Dhanush Mariappan: dhanush@mit.edu


9/12/17

Fall

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Mechanical Engineering (Course 2)

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Thomas Peacock

Project Title: Modeling of Deep-Sea Mining Plumes

Project Description: In the next decade, it is expected that mining activities will commence in the deep ocean. Associated with such activities are likely to be sediment-laden plumes that may impact the ocean environment. This project is to continue the development of a MATLAB interface for modeling the nature of these plumes. The primary task of the project is encode some new aspects of the model into an existing MATLAB GUI that has been developed this past semester. The student would work with Prof. Peacock and a grad student from Applied Mathematics who is developing the model. And if things go well, it may be possible for the student to come aboard a research cruise off the coast of California for the week after Thanksgiving, to apply the software in a real-world experiment aboard the R/V Sally-Ride (the newest US research vessel).

Prerequisites: Students need to be competent with MATLAB and have an interest in the Ocean/Environmental Flows.

Relevant URL: http://web.mit.edu/endlab

Contact: Prof. Thomas Peacock: tomp@mit.edu


9/12/17

Fall/IAP

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Mechanical Engineering (Course 2)

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Dick K. P. Yue

Project Title: Design, Construction and Testing of  Intelligent Marine Systems for Renewable Energy Applications

Project Description: Vortical Flow Research Laboratory is looking for two or three UROPs who are interested in working on a novel design project for deployable, autonomous, non-moored buoys for various sensing and renewable energy-related applications. The applications include autonomous, persistent operation as sea environment measuring buoys; tunable buoys as members of wave energy arrays; swarming buoys that use networking concepts to achieve reconfigurable, autonomous networked sensory arrays. The UROPs will assist VFRL researchers in developing the mechanical design, take a part in constructing the prototypes and testing their performance, work on developing and implementing control algorithms for buoy operation and wireless communication, and conduct some hydrodynamic calculations.  Ideal candidates should be hands-on, have some experience with Python and/or MATLAB, and have a background in controls and mechanical design (e.g. drones and AUVs). The appointment is available for credit, or for direct UROP funding.

Contact: Grgur Tokic: gtokic@mit.edu


9/12/17

Fall

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Electrical Engineering and Computer Science (Course 6)

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Richard Fletcher

Project Title: Advanced Android Development for Health Diagnostics

Project Description: Our group develops a variety of mobile technologies to diagnose disease and abnormalities in a person's health.  Sample applications include:

(1) Diabetes -- this chronic disease is becoming increasingly common all over the world, including developing countries. We are exploring some early detection methods that can be implemented on a mobile phone to enable early intervention.

(2) pulmonary disease -- this is a second leading cause of death in India and 4th world-wide.  Many forms of pulmonary disease (COPD, tuberculosis, pneumonia, asthma, cancer) can be treated or prevented if early signs are detected.

A sample of our projects can be seen on our web page: http://mobiletechnologylab.org/portfolio

Using a combination of mobile phone app with clever sensing techniques, machine learning algorithms, and little or no external hardware, it is possible to make important contributions to preventative health and public health services both in the US and developing countries. Our group has many strong clinical partners in the Boston area as well as with top hospitals in India and latin america for field testing our technologies and bringing innovations to the field. The tools we are creating shall provide decision support and feedback for health workers and doctors in low-resource areas. The type of tasks that are implemented on the phone are either sensing (e.g. machine vision), signal processing algorithms, or machine learning

UROP tasks include: We are currently seeking UROP students to help explore innovativesensing techniques or machine learning algorithms using mobile phones. Since this field is very interdisciplinary, we welcome students with all levels of skills and interest areas. We welcome students with one or more of the following interest areas: Interface design, algorithm development, and image processing and machine learning. Software will be implemented on Android phones and tablets using the JAVA SDK, and in some cases, using the native C NDK as well.

We are looking for students with a solid programming background in JAVA and/or C++, and preferably Android.  Prior experience with writing multi-threaded apps is a plus.  No biomedical background is necessary, but of course general interest in developing technologies that help people is important.  The student should be able to work independently, and attend weekly group meetings to check on progress.  At this time we are interviewing students who are interested in working this Fall term and will hopefully continue through the IAP and beyond. Pay or credit is available or UAP project consideration.  Opportunities to travel to developing countries (e.g. India, South America, etc.) are also available.

Relevant URL: http://www.mobiletechnologylab.org

Contact: Richard Fletcher: fletcher@media.mit.edu


9/12/17

Fall

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Electrical Engineering and Computer Science (Course 6)

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Richard Fletcher

Project Title: Embedded Algorithms for Drug Addiction Research

Project Description: Substance abuse and self-injury are enormous public health problems around the world as well as US.  Drug overdose has become the leading cuase of accidental death, surpassing car accidents.  Our group develops mobile tools that can be used to support substance abuse treatment. In the past we have worked with military veterans with a drug addiction issues, but currently we are involved in alcohol addiction research together with a partner lab at NIH/NIDA.  Our group has experience building mobile apps, wearable sensors, and other sensing technologies to monitor health and provide feedback.  We have a patented system that Dr. Fletcher developed for some interventions as well (US patent 8,655,441). We are looking for a student who would be interested to help support this research and be part of our research team and be included in the papers that we publish.

Prerequisites: We are currently seeking a UROP student to help develop algorithms for our wearable sensors and support an ongoing clinical study on alcohol addiction. Programming experience with C/C++, 6.115, etc, would be useful. Student should have experience with data analysis and basic signal processing (filtering, peak detection, etc.) and preferrably experience with statistical analysis as well (standard deviation, calculating ROC curves, etc.). Experience with MATLAB or other analysis software is preferred. No prior biomedical experience is necessary, but we are looking for students who also have a personal interest in this work, and are motivated to build technologies that can help people.  The ideal candidate would have some background in Psychology (Course 9) and also have some clinical experience.

At this time we are interviewing students who are interested in working for the Fall term and open to the possibility of continuing beyond the fall semester. Pay or credit is available, or UAP project consideration.

Relevant URL: http://www.mobiletechnologylab.org

Contact: Richard Fletcher: fletcher@media.mit.edu


9/12/17

Fall

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Electrical Engineering and Computer Science (Course 6)

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Richard Fletcher

Project Title: Mobile Video Game Development for Mental Health Screening

Project Description: Mental health is an important concern which touches most of our lives, yet this aspect of our health is often neglected. While there are many specific mental health disorders, our group has started developing a mobile-phone based video games to help monitor and assess some common aspects of our daily mental health, such as fatigue, working memory, stress level, and impulsivity. Our goal is to create mobile tools that are fun to use and can function as screening tools as well as biofeedback to help increase our self-awareness. Since very few commercially available mental health apps are actually clinically validated, Our research plan includes rigorous clinical testing of the tools we develop. Our lab has a strong connection to the psychology and behavioral medicine community as well as affiliation with UMass Medical School department of Psychiatry.

Prerequisites: We are seeking students with software and mobile programming skills, who may also have an interest in psychology or mental health, and who are motivated to create new ways to revolutionize mental health assessment and treatment. Our initial video game prototypes have been developed using a specific framework called LibGDX (https://libgdx.badlogicgames.com/); however, we are open to using other development tools if the student has strong experience and motivation (we have explored VR and AR games in the past).  Background in mobile app development or video game development experience and graphics is desired.  At this time, we are interviewing students for Fall semester, and ideally looking for someone who would be interested to continue the project beyond that. We seek someone who is self-motivated and able to work independently, and attend weekly group meetings to check on progress. Pay or credit is available or UAP project consideration.

Relevant URL: http://www.mobiletechnologylab.org

Contact: Richard Fletcher: fletcher@media.mit.edu


9/11/17

Fall/IAP

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Electrical Engineering and Computer Science (Course 6)

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Boris Katz

Project Title: Machine Language Acquisition using Vision

Project Description: Are you interested in getting machines to better understand and produce natural language? We are working on a new and exciting approach to modeling language acquisition which connects language to visual perception. This is an interdisciplinary project, encompassing several domains of research including natural language processing and computer vision. We are currently looking for UROPs to join us! UROPs will work on designing scenes to record for the model to process. They will also parse sentences to determine agents and actions in each scene. Accepted candidates can start immediately with the possibility of continuing in the spring and summer. No prior experience is required.

Contact: Candace Ross: ccross@mit.edu


9/11/17

Fall

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Mechanical Engineering (Course 2)

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Henrik Schmidt

Project Title: Human-Robot Interaction Through Speech Recognition

Project Description: We are proposing to have a student work on our human-robot interaction project.  Our project studies human-robot interaction while both the robots and humans cooperatively operate on the water.  The modality of interaction between the humans and robots is speech. Currently, our speech recognition system has degraded performance due to environmental noise such as wind and motor noise from the human operated vessel if going at full speed.  Additionally, we have discovered that female voices produce extremely low accuracy in general.   In this Fall 2017 UROP it is our goal to have a student increase the accuracy of our speech recognition system.  At the student’s discretion, she/he will collect audio recordings of the representative environment noise and phrases used in our human-robot system. These audio recordings will then be modified by speech recognition machine learning algorithms and tested for improvements in accuracy.  The student will be key in data collection and performance analysis.

Relevant URL: http://oceanai.mit.edu/aquaticus

Contact: Misha Novitzky: novitzky@mit.edu


9/11/17

Fall

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Mechanical Engineering (Course 2)

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Henrik Schmidt

Project Title: Electronics Integration

Project Description: Looking for a UROP to help the PAVLAB with electronics work on our marine robots. We have two projects that can use this help right now the Remote Explorer IV (REx) and Aquaticus. REx is deployed from the MIT Sailing Pavilion to Boston Harbor and points beyond to collect ocean science data. For REx, we need help integrating new sensors and equipment (cameras, SONAR, AIS, computing hardware, water sampling) as well as general help maintaining and deploying the vehicle. Aquaticus is developing new techniques for human-robot teaming by deploying robots and human-driven vehicles in the Charles River at the same time to play capture the flag. We have many small projects that could use electronics help for Aquaticus. For the human-driven vehicles, a UROP could help add physiology sensors and interface devices (new visual and audio cues for the human) to the cockpit. On the robots, we need better ways to determine the state of a vehicle (ie is it tagged? Does it have the flag?) from the shore and other points on the water. Previous experience with hardware such as Arduinos and Raspberry Pis is required. Some knowledge of C++ is also required.

Relevant URL: http://oceanai.mit.edu/pavlab

Contact: Paul Robinette: paulrobi@mit.edu


9/11/17

Fall

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Mechanical Engineering (Course 2)

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Henrik Schmidt

Project Title: Perception

Project Description: Looking for a UROP to work with our Remote EXplorer (REX) autonomous surface vehicle.  REX is based on the WAM-V platform and has successfully been used to win the RobotX 2014 competition.  Currently, the REX vehicle is being used for multiple research projects to include environmental monitoring and long-term autonomy development.  In these efforts we hope to find a UROP that can help integrate a Velodyne HDL32 laser range finder and an high definition camera for obstacle avoidance.  Our ideal candidate will have excellent programming skills and perception experience. For an initial task, the candidate will be responsible for interpreting the incoming laser range finder data to determine obstacles and relaying that information to our proven autonomy collision avoidance software. Subsequent tasks will include incorporating vision data from the high definition camera and fuse it with the laser range finder data for improved object detection and collision avoidance.

Relevant URL: http://oceanai.mit.edu/pavlab/pmwiki/pmwiki.php?n=Main.RoboChallenge

Contact: Paul Robinette: paulrobi@mit.edu


9/11/17

Fall

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Edgerton Center

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Kim Vandiver

Project Title: Develop Maker projects for K-12 core academic classes

Project Description: The Edgerton Center has a mission of developing and fostering experiential learning opportunities for K-12 students as well as MIT students.  We recently kicked off the "Learning Supported by Making" project. Our goal to create a methodology allowing K-12 educators to design and implement Maker projects in their core curricula. We define Maker projects as authentic (students have a personal interest in the project), project-based learning activities, that involve community and collaboration, and have a strong component of hands-on technology-based tools (think 3D printer, laser cutter, Arduino microcomputer, electronics, shop tools, sewing machine). We intend our methodology to be used by K-12 educators who seek to integrate STEM and Maker activities in core academic subjects, including Social Studies, English/Language Arts, Math, Science, and World Languages. We are working with a group of K-12 schools to develop this methodology and sample projects.  Our need is for students to create project samples that will inspire the teachers in this group and show the range of opportunities available with the maker technologies.  We anticipate this being very creative and iterative, with students using tools and materials at our shop. They will design and create the kinds of projects they wish they could have done in high school or middle school, informed by the collaborating K-12 teachers.

References: "Learning Supported by Making” project information: http://edgertoncentermakerspace.weebly.com/learning-supported-by-making-project.html

Project samples from other schools: https://docs.google.com/presentationd1Lfgeh0_IaEAVkJTIvehrp2x2rMiHDPpJ4qezTsDTIJ8/edit?usp=sharing

Prerequisites: General familiarity with maker tools and materials. Experience with shop tools, digital fabrication tools, and 2D/3D modeling packages is preferred but not required.

Contact: Diane Brancazio: dianeb@mit.edu


9/11/17

Fall/IAP/Spring

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Media Laboratory

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Edward Boyden

Project Title: Implosion Fabrication

Project Description: In this project we are developing an entirely new method for 3D nano/micro-fabrication that circumvents the need for repetitive patterning and additive/subtractive steps.  Using this process we can pattern everything from metals and semiconductors to proteins, and DNA with 50nm resolution all at once in 3D with no restrictions on geometry or connectedness. As a result the applications are very diverse - ranging from tissue engineering to optics/photonics.

Fun things you will get to use: super-powerful femtosecond lasers, optical and electron microscopes, centrifuges, nanoparticles, quantum dots, centrifuges, DNA, Proteins, lots of dyes (all the pretty colors), and polymers that "implode."

For the coming semester I am looking for UROPs to help with the following:

  1. Developing a chemistry for seeded growth of semiconductors to "3D print" optics, photonics, and electronics.
  2. Automating the chemical processing of samples end-to-end using fluidics.
  3. Constructing a Two-photon microscope/photolithography system.
  4. Exploring new approaches to tissue engineering that can program cell fate in 3D with single cell resolution.

I am looking for a long term UROPs who wish to find a research opportunity that can last for several years. Candidates committed to learning about nanotechnology and tissue engineering are preferred.

Prerequisites: No specific prerequisites are required but the following experience will be immediately applicable: Chemistry, Electronics, Optics/Photonics, Materials Science, Microscopy, Nanotechnology, Wetlab work, Robotics/automation, and Molecular Biology.

Contact: Daniel Oranl: danoran@mit.edu


9/11/17

Fall

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Sloan School of Management (Course 15)

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Rahul Mazumder

Project Title: Fast Sparse Regression and Classification

Project Description: Feature selection is one of the core techniques in statistics and machine learning widely used in practice (e.g., genomics, text categorization,...). This aids in dimensionality reduction and enhanced interpretation. L0 regularization is a feature selection method that enjoys excellent  statistical properties, especially when dealing with high-dimensional data. Our group has been developing new algorithms for this problem (including low-level C++ implementations). We are seeking students interested in (a) building R/Python/Matlab/Julia bindings (wrappers) for our current C++ implementation and potentially implementing new algorithms; and (b) testing, applying this framework for large scale datasets keeping in mind applications relevant in practice. This will be a paid UROP research position.

What you will get out of the UROP experience:

  • Hands-on experience with implementing optimization algorithms
  • Experience with efficiently managing big data in memory
  • Exposure to computational aspects of high-dimensional learning and optimization
  • Potentially a research publication

Prerequisites:

  • Good knowledge of C++ (you should be comfortable with memory management and classes)
  • Knowledge of R or Python
  • Previous experience with creating bindings between different languages is a plus.
  • Previous exposure to machine learning or optimization can be helpful but is not required

Contact: Hussein Hazimeh: hazimeh@mit.edu


9/11/17

Fall/IAP/Spring

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Sloan School of Management (Course 15)

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Donald Sull

Project Title: Estimating the impact of corporate culture on firm performance

Project Description: EHave data from over 4 million GlassDoor employee reviews. My team has built a set of machine learning algorithms that analyze the text of these reviews and classify incidence and sentiment of each review across 30 variables (e.g., product innovation, technical innovation, operational excellence, etc).

The student would work closely with faculty supervisor and our team of doctoral students and data scientists to estimate how well these cultural variables predict a variety of firm-level performance measures including both financial and non-financial (e.g., patents, customer satisfaction) outcomes. Student would have an opportunity to be a co-author on paper coming out of this research.

Prerequisites: Must be proficient in R (preferable) or python, basic statistical analysis (OLS regressions), and basic data visualizations (e.g., correlation table heat maps). Helpful to have some experience with financial data and machine learning algorithms.

Contact: Donald Sull: dsull@mit.edu


9/11/17

Fall

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Mechanical Engineering (Course 2)

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Irmgard Bischofberger

Project Title: Fingers and Fractures in Cornstarch-Water Mixtures

Project Description: If you squeeze a layer of paint between two flat plates, and then lift the two plates apart, you will notice the formation of a beautiful, complex pattern in the paint as air rushes in during the lifting. These patterns result from a fluid instability. But what would happen if instead of a simple fluid such as paint, we would do the experiment with a material that can behave both as a liquid or as a solid depending on how fast it moves? An example of such a material is a mixture of cornstarch and water. In such a system, we expect not only smooth patterns but also the formation of cracks and fractures. In this project, you will design and build a setup that will allow you to investigate the novel patterns that form in these materials.

Prerequisites): min. 10h/week

Relevant URLs: https://www.mitfluidslab.com/

Contact: Irmgard Bischofberger: irmgard@mit.edu


9/11/17

Fall

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Plasma Science and Fusion Center (PSFC)

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Richard Petrasso

Project Title: Inertial Confinement Fusion neutron spectrometer response function simulations with Geant4/C++

Project Description: The High-Energy-Density Physics (HEDP) Division http://www-internal.psfc.mit.edu/research/hedp/ of the PSFC designs and implements experiments, and performs theoretical calculations, to study and explore the non-linear dynamics and properties of plasmas under extreme conditions of density (~1000 g/cc), pressure (~ 1000 gigabar), and field strength (~megagauss).  As part of this effort, the group has installed the MRS neutron spectrometer to measure the yield, ion temperature and confinement properties of Inertial Confinement Fusion (ICF) ignition experiments on the National Ignition Facility (NIF). 



MRS measurements from the NIF are interpreted using a detailed instrument response function simulated using the Geant4 toolkit (geant4.cern.ch). We are currently looking for a student to: 

  1. adapt the existing response function simulation code to the newest version of Geant4;
  2. move the code from a Windows to a Linux computing environment;
  3. add more physics capability to the code to further improve our understanding of MRS response.   

Prerequisites: The right candidate for this project is a self-motivated student with prior experience in C++ and Linux. Geant4 experience would be an advantage. Hours for this project will be negotiable, during Fall 2017. 

Contact: For questions and to apply, please email Maria Gatu Johnson, gatu@psfc.mit.edu


9/11/17

Fall

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Biology (Course 7)

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: J. Troy Littleton

Project Title: Regulation of Glial-Neuronal Signaling

Project Description: Glial cells comprise 85% of human brain cells and regulate multiple aspects of neuronal development and function. Although several functions of glia have been identified, there is limited data on pathways by which glia can directly regulate neural activity. Recent data suggest that glial cells play important or even causative roles in several neurological disorders (epilepsy), neuro-developmental disorders (Fragile X syndrome) and neurodegenerative diseases (SMA). Therefore it is essential to define how glia and neurons actively communicate in the nervous system. We are using Drosophila as a model system to dissect how glia can acutely activate and inhibit neuronal activity. We have recently found that Drosophila cortex glia, which share many similarities with human astrocytes, can trigger neuronal seizures following an acute change in calcium entry into these cells. This study aims to dissect the mechanisms by which glial communicate with neurons to regulate their firing properties. Using a combination of techniques, including genetics, molecular biology, electrophysiology and imaging, we are searching for key players mediating glial-neuronal communication. By genetically defining the molecular machinery for glial-neuronal signaling, we will gain new insights into the role of glia in regulating neuronal activity in both native and disease states.

Relevant URL: http://littletonlab.mit.edu/home

Contact: Troy Littleton: troy@mit.edu


9/11/17

Fall

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Media Laboratory

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Joi Ito

Project Title: Open Agriculture Initiative | Improving Accessibility of Food Computing

Project Description: OpenAg is developing Food Computers  - robotic adaptive environments for agriculture that monitor and control plant growth. Advances in open hardware and software have recently made it possible to develop open source food production and agriculture tools that anyone can build, hack and improve upon.

A new challenge that OpenAg has discovered is making complex information accessible, easy to understand, and engaging. The purpose of this project is to audit and assess OpenAg’s content, information architecture, and user experience and build digital resources that are useful, engaging, interactive, and user-centric. We’re especially interested in visualizing highly-technical documentation those with varying degrees of technology literacy skills.

Work will include:

  • Web page design
  • Organizing community-generated content
  • Creating UX/UI and other digital engagement tools
  • Conducting data analysis and visualizing current research with a focus on social impact and education implications
  • Market research of the digital farming and controlled environment agriculture landscape

Prerequisites: The UROP should display a willingness to learn about OpenAg technology. Previous experience with Discourse, Adobe Illustrator, web design and content organization highly preferred. Excellent verbal and written communication skills are necessary. Applicants should have an interest in design and be excited to learn.

Relevant URL: openag.mit.edu

Contact: Paula Cerqueira: pcerqu@media.mit.edu


9/11/17

Fall

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Mechanical Engineering (Course 2)

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Professor Harry Asada

Project Title: Big Data Control of Autonomous Excavation Robot

Project Description: The operation of mining excavators is a demanding and often undesirable job that requires operators with a high skill level. Obtaining this level of skill entails years of training, and practice on lower capacity equipment. This has led to a situation where supply of skilled operators cannot match market demand. The overarching objective of this project is to develop the control methods required to automate excavation.

There are several student positions which are available related to this project:

Position #1: One aspect of the project is concerned with using computer vision techniques to inform control decisions for the excavator. A student would work on using videos as well as joint and force data from both a real full-size excavator and a laboratory scaled rig to develop calibrated estimates of bucket filling.

Skills which will be developed include: Computer vision and image processing, essential robotics techniques, parameter estimation.

Desired skills or experience in: 

  • Python or C++ (experience with ROS and/or
  • OpenCV is a plus), basic knowledge of principles in robotics.

___________

Position #2: The second position will be in helping develop and improving the control for the laboratory experiment rig. An important aspect for developing control of excavators is taking into consideration the nonlinearities and power limitations of hydraulics. A student will assist in developing a control system for the electric experimental rig which emulates a hydraulic system. This will then be used to test control algorithms.

Skills which will be developed: Hands on experience in control system design and implementation.

Desired skills or experience in:

  • Some knowledge in robotics and controls,
  • Basic programming in Python/C++.

Students will have the opportunity to follow their own initiatives for both projects!

Contact: Filippos Sotiropoulos: fes@mit.edu


9/11/17

Fall

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Urban Studies and Planning (Course 11)

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Siqi Zheng

Project #1: The Social Costs of Air Pollution in China

Project Description: China has experienced rapid economic growth in the last three decades, accompanied by significant local environmental degradation such as escalating air pollution. In contrast to previous studies on the direct health, cognition, and productivity effects, this project draws attention to the broader social costs of air pollution in Chinese cities by examining the effects of air pollution on social activities, the social interactions embodied in such activities, and urbanites’ subjective well-being. China’s serious air pollution, growing urban population, and changing socio-economic and spatial structure provide a unique “lab” to study these topics. This project will take advantage of emerging location-based big data in China to empirically estimate the causal effects of air pollution and its associated social costs, and discuss implications for socially responsible policies aimed at mitigating air pollution and promoting social activities and interactions in cities.

Prerequisites/Requirements

  • 1-2 undergrads in a related quantitative discipline who are interested in interdisciplinary research on urban economics, behavior sciences, and environmental studies
  • Proven ability of quantitative modeling, causal inference, and large-scale data analysis
  • Strong programming skills in Stata, R, Python, and/or SAS
  • Strong interest in the historical/institutional economic development of China
  • Excellent presentation, communication, and interpersonal skills
  • Demonstrated project management, problem-solving, and organizational skills
  • Comfortable in working individually or in a dynamic, multi-disciplinary research team

Project #2: The Economic Geography of Entrepreneurship in China

Project Description: Over the last 30 years, China has experienced sharp economic growth and the emergence of a vast number of entrepreneurial firms. This project will examine China’s regional variations in entrepreneurship and will take advantage of emerging location-based big data to explore the determinants of their economic geography. Our research will combine urban economics, spatial analysis, and data science approaches to study how evolution of entrepreneurship interacts with public policy across spaces and to estimate the causal entrepreneurial effect of policy shocks. The research outcomes will provide insights for better understanding of the economic reform, relationship between entrepreneurial firms and government, and challenges faced by the Chinese economy, and will suggest policies that promote the local entrepreneurial behaviors and activities. 

Prerequisites/Requirements

  • 1-2 undergrads in a related quantitative discipline who are interested in interdisciplinary research on urban economics, spatial/GIS analysis, entrepreneurship, and innovation
  • Proven ability of quantitative modeling, causal inference, and large-scale data analysis
  • Strong programming skills in Stata, R, Python, and/or SAS
  • Strong interest in the historical/institutional economic development of China
  • Excellent presentation, communication, and interpersonal skills
  • Demonstrated project management, problem-solving, and organizational skills
  • Comfortable in working individually or in a dynamic, multi-disciplinary research team

Contact: Siqi Zheng: sqzheng@mit.edu


9/11/17

Fall 2017, Spring 2018

Department/Lab/Center: Sloan School of Management (Course 15)

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: John Hauser

Project Title:  Deep Learning for Large-Scale Design and Marketing Data

Project Description: Interested in working at the intersection of data science, marketing, and product design; or getting to learn and use recent state-of-the-art deep learning models on interesting big data?

We are hiring a UROP student(s) to help with developing and tuning deep learning models.  Particular classes of models may include variational autoencoders and generative adversarial networks, segmentation and attention models, recurrent neural networks and other time-series models, and more exotic deep learning architectures depending on the data.

You will be writing code alongside experienced researchers in machine learning and deep learning, and will get the opportunity to not just implement but understand how these models (and machine learning in general) work at a more intuitive level.  You will have access to large-scale data and GPU computing.

Required Skills: Strong programming skills in Python.  Basic understanding of machine learning and deep learning.  Experience with web application development (e.g., Django/Flask) is useful but not required. Previous research experience not required.

Contact: Alex Burnap: aburnap@mit.edu


9/8/17

Fall/IAP

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Media Laboratory

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Joseph A. Paradiso

Project Title: Modeling of Membrane in Microgravity

Project Description: The project concept is to use a membrane, net, or tether as a mechanism to land a suite of roving sensors on a low-gravity body such as an asteroid or comet. The net is used to grapple onto the body, and doubles as infrastructure for the roving sensors to move about the body. This is unlikely to be a mission that is actually carried out any time remotely soon, but we would like to develop some technology in support of the concept. Please read my mission concept paper for some additional context.

I am doing some testing of low gravity net dynamics on a microgravity flight in November. I anticipate working predominantly on hardware over the next few months in preparation for the flight.  I am looking for a UROP to take the lead on software as well as a UROP to help me with mechanical hardware preparation, design fine tuning, and assembly for a 0G flight I will be participating in in November. The flight experiment involves launching rope segments at a target object. 

One potential project for a UROP is to develop a finite element analysis model of a net subject to impact from an asteroid. If you are interested in contributing to other aspects of the project including hardware, please also reach out.

Prerequisites:

  • Numerical modeling/finite element analysis
  • Other (if you are broadly interested in the project and have skills that could be useful, let me know).

Relevant URL: http://digitalcommons.usu.edu/smallsat/2017/all2017/207/

Contact: Juliana Cherston: cherston@mit.edu


9/8/17

Fall/IAP

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Materials Science and Engineering (Course 3)

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Cem Tasan

Project Title: Quasi in-situ observation of subsurface microstructural evolution in the wear process

Project Description: Surface deformation is one of the predominant damage mechanism encountered in steel components under rolling, sliding or rotating contact conditions at different length scales. The current characterization tools do not allow observation of the evolution of local microstructures and damage mechanism in subsurface layers to establish the microstructure-property relationship. We designed a new test configuration that enables quasi in-situ observation of microstructural evolution below the deformed surface. We are seeking an undergraduate researcher to perform in situ wear tests with the designed set-up on different metallic materials. Gray cast iron with graphite flakes in its microstructure as well as dual phase steel are the metals to be investigated. Wear tests are run after grinding and polishing the materials to see how the microstructure evolves under unidirectional cyclic load. Their surfaces and cross sections are examined with an optical microscope (OM) and scanning electron microscope (SEM) to unravel the key micromechanism for wear damage.

Prerequisites: Prior experience using scanning electron microscope is a plus but not required. We have students from different departments and backgrounds and if you are interested in the topic, you are welcome to apply.

Contact: Cem Tasan: tasan@mit.edu


9/8/17

Fall

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Architecture (Course 4)

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Les Norford

Project Title: Development of enhanced user interface for building architectural simulation/design tool

Project Description: CoolVent is an architectural simulation and design tool developed at MIT that incorporates energy and airflow calculations to simulate of natural ventilation behavior in buildings. Users supply inputs to the program through a user-friendly interface whose source code is based in C#. The program’s functionality was recently expanded to include pollutant transport modeling and more robust simulation of wind pressure phenomena. However, these additions were inputted directly to the Java-based source code; the user-interface has not yet been expanded to include inputs of the associated parameters. This UROP seeks a student with experience in Java and C# programming to enhance the user-interface to include these functions. The research team is receptive to converting the UI source code to an alternative language if the UROP student provides justification for doing so. There is potential for additional expansion of the UI to include greater flexibility in building geometry inputs, interior environmental conditions, etc.

The following links demonstrate the existing CoolVent interface and source code:

Prerequisites:  Interest in developing elegant, user-friendly interfaces. Experience in C# and Java programming and knowledge of computation of linear algebra systems and matrix manipulation. It is not necessary to have prior knowledge in building architectural design or fluid mechanics.

Contact: Justin Lueker: jlueker@mit.edu


9/8/17

IAP/Spring

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Lincoln Laboratory (LL)

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Sumanth Kaushik

Project Title: Optical Long-Baseline Interferometer

Project Description: Help us build a laboratory-scale optical long-baseline interferometer.  This instrument will test, in a controlled laboratory setting, the effects of a turbulent atmosphere on the quality of image formation, and allow us to iterate on the adaptive optics methods and algorithms to compensate for this turbulence.

By the end of this project, you will have designed and built an optics test bench for coherent measurements, be well versed in the operation of an interferometer, and you will have begun to explore the challenges and opportunities surrounding the use of adaptive optics in ground-based astronomy and remote sensing.

Prerequisites: Some physics laboratory experience, particular in optics, is preferred as this will be a fast-paced design and build project.

Relevant URL: https://www.dropbox.com/s/j29wwpi6pjisrwe/Interferometry.pdf?dl=0

Contact: Lulu Liu: lulu.liu@ll.mit.edu


9/8/17

Fall

Department/Lab/Center: Media Lab

Faculty Supervisor: Prof. Pattie Maes

Project Description: Guitar Machine explores robotic mechanisms for novel ways to generate sound on a guitar. Current prototypes includes robotic fingers that play together with a user to help learner to acquire a level of fluency, and an advanced player to explore new chords and so on. We are currently planning to extend the system to use novel actuators to novel (or weird music). We are looking for students familiar with electronics and mechanical design.

Student research role: prototyping actuator systems for sound making (includes mechanical design, 3D modeling, and simple electronics design).

Prerequisites: Basic understanding of electronics and mechanical design (Solidworks experience is highly appreciated).

Contact:  For more information on our project, please feel free contact me (sangwon@mit.edu).


9/8/17

Fall

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Mechanical Engineering (Course 2)

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Prof. John Hart

Project Title: Precision Machine Control for 3D printing of nanomaterial composites

Project Description: The objective of this project is to help to build and test a three-axis-motion 3D printing machine with temperature and humidity controls. The UROP will be involved with testing machine motion, testing or developing software to control the machine (Labview or Python), and fabricating additional hardware. This would be good experience for students interested in machine design, controls, nanomaterials, or solid mechanics.

Prerequisites: Experience, classwork, or aptitude with electro-mechanical systems/machine design, or alternatively with control systems (especially using Labview or Python) to run mechanical systems.

Contact: Please send a resume and a brief statement of interest to Crystal Owens (crystalo@mit.edu) and Prof. John Hart (ajhart@mit.edu).


9/8/17

Fall

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Mechanical Engineering (Course 2)

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Prof. John Hart

Project Title: Four-Dimensional Patterning

Project Description: The objective of this project is to test the ability to use sound waves to pattern nanomaterials to create structures that can be reformed over time (similar to acoustic levitation). The UROP would be involved in modifying an experimental setup and running hands-on experiments to characterize and quantify the kinds of structures that can be formed using optical imaging, image processing, and microscopy.

Prerequisites: It is desirable but not required to have experience with hands-on laboratory research, fluid mechanics, wave propagation, fundamentals of manufacturing, and/or electrical circuits.

Contact: Please send a resume and a brief statement of interest to Crystal Owens (crystalo@mit.edu) and Prof. John Hart (ajhart@mit.edu).


9/8/17

Fall

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Media Laboratory

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Joi Ito

Project Title: Open Agriculture Initiative | Whole Plant Microbiome in Food Computers

Project Description: Open Agriculture Initiative is developing smart controlled environments to control, measure and manipulate chemical and environmental conditions that can influence crops/plant development and growth. The purpose of this project is to map an entire plant microbiome within these controlled environments under different environmental/chemical stimuli.

Prerequisites: We are looking for a student with an interest in plant science and metagenomics with experience in microbiology, microbial ecology and bioinformatics. Strong analytical and organisational skills.

Relevant URL: openag.mit.edu

Contact: Babak Babakinejad: Babaki@mit.edu


9/8/17

Fall/IAP

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Media Laboratory

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Mitchel Resnick

Project Title: ScratchJr Video Recording

Project Description: Children are very excited to share their ScratchJr creations, and with an adult’s help they can share them by email, but unfortunately the recipient needs to have a device that can run ScratchJr. You would be implementing a feature to make a video recording of a project running in ScratchJr that can then be shared with other people regardless of their platform. This work would include developing the video recording feature for both the iOS and Android versions of the application. Interested students would ideally have experience developing apps for both iOS and Android, but experience with one and a desire to learn the other would be considered. Fluency in Javascript, Java and Objective-C would be a plus. 

Relevant URL: https://www.scratchjr.org/

Contact: To apply, please contact Chris Garrity (chrisg@media.mit.edu) with a paragraph describing your interest and relevant experience, a copy of your resume, and include links to any previous projects or apps you created.


9/8/17

Fall

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Mechanical Engineering (Course 2)

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Sanjay Sarma

Project Title: Scientometrics: Merging Education and Brain Science

Project Description: In 2016 MIT established the MIT Integrated Learning Initiative (MITili), the mission of which is to study learning through rigorous, interdisciplinary research on the fundamental mechanisms of learning The Learning x Scales (LxS) project has been developed under the umbrella of MIT Open Learning to support the MIT Integrated Learning Initiative. The goal of the LxS project is to support MITili’s mission by finding and bridging the gaps between the many disciplines related to learning including education science, cognitive science, and discipline-based education. We seek an expert in Python with experience in data analysis. The UROP position will focus on parsing data from academic publications from fields in cluding education, cognitive Science, cognitive psychology and digital , and analyzing the data to identify cross-disciplinary collaboration patterns amongst the authors. The goal is to generate rich visualizations of the results. The student will work on enhancing and existing already existing Python code, as well as on developing a dynamic web-based visualization to present the results. The position may to extend into the spring semester.

Prerequisites: Must be a good python programmer. Knowledge of visualization and web development preferred.

Contact:  Sanjay Sarma: abagiati@mit.edu


9/8/17

Fall

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Mechanical Engineering (Course 2)

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Kamal Youcef-Toumi

Project Title: Computer Vision in High Speed Robotic Manipulation

Project Description: We are building a robotic system for manipulating tiny objects in a clustered environment, and the machine learning process that enables robots to learn such manipulation skills from human. We are looking for UROPs to work side by side with post-doc and graduate researchers to develop the vision system and machine learning algorithms. The student will get practical experience in all aspects of the machine learning. The UROP is expected to commit 8-10 hours a week to the project.

Prerequisites:

  • The student should at least be comfortable programming in python.
  • Prior experience with machine learning or computer vision will be a plus.

Contact Name: You Wu: youwu@mit.edu


9/8/17

Fall/Spring

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Brain and Cognitive Sciences (Course 9)

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Earl K Miller

Project Title: Analog Circuit Design for Controlling Brain Rhythms

Project Description: Every mammalian brain generates rhythms -- slow fluctuations of its electrical field that organize neurons (brain cells) into functional groups that then perform critical computations. We are designing systems to modify those rhythms, either amplifying or disrupting them. Your role will be to work with our senior engineers and designers to develop the next generation of our prototype feedback circuits. You will design (with close supervision), fabricate, and help us test analog amplification, filtering, and feedback systems that alter brain rhythms. In doing so, you will gain familiarity with brain engineering and with practical electronics skills that are readily transferable to industry.

This project does require off-campus time; substantial portions of early fabrication and testing will take place in a collaborating lab at the Charlestown Navy Yard. If this becomes extensive, we will cover the costs.

Prerequisites: The requirement is familiarity with basic analog circuit design, particularly amplification and filtering; you should have taken 6.002 and done well on relevant assignments. Other helpful prior coursework would include 6.058, 6.003, 6.101, 6.117 (or equivalent personal experience). If you have prior experience designing and fabricating real-world projects (including part selection, PCB layout, and board reflowing), that will also help. You do not need to be familiar with neurobiology or animal research, although it will move you to the top of the list. The same is true for understanding of optics.

Contact: Alik Widge: awidge@mit.edu


9/8/17

Fall

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Sloan School of Management (Course 15)

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Wanda Orlikowski

Project Title: Big Data Research on 9-1-1 Emergency Coordination

Project Description: Emergency management organizations play an important role in the functioning of a city. Specifically, these centers manage the coordinated dispatch of police, fire, and emergency medical services, among others. The emergency communication call-takers and dispatchers act as the “first” first responders to emergencies of various kinds. They do this through answering 9-1-1 calls and other requests for help, quickly gathering the required data from callers and other real-time information technologies, synthesizing the data to make sense of what is going on, categorizing the incidents and entering information into the Computer Aided Dispatch (CAD) system, and coordinating various activities during emergency response.

Despite the importance of dispatch and emergency communications centers, very few research studies have examined the coordination and decision-making challenges and complexities involved in this work. Moreover, the 9-1-1 emergency field is undergoing several changes due to shifts in the technological and institutional regime. With the profusion of mobile phones in the United States, the volume, type, and pattern of 9-1-1 calls have significantly increased (including a significant increase in the % of redundant calls, prank calls, missed dials, and non-emergency requests) which is impacting both the staffing and management of these emergency centers as well as increasing the percentage of time that police officers and EMTs spend in responding to 9-1-1 calls for service.

Therefore, the motivating question for this research is to understand how does one organize a 24x7 emergency center in the digital age, where the constant connectivity of mobile devices and social media are changing public expectations regarding response times and service levels? As a part of this research, we will be analyzing “big data” related to 9-1-1 call logs and Utilization data to understand the volume, type, and the flow of calls across multiple cities and years. We will also be building models to predict call-volume and call-patterns, which could in turn help the centers to organize accordingly and plan their staffing & patrol deployment.

If you are interested in (a) getting hands-on experience in collecting and analyzing high-volume data (e.g., city-level 9-1-1 calls, crime reports) (b) convert unstructured data into structured data and do analysis, (c) participate in interesting and relevant social science research, this would be a great learning opportunity. UROP will closely participate in research related to a number of questions related to the application of big data/analytics to the field of emergency response. Specifically, we have three types of UROP positions:

Position #1: Candidates with knowledge of intermediate statistics (e.g., regression analysis), and experience with statistical tools (such as STATA or R). Responsibility for this position include managing and analyzing data using statistical software. The ideal candidate is a highly motivated student with strong background in statistics/econometrics and with good data analysis skills.

Prerequisites:

  • Intermediate Statistics (including STATA or R)
  • Experience with Microsoft Excel (Macros, VBA)
  • Good data analysis skills

Position #2: Candidates with strong programming skills in scripting languages (such as Python),  Responsibility for this position include writing code to collect data from a variety of sources, converting unstructured data to structured data,  data management, and a sincere interest in the phenomena of big data and analytics.

Prerequisites:

  • Programming skills with scripting languages (Python or Ruby or Perl)
  • Experience with Microsoft Excel

Position #3: Candidates with good data management skills – someone who can cleanse and improve the quality of both quantitative and qualitative data. UROP type: Paid, For Credits, as well as Volunteer.

Contact: Please email arvindk@mit.edu with a brief intro (or with a resume/CV). Also, please include which UROP position you are most interested in, your availability to meet and number of hours per week to work.


9/8/17

Fall

UROP Department, Lab or Center: HST

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Chi-Sang Poon

Project Title: MATLAB analysis of clinical data 

Project Description: Excellent opportunities for two talented/motivated UROP students to participate in ongoing clinical trials in Boston area hospitals on the therapeutic treatment of patients with respiratory dysfunction. Premed/bio students are welcome to apply. 

Requirements:  Familiarity with Matlab programming is essential. Background or interest in signal processing and physiology is helpful. We are dealing with real patients who are under medical care – strong student commitment is a must!

Responsibilities: Develop Matlab programs for analyzing clinical time series data from patients or from computer simulations. Adapt and refine an existing computer program written in Labview (a Matlab-based software package) for real-time data acquisition and control of a therapeutic device in the ICU. Interact with research scientists and clinicians and provide technical support to facilitate those clinical studies. 

Contact:  Dr. Chi-Sang Poon at Institute for Medical Engineering & Science, E25-250, cpoon@mit.edu.


9/7/17

Fall

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Mechanical Engineering (Course 2)

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Prof. John Hart

Project Title: Spinning Powerful Fibers

Project Description: The objective of this project is to learn how to control a fiber spinning process, similar to how spiders spin webs, within a microfluidic device to create threads out of exotic materials. The UROP would be involved in fabricating devices (including molding and micromilling) and running hands-on experiments to observe and characterize mechanical, electrical, thermal, and optical properties of the fibers we can produce. This would be useful for someone interested in microfluidics, fluid mechanics, or nanomaterials (most likely Course 2, Course 3, or Course 10).

Contact: Please send a resume and a couple sentences explaining your interest to Crystal Owens (crystalo@mit.edu) and Prof. John Hart (ajhart@mit.edu).


9/7/17 

Fall 2017 

UROP Department/Lab/Center: Mechanical Engineering (Course 2)

Faculty Supervisor: Prof. Evelyn Wang 

Project Title: Development of a High-Efficiency Solar Thermophotovoltaic Converter 

Project Description: Solar Thermophotovoltaics (STPVs) are capable of converting terrestrial sunlight to electricity at conversion efficiencies surpassing that of conventional photovoltaics (PVs). The efficiency enhancement is due to an absorption / re-emission process of incident sunlight which allows one to tune the spectral properties which interact with the underlying PV. Typical absorber-emitters with planar architectures have significant drops in efficiency through re-emission losses from the hot absorber surface. By incorporating a cavity in place of the planar absorber-emitter, we take advantage of both increased absorption across the full solar spectrum and drastically reduced absorber re-emission. 

The proposed UROP project consists of two parts: 

  • Responsibility for developing an MATLAB UI capable of automating system-level experiments including computer control over a high powered laser heater and data collection from several thermocouples. This would be the UROPs primary project. MATLAB skills are required. 
  • Aiding the mechanical design and manufacture of a STPV device including optical concentrators, cooling systems, and positioning hardware. CAD and machining skills are highly preferred. Interest/working knowledge of heat transfer topics would be useful but not immediately required. 

UROP Compensation: This opportunity is offered for pay or credit in the fall term. This project will continue indefinitely, so interested students may continue into the spring term (preferable). Note that the UROP direct funding deadline for the fall term is Thursday, September 21, 2017. 

Hours: 10-20 hours per week, flexible scheduling. 

Prerequisites: 8.02 preferred but not required. 

Contact: Please send a resume and brief statement of interest to Colin Kelsall (ckelsall@mit.edu; web: http://drl.mit.edu/), along with your availability to meet and discuss this UROP opportunity.


9/7/17

Fall

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Biological Engineering (Course 20)

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Ernest Fraenkel

Project Title: Improving software for systems biology

Project Description: Experienced programmer sought to help update software for interpreting biological data.  We recently published a network optimization algorithm that identifies disease-causing pathways by analyzing high-throughput datasets.  The network is built from publicly available databases containing the interactions among proteins and metabolites.  This project involves writing reusable, well-commented code for rebuilding tables in our SQL database from updated releases of the databases.  In particular, we seek a UROP who can write a script that can parse a large XML file and populate SQL tables.  This position is for credit or pay.

Prerequisites: Experience with mySQL, Linux command line, and python programming.  The project does *not* require any prior experience with biological data or research.

Contact: Natasha Patel-Murray: nlpm@mit.edu


 

9/7/17

Fall

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Architecture (Course 4)

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Miho Mazereeuw

Project Title: RealTime Crowdsourced Disaster Reporting Platform

Project Description: Riskmap.in is an open source initiative being developed by MIT Urban Risk Lab to map and crowdsource the reporting of urban flooding in Indian cities. This platform will provide real-time actionable information to the emergency responders as well as citizens to tackle the events of urban flooding. Riskmap.In harnesses the power of social media to gather, sort, and display information about the flooding in real time. This platform will provide real-time actionable information to emergency responders, disaster managers to send out targeted alerts and coordinate the relief activities and citizens to tackle the monsoon and cyclone-related flooding events. You will be working with an interdisciplinary team of architects, urban planners, geographers, and computer scientists to develop tools to make cities safer. Currently, This platform is being deployed in Indonesia, and India with new capabilities under development for Southern Florida.

Prerequisites: Experience with coding in Javascript and related technologies such as NodeJS, and front end frameworks like Angular or Aurelia. Understanding of software engineering (preferably you have taken 6.005 or 6.170)

Relevant URL: urbanrisklab.mit.edu

Contact: Miho Mazereeuw: mmaz@mit.edu


9/7/17

Fall

Department/Lab/Centre: Department of Chemical Engineering (Course 10)

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Professor Allan Myerson

Project title: Impact of surfaces on the crystallization of pharmaceutical ingredients. 

Project Description: The presence of surfaces is ubiquitous in any crystallization process due to the crystallizer wall, the impeller or dust. Although surfaces have been shown to impact the kinetics of crystallization by reducing the nucleation energy barrier, a detailed understanding of surface effects is still lacking. The overall aim for this project is to gain fundamental knowledge on the heterogeneous nucleation of active pharmaceutical ingredients (API). To do so, crystallization is performed in the presence of nanoparticles, which offer a very large surface area. 

Role:  This position involves performing crystallization experiments in a 100 mL vessel equipped with a focused beam reflectance (FBRM) probe to monitor the kinetics of crystal formation and growth. Various surface functionalities of the nanoparticles will be investigated and compared to the results obtained in the absence of nanoparticles. Besides FBRM, several techniques will be used to characterize the nanoparticles and the crystals including optical microscopy, dynamic light scattering, Fourrier transform infrared spectroscopy and X-ray diffraction. 

Prerequisites: Chemical engineering background. A knowledge of crystallization processes and previous experience of working in a laboratory environment are desired but not essential

Contact: Lucrece Nicoud, lnicoud@mit.edu


9/6/17

Fall/IAP

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Brain and Cognitive Sciences (Course 9)

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Mark Bear

Project Title: Effects of behavioral state on sensory integration in the visual cortex of mouse models of human disease.

Project Description: Sensory stimuli from the environment are integrated in the sensory cortices, but the neuronal responses to sensory stimuli are known to be affected by the behavioral state of the cortex. For example, when animals are running as opposed to sitting still, responses to sensory stimuli are generally reported to be enhanced. In our lab, we study the visual system and have primarily studied the integration of sensory stimuli in awake, but resting animals. To study how arousal and/or locomotion affects both neuronal and behavioral responses to sensory stimuli, we will build a custom treadmill that will allow the animal to move at will and will automatically track the animal’s movement before and during the presentation of visual stimuli. We will use this treadmill to study basic sensory responses, experience-dependent plasticity, and sensory responses in mouse models of autism.

Prerequisites:

  • Experience with coding in Matlab and/or Labview is required.
  • Knowledge of signal acquisition and processing is not required but would be helpful.
  • Experience with handling of behaving mice is a plus.

Contact: Ingrid van Welie: ivwelie@mit.edu


9/6/17

Fall/IAP

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Chemical Engineering (Course 10)

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Michael S. Strano

Project Title: Engineering Nanomaterials for the Control of Enzyme Function

Project Description: Enzymes are biological machines that control chemical reactions, those often crucial to cellular health and metabolism. Both the increase and decrease in function of these proteins are main causes of many known disease processes such as pancreatitis, glycogen storage disease and tumor metastasis. While current treatments often involve extensive screening for small molecule drugs targeting specific proteins, we propose a system for the rational design of functional protein modulators based on single-walled carbon nanotubes (SWCNTs).

One area of Prof. Strano’s laboratory focuses on the engineering SWCNTs as specific biosensors for reactive species, small molecules and proteins. We have discovered a system coined corona phase molecular recognition (CoPhMoRe) where analytes can be specifically identified using its interactions with the external surface of a nano material. This work will extend the technology of CoPhMoRe toward the targeted functional control of biological activity.

As a student on this project, you will be exposed to a very diverse and interdisciplinary research project and lab. You will have the opportunity to learn many different areas of research ranging from synthesis and characterization of our bionanosensors, study of enzyme activity and structure, testing of sensitivity and specificity of the SWCNTs, and potential work with cell culture.  Students will also have the opportunity to learn characterization techniques such as fluorescence spectroscopy, absorption spectroscopy, Raman spectroscopy, circular dichroism and isothermal calorimetry.

Prerequisites: Students with plan for year-long or longer research commitment with interest in biology, chemistry, bioengineering, or nanomaterials. Applications will be considered until 9/15/17.

Relevant URL: srg.mit.edu

Contact: Xun Gong, MD, PhD: xungong@mit.edu


9/6/17

Fall

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Chemical Engineering (Course 10)

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: T. Alan Hatton

Project Title: Microfluidic-based spherical crystallization

Project Description: Crystallization is a crucial step in pharmaceutical manufacturing. In particular, spherical crystals of uniform size and shape are desired by industry due to their great flowability, compactability, and eventually processability. In collaboration with the National University of Singapore, we are working on novel microfluidic-based evaporative and anti-solvent spherical crystallization methods to achieve this objective. Participating students will gain skills and knowledge in both crystallization and droplet-based microfluidics, which are highly valuable to both academic or industrial careers. Credits are available to students who commit to work for 15-20  hours/week. Students may apply for MIT direct funding for pay by 9/21.

Prerequisites: Previous research experience on chemistry or chemical engineering related topics.

Contact: Tonghan Gu: tgu@mit.edu


9/6/17

Fall

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Mathematics (Course 18)

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Fabrizio Zanello

Project Title: Combinatorial Algebra and Pure O-Sequences.

Project Description: Combinatorics is the art of counting, hence the goal of combinatorial algebra is to count algebraic objects, or sometimes, to use algebraic methods to count combinatorial objects.

One of my recent interests in this area is called "pure O-sequences," a topic that finds (often surprising) applications to a number of different mathematical disciplines. Pure O-sequences can simply be defined as the integer vectors of the form h = (1, h_1, ..., h_N = T), where h_d counts the (monic) monomials of degree d dividing (any one of) T given monomials of degree N. There are several interesting open problems that can also be approached at the undergraduate level, and a good research project on this topic will likely be publishable in a fine international journal.

A couple of useful reference are this AMS memoir I cowrote in 2012: https://arxiv.org/abs/1003.3825 , and this survey article: https://arxiv.org/abs/1204.5247 .

This is just one of a number of possible topics. Often, a pure math research project naturally arises from one-to-one discussions between the student and the potential advisor, and it also reflects the tastes of the student in a given area. Therefore, a priori, no combinatorial or ring-theoretic topic is off-limits for this project, and I encourage any interested student to get in touch with me for an informal discussion.

Prerequisites: At least one course in algebra (familiarity with some ring theory is necessary), and possibly one in combinatorics; lots of creativity and eagerness to learn new mathematics.

Contact: Fabrizio Zanello: zanello@mit.edu


9/5/17

Fall/IAP

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Media Laboratory

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Chris Schmandt

Project Title: SkinMorph

Project Description: SkinMorph is a tunable second skin layer that changes stiffness, color, and thermal qualities when controlled by underlying circuitry. We seek to create an uniquely textured and dynamically controllable skin overlay to provoke thinking of the meaning and applications of altering the texture and structure of one’s skin. We are seeking UROPS with Mechanical Engineering and/or Electrical Engineering experience. The MechE UROP will work on the design and fabrication of the skins. The EE UROP will assist with the circuit design and testing. We are looking for UROPs who are potentially able to contribute 10 hours/week.

Detailed requirements for the two positions:

(1) Mechanical Engineering UROP:

  • Solidworks CAD experience 
  • Fabrication experience: 3D printing, mold making, and  interest in working with new/hybrid materials
  • Experience in interfacing electrical and mechanical components

(2) Electrical Engineering UROP:

  • Experience with Altium or other circuit design software
  • Surface mount soldering
  • Arduino experience 
  • Circuit debugging and testing experience

Contact: If interested, please send an email to Cindy Kao cindykao@mit.edu and include 1) your resume, and 2) a brief paragraph listing your experience in each of the listed categories.


9/5/17

Fall/IAP

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Biological Engineering (Course 20)

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Linda Griffith

Project Title: Imaging Matrix MetalloProteinase Activity in Tissues from Patients with Endometriosis / Adenomyosis.

Project Description: The human endometrium undergoes extensive remodeling that is guided by proteolytic and inflammatory networks in a spatially asynchronous yet temporally resolved manner, culminating in implantation or menses. Aberrant proteolytic and inflammatory activity is known to facilitate metastasis in cancer, and numerous studies have detailed their aberrations in gynepathologies such as endometriosis.

Uterine pathologies such as adenomyosis and fibroids have foci of disease often surrounded by healthy tissue. Whether this seemingly healthy tissue that is proximal to disease facilitates pathogenesis more so than distal unaffected tissue is unclear.

The goal of this project is to develop a method to image active matrix metalloproteinases in frozen tissue sections, and possibly 3D gel co-culture systems, in order to characterize the microenvironment of adenomyosis lesions. The student will learn histological techniques, immunoassay development, fluorescence microscopy, Luminex, data analysis and presentation of results. The student will also have the opportunity to develop their own project.

Prerequisites: The ideal candidate would have some lab experience, however, candidates of all experience levels will be considered. We will give preference to candidates who can commit to working at least 20 hours per week during IAP and summer and 10 hours per week during the academic year. We are offering academic credit for new UROPs.

Relevant URL: http://lgglab.mit.edu/  http://cgr.mit.edu/

Contact: Evan Chiswick: chiswick@mit.edu


9/5/17

Fall

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Media Laboratory

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Cynthia Brazeal

Project Title: Scratch Extension for Jibo Robot

Project Description: The goal of this UROP project would be to create a Scratch Extension that allows users to program Jibo robot with a series of visual blocks. A lot of the blocks and back-end implementation is done but the goal would be to wrap all current work in Scratch 3.0 Extension and test it with users.

Prerequisites:

  • Javascript experience
  • Comfortable with client/server application integration
  • Professional and proactive attitude

Contact: Stefania Druga: sdruga@mit.edu


9/5/17

Fall

UROP Department, Lab or Center: CSAIL

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Prof. Justin Solomon

Project: Title: Geometry of Redistricting: Software Development and Computational Experiments

Project Description: The Metric Geometry and Gerrymandering Group (MGGG) is a team of faculty and researchers from MIT and Tufts studying applications of geometry and computing to US political redistricting.  We are currently seeking students to assist with software development, engineering, and computational experiments related to our effort.  Students will be mentored by Prof. Justin Solomon in EECS/CSAIL, jointly with MGGG colleagues at MIT and Tufts.  UROP students can join through the credit, volunteer, or sponsored options.

Students with iOS app development expertise and/or experience with geographic data, visualization, or web development are requested to work on a team for a time-sensitive software project.  More mathematically-oriented students also can contribute to other efforts we have related to evaluating compactness and fairness of districting plans.

Contact: Interested applicants are encouraged to contact Prof. Solomon (jsolomon@mit.edu) to schedule an interview.  Please contact him with your resume, a sample of your previous work, and a few sentences about why you're interested in this specific UROP opportunity.


9/5/17

Fall/IAP/Spring

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Chemical Engineering (Course 10)

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Brad Olsen

Project Title: Polymeric materials for enzymatic biosensors and biocatalysts

Project Description: Enzymes are green, sustainable catalysts that have garnered significant attention because they can perform difficult chemistry and detect minute amounts of analytes. However, they can be destroyed by harsh chemical and thermal conditions, and they tend to degrade over time. Additionally, in chemical processes that use enzymes, the enzymes are typically in solution and are destroyed during the product purification. We have developed a polymer-based platform to make a solid biocatalyst or biosensor. This project will focus on (a) optimizing the polymer system and (b) exploring the physics of protein incorporation into the polymer system. These materials have broad applications in biocatalysis and biosensing, and could help revolutionize the use of enzymes in industrial and military applications. The UROP involved in this project will have the opportunity to learn polymer and block copolymer synthesis, gene design, protein expression and purification, and several characterization techniques including fluorimetry, gel electrophoresis, atomic force microscopy, and light scattering. Students will also be introduced to complex coacervation and will have the opportunity to delve deeper into complex coacervation theory if they desire.

Prerequisites: Students with an interest in chemical engineering, chemistry, materials science, and/or bioengineering are encouraged to apply. Prior lab experience (basic organic chemistry) is preferred, but not required. Preference will be given to students who can commit to working 10-15 hours per week for one academic year. We are offering academic credit for new UROPs.

Relevant URL: http://cheme.scripts.mit.edu/olsenlab/research/coacervates

Contact: Hursh Sureka: hsureka@mit.edu


9/5/17

Fall/IAP

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Health Sciences and Technology (HST)

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Seok-Hyun (Andy) Yun

Project Title: Mapping biomechanical properties of the cornea

Project Description: We are developing a new biomedical imaging tool based on Brillouin light scattering for non-invasively measuring the biomechanical properties of the eye. An important application of this optical technique is measuring the biomechanics of the cornea (the clear, outer layer of the eye responsible for much of the eye’s focusing power) in order to improve diagnosis and screening for diseases related to corneal mechanical weakening. We are looking for a UROP to develop the capabilities of the instrument for creating accurate, spatially resolved maps of the cornea. This will involve using structured light illumination and a camera to determine the surface profile of the cornea in real time, so that Brillouin measurements can be built up to create a 3D stiffness map of a patient’s cornea. The UROP will make an important contribution to the development of a biomedical device and will have the opportunity to see their work used with patients.

Prerequisites:

  • Programming experience with python is required.
  • Experience in the areas of image processing, interfacing with hardware, threading, or user interface design is a major plus.
  • No biomedical background is necessary.
  • Attention to detail, creativity, and comfort with independent work are also important.
  • Majors in Course 6, 8, 20, 2 (or equivalent experience) are preferred.

Relevant URL: http://www.intelon.org/index_files/Page436.htm

Contact: Dr. Amira Eltony: aeltony@mgh.harvard.edu


9/5/17

Fall

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Media Laboratory

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Kent Larson

Project Title: Flybits. Build your most creative mobile experience. Design and deploy an App-experience for the tourist

Project Description: This is a rather unique collaboration project between the Media Lab and Andorra's government, largest private companies (e.g., energy and telecom), and academic institutions The overarching paradigm of our work is the application of machine learning on Andorra's big data and data visualization for enabling an understanding of the country's dynamics on tourism and commerce, economy, human mobility and transportation systems, energy and environmental impact; as well as to shed light on technological and systems innovation towards radical improvements in these domains. The specific project involves the design and deployment of an App-experience for the tourist (and for the big data gathering and research) experience of the XXI century. Using Flybits educational platform (https://flybits.com/product.html) the goal is to build your most creative mobile experience in Andorra. By correlating data gathered form the users mobile phone, and eternal data like the CDR data from the telecom, data from the social-networks, etc. we aspire to create the new Andorra Experience for visitors and tourists. An academic paper will be come out of the project and you will be co-authored. 

Skills you need to already have: 

At least two of:

  • Android
  • IOS
  • Ubuntu phone

Others:

  • Machine learning 
  • Statistics  
  • Python 

What you will get out of the UROP experience:

  • Learn Flybits SDK and build your most creative mobile experience
  • Hands on experience working with BIG data. 
  • Apply machine learning and statistics to real-world project. 
  • A research paper to build up your data science CV. 
  • Live and breathe the fun and interdisciplinary culture of the MIT Media Lab    

Relevant URL: http://cp.media.mit.edu/

Contact: Luis Alonso (alonsolp@media.mit.edu) with a short description of your background or resume


9/5/17

Fall/IAP

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Media Laboratory

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Kent Larson

Project Title: Energy prediction tool for Urban Dynamic Innovation

Project Description: This is a rather unique collaboration project between the Media Lab and Andorra's government, largest private companies (e.g., energy and telecom), and academic institutions. The overarching paradigm of our work is the application of data visualization and data science methodologies on Andorra's big data, for enabling an understanding of the country's dynamics on tourism, and commerce, human mobility and transportation systems, energy and environmental impact; as well as to shed light on technological and system s innovation towards radical improvements in these domains.

Prediction tool: Base in a preliminary work, we are interested on facing a second step on the Andorra Energy Prediction tool. On this step the goal is to calibrate, validate and search on how the tool can be improved and implemented in Andorra. To make a smooth UI can be also one of the final goals. We are seeking a UROP for the Fall term, with the possibility of continuing during following terms.

Required Skills: HTML,CSS,JS, JQuery,D3.js, Processing Database, Web Framework

Additional: Open CV) Computer Vision, Machine Learning

What you will get out of the UROP experience:

  • Hands on experience working with BIG data. 
  • Apply machine learning and statistics to real-world project. 
  • A research paper to build up your data science CV. 
  • Live and breathe the fun and interdisciplinary culture of the MIT Media Lab    

About us: Changing Place is exploring the impact of tangible design tools for urban city planning. 

Lab URL: http://cp.media.mit.edu/

Contact: Luis Alonso (alonsolp@media.mit.edu) with a short description of your background or resume


9/5/17

Fall/IAP

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Media Laboratory

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Kent Larson

Project Title: Machine Vision for light-weight Autonomous Robots and Smart Urban Infrastructure

Project Description: The Future Mobility Team at the Media Lab is developing a new generation mobility platform and urban infrastructure to revolutionize the way we move people and goods in cities.  In contrast to the industry’s dominant car-centric approach of concentrating on the 4-wheel automobile and car’s individual computation power, the Media Lab focuses on the human-scale, pedestrian-friendly mobility solutions that bring more convenience, style and well-being to contemporary urban life.

Transforming the scale and technology of mobility/logistics services also requires some re-imagination of the urban infrastructure, such as developing machine- and human-readable traffic signages. This role calls for a highly creative technologist to join the Future Mobility Team to contribute to shaping the future of urban infrastructure, and potentially establishing a new standard in street design.

Successful UROP will have the option to further develop the project during IAP (paid) and into a senior-year, super-UROP project through 6.UAR.

Required Skill: Python

Desired Experience:

  • C++
  • OpenCV
  • 6.801
  • 6.036
  • 6.034

Relevant URL: http://cp.media.mit.edu/pev

Contact: Phil Tinn: ptinn@mit.edu


9/5/17

Fall/IAP

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Media Laboratory

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Kent Larson

Project Title:  Self-Driving Vehicle Urban Impact Simulation (Front-End)

Project Description: The Future Mobility Team at the Media Lab is developing a new generation mobility platform and urban infrastructure to revolutionize the way we move people and goods in cities.  By combining robotics, electrification, vehicle-sharing and urban design, we are creating a new category of mobility service that addresses the common last-mile commuting gap and is compatible with the pedestrian, car-lite urban environment of the future.

This role calls for a highly motivated student to creatively apply front-end development and open-source mapping tools (e.g. OpenStreetMap) to complement a fleet simulator back-end for shared autonomous vehicles.This UROP position is September- and October-heavy in time commitment, beginning on the week of 9/11 and wrapping up by the end of October. Successful UROP will have the option to further develop the project during IAP (paid) and into a senior-year, super-UROP project \ through 6.UAR.

Prerequisites:

  • Submit project reference  (Github or project link) ASAP
  • Be interviewed by Thursday Sept 7th

Required Skills:

  • Fluency in Javascript, both for backend, and front-end.
  • Familiarity with web layout design (CSS, HTML5)

Desired Experience:

  • d3.js
  • Leaflet.js
  • Heroku

Relevant URL: http://cp.media.mit.edu/pev

Contact: Phil Tinn: ptinn@mit.edu


9/5/17

Fall

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Aeronautics and Astronautics (Course 16)

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Leia Stirling

Project Title: Quantifying soldier performance using wearable technology

Project Description: Soldier performance is inherently challenging to understand, to monitor, and ultimately, to quantify. These challenges originate from the varied and complex tasks that the soldier performs, the underlying variability in human task performance, the environments in which they operate, and a limited knowledge of the measures that truly characterize task performance success. The system architecture for wearable motion-sensing technology can be augmented to provide robust information that is interpretable by a nonexpert in sensor technology and physiological systems. The objectives of this work include exploiting wearable sensor technology to develop performance metrics that are interpretable by a nonexpert for decision-making scenarios. This fall semester UROP will aid on a project related to quantifying soldier performance. (1) Assist with data collection and analysis for a study examining trajectories during an agility obstacle.

Contact: Christine Joseph: cjoseph1@mit.edu


 

9/1/17

Fall/IAP

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Brain and Cognitive Sciences (Course 9)

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Mark Harnett

Project Title: Biophysics of computation

Project Description: Using a combination of optical, electrophysiological, computational, and/or anatomical techniques, students will contribute to our mission of understanding how the biophysical features of neurons give rise the remarkable processing power of the mammalian brain. Many of the projects in our lab involve analysis of large, high dimensional datasets.

Prerequisites: Minimum time commitment of 10 hours per week.

Relevant URLs: www.markharnett.org

Contact: Jakob Voigts: jvoigts@mit.edu


9/1/17

Fall/IAP

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Civil and Environmental Engineering (Course 1)

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Elfatih A. B. Eltahir

Project Title: Simulation of the transport/transfer of water and heat within the human body

Project Description: This is a project in the Parsons Laboratory in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering working as a member of Eltahir Research Group. The project objective is numerical simulation of the water cycle that takes place within the human body including drinking of water, fluxes of water from the stomach to the intestines, into the blood stream, and through the kidney forming urine. Similarly the projects aims to simulate heat transfer within the human body to study human tolerance to extreme heat conditions. The student will be responsible for running existing computer models and analyzing their results under different environmental scenarios. Background in computer programing, and computational methods is preferred. Interest in computational biology and biomedical engineering are a plus. This is a UROP for pay project.

Contact: Elfatih A. B. Eltahir: eltahir@mit.edu


8/31/17

Fall

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Urban Studies and Planning (Course 11)

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Jinhua Zhao

Project Title: China’s Transportation Policy Landscape

Project Description: This project is part of a large MIT energy initiative (MITEI), which consists of more than ten research teams from MIT. The overarching goal is to generate ideas about future mobility patterns to deal with challenges such as urban mobility, energy consumption, air pollution, and carbon emission. Our team focuses on transportation policies in Chinese cities. We explore the structures of Chinese cities, and set up a framework to analyze transportation policies adopted by each city government. We are interested in what factors drove local governments to take actions to address sustainability or mobility challenges. We are also interested in the public acceptance of congestion pricing and other car restriction policies. The final goal of the project is to use models to predict China’s transportation policy landscape in 2050.

We are looking for a candidate who is interested in the intersection of data analysis and public policies. The ideal candidate would have experience distilling large datasets into clear narratives, be proficient with basic data analysis skills by using R, Python, or Stata, and be able to read basic Mandarin. Expected time commitment is 10 hours/week.

Prerequisites:

  • Strong data management & data analysis skills
  • Data visualization skills desired
  • Basic quantitative modeling skills needed
  • Strong organizational and teamwork skills
  • Ability of reading basic Mandarin is important

Contact: If interested, please send your resume and a short description of why you would be a strong candidate to Shenhao Wang at shenhao@mit.edu.


8/31/17

Fall

UROP Department, Lab or Center Earth, Atmospheric & Planetary Sciences (Course 12)

MIT faculty supervisor: Taylor Perron

Project title: Connecting Granular Flow Simulations and Laboratory Experiments

Project description: Granular flows are a challenging frontier in physics and engineering. This is in part due to the difficulties in both modeling and observing such systems. To study the inner workings of sediment transport by fluid, a common granular flow problem in engineering and environmental sciences, we are comparing a cutting-edge computational model of coupled fluid-grain flow with laboratory flume experiments. The project is a collaboration between groups in Earth, Atmospheric & Planetary Sciences (EAPS) and MechE. This UROP will focus on the influence that grain shape has on the dynamics of granular flow. The work will include both experimental and computational aspects of the project, with a focus on developing techniques to characterize grain shape using photography, spectral analysis and spherical harmonics, computer vision, and perhaps machine learning techniques.

Prerequisites: Basic familiarity with Matlab or Python is desirable. Weekly time commitment is negotiable.

Relevant URL: http://mit.edu/perron/www

Contact: Dr. Eric Deal (ericdeal@mit.edu)


8/31/17

Fall/IAP

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Media Laboratory

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Ramesh Raskar

Project Title: $50 X-ray Imager for the Developing World

Project Description: We are a team from MIT, Harvard Medical School, and NASA trying to improve the accessibility of medical imaging. Two-thirds of humans on the planet do not have access to X-ray imaging, largely due to the cost of today's X-ray machines. One hospital in Boston has 126 radiologists; Liberia has two (Jason Silverstein, The Atlantic, 2016).  In this project, a $50 X-ray imager will be developed by repurposing consumer electronic hardware (printers and scanners). Pending successful engineering, the student will have the opportunity to (a) publish the work; and (b) potential travel opportunities to deploy the invention in the developing world (e.g., a village in India).  This project is in collaboration with the AXIS center at Harvard Medical School, and the student will work also with Professor Rajiv Gupta, MD/PhD.

Prerequisites: The ideal UROP is a rising junior or senior with experience or interest in any of the following areas: optics, mechanical engineering, nuclear engineering, computer vision, sensing systems. A significant time commitment (20 hrs/wk) will be expected. Our bar for a successful UROP depends on publication of results (if the science works out).

Relevant URLs: https://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2016/09/radiology-gap/501803/

Contact: Achuta Kadambi: achoo@mit.edu


8/31/17

Fall/IAP

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Chemical Engineering (Course 10)

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Bradley Olsen

Project Title: Coating recycled rubber particles for use in performance materials

Project Description: Used rubber tires are a major source of waste globally, and the most common tire disposal method is combustion or incineration as tire-derived fuel to recover the high energy values stored in the hydrocarbon polymer chains. However, in the absence of good practices for controlling emissions or enforced environment regulations to curb open burning, this leads to substantial ecological damage and health hazards, particularly in developing nations.  As ground up tires are cheaper than virgin polymer, recycling tires for use in high performance materials presents a green and potentially economically friendly solution. We are exploring a recycling method that involves blending fresh, virgin rubber with recycled ground rubber particles (GRPs) to form composite materials.

The goal of this project is to develop and optimize the process for GRP coating to maximize the performance of recycled materials. In addition to the process and formulation design, the student will use a variety of characterization techniques, including microscopy and image analysis, and mechanical characterization. The student will work in collaboration with graduate students, postdocs, and the Tata Center  on this project.

Prerequisites: Students with an interest in chemical engineering and/or materials science are encouraged to apply. No prior lab experience is required, and training will be provided in all areas. We will give preference to candidates who can commit to working at least 20 hours per week during IAP and 10 hours per week during the academic year. We are offering academic credit for new UROPs.

Relevant URL: https://tatacenter.mit.edu/portfolio/devulcanization-of-waste-rubber-for-reuse-in-new-tires/

Contact: Michelle Calabrese: mcalab@mit.edu


8/31/17

Fall

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Mechanical Engineering (Course 2)

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: A. John Hart

Project Title: Controls integration for metal 3D printing

Project Description: We are developing an experimental platform for 3D printing of advanced metals using laser melting where control of the laser processing parameters combined with real-time metrology will enable substantial process improvements.  This additive manufacturing research program is large and our project team is diverse (8 grad students and post-docs across several disciplines).  The UROP will assist in the development of additional design elements and capabilities (instrumentation and controls) to expand our capabilities: a key focus of the coming Fall term is the integration of a new, custom-fabricated 3D metals printer.  This will require refining how the team converts solid model files into machine commands to print the desired scan pattern or 3D part.  Further, the UROP will assist graduate students in performing subsystem and system integration testing including metrology of resulting machine performance (such as positional precision).  Finally, the UROP will assist graduate students in the design of and conduct of additive manufacturing experiments to enhance our understanding of SLM process mechanics including novel techniques to produce desired micro and meso scale features which determine the mechanical properties of the finished part.

Prerequisites: Fluency in National Instruments LabView is most highly desired, familiar with programming in Python and Matlab.  Academic preparation in controls engineering (MechE or EE/CS) will be useful, but is not required.

Relevant URLs: http://mechanosynthesis.mit.edu/

Contact: Jonathan Gibbs: jsgibbs@mit.edu


8/30/17

Term: Fall, IAP, Spring

UROP Department/Lab/Center: Mathematics (Course 18)

MIT Faculty Supervisors: Prof. Vadim Gorin, Prof. Leonid Petrov

Project Title: Perfect sampling in 2d statistical mechanics

Project description: In the recent years integrable random systems (i.e., systems which can be analyzed by means of exact formulas) have been successful in analyzing complicated real-world phenomena ranging from energy spectra of heavy nuclei to shapes of melted crystals and growing bacteria colonies. However, the applicability of exact formulas is (and will remain) limited to special systems, and in order to understand more general models one could try to simulate and visualize them. The goal of this project is to implement existing and develop new methods for perfect sampling (simulations) of large random systems such as the six-vertex (square ice) model and random lozenge tilings. Examples of such systems can be seen in galleries at http://lpetrov.cc/research/gallery/

The student will work with the faculty advisors to learn about integrable random systems and their simulation, and will develop publicly available software for visualization of large random systems. Participants will be paid.

Qualifications: The student should have taken at least one course in probability, and should be familiar with Markov chains and processes. Coding ability in a language good for fast simulations (such as C/C++ or modern alternatives) is mandatory.

Contact: Vadim Gorin vadicgor@mit.edu and Leonid Petrov lenia.petrov@gmail.com


8/30/17

Fall/IAP/Spring/Summer

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Chemical Engineering (Course 10)

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Michael S. Strano

Project Title: Nanoscale biosensors for in vivo monitoring of cancer treatment and response

Project Description: Prof. Strano’s laboratory focuses on the development of nanoscale biosensors and materials for a wide array of applications.  A growing area of our research is the development of nano-biosensors for cancer research applications in particular to probe biologically relevant analytes in vivo and in real-time. Recently, we have developed a series of near-infrared (nIR) fluorescent probes for sensing nitric oxide and reactive oxygen species as well as several chemotherapeutic drugs. Our lab has already customized these nanosensors for a wide range of biomedical analytes such as saccharides, dopamine and neurotransmitters, glucose, insulin, and cortisol.  Our lab is pursuing a number of applications in cancer research to study chemotherapeutic drug delivery, tumor development, progression, and response to therapies.  This includes identification of potential cancer markers, in vitro validation studies (cell cultures and 3D models), and in vivo studies in orthotopic xenograft animal models.  This new nanoscale sensor-imaging platform will allow for monitoring biomolecular changes at earlier time points following chemotherapy, radiation therapy, or immunotherapies, clinicians will be able to more promptly adapt the patient’s treatment strategy depending on the tumor response.

As a student on this project, you will be exposed to a very diverse and interdisciplinary research project and lab. You will have the opportunity to learn many different areas of research ranging from synthesis and characterization of our bionanosensors, to development and testing of biocompatible form-factors (hydrogels) to encapsulate our bionanosensors, testing the sensitivity and specificity of the sensors to the analyte of interest, to testing of sensor response in solution phase, in cell cultures or 3D tumor models, and ultimately in xenograft orthotopic cancer animal models.  Students will also have the opportunity to learn several optical techniques such as fluorescence spectroscopy, absorption spectroscopy, and Raman spectroscopy.  Students may also choose to be involved in the design and development of optical systems (free space and fiber optic) including optical design, hardware instrumentation, and software instrumentation.

Prerequisites: Students interested in year long or longer research opportunity with interest in biology, chemistry, bioengineering, or optics. Multiple student positions are available for this project.

Relevant URLs: srg.mit.edu

Contact: Freddy Nguyen, MD, PhD: freddytn@mit.edu


8/30/17

Fall/IAP/Spring

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Electrical Engineering and Computer Science (Course 6)

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Roger G. Mark

Project Title: De-identification of electronic health records

Project Description: The number of hospitals with electronic health records (EHRs) has dramatically increased - from 18% in 2001 to almost 80% of hospitals in 2013 having an EHR. There is a wealth of opportunity in analyzing this data to better understand disease, investigate drug disease interactions, and provide decision support to care providers. However, medical data is extremely sensitive, and must be fully de-identified before it can be shared among researchers. This project aims to build a de-identification tool for EHRs. Building upon past work, the prospective student will:

  1. familiarize themself with the code by assessing existing methods on a gold standard corpus
  2. develop new techniques for de-identification including machine learning approaches, and finally
  3. apply the technique on real medical data and assess the performance.

Prerequisites:

  • Comfortable with Python
  • Comfortable with machine learning
  • Familiarity with Git
  • SQL knowledge is beneficial but not required
  • Natural Language Processing experience beneficial but not required

Contact: Alistair Johnson: aewj@mit.edu


8/30/17

Fall/IAP/Spring/Summer

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Chemical Engineering (Course 10)

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Michael S. Strano

Project Title: Nanoscale sensors for in vivo monitoring of biomechanical stresses and strains in muscles and vasculature

Project Description: Prof. Strano’s laboratory focuses on the development of nanoscale biosensors and materials for a wide array of applications.  A growing area of our research is to develop methods for the precise deposition of our carbon nanomaterials onto biocompatible materials. Our lab has largely worked on the development of bionanosensors such as nitric oxide, hydrogen peroxide, dopamine neurotransmitters, glucose, insulin, and cortisol.  Our carbon-based bionanosensors are detected via near-infrared fluorescence spectroscopy and are resistant to photobleaching.

Our lab is currently pursuing an area of research that focuses on the guided and precise deposition of sensors onto various polymer surfaces and materials that can be used for biological applications in particular to measure the relative stresses and strains placed on the material as a proxy of the biomechanical stresses and strains experienced by muscle tissue or blood vessels.  When our nanosensors experience stress and strain along the length of our nanosensors, a shift in the near infrared fluorescence emission is observed.  As a student on this project, you will be exposed to a very diverse and interdisciplinary research project and lab. You will have the opportunity to learn many different areas of research ranging from synthesis and characterization of our nanosensors, deposition and alignment of our nanosensors, testing the sensitivity and specificity of the sensors to various stresses and strains, and testing the durability of the deposition. Students will also have the opportunity to learn several optical techniques such as fluorescence spectroscopy, absorption spectroscopy, and Raman spectroscopy.  Students may also choose to be involved in the design and development of optical systems (free space and fiber optic) including optical design, hardware instrumentation, and software instrumentation.

Prerequisites: Students with a chemistry and chemical engineering interest would be preferred

Relevant URL: http://srg.mit.edu

Contact: Freddy Nguyen, MD, PhD: freddytn@mit.edu


8/30/17

Fall/IAP/Spring

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Chemical Engineering (Course 10)

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Hadley Sikes

Project Title: High-throughput screen for redox-based cancer therapeutics

Project Description: The Sikes group in Course 10 is seeking a motivated UROP to aid in implementation of a high-throughput screen for redox-based cancer therapeutics and subsequent characterization of selected library compounds. We are looking for a UROP in Chemical or Biological Engineering to participate in various aspects of the project, including mammalian cell culture work, recombinant protein expression and stable cell line creation, and characterization of small-molecule therapeutic compounds. Relevant coursework or prior experience are preferred, but not required. The UROP projects will be coordinated by an experienced graduate mentor, and general training in cell culture and other key areas will be provided. A commitment of at least 10 hours/week is required. Research can count for course credit, or can potentially be funded via a direct funding proposal.

Prerequisites: undergraduate biology course

Relevant URL: hsikeslab.mit.edu

Contact: If you are interested, please send an introduction and a resume copied to both Hadley Sikes and Troy Langford (sikes@mit.edu and tfl2108@mit.edu). Thanks for your interest - we look forward to working with you!


8/29/17

Fall

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Management (Course 15)

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Prof. Christian Catalini

Project Title: Using Machine Learning and Big Data to Predict Startup Success

Project Description: The objective of this project is to develop new code and tools to predict startup growth. 

Please only apply if you have very strong programming skills in python. Machine learning is a plus. Some libraries we use in our work include sklearn, tensorflow, and Keras. Knowledge of SQL and basic statistics are a plus.

Students will have access to a unique, large-scale dataset of startup founding and growth events. They will also learn about the economics of early-stage entrepreneurship and startup fundraising (equity crowdfunding, angel financing, venture capital).

If you are interested in getting hands-on experience in machine learning, economics research and data analysis as well as to understand the dynamics of startup success, this would be a great learning opportunity. 

Contact: Please emailChristian Catalini (catalini@mit.edu) with your resume/CV. Also, please include your availability to meet and past experience with machine learning projects.


8/29/17

Fall

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Management (Course 15)

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Prof. Christian Catalini

Project Title: Using Machine Learning and Big Data to Predict Cryptocurrency Growth

Project Description: The objective of this project is to develop new code and tools to predict cryptocurrency growth. 

Please only apply if you have very strong programming skills in python. Machine learning is a plus. Some libraries we use in our work include sklearn, tensorflow, and Keras. Knowledge of SQL and basic statistics are a plus.

Students will have access to a unique, large-scale dataset on cryptocurrencies and tokens. They will also learn about the economics of early-stage entrepreneurship and startup fundraising (equity crowdfunding, token sales, angel financing, venture capital).

If you are interested in getting hands-on experience in machine learning, economics research and data analysis as well as to understand the dynamics of cryptocurrency success, this would be a great learning opportunity. 

Contact: Please emailChristian Catalini (catalini@mit.edu) with your resume/CV. Also, please include your availability to meet and past experience with machine learning projects.


8/29/17

Fall/IAP/Spring

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Broad Institute (BR)

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Paul Blainey

Project Title:  Integrated microfluidic workflow for genomic profiling of the immune system

Project Description: Gene expression profiling has been instrumental in defining novel immune signatures and disease states. It is poised to become an important clinical tool in disease diagnosis and prognosis, as well as in monitoring and predicting therapeutic outcomes. However, current methods for transcriptome-wide profiling of the immune system are impractical and ill-suited for clinical translation. To address these issues, we are developing a microfluidic device capable of integrated cell subset enrichment and RNA-seq library construction. This is a multidisciplinary project combining microfluidics, molecular biology, and computational analysis. Students with backgrounds in biological engineering, computational biology,  and related fields are encouraged to apply.

Prerequisites: If you are interested in lab-on-a-chip technologies and/or genomics, we have two positions available:

Position #1: We are looking for candidates who have a strong interest in microfluidics and device design. As part of this project, you will learn how to design and prototype a microfluidic chip, fabricate a device using multi-layer soft lithography, and operate it with a pneumatic control system.  Aptitude for technical hands-on work, prototyping, and device design will be useful.

Experience with CAD and MATLAB preferred but not required

Position #2: We are looking for candidates interested in analyzing next-gen sequencing data from our integrated microfluidic workflow. As part of this project, you will learn how to process, analyze, and draw biological insight from genome-wide gene expression and chromatin accessibility data. Background in molecular biology and interest in genomic data analysis will be useful.

Experience with R and/or Python preferred but not required

Contact: Miguel Reyes: msreyes@mit.edu


8/29/17

Fall

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Chemical Engineering (Course 10)

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Bradley D. Olsen

Project Title: Sustainable and Hydrophobic Protein-Based Materials

Project Description: Polymeric materials comprised of renewable biomass sources have great potential as alternatives to fossil fuel derived plastics and are important in the drive towards a sustainable future.  Proteins are particularly interesting as feedstock for manufacturing engineering resins due to their unique propensity to aggregate and hydrogen bond to form hard materials.  In addition, the increase in demand for protein as materials valorizes underutilized protein-based waste streams in agriculture.  There are however, unique challenges in formulating these materials, as proteins are brittle and hygroscopic, and typically require large amounts of plasticizers and solvents to facilitate processing.  We have developed a strategy that allows protein-based resins to be processed and polymerized without the use of solvents by lowering melting points of proteins using surfactants. The surfactants also function as compatibilizers, which allow addition of hydrophobic components to increase material resistance to humidity. Students involved in this project will have opportunities to learn experimental skills including, but not limited to: formulation development, free radical polymerization, polymer processing, materials characterization (tensile testing, rheology), and protein nanostructure characterization (x-ray scattering, Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy, microscopy).

Prerequisites: Students with an interest in chemical engineering, chemistry, and/or materials science are encouraged to apply. No prior lab experience is required, and training will be provided in all areas. We will give preference to candidates who can commit to working at least 10 hours per week during the academic year. We are offering academic credit for new UROPs.

Contact: Daphne Chan wychan@mit.edu


8/29/17

Fall

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Broad Institute (BR)

MIT Faculty Supervisor: Eric Lander

Project Title: Building new tools to discover mechanisms of disease

About the Position: We are seeking a highly motivated and talented student to join our efforts to develop new tools for studying gene regulation within single-cells. We are looking for a candidate with excellent communication skills, an eagerness to learn and a strong background in computational biology or bioengineering. An ideal computational biology student will have a background in bioinformatics and an interest in machine learning approaches. The student will use these skills to analyze epigenome and transcriptome genomics data from malignant cancers and assist in developing new computational methods for single-cell genomics data. An ideal bioengineering candidate will have a background in device engineering and an interest in quantitative cell biology and/or synthetic biology. The candidate will build optogenetic tools to perturb regulatory networks and elucidate the function of key transcription factors important in human health and disease.

About the lab: In the Buenrostro Lab, the candidate will work with a talented group of team members to learn and develop new methods in high-throughput sequencing, gene regulation and single-cell biology. The lab fosters independent and innovative thinking, with learning opportunities across biology, engineering and computer science, to provide an overall excellent experience. Overall, the Buenrostro Lab seeks to bring together a multidisciplinary team that develop new technologies to uniquely pursue previously unanswerable biological questions. The group is currently pursuing new single-cell ‘-omic’ tools to provide a systems-level understanding of human health and disease, for more information visit the lab website: BuenrostroLab.com

Contact: Jason Buenrostro: jbuen@broadinstitute.org


8/29/17

Fall

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Media Laboratory

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Kent Larson

Project Title: Urban Performance Analysis Using Temporal Data

Project Description: The Media Lab’s City Science Group is exploring the impact of technology on urban intervention. This project focuses on a regional a European tourism hub with large and diverse population of both locals and tourists. By obtaining, distilling and analyzing temporal cellular data, we’ll aim to map the activities of both tourists and locals. We will explore a method to analyze patterns of usage for large, random groups within urban settings by matching behavioral patterns such as clustering, stay and persistence with spatial parameters such as urban-form and amenities. Ultimately, we’ll seek to find evidence-based correlation between the design, utilization and performance of urban spaces. During this UROP / temp position, a student will gain a comprehensive understanding of technologies and methods of temporal and geolocated cell-towers data for urban design processes. Key topics include data acquisition, distilment and analysis of geospatial data using various tools for data analysis and visualization.

About City Science group: https://www.media.mit.edu/groups/city-science/overview/

Required Skills: Good working skills with Python, Java or similar programming languages Experience with large datasets analysis, data viz or data analytics

Prefered Skills: Clustering algorithms [k-means,  DBSCAN, etc] Experience with data visualization, UI/UX or other graphic design proficiency [js, d3/plus, unity3d or similar]

Relevant URLs: https://www.media.mit.edu/about/job-opportunities/uropurban-performance-analysis-using-temporal-data/

Contact: Ariel Noyman: noyman@media.mit.edu 


8/29/17

Fall/IAP/Spring

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Mechanical Engineering (Course 2)

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Cullen R. Buie

Project Title: Optimizing a Nanoporous Hydrogel Incubation Chamber for Engineered Spatial Bacterial Communication

Project Description: Microbes are constantly communicating through space with each other, with neighboring organisms, and with their environment. Bacteria use these spatial interactions to perform tasks like therapeutic synthesis, bioremediation, and industrial fermentation. Our lab has demonstrated a porous hydrogel platform that enables bacterial multispecies co-culture.  The hydrogel physically isolates individual cultures while allowing free media and small molecule exchange between cultures. We demonstrate this property by observing communication between synthetically constructed quorum sensing E. coli. The purpose of this UROP is to 1) optimize the porosity of the hydrogel chamber for allowing molecules with different properties to pass through while still confining the bacterial cells, and 2) characterizing the diffusion coefficient of different molecules that can pass through the material. This project is suitable for any student interested in materials science or biological engineering.

Contact: Chris Vaiana: vaiana@mit.edu


8/28/17

Fall

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Mechanical Engineering (Course 2)

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: A. John Hart

Project Title: Improving surface quality of parts printed via Stereolithography

Project Description: Stereolithography (SLA) is an important additive manufacturing process since it permits high resolution, fine details and a rapidly expanding material library. However, SLA printing remains a layer-by-layer process and therefore SLA parts need to be post-processed, often by grinding or sanding in order to achieve a low surface roughness. The goal of this project is to investigate the viability of dip-coating as a method to improve surface quality. A printed part will be dip-coated and post-cured to investigate if the smoothness of the liquid air-interface achieved in the dip coated layer can be realized on the part surface. We are seeking a student who will program a Form 1 SLA printer to perform the dip coating process, design a variety of test parts, and perform parametric analysis of the dip coating process. The student will also work closely with a graduate student on understanding the mechanics of the surface flow of a non-Newtonian fluid, and designing experiments to optimize the dip-coating process. The results will be characterized on a contact profilometer. This work has potential impact in improving the industrial applicability of SLA, by demonstrating a consistent and effective post processing method.

Prerequisites: Familiarity with python programming, CAD using solidworks. Experience with Formlabs printers preferred.

Relevant URLs: http://mechanosynthesis.mit.edu/

Contact: Abhinav Rao raoa@mit.edu


8/28/17

Fall/IAP

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Brain and Cognitive Sciences (Course 9)

MIT Faculty Supervisor: Ann M Graybiel 

Project Title #1: Participate in behavioral assays and neural recordings in mouse models of neurodegenerative disease

Project Description: Help us do experiments to solve the mysteries of the brain! You will learn to design and run behavioral decision-making assays in mouse models of neurodegenerative diseases. You will also participate in building recording devices and performing advanced in vivo electrophysiological and imaging recordings in behaving mice, assist in brain surgeries to implant these devices, and help to analyze your own data. You will be fully supervised and can work on a flexible time schedule.

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 procedural learning, habit formation, action selection, and movement disorders like Parkinson’s disease, Huntington’s disease, and dystonia, as well as addiction, depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder, Tourette syndrome, schizophrenia, and other disorders. In these two projects, our goal is to understand the functions of neurons in the striatum and other brain areas in simple behavioral tasks performed by rats, typically involving learning. These are ideal projects for students seeking experience in preparation for medical school or a research PhD program.

Prerequisites: Ideally, we would like to find a UROP who can work at least 12 hours per week and would potentially be interested in working with us for longer than a year. UROP projects are for credit; with increasing experience or in special cases, we will consider UROPs for pay.

Contact: Emily Hueske, PhD (ehanna@mit.edu) and Alexander Friedman, PhD (afried@mit.edu)

___________

Project Title #2: Develop Python and Arduino-based behavioral assays for testing and imaging brains of mouse models of neurodegenerative disease 

Project Description: Help us solve the mysteries of the brain using your Python, Arduino and Matlab skills! You will help us to develop new features for a custom Python and Arduino-based behavioral training system for mice. We will interface this system with imaging and recording systems to allow recording of the striatum of mice during different behavioral tasks. This project combines electronics and programming with novel approaches to data analysis. The student will be fully supervised and can work on a flexible time schedule. The ideal applicant for this UROP position will have Python and MATLAB programming skills; familiarity with Arduino microcontrollers is a plus.

This is an ideal project for students interested in putting their computer programming and electronics skills to use for the helping to unravel the brain mechanisms of neurodegenerative diseases. Ideally, we would like to find a UROP who could work at least 12 hours per week and would potentially be interested in working with us for longer than a year, including summers.

In this project, our goal is to understand the functions of neurons in the striatum and other brain areas in simple behavioral tasks performed by rats and mice, typically involving learning. 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 procedural learning, habit formation, action selection, and movement disorders like Parkinson’s disease, Huntington’s disease, and dystonia, as well as addiction, depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder, Tourette syndrome, schizophrenia, and other disorders.

Prerequisites: Ideally, we would like to find a UROP who can work at least 12 hours per week and would potentially be interested in working with us for longer than a year. UROP projects are for credit; with increasing experience or in special cases, we will consider UROPs for pay.

Contact: Emily Hueske (ehanna@mit.edu) and Alexander Friedman, PhD (afried@mit.edu)


8/28/17

Fall/IAP

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Media Lab (MAS)

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Prof. Iyad Rahwan

Project Title: Evaluating climate change speech on Twitter to improve our understanding of forces that may change political ideology

Project Description: Natural language processing (NLP) methods can provide crucial insights into our society by analyzing large amounts of text from social media and many other sources. But, human-rated data is needed to ensure that NLP models provide accurate assessments of the content and valence of human speech.

In this project, we are assessing whether and how people alter their opinions about climate change over time on social media and the degree to which these changes might be driven by personal exposure to events that may be related – directly or indirectly – to the phenomenon of global warming.

We are looking for four UROP, UAP or similar students that would work as a team to help us identify particular types of climate change speech. Students will be trained in the general content of political discussions about climate change in order to become experts at identifying social media texts that express belief or denial in climate change. After content training, we will have each student label 10,000 tweets, discussing cases of ambiguity with the team as they arise. 

Students will ideally have some background knowledge in climate change related issues and/or the behavioral and psychological aspects of political ideology. You can work on a flexible time schedule from anywhere you like. We expect this project to require a total of 50-60 hours from each participating student over the course of the term.

Many of our UROP/UAPs continue working with us semester after semester and some eventually choose to do their masters thesis with us. This project is a useful introduction to our research and will make it much easier for us to help you define a larger research project that you can do with our group if you’re interested.

Research Group Description: The Scalable Cooperation Group at the MIT Media Lab is one of the leading groups conducting research in the emerging field of computational social science, leveraging methods from many different academic fields to understand how technologies such as AI are changing our society.

Contact: Please send your resume and any questions to Dr. Nick Obradovich (nobradov@mit.edu)


8/28/17

Fall/IAP

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Media Lab (MAS)

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Prof. Joseph Jacobson

Project Title: Machine Learning UROP

Project Description: The Molecular Machines Group at the MIT Media Lab is focused on image classification and retrieval algorithms to transform the way computational drug discovery is carried out. Over the last year we have generated one of the largest data sets to date with over 15M molecular structures and have written our own API on top of tensorflow which supports a significant number of features and models including graphs, sparse convolutions, siamese networks, dense nets, and 4D gradient descent machines. 

This coming year, our goal is to use this novel foundation to push our models to exceed current benchmarks for speed and accuracy. We are looking for a self-driven, motivated student with previous experience in machine learning interested in designing and testing new network architectures. 

Requirements: Must have practical experience developing models in either TensorFlow, or Theano, or Torch or other machine learning API. Must have a passion for revolutionary ideas of her/his own ability to implement them in code.

Expectations: The successful student may be deploying several new architectures per week, and should expect to budget ~20 hours per week. 

Contact: Please, send a few lines indicating your interest to resumes@media.mit.edu (Dr. Joseph Jacobson).


8/28/17

Fall/IAP

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Media Lab (MAS)

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Prof. Joseph Jacobson

Project Title: Affinity API Project

Project Description: The discovery of new pharmaceuticals has the potential of bettering the lives of large numbers of people but currently represents a major undertaking costing in excess of $1B for each new drug and taking on average 7+ years.  A potential computer science solution to this problem involves the computational screening of 100’s of millions of potential drug candidates but such an approach would currently consume a significant portion of the entire planet’s combined computational core resource for each new drug, an obviously impractical requirement.. In this project we take a machine learning approach to this problem which offers the potential of speeding up this search by several orders of magnitude and at greater accuracy.

We have a team of students working on Affinity API affinity.mit.edu which is a tensorflow for molecular geometry. We are looking for a student interested in constructing and optimizing new tensorflow ops in C++, in particular, new convolutions and geometry functions. You will have a chance to see your  running on tens of thousands of CPUs as a part of the algorithm. 

Requirements: must be proficient in C++, and be fluent with big O notations. Experience with TensorFlow is a plus, but is not required.

Expectations: must have ~20h/week of free time.  

Contact: Please, send a few lines indicating your interest to resumes@media.mit.edu (Dr. Joseph Jacobson).


8/28/17

Fall/IAP

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Media Lab (MAS)

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Prof. Joseph Jacobson

Project Title: Molecular Biophysics UROP

Project Description: Protein-small molecule interactions can be described in terms of five fundamental kinds of interactions: hydrophobic, hydrogen bonding, electrostatic, stacking, and Van Der Waals each of which can be explicitly captured by vocabulary of atom types and distance-dependent terms. This is a so-called force field ball and stick approach that was pioneered at Harvard some 50 years ago, since then lead to at least one Nobel Prize, and is still very much in use. We believe that, fundamentally, molecules are Schrodinger clouds of electron probabilities, and may better be captured when bonds and binary interactions are represented by a machine learned deep and wide neural network.

As a part of this UROP you will be working with a large database of atomic structures and interactions to find the most optimal way to predict binding free energy, and will have a chance to benchmark yourself against current state-of-the art force fields such as CHarMM, and MMFF94.

Contact: Please, send a few lines indicating your interest to resumes@media.mit.edu (Dr. Joseph Jacobson).


8/28/17

Fall/IAP

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Materials Science and Engineering (Course 3)

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Prof. Elsa Olivetti

Project Title: Life Cycle Analysis of Disposable Lab Gloves

Project Description: Laboratory spaces provide a tremendous opportunity for reducing environmental impact and helping MIT reach sustainability and climate reduction goals. Over 7000 researchers at MIT work in labs. If just half the lab researchers at MIT collected and recycled one pair of gloves a day, over 10 tons of gloves would accumulate per year. In an effort to reduce lab waste, MIT Green Labs and Department of Chemical Engineering implemented a glove recycling pilot program in 2016-2017 where over 1000 pounds of gloves were collected and turned into new materials like park benches.

In order to determine if there is a net environmental benefit to glove recycling, it will be key to better understand the differences between MIT’s disposal method of burning gloves for waste-to-energy versus repurposing for use in new materials. The MIT Glove Recycling Team was awarded a grant through the Office of Sustainability to study and compare the benefits of material recovery with the burden of the recycling process.

The UROP student will perform life cycle analysis on glove recycling, encompassing materials that go into making gloves, using, and re-purposing. Data will be collected on the traditional waste-to-energy disposal (transportation distances, emissions, composition and destination of combustion by-products) of lab gloves in order to assess the net environmental benefit of the project. Data will also be collected on the glove recycling processes (transportation distances, energy and material requirements, and destination of recovered materials). The student will need to develop relationships with recycling companies and facilities management at MIT. If you have a strong interest in materials life cycle and sustainability, this could be a great match.

Prerequisites: We are looking for students that are dedicated, interactive, and love to learn. Dedication of at least 8 h/week, with the possibility of extending through IAP and beyond.

Relevant URLs: http://olivetti.mit.edu/, http://news.mit.edu/2017/mit-new-fund-allows-sustainability-researchers-use-campus-living-lab-0721

Contact: Please submit resume and a brief paragraph commenting on how your skills and background could be helpful to this project. Send to Dr. Lisa Anderson, Laanders@mit.edu


8/28/17

Fall/IAP

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Sloan School of Management (Course 15)

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Roberto Rigobon

Project Title: Aggregate Confusion

Project Description: The relevance of Environment, Social Responsibility, and Governance (ESG) rating agencies has dramatically increased over the last 10 years. ESG ratings influence how large amounts of money are invested and guide corporate strategy at major corporations. However, companies often receive completely different ESG ratings from different rating agencies. The correlation is less than 15 percent among the raters. This leads to uncertainty about how investors should allocate capital and how corporations should develop their business. The disagreement among rating providers also calls into question the validity of important research results, particularly about the effect of ESG on financial performance.

The confusion comes broadly from two sources. First, access to raw data is constrained, so that different ratings use a different information set. Second, aggregation procedures are not made transparent, so that objective data and preferences are mixed. We want to create a comprehensive database of raw data and indicators that allows all players to rely on the same objective data in deriving and creating knowledge. Based on those data, we want to construct ratings with completely transparent aggregation procedures. The ratings and all methods will be made available to the public for free (open source), and the raw data will be available for a fee to maintain an incentive for providers to supply it. Our first step is to document the sources of discrepancy. We are gathering the data and this semester we plan to reverse engineer the rating agencies procedures

Prerequisites:

  • R or Python (or equivalent)
  • Familiar with Statistics or Econometrics or Machine Learning (or at least wiling to learn)

Contact: Julian Koelbel: koelbelj@mit.edu


8/28/17

Fall/IAP

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Biological Engineering (Course 20)

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Paul Blainey

Project Title: Bacterial Culture Incubator Equipped for Optogenetics

Project Description: We are looking to design and fabricate a small-scale temperature controlled cell culture incubator that includes a DLP light projector to enable optogenetics experiments. In 2010, the journal Nature Methods selected Optogenetics as “Method of the Year.” Optogenetics is a set of techniques that allows biological functions to be controlled by light. This very useful capability has had far-reaching impact on biological research and engineering. Researchers have applied optogenetics to a wide range of problems from controlling biofilms to curing blindness.

Despite the popularity of optigenetics, some basic tools are lacking. The function of an incubator in a microbiology lab is to maintain ideal conditions for growing cells. A significant challenge in in vitro optogenetics experiments is that typical lab incubators do not offer any convenient way to illuminate cell cultures with patterned light while they grow. To solve this problem, we are developing an incubator that includes a DLP projector. The incubator will initially be used in a makerspace training exercise. Several research labs at MIT have expressed interest in owning one too.

Prerequisites: You should have mad making skills – mechanical design and building, plus a bit of electronics. It wouldn’t hurt to know a little bit about optics.

Contact: Maxine Jonas: jonas_m@mit.edu


8/28/17

Fall/IAP

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Biological Engineering (Course 20)

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Paul Blainey

Project Title: Training biomakers at MIT

Project Description: Next year, MIT plans to open a biological makerspace in order to support the vibrant community of biological makers on campus. We are developing an introductory training module that presents basic techniques of biological making such as bacterial cell culture and genetic transformation. Students in the class will use optogenetic techniques and make photographic images on a film of E. coli bacteria that have been genetically engineered to be sensitive to light. We are looking for enthusiastic students to help us develop lab procedures and course materials, and to help us launch our introduction to biomaking course.

Prerequisites: Enthusiasm. Excellent communication skills. Bio lab experience preferred but not required.

Contact: Maxine Jonas: jonas_m@mit.edu


8/28/17

Fall/IAP/Spring

Department/Lab/Center: Media Lab

Faculty Supervisor: Alex `Sandy' Pentland

Project Title:  Rhythm Badge: an Open-Source wearable for quantifying face-to-face interaction

Project Description:  We are developing a platform for quantifying, analyzing and improving team collaboration outside the lab in real-life situations. One of its components is the Rhythm Badge - a wearable devices for quantifying face-to-face communication. We are looking for an electrical engineer who can work on a critical new feature -  adding an Accelerometer we we can track body movement, control the device and improve data quality. This project will also involve working with a PCBA manufacturer to create a small prototype batch, and later create a batch of 100 units.

Skills you need to already have: Significant experience with Embedded programming (Embedded C or Arduino) and experience designing circuit boards. 

Optional skills: Familiarity with Nordic nRF51/52 series (a major plus). PCB design using Eagle.

Other prerequisites: we are looking for students who are able to contribute a minimum of 12 hours per week during the semester.

Contact: Oren Lederman: orenled@mit.edu


8/24/17

Fall/IAP

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Brain and Cognitive Sciences (Course 9)

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Guoping Feng

Project Title: Detection and classification of animal vocalizations

Project Description: Use signal processing and machine learning techniques to develop auto-detection and classification of animal vocalizations. Build and expand our existing code. This involves testing the effectiveness of different features to distinguish vocalizations as well as extracting new features to improve the result. Even though the signals are auditory, the some of our analysis is image based, using spectrogram images.

Prerequisites: In order of importance: Python, Machine learning, Signal processing, Matlab

Contact: Rogier Landman: landman@mit.edu


8/24/17

Fall/IAP

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Media Laboratory

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Kent Larson

Project Title: Self-Driving Vehicle Impact Simulation

Project Description: The Future Mobility Team at the Media Lab is developing a new generation mobility platform and urban infrastructure to revolutionize the way we move people and goods in cities.  By combing robotics, electrification and vehicle-sharing, we are creating a new category of vehicles that addresses the common last-mile commuting gap and is compatible with the pedestrian, car-lite urban environment of the future.

This role calls for a highly motivated UROP to creatively apply Computer Science, Mathematics and open-source tools to building a fleet simulator for shared autonomous vehicles.  Successful UROP will have the option to further develop the simulator into a senior-year, super-UROP project through 6.UAR.

Join our team if you like the following:

  • Test or further develop your skill-set in engineering, design or planning.
  • Learn the development process of autonomous and platform-scale technology Media Lab-style through working with a large team of peers and mentors from diverse disciplines.
  • Have the opportunity to travel overseas to conduct workshops and deploy pilot vehicles or simulation tools.

Project Website: http://cp.media.mit.edu/pev

Prerequisites: We look for experience in one or several of the following areas:

  • Python (Strong)
  • 6.006 Introduction to Algorithms
  • System Dynamics
  • Microscopic Modeling
  • Agent-based Modeling

Contact: Phil Tinn: ptinn@mit.edu


8/24/17

Fall/IAP

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Media Laboratory

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Kent Larson

Project Title: Human Robot Interaction for Autonomous Mobile Robots

Project Description: The Future Mobility Team at the Media Lab is developing a new generation mobility platform and urban infrastructure to revolutionize the way we move people and goods in cities.  In contrast with the industry’s dominant car-centric approach of concentrating on the 4-wheel automobile and its driver-centric UI, the Media Lab focuses on the human-scale, pedestrian-friendly mobility solutions that bring more convenience, style and well-being to contemporary urban life.

Transforming the scale and technology of the vehicle also necessitates a redefinition of the communication between human and the computer/robot in order to enable co-existence, trust and collaboration between the two.  This role calls for a highly creative technologist to join the Future Mobility Team to contribute to shaping a new category of HCI and potentially universalize a new language and the way of communication.

Project Site: http://cp.media.mit.edu/pev

Reference: https://www.pubpub.org/pub/extended-intelligence

Prerequisites: With experience in one or several of the following areas:

  • C++
  • Python
  • ROS
  • 6.835:Intelligent multimodal user interface

Contact: Phil Tinn: ptinn@mit.edu


8/23/17

Fall/IAP

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Mechanical Engineering (Course 2)

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Tonio Buonassisi

Project Title: Tool design for advanced solar cell fabrication

Project Description: With the dramatic cost reduction and efficiency improvement in the past decade, Si wafer based photovoltaic (PV) panels have become the main driver to achieve the IPCC climate targets. In order to boost the growth rate of the PV industry even more, the use of thinner Si wafers (down to 50 μm as compared to 180 μm for the current industrial solar cells) has been proposed. However, PV manufacturers found it extremely challenging to fabricate solar cells with thinner wafers due to the high breakage rate. The Photovoltaic Research Laboratory in the Department of Mechanical Engineering is looking for motivated UROP students to work on tool design and prototyping that enable successful manufacturing with thinner wafers. The first essential step is to build up a crack-detection setup that identifies sub-mm micro-cracks in the wafer before they cause the breakage during solar cell fabrication. The project will involve designing an experimental setup that detects micro-cracks in Si wafers using near-infrared imaging. In this interdisciplinary project, the students gain experience in tool design and prototyping, learn about fracture mechanics and optics, and get to know about solar cell fabrication processes. The UROP students will work in a collaborative team that is formed by PIs, postdocs and graduate students.

Relevant URLs: pv.mit.edu

Contact: Sarah Wieghold: wieghold@mit.edu


8/23/17

Fall/IAP

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Brain and Cognitive Sciences (Course 9)

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Josh McDermott

Project Title: Cross-Cultural Music Perception Studies

Project Description: Our lab is involved in cross-cultural music perception experiments conducted in remote areas of Bolivia. The purpose of the experiments is to characterize the similarities and differences between listeners in developed Western cultures and those of remote indigenous societies, to better understand the effect of culture on how we appreciate music. We are looking for a UROP to assist in these studies by conducting behavioral experiments at MIT in the fall and spring as a precursor to studies in Bolivia this summer, and to travel to Bolivia this summer to assist with experiments there. For the latter, fluent Spanish is essential, as is a willingness to travel in a developing country in less than luxurious conditions. Experience with programming (preferably matlab) is also essential, and experience with audio recording would be a plus. We are looking for someone who could get involved in the project this fall and spring, and continue through the summer. This position is available for pay or for credit. When responding to this ad, please indicate programming experience, Spanish fluency, and any travel/camping experience.

Prerequisites: Some experience with programming (preferably Matlab)

Relevant URLs: http://mcdermottlab.mit.edu/

Contact: Josh McDermott: jhm@mit.edu


8/23/17

Fall/IAP

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Brain and Cognitive Sciences (Course 9)

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Pawan Sinha

Project Title: Development of the Processing of Biological Motion in Children with Late Sight Onset

Project Description: The overall goal of Project Prakash is to provide treatment to curably blind children and study their subsequent visual development. Project Prakash uniquely allows us to investigate this developmental progression from the earliest stages, both behaviorally and with eye-tracking and brain imaging tools. In this study, we will focus on characterizing these subject’s perception of the motion of living creatures (biological motion), immediately following recovery from prolonged congenital blindness, and its development in the following time period.  Specifically, our goal is to develop a battery of tests that can be used to determine the developmental progression of recovering identification of dynamic face, body and person stimuli after sight onset. The UROP will contribute to planning and preparing behavioral, eye-tracking and EEG experiments, as well as with the data analysis, using mostly Photoshop, Matlab and Excel.  The student will work closely with a post-doc in the lab and with Prof. Sinha, for planning the experiments. If the student chooses to stay on,  the second phase (winter term) will include collection of data, and involve communicating closely with the India-based research team to ensure proper data collection.  Additionally, the student will have substantial opportunity to work independently. This position is available for pay or credit.

Prerequisite: The ideal candidate will have a strong interest in motion or face processing and/or development, as well as previous experience in MATLAB and photoshop, and strong analytical skills. Advantage of being able to continue into the winter semester with a 6-10 hour commitment. A background in computer science, engineering, brain and cognitive sciences, or related field is desired.  Experience with ERP analysis is an advantage

Relevant URLs: http://www.projectprakash.org/

Contact: Shlomit Ben-Ami: shlomit@mit.edu


8/23/17

Fall/IAP

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Research Lab for Electronics (RLE)

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Stefanie Shattuck-Hufnagel

Project Title: Toward an algorithm for automatic speech signal analysis: Individual feature cue based processing

Project Description: Interested in the links among speech signal processing, linguistics and human speech recognition?  Have some background (or strong interest) in either phonetics/phonology, computer science or cognitive science?  In this UROP you will learn to label the individual cues to speech sounds in the speech signal by hand, to create a database for evaluating a prototype automatic speech analysis system that is under development in our laboratory. In the process you will learn to recognize the many ways in which a word or sound can vary in different contexts, and why this is important for understanding human speech processing, as well as for improving automatic speech recognition systems, and potentially designing interventions for speakers who are experiencing speech difficulties due to disease, injury or developmental delay.  If interested, once you have mastered the feature cue labeling system, you can advance to coding components for the developing speech analysis system that extracts these feature cues. The position involves 10 hours per week during the fall term and up to 20 hours during IAP, learning to recognize the acoustic cue patterns in samples of speech from many different speakers and several different speech styles, and applying that knowledge in the labelling task, with the possibility of subsequently applying this knowledge to coding. Pays $12 per hour.

Prerequisites: A background (or strong interest) in computer science is desirable; some knowledge of either phonetics/phonology, acoustics, machine learning or cognitive science will be a plus.

Contact: Stefanie Shattuck-Hufnagel: sshuf@mit.edu


8/22/17

Fall/IAP/Spring

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Brain and Cognitive Sciences (Course 9)

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Josh McDermott

Project Title: Examining pitch perception in music and speech

Project Description: Pitch is one of the most common terms used to describe sound. Scientifically, pitch is often defined as the perceptual correlate of the rate of repetition of a periodic sound. This repetition rate is known as the sound’s fundamental frequency, or F0. Previous work in our lab provides evidence for multiple pitch mechanisms, beyond F0 estimation, responsible for what has traditionally been couched pitch perception. We are currently conducting a set of experiments examining how real-world hearing in speech and music relies on F0. This is an interdisciplinary project combining psychophysics, music cognition, and speech processing. As part of this project, you will be responsible for analyzing data, running human subjects in lab and online (online crowd-sourcing), and potentially assisting with fMRI scanning.

Prerequisites:

  1. An interest in perceptual psychology
  2. Previous experience with MATLAB
  3. An interest in working with human subjects
  4. Ability to commit to 6-10 hours a week (flexible hours, though chunks of 4-6 hours will be necessary for running subjects). 

Preference will be given to students willing to commit to Fall/IAP or Fall/Spring.

Contact: Malinda McPherson: mjmcp@mit.edu


8/22/17

Fall

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Architecture (Course 4)

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Larry Sass

Project Title: Rapid Design and Delivery of Buildings

Project Description: Our lab group needs UROP students interested in design, 3D modeling and making. We also need fresh new ideas and information to develop best practices for making desktop models of building components. We are currently testing and expanding our new software demonstrator Luban, a CAD based Design-Maker tool we expect to become a production standard for instant building fabrication. You must be available at least 10 hours per week, scheduling is flexible and we are open to undergraduates from all majors.

This project is an investigation of digitally based Building Delivery by rethinking the use and physical production of building elements (stairs, windows, doors, etc). From a decade of 3D modeling and digital fabrication (making) of structures the Design Fabrication Group (ddf.mit.edu) in the Department of Architecture has discovered many novel systems of instant building fabrication (construction) directly from a 3D computer model. We have learned that it is possible to 3D print (so to speak) a building directly from a computer. Unfortunately, mouse and keyboard entry of commands in CAD software has been our method of model generation for early stage design and late stage fabrication. It is inefficient and leads to many errors as well as modeling fatigue. Today we are focused on the development design tools that generate drawings and models ready for laser cutting or CNC fabrication. Over the past three years, we have developed Luban, a CAD based tool that generates planar shapes from solid 3D models. Luban is targeted at creative designers interested in exploring their designs as desktop models. The expected impact of Design Making tools such as Luban is development of efficient construction systems aimed at reducing energy consumption and cost in construction.

Prerequisites: Must have some experience 3D modeling in Rhino, Blender, Solidworks

A willingness to learn:

  • Architectural Design
  • Design and 3D model building components (Stairs, Windows, Doors)
  • 3D Printing
  • Photography

Relevant URLs: http://ddf.mit.edu

Contact: Larry Sass: lsass@mit.edu


8/22/17

Fall/IAP

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Research Lab for Electronics (RLE)

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Stefanie Shattuck-Hufnagel

Project Title: Transcribing the music of language

Project Description: A spoken utterance is not just a string of words---it has structure; words are grouped into phrases, and some words are more prominent than others.  This structure is signaled by the prosody, which includes patterns of pitch, duration, amplitude, voice quality and other acoustic cues.  An alphabet has been developed (https://ocw.mit.edu/courses/electrical-engineering-and-computer-science/6-911-transcribing-prosodic-structure-of-spoken-utterances-with-tobi-january-iap-2006/index.htm) for transcribing the contrastive aspects of  prosodic structure, i.e. prosodic differences that signal differences in meaning---compare e.g. "He only gave a BOOK to Mary" vs "He only gave a book to MARY", or "It broke, out in Washington" vs "It broke out, in Washington".  The  Speech Communication Group in RLE is developing an algorithm for automatic detection of spoken prosody, and part of this project involves extending the transcription system to capture more detail, and testing these new labelling conventions on a corpus of conversational speech.   This requires a team of 6 or more labellers who are native speakers of English, to test out and evaluate the training materials, and then use their new skills to transcribe a set of spoken utterances.  The resulting labels will serve as the ground truth for training an eventual automatic algorithm for prosody detection.  Pays $12/hour,

Prerequisites: Candidates must be native speakers of English. Other useful attributes for this position include one or more of the following:

  • interest in (and enjoyment of) the process of learning a new language
  • musical experience; coding expertise; some knowledge of acoustics (e.g.
  • familiarity with acoustic analysis software like Praat (http://www.fon.hum.uva.nl/praat/)); and/or a linguistics course or two.
  • Requires a commitment of  8-10 hours per week, and availability for initial meetings (either in person or virtual) on Thursday mornings at 9 am during September and part of October.

Relevant URLs: https://ocw.mit.edu/courses/electrical-engineering-and-computer-science/6-911-transcribing-prosodic-structure-of-spoken-utteran

Contact: Stefanie Shattuck-Hufnagel: sshuf@mit.edu


8/21/17

Fall/IAP

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Brain and Cognitive Sciences (Course 9)

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Matthew A. Wilson

Project Title: Using Optogenetics to Understand the Neural Networks that Underlie Learning & Memory

Project Description: When we go to sleep, memories that we formed during the day are reinforced and processed so they can become stable and accessible for a long-period of time. This process of memory consolidation requires the interaction of networks of cells across different parts of the brain. We are trying to understand how sleep helps animals learn, and what parts of the brain are critical for memory consolidation.  To do this, we train rodents to find food in a maze, and use optogenetic manipulation of brain cells during sleep to figure out the causal contribution of specific neurons to learning. We are looking for students that are interested in the cellular mechanisms of complex behaviors like memory, navigation and sleep.  As part of this project, you will learn about behavioral training in rodents, histological and optogenetics techniques and you will be able to assist in rodent surgeries. If you have a strong interest in neuroscience and the mechanisms of behavior and cognition this could be a great match.

Prerequisites: We are looking for students that are dedicated, interactive, and love to learn. Dedication of at least 10 h/week, with the possibility of extending through IAP and beyond. Experience handling rodents is a plus, as well as experience with microscope use and/or histological methods.

Contact: Please submit resume and a brief paragraph commenting on how your skills and background could be helpful to this project. Let me (Carmen Varela) know when you would be available for an interview. carmenv@mit.edu


8/21/17

Fall/IAP

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Biology (Course 7)

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Graham Walker

Project Title: To kill from within (A novel DNA based strategy for studying anti-microbial peptides)

Project Description: Antibiotic resistance is a major healthcare problem worldwide while the rate of development of new classes of antibiotics continues to lag.  Antimicrobial peptides (AMPs) are an emerging class of therapeutic agents, with several in clinical trials. AMPs are secreted as part of host innate immune response in higher eukaryotes and are effective against broad spectrum of bacteria and fungi. Peptides analogous to AMPs also play a critical role in symbiosis. It is important to understand the detailed mechanism of action of AMPs for developing them into potential drugs and to elucidate their role in symbiosis. Many AMPs have distinctive physiological effects on membranes in comparison to their intracellular targets in cytoplasm. So it is challenging to distinguish their effects on different sub-cellular locations by using the current method of adding chemically synthesized peptides to the extracellular milieu of bacteria. The project is to address this problem with the help of a DNA based strategy. The first part of the project is to develop a DNA based strategy by which AMPs are expressed from within the bacteria but are constrained to particular sub-cellular locations. The second part will be to implement this strategy and modify it to study AMPs whose functions are yet to be explored. This novel strategy has not been implemented previously to study any AMPs so far and is an easy alternative to the difficult costly method of synthesizing high quality long peptides. In the third part of the project, random mutagenesis will be performed on a existing peptides and the screen can lead to discovery of new and more efficient anti-microbial peptides that can be an effective alternative to existing antibiotics. believe that this technology will help us unravel the complex mechanism of action of numerous AMPs pertaining to clinical use and will hopefully lead to discovery of new anti-microbial peptides.

Prerequisites: A strong interest to learn DNA , RNA and Protein based techniques

Contact: Siva Sankari Iyer: sivasank@mit.edu


8/21/17

Fall

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Mathematics (Course 18)

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Philippe Rigollet

Project Title: Efficient tensor decomposition using frame theory

Project Description: Like the singular value decomposition for matrices, tensor decomposition is an increasingly useful tool especially because most data does not come in the shape of a matrix but rather in the shape of a multi-dimensional array, or tensor. Unlike matrix decompositions, tensor decompositions are very hard to compute. There are efficient methods to decompose a special class of tensors that are widely used in machine learning (see for example Sections 1.1 and 1.3 in https://arxiv.org/pdf/1409.6685.pdf). However, this class of tensors contains a very small portion of all tensors. The goal of this research project will be to find much larger classes of tensors that can also be decomposed efficiently. This will be an important contribution to theory of tensor decompositions.

Through the course of the project, the student will learn much about existing techniques regarding tensor decompositions. The final goal will be to develop a new method for decomposing tensors which performs much faster than known methods, and can be applied to a wide variety of tensors. More specifically, these tensors will have a decomposition in terns of what is called a tight frame, or in other words, a set of m > n vectors that span R^n and possess some important additional properties. There has been evidence that tight frames, and more specifically equiangular tight frames, are the exact way to extend efficient tensor methods to a larger class of tensors, providing the missing link between the small set of efficiently decomposable tensors and the set of all tensors. For additional reading, see https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10958-009-9366-6 and https://arxiv.org/pdf/1504.08049.pdf .

The student will be working primarily with the direct supervisor Elina Robeva.

Prerequisites: Strong background in linear algebra. Basic algorithms complexity knowledge. Programming experience with computer language of choice, e.g. C++, Python, R, Matlab, Julia, or any others.

Contact: Philippe Rigollet: rigollet@math.mit.edu


8/21/17

Fall/IAP

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Media Laboratory

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Prof. Hugh Herr

Project Title: Raspberry Pi camera based full body 3D scanner

Project Description: This project is a part of a larger project in the Biomechatronics group, aimed at computationally designing and manufacturing prosthetic sockets for amputees: https://www.media.mit.edu/projects/variable-impedance-prosthetic-vipr-socket-design/overview/

One step in the data acquisition involves capturing the external shape of the body. This step will be accomplished by building an imaging system designed to simultaneously capture multiple RGB images using a large number of Raspberry Pi cameras, and using these images to reconstruct a 3D model of the body or body part. A similar system can be seen here: http://www.pi3dscan.com.

Prerequisites: Experience with Raspberry Pi, programming, and setting up systems of multiple Raspberry Pis highly desired. Basic mechanical design and fabrication is an advantage. The student should be able to work independently, and must be able to commit to at least 10 hrs/week.

Relevant URLs: http://biomech.media.mit.edu

Contact: Dana Solav: danask@mit.edu


8/21/17

Fall

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Materials Science and Engineering (Course 3)

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Polina Anikeeva

Project Title: Animal behavioral study

Project Description: The Bioelectronics Group in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering  is looking for a UROP to work with live animals. The student will be involved in surgeries, behavioral studies and data analysis. The project is good for student who would like to get experience in working with animals and in behavioral studies.

Prerequisites: Students with training in biological engineering, biology, neuroscience or related fields are encouraged to apply. Previous experience is advantage but not mandatory.

Contact: Dekel Rosenfeld: dekelr@mit.edu


8/21/17

Fall/IAP/Spring

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Chemical Engineering (Course 10)

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Hadley Sikes

Project Title: Protein Engineering for Infectious Disease Rapid Diagnostic Tests

Project Description: Rapid, accessible, and accurate diagnostic tests can reduce mortality rates and increase awareness around the world,  specially in developing countries. In our lab, a non-immunoglobulin hyperthermophilic protein is being investigated as a replacement for antibodies in current rapid diagnostic tests and other assays. Using this protein, we are developing binders against specific antigens for diagnostic applications, such as for Zika virus and malaria. This specific project will involve using molecular biology and protein engineering techniques, such as cloning new genes into plasmids, expressing and purifying proteins from E. coli, and running protein analytical tests such as SDS-PAGE and BCA assays. This project may also involve conducting paper-based assays, performing magnetic bead cell sorting assays, and preparing samples for flow cytometry.

Prerequisites: We are looking for highly motivated UROP(s) with a background in chemical engineering, biological engineering, or related field. The student should be comfortable working independently after being properly trained. Relevant coursework and prior lab experience is preferred, especially prior experience using molecular biology techniques. A commitment of 10 hours/week (ideally in 3-5 hour blocks) for at least 2 semesters is preferred.

Relevant URLs: hsikeslab.mit.edu

Contact: Ki-Joo Sung: sungkj@mit.edu


8/17/17

Fall

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Political Science (Course 17)

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Charles Stewart III

Project Title: Data Initiatives in Election Science

Project Description: The need for science and transparency in the analysis of elections is an increasingly important part of our democracy. As the MIT Election and Data Science Lab (MEDSL) continues to grow we are are working towards the goal of becoming the foremost clearinghouse for election science data. Although much data exists, it is often disorganized and not in easily-analyzed formats. This UROP is an opportunity to be part of improving access to data and contributing to election science research.

As a UROP working on this project you will:

  • Collect and organize election science data
  • Present interesting research ideas and findings to the larger group
  • Learn additional data management and statistical programming skills
  • Contribute to ongoing MEDSL research projects
  • Work towards answering you own research questions related to election science
  • Participate in weekly lab meetings

Prerequisites: You should be familiar with data management in formats such as comma/text delimited and/or Excel-type spreadsheets. Additional programming or statistical software skills (e.g., C/C++, MATLAB, Python, R, Stata) are welcome but not required. Please indicate your level of familiarity with data collection and management, econometrics, statistical programming, and web (data) scraping when you apply. We welcome applications from students at both MIT and Wellesley. The UROP can be for credit or pay.

Relevant URLs: electionlab.mit.edu

Contact: Cameron Wimpy wimpy@mit.edu


8/17/17

Fall

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Media Laboratory

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Neri Oxman

Project Title: Digital Construction Platform: Exploring environmental surveillance with architectural-scale robotics

Project Description: In nature, growth processes create unique structures adapted to their environments for increased functionality, yet our buildings remain static, rectilinear, and uninformed. What would the benefits be if a robot can design and build architectural structures based on environmental data? How can these tools aid in the development of efficient architecture?

The Digital Construction Platform (DCP) project seeks to develop a new approach to architectural-scale digital fabrication, particularly focused on the construction of commercial/residential structures. Our approach combines a large hydraulic boom arm with a smaller conventional robotic arm to produce a micro-macro manipulator arm system with a large workspace. Past work by the Mediated Matter Group has resulted in two prototypes of the DCP system, the fabrication of a large-scale (15-meter diameter) printed structure produced in July 2016, and the system’s publication on the cover of Science Robotics.

Mediated Matter: http://matter.media.mit.edu/environments/details/3d-printed-hemi-ellipsoidal-dome

Science Robotics: http://robotics.sciencemag.org/content/2/5/eaam8986

MIT News: http://news.mit.edu/2017/3-d-printing-buildings-0426

CNN Tech: http://money.cnn.com/2017/05/02/technology/3d-printed-building-mit/index.html

The current focus of the DCP project is on “environmental surveillance” – using the DCP as a tool for environmental data collection and representation through long exposure light paintings for future design and fabrication purposes.

Position #1: We are seeking students to support operation and modification of the DCP’s control interface and mechatronic systems to enable new projects. Example tasks include developing Simulink Desktop Real-Time interfaces for new tools; modifying existing trajectory generation and control software to support new operations; and design and fabrication of new end-effector systems.

Required qualifications: Experience with MATLAB and Simulink; basic linear systems modeling & control experience; introductory robotics.

Desired qualifications: Experience with real-time control prototyping tools (Simulink Desktop Real-Time, LabVIEW) highly desired. Electronics experience, esp. sensor noise mitigation; mechanical design & fabrication. This opportunity is intended for junior and senior students with prior controls and robotics experience, although other applicants will be considered if they demonstrate particularly strong backgrounds. The student must be able to commit at least 12 hrs/week to this project.

Position #2:

Prerequisites: Students with backgrounds in Engineering, Architecture, Design, Communications, and business.

Skills: Ability to work collaboratively in a team environment; Ability to communicate complex ideas effectively with the team and other interested parties, both verbally and in writing; Demonstrated aptitude for design and data analytics.

Desired Qualifications: Computational Design (Familiarity with Rhinoceros / Grasshopper); Environmental simulation / Data analysis; Public relations and communication Skills. This opportunity is intended for junior and senior students with interest in robotics, architecture, design and fabrication. although other applicants will be considered if they demonstrate particularly strong backgrounds. The student must be able to commit at least 12 hrs/week to this project.

Contact: Barrak Darweesh: barrakd@mit.edu


8/15/17

Fall/IAP

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Media Laboratory

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Ramesh Raskar

Project Title: LIDAR UROP at Media Lab

Project Description: This UROP is geared toward a student who would like to build cameras and imaging devices, with the intent of publishing in a computer vision or computer graphics venue.

The specific project will be to make 3D LIDAR cameras for eventual use in autonomous driving. Two primary problems will be explored: (1) building a LIDAR sensor that could allow navigation through fog or scattering environments and (2) Enhancing LIDAR with polarization to navigate through fog. The student's role will be based on their strengths/interests. Hardware-minded students would likely be working on implementing the ideas in hardware and CS/Math students would tend to work simulation and renderings of the problem. 

Prerequisites: Successful candidates would ideally have taken and excelled in at least one of the following classes:

  1. Computer Vision
  2. Computer Graphics
  3. Computational Photography
  4. Optics

That said, if there is intense passion in this topic, do apply and we can figure out if your background is suitable.

Relevant URLs: www.media.mit.edu/~achoo/

Contact: Achuta Kadambi: achoo@mit.edu


8/15/17

Fall

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Media Laboratory

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Hiroshi Ishii

Project Title: New methods for fabrication in Zero G

Project Description: As part of the media lab’s “space initiative” we are working on a new concept for rapid fabrication of complex structures in a microgravity environment using UV curable resins. The project will deal with building an experimental apparatus, choosing the right materials, and getting ready for a parabolic test flight in November. (the UROP will not participate in the flight) This is a fun and challenging engineering project that requires a UROP with strong technical skills, high motivation and at least 10 hours a week to dedicate to the project.

As a UROP working on this project you will:

  • Do CAD design for the project based on instruction, drawings and specifications. (Using Onshape or Fusion 360)
  • Run simulations of the assembly to make sure the design passes all the requirements.
  • Conduct physical tests where needed.
  • Help find relevant hardware and stock material on the internet.
  • Help in fabrication and assembly of the system.
  • Contribute to the final design from your own ideas.
  • Work on a project with tight deadlines towards a concrete, and perhaps publishable final goal

Prerequisites: You must be very comfortable and quick with CAD software (onshape or fusion 360), including simulations. you must have good hands. You should know how to work alone with remote guidance, be proactive and dedicated to this project. Background in Arduino programming,  basic electronics, and hands on experience in building mechanical systems is a big plus. Shop training and access are a very big plus.

PLEASE READ CAREFULLY before applying: this project will be time consuming and demanding. I expect it to be rewarding and fun for you as well.  I would like to start working on September 1st and except the UROP working with my to dedicate a good amount of time every week on the project.  If you are interested, please shoot me an email with your CV (URL if you have a website), two sentences about yourself and why you want to work on the project. if you have a project that you are particularly proud of, please indicate that in your email as well and say what was your contribution to it if it was a team effort. Please carefully estimate how much time you will have to work on the project, and on what days and hours you plan to work at the lab and from home. Clearly indicate your level in CAD and simulation software and how comfortable you are in mechanical design.

Contact: Amos Golan: amosg@mit.edu


8/14/17

Fall

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Urban Studies and Planning (Course 11)

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Prof. Alan Berger

Project Title: Designing Sustainable Neighbourhood Typologies for Native Housing in Abu Dhabi

Project Description: This project – a collaboration between the Center for Advanced Urbanism at MIT and the iSmart program at Masdar Institute of Science and Technology – focuses on achieving higher levels of environmental, economic, and socio-cultural sustainability among native neighborhoods in Abu Dhabi. The current project phase focuses on designing low-carbon neighborhoods for a desert climate which integrates building and landscape design with advanced technologies. The project aims to be a case-study for holistic design methods and outcomes.

The UROP position will focus on producing diagrams, drawings, and figures for academic publication and lectures. The UROP will work along-side and learn from two experienced designers at the LCAU. This position is ideally suited for a strong undergraduate architecture student who wants to improve his or her representation skills, especially in the case of complex system diagramming, and who is interested in learning how to design for environmental and social sustainability.

Necessary Skills: proven basic illustrator and rhino knowledge and strong spatial thinking skills. 

Beneficial Skills: experience with grasshopper for rhino, and Python.

Relevant URLs: http://lcau.mit.edu/project/abu-dhabi-scenario-planning-design-new-sustainable-neighborhood-forms

Contact: Pru Robinson: pru@mit.edu