Research Projects

Projects for 2017 are posted below; new projects will continue to be posted through February. To learn more about the type of research conducted by undergraduates, view the 2016 Research Symposium Abstracts.

This is a list of research projects that may have opportunities for undergraduate students. Please note that it is not a complete list of every SURF project. Undergraduates will discover other projects when talking directly to Purdue faculty.

You can browse all the projects on the list, or view only projects in the following categories:

Agricultural

 

Purdue AirSense: Creating a State-of-the-Art Air Pollution Monitoring Network for Purdue

Research categories:  Agricultural, Aerospace Engineering, Bioscience/Biomedical, Chemical, Civil and Construction, Computational/Mathematical, Computer Engineering and Computer Science, Educational Research/Social Science, Electronics, Environmental Science, Industrial Engineering, Innovative Technology/Design, Life Science, Material Science and Engineering, Mechanical Systems, Nanotechnology, Physical Science
School/Dept.: Civil Engineering
Professor: Brandon Boor
Preferred major(s): Any engineering, science or human health major.
Desired experience:   Motivation to learn about, and solve, environmental, climate, and human health issues facing our planet. Past experience: working in the lab, analytical chemistry, programming (Matlab, Python, Java, LabVIEW, HTML), electronics/circuits, sensors.
Number of positions: 1-2

Air pollution is the largest environmental health risk in the world and responsible for 7 million deaths each year. Poor air quality is a serious issue in rapidly growing megacities and inside the homes of nearly 3 billion people that rely on solid fuels for cooking and heating. Join our team and help create a new, multidisciplinary air quality monitoring network for Purdue - Purdue AirSense. You will have the opportunity to work with state-of-the-art air quality instrumentation and emerging sensor technologies to monitor O3, CO, NOx, and tiny airborne particulate matter across the campus. We are creating a central site to track these pollutants in real-time on the roof-top of Hampton Hall, as well as a website to stream the data to the entire Purdue community for free. 4-5 students will be recruited to work as a team on this project, which is led by Profs. Brandon Boor (CE) & Greg Michalski (EAPS).

 

The Role of Small Heat Shock Protein (HSP) in Postmortem Protein Degradation of Muscles

Research categories:  Agricultural, Life Science
School/Dept.: Animal Sciences
Professor: Brad Kim
Preferred major(s): Animal Sciences/Food Science/ABE/Biochemistry or closely related
Desired experience:   Basic chemistry/previous lab work experience
Number of positions: 1

Providing consistently high quality and wholesome meat products to consumers is crucial to the continued success of the US meat industry. The purpose of this research is to determine the role of small heat shock protein (HSP) in postmortem protein degradation of muscles. Anti-apoptotic functions of HSP have been well identified, but its potential impact on endogenous proteolytic enzyme activity is largely unknown. This study will determine the involvement of HSP in postmortem protein degradation of beef and/or pork muscles. Student will have hands-on experience by performing assays to observe and quantifying the presence of small heat shock proteins present in samples, and interpreting results. Student will assist graduate students in any way needed, especially as is relevant to studies in small heat shock proteins.

 

The Urban-Ag Divide: The role of social learning in water resource protection behaviors

Research categories:  Agricultural, Environmental Science, Other
School/Dept.: Forestry and Natural Resources
Professor: Linda Prokopy
Desired experience:   Personable, high attention to detail, willingness to work with diverse stakeholders, interest in water quality issues and environmental education, desire to work with the public and conduct research.
Number of positions: 1

In this project, we seek to test out a new watershed/water pollution mitigation education strategy. One of the things we repeatedly hear when we talk to farmers is that they’re not the only ones to blame for water quality issues so they shouldn’t be the only ones expected to change their behaviors. We’re wondering if this is limiting willingness to voluntarily adopt practices.

In response to this, we are experimenting with something we’re calling “reciprocal tours” where we take farmers out to see things that cities and urban dwellers are doing and we take urban dwellers out to see what farmers are doing to help mitigate water pollution. This summer, we will be conducting a pilot study of this approach in Tippecanoe County where both farmers and cities have adopted water quality mitigation practices.

We are seeking a student to coordinate demonstration tours in Lafayette, IN and the surrounding agricultural area. Coordination includes finding urban and farmer tour participants, coordinating transportation to and from tours, organizing focus group location and food, and working with cities, farmers, and staff from the Wabash River Enhancement Corporation to identify appropriate sites and develop speaking points and education material about various conservation practice. In addition, this student will help develop, administer, and analyze evaluation materials.