Research Projects

This is a list of research projects that may have opportunities for undergraduate students. You can browse all the projects, or view only projects in the following categories:

Innovative Technology/Design


3D printing of propellants, energetic and piezoelectric materials

Research categories:  Innovative Technology/Design, Material Science and Engineering, Mechanical Systems
School/Dept.: Mechanical Engineering
Professor: Emre Gunduz
Preferred major(s): ME
Number of positions: 1

The research project involves 3D printing of primarily piezoelectric materials, propellants and other energetics into near-net shape parts using a commercial 3D printer. The student will work on the formulation and fabrication of the custom filament materials using an extruder as well the part design and printing. This project is a great opportunity to learn about the basic steps in 3D fused deposition printing using thermoplastic and UV curable polymers. The students can also contribute beyond the initial scope described here and try out their own ideas.


A miniaturized condenser for collecting exhaled breath condensates

Research categories:  Bioscience/Biomedical, Electronics, Innovative Technology/Design, Mechanical Systems
School/Dept.: Weldon School of Biomedical Engineering
Professor: Jacqueline Linnes
Preferred major(s): electrical and computer engineering, mechanical engineering, biomedical engineering
Desired experience:   Helpful coursework: circuit analysis and design, control/feedback systems, Skills: Demonstrated ability to work independently and creative and resourceful thinking. Experience tinkering and rapid prototyping with microcontrollers is favored.
Number of positions: 1

We are utilizing low-cost rapid diagnostics to develop portable, non-invasive, glucose sensing and monitoring devices for diabetic patients. Currently, we are measuring glucose concentrations from exhaled breath condensates (EBC) which has historically required breathing into a device cooled by ice to condense moisture. Students on this project are expected to perform mentored independent research to develop an electrically cooled, portable, miniaturized condenser that can collect 10 ┬Ál of EBC within 30 seconds and selectively condenses only breath containing carbon dioxide/glucose while quantifying the total volume of air exhaled. You will gain hands on experience in instrumentation development, bioassays, and control systems.


NeuroPhotonics: High speed calcium imaging of dendritic spine in behaving mouse brain

Research categories:  Bioscience/Biomedical, Computer Engineering and Computer Science, Electronics, Innovative Technology/Design, Life Science, Physical Science
School/Dept.: ECE
Professor: Meng Cui
Preferred major(s): ECE, Physics
Desired experience:   Labview and FPGA programming
Number of positions: 1

There is a ongoing project in our lab to develop an ultrahigh speed imaging system to perform large scale high resolution imaging of dendritic spines of neurons in behaving mouse brain. This development is crucial to push the envelope of neuroscience research.

Students with engineering or physics background are needed. In particular, skills in labview and FPGA programming will be very helpful to this project.


Opioid monitoring and anti-overdose drug delivery device

Research categories:  Bioscience/Biomedical, Electronics, Innovative Technology/Design, Mechanical Systems
School/Dept.: BME
Professor: Hugh Lee
Preferred major(s): BME/ECE
Desired experience:   Circuit design, CAD, machining
Number of positions: 1

Prescription-drug addiction is a nationwide epidemic that requires better understanding of drug usage to prevent opioid-related mortality due to accidental overdose. The selected student will work independently or with a graduate student to create a wearable and implantable device to continuously monitor levels of opioid metabolites in the body and to mitigate overdose related fatalities with a drug delivery vehicle.

More information:


Stimuli responsive fluidics controls on a paper-based bacterial detection platform

Research categories:  Bioscience/Biomedical, Chemical, Innovative Technology/Design, Material Science and Engineering, Mechanical Systems
School/Dept.: Weldon School of Biomedical Engineering
Professor: Jacqueline Linnes
Preferred major(s): chemical, biomedical, materials, or mechanical engineering
Desired experience:   Helpful coursework: polymers, thermodynamics, organic chemistry Skills: Demonstrated ability to work independently and creative and resourceful thinking. Experience tinkering and rapid prototyping is favored.
Number of positions: 1

The Linnes Lab aims to develop a rapid, paper-based point-of-care diagnostics to enable timely and appropriate treatment of infectious diseases ranging from cholera to sepsis. To automate the multistep detection assays on these tests, we are integrating stimuli responsive polymers (e.g. wax) to control the flow of sample and assay reagents. We seek a motivated student to optimize the composition and high-throughput deposition of candidate polymers. You will gain technical experience in fluidics and bioassays through this cross-institutional project with collaborators in the mechanical engineering department and clinical partners in Eldoret, Kenya.


VACCINE-Visual Analytics for Command, Control, and Interoperability Environments

Research categories:  Computational/Mathematical, Computer Engineering and Computer Science, Innovative Technology/Design
School/Dept.: ECE
Professor: David Ebert
Preferred major(s): Computer Engineering, Computer Science, other Engineering majors with programming experience
Desired experience:   Programming experience in C++, others as described below
Number of positions: 5

We are currently searching for students with strong programming and math backgrounds to work on a variety of projects at the Visual Analytics branch (VACCINE) of the Department of Homeland Security Center of Excellence in Command, Control and Interoperability. Students will each be assigned individual projects focusing on developing novel data analysis and exploration techniques using interactive techniques. Students should be well versed in C++ upon entering the SURF program, and will be expected to learn skills in R, OpenGL, and/or a variety of other libraries over the course of the summer.

Ongoing project plans will include research that combines soil, weather and crop data from sensing technology to provide critical crop answers for California wine growers and producers, programming for criminal incident report analysis, incorporating local statistics into volume rendering on the GPGPU, healthcare data analysis, and analyzing customizable topics and anomalies that occur in real-time via social media networks Twitter and Facebook. If you have CUDA programming experience or an intense interest to learn it, please indicate this on your application form. We also plan to have a project that will assist first responders in accident extrication procedures.

The ideal candidate will have good working knowledge of modern web development technologies, including client-side technologies such as HTML5, SVG, JavaScript, AJAX, and DOM, as well as server side components such as PHP, Tomcat, MySQL, etc. Experience in visualization or computer graphics is a plus. The project will likely be based on the D3 ( web-based visualization toolkit; prior experience using D3 or other visualization APIs for the web is particularly welcome.

Of the past undergraduate students that have worked in the center, five of their research projects have led to joint publications in our laboratory and at many of our areas' top venues. Sample projects include visual analytics for law enforcement data, health care data and sports data. Students will be assigned individual projects based on the center's needs which will be determined at a later date. To learn more about the VACCINE Center go to the website provided below.

More information:


Wearable Sensors for Improving Health Care Delivery

Research categories:  Bioscience/Biomedical, Industrial Engineering, Innovative Technology/Design
School/Dept.: Industrial Engineering
Professor: Denny Yu
Preferred major(s): Industrial Engineering, Biomedical Engineering
Desired experience:   Strong interest in human factors and healthcare. Experienced with Matlab. Comfortable with conducting field and laboratory-based studies.
Number of positions: 1

Healthcare is provided in a dynamic environment with complex human interactions. Excessive team and individual workload impact both patient and care provider safety, but quantifying workload in these environments remains elusive. Student selected for this project will conduct cutting-edge and applied research related to smart wearables for reducing provider workload and sensor-based quantification of human dynamics with the goal of informing interventions to enable the highest levels of health care delivery.