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:

Life Science

 

Biosensors for point-of-care applications

Research categories:  Bioscience/Biomedical, Chemical, Life Science
School/Dept.: Chemical Engineering
Professor: Chongli Yuan
Preferred major(s): Chemical Engineering/Biomedical Engineering
Number of positions: 1

The large number of people affected by infectious diseases in the developing world puts an enormous burden on the health system. Infected patients, which now have global access to therapies, require constant disease management and regular visits to clinics. This burden creates a great challenge in low-resource areas with a limited number of trained medical personnel and constrained diagnostic and monitoring methods. A consequence of such limited resources and restricted monitoring of therapy is the development of drug resistance, a major hurdle to patient care worldwide. A point-of-care tool that enables rapid detection of drug resistance mutations is of pressing need to meet the increasing health-care demand in developing countries. This application thus aims to develop a cellphone-based detection device for drug resistance.

 

Functional Brain Imaging of Traumatic Brain Injury

Research categories:  Bioscience/Biomedical, Life Science
School/Dept.: Biomedical Engineering
Professor: Yunjie Tong
Preferred major(s): ECE, BME
Desired experience:   The student is required to have good analytical skills and familiar with Matlab or Python.
Number of positions: 1-2

Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), even the mild one, has been demonstrated to have long term negative effects on the brain. The impact is even more devastating for the developing brain. Purdue Neurotrauma Group (PNG) has collected many brain imaging data (MRI) to assess brain function, perfusion, white matter integrity, structural and functional connectivity for the young football players with TBI or mild TBI. The undergraduate student in this project will work closely with Dr. Tong and PNG. He/she will analyze the brain imaging data (e.g. fMRI) based on the new hypothesis to deepen our understanding of TBI. The student is required to have good analytical skills and familiar with Matlab or python. The student will learn the skills in MRI data quality-control, data analyses, time series analysis.

 

Lyophilization Research

Research categories:  Aerospace Engineering, Bioscience/Biomedical, Chemical, Computational/Mathematical, Life Science, Nanotechnology
School/Dept.: AAE
Professor: Alina Alexeenko
Preferred major(s): Chemistry, Chemical Engineering and other Engineering majors; Math/CS, Physics
Number of positions: 1-2

Freeze-drying, also called lyophilization, is widely used in manufacturing of injectable pharmaceuticals, vaccines, biotech products, chemical reagents, food and probiotic cultures. The research during the summer undergraduate project will involve experimental studies of novel lyoprotectants and/or computational modeling of heat and mass transfer in R&D lyophilizes. The summer undergraduate researcher will be involved in developing research methods as well as collecting and analyzing data.

More information: http://www.lyohub.org

 

Metabolic Engineering of Cyanobacteria for Chemical Production

Research categories:  Bioscience/Biomedical, Chemical, Life Science
School/Dept.: Chemical Engineering
Professor: John Morgan
Preferred major(s): Biochemistry, Chemical Engineering, ABE
Desired experience:   Biochemistry
Number of positions: 1

Cyanobacteria are single celled organisms that utilize sunlight to drive the reduction of CO2 into all the organic chemicals necessary for life. Hence, they are a potential alternative to petroleum as source of chemicals. Compared to plants, these bacteria grow significantly faster, require low nutrient input and are easier to process than plants. Cyanobacteria are also readily genetically engineered with foreign DNA. The goal of this project is to insert a foreign pathway consisting of several genes into a cyanobacteria to manufacture a valuable chemical. The student will also analyze the effects of light and CO2 on the amount of chemical produced.

 

MicroRNA Involvement in Cancer

Research categories:  Bioscience/Biomedical, Life Science
School/Dept.: Biological Sciences
Professor: Andrea Kasinski
Preferred major(s): Biology or Biochemistry
Desired experience:   Molecular biology background.
Number of positions: 1-2

Our lab works on non-coding RNAs, specifically microRNAs and their involvement in cancer. We work to identify novel RNAs, gain an understanding of their biogenesis and misrepresentation in cancer and then utilize this knowledge to develop RNA-based therapies. There are multiple potential summer projects in the lab. Please visit our lab website and contact Dr. Kasinski for more information.

 

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.