Honors

• Research Assistant in REINVENT-PT Lab

Opportunity Description

The REINVENT-PT lab (REhabilitation INnoVations & Emerging Novel Technologies in Physical Therapy, PI: Dr. Sudha Srinivasan) at the University of Connecticut (UConn) is interested in understanding developmental trajectories of individuals with neuro-developmental disabilities including Autism, Cerebral Palsy, Down syndrome, etc. across the lifespan.

We are interested in studying how infants and children with developmental disabilities explore their physical and social environment compared to typically developing peers and the cascading effects of motor difficulties on a child’s social communication and cognitive development. We are also interested in assessing health-related outcomes in adolescents and young adults with developmental disabilities, including their physical activity and physical fitness levels. Based on our understanding of the developmental trajectories of individuals with disabilities, our goal is to develop multisystem, engaging, evidence-based, behavioural interventions and assistive technologies to empower the lives of people with disabilities.

At present, the lab has 4 ongoing research projects – (1) exploring the utility and efficacy of using playful joystick-operated ride-on-toys to promote upper extremity function and spontaneous use in children with hemiplegic Cerebral Palsy both in a camp setting and as a home-based program. Specifically, we are also interested in comparing the efficacy of single versus dual joystick ride-on-toy navigation training in improving uni- and bimanual function in children with hemiplegic CP, (2) assessing the ability of healthy neurotypical children to drive joystick-operated ride-on-toys using their non-dominant side, (3) assessing physical activity and physical fitness levels in adolescents and young adults with developmental disabilities compared to age-matched typically developing peers and understanding factors at the personal and environmental levels that influence physical activity engagement in young adults with disabilities, and (4) assessing the effects of a novel, icon-driven Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) device on social communication and behavioral skills of children with Autism Spectrum Disorder using a longitudinal study design.

We specifically need help with projects (1) and (2) listed above in terms of recruitment efforts, data collection, and data analyses.

Student Qualifications
We are looking for passionate, energetic, and empathetic undergraduate students interested in working on projects involving infants, children, and adults with disabilities. Students can pursue research at the lab for credit, for work study, and with the potential of converting a subset of the research into an honor’s thesis.

Students are required to commit to pursuing research in the lab for at least 2-3 semesters in order for the experience to be meaningful for students. Students are required to complete CITI training given that our research is with human subjects (details will be provided by the study PI). Students from diverse backgrounds including but not limited to psychology, physiology and neurobiology, biology, exercise science, communication sciences, allied health, and education are encouraged to apply.

How to Apply
Interested students should contact Dr. Sudha Srinivasan at sudha.srinivasan@uconn.edu via email. Please attach your resume/CV and unofficial transcript to the email.

Mentor: Sudha Srinivasan, Assistant Professor
Department: Kinesiology (Physical Therapy)
Email: sudha.srinivasan@uconn.edu
Timing: Fall 2022, Spring 2023, Summer 2023
Campus: Storrs

• Research Assistant in Lab Exploring Outcomes After Pediatric Critical Illness

Opportunity Description
Dr. Perry-Eaddy is focused on understanding outcomes in children after critical illness. Namely, she is interested in understanding the underlying biological mechanisms that may increase a child’s risk of poor recovery, such as hyper-inflammation. This position will include assisting in the start-up of a study of critically ill children who survive the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU). The student research assistant will aid in conducting literature reviews, analyzing literature, preparing grants, IRB submissions etc. Additionally the student will aid in the development of research data collection tools, as well as preparation of sample collection kits. The student will learn the essentials of launching a clinical research study. There may be opportunities for the student to have unique opportunities such as writing/publishing a manuscript or poster presentation, answering a research question with existing data, and applying for internal grant funding.

There is a potential opportunity to receive honors course credit, which would be discussed with student and major advisor in advance.

A list of potential tasks the student may perform include the following:
-Conduct literature searches
-Extract information from sources
-Organize and classify data
-Proofread and edit data collection forms in REDcap
-Test data collection forms prior to going live with clinical subjects
-Create sample collection kits
-Assist in maintaining REDcap database
-Look up and check references
-Tabulate and analyze data

Student Qualifications
Required:
-Be an undergraduate student in the Honors Program
-Be able to operate computer, phone, and/or other research equipment
-Have strong communication skills (verbal and written)
-Be able to maintain confidentiality

Preferred:
-While not required, students with interest in clinical and/or translational research are best suited for this position. Especially those enrolled in health-related programs (i.e. nursing, pre-med, allied health, pharmacy, etc.).
-Prior research experience, including literature reviews and/or completion of W-level coursework is strongly encouraged.
-Knowledge of REDcap database is preferred, though not required.

How to Apply
If interested, please submit your resume and cover letter to Dr. Perry-Eaddy (mallory.perry@uconn.edu), addressing your interest in pediatric critical care clinical and/or translational research, and what you hope to gain from the experience.

Mentor: Dr. Mallory Perry-Eaddy, Assistant Professor
Department: Nursing
Email: mallory.perry@uconn.edu
Timing: Ongoing
Campus: Storrs

Research Assistant in the Hoeft BRAINLens Laboratory

Opportunity Description

Part-time research opportunity to contribute to the study of effects of toxicants and teratogens on perinatal neurodevelopment!

Seeking motivated undergraduate research assistants who are available to work an average of 9 hours per week (fully remote) to contribute to an exciting project on the effects of toxicants and teratogens on perinatal neurodevelopment and subsequent achievement in reading and mathematics. This is a project of the Hoeft BRAINLens Laboratory. The research group includes scientists from the University of Connecticut and the University of California San Francisco.

Responsibilities on this project will include working with Deborah Schneider (UCONN postdoc) and Florence Bouhali (UCSF postdoc) to complete a systematic search of research papers at the intersection of brain imaging and the effects of toxicants and teratogens on perinatal neurodevelopment. Thus, the work will involve:
• Filtering through abstracts and full text articles to select relevant papers
• Documenting reasons why articles are excluded
• Coding papers for key variables such as sample characteristics, brain imaging measures, study quality, etc.
• Conferencing with subgroup team to make decisions on articles
• Assembling tables and documents to keep track of the search process

Prior familiarity with neuroscience, cognitive science, and related fields is preferred but not required. Please contact deborah.schneider-richardson@uconn.edu if interested.

This is a volunteer position. Course credit (PSYC 3889 [Undergraduate Research]) will be offered in lieu of other compensation.

Student Qualifications
Applicants must be in their junior or senior year. Prior familiarity with neuroscience, cognitive science, and/or related fields is preferred but not required.

How to Apply
Please contact deborah.schneider-richardson@uconn.edu if interested.

Mentor: Deborah Schneider, Postdoctoral Researcher
Department: Hoeft BRAINLens Laboratory
Email: deborah.schneider-richardson@uconn.edu
Timing: Spring 2022
Campus: Full remote opportunity

Research Assistant in Global Environmental Remote Sensing in the GERS Lab

Opportunity Description

This research project investigates using satellite images for mapping global environmental change, climate change, and sustainability. We will use dense time series of satellite data acquired during day and night time to monitoring, assessment, and projecting landscape change at large scales. More information regarding the GERS Laboratory can be found at this link: https://gerslab.uconn.edu/

We work together with concepts from environmental science, machining learning, climate change, remote sensing, and image processing within a rich interdisciplinary field. We have several projects all focused on mapping and characterizing land change at a continental or global scale. Our lab works closely with scientists from USGS and NASA. As an undergraduate research assistant, you would aid primarily in image interpretation, as well as potentially develop algorithms for Earth observation.

You are expected to receive training to use a high-performance computing facility to process satellite data, aided by a graduate student/postdoc researcher mentor. Once you have gained the knowledge in using remote sensing data, you will be able to collect satellite data in your own interest area and apply remote sensing techniques to extract useful information. The time commitment is flexible and is minimal for a semester (renewal for the future semesters is possible and encouraged). The assistantship will start in the summer of 2021 and going forward. RAs will receive research course credits and authorship (if published) as compensation for the work.

Student Qualifications
Preferred Qualifications (but not limited to):
– Basic knowledge of remote sensing and use of satellite data (e.g., have taken the NRE Remote Sensing of Environment course)
– Experience with programming languages (Matlab, R, Python, or others).
– Strong interest in find answers to big science questions.

How to Apply
Please email zhe@uconn.edu and include a brief description of why you are applying for this position and a resume. Strong applicants will go through a virtual or face-to-face interview with the faculty.

Mentor: Zhe Zhu, Assistant Professor
Department: Natural Resources and the Environment
Email: zhe@uconn.edu
Timing: Summer 2021, Fall 2021, Spring 2022, Ongoing
Campus: Storrs

• Undergraduate Research in Cell Biology

Opportunity Description

Preclinical research in cancer therapeutics. Our lab in collaboration with with a small biotech company pioneered the use of high-Z nanoparticles to enhance radiation therapy of cancers–with a special emphasis on brain cancers–both primary gliomas and metastatic brain tumors. Our original work was done with gold nanoparticles. We are currently working with iodine nanoparticles. Full-time summer research and 9 hrs/week course research in fall and spring are available.

Please go to our Cell Biology web site to see a short description of our lab’s interests and most of our publications since 2000. The attached link is a virtual talk I gave at the most recent Society for NeuroOncology meeting. https://www.dropbox.com/s/hrxqzdsf3hqngno/Henery%2011.01.2020.mp4?dl=0

If you think you might have interest in our lab, e-mail smilowitz@uchc.edu and I can discuss specific projects. Many of the students who intern in our lab publish with us as co-authors.

Student Qualifications
Looking for responsible, very talented students with strong performance in STEM and strong work ethic.
Prefer students interested in a career in medicine (getting MD) or research (getting PhD)
Prefer rising seniors who wish to pursue a senior thesis, but open to rising juniors and sophomores.
Prefer previous lab experience, but open to students that have had course lab experience
Prefer students who are facile with instrumentation and have good computer skills.
Prefer students who are open to working with lab animals.

How to Apply
Please forward the following items to Dr. Smilowitz via email to smilowitz@uchc.edu.

1. Resume
2. Transcript
3. Personal letter with interests, motivations, long-term goals and availability for this research experience
4. At least one letter of recommendation from someone who knows you well

Mentor: Henry Smilowitz, Associate Professor
Department: Cell Biology
Email: smilowitz@uchc.edu
Timing: Ongoing – provisionally available for Spring 2021 (will depend on Covid situation)
Campus: UConn Health (Farmington)

Research Assistant in Molecular Modeling Lab

Opportunity Description

Our group specializes in molecular modeling & simulation to study biomaterials, biomechanics and biophysical processes associated with the body’s function in health and disease. We are always interested in mentoring self-motivated undergraduate students from diverse backgrounds. Multiple projects are available depending on student interest and fit.

More details on the projects can be found at: http://me.engr.uconn.edu/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/F18-REU-Anna-Tarakanova.pdf

The student will gain experience in molecular model development, atomistic modeling, coarse-graining approaches, molecular simulation setup and implementation on supercomputers, molecular visualization software, MATLAB/Python scripting, and scientific writing. The student will have a chance to participate in a collaborative project, and if successful, contribute to a scientific publication.

Research activities may include:
– Read and summarize related literature
– Build and iterate molecular models
– Perform simulations on computing cluster
– Post-process data
– Visualize and analyze data
– Meet weekly with faculty member

Commitment: 10 hours/week, including a weekly meeting with faculty member

Course credit available.

Student Qualifications
Helpful experience for all projects: Familiarity with scripting in the Linux environment, molecular modeling with molecular-dynamics-based approaches, experience with Python/MATLAB.

Preferred coursework: Differential Equations/Linear Algebra, Physics I: Mechanics/Statistical Physics, Biochemistry.

How to Apply
Interested students should email a resume/CV and a brief cover letter to anna.tarakanova@uconn.edu indicating why they are interested in this research opportunity. Please indicate whether you are interested in the Fall semester or both Fall & Spring.

Mentor: Anna Tarakanova, Assistant Professor
Department: Mechanical Engineering
Email: anna.tarakanova@uconn.edu
Timing: Fall 2018, Spring 2019
Campus: Storrs

• Research Assistant in Food Microbiology Lab

Opportunity Description
Depending on previous experience and interest, students will assist with ongoing research projects including but not limited to identifying and optimizing natural and novel means of controlling pathogens in cheese. These include the use of GRAS antimicrobials (e.g. hydrogen peroxide, lauric arginate ethyl ester, polylysine, and acidified calcium sulfate), protective cultures of lactic acid bacteria, and modified atmosphere packaging to enhance the shelf life and safety of dairy products. When taken for credit (independent study/undergraduate research), time commitments can range from 3-15 hours per week. Duration can be short as a single semester or renewed for multiple semesters. Depending on the individual, the opportunity is also available during the semester breaks. This opportunity is not a paid position.

Student Qualifications
We are looking for someone with an interest in dairy science, food science, and/or microbiology.
Coursework in microbiology and/or previous lab experience are preferred.

How to Apply
Email Dr. D’Amico (ddamico@uconn.edu) explaining your interest. There is no deadline.

Mentor: Dennis D’Amico, Assistant Professor
Department: Animal Science
Email: ddamico@uconn.edu
Timing: Ongoing
Campus: Storrs

• Research Assistant in Biomedical/Clinical Research

Opportunity Description
Patient outcomes research in clinical medicine utilizing large nationwide databases to investigate clinical questions related to liver disease and liver transplant. This is an opportunity for prospective students interested in being involved in biomedical research with the goal of learning and manipulating large medical databases. With the guidance of the mentor and statistical assistance, the prospective candidate will have the opportunity to participate in a research project in medicine. With the mentor, the student will develop a clinical question which can answered with the appropriate database, and gain experience proposing a hypothesis, working with statistical team, interpreting the results, and formulating conclusions from the results. There will be weekly meeting with the mentor and opportunity to have exposure to a clinical environment for those students interested to pursue careers in medicine. Work is primarily done independently with guidance, thus no specific number of hours per week commitment. One of the objectives of the project would be to allow the student to present his or her findings in a poster or oral presentation format at national meetings and eventual publication. This is currently a nonfunded volunteer position. The time commitment is variable depending on student’s proficency handling large databases.

Student Qualifications
Comfortable using excel database, be able to work independently, ability to perform online pubmed research to gather background literature on the topic, understand basic statistics

How to Apply
Please contact mentor directly;
Provide resume and letter of interest

Mentor: Raffi Karagozian, MD, Clinical Assistant Professor of Medicine
Department: Gastroenterology & Hepatology
Email: rkaragozian@sfhcp.org
Timing: Ongoing
Campus: UConn Health

• Research Lab in Obesity Prevention

Opportunity Description
Community-Based Participatory Research in Obesity Prevention – This 5-credit course is intended to be taken as part of a year-long sequence; part II will be offered in Spring 2015.

This course provides a unique opportunity to study a complex health problem – obesity – from a social ecological perspective and to work with community partners to assist in the development, implementation, and evaluation of a statewide obesity prevention campaign using community-based participatory research methodology. Lectures focus on current obesity trends, causal factors of excessive weight, and the consequences of obesity. Community-based participatory research skills include focus groups, interviews, and environmental audits to develop an obesity prevention program that meets the needs of a diverse population. This is a unique learning opportunity that will allow students to work with a national health care consulting firm and a statewide media company to develop and test an obesity prevention program. To learn more about this research and how the course will fulfill Plan of Study requirements, please see: http://undergrad.psych.uconn.edu/2014/07/15/psyc-3885/ or contact Dr. Amy Gorin at amy.gorin@uconn.edu.

Student Qualifications
Interest in applied research, nutrition, physical activity, and health behavior change.

How to Apply
Please contact Dr. Amy Gorin at amy.gorin@uconn.edu as soon as possible to receive a permission number to register.

Mentor: Amy Gorin, Associate Professor
Department: Psychology
Email: amy.gorin@uconn.edu
Timing: Fall 2014, Spring 2015
Campus: Storrs

• Research Assistant for Education/Psychology Students

Opportunity Description
Dr. Kearns’s work focuses on word reading difficulties in children in 3rd, 4th, and 5th grades. He studies the basic processes involved in word reading in children (links to cognitive and developmental psychology) and designs interventions to improve reading outcomes in these struggling readers. Work in his lab involves two kinds of tasks:
1) Work in schools with children, either testing them (links to school psychology) or delivering instruction to struggling readers (links to special education).
2) Work on campus to enter data and validate its accuracy (links to most social science research).

It is an expectation that students will work at least 10 hours per week. All students work as volunteers for one semester, and opportunities to conduct funded research are possible if the first semester is successful. Dr. Kearns was previously an assistant professor at Boston University. You can contact Michael Li (milkeli@bu.edu) if you would like to learn about Dr. Kearns, his lab, and his previous work mentoring undergraduates.

Student Qualifications
Qualified candidates will be willing and able to do both kinds of work. Important qualifications include these:
* Organizational skills
* Problem-solving skills and the ability to figure out complex tasks
* Flexibility
* Consistency and punctuality
* Hard work.
Other research skills are not required; most skills will be taught on the job.

How to Apply
Applicants should write to Dr. Kearns directly (devin.kearns@uconn.edu). Include your resume and your schedule for Fall 2014 in your inquiry. Review of applications is ongoing. Interviews may be scheduled via Skype as early as August 1, 2014. We look forward to hearing from you!

Mentor: Devin Kearns, Assistant Professor of Special Education
Department: Educational Psychology
Email: devin.kearns@uconn.edu
Timing: Fall 2014, Spring 2015, Summer 2015, Ongoing
Campus: Storrs