Faculty Research Assistance Program (FRAP) Directory

The FRAP Directory allows students to identify UCSB faculty who are looking for undergraduate students to participate in their research projects or creative activities. Please use the links below to find opportunities by discipline. Students, if your desired discipline is not listed, please contact the Undergraduate Research Initiatives office at 805-893-3090 or urca@ltsc.ucsb.edu for assistance. Faculty, if you would like to post your research or creative activity opportunity, please complete the online submission form.

Molecular Cellular and Developmental Biology

David Low

Location:
3306 LSB
893-5597

Research Project

Analysis of contact-dependent growth inhibition between bacterial cells. Genetic screens and selections for CDI-resistant mutants.

Undergraduate Contribution

Set up and carry out genetics screens and selections for contact-dependent growth inhibition. Investigate pathways by which CDI toxins are delivered and kill target bacterial cells.

Requirements

Prefer student has taken MCDB 101A with a B or better and have some lab experience, 10-20 hrs/wk school year, need to be free in summer to work, full-time, with support likely. Looking for motivated, self-starter, research-oriented students.

Zach Ma

Location:
3119 LSB
893-4745

Research Project

Research in our group focuses on the unconventional functions of histone H3 lysine 4 methyltransferase complexes (H3K4MTs), an epigenetic machinery which methylates histone H3 lysine 4 in the nucleus.  In particular we are investigating the surprising roles of H3K4MT subunits in cell division, ciliary function and infection/immunity. H3K4 methylation is a hallmark of active transcription. Mutation and misregulation of H3K4MT subunits is directly linked to cancers, life span/aging, immunity, diabetes, mental retardation, and stem cell differentiation. Current literature almost exclusively focuses on the relationship between H3K4MT complexes and transcription; however, whether these proteins have any cytoplasmic functions is little known. Discovering these non-transcriptional activities is key to clarifying the association of H3K4MTs with pathophysiological events.

Undergraduate Contribution

Undergraduates will typically spend the first one or two quarters being trained in basic molecular, cellular and biochemical skills. Then the undergraduate will contribute to the research in one of the three areas mentioned above (cell division, ciliary function or infection and immunity). The undergraduates will be placed in teams of 3-4 people and will each work individually towards a common goal. 

Requirements

There are no specific course requirements, although a strong passion in research is required. Most projects will require a minimum time commitment of 10hrs per week.

Physics

Philip Lubin

Location:
2015C Broida
893-8432

Research Project

Experimental Astrophysics and Cosmology Group
Please see our website www.deepspace.ucsb.edu for more details.
We offer multiple projects including:
1) Studies of the Cosmic Microwave Background (CMB) - This remnant radiation from the beginning of the universe has contained with its spatial and polarization structure the keys to the past, present and future evolution of our universe. For example the composition of ordinary matter, dark matter and dark energy can be derived from the CMB. It is also possible that we will find evidence for gravitational waves from the early moments of the universe if the current ideas about inflation are correct. See the latest results from the Planck satellite for our recent results.

2) Anomalous emission from our galaxy - Our galaxy emits radiation from various processes including synchrotron radiation from energetic charged particles interacting with the galactic magnetic field and the emission from dust grains in interstellar space. There is an anomalous emission from our galaxy that is currently not well explained that we are studying.

3) Infrared balloon borne studies of high redshift galaxies - Our group flies payloads on very high altitude vehicles at altitudes up to 145,000 feet. This is far above any fixed wing aircraft and allows us to study the infrared signature of high redshift galaxies with much higher sensitivity that ground based observations.

4) Reionization at high redshift - The universe starts with extremely high temperature and the matter is ionized. It subsequently cools and largely become neutral after about 400,000 years. Subsequently when the first stars and galaxies form there is a large release of ultraviolet radiation from these early stars that appears to reionize the universe. We are looking for evidence of this period which is critical to understand.

5) Directed Energy Planetary Defense - recent advances in high power laser amplifiers allow extremely high power directed energy systems that enable future systems to deflect asteroids and comets that threaten the Earth.

6) Photon driven spacecraft - with the same elements we use for directed energy planetary defense it is feasible to propel spacecraft with the propulsion provided by photon drive. The advantage of this is that no mass in needed on the spacecraft for propulsion and thus much lower mass spacecraft can be designed and extremely high speeds can be achieved.

7) Advanced Morphable telescopes - conventional telescopes use fixed mirrors that require extremely precisely aligned elements. We are working on adaptive telescope designed that morph themselves into the proper shape using servo control via a laser interferometer.

Undergraduate Contribution

We have had more than 600 undergrads do research with us. Undergraduates participate in all aspects of our programs from conceptual design and theoretical analysis to experiments to data analysis and publications.

Requirements

An ability to excel and think outside the box is the most critical requirement. Everything else can be learned. Useful skills that are helpful would be previous experience with computers and programming, electronics, mechanical systems and mechanical design (CAD). Students can get credit via independent research as appropriate.

Sociology

Professor Zakiya Luna

Location:
3409 Social Science and Media Studies

Research Project

Social movements scholars have consistently been interested in understanding the consequences of movements. Movements can shift public policy, create new identities, influence other movements’ goals and become part of the institutions they previously challenged such as government and higher education. When the phrase “reproductive justice” was coined in 1994 it represented an exciting paradigm shift away from the divisive abortion debate. Their vision was to focus their advocacy efforts on how issues of racism, homophobia, poverty, disability, and citizenship differently affected the people’s opportunities to have children (e.g., for same-sex couples) and to parent their own children (e.g., for incarcerated people). Fast forward to 2016: talk show hosts use the phrase one major city health department has taken on an RJ focus and major universities have RJ research centers. Using archival data, observation, interviews, and a unique dataset of media hits, this project explores how movement ideas become part of major social institutions, namely media and education. FRAP position is open to all students regardless of major but students with interest in research on social change, gender, race and/or law are especially encouraged to apply. Up to three students will be selected to be a part of the research team.

Undergraduate Contribution

Depending upon interests and skill, undergraduate research assistants will assist with a range of research activities including:

• Assist with database maintenance as appropriate to the student’s skill level

• Coding documents

• Convert physical documents to electronic files

• Download information from internet

• Engage in library and on-line research

• Gather publicly available information about individuals and organizations

• Perform targeted internet searches using key phrases

• Read research articles to increase familiarity with the field

• Transcribe audio recordings

• Write analytic memos

Requirements

• personal access to a computer

• personal access the internet;

• facility with MS Word including how to cut and paste from the web;

• facility with MS Excel;

• willing to learn Zotero and other digital filing or bibliographical database system

. • participate in research team meetings

• ability to follow directions

• comfort or willingness to learn about subject matter (reproduction, politics)

• commit an average of three hours a week to the research (flexibility for exams , etc)

Zakiya Luna

Location:
3409 Social Science and Media Studies

Research Project

Professor Luna and faculty collaborators nationwide are currently collecting surveys from participants in the 2017 Women’s March on Washington and in cities across the country, including: Austin, Boston, Los Angeles, Oakland, Philadelphia, Portland, St. Louis, and Santa Fe. Our purpose is to understand what brings people to participate in a march of this scale, and at a critical historical juncture in our country’s political landscape. For the first phase, we have developed a survey about the motivations and experiences that have brought millions of people to the national march in DC and other major cities. For a second phase we will conduct interviews with some participants. Finally, we are conducting social media analysis. FRAP position is open to all undergraduates in the college of Letters and Science with at least a 3.4 GPA . Up to five students will be selected to be a part of the FRAP research team through which you will learn new skills, meet new people and help produce sociological research. Students will register for Soc 99/Soc 199 through Sociology department procedure.Students with interest in research on social change, gender, race and/or law are especially encouraged to apply. [More details on project development: Within a week of the election of Donald J Trump to the US presidency, individual women began to post online suggesting “another march.” The prior women’s march, March for Women’s Lives, was held in 2004 in Washington D.C. with an estimated one million attendees, many of whom were working to defeat the reelection of George W. Bush. The March drew the attention of many media outlets and social movement scholars. Contrary to the many claims that the women’s movement was dead, the march demonstrated to a doubting public the continued relevance of the US women’s movement (Staggenborg and Taylor 2005). Internal to the women’s movement, the March was also significant since it was the first time the four major feminist organizations had joined together to produce a major event and minority women took a major role in the leadership and grassroots organizing (Luna 2010). While that March was not successful in defeating Bush, it continues to be held up within movement settings as a sign of possibility although , practically, many people have short memories or did not even know there had been a prior march. When the calls for another march to occur in D.C. on inauguration weekend 2017 were posted online, there were thousands of people who expressed interest. This is an excellent opportunity to gather comparison data, as well as to study the political engagement of people on a national level around ideas of gender equality, as well as around other stated social justice politics. In the 12 years since the last march, much has changed within the women’s movement and the broader political sphere. This project will expand theoretical understanding of social movements and people’s participation in protest action. The different locations give us the opportunity to compare political engagement in varying cultural and political climates around the United States and beyond.]

Undergraduate Contribution

Depending upon interests and skill, undergraduate research assistants will assist with a range of research activities including:

• Assist with database maintenance as appropriate to the student’s skill level (e.g. inputting survey information)
• Download information from internet
• Engage in library and on-line research
• Attend and gather data at events such as one of the women’s marched on January 21, 2017
• Gather publicly available information about individuals and organizations
• Perform targeted internet searches using key phrases
• Read research articles to increase familiarity with the field
• Transcribe audio recordings
• Write brief analytic memos

Requirements

Requirements are:
• Attend training session for data collection in-person or virtually
• Attend one of the Women’s Marches in CA on January 21, 2017 to collect data from participants (some costs are covered)
• Attend debriefing meeting
• Personal access to a computer
• Personal access the internet;
• Facility with MS Word including how to cut and paste from the web;
• Facility with MS Excel;
• Willing to learn Zotero and other digital filing or bibliographical database system.
• Participate in periodic research team meetings
• Ability to follow directions
• Comfort or willingness to learn about subject matter (gender, politics)
• Commit an average of three hours a week to the research during the quarter (flexibility for exams , etc)

Psychological and Brain Sciences

Diane Mackie

Location:
Psych East 1823
805-893-2858

Research Project

Current research in our lab focuses on a) the emotions that people feel because they belong to a group, and how those emotions contribute to both positive and negative relations among groups; b) the extent to which people's opinions and attitudes reflect the influence of those around them; and c) the behavioral consequences of perceptions of power, and d) the prosocial outcomes of global identity ad connections, and e) identifying the process by which narratives (both written and visual) influence people's perceptions of themselves, the groups to which they belong, and of outgroup members. To learn more, please visit the website.

Undergraduate Contribution

Undergraduate research assistants help in all aspects of the research experience, from serving as experimenters, library research, data coding and entry, and assistance in manuscript preparation.

Requirements

We prefer a three-quarter commitment and require a GPA above 3.0.  Good grades in PSY 5, 7 ,and 102 are always welcome but a passion for research is the best prerequisite. Research assistants must have blocks of time (at least an hour, preferably more) available between 8AM and 5PM at least 2 days of the week.

Brenda Major

Location:
Psychology East 38
893-7238

Research Project

Current research projects examine the impact of organizational diversity initiatives on minorities’ and majorities’ perceptions of fairness and acceptance within organizations, and the impact of perceived ethnic, gender, and weight-based discrimination on physiological stress responses, health behaviors, and interpersonal relationships.

Undergraduate Contribution

Undergraduates who work in my lab are involved with a variety of research tasks. They help to recruit, schedule, and run participants in laboratory and field experiments, enter self-report data into the computer and help to code physiological and nonverbal responses. They also assist with library research and a variety of support tasks (e.g., editing, copying).

Requirements

  • Grade point average of 3.3 or better.
  • Grade of B or better in Research Methods and Statistics
  • Ability to work well with others, show initiative, attention to detail
  • Skills with computer programming and/or audio/visual equipment desirable but not essential.

History

Harold Marcuse

Location:
HSSB 4222

Research Project

I've scanned a rare and little-known historical journal published 1946-1948 by Holocaust survivors in Bavaria. It is in Yiddish written with Hebrew letters. I have set up a wiki to crowdsource the this work: <http://yiddishhistoryjournal.wiki-site.com/index.php/Main_Page>. The research assistant would work on expanding the wiki site, perhaps also doing some sample transcribing/transliterating the Hebrew into the Roman alphabet. Knowledge of Hebrew alphabet essential, knowledge of German or Yiddish desirable. 

Undergraduate Contribution

Phonetic transcribing from Hebrew letters into the Roman alphabet. Trials with translation engines, and work posting to and developing wiki site. Once we have worked out a basic system for translation, there are a host of research possibilities.

Requirements

Familiarity with the Hebrew alphabet is essential. Experience setting up web pages desirable, depending on tasks. Some knowledge of Holocaust history, and/or German or Yiddish language would be helpful.

Ecology Evolution and Marine Biology

Susan Mazer

Location:
4119 Life Sciences
893-8011

Research Project

EVOLUTIONARY CHANGE IN WILDFLOWERS: PREDICTING THE EFFECTS OF CLIMATE CHANGE ON LIFE HISTORY AND FLORAL TRAITS. Several research projects in the Mazer lab are designed to detect evidence for adaptation and genetically based variation among wild plant populations of several species in two groups of insect-pollinated wildflowers.  The first is the genus Clarkia (known as Farewell-to-Spring), a widespread genus of beautiful California wildflowers that are among the last group of wildflowers to flower each spring.  The second group is the genus Streptanthus (jewelflower), which includes many species with the unusual ability to tolerate the high metal content of serpentine soils.  One of our primary goals is to examine geographic variation in traits that evolve in response to local climatic conditions in order to predict the effects of climate change on the evolution of plant life history and reproductive traits in plants. For example, if plant populations living at warm, low-elevation sites have evolved to flower earlier and produce smaller flowers (which lose less water than large flowers) than populations living at cooler, high-elevation sites, then we may predict that as the climate warms, all populations will evolve to flower earlier and to produce small flowers. In addition, if the pollinators of these populations don't emerge earlier to match the flowering time, then these populations will be at risk of failing due to insufficient pollination.

Undergraduate Contribution

You will participate in greenhouse experiments that will include a combination of greenhouse work (planting seedlings, pollinating flowers, recording data, collecting buds and seeds, and maintaining and cleaning up experimental supplies), data management, and lab work (examining plant organs under a microscope, weighing seeds, creating germination media). You'll be expected to work 8-10 hours a week, including weekly lab meetings to be scheduled when all lab members are available to come, where we will plan training sessions, trouble-shoot any technical problems that come up, discuss the broader research topics being explored in the Mazer lab, and read and discuss the current literature in plant evolutionary ecology (the study of natural selection and evolution in wild populations). You'll have the opportunity to conduct a senior thesis project in the lab if you demonstrate sufficient independence, care, and responsibility.

Requirements

Students may join this research project in Fall, Winter or Spring, but we prefer students who join in the fall and stay all year. Students are expected to have completed (or to enroll in during Winter 2017) EEMB 127 (Plant Biology and Biodiversity). Other useful (but not mandatory) courses include EEMB 127L (the lab for Plant Biology & Biodiveresity), Evolution, MacroEvolution, Ecology, Genetics and/or Population Biology. A good sense of humor and strong work ethic are also necessary! Please check out my lab's other research projects at: www.usanpn.org/cpp and www.baselineseedbank.org/

Douglas McCauley

Location:
Building 408

Research Project

Research in my laboratory focuses on understanding how wildlife communities are affected by changes to the environment. Current projects center upon research in coral reef ecosystems in the central Pacific and on hippopotamus ecology in East Africa. We are presently looking for motivated students to join our lab group doing a diverse set of research tasks in both domains. Example projects include using remote sensing to study self-organization in wildlife herds, tracing energy flow across ecosystems using biogeochemistry, and studying animal interactions using wildlife cameras.

 

Undergraduate Contribution

Students will be encouraged to take ownership over a particular project and works towards doing their own independent research.

Requirements

Students that have taken basic coursework in ecology and biology are preferred. A background in field or laboratory research will be helpful for beginning on advanced assignments.

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