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.

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.

Cecilia Méndez

Location:
HSSB 4227

Research Project

I am working on two interrelated projects. The first one studies the long-term legacies of the 1780-1781 Túpac Amaru II rebellion against the Spanish Crown in Peru’s national imaginings, from its aftermath to the present. I trace both official and popular memories of this rebellion --and its erasure-- through written as well as visual sources. Concurrently, I work on a book project on nineteenth-century civil wars, local governance, and state formation which draws inspiration in Peru’s most recent civil war (1980-1900s), when peasants banded together with the army to the defeat the Shining Path terrorist insurgency.

Undergraduate Contribution

The student assistant will help me locate, organize, and transcribe newspaper articles that contain specific terms (I will indicate which) in an online Latin American newspaper collection. Other tasks include assistance with scanning, bibliographical searches, and transcription of Spanish texts.

Requirements

Interest in the history of Latin America, and Spanish reading proficiency are essential. Having taken Latin American history courses is desirable but not required. Familiarity with Excel is a plus.

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.

Holly Moeller

Location:
1120 Noble Hall
(805) 893-3216

Research Project

The Moeller Lab uses mathematical models, laboratory experiments, and field observations to explore community ecology. Our goal is to understand how interactions between different species shape the structure and function of the ecosystems that sustain life on Planet Earth. A current line of research in the lab involves developing mathematical models of acquired metabolism. Normally, we think of metabolism as something hard-wired in an organism, encoded within its DNA. But many species acquire access to other forms of metabolism within their lifetimes, through interactions with other species. This project develops and analyzes mathematical models of this process, connecting the mechanisms of species interactions with their impact on populations, communities, and ecosystems.

Undergraduate Contribution

Undergraduates involved in this project will contribute in multiple ways. They will serve as model developers, using their biological intuition and literature research to formulate mathematical equations representing study systems of interest. Study systems include, but are not limited to, plant-microbe mutualisms, chloroplast-stealing plankton, and coral-algal symbioses. Students will learn and use analytical skills (to compute model equilibria), programming skills (to simulate differential equations), and numerical skills (to analyze model outputs).

Requirements

Students should have familiarity with calculus and, ideally, linear algebra. Enthusiasm for biological problem-solving, and a desire to seek commonalities across superficially disparate systems is preferred. Students should be collaborative, tenacious, and creative. Some programming skills (the lab uses MATLAB and R for most of its work) would be helpful, but are not a requirement.

Marine Science Institute

Robert Miller

Location:
MSRB 2310
6174

Research Project

We are investigating the impact and spread of a marine invasive species, a bryozoan, off the Santa Barbara Coast. Questions addressed by the research include Does diversity of native species influence colonization? Do cleaning activities on offshore structures facilitate spread of the species? and How does the species affect ecosystem structure and function?

Undergraduate Contribution

The student would quantify diversity and abundance of marine invertebrates and algae in photos of the seafloor and manmade structures. This will involve a lot of computer time but will greatly add to your knowledge of local marine life. If the student is a scientific diver, there are also opportunities to participate in fieldwork. This is an unpaid position although that could change over time.

Requirements

-Minimum commitment of 5 hours per week
-Excellent work ethic and attention to detail
-Prefer student that has completed Invertebrate Zoology

Please contact me with a short statement of interest and a copy of your unofficial transcript.

Feminist Studies

Mireille Miller-Young

Location:
4712 South Hall

Research Project

My research focuses on sexual labor history and policy in various areas of the sex industry, including pornography, and looks particularly at issues of race, class, gender, and sexuality within that history and policy. I am working on a couple of projects simultaneously, including pornographic archives, policing and trafficking policy affecting black sex workers and pimps, and the history of representations in popular culture and film of black sexual labor.

Undergraduate Contribution

Undergraduate researchers will conduct library research on academic databases for journals and primary sources, online for mainstream sources and other library collections, interview transcriptions, editing and formatting of written texts, bibliography construction, organization of files and archives, and general support of academic activities by the professor.

Requirements

Upperclassmen with experience in feminist studies or related fields, and with independent library research and advanced writing skills preferred. Experience with and ability to use on one's own computer MS Word, Excel, and scanning software needed. Photoshop and film editing experience a plus.

Molecular Cellular and Developmental Biology

Craig Montell

Location:
LSB 2109
805-893-3634

Research Project

A central question in neurobiology is how animal behavior and decision making is controlled by the environment. Using molecular genetic, electrophysiological, biochemical and cell biological approaches in the fruit fly, Drosophila melanogaster. Our laboratory is defining the receptors and ion channels that sense the outside world, and impact on decisions ranging from food selection to choosing the ideal thermal landscape, mate selection and others. One of the key sensory receptors that we are characterizing are TRP channels, which in one animal or another responds to virtually all types of sensory inputs and impacts on a wide range of behaviors. We are also deciphering polymodal sensory roles of rhodopsins, gustatory receptors and ionotropic receptors, and defining the behaviors that they control.

Undergraduate Contribution

Undergraduates will typically work with a graduate student or postdoctoral fellow. Students will learn a variety of modern lab techniques including animal behavior, genetics, molecular cloning, immuno-histochemistry, confocal microscopy. The undergraduates will be carefully trained on how to design, perform, troubleshoot and interpret experiments.

Requirements

Undergraduates should be sophomores or above and have a 3.3 or above overall GPA. Students should commit a minimum of 10 hours per week for one year. Students with a background in genetics and lab experiences are preferred.

Denise Montell

Location:
3127 Bio II
893-3633

Research Project

We study how cells build and maintain normal adult tissues, which includes matintenance of stem cells, patterning the fates of stem cell daughters, epithelial morphogenesis and motility and how cells make life and death decisions. We use state-of-the-art microscopy and imaging, genetics and molecular and cell biology. We study the Drosophila ovary and mammalian tissue culture cells. We collaborate with laboratories around the world with expertise in mathematics, engineering, tissue engineering, mouse genetics, etc.

Undergraduate Contribution

Undergraduates can contribute by working one-on-one with a graduate student or postdoctoral fellow. Students will learn a variety of techniques in modern biomedical science such as molecular cloning, antibody staining, confocal microscopy, genetics, and tissue culture. Undergraduates will participate in all aspects of the project including experimental design, technical execution, trouble shooting, interpretation of results and formulating next steps.

Requirements

Undergraduate students should be sophomores or above and should have a 3.5 overall GPA and 3.5 science GPA as well as some laboratory experience. Students should be able to commit to at least 10 hours per week for one year. Summer participation is encouraged. A strong foundation in basic principles of biology is necessary. Prior or concurrent coursework in cell biology and genetics is a plus.

Religious Studies

Kathleen Moore

Location:
3044 HSSB
(805) 893-3564

Research Project

This project explores the public representations of shari'a in the United States.

Undergraduate Contribution

The undergraduate researcher will perform a systematic search of reporting on "shari'a-related" discussions across a set of news organizations and publications, in various traditional and new social media, along assigned parameters. The researcher will also search and identify discussions of shari'a "in the west" in scholarly publications. Much of this is online research, but visits to Davidson Library to do research in Special Collections will also be required. The researcher will update a database being designed for this project, and will meet with the professor once a week.

Requirements

Must be proficient working in Google Docs and using Excel spreadsheets. Religious Studies, History, Communication, Film and Media Studies, Sociology, Anthropology, and Global Studies majors are preferred. The student must sign up for an Independent Study course for 4 units.

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