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.

Asian American Studies

John Park

Location:
5040 HSSB
x8573

Research Project

Coming Into an Awareness.  This project examines how young people come into an awareness of their legal status, often in cases where this status is a legal disability or liability within the United States.  The project examines slave children and the children of fugitive slaves, Chinese Americans whose parents were illegal immigrants, Japanese Americans during World War II, and undocumented students in contemporary law and society.  

Undergraduate Contribution

Students interested in archival legal history would be especially interested in this project, as well as students in ethnic studies, sociology, and other related fields.  

Requirements

Upper division standing.

English

Sowon Park

Location:
South Hall 2917
(805) 335-4940

Research Project

Applications are invited for FRAP assistants to join the team working on Multi-Scriptworlds and the Visual Imagination.The aim of the project is to animate new links between existing scholarship on concrete poetry and the notable advances that have been made in the study of visual communication in digital technology and cognitive neuroscience.

Undergraduate Contribution

FRAP assistants will provide research support for the project in a range of areas, including preparation of materials for the exhibition and research trip to the International Concrete Poetry movement (1960-1980) archive at the Getty Research Institute. There is also the possibility of pursuing individual research in the area.

Requirements

Knowledge of written Chinese preferred but not essential. A background in digital art would be helpful.

Location:
South Hall 2917
(805) 893-4148

Research Project

Unconscious memory

This project will bring the intensively researched area of human memory in neuroscience (and, within this, the field of unconscious memory) together with the rich elaborations of the unconscious in the world literary archive and with new cognitive models emerging from the accelerating field of artificial intelligence.

Undergraduate Contribution

You will be working with scholars working at the frontier of knowledge on the human mind from all around the world and have the opportunity to contribute to a developing program at UCSB.

Requirements

Good written communication skills, excellent judgment, punctuality, computer skills and intellectual curiosity.

Preferred but not essential: Mind, Brain and Literature (Eng 170)

Swati Rana

Location:
SH 2706
893-7488

Research Project

This project is a comparative study of early-twentieth century immigrant literature, including work by Afro-Caribbean, Arab, Filipino, Latino, and South Asian writers. Chapters explore the formal construction of minoritarian identity in a pre-civil rights U.S. framework, in conjunction with the varied diasporic and transnational histories that shape these texts.

Undergraduate Contribution

Undergraduate researchers would collect, review, and summarize books and articles, and develop annotated bibliographies for relevant research fields. They may also review the archives of individual writers as well as archives of early California immigrant history. In the process, undergraduate researchers would develop a broad familiarity with literary criticism and theory, ethnic literary history, as well as U.S. race and immigration history, and would have an opportunity to define and hone their research methods.

Requirements

Undergraduate researchers should be reliable and detail-oriented, and have some course background in literary study, immigration, race, and/or global studies.

Chemistry and Biochemistry

Stanley Parsons

Location:
Chem 1126B
893-2252

Research Project

My group is studying storage of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine (ACh) by synaptic vesicles, which are hollow storage organelles located in nerve terminals. Refilling of vesicles emptied by neurotransmission is mediated by a transporter called the vesicular ACh transporter (VAChT). VAChT resides in the vesicular membrane and exchanges one ACh molecule from cytoplasm for two vesicular protons that are supplied by a separate proton pump. We currently are characterizing the amino acid residues involved in proton and ACh translocation in the PC12 mammalian cell line. We also are attempting an expression strategy in E. coli to see if a functional VAChT construct can be obtained. Such an accomplishment would allow preparation of abundant low-cost protein needed for crystallization and X-ray diffraction of VAChT.

Undergraduate Contribution

Undergraduates would focus on cloning procedures to create the recombinant DNA required for bacterial expression of human VAChT. Expression of the recombinant DNA constructs, purification of the expressed VAChTs, and characterization of the folded state of VAChT through the binding of the potent inhibitor, vesamicol, would be expected. This was demonstrated recently for a closely related protein. If expressed VAChT is found to bind vesamicol, reconstitution into protein-lipid vesicles will be attempted to asses transport efficiency.

Requirements

Undergraduates must have completed the following courses:

  • Chem 109 A/B/C with a A- or higher.
  • Chem 142 A/B/C with a A- or higher.
  • Chem 110L with a A- or higher.
  • Chem 125L with a A- or higher.

Norbert Reich

Location:
1142D

Research Project

We are looking for students to help develop and run a science outreach program (SciTrek).

Undergraduate Contribution

Work with faculty and staff to design, implement and run the outreach

Requirements

Willingness to work hard; some understanding of basic science.

Environmental Studies

David Pellow

Location:
4304 Bren Hall
(619) 488-7838

Research Project

**Not taking on new research assistants until Spring 2017**
This project involves the study of the links among the U.S. prison system, impacts on local/regional/national/global ecosystems, impacts on communities of color and working class communities where prisons are located and where the majority of prisoners are from, and their implications for social and environmental justice movements. Specifically, we are interested in asking what are the effects of prison construction and maintenance on public and environmental health and what can be done to address these problems? This project aims to provide data and collaborative opportunities to people interested in ending mass incarceration and promoting environmental justice.

Undergraduate Contribution

Undergraduate members of the research collective will be expected to conduct targeted internet searches to find a wide range of sources on the topic, write up annotated bibliographies, and compile lists of organizations and individuals working on these issues.

Requirements

Requirements are: 1) personal access to a computer and the internet; 2) facility with MS Word including how to cut and paste from the web; 3) attention to detail; 4) the ability to follow directions. It is also a helpful if you are willing to learn Zotero or other digital filing or bibliographical database system. 

Earth Science

Susannah Porter

Location:
Webb 1117
805-893-8954

Research Project

Studies of animal and protistan microfossils with the goal of understanding the evolution and ecology of early life (ca. 500 to 1000 million years ago).

Undergraduate Contribution

Student will assist with sample preparation and processing, including acid dissolution of rocks and microfossil picking, and light and/or scanning electron microscopy.

Requirements

B+ or better in Earth 111.

Ecology Evolution and Marine Biology

Stephen Proulx

Location:
LSB 4109

Research Project

Ongoing research in our lab uses the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae to study experimental evolution of gene networks and genetic interactions. Our goal is to use this microbe as a window to understand how genetic interactions evolve. We are currently following the evolution of sporulation and mating because these "behaviors" have an important effect on the population structure and the opportunity for adaptive evolution in nature. The experimental procedures that we use range from genetic manipulation of yeast to create designer strains, genotyping of strains by PCR, and a variety of microbiological techniques to manipulate the life-cycle and mating of yeast. Undergraduates working on these projects should expect to gain proficiency in a range of lab techniques and apply them on a regular basis.

Undergraduate Contribution

All students working in the lab contribute to the general maintenance of the lab, including pouring agar plates and mixing media. Students will start out learning specific lab techniques for culturing and manipulating yeast, and then move onto a specific project. These projects typically involve a combination of yeast culturing, genetic crossing, phenotyping, and PCR genotyping. Students are expected to devote several consecutive hours on days that they work in the lab. There is also a 1-hour weekly lab meeting that students attend and, from time to time, present their results.

Requirements

An interest in expanding your own understanding of the evolutionary basis of the biological world, a desire to discuss scientific hypotheses, ability to focus on a single problem, attention to detail, and a great attitude in a team environment.

Psychological and Brain Sciences

Kyle Ratner

Location:
3814 Psych East

Research Project

Current research in the lab is investigating how individuals perceive and understand other people. To study these issues we use methods from social psychology, cognitive neuroscience, and psychopharmacology.

Undergraduate Contribution

Research assistants will be involved in preparing study materials, running participants, and assisting with data analysis.

Requirements

We are looking for conscientious research assistants who are passionate about social psychology, cognitive psychology, and neuroscience. Students must commit 8-10 hours/week to research activities. 3.0 or higher GPA is required. Familiarity with computer programming is highly valued, but not required.

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