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.

Marine Science Institute

Alyson Santoro

Location:
Marine Biotech Rm 2155
893-5318

Research Project

Our lab studies the distribution, abundance, and activity of microbes in the ocean. We are especially interested in microbes involved in the marine nitrogen cycle. I am currently recruiting students interested in using stable isotopes to track the activity of microbes in the ocean.

Undergraduate Contribution

All students working in the lab contribute to the general operation and maintenance of the lab, including making media, weighing samples, and preparing for field expeditions. Students will prepare samples for the analysis of the stable isotopic composition of nitrate in seawater, analyze them using mass spectrometry, and be involved with the interpretation of the resulting data. Opportunities also exist for learning other techniques in analytical chemistry including gas chromatography and spectrophotometry.

Requirements

Students must have a passion for microbes and the ocean and an inquisitive nature. Student must be willing to do repetitive work, be detail oriented, and have good organization skills. Strong quantitative skills are necessary, and some chemistry background is helpful. An interest in troubleshooting analytical instruments and understanding how they work is also essential.

Ecology Evolution and Marine Biology

Alyson Santoro

Location:
Marine Biotech Rm 2155
893-5318

Research Project

Our lab studies the distribution, abundance, and activity of microbes in the ocean. We are especially interested in microbes involved in the marine nitrogen cycle. I am currently recruiting students for two different types of projects in the laboratory:

1. Using quantitative molecular methods to map populations of microbes in different parts of the ocean, including the Santa Barbara channel

2. Culturing new microbes from the ocean and understanding their metabolism

Undergraduate Contribution

All students working in the lab contribute to the general operation and maintenance of the lab, including making media, washing culture vessels, and preparing for field expeditions. Students will start out learning techniques for culturing and/or molecular biology and then move onto a specific project. Undergraduate contributions will involve DNA extraction, PCR primer design, and quantitative PCR. Students are expected to devote several consecutive hours on days that they work in the lab. There is also a monthly lab meeting that students attend and periodically present their results.

Requirements

Students must have a passion for microbes and the ocean and an inquisitive nature. Student must be willing to do repetitive work, be detail oriented, and have good organization skills.

Psychological and Brain Sciences

Jonathan Schooler

Location:
Psychology East 3817

Research Project

This experiment tests the physiological correlates of infrasound transduction through biofeedback software. Subjects will experience a neurotherapy session with NeurOptimal software, which plays music through earphones that is interrupted when EEG frequencies are outside optimal ranges. The dependant variable will be if the sound is applied through infrasonic speakers that transduce sub-base to the subject in addition to the earphones or not. This is a pioneer study into the potential therapeutic effects of dynamic tactile neurofeedback.

Undergraduate Contribution

RAs must screen and recruit participants. RAs will run participants at SBCAST physiological measurement lab. RA's will give surveys, apply EEG, EMG and ECG electrodes and galvanic skin response equipment. RAs will run Neuroptimal software. Data will be properly saved and linked with video files of the subjects. RAs will scan for artifacts to exclude data that is confounded.

Requirements

Ability to travel to SBCAST

Skill applying EMG and and EEG electrodes and GSR equipment

Organizational and computer skills

Location:
Psychology East, Room 3817

Research Project

This projects investigates whether a brief mindfulness meditation exercise can buffer against the detrimental effects of stress on long term memory recall, specifically for memories previously shown to have been effected by a stress response. 

Undergraduate Contribution

The undergraduate researcher will conduct psychophysiological experiments, process and analyze data, and contribute to preparation of manuscripts for publication.

Requirements

Should be enrolled in a 99/99RA or 199/199RA course or honors program supervised by a member of the META lab. 

Location:
3818 Psych East

Research Project

Programmatic research in a series of experiments investigating EEG alpha and other neurological bases of attention and mind-wandering.

Undergraduate Contribution

The undergraduate researcher will conduct psychophysiological experiments, process and analyze data, and contribute to preparation of manuscripts for publication.

Requirements

Must be enrolled in 98, 98RA, 99, 99RA, 199, or 199RA course with Dr Schooler and Dr Broadway.

Location:
Psych-E 3817

Research Project

Bridging the domains of cognitive and social psychology, our research on meta-awareness examines the relationship between mindfulness and social cognition. Emphasis is placed on critically investigating the results of mindfulness practice as it relates to identity, self-other connectedness, and prosocial behavior.

Undergraduate Contribution

Undergraduate research assistants have the opportunity to run participants through brief mindfulness practices, administer self-report questionnaires, serve as experimenters during cognitive tasks, and conduct behavioral observation. They also assist in measurement, data entry, and analysis phases of the research process. Especially motivated research assistants also contribute to the design of new lab studies building off of these themes.

Requirements

At least a three quarter commitment is expected. A cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher is required. Enthusiasm around the topic of mindfulness is essential. Applicants' schedule must be compatible with lab availability, which changes on a quarterly basis but will be negotiated between the researcher and research assistants whenever possible. Please send applications to morseth@psych.ucsb.edu

David Sherman

Location:
Psych East 3809
893-3149

Research Project

Social psychological research on health, environment, intergroup relations, and politics. A general theme is understanding what motivates beneficial behavior in these domains, as well as perceptions of and responses to outgroup threat and intergroup conflict. Before applying, please visit the lab’s website and review current research topics and projects to see what matches your personal interests best.
 

Undergraduate Contribution

Undergraduate research assistants help in all aspects of the research experience, from serving as experimenters (both in the laboratory and in the field), library research, data coding and entry, and assistance in manuscript preparation. Research assistants who are motivated and commit to the lab for more than two quarters will have increasing opportunities for more advanced involvement in ongoing research.

Requirements

Two quarter commitment and 3.0 or higher GPA. Please complete an application AND send me and e-mail if you are interested. For more information, see this webpage and application: http://people.psych.ucsb.edu/sherman/david/ResearchAssistants/
 

Janusonis Skirmantas

Location:
Psychology East, Room 2827
(805) 893-6032

Research Project

Nearly all neural processes are physically embedded in a dense matrix of fibers that release serotonin. We investigate the deep structure of this matrix, including its interaction with other cellular elements (such as microglia) and cell fragments that carry peripheral serotonin. We use animal models and a number of techniques of cellular and molecular neurobiology (multiple-label immunohistochemistry, confocal microscopy, quantitative PCR, and others). Some of our approaches are strongly interdisciplinary and include comparative/evolutionary neuroscience and computational modeling.

Undergraduate Contribution

Undergraduate researchers work with graduate students and participate in all aspects of research. They are encouraged to master specific techniques (rather than superficially participate in all of them) and are expected to develop a "graduate-student mindset" in terms of professional integrity, technical accuracy, and human perseverance. A number of undergraduate researchers in the laboratory have become authors of peer-reviewed articles.

Requirements

Interest in neurobiology (our research is not a good fit for students interested in psychology or cognitive neuroscience)

Interest in graduate school or medical school

GPA 3.5 or better

Sophomore or Junior standing (Seniors may be considered, but students typically need a year to achieve the expected technical level)

Commitment to research activities of at least 6 hours per week Experience in image analysis or computer coding is a plus (but not required)

Students from other departments are welcome to apply

Earth Science

Alexander Simms

Location:
2041 Webb Hall
893-7292

Research Project

We have several projects using cores from local estuaries reconstructing past sea-level, climate, and tectonic changes.

Undergraduate Contribution

We are looking for students to help run some of the analysis of the cores (e.g. grain size, looking at microfossils, etc.).

Requirements

Background in geology and basic math and statistics. Having had sedimentology is a plus (Earth 122).

Molecular Cellular and Developmental Biology

Julie Simpson

Location:
3129 Bio II
805-893-5770

Research Project

"Dissecting a fly behavior sequence with light" 
We seek to understand how motor sequences are coordinated by neural circuits in the brain, and we use fruit fly grooming as a model. This behavior is a flexible sequence controlled by changing sensory stimuli acting on an internal suppression hierarchy that sets the priority of different body parts for cleaning. We use genetic screens, functional imaging, and quantitative behavioral analysis to decipher how these factors are integrated into ordered actions by specific neurons.

Undergraduate Contribution

1. Build a system/instrument for delivering focused light to fly bristles for competition experiments
2. Streamline custom software and image data management process for automatic analysis of fly grooming behavior
3. Screen for specific neurons that disrupt the grooming sequence
4. Dream up something better to try (compelling proposal required)

Requirements

STRONG preference will be given to students with computer programming experience (esp. MatLab, LabView, or C) and practical electronics or engineering skills.
Upper division biology or science classes with >B grades, lab coursework and/or research experience are desirable. 
Intention and ability to commit significant time to lab work is essential.
 
Send application by email with unofficial transcript and description of what project interests you and why.

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