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.

Psychological and Brain Sciences

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

Karen Szumlinski

Location:
Psych East 2816
805-893-2984

Research Project

Current research in the laboratory has 3 major foci. One line of work examines the neurobiological underpinnings of drug-craving, with an emphasis on how time-dependent anomalies within prefrontal cortex might promote persistent drug-craving in abstinent individuals. A second line of work examines alcohol-stress interactions, with projects aimed at understanding the psychobiological effects of a history of repeated stress upon subsequent behavioral sensitivity to alcohol, as well as understanding the developmental impact of histories of binge drinking upon affect. The third major line of work relates to the neurobiology of methamphetamine addiction with on-going studies focusing upon the relations between dopamine and glutamate in addiction vulnerability. Research in my laboratory is interdisciplinary and involves behavioral, neuropharmacology, neurochemical and immunological approaches.

Undergraduate Contribution

Undergraduate research assistants help in all aspects of the research, pending proper training and completion of federal guidelines for working with laboratory rodents in a research setting. This can include assistance with behavioral analyses, histological and molecular techniques, data management, and routine laboratory upkeep. Assistants must be able to work safely in a laboratory environment and follow instructions in a meticulous fashion.

Requirements

•Grade point average of 3.0 or better.
•Commitment to research activities of at least 8-10 hours per week for a minimum of three quarters. 

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).

Toshiro Tanimoto

Location:
Webb Hall 2112
893-8375

Research Project

I have two projects:
1. Tracking hurricanes/typhoons by dense seismic arrays. Hurricanes generate strong ground motions from which we can learn interesting spatial and temporal features.
2. Analysis of rotation seismograms. Measurements of rotation, as opposed to strain, have not been made historically. We have some ring-laser data from Germany that we want to analyze.

Undergraduate Contribution

The main tasks are to analyze time-series data. The data can be seismograms or ring-laser data from US, Japan and Germany.

Requirements

Some basic understanding and experience in programming (e.g., C, C++, Matlab) are required. Also some knowledge of Fourier analysis are helpful. Recommended courses are Earth 134, 135, 136, and ECE 130. But they are not required.

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.

Anthropology

Stuart Tyson Smith

Location:
1003 HSSB
(805) 893-7887

Research Project

Tombos is an archaeological site located at the Third Cataract of the Nile River in modern-day Sudan. Tombs dating to the New Kingdom (mid-18th Dynasty, c. 1450 BCE) through the Napatan period (c. 650 BCE) are present, documenting the interaction and entanglement of Egyptian colonists and local Nubians during these major sociopolitical changes in the region. Archaeology is combined with a multidisciplinary bioarchaeological approach, making possible a comparison of cultural entanglements through a study of material culture and social practices with biological affinities, geographic origins, and indications of health and disease.

Undergraduate Contribution

Students can assist with data entry and other record keeping. Sorting, cataloging and organizing artifacts is needed, primarily pottery from the Tombos excavations. Ceramic analysis, illustration and photography are other areas where students can contribute, along with the preparations of illustrations and plans for publication. One aspect of the project involves analysis of organic residues in pottery and the mineral composition of clays.

Requirements

No skills or background are required, but artistic/drafting experience, familiarity with programs like Photoshop and Illustrator and ARCGIS are highly desirable. Knowledge of and interest in organic chemistry and petrography would also be potentially useful.

History

Paul Sonnino

Location:
HSSB 3rd floor

Research Project

I have finished my work on the Man in the Iron Mask, but am prepared to work with any student who is reasonably fluent in French or ancient Greek.   I am now working specifically on a critical translation of Cardinal Richelieu's Political Testament as well as a textual analysis of Thucydides history.

Undergraduate Contribution

A student with good computer skills to go along with linguistic ones will be doubly welcome.

Requirements

Reasonable fluency in French or Ancient Greek

Communication

Michael Stohl

Location:
SS&MS 4125
893-7935

Research Project

Title: Newspaper Framing of Terrorist Events and Organizations Research Objective: Identify the framing devices used by media organizations when discussing terrorist organizations and explore the factors influencing the selection of framing devices.

Description: The project has three phases: Identification of Terrorist events reported in major US and International Newspapers; Identification and categorization of the frames employed to characterize these events and groups and a comparative analysis of these frames and their implications.

Undergraduate Contribution

The Project
Data Collection
a. We will be investigating a large selection of American and
International newspapers, that the sampling frame will be
terrorist events in 2013 with an identified (or suspected)
perpetrator, and that we will specifically be looking for all
mentions of the terrorist organizations within our sample of
newspapers.
i. We will be cross coding all articles mentioning a specific
terrorist group or actor with the list of all 2013 terrorist
events.
2. Construction of a typology of frames used by media
organizations when discussing terrorist actors
a. We will be using a grounded theoretical approach to create our
typology. This requires an iterative and interactive process,
which means attendance at group meeting will be required.
3. Content analysis
a. Once we have developed our typology, we will use it to hand
code all articles collected in phase one.

Requirements

Interest in media
Comm 130 or Comm 137 or Comm major

Religious Studies

Ann Taves

Location:
HSSB 3085

Research Project

We have created a survey to investigate how the kinds of unusual experiences that people have in different cultures and how they interpret them. We are interested in seeing to what extent the differences in the experiences that are valued or sought affects the kind of experiences people have.

Undergraduate Contribution

We want to administer the survey in Hindi and English in India. We are looking for native Hindi speaking students who can assist with the translation into Hindi.

Requirements

Students must be native Hindi speakers and fluent in English.

Pages