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.

Chemistry and Biochemistry

Donald Aue

Location:
Chem 2134
805-967-6385

Research Project

We have projects that utilize computational chemistry to calculate reaction energies and other properties for organic, organometallic and bioorganic molecules. Reaction mechanisms, including novel bifurcation reaction pathways, are also studied. The computational methods utilized are based upon quantum mechanical calculations at various levels of approximation, from DFT(density functional theory) up to the most accurate CCSD and CCSD-F12 methods.

Undergraduate Contribution

Undergraduates have been fully involved in independent projects that utilize local Unix computers and supercomputers centers. Students learn to use the Unix/Linux operating system commands and the Gaussian and Molpro quantum calculation programs, together with the Molden and Gaussview 3-D input and output analysis software. Excel spreadsheets are used to analyze the numerical data produced.

Requirements

A general familiarity with computers and Word and Excel is desirable. Special programming skills are not required, though script writing is useful. Freshman and Organic chemistry classes are useful.

Mattanjah de Vries

Location:
Chemistry 4221
(805) 893-5921

Research Project

The de Vries lab combines a number of innovative Physical and Analytical chemistry techniques for a novel approach to the study of individual molecules. Included are studies of complex molecules, isolated biomolecules and clusters, and surface analytical applications. See website for details

Undergraduate Contribution

Participate under the guidance of graduate students

Requirements

Major in Chemistry or Physics. Strong interest in Physical chemistry. Second or third year student.

Peter Ford

Location:
4649C PSBN
2443

Research Project

The Ford lab researches biologically relevant small molecules such as CS2, NO, and CO. Projects involve synthesizing small molecule donors as well as nanoparticles to create systems for light activated small molecule release. In particular we have demonstrated the release of CS2 from dithiooxalate (DTO), a CS2 donor, and further studies are directed towards other reaction products. For example, the photocatalyzed reaction using quantum dots and DTO releases CS2.

Another project is concerned with developing new procedures for the conversion of biomass to chemicals and fuels.  We are working with catalysts prepared from Earth-abundant elements thus avoiding the consumption of irreplaceable rare elements

See website for details.

Undergraduate Contribution

Undergraduates are fully involved in the projects including synthesizing nanoparticles, small molecule donors, and studying their release using various instrumentation and techniques with guidance from graduate student mentors.

Requirements

Completion of the General Chemistry and Organic Chemistry sequences and the associated labs. The other essential requirement is the strong desire to participate in a creative process that requires intellectual involvement and commitment.

Kalju Kahn

Location:
PSB-N 2619
805-893-6157

Research Project

Development and testing of biochemistry experiments for undergraduate laboratory courses.

Undergraduate Contribution

Evaluation and optimization of lab procedures, clarification regarding lab instructions.

Requirements

A student should have completed the biochemistry lab series at UCSB with grade B or better. Attention to detail, ability to troubleshoot, and work with literature is expected.

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.

Location:
1142D
805-893-8368

Research Project

Help develop science experiments for SciTrek a science outreach which improves K-12 students and teachers understanding of how science works.

Undergraduate Contribution

Develop and test experiments, write up lab guide for UCSB volunteers and K-12 students

Requirements

UCSB student status

Location:
1142D chemistry
893 8368

Research Project

Determine if a bacterial enzyme which controls virulence in several human pathogens works by sliding along the DNA and jumping from DNA segment to segment. We have mutants of this enzyme which do this poorly in vitro, and propose to test this in cells.

Undergraduate Contribution

Carry out experiments, analyze data, help write the manuscript

Requirements

Be able to carry out enzymology and microbiology experiments

Location:
1142D Chem

Research Project

We are doing research on whether local school students (K-12) can learn skills like critical thinking, evidenced based learning, and other "scientific practices" through participating in a UCSB outreach (SciTrek) which brings university students into local classrooms. There are many opportunities for UCSB students to help run this program, including recruitment of UCSB students through social media and other means to "get the word out", help, fund raisers (e.g., Kickstarter, etc.).

Undergraduate Contribution

Help in UCSB undergraduate and graduate student recruitment, help in fund raising. Both of these roles will help expose you to important skills that are likely to have value in jobs you may get once you graduate. Importantly, the success in both of these areas is easily determined, and thus your recognition for any accomplishment can easily be acknowledged by me (recommendation letter) and you (resume, etc.).

Requirements

Willingness to work hard and be responsible.

Location:
1142D Chemistry
893-8368

Research Project

We are doing research on whether local school students (K-12) can learn skills like critical thinking, evidenced based learning, and other "scientific practices" through participating in a UCSB outreach (SciTrek) which brings university students into local classrooms. There are many opportunities for UCSB students to help run this program, including recruitment of UCSB students through social media and other means to "get the word out", help, fund raisers (e.g., Kickstarter, etc.).

Undergraduate Contribution

Help in UCSB undergraduate and graduate student recruitment, help in fund raising. Both of these roles will help expose you to important skills that are likely to have value in jobs you may get once you graduate. Importantly, the success in both of these areas is easily determined, and thus your recognition for any accomplishment can easily be acknowledged by me (recommendation letter) and you (resume, etc.).

Requirements

Willingness and ability to interact with the other UCSB students to inform them of the SciTrek program, understanding and use of social networking (Facebook, Kickstarter, etc.)