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.

Earth Science

John Cottle

Location:
Webb 2028

Research Project

Using geochronology to determine the geologic history and tectonic evolution of the Himalaya and Transantarctic Mountains.

Undergraduate Contribution

The student will measure chemistry and ages of accessory phase minerals in the samples and assist with data interpretation and presentation. The student will gain significant experience in advanced analytical techniques including using the Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM), Electron Probe MicroAnalyzer (EPMA), and Laser Ablation Inductively Coupled Plasma Mass Spectrometer (LA-ICPMS).

Requirements

mineralogy, petrology, geochemistry

Ecology Evolution and Marine Biology

Carla D'Antonio

Location:
4017L Bren Hall

Research Project

The project involves investigating variation in plant traits across environmental gradients. We use a non-native woody species, Tamarisk, to answer questions related to how biomass accumulation, carbon allocation patterns, and physiological constraints change with increases in stressors. We are particularly interested in responses to different kinds of stress and their interactions, specifically salinity, increased temperature, and herbivory. Currently we are processing samples from a common garden site in Yuma, AZ and performing greenhouse experiments related to increasing levels of salinity.

Undergraduate Contribution

Undergraduates involved in the project will work closely with graduate students to implement greenhouse experiments and process samples from the common garden. Greenhouse experiments will include learning how to grow and care for plants in the trials and constructing experimental designs. As the experiments progress students will help with tracking plant growth and entering those data. Students will gain skills in using tools to measure physiological activity in live plants, as well as processing plant material for analysis at the end of the experiment. Students involved in processing samples will gain experience in using lab equipment and helping with data analysis.

Requirements

Completion of introductory biology series

Attention to detail and good note taking abilities

Good attitude and willing to get dirty in the field and greenhouse

Chemistry and Biochemistry

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.

Geography

Qinghua Ding

Location:
Ellison Hall 6806

Research Project

Over the last decade, statistically significant warming has been noted across the Arctic and West Antarctic. Studies that have investigated the mechanisms associated with the warming all agree that changes in the regional atmospheric circulation are at least a consistent if not a causal mechanism.The project aims to understand the atmospheric circulation changes consistent with, and perhaps causing, the ongoing warming trends across the polar regions, which are some of the strongest warming trends on Earth. This improved understanding has the capacity to further our knowledge about ongoing ice sheet loss in West Antarctica and Greenland and the resultant sea level rise, and is therefore of global significance.

Undergraduate Contribution

The undergraduate student will conduct the statistical analyses to interpret changes in some surface temperature modes analyses (either in frequency, magnitude, or progression between them over time), and the connection that the modes have with large-scale climate in the Southern and Northern Hemispheres and sea ice across the Arctic and Antarctic. This project will provide valuable education and training opportunities for a part-time undergraduate to become familiar with the reanalysis and model data and gain experience with the techniques to handle large climate data sets. Students will learn “Big Data” skills in processing large volumes of model output and learn data processing system based on Python, Matlab and Grads.

Requirements

Useful skills that are helpful would be previous experience with computers and programming (e.g., C, C++, Matlab, Python, Fortran). Everything else can be learned.

English

Jeremy Douglass

Location:
South Hall 2518

Research Project

The Transverse Reading Project is studying the media structures in comic page layouts, poetic rhyme schemes, and video game plots. This phase focuses on gamebooks -- that is, playable print stories. This project will data mine, analyze, and visualize branching plot structures in hundreds of interactive stories, principally gamebooks from the Demian Katz Gamebook Collection.

Undergraduate Contribution

Researchers will receive training and conduct archival research at UCSB Library Special Collections, encode game narratives, map interactive stories, and participate in data analysis, information visualization, and write up research results.

Requirements

Reliable and eager to learn. Archival research requires being detail-oriented and organized. No technical skills required, but researchers should be open to working with software and learning new things. Interests in literature, games, and interactive media are an asset.

Linguistics

John DuBois

Location:
3520 South Hall

Research Project

Students with an interest in language and linguistics are invited to participate in a research team called the Rezonators. We work with a program called the Rezonator to markup, visualize, and analyze resonance in conversation. Resonance is based on similarity, parallelism, synonymy, antonymy, co-reference, or any other aspect of affinity that connects one word or phrase to another. Currently we are developing the software as a Game With a Purpose (GWAP) to support crowd-sourced research and discovery about the role of resonance in language and interaction.

Undergraduate Contribution

Students will use the Rezonator to markup resonance in conversation; participate in weekly lab meetings; give feedback to team members on their work; participate in studies of inter-annotator reliability; and prepare a final presentation and research report. Students are expected to contribute a minimum of 5-8 hours per week to these activities.

Requirements

To qualify for participation, students should have a GPA of at least 3.5 at UCSB, and be pursuing a major or minor in Linguistics or a related discipline (such as Computer Science). Students should be willing to contribute actively to all individual and group activities (see above).

Education

Richard Duran

Location:
3141 Education
x3555

Research Project

Title: Ubiquitous Computing, Computational Thinking, Modular Robotics, MakerSpaces and New Forms of Learning

Our work examines how we can help young people from backgrounds (e.g., certain ethnic/racial backgrounds, low-income backgrounds, and women) underrepresented in STEM fields learn about edge developments in technology via hands on building and simple programing of mobile technology gadgets.

Undergraduate Contribution

Undergrads contribute by acquiring skills on building, programming, and using mobile technology gadgets in a lab and then implementing these skills in local community settings under guidance of the project team. Undergrads also contribute new, creative designs for learning activities in community settings.

Requirements

Curiosity to learn how electronic and computational things work in the world around us and how these matters are coming to affect learning. No super technological background required, though such a background would always be welcome. Interest in working with young people from diverse backgrounds in our surrounding community is an important asset.

Molecular Cellular and Developmental Biology

Ruth Finkelstein

Location:
2127 Bio II
893-4800

Research Project

We study mechanisms of signal transduction in response to abscisic acid (ABA), a hormone that affects many important features of plant growth including embryo development, dormancy, stress tolerance, and senescence. We are using a genetic approach by studying mutants of Arabidopsis with altered sensitivity to ABA. We have cloned several transcription factors and several proteins of unknown biochemical function involved in ABA response and are currently investigating their regulation, interactions, and mechanism of action in the ABA- and stress-signaling network.

Undergraduate Contribution

Students participating in this project build recombinant DNA expression and reporter constructs, then analyze their function in yeast or plants; these techniques are directly transferable to studies of many other organisms. Students participating in this project analyze gene expression by RNA analyses and reporter activity, protein accumulation by Western blots and expression of fusion proteins, and test the effects of altered expression on growth, stress tolerance and gene expression of mutant or transgenic plants. Many undergrads have contributed to peer-reviewed publications.

Requirements

Motivation and interest in scientific research. Course prerequisites: Introductory Biology (MCDB 1AB), Genetics (MCDB 101AB or EEMB129, may be taken concurrently).

Kathy Foltz

Location:
3156 Marine Biotech
893-4774

Research Project

A main research question in our group centers on how eggs are activated at the time of fertilization. We use several marine invertebrates as model systems to address this process, which is highly conserved across all multicellular species, including mammals. Some of our projects focus on specific proteins and signaling pathways, others are more discovery-based.

Undergraduate Contribution

Undergraduates can contribute in several ways. First, students can learn how to evaluate large, information-rich data sets and search public databases as we compile and annotate the thousands of proteins that undergo changes in phosphorylation state or exhibit dynamic interaction complexing in the first few minutes post fertilization. Students can also assist in validation and characterization of candidate proteins. Finally, we are initiating a transcriptome assessment using deep sequencing in order to gain even further insight into the changes occurring in the egg to embryo transition and students will participate directly in mRNA isolation, library construction, and sequence analyses. All undergraduates in the lab assist with husbandry of marine invertebrates in seawater aquaria, learn to collect gametes, and to set and culture embryos.

Requirements

Students should have a GPA of 3.0 or higher and be passionate about investigating biological phenomena, viewing this as an opportunity to immerse in the process of science. There are no specific course requirements, though a strong background in genetics, cell biology and developmental biology is desirable. Familiarity with computers is helpful and any experience with RNA isolation and library construction is a plus. A minimum time commitment of 15 hr per week is required.

Communication

Andrew Flanagin

Location:
SS&MS 4131
893-7892

Research Project

This study will take the form of an online experiment on the perceived credibility of information originating from a type of Yelp/Foursquare application that provides ratings of various venues (e.g., restaurants, parks, bars, etc.). The main focus is on the extent to which particular features matter (and how they matter) to users, including the geographic proximity of the "rater" (who provides the information) to (a) the venue being rated, and (b) to the "consumer" (the person seeking the information). The study will also assess other indicators of reputation, such as how much information the rater has provided previously, as well as the impact of other factors such as the sex of the people involved, the type of venue being rated, etc.

Undergraduate Contribution

The main duties of the RAship would require helping to plan, design, test, and execute the study. It would require some research, providing feedback on the experimental stimuli (which we will collectively design), and providing basic input on the study. The RA would learn a lot about this particular study, and would be in a position to see how research is designed and carried out more generally. Necessary skills include commitment to the research topic, familiarity with the various kinds of online tools examined in the study (as a user, not as a programmer, etc.), research skills (finding and reading relevant research, and communicating those ideas in meetings), and a natural curiosity about research. Also, people who are willing to speak up and give their opinions/ideas are highly valued.

Requirements

Prerequisite GPA of 3.0 or greater, interest in the topic.

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