Projects

PROJECTS WILL BE LISTED JANUARY 23. YOU CAN SUBMIT APPLICATIONS BETWEEN MONDAY JANUARY 23 THROUGH SUNDAY JANUARY 29.

Remember: You can apply to a maximum of 3 projects, so choose carefully!

You can choose to scroll through all of the projects, or filter them based on whether they are paid or unpaid, whether they offer enough hours for you, etc. For example if you want to see projects that require somewhere between 8-12 hours a week, click on both the 6-10 and 11-15 options under "Hours?" and press the filter button. If you're using a Mac you can select both options by holding the shift while clicking on the options; if you're using a PC, you hopefully know how to do this.

Attention, Behavior, Learning, & Emotions

The purpose of the study is to investigate whether social-emotional cues influence attention and behavioral control in young adults with or without ADHD. Participants will complete four behavioral tasks intended to gauge social-emotional processing, attention, and behavior. Participants will also be asked to fill out a series of questionnaires on their general behavior and emotions.

Students will be asked to assist in the programming of project tasks, data collection, as well as the organization and processing of data.

Avian Bioacoustics - Urban noise and bird song.

Noise affects how birds communicate. Conservation biologists have become interested in how anthropogenic noise may impact behavior and physiology, which in turn may impact population dynamics, evolution of behavior, and community structure. This project is investigating how nightingales and other species of European birds respond to anthropogenic noise. The investigation focuses on how noise might change the acoustic characteristics of songs.

Bird TV? Behavioral Analysis of Nesting Songbirds from NestCam Footage

Research in the Warren lab focuses on the impacts of urbanization on wildlife. Suburban development changes habitat structure, influences resource availability, and affects wildlife behavior. As food availability in a habitat changes, animals must make foraging decisions to optimize the use of their time and energy while still avoiding predator detection.

Circadian rhythms and estrous cycles

A master circadian pacemaker in the hypothalamus controls not only rhythms of sleep and wakefulness but also neuroendocrine functions including the estrous cycle in mice and hamsters. By studying mutants and conditional knockouts, we examine the roles of specific genes and their protein products in the brain circuitry that generates the preovulatory surge of luteininzing hormone (LH) from the anterior pituitary. Projects require handling of animals in order to track estrous cycles, ovariectomy, hormone assays, PCR genotyping, and immunostaining (with quantitative neuroanatomical analyses).

Climate Effects on the Culture and Ecology of Sugar Maple

Maple syrup is produced from the sap of sugar maple collected in the late winter and early spring, and tapping maple trees is a cultural touchstone for many in New England. The tapping season is dependent on weather conditions, and climate change may impact the sustainability of maple sugaring. Our research with ACERnet (Acer Climate and Socio-Ecological Research Network; blogs.umass.edu/acernet) is funded by the Northeast Climate Science Center (necsc.umass.edu) and addresses the impact of climate on the quality of maple sap used to make maple syrup.

Digital Photo processing for 3D work

The Digital Life team, lead by Professor Duncan Irschick, is looking for a dedicated undergraduate to work with photo processing and 3D modelling of various organisms as part of the broader digital life team (look at www.digitallife3d.com for more on the project). The undergraduate would be expected to work with the team on organizing photos, creating and organizing 3D models, and once proper training has occurred, on working with some live organisms to create 3D models.

Genetic diversity in a parasitic plant

The parasitic plant, dodder (Cuscuta sp.), is a problematic agricultural weed in cranberries in eastern Massachusetts. Dodder does not photosynthesize and produces no leaves, but instead derives its nutrients from host plants. With researchers at the UMass Cranberry Station, we are interested in determining the population structure of dodder species that attack cranberries. The student involved with this project will establish growth protocols for dodder in the lab, and experiment with suitable methods to extract DNA of sufficient quality for next-generation sequencing methods.

Global Invaders Project

Invasive species reduce biodiversity and are considered a major threat to ecosystems worldwide. Despite general knowledge of their widespread impacts, we still lack a consistent list of which species are invasive, where they have been studied, and what sorts of specific impacts have been identified. This information is critical for understanding the conditions that lead to invasion and informing effective monitoring and management.

Growth and development of plant roots

My laboratory is looking for an undergraduate research assistant. We study the mechanisms underlying plant growth, using roots as experimental material. We grow plants in the green house to collect seed, and we grow plants in the laboratory on agar medium in Petri dishes to characterize the roots. We are using a vareity of genetic and physiological approaches. The research assistant will help us on a basic level (making medium, harvesting seed) but also in a more specialized way, making various kinds of measurements on the roots through the microscope.

Mitosis lab coordinator

My lab studies how cells divide. We use mammalian tissue culture cells for our work. Current projects investigate how the spindle elongates in anaphase to accomplish chromosome segregation, how the mitotic spindle forms during early mitosis, and how molecular motors are regulated.

Plant Responses to Abiotic Stresses

The projects conducted in our lab are focused on gaining a greater understanding of how plants acclimate and adapt to environmental stresses. Using perennial grasses as our experimental system, we specifically investigate physiological mechanisms that allow plants to survive under extreme conditions, including drought, freezing and heat stresses. This is a unique opportunity for students not only to gain insight into basic biological processes, but also to extend this information and apply research results to solve real-world problems in plant biology.

The genetics of alkaloid production in tomatoes

A for-credit position is available at Caicedo Lab, Biology Department.

Traits such as bitterness are linked to alkaloids in tomatoes. Through their anti-herbivory properties, some alkaloids are thought to increase resistance in tomatoes against pests. However, little is known about the genetic basis of alkaloid production in tomatoes. Thus, this project aims at finding the genetic basis of alkaloid production and changes in alkaloid content during domestication.

Undergraduate Biochemistry Researcher

Up to 2 undergraduate positions available. We will lose three invaluable seniors this year and looking to recruit up to two rising stars.

We are looking for self-driven students who have a strong interest in learning about Molecular Biology and Biochemistry techniques. No prior experience is needed, however, you should be willing to learn, bring a positive attitude and have a decent background in the Natural Sciences and in Mathematics.

Understanding snake-like body forms with 3D modelling

The Irschick lab at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst is looking for an undergraduate to continue our work on the evolution of snake-like body forms, such as found in skinks and other similar animals. This work is part of a broader NSF-funded project to examine the evolution of Philippine skinks and the general snake-like body form they use. The student will also be looking at larger snake-like forms, such as from larger snakes.

Vocal communication & song learning in birds

In the Podos Lab, we study a variety of questions related to vocal communication and singing behavior in songbirds. Right now, we're working with swamp sparrows in the lab to explore the process of song learning in males (those who sing to attract mates) and song preference development in females (those who assess songs when choosing a mate). These birds were collected last summer from local field sites, and have been raised in captivity over the past months.