Sophomore

Video/Photo/Social media Undergraduate

Interested in video, photography & social media?

Join the Digital Life team as a video/social media and photography undergraduate this fall (Fall 2018)

The Digital Life team (digitallife3d.org) is searching for an undergraduate who is interested in working 6-9 hours a week on video, photography, social media, and VR/AR.

Credit for independent study is available.

Paid position: Video analysis of human and animal 3D movements

In relation to the Armstrong grant awarded to D. Irschick, B. Umberger and I. Grosse, we are searching for an undergraduate to do paid work ($15/hour) for 6-8 hours a week in the Irschick lab during the Fall 2018 and Spring 2019 spring semesters. The undergraduate will analyze video work from human and shark research using gopro cameras. Skills learned will include kinematic and 3D methods, and methods of using video to reconstruct movements.

To apply, please email the below to Duncan Irschick at irschick@bio.umass.edu

Adopt a microbe! The microbiology of climate change

Climate change is the most pressing issue of people today, and while humans play an outsized role in the accelerated self-reinforcing feedbacks to climate, microbes can be a major source or sink for carbon. How microbes respond to climate change remains poorly defined, and this project is part of a larger endeavor to better link molecular data like genomics and metagenomic to climate and ecosystem data to better understand the role of microbes in ecosystem processes.

Spider perception

Our lab is engaged in several projects on spider perception. Students will be assigned to particular projects based on their skills and interests. At the start of the semester, we will spend a lot of time in the field collecting spiders for use in projects later in the semester. Projects include: (1) How spiders explore visual stimuli with their principal eyes. The principal eyes of jumping spiders are moveable, and we can track their movements with a specialized eyetracker. We are testing several species and their responses to various stimuli, including videos of courting male spiders.

Global Invaders

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.

Armored scale insects

Our laboratory uses DNA sequences and morphological characters to investigate the diversity, evolution and ecology of armored scale insects (class Insecta: order Hemiptera: family Diaspididae), especially in tropical rainforests. Paid lab assistantships are available for students to prepare DNA and microscope slide mounts from individual armored scale insect specimens. For advanced students, independent research projects are also possible.

Looking for RAs for a psychology lab

This is a project looking at decision making in adolescents and adults. We will use Electroencephalography (EEG) which is a kind of neuroscience approach to record people's brain activity while they are doing a computer task. As a RA, you will be trained as experimenter and to be able to maintain and use the EEG system in our lab for data collection. You will be also involved in our weekly lab meeting and join the discussion related with this project as well as other projects in the lab.

Developing a Model System for Studying the Plant Microbiome

Model organisms and model systems are a cornerstone of biological sciences, enabling researchers to control all factors but one for a mechanistic understanding of complex biological systems. There is not currently a model system for the plant-soil ecosystem, since soil is a complex natural system not easily replicated. In this project, a student will work primarily with Dr. DeAngelis (Microbiology) as well as with advice form Dr. Hazen (Biology) and Dr. Ma (BMB) to grow the model plant Brachypodium distachyon in an artificial soil matrix developed in the DeAngelis lab.

How does corn use programmed cell death to develop flowers?

The goal of my research is to understand the function of genes involved in corn flower development. Corn plants have separated male and female flowers called the tassel and ear. Early in development, female organs (carpels) are suppressed in the tassel by programmed cell death (PCD), a tightly regulated form of cellular suicide. To understand how carpels are suppressed by PCD in the tassel, I am characterizing a genetic mutant that fails to suppress carpels that we call rapunzel (rzl). Several other maize mutants have been identified that fail to suppress carpels in the tassel.

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