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STARS 2023 - Research Project Descriptions

The following UC San Diego faculty members have offered to host STARS students in Summer 2023. Identify the department and three faculty mentors with whom you would like to do research. Describe your research interests for your selection in the online application.
***This page is subject to change. Please check for updates prior to submitting your application.***
Last update: October 12, 2022

Biological Sciences – Cell and Developmental Biology

Dr. Julian Schroeder
Julian Schroeder is a Professor in Plant Sciences at UC San Diego. His research focus is on discovering the signal transduction mechanisms and the underlying signaling networks that mediate resistance to climate change-linked environmental stresses in plants, in particular drought, CO2 responses and heat in plants. These environmental ("abiotic") stresses have substantial negative impacts on plant growth and crop yields. These environmental stresses are also relevant in reference to climate change and to securing crop growth and food production to meet the human needs of the growing world population. Research in Julian Schroeder's laboratory is using multidisciplinary approaches including genetics, genomics, cell signaling, physiological, proteomics, molecular biology, and bioinformatics towards uncovering the signal transduction network and receptors in plants that translate drought stress hormone reception and CO2 sensing to specific resistance responses in plants. Some of the recent research advances are being used in the biotechnology industry with the goal of enhancing the stress resistance of plants and crop yields.
None. Students, however, must show motivation, interest, honesty, inquisitive thinking. Students should also be careful with respect to adhering to lab safety protocols.


Biological Sciences – Ecology, Behavior, and Evolution

Diana Rennison
Diana Rennison is an Assistant Professor in the Ecology, Behavior, and Evolution section of the Biological Sciences department at UC San Diego. For Summer 2023, Dr. Renninson's lab will be examining morphological variation associated with ecological variables along the west coast of North America. Her group generally takes an integrative approach to determine the mechanisms central to the origin and maintenance of the spectacular species diversity observed in the world today. The core questions her group seeks to address are: how do sources of selection interact to shape the course of evolution and the generation of biodiversity and why do organisms follow certain evolutionary trajectories when many are possible? To tackle these questions, they integrate population genomics, field collections, and experimental estimates of natural selection. The research project will look at characterizing patterns of morphological and genetic variation in divergent wild threespine stickleback populations. 
Prerequisites: None. Students must be willing to work on animal specimens.

Dr. Sergey Kryazhimskiy
The overarching goal of the Kryazhimskiy lab is to develop our understanding of how microbes evolve to the point where we can predict their evolution. We take several complementary approaches to solve this problem. We observe and measure how microbes evolve and adapt to various lab conditions, for example, to the presence of antibiotics. We also introduce new mutations on purpose into their genomes and see how these mutations change various important traits. Finally, we construct mathematical models to simulate evolution on the computer. Students working in the lab will have the opportunity to evolve microbial populations and/or analyze their genetic information, traits and fitness. Students who are more math-inclined can also learn how about evolution by modeling it. Basic understanding of evolution by natural selection is required. We also expect students to be interested in advancing their understanding of evolution, to be motivated, curious and careful.
Prerequisites: None. 

Biological Sciences - Neurobiology

Dr. Melinda Owens
Dr. Owen's lab's focus is on biology education research. This project will focus on the impact of Scientist Spotlights, a homework assignment that features counter-stereotypical scientists, like those who are LBGTQ+, from racially or ethnically minoritized groups, or had non-traditional paths to science, on students. The STARS student will use qualitative or mixed-method methodologies to study the students' self-reports of the impact of these assignments and quantify their impact. The lab is interested in students who understand the need for more diversity and inclusion practices in STEM classrooms.
Prerequisites: None. 

Chemistry and Biochemistry

Dr. Alina Schimp
Dr. Schimpf's lab aims to develop and characterize inorganic materials with unique electronic or photophysical properties that can be accessed via inexpensive, solution-based techniques. Research in the Schimpf Lab will involve the synthesis of new nanoscale materials, use of chemical environment to control material properties, and spectroscopic characterization of electronic and photophysical properties. Students can expect to work on synthesis of cluster-based metal oxide frameworks.
Prerequisites: students must habe taken general chemistry


Cognitive Science

Dr. Sara Creel
When a child calls a long-eared animal a "wabbit," do they know they're saying it differently than an adult would? What about learners of a new language? In our current research we are using eye tracking methodologies and (potentially) machine learning approaches to examine how a speaker's PRODUCTIONS of words relate to their UNDERSTANDING, by asking listeners to comprehend their own speech. This will likely focus on college-aged second-language speakers of English.
Prerequisites: At least one course in Psychology, Development, or Education. 

Dr. Steven Dow 
 The ProtoLab combines research in design thinking, crowdsourcing, and decision making to create novel social technologies that motivate participation and organize people around complex problems. Our research investigates the underlying social and cognitive mechanisms that impact how different groups— from local communities, to classrooms of students, to online crowds — tackle complex problems creatively and collaboratively. More information on our research projects can be found here:
Prerequisites: Computer science and design skills.

Dr.Gedeon Deak
This project will examine patterns of social behaviors between healthy infants and parents. The behaviors of interest are related to "attention-sharing" (also called "joint attention) - a category of social events in which people influence one another to attend to the same things (sights, sounds, etc.). Researchers and educators have focused on attention-sharing as a condition that facilitates learning - including language acquisition during infancy, and teaching and learning throughout the lifespan.  Students must be computer literate, and have corrected-to-normal-range vision.
Prerequisites: At least 4 psychology, human development, or cognitive science courses, GPA 3.0+



Dr. Caren Walker
Dr. Walker's research is in the area of cognitive development: we examine the various learning mechanisms that underlie knowledge acquisition and change in early life. Current projects focus on the emergence of scientific thinking—we study preschool-aged children’s reasoning about the cause and effect relationships in the world. We are particularly interested in how features of the learning context can facilitate (or suppress) children’s understanding of abstract concepts that go beyond their direct perceptual experience.
 At least one course in Psychology, Development, or Education. 

Dr. Lindsey Powell 
Research in Dr. Powell's Social Cognition and Learning Lab investigates how infants and children think about others' minds, social interactions, and relationships. Studies use both behavioral methods (tracking infant attention, asking children what they think) and neuroimaging methods (measuring brain activation with near infrared light). Students will work on the collection, coding, and statistical analysis of data that test hypotheses regarding the development of social cognition and motivation. The lab also offers professional development sessions, presentation practice, and training in R. Preference for students comfortable working with children and their families. 
Prerequisites: None.

Dr. Timothy Brady 
Timothy Brady is an Assistant Professor of Psychology at UC San Diego. At the UCSD Vision and Memory lab, directed by Dr. Timothy Brady, we aim to understand how the world is represented by the visual system, and how information is encoded and integrated into memory. The lab is interested in the precision with which people can remember information long-term memory and how much we can actively hold the information in our mind (e.g., you may have heard about a working memory capacity of 7+/- 2).  This project will focus on examining visual memory precision -- how well we can remember what we saw and what we can do to improve our memories. You'll get to learn to do some work in MATLAB; run people in experiments, and learn about the data. The experiments will vary from simple examinations of memory precision to questions about what memory looks like when people have false memories.
Prerequisites: Students with a background in psychology or cognitive science and programming experience preferred.

Dr. John Wixted 
 Dr. Wixted search is concerned with forensic psychology and eyewitness memory. Much of his work investigates the cognitive mechanisms that underlie recognition memory, often using signal detection theory as a guide. A related line of research investigates how episodic memory is represented in the human hippocampus, work that is based mainly on single-unit recording studies performed with epilepsy patients. In recent years, his research has also investigated the applied implications of signal detection-based models of recognition memory. The main focus of this line of research is on the reliability of eyewitness memory.
Prerequisites: None.

Dr. Christina Gremel 
 Dr. Gremel's research lab will work with animal models of decision-making and addiction investigating brain mechanisms. This requires an understanding of both the behavioral and neural mechanisms involved. We take an integrative approach using mice, in which we can combine both simple and sophisticated quantitative behavioral measurements, with powerful molecular and genetic tools and monitoring techniques to delineate molecular mechanisms within specific cell-types in identified circuits that control decision-making processes.
Prerequisites: None.
Website: N/A  


Dr. Victoria Risbrough 
Dr. Risbrough's laboratory conducts studies of circuit mechanisms of risk and resilience for PTSD and comorbid disorders. This summer we are offering projects involving studying reward circuit and function changes in individuals with PTSD. Students will learn to conduct computerized tasks to assess reward learning, response and decision making. Students will also shadow fMRI data collection to examine neural response to reward in individuals with and without PTSD. Students will also gain competency in measuring psychiatric symptoms, trauma exposure and childhood adversity using interviews and self-report instruments. Students will learn to process MRI and behavioral task data using R.
Student should be comfortable working with military populations (Veterans) and have professional demeanor when working with study participants.


Prashant Bharadwaj
Prashant Bharadwaj is an Associate Professor in the Department of Economics at UC San Diego. Economic Discrimination in Southern California 1950-1980: This project will explore economic discrimination in Southern California during the 15 years before and after the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. By combing through archival records in local newspapers, the project will explore how help wanted or job posting ads changed in terms of explicitly asking for racial information during the application process, and whether this changed after the passage of the Civil Rights Act. This information will be combined with data on employment, wages, and labor force participation to examine the impact of discrimination and the impact the passage of the Civil Rights Act had on overall labor market outcomes for blacks in Southern California.
Prerequisites: Preference for students with a solid knowledge of basic statistics and STATA. R is not required but highly encouraged.

Jacobs School of Engineering (JSOE) - Bioengineering

Dr. Adam Engler
The Engler lab's research is focused on how cell behavior is directed by the extracellular matrix (ECM), a 3-dimensional (3D) fibrillar scaffold to which cells adhere. Investigations in the lab revolve around how the mechanical and biochemical properties of this 3D ECM direct the cell behavior, i.e. mechanobiology. Under this broad conceptual framework, the lab is interested in how mechanobiology influences or misregulates cell function and modifies genetic mechanisms of disease. Specifically, the lab has shown that ECM mechanics can regulate the differentiation of stem cells into specific adult cell types, cause heart cells to contract better/worse with age, and cause cells to transform into cancer and metastasize. To accomplish this, his lab makes natural and synthetic matrices with unique spatiotemporal properties to mimic niche conditions, improve stem cell behavior and commitment in vitro, or direct them for therapeutic use in vivo.
Must be okay with working with embryonic stem cells. Cell culture is a plus. 

Jacobs School of Engineering (JSOE) - MAE and Surgery

Dr. James Friend 
Our group uses micro-nano engineering to produce clinically beneficial technologies, especially using ultrasound, a safe method for imaging and treatment of disease. We have projects on pacing the heart, overcoming type II diabetes, treating peripheral neuropathy, speeding viral diagnosis at the point of care, and delivering genes into cells. We also work on fundamental physical phenomena, including exploration of rogue waves and holes at the microscale, attempting to drive ultra high-speed rotation through levitation, and the behavior of fluids under large stresses at the nanoscale. We've hosted STARS students in the past, and one of our current PhD students is a STARS program alumni.
For some projects, experimental and bench experience is a plus. For a couple of our projects, extensive math experience and/or a thorough grounding in physics is required.


Upcoming Civil and Aerospace Structural Engineering Department

Dr. Ingrid Tomac
(upcoming Civil and Aerospace Structural Engineering Department)
STARS students will work alongside a Ph.D. student and the PI on analysis of experiments performed on International Space Station and laboratory experiments. Geotechnical laboratory is used to better understand post-wildfire mudflows, that are devastating and unpredictable, and impact civil infrastructure. We investigate hydrodynamic behavior of different soil-water-air mixtures and gravity role in evolution of internal composition of water-soil-air matrix on small samples, applying micromechanics principles. The final goal for this project is developing of novel fluid dynamics laws for predicting flow and impact of post-wildfire mudflows.
Prerequisites: None

Boris Kramer
Boris Kramer is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at UC San Diego. 
Looking for a student with good skills in computation (python, matlab) and dynamical systems to work on model predictions for space weather. This may range from data-based model learning, uncertainty quantification or inverse problem solving. Dr. Kramer's lab has some interesting projects in reduced-order modeling for various applications, for instance space weather, Lagrangian and Hamiltonian mechanics. Moreover, other projects in risk-based engineering design (design under uncertainty) would require implementing a computational model for a mechanical system and then collaborating with a Postdoc on methods development.
Preference for students with computational experience and good knowledge of dynamical systems.


Dr. Sonia Martinez
Implement a particular stochastic control algorithm on the turtlebot/ROS platform for future integration into a trajectory tracking project. The control algorithm is trying to move a turtlebot from a current to a goal location while tracking and avoiding a (possibly hypothetical) moving obstacle. The algorithm accomplishes this by creating a Gaussian distribution in the direction of the goal state, defining a non-sample region around the obstacle (with a safety parameter as an input), then controlling to the sampled point. This process repeats until the robot is at the goal state. Movement behavior combines safety with an optimal bias (through distribution placement toward the goal).
None. P
ython knowledge and some knowledge of C++ would be great.

 Dr. Jorge Cortes
Work on distributed robotics at the MURO Lab ( includes design, analysis, and implementation of motion planning strategies and distributed coordination algorithms on multi-robot networks performing spatially-distributed tasks. Our lab focuses on deployment of heterogeneous robots including ground vehicles and aerial vehicles. We rely on methods from graph theory, dynamics, and control combined with open source software programming. Several project opportunities exist to enhance the range of current capabilities in the lab. These include the implementation of distributed methods for self-localization with on-board cameras, 3D formation control strategies with heterogeneous teams, and human-swarm interaction structures that enable rapid deployment of robot teams. Other projects include research in methods of enabling human interaction with a swarm of robots and design/development of ground and aerial robots.
Familiarity with open source software; programming experience (either phython or C++, ideally ROS); knowledge of ordinary differential equations and linear algebra.

Dr.John Hwang
UC San Diego and its partners are creating computational models and optimization algorithms that will enable faster, more effective design of urban air mobility vehicles. This three-year project is funded by University Leadership Initiative (ULI) within NASA's Aeronautics Research Mission Directorate (ARMD). Dr. Hwang leads the ULI Team and students this summer 2023 can expect to work on projects related to the exploration of air taxi design concepts for urban air mobility. Experience and/or interest in aircraft design is preferred.
Prerequsite: Knowledge of Python

Dr. Oliver Schmidt
STARS students will be integrated into one of our ongoing research projects related to computational fluid mechanics, modeling, and flow physics. These are:

  • High-fidelity numerical simulation for active flow control for jet noise reduction
  • Gas cooling with minimal aero-optical distortion of high-energy lasers
  • Mesh-free methods for flow simulation and hydrodynamic stability
  • Nonlinear physics of transitional boundary layers and turbulent open cavity flows
  • Reconstruction of gaps in experimental particle image velocimetry flow data
  • Predictive modeling of shoaling internal gravity waves in the bay of La Jolla         

Prerequisites: None. Depending on the project, knowledge of programming in Matlab, theoretical and numerical fluid mechanics, linear algebra, and partial differential equations.

Dr. Michael Frazier 
Metamaterials are a special type of material within which - through geometry rather than chemistry - desirable properties and performance can be engineered. In this lab, we design and analyze the non-linear behavior of metamaterials, specifically. In this project, you will help build a metamaterial test specimen as well as use Matlab to develop an image tracking capability in order to monitor the motion of the metamaterial specimen. Students are encouraged to be comfortable with Matlab programming and setting up dynamics equations (i.e., F=ma). Familiarity with Arduino platform is not required but a major plus.
Prerequisites: None.

Jacobs School of Engineering (JSOE) - Electrical and Computer Engineering

Dr. Nikolau Atanasov
Project Title: Python Robotics
Description: This project focuses implementing baseline robotics algorithms for localization, mapping, planning, and control and integrating them in the PyBullet ( physics simulator. Specific algorithms that will be considered include occupancy-grid mapping, particle-filter localization, A* motion planning, and proportional-derivative control for an Ackermann-drive robot. The objective is to document the algorithm implementations and provide visualization and accessible demonstrations of the algorithm operation. The project is inspired by the Pacman project ( and aims to create a robotics version of it. To achieve this, the developed algorithms, demos, visualization, and documentation will be provided on a website with a Jupyter ( and Google Collab ( interface.

Experience with object oriented programming, data structures, and algorithms is required. Experience in robotics, e.g., at the level of Probabilistic Robotics by Thrun, Burgard and Fox is preferred but not required.


Jacobs School of Engineering (JSOE) - Computer Science

Dr. Mai ElSherief
Students can expect to do research and training in the following:

  • * Inferring mental health states from social media language.
  • * Online incitement to violence language detection.
  • * Misinformation detection.
  • *Online abuse detection in social audio and VR settings. 
Students should be excited about the applications of computer science for social good.
Prerequisites: Python, Intro to NLP/Linguistics course

Jacobs School of Engineering (JSOE) - NanoEngineering

Shaochen Chen
Dr. Chen is a Professor and Chair in the NanoEngineering Department at UC San Diego. He is also a faculty member of the Institute of Engineering in Medicine and the Clinical Translational Research Institute at UCSD. His research interests include 3D Printing and Bioprinting, Stem Cells and Tissue Engineering, Biomaterials and Nanomaterials, Organ/Tissue-on-a-Chip. The development of 3D printing and bioprinting processes is used to create functional tissues for tissue repair and regeneration. 

Jinhye Bae
Jinhye Bae is an Assistant Professor in the NanoEngineering Department at UC San Diego. The Bae lab focuses on understanding and exploiting physics, mechanics, and dynamics of soft matter to develop new pathways of programmable assembly and deformation of soft matter at the nano to macro-scales. The group is interested in Integrating material characteristics into new structural design and fabrication approaches for applications in biomedical devices, soft robotics, actuators, and sensors.
Students should have taken general physics and chemistry classes.



Dr. Monica Allen 
Dr. Monica Allen is an Assistant Professor of Physics at UC San Diego. Her research aims to combine scanning probe microscopy with transport techniques to spatially visualize electronic phases in quantum materials and utilize them for emerging technologies, such as quantum information processing. Students will have the opportunity to build hybrid materials by stacking atomically thin crystals and contribute to the development of novel microscopy instrumentation.

Dr.Elena Koslover
The student will use simulations and data analysis to quantify the dynamics of shifting tubules in the peripheral endoplasmic reticulum. The goal will be to characterize observed tubule motions and reproduce them via a physical model.
Prerequite: prior programming experience (ideally in Matlab, or willingness to learn Matlab)

Dr. Adam Burgasser
Adam Burgasser is a Professor of Physics at UC San Diego. In his lab, students will work with Prof. Adam Burgasser and members of the Cool Star Lab to analyze near-infrared spectral data of stars, galaxies, asteroids, and planets as part of a NASA-funded archival research program. Prior experience in programming (especially Python) is recommended but not required; open to Astronomy, Physics, and Computer Science majors.
Prerequisites: None.

Dr. Liang Yang
The students will measure the characteristics for electronics at cryogenic temperature and perform data analysis on measurement results. This work will contribute to the R&D for the nEXO experiment which aims to study fundamental properties of neutrinos.
Prerequisites: None


School of Medicine (SOM) - Biomedical Informatics

The Department of Biomedical Informatics designs, implements, and evaluates informatics algorithms and systems that serve biomedical researchers, other healthcare providers, and public health professionals. Students who are interested in being mentored by DBMI Mentors will participate in both STARS and DBMI activities. DBMI Activities have previously included workshops on topics such as Data Science and Informatics, Computational Environments (R/RStudio), R Basics, Informatics Research Ethics, The Electronic Health Record, Data in Databases and SQL, Using the MIMIC Dataset, Hackers and Healthcare, Visualizing Data and Analysis, and Basic Biostatistics.

Applicants requesting to be matched to DBMI Mentors should pay close attention to project prerequisites and special considerations listed after each project description. DBMI Website:

Faculty Mentors: 

  • Ming Tai-Seale
  • Jejo Koola
  • Rodney Gabriel
  • Matteo D'Antonio
  • Tsung-Ting Kuo

Dr. Ming Tai-Seale
Dr. Tai-Seale is Professor of Family Medicine and Medicine in UCSD's School of Medicine. She leads the Learning Health Systems Lab which seeks to discover new ways to improve health, to disseminate and implement discoveries into evidence-based practices, and to enhance joy in the practice of medicine.
Prerequisites: Preferences for students with skills in quantitative research and are genuinely curious. Able to program in statistical software such as STATA or R.

Dr. Rodney Gabriel
Dr. Rodney A. Gabriel holds position as Chief of the Division of Regional Anesthesia and Acute Pain Medicine and is the Medical Director at the Koman Family Outpatient Pavilion surgery center. He is an Associate Professor of Anesthesiology and Associate Adjunct Professor in Biomedical Informatics. His research interests include the development of predictive models for perioperative outcomes using machine learning and in novel regional anesthesia techniques for pain management. Dr. Gabriel is actively involved in the acute pain management of surgical patients, especially focused on the reduction of opioid use.
Prerequisites: Willing to learn (if not already known) statistics and programming in R and/or python.

Dr. Jejo Koola
Clinical Research Using Wearable Technology to Follow Patient Centered Outcomes After Kidney Injury
Clinical Research Assistant using mobile health technologies to monitor cognitive and frailty status in real time of patients with acute kidney injury (AKI). This position is specifically tailored to undergraduates or graduate students with interest in biomedical research, bioinformatics, medicine, computer science, and/or machine learning. This work is funded by the UCSD Academy of Clinician Scholars Grant. AKI occurs in 2 – 5% of hospitalized patients and 70% of critically ill patients. AKI is associated with increased inpatient mortality, hospital length of stay, and post-discharge morbidity. Moreover, its effects are long-lasting and associated with cognitive dysfunction, frailty, and reduced quality of life. This study leverages novel biomarkers and digital phenotyping to track post-AKI cognitive and functional changes and their relationship to patient-centered outcomes.

Prerequisites: None.  Students are recommended to have some exposure to R, Python, or data analysis, and introduction to statistics. 

Dr. Matteo D'Antonio
Matteo D'Antonio is an Assistant Professor in the Division for Biomedical Informatics, Department of Medicine at UC San Diego. As member of the The Center for Admixture Science and Technology (CAST), he is interested in investigating the associations between genetic variation and complex traits, in order to improve patient stratification for disease risk. His main focus is understanding how these associations differ between individuals from different ancestries and how admixed individuals can be characterized. clinicians: along with helping to produce high-end graphics for the results.
None. Basic programming and statistics (R language preferred).

Dr. Tsung-Ting Kuo
Tsung-Ting Kuo is an Assistant Professor of Medicine in UC San Diego Health Department of Biomedical Informatics (DBMI). The Kuo Lab is focused on blockchain technology (a distributed ledger/database technology adopted by the Bitcoin cryptocurrency) that can advance research by data sharing, especially when data is from multiple healthcare systems. However, current, state-of-the-art data sharing frameworks are mostly still centralized. This centralization carries several risks, e.g., single-point-of-failure at the central server. To improve the security and robustness of data sharing frameworks, they want to develop and implement novel and advanced methods on decentralized blockchain networks and/or review related works. The outcome will be development of approaches or summarization of studies that can enhance the security and robustness of data sharing from multiple healthcare systems through a distributed system.
Prerequisites: None. Computer programming such as Java or Python preferred.

School of Medicine (SOM) - Genetics

Alon Goren
The Goren Lab studies the characterization of the roles of mitotic associated histone deacetylation patterns. Our interdisciplinary research focuses on epigenomic mechanisms and their dynamics. We merge basic biology, technological innovations and computational analyses to study the role of chromatin regulation in development and disease states, such as cancer and autism. Candidates should be highly committed, hardworking and enthusiastic.We are looking for a highly motivated student, with interest in molecular and computational biology and epigenomics. Previous experience in experimental or computational biology is an advantage.
Prerequisites: None. 


School of Medicine (SOM) - Neurosciences

Chengbiao Wu
Chengbiao Wu is an Associate Professor in the School of Medicine under the Neurosciences Department. His lab is actively developing cutting-edge technologies to pursue novel hypotheses regarding axonopathy. For the summer 2023 project, the focus is using human iPSC, cell models and animal models as they are interested in understanding the molecular and cellular mechanisms in neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, Huntington's disease. Research students also study peripheral sensory neuropathy such as Charcot Marie Tooth disease. 
Prerequisites: Students are required to have taken general biology courses.

School of Medicine (SOM) - Dept. of Cellular and Molecular Medicine

Dr. Gene Yeo 
The Yeo lab studies RNA-binding proteins and RNA processing in health and disease, using human cells, stem-cell derived organoids, and also mice as model systems. Key experimental approaches include molecular biology and transcriptomics, followed by bioinformatic data analysis. The Yeo lab has multiple research projects available that for up to three STARS students, who will be mentored by PhD students or postdoctoral researchers.
Prerequisite: Must have taken basic biology classes. Experience in Python helpful but not required

School of Medicine (SOM) - Pediatrics

Dr. Nicole Coufal
Our lab studies microglia, the innate immune cells of the brain, and how these cells contribute to neurodevelopment and pediatric neurodegenerative disorders. Utilizing a combination of pluripotent stem cells, in vitro differentiations, cerebral organoid-microglia cocultures and a mouse model where we transplant human stem cell derived microglia, our groups goal is to identify novel drug targets for currently untreatable pediatric disease. Preference given to students with cell culture experience, prior bench experience, stem cell experience.
Prerequisite: college level biology and neuroscience classes

School of Global Policy and Strategy

Dr. David Fortunato
For summer 2023, students will work with legislative resources. Different legislatures have varying resources that facilitate legislative work—things like designing policy and practicing oversight. This means that some legislatures are better equipped to give voters the policies they want and to control bureaucrats (police, environmental regulators, public health officials, etc). The project will collect data in those legislative resources in different countries and study the downstream effects of those resources on policy outcomes.
Prerequisites: None. Some data literacy would be helpful.