Current 2018 STEM Research Experience Projects
The version of the browser you are using is no longer supported. Please upgrade to a supported browser.Dismiss

View only
Instructions:This is the current list of projects on CU Boulder Campus (orange) and Anschutz Campus (green)
Last Update: 1 May 2018If the project has a red box after the special requiremnts: this project is currently full
Research program runs from July 2nd to July 26th and culminates in a poster session
CU Boulder CampusProject DescriptionSpecial RequirementsFull?
Geological SciencesI am working on a project developing a method for understanding El Niño intensity/frequency in the past using elemental ratios (Mg/Ca) in an oceanic micro-fossil called planktic foraminifera. Students will help pick planktic foraminifera from washed core samples that will be used in my research. Students will also get to help image planktic foraminifera on the microscope to help us create a database images to be used in a foraminifera picking machine learning project.must be willing to use a microscope for long periods of time
Electrical, Computer and Energy EngineeringThe summer project will leverage our group's years of experience to build a functional 3D/4D biomedical imaging modality. The students will have the opportunities to participate in designing a modern scanning microscope system and developing real-time control and image processing programs.
Biophysics, Biochemistry, JSCBBThe main focus of our lab is to understand the post-translational modifications (PTM)of tubulin proteins. based on the type of PTMs the diversity of functions are harnessed by microtubules which are the primary cytoskeletal element in any organisms. Student will be working in protein expression purification of tubulin and its binding partners. Once the proteins are purified they will be applied for structural studies by Nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy. The over all goal of this training session will be to make the student familiar with the protein macromolecules, how we can study them outside our bodies and why their structures are important to understand their functions in a specific disease condition. This will help us to encourage the next generation in biomedical research one of the main goal of STEM foundation.Student should be familiar with biological science and basic algebra.
Biophysics, Biochemistry, JSCBBThe student will work on solving the structure of intrinsically disordered proteins using solution nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR). Specifically, they will study a disordered domain in the protein tubulin and how it is affected by binding to other proteins. This will involve protein expression in bacterial systems and purification as well as collecting and analyzing NMR data.
Ecology and Evolutionary BiologyWe will be collecting pika fecal samples from talus slopes at Niwot Ridge and Rocky Mountain National Park west of Boulder, Colorado. The students will be hiking with me to locations and will be expected to help collect fecal samples. We are collecting feces to later take to the lab to measure stress hormone concentrations within the sample. Note that lab work will be in the fall, so students will not be able to participate in the lab analysis of samples, and will only be participating in the field collection component. The project seeks to test if stress is a good predictor of population health and if it could be used to help guide management decisions for the American pika.Must be comfortable working outside in the mountains all day. Weather changes drastically throughout the day, so students must be prepared for cold, wet, or hot weather. Students must be comfortable with hiking or at least be willing to hike long distances. To reach some locations, students may need to hike up to 10 miles in a day. The students should also be ok working with feces. Note that we are not working with live animals, and will only be collecting scat.
Aerospace Engineering SciencesI plan to first introduce them the basic concepts behind the code that they will use. After this first stage, the students will be familiar not only with the code we used in our research group, but also the components of a generic design optimization code. Then, they will learn how to interface with the code ( which will include changing parameters and initial conditions of a structural design problem), and run simulations. After a few simulations have been run, an analysis of the influence of the parameters changed will be performed by them. Based on the knowledge gained in the analysis, the students will be able to independently formulate questions associated with the influence of additional parameters/conditions, and run additional simulations to answer such questions. - Familiarity with coding.
- Basic Mechanical principles.
- Interest in design optimization.
Mechanical EngineeringWe are studying the engineering of crystallization processes that occur during water desalination. The HS assistant would assist in setting up experiments, monitoring them, making new membranes and other materials. The student would also assist in preparing reports.None
Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research (INSTAAR)This project is about building a scientific knowledge database by constructing a formal ontology for use in artificial intelligence applications in the geosciences and social sciences. Our current work focuses on encoding (geo)scientific concepts into machine readable form and serving this information to other scientists through a web portal. The student(s) would contribute by assisting in improving our database in a variety of ways based on their interest and ability. Potential work includes populating the database with scientific knowledge concepts (ontology development), helping create a pleasing user interface for our web search tool (front-end development), or increasing the efficiency of how our database is hosted (back-end development).There are no specific requirements, only an interest in the subject matter, an inquiring mind, and readiness to dive in and learn new things! Although a level of comfort with programming would be helpful, it is not necessary. This position may be a good match for students who are interested in studying Computer Science, Cognitive Science, or Physical or Biological Sciences. We encourage and welcome students from underrepresented groups to join us!
Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research (INSTAAR)Help conduct tracer studies, data collection, and data analysis in Gordon Gulch, an alpine stream in Boulder Canyon. We are looking into the concentration of dissolved oxygen along the stream and the bias in metabolism estimations associated with groundwater dilution. The data to be collected will provide insight into flow and reaeration rates, atmospheric pressure, light intensity, water depth, and stream salinity, which will allow us to calculate stream metabolism along the reach. The students will also have the chance to re-calibrate probes, install new loggers along the study site, read relevant literature, and potentially learn some coding in R. Must be comfortable with the outdoors and physical activity (field work); experience with Microsoft Excel
Ecology & Evolutionary Biology (EBIO)
Though feather color and patterning is broadly consistent within species, and plays an important role in species recognition in birds, there is often extensive fine-scale variation in plumage traits within a population that can be very important for mate selection and other species interactions.
Black-capped and mountain chickadees (Poecile atricapillus and P. gambeli, respectively) appear to hybridize in human-modified habitats, such as along Colorado’s Front Range. Thus far, evidence for hybridization stems only from visual identification of hybrids based on feather color and patterning that is intermediate to the plumage of the parental species. Though aberrant, or mixed, plumage is used to diagnose potential hybrids, we lack information on how extensively plumage patterning and color varies within each species, making this method unreliable.
This project will quantify the natural variation of feather color and patch size within wild populations of black-capped and mountain chickadees.

Students would help take photos of wild chickadees in the field (MRS) and analyze these photos on campus using ImageJ under the direction of Kathryn Grabenstein. Additionally, they will help survey Boulder, CO with Angela Hansen (see Comments) for urban chickadee populations that will be targeted for banding.
Students must be physically active. We will spend a lot of time hiking at the Mountain Research Station (around 10,000'), over rough terrain. Additionally, an interest in birds and the natural world would be a bonus. Students must be flexible and willing to undergo sometimes challenging, though not life threatening, conditions (cold, heat, bugs, etc.). Also, Students must respond well to directions, as we will be dealing with wild birds, and may encounter unpredictable wildlife at the MRS (i.e., moose or black bears).
Computer ScienceJoin our human-robot interaction lab, where we create playful, imaginative interactions to support preschool children in expressing their ideas through open-ended inquiry. Researchers will support the development of our technology (coding for web and mobile platforms, creating multimodal stuffed animal interfaces, usability testing) as well as the analysis of our data (transcribing stories, writing scripts to analyze the children's language). This is a multidisciplinary lab with diverse opportunities for collaboration—from code and electronics to arts and narrative.Required Skills: Must be a proactive communicator and a creative prototype-maker, who is comfortable sharing their plans and integrating feedback into their designs.

Some Helpful Skills: Experience with web or mobile application programming, including languages such as JavaScript, HTML5, CSS, and React; experience caregiving with young children such as infants, toddlers, and preschoolers; experience with electronics such as sensors and triggers; experience with sewing or tactile arts such as crafting seams and zippers; experience with data analysis such as calculating statistics.
Information ScienceThis project will focus on local and state ordinances related to public memorials. We are investigating the negotiation process of getting memorials placed in public areas, as well as how local laws change. Our areas of inquiry will be publicly accessible transcripts, legal documents, and social media comment sections. relevant interests include law & policy, parks, cemeteries, the Internet, humans, flowers, and/or history
EBIOParasite identification and quantification of amphibian parasites. Research would include thorough necropsy of amphibians, and possibly fish, to enumerate parasite species. Further examination of the parasites would include identification through morphology and genetic assumptions.Must speak English, has to be okay with humane euthanasia of amphibians
Mechanical EngineeringEvaluation of bones for metabolic changes in spaceflight.we will work with almost anyone with a scientific background.
NEW: Information ScienceStudents will primarily be locating and coding literature. Students will have the opportunity to not only learn what constitutes good literature, but also how to conduct a highly structured literature review. There is some room here for low-level programming instruction, depending on how other summer projects develop.
NEW: Materials Science and EngineeringThe student will be working on understanding organic semiconductor materials to develop electronic applications. The student will be using x-ray diffraction instrument to analyze the structure of semiconductor materials, design models to illustrate the structure, and study the charge transport in the materials. Besides the main project, the student will be working on interdisciplinary fields such as elastomers, liquid crystals, and others.Interest in science and research, independent thinking
NEW: Aerospace EngineeringThe student will be working on a project detecting and tracking of Radio Frequency sensors using advanced estimation methods. We are currently using particle filtering, and hoping to incorporate machine learning into our solution. The student will be introduced to MATLAB, Python and other coding languages, and will have opportunities to learn about Radio-Frequency transmitters, and other cool things!Interest in learning to code/using languages like MATLAB.
NEW: PhysicsWe are making transparent yet heat insulating coatings to be applied to energy inefficient single pane windows. These coatings stop heat from entering or leaving the building (saving on energy and costs needed to heat or cool the interior), yet maintain the optical clarity of the window. These coatings are made from cellulose (the chemical in cotton, paper, and wood) and thus serve as a green, renewable, economic material source. One student may work with me on synthesizing cellulose nanoparticles (e.g. cellulose nanocrystals and cellulose nanofibers) used for these films, with their goal being to optimize the synthesis and to determine how the cellulose nanoparticles' properties change as we tune the synthesis. Another student may work on using these cellulose nanoparticles to see how changing their chemistry can tune the films' final reflectivity and thermal resistance. The students and I will discuss to determine a suitable project for each participant.An enthusiasm in chemistry or optics will make research fun! However, only a very basic background in chemistry (e.g. 1 high school chemistry course) is needed to thrive.
You Must be aged 16 by July 2nd, 2018 to be placed on one of the Anschutz Campus Projects
Anschutz CampusProject DescriptionSpecial Requirements
Renalpolycystic kidney disease, gene therapy, autophagyattention to detail, high degree of initiative, gets along well with others.
BioengineeringThe student would be working on a project related to tissue engineering living patches to treat congenital heart defects.
Pulmonary Science and Critical MedicineThe project will study idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, which is a chronic, incurable lung disease, typically resulting in death within 2-3 years. We will use cells isolated from human lungs and tissue samples to assess the role or different cell types, including the immune cells, in causing the progression of this disease.
Cell and Developmental BiologyOur lab studies the process of myelination in the brain. Loss of myelination can result in disease states like multiple sclerosis. This project will focus on mTOR, a serine/threonine kinase. We are interested in how mTOR signaling affects oligodendrocyte myelination. fluent in english
Pulmonary and Critical Care MedicineThe student will be helping with a project studying the effects and treatment of influenza infection in 3D cell culture systems. We will be culturing primary human small airway epithelial cells in a new organ-on-a-chip culture system known as the human small airway-on-a-chip. Using this 3D culture system we will expose the human cells to influenza and potentially small molecule anti-virals.
Medicine/PulmonaryThe student will be working on in-vitro studies on lung fibroblasts. The various aspects that will be studied include myofibroblast differentiation, senescence and proliferative phenotypes in the context of mitochondrial dysfunction. The student will likely be involved in a specific experiments with focus on developing simple skills such as performing western blots and RT-PCR.
PharmacologyStudents would be creating the foundation for structural biology experiments. The project involves creating a DNA construct for a protein, transfecting it into bacteria, and testing the ability of that bacteria to produce the protein of interest. If able to progress to this stage in the project with excess time, the students would then purify the protein from the bacterial cells. Students will reinforce their knowledge about the central dogma of biology (replication, transcription, and translation).
Medicine The students will be working on a project exploring the role of stromal cells in influencing the immune response. We have a variety of in vivo and in vitro model, and the student will gain experience working with flow cytometry, IHC, western blots, PCR and other common laboratory techniques. We will have students assist with experiments, data analysis as well as laboratory maintenance.Must be willing to work with mouse tissue
Research Projects to Date 1/30/18
Main menu