UCSC undergraduates exhibit summer research projects

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Students presented their research on posters in the Baskin Engineering Courtyard at the Summer Undergraduate Research Symposium. (Photos by Tim Stephens)
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Ariel Anders presented her work on a dental robotics project.
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Jennifer Roebber is studying the neurological basis of color vision.
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Jeff Ta and Wilson Liu are developing a standardized sample preparation procedure for next-generation DNA sequencing technology.

More than 80 students presented their summer research projects at the 2011 Summer Undergraduate Research Symposium, held on Friday, August 12, in the Baskin Engineering Courtyard.

Student researchers explained their work to faculty, staff, and fellow students who gathered around the posters on display in the courtyard. Subjects included solar cells, robotics, gene sequencing, drug discovery, game design, galaxy evolution, and much more.

Many of the student researchers are being mentored in campus labs through their participation in programs funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF), National Institutes of Health (NIH), and the University of California. Others began working in faculty labs simply by taking advantage of the wide array of research opportunities available to undergraduates at UC Santa Cruz.

Jennifer Roebber, for example, is a neuroscience major studying the neurological basis of color vision in the cross-disciplinary lab of physicist Alexander (Sasha) Sher. "I just walked into Sasha's office one day and asked him to tell me about his research," Roebber said. "There is so much undergraduate research here, it's one of the wonderful things about this school."

Computer engineering major Ariel Anders began her robotics research last summer through an NSF-sponsored summer program (SURF-IT) and has continued it with support from an NIH-sponsored honors program (MARC). Anders is working on a dental robot with medical robotics expert Jacob Rosen, an associate professor of computer engineering in the Baskin School of Engineering. The goal of her project is to develop a robotic arm for use in dental implant procedures.

In addition to UCSC students, the symposium included student researchers from local community colleges and high schools, as well as from other institutions throughout the country, all of whom spent the summer doing research at UCSC through various outreach programs. Student researchers at UCSC receive support from the following programs:

  • The ACCESS Summer Research Institute is an intensive eight-week program with an emphasis on biomedical sciences that provides internships for students at local community colleges.
  • The UC LEADS (UC Leadership Excellence through Advanced Degrees) program prepares undergraduates to earn Ph.D.s in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics fields.