Undergraduate research is available either through Chem 91/92 research credit, or as paid summer/academic year research assistants.
Also available are several sholarship programs:
2. Tufts Beckman Scholars Program in the chemical and biological sciences.
PLEASE NOTE: Not all available undergraduate research opportunities are listed below. Please feel free to inquire with any faculty with whom you have an interest in doing research.
I have space for a couple of motivated students to do research in my laboratory. Our research involves the use of spectroscopic methods to probe the environment in order to detect, identify and quantify various analytes. In the past, we have focused on using laser illumination of the sample using fiber optics, and detected the resulting fluorescence. This gives good sensitivity and some selectivity for aromatic organics. We are extending our capabilities to detect other species, including organic chlorides and metals, by developing improved fluorescence methods and other techniques such as Raman spectroscopy and infrared, near-infrared, and UV-visible absorption spectroscopy. It is helpful for students to have completed analytical and physical chemistry courses before undertaking this work; a good mathematical background is also essential. A two-semester commitment is required.
Undergraduate research students who join my group participate as part of an interdisciplinary team along side graduate students on a variety of research projects at the boundaries of chemistry, geochemistry, planetary science, and astrobiology. Current projects include: Ongoing analysis of the data returned by the Phoenix Mars Lander Mission; development of the next chemistry lab for analyzing the martian soil, Robotic Chemical Analysis Laboratory(RCAL); development of a novel technique for detection of microbial life (MiDA) on Mars by monitoring chemical disequilibration via an electrochemical sensor array; determination of total organic carbon on Mars (MOCA) using electrochemical oxidation; investigation of chemical profiles at the soil/permafrost boundary of the Antarctic Dry Valley soils, in-situ measurement of the chemistry surrounding deep sea thermal vents, and other extreme environments.
I usually accept 1-2 undergrads per year via Chem 91/92 or the appropriate research credit in their respective department. Paid summer assistantships are also available. Prerequisites include Analytical Chemistry (Chem42) for chem majors, or junior/senior class standing in geology, physics or biology.
Undergraduate students in my group will work closely with graduate students, post doctoral research associates and the principal investigator. Our group is involved in a multi-disciplinary research effort utilizing the techniques of synthetic organic chemistry, cell biology, materials science and recombinant DNA technology to develop novel methods for the rational design and construction of artificial proteins, novel therapeutics, cellular imaging reagents and molecular enzymes. Research projects in the laboratory deal with various aspects of peptide architecture, protein folding and stability, catalyst design, in vitro models for infection and disease, mammalian cell-surface engineering, glycobiology and nanochemistry. There is no imposed course requirement, but a background in organic chemistry and/ or biochemistry is absolutely needed.
We develop instruments, data analysis software, and methods to detect hazardous chemicals in the environment and in food. Projects include probes that can detect pollutants in the subsurface (soil and groundwater) at hazardous waste sites without bringing sample to the surface, monitor chemical threats in the air at airports, train stations, and tunnels, and pesticides in food products. Research aimed at providing complete chemical profiles of food products (fruits, vegetables, and beverages) to understand how we smell, taste, and can extend shelf life.
I have room for a couple of undergraduates in my group. Students interested in doing research must have completed at least two years of chemistry, including Chem 42, and have an interest in the development of analytical instrumentation and methods aimed at analyzing environmentally and biologically important compounds.
The major areas of our research are coordination, supramolecular and bioinorganic chemistry, with the main objects being transition metal macrocyclic complexes. One of the current projects is aimed at obtaining a new family of molecular tweezers capable of selective 2-center and 3-center substrate binding. These molecules are of great promise for creating new redox catalysts and new switchable receptors for biological substrates. Another project includes investigation of a spatial self-organization (pattern formation) in reaction-diffusion systems, in particular, using diffusion of O2 from the gas phase into solution followed by chemical reactions in the liquid phase.
It is expected that undergraduate researchers will be involved primarily in the synthesis and characterization of organic and inorganic compounds, including air-sensitive compounds. Other areas of concentration, such as kinetic measurements, and computational modeling, are also possible.
Prerequisites/Corequisites: Chem 1 and Chem 2 with labs for pattern formation project; Chem 51, 52 for synthetic projects; Chem 31 for kinetic studies; Chem 32 for molecular modeling. Enrollment in Chem 61 will be expected from the students involved in a long-term project.
I usually have room for one or two undergraduates in my laboratory. The project involves devising novel new experiments for physical chemistry laboratories which illustrate principles in both thermodynamics and spectroscopy/quantum mechanics. For example, in recent years ultra-small structures have come to play an increasing role in areas as diverse as sensor development, computational devices, and contaminant remediation. The electronic properties of these so called quantum devices are intermediate between those of atoms and those of extended solids.
This is a topic central to the spectroscopy/quantum mechanics course. There is a major gap between the research level materials that have been developed and an experiment suitable for a course. This work, supported by the National Science Foundation, is designed to fill this gap. Due to the fact that every chemistry department offers physical chemistry courses, the results of our work are of wide-spread interest. Results will be published in the Journal of Chemical Education and ultimately will be published in a new physical chemistry laboratory text. Students involved in this project will not only have the opportunity to solidify their understanding of this advanced-level material, they will help shape the way this material is delivered to the next generation of students. Pre or corequisite: Chem 31/33 and students should plan to enroll in Chem 32/34.
Physical and Materials Chemistry - Research in my group reveals the molecular-level choreography of chemical reactions occurring at the interface of a gas and a solid surface. We use an array of experimental techniques to uncover the key molecular motions that transform reactants into surface-bound reaction products. Undergraduate students working in the group work closely with other group members on important aspects of the project. Work typically involves the use and design of electronic, mechanical, and optical instruments including lasers, computer interfacing and control, and the acquisition and analysis of experimental data.
I am also interested in working with a student to design and refine new laboratory exercises for the undergraduate physical chemistry lab. Many of these exercises will use newly acquired equipment. The goal of the work will be to generate working laboratory exercises for the second semester laboratory. I will accept up to one student per project next year.