Potential Double Hoo Projects

The following graduate students are seeking undergraduate students to collaborate on a Double Hoo research proposal.

Name: Oat Arpornthip
Contact: ta4eb@virginia.edu
Department: Physics
Specialization: Atomic Physics, Computer automation
Research Focus: Software automation of a physics experiment. Automated system benchmarking and analysis.

Project Description: Our lab aims to implement a navigation system and various inertial sensors using Bose-Einstein Condensation. A cloud of atoms is laser-cooled to microkelvin temperature before they are transported to the evaporating chamber. In the evaporating chamber, the atoms go through an evaporative cooling process to reduce the temperature even further. The result is the coldest substance known to mankind, Bose-Einstein Condensation. Further manipulation of atoms allows us to measure various quantities required to make a navigation system: acceleration and rotation.
The system has many intricate parts, both hardware and software, that need to be done in perfect synchronization. The importance of hardware/software can be hardly overstated when an error in sub-microsecond in timing can cause significant distortion in the result. Furthermore, the analysis of the measurement is time-intensive and highly involved. A fully automated system will allow us to increase the throughput of our system measurement. A higher throughput allows us to employ a faster innovative cycle that will lead to the most precise navigation system.

Undergraduate Student Role: The goal of the project is to improve the level of automation and documentation of the controlling programs. Currently, the experiment is controlled through various homemade and commercial programs. While it has worked in the past, the complexity of the project has increased significantly in recent years. The student will redesign the UI and the backbone of the system for both the controlling program and the measurement analysis, with the hope to unify all operations under one program. The student will learn about hardware/software interfacing and how to interpret and analyze a large amount of quantitative data. The student will learn proper documentation and collaboration process between a group of programmers through real life applications.  

Name: Taylor Brown
Contact: trb5me@virginia.edu
Department: Statistics
Specialization: Time series models
Research Focus: Our research topic would be modelling financial prices (not derivatives) in the pursuit of coming up with trading strategies.

Project Description: I'd like to mentor a student who is interested in attempting to model financial prices in the pursuit of developing a trading strategy.

Undergraduate Student Role: Since this isn't my research focus at my department, much of the responsibility would be shouldered by you. Ideally you have some experience in programming in R or python, and some experience in time series modelling. We'll probably be modelling longer-term (day, week, month) stock prices, or medium- to longer-term foreign exchange rates (minute, hour, daily).

Name: Andrew Colombo-Dougovito 
Department: Curry School of Education
Contact: amc9gd@virginia.edu
Specialization: Adapted Physical Education
Research Focus: General physical activity is essential to maintaining a healthy lifestyle. However, children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) have been shown to have limited amounts of physical activity. In order to help increase the likelihood of children with ASD being active, the barriers to physical activity must be better understood.
Project Description: As children often have less autonomy than adolescents or adults, their parents are often the conduit to activity. By the parent’s willingness, they are often the deciding factor whether the child participates in activity. Therefore, in order to reach a better understanding of what limits the physical activity of children with ASD, this project will utilize interviews with parents to gain insight into what parents perceived as barriers to their child being physical active. By understanding the barriers, practitioners can better understand how to deliver interventions to increase the likelihood of their success.

To build the sample for interviews, parents will be given a questionnaire to understand their willingness to allow their child to be physically active. Parents with high and low willingness will be asked for an interview to understand what the differences are between the parent groups. Data will be collected through face to face interviewing, transcribed, and analyzed for themes.

Undergraduate Student Role: This project will have a great amount of collaboration between the student and myself. In this project, there will be opportunities to conduct interviews, transcribe data, as well as analyze data for themes. Together, we will collaboratively develop interview questions, codes, and themes. Training will be provided to ensure reliability between the student and myself.

Name: Leif Fredrickson
Contact: lmf4bm@virginia.edu
Department: History
Specialization: Environment, Cities
Research Focus: This project examines the relationship between the environment and metropolitan development in the 20th century.  It looks especially at how suburbanization has affected the environmental health of people in the inner city, and how the affects of an unhealthy environment affected the social and economic development of the inner city.  It addresses questions about environmental inequality, health disparities, and the relationship between health and economic development.
Project Description: This project uses Baltimore as a case study to examine the relationship between metropolitan development and environmental health.  It makes use of maps, quantitative data, and qualitative data to chart the changing nature of the Baltimore metropolitan area.  The project will focus especially on changing transportation patterns and housing patterns to investigate how air pollution and unhealthy housing changed over time, who was affected by these environmental factors, and what the approximate effects of those factors would have been for communities in Baltimore.  The project is part of my dissertation, and some of it will also go towards a digital history project that will seek to engage public more broadly.
Undergraduate Student Role: The student will research data sources; enter and clean up data; help make maps; and help interpret data and maps.  The student will also help with analysis, using GIS and statistics, especially if they have some background in these skills.  And if the student has some background in design or programming, s/he will help with the visualization of the data.

Name: Seok Hyun Gwon
Contact: sg8na@virginia.edu  
Department: School of Nursing 
Specialization: Adolescent smoking prevention 
Research Focus: I am looking at influences of licensed tobacco retailers (LTRs) on adolescent smoking in South Korea. Adolescents visiting LTRs are exposed to tobacco marketing and their smoking may be effected by LTR factors (tobacco marketing in LTRs and geographic location of LTRs). 
Project Description: There are 160,142 licensed tobacco retailers (LTRs) across South Korea, which indicates that there is one LTR for every 21 Korean adolescent between 15 and 19 years of age. Most LTRs are convenience stores or general supermarkets in South Korea. Even youths who enter an LTR without the intention of purchasing tobacco products may be exposed to the tobacco companies’ marketing materials inside LTRs; thus the presence and availability of LTRs may influence visitors’ smoking motivation. Research questions are "Does the density of LTRs near middle schools and the proximity of LTRs to middle schools, and perception of tobacco marketing in LTRs influence South Korean adolescent smoking?" Objectives of this study are to describe LTR factors; to examine smoking outcomes among adolescents; to analyze association between LTR factors and smoking outcomes; and to determine predictors of the smoking outcomes of the participants. This study will survey adolescents in Seoul and obtain geographic LTR data from borough offices of Seoul. Data will be analyzed by SPSS (statistical software) and ArcGIS (geographic information systems). The study results will contribute to an evidence base, which supports the need for public health policy changes including licensing and zoning regulations of LTRs in areas frequented by adolescents for youth smoking prevention. 
Undergraduate Student Role: An undergraduate student will do following activities; (1) To participate in organizing the survey data and geographic LTR data collected; (2) To participate in coding the data into SPSS; (3) To discuss the study results with a mentor; (4) To discuss implications and future suggestions as a nursing researcher with a mentor; and (5) To participate in disseminating of the study results (i.e. giving a presentation about the results in an international or national conference). 

Name: Anna Kromin
Contact: ask4mm@virginia.edu
Department: Slavic Languages and Literatures
Specialization: Prison slang in 20th and 21st century Russian Literature
Research Focus: The aim of the project is to use the Scholars' Lab in conjunction with other text mining resources to analyze the place and cultural significance of prison slang in a work of Russian literature (likely to be one of Viktor Pelevin's works, Buddha’s Little Finger). The analysis may be carried out in conjunction with 20th century literary works, particularly GULAG literature. The researchers will be looking for syntactic patterns, mood, readability, and other textual characteristics that will allow them to assess the evolution and role of prison slang in Russian literature, and how its significance extends into the realm of contemporary Russian culture.

Project Description: The research will involve using text mining software to analyze the literary text and separate the slang terms into a separate category. Thorough linguistic and literary assessment of the terms will follow, which will involve determining the meaning(s) and the semantic role of the terms; this data will be recorded and stored online, for easy access and comparison with other works (especially 20th century works). This data can then be used to compare and contrast the same slang terms across decades and to track any changes that occurred in their meaning and usage over time.

Upon completion of this phase, the researchers will analyze the parts of text that contain the slang terms for syntactic patterns, mood, readability, and a range of other attributes. The final stage of the process will involve comparison to the parts of the text unmarked for slang usage, and drawing conclusions about the significance of prison slang as a literary device, as well as about possible authorial intent.

Undergraduate Student Role: The student is expected to have an advanced understanding of Russian grammar and its nuances, and to be a careful and attentive reader of Russian. No prior experience with text mining is required, but the student should have basic computer proficiency and be open to learning new software.

The student will read source materials in Russian and analyze the text both as a whole and on a word and phrase level. They will then help the graduate student aggregate the possible definitions and meanings of the slang terms found in the source text, and assist in recording the data online using UVA's Collab Wordpress plugin, while providing proper attribution. The undergraduate's research task will involve working with both English- and Russian-language research databases, including, but not limited to, the Eastview Database, as well as online and paper editions of major Russian dictionaries and reference works on slang and prison culture. The student welcome, but not expected, to help analyze and compare the slang-heavy parts of the text with the parts written in standard Russian, and to provide input and insight into the possible significance of the findings.

Name: Iga Kucharska 
Department: Molecular Physiology and Biological Physics
Contact: ik3uj@virginia.edu  
Specialization: Biophysics 
Research Focus:  Our aim is to characterize molecular interactions of Outer Membrane Protein H (OprH) from Pseudomonas aeruginosa with lipopolysaccharide (LPS) using Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) and other in vivo and in vitro biochemical assays.

Project Description: P.aeruginosa is an opportunistic pathogen that infects cystic fibrosis and immunocompromised patients. The impermeability of the P.aeruginosa outer membrane contributes substantially to the notorious antibiotic resistance of this human pathogen. This impermeability is partially imparted by OprH. The function of OprH is to provide increased stability to the outer membranes of P.aeruginosa by directly interacting with LPS molecules. Using in vivo and in vitro biochemical assays, mainly NMR chemical shift perturbations, we showed that OprH indeed interacts with LPS in P.aeruginosa outer membranes. Our current aim is to provide a more definitive molecular model for interactions between OprH and LPS, using techniques like protein mutagenesis, Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay (ELISA), Isothermal titration calorimetry (ITC), NMR and others. The results of this study will offer new insight into protein-lipid interactions that likely contribute to antibiotic resistance during P.aeruginosa infections.

Undergraduate Student Role: In our laboratory students can learn how to express, purify and refold OprH protein, perform biochemical assays (like ELISA or ITC) and collect simple NMR spectra on protein samples. There is also a possibility of working with E.coli and P.aeruginosa bacterial cultures. Students will be assisted in all laboratory procedures until they are comfortable with performing them on their own.

Name: LeighAnn Larkin
Contact: lsl9hd@virginia.edu
Department: Engineering Physics
Specialization: Nanoscale Energy Transport
Research Focus: The drive to minimize size, while increasing efficiency, has caused a surplus of features and interfaces within technological devices, such as our cell phones or computers. At the microscale (10-6m) length and smaller, solid-solid interfaces are a primary point of resistance, resulting in a build-up of energy carriers at one side of the interface, in turn leading to extreme temperature gradients, sometimes as large as 40?C, within the size of a single electronic component. Our Nanoscale Energy Transport Laboratory at UVA aims to couple theoretical and experimental techniques to understand how energy is transported an interface composed of a wide range of materials with the goal to predict the conductance of energy at an interface, determine ways to increase the conductance at difference interfaces, to guide the integration of these materials into our modern day technologies for maximum lifetime and stability.

Project Description: With a potential thermal conductivity of 3,000 W/mK, high mechanical compliability, chemical stability, and high strength, carbon nanotube (CNT) arrays are desirable candidates for the next generation of thermal interface materials (TIMs). A TIM is a substance placed in between two materials, at the interface, to ensure perfect thermal contact between the two materials. The TIM is responsible for filling any voids, gaps, or imperfections at the interface that may otherwise fill with air, to prevent unwanted energy loss at the interface. Despite the promising properties, CNT arrays remain largely underutilized as TIMs commercially. Morphological properties, such as tube length and diameter, influence the overall properties of an as-grown CNT array. In addition, morphological inhomogeneity of tubes throughout the entire array limits the array’s reliability and predictability. In the proposed work here, growth parameters will be systematically varied to elucidate their effects on the resulting tube length, tube diameter, uniformity of the tubes’ physical characteristics throughout the array, the crystallinity, and the resulting thermal conductivity. Trends between growth parameters, homogeneity, and thermal properties are observed and discussed for purposes of increased commercial integration.

Undergraduate Student Role: While working in my laboratory, my undergraduate will have the primary responsibility of growing the CNT arrays. The primary purpose of this study is to determine how various growth parameters influence the resulting arrays. My student will systematically alter growth parameters, such as the growth temperature, growth time, and the amount of each reactant substance, and then together, we will characterize the resulting arrays. We will use Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM) to measure the diameters and length of the tubes, Raman Spectroscopy to measure the quality of the tubes, and 3-omega technique to measure the thermal conductivity of the array. The end goal is to determine how each of these growth parameters influences the resulting characteristics of the CNT arrays.

Name: Sam Richardson
Contact: ser3x@virginia.edu
Department: Sociology
Specialization: Religion and Family
Research Focus: This project is concerned with gathering data on the ways successful Jewish parents and communities transmit values and religio-ethnic identity to the children in their midst.  Small communities tend to facilitate this process better than larger ones. Thus, my goal is to discover what these communities are doing right and provide sound advice and examples of successful values transmission to the larger American Jewish community.

Project Description: Little research has been conducted on the generational transmission of Jewish values within small American Jewish communities. There have been studies on how Jewish values transfer across generations among larger communities, but the methods and outcomes may be very different in smaller populations. We are researching Jewish families in the smaller communities so that we can develop a better picture of how religious values are passed along in these understudied areas.  These behaviors will be compared to national data on larger communities, the differences analyzed and recommendations made for community policy and family practice to strengthen Jewish ethno-religious identity and ensure the viability of the next Jewish American generation.

Undergraduate Student Role: Substantively, students will be trained to transcribe and code audio recordings of interviews and focus groups.  As their knowledge of the qualitative data set increases, they will be asked to contribute to the development, deployment and analysis of a quantitative survey.  In addition, students will be able to assist with social media updates and publicity of the project.

Name: Cheng Yang
Contact: cy4sc@virginia.edu  
Department: Chemistry 
Specialization: Analytical Chemistry, Material Science, and Neuroscience 
Research Focus: We are working on the development and modification of carbon nanomaterial based sensors for the detection of neurotransmitters in vivo. This work is significant for neuroscience study as well as development of chemical sensors.
Project Description: Our research is at the cross section of analytical chemistry, material science, and neuroscience. We are developing nanomaterial based sensors for the detection of neurotransmitters in vivo. There are three subgroups (sub-directions) you can choose in our research group: methodology group, rat brain group and drosophila group. My research is more focused on the characterization of nanomaterials and optimization of the electrochemistry system. Therefore, in our group you can get the background not only on neuroscience and analytical chemistry, but also the knowledge on material science and electric engineering. To be specific, we have several projects available for undergraduates as good startup projects, such as the optimization of carbon nanohorns as a novel microelectrodes material, 3D printed sensors for advanced biomolecule sensing (novel in our field, but no background in computer science or mechanical engineering required), fundamental chemistry study on the interaction between big bio-molecules and our nanomaterial based sensors, and several other choices. We would not assign you a project but let YOU decide which one you are interested in. You are more than welcome to come and visit our lab. Last but not least, we have abundant research grants.

Undergraduate Student Role:  Student is supposed to be an independent researcher to design experiment, perform trouble shooting, and present their work. This would be a great opportunity to improve their scientific thinking and teamwork/collaboration. We also welcome students who only expect to collect data, do data analysis, and some other bench work such as sensor fabrication with our help. This experience would be helpful to their graduate school/medical school applications in the future. Our group is productive in publications and the research articles with the students’ names on would benefit their resume.

Name: Mark Yu
Contact: mby2at@virginia.edu
Department: Curry School of Education
Specialization: Educational Psychology: Applied Developmental Science
Research Focus: Through innovative research methods (a combination of quantitative, qualitative & fieldwork), this research project will explore cultural relations, diversity, and youth identity development in Guam.
Project Description: Understanding culturally specific elements of identity and subjective wellbeing for Pacific islanders is a growing area of research. This endeavor could not be more pertinent for Guam, a United States island territory heavily influenced by both American and Pacific island cultures and norms. Unfortunately, studies of Pacific island populations are often flawed because while the population is quite heterogeneous (over 12 different ethnic groups), researchers usually collapse them into a single category, making it impossible to assess the health status or needs of individual Pacific island ethnic groups. This research project addresses these concerns by exploring cultural relations and diversity in Guam, with particular focus on how these factors may influence identity development and various health outcomes of diverse youth groups in the island.

Undergraduate Student Role: Under the support and guidance of the graduate student mentor, the undergraduate student will have the opportunity to gain hands-on experience with the full-range of research activities -- from developing research questions, recruiting participants, collecting data through online surveys, conducting interviews and co-leading focus groups in Guam (travel component; 3-5 days during the grant year), analyzing data using statistical software (e.g. SPSS, Dedoose), to presenting findings via research conferences and publications. 

Name: Deepak Sathyanarayan
Contact: ds7rs@virginia.edu
Department: Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering
Specialization: Injury Biomechanics, Risk Analysis
Research Focus: Much of what we understand about kinematics and biomechanical risk analysis emerges from studying highly repeatable and standardized behaviors. Since practical application of this knowledge is often faced with unaccounted behavioral or loading changes, development of a flexible risk analysis model for diverse tasks and loading conditions is required. Such a model has strong implications in risk analysis for high performance activities, including sports and defense.

Project Description: As personal fitness becomes increasingly prevalent in society, a focus on maintaining safe exercise technique is crucial to avoid unintended injury. Stationary biking, or spinning, is one particular exercise that has become very popular in the past decade. Spinning is commonly done in large group settings without prior individual technique emphasis, therefore leaving the intensity and duration of spinning sessions primarily unmonitored. Anecdotal evidence of spinning-related injuries to the lower-back and knees may be attributed to improper bike setup or exercise technique. Few studies have analyzed the biomechanical consequences of changing spinning parameters such as seat height, CG position (body posture), maximum leg extension angle, pedal resistance, and pedal velocity. However, we can study the effect of these parameters on joint loads at the hip, knee, and shoulders using experimental and computational models. Using state-of-the-art motion capture systems to characterize the human kinematics during this exercise, computational models of a digital human can be developed to reproduce the exercise motions tested in the lab. By improving our understanding on this exercise we can specify safer spinning techniques and design next-generation exercise equipment. The established methodologies would also extend to applications in sports and defense where maintaining maximum performance is crucial.

Undergraduate Student Role: Through active participation in the proposed project, an undergraduate student can expect to collaborate on widely-applicable biomechanical projects at the Center for Applied Biomechanics, apply advanced motion capture techniques for kinematic analysis, and delve into musculoskeletal and biomechanical computational modeling. Overall, the student will receive mentorship in line with establishing a fundamental understanding of experimental and computational research methods.