Potential Double Hoo Projects

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


Email Address: wua4nw@virginia.edu
Department: Computer Science
Specialization: Natural Language Processing, Machine Learning
Research Focus: Natural Language Processing (NLP) deals with the problems of making a machine “understand” the structure and the meaning of natural language as used by humans; translating it into a machine representation format; processing it (summarization, syntactic parsing, etc.); and generating natural language back to the user. NLP mainly offers people help to navigate and digest large quantities of information that already exist in text format and I am motivated by practical needs of NLP applications which require algorithms that can mimic complex human-like understanding of text data.

Project Description: Community Question Answering (CQA): The main CQA task is, given a new question and a large collection of question-answer threads created by a user community, rank the answer posts that are most useful for answering the new question. Challenge of this task is, answer of a new question can be comprised of answers of multiple questions posted previously. Moreover, answers can be written in formal or informal way, there can be lot of noise (ex., irrelevant answers), grammatical mistakes or typos etc. So, understanding the natural text and assess the insightfulness of the answers is subtle and hence complex.

So the task of community question answering can be divided into following sub-tasks:
1. Question Similarity: given a new question and a set of previous questions, rank the similar questions according to their similarity to the original question.
2. Relevance Classification: given a question from a question-answer thread, rank the answer posts according to their relevance with respect to the original question.
3. Duplicate Question Detection: if two questions are pointing to the same issue but they are just written in different ways, how can we detect them?
4. Duplicate Answer Detection: same as duplicate question detection task.

Undergraduate Student Role: The undergraduate student will play different roles in different stages of the research, ranging from the literature survey, idea brainstorming, and implementation to analyze experimental results. Specifically, we will use http://alt.qcri.org/semeval2017/task3/ as a testbed to conduct experiments. And I will build a prototype system such that that undergraduate student does not need to start implementing everything from scratch. The undergraduate student will be in charge of writing some sub-component of the system, experiment scripts, and analyzing the data. I’ll work with the undergraduate student and provide guidance to make.

Name: Josh Chen
Email Address: jyc3tx@virginia.edu
Department: Sociology
Specialization: Race and Culture
Research Focus: This project studies how organizations pursue racial integration and cultural pluralism. Though diversity is held up as an American ideal, racially integrated spaces remain rare; even when integration does occur there are many challenges to making it work. The study asks questions about the conditions under which integration happens and the processes which make it more or less successful.

Project Description: In a time of increased racial tension and political polarization, the problem of how to live with our deepest differences appears to be intractable. Despite claims to value diversity, Americans display a preference to be with people who are like them, in choices ranging from whom they befriend or marry to where they live or worship. Yet there are some spaces like churches, campus organizations at institutions of higher learning, and workplaces where racial integration is pursued. By using ethnography and interviews, this project will study the conditions under which such organizations attempt racial integration and the processes by which they do so. The study focuses on understanding how integration works, the factors that contribute to success or failure, and its costs and benefits.

Undergraduate Student Role: With training and guidance, the undergraduate student will have the opportunity to collaboratively participate in both data collection and subsequent analysis. Data collection will include activities such as conducting interviews, practicing participant observation, and taking field notes while analysis will involve transcribing and coding audio recordings of interviews.

 

Name: Robert Costanzo
Email Address: rwc3bf@virginia.edu   
Department: Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE)
Specialization: High bandwidth electronics and integrated circuits with optoelectronic integration
Research Focus: The big picture of the multi-university research endeavor is to create a chip-scale laser that can be programmed and digitally synthesized. Much of today’s data transmission occurs in the optical domain, and much of the processing occurs in the electrical domain. Integrating both in a single package is highly desirable in today’s technology.

Project Description: Here at UVA, we are specifically addressing the need for single-package integrated high-bandwidth photodiodes and transimpedance amplifiers. As such, the project consists of two parts: the design of ultra-high bandwidth integrated circuits as well as the integration of the silicon ICs with photodiodes. This allows, with a single package, the capability of converting optical signals into electrical signals. Work is done within the IECS lab in conjunction with the Optical Device Group.

Undergraduate Student Role: Ideally, the student will receive an opportunity to experience the entirety of the workflow for IC research, beginning from design, simulation, testing, and ultimately assisting in documenting achieved results. The student will assist in a variety of roles. These roles include aiding in integrated circuit design, using advanced equipment to measure integrated circuit performance, designing boards for integration, and populating boards with integrated circuits, photodiodes, and discrete components, and will take the lead on designing and implementing a small circuit block within the system. During the duration of the program, the student will also read and learn more about high frequency integrated circuits, optoelectronics, and applicable considerations.

Name: Denise Deutschlander
Email address: dd4cf@virginia.edu          
Department: Sociology
Specialization: Higher Education
Research Focus: My research focuses on the social aspects of higher education inequality. For example, I aim to answer how and why first-generation students are less likely to graduate and what we can do to change this. My research draws heavily on the understanding that culture influences the way we behave and that culture is passed down through families. Therefore, I’m especially interested in the way cultural norms benefit some groups and disadvantage others within the education system. The research I describe below is intended to provide researchers and non-profit organizations with practical information in this vein.

Project Description: College is often considered a path to upward mobility. Often missing from this discourse is the recognition that even when students from socioeconomically disadvantaged families gain access to higher education they do not always graduate. In fact, they are less likely to graduate than their more advantaged peers. Prior research indicates that academic preparation and financial supports, while important, do not account for the class gap in college completion. Sociologists have thus increasingly turned to cultural capital (or the knowledge and practices that facilitate successful interaction with social institutions) to understand social class inequality. To date, most of the cultural capital research has focused on parental influence in K-12 education or the transition into college. Few studies examine students’ and parents’ experiences in college. The popular image of the helicopter parent does not depict the experience of less advantaged parents, who may struggle to support their children during college. This project investigates how parents from disadvantaged backgrounds influence and support their children on the path to college success. Through longitudinal, qualitative interviews, this project explores how students and parents develop expectations about college experiences and how those change between high school and college.

Undergraduate Student Role:  An undergraduate student would have five tasks in this project:

  • Jointly write the Double Hoos Grant proposal.
  • Receive training in interviewing; practice interview methods; record trial interviews for my review.
  • Complete six interviews (fluent Spanish-speaker) either in Austin, Texas or via Skype during the summer of 2017.
  • Transcribe six interviews during the summer of 2017.
  • Preliminary analysis of interviews (a total of 35 interviews with parents).

A student who would enjoy this project would have taken a sociology class, value qualitative methods, and have an understanding of the types of disadvantages people in poverty and new immigrants face.  The duration of the project is Jan 2017-Dec 2017.

Name: Denise Deutschlander
Email address: dd4cf@virginia.edu          
Department: Sociology
Specialization: Higher Education
Research Focus: My research focuses on the social aspects of higher education inequality. For example, I aim to answer how and why first-generation students are less likely to graduate and what we can do to change this. My research draws heavily on the understanding that culture influences the way we behave and that culture is passed down through families. Therefore, I’m especially interested in the way cultural norms benefit some groups and disadvantage others within the education system. The research I describe below is intended to provide researchers and non-profit organizations with practical information in this vein.

Project Description: College is often considered a path to upward mobility. Missing from this discourse is the recognition that even when students from socioeconomically disadvantaged families gain access to higher education they do not always graduate. In fact, they are less likely to graduate than their more advantaged peers. Prior research indicates that academic preparation and financial support, while important, do not account for the class gap in college completion. Sociologists have thus come to believe that the knowledge and practices necessary to facilitate successful interaction between social institutions and students contributes significantly to social class inequality. To date, parents have been central to research on social class inequality in K-12 education and college entry, but they are rarely considered after students enter college. The popular image of the helicopter parent does not depict the experience of less advantaged parents, who may struggle to support their children during college. This project investigates how an intervention designed to provide first-generation, low-income, and Latino parents with the resources to advise and encourage their children to engage with faculty and other institutional resources during college.

Undergraduate Student Role: An undergraduate student would have four tasks in this project:

  • Jointly write the Double Hoos Grant proposal.
  • Receive training in survey methods, design, and implementation. Learn how to use Qualtrics survey software.
  • Design and field a survey to parents and students in the late spring of 2017.
  • Test survey questions.
  • Determine an appropriate and effective incentive for this population.
  • Send the survey out and provide reminders to complete the survey.
  • Do preliminary data cleaning and analyses of the survey results.

A student who would enjoy this project would be interested in sociology and survey methods. The duration of the project is Jan 2017-Dec 2017.

Name: Denise Deutschlander
Email address: dd4cf@virginia.edu          
Department: Sociology
Specialization: Higher Education
Research Focus: My research focuses on the social aspects of higher education inequality. For example, I aim to answer how and why first-generation students are less likely to graduate and what we can do to change this. My research draws heavily on the understanding that culture influences the way we behave and that culture is passed down through families. Therefore, I’m especially interested in the ways cultural norms benefit some groups and disadvantage others with the education system. The research I describe below is intended to provide researchers and non-profit organizations with practical information in this vein.

Project Description:  Socioeconomic disparities in college access and success have persisted for decades and, if anything, have widened. Explanations for these disparities have traditionally focused on a lack of academic readiness or college affordability. More recently, however, researchers have focused on the role of information and access to professional advising has on high schools students enroll or succeed in college. Experimental research demonstrates that interventions, which simplify information and provide students with assistance to complete college or financial aid applications, can generate substantial increases in college entry. There is less understanding on how providing parents with this information may influence students. It may serve to compound the effect, making these types of interventions even more helpful; or there may be a negative result. By providing parents with information, students may fail to take responsibility for college tasks. This research evaluates an effort by a Texas-based non-profit to inform parents of the tasks their high school students are taking on the path to college enrollment.

Undergraduate Student Role: An undergraduate student would have four tasks in this project:

  • Jointly write the Double Hoos Grant proposal.
  • Receive training in randomized controlled trial (RCT) research designs.
  • Help plan and execute an RCT in Texas. This may include:
  • Regular conference calls with a non-profit in Houston, TX.
  • Data cleaning and coding work to randomly assign families to treatment and control groups as well as to analyze preliminary effects of the intervention.
  • Communications with organizations in Texas to access data (e.g. the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, the College Board, the Texas Education Association, etc.
  • Help write and submit an article related to the above research.
  • Review the literature and provide an outline of relevant research.
  • Draft and edit a paper for review in a sociology or education journal.

A student who would enjoy this project would have an interest in sociology, an understanding of Stata data analysis software, and strong writing skills. The duration of the project is Jan 2017- Jan 2019, but could be shorter if the student wishes.

Name: Kelly Drews
Email Address: kcd8md@virginia.edu
Department:  Experimental Pathology
Specialization: Influenza, pathogenic human viruses
Research Focus: We study human influenza virus in the context of cellular and molecular biology. Our research focuses on the relationship between influenza and host cellular lipids, in an effort to better understand the biology of the pathogen and create targeted therapies against the disease.

Project Description: Millions of people are infected with influenza each year, and outbreaks of the virus are worldwide health concerns. Our research investigates how influenza virus affects and interacts with human cellular lipids. We utilize a variety of biochemical, molecular, and cellular biology techniques, such as CRISPR, mass spectrometry, and a slew of virology assays. Our immediate aim is to build a better understanding of the pathogen-host biology of influenza, with the long term goal of using that knowledge to develop a new avenue for influenza therapies.

Undergraduate Student Role: Any undergraduate who participates in this research will be taught a wide variety of standard research techniques, such as cell culture, PCR, western blotting, etc. As time in the lab goes on, the student will be given more responsibilities and taught to think independently about research questions. Our goal is that eventually students become confident, independent researchers. Any significant contributions to the project will result in authorship on relevant publications. If applicants have any questions whatsoever please don’t hesitate to email me directly!

Name: Kimberly Hursh
Email Address: khursh8@gmail.com
Department: Corcoran Department of History
Specialization: Latin American History

Research Focus: Over the course of this election cycle, pundits and candidates have argued that, as a religious leader, Pope Francis should stay out of global economic issues. Yet, it is only within the last few centuries that dominant western culture has insisted that religious values and commerce belong to separate spheres. My research explores how ideas about the relationship between religious ethics and commerce have shifted between the 17th and 20th centuries, taking Mexico as a case study.

Project Description: I am concerned with how religious values and institutions shaped commercial culture in 17th and 18th century colonial Mexico. Historians have previously argued that Catholic values about charity and poverty were so pervasive in colonial Mexico that they impeded commercial activity. These historians implied that commerce flourished only after the Enlightenment’s secularizing forces introduced capitalism, curtailed the power of the Church, and championed profit over Christian morality. Conversely, I hypothesize that colonial Catholic culture did not impede but in fact facilitated commerce. I use documentary evidence housed in the Archivo General de la Nación in Mexico City and in smaller parish archives to reconstruct how labor communities used religious institutions and symbols to build common identities and trust, which helped to manage commercial risk. Additionally, I hypothesize that despite political rhetoric, religious values did continue to influence economic policy in Mexico during the modern period. With my Double Hoo research partner, I hope to develop a 19th or 20th century case study in order to compare colonial and modern understandings of the relationship between commerce and religion.

Undergraduate Student Role: This project would suit undergraduates who are interested in Latin America, who read Spanish, and who are interested in religion, social justice, and economics in the region. The student will be the primary researcher on the 19th or 20th case study, though I will lead them through a handful of directed readings for context and introduce them to source bases, depending on their interests. Together with the undergraduate researcher, I hope to develop a comparative project that we can present to a conference or share on Spanish and English language political blogs.

Name: Bo Liang
Email Address: bl8bt@virginia.edu  
Department: Applied Mathematics
Specialization: Teaching math with technologies
 
Research Focus: The purpose of this project is to build an integrated system to enhance the learning experience in math-oriented classes. We will use on-line interaction platforms to deliver practice problems and wearable devices to send instant feedback to instructors. 
 
Project Description: In an interactive learning environment, as the one we implement in some APMA courses, instructors need to interface continuously with students. The goal of this project is to provide a just-in-time flow of information that can support decision making of instructors and the overall interaction in classroom. We are going to use wearable device, such as Google Glass or HoloLens, that recognizes students and displays all course data available, for instance past grades (from Collab), but also their performance on the in-class activity in real time.  On the other hand, prediction model will be build to help me assess the risk level of each student.
 
Undergraduate Student Role:

1. Developing face recognition software works on a wearable device, such as Google Glass or HoloLens.
2. Data acquisition and analysis from Collab and Webwork.
3. (Potentially) provide input on designing the functions and features of the wearable tool to improve APMA teaching and learning experience.

Name: Hannah Mathews
Email Address: hmm8ep@virginia.edu
Department: Curry School of Education
Specialization: Special Education
Research Focus: Special Education Teacher Development

Project Description: This study will seek to better understand how to prepare teachers to work with students with disabilities. Using a mixed methods design, we will follow novice special educators from multiple institutions beginning with their student teaching experiences into their first year in the classroom as special educators. In this study, we will incorporate the use of quantitative survey data and qualitative case studies with a purposefully selected subset of survey participants. Case studies will consist of in-depth interviews, artifact collection, and observations of practice using protocols and narrative field notes. The study will explore the ways in which individual characteristics (background, previous experiences, and beliefs about special education and disability), the types of opportunities to learn in pre-service, and universities’ programmatic focus interact to shape the development of new special education teachers. It is the hope of the researchers that this project will better inform the science of teacher education at the university level.

Undergraduate Student Role: Undergraduates will have the opportunity to assist with survey administration and analysis, recruiting participants for in depth case studies, development of interview questions and protocols, and transcription and coding of interview data. The undergraduate will be provided with training and support for each aspect of this project. Undergraduates may elect to explore a certain aspect of the data in future research projects.

Name: Diana Catalina Vallejo Pedraza
Email Address: dcv5ra@virginia.edu
Department: Sociology
Specialization: Sociology of Culture, Political Sociology, Latin America
Research Focus: My research interest is on how societies value monetarily collective suffering. I analyze how states offer economic compensation to victims of human rights violations in Colombia and Peru.

Project Description: In the last 20 years, transitional justice (TJ) measures have been adopted around the world to address the suffering of victims of human rights violations after civil conflict (Teitel 2003). Economic compensation is one of the mechanisms contemplated under TJ to acknowledge the suffering of victims. However, the implementation of compensation plans takes different forms at the national level (Dixon 2016, De Greiff 2006, Reiter et.al 2012, Menkel-Meadow 2007), leaving open the question of how societies value suffering. Depending on the country we find that the compensation of collective suffering involves different monetary values and justifications. This project focuses on two contemporary examples of compensation schemes created to address suffering related to human rights violations: Colombia’s reparations program for victims of its ongoing armed conflict (1965-present) and the reparations awarded in Peru after the end of the civil conflict in 2001.

Thus, this investigation addresses the general topic of how societies assign a monetary value to it. The central research questions of this project are:

  1. How do states monetarily value suffering caused by civil conflict?
  2. How, if at all, does the compensation of suffering that occurs during civil conflict, as in the Colombian case, compare with compensation that occurs after the conflict, as in the Peruvian case?

This project argues that compensation schemas are instances in which societies articulate the effects of past traumatic events. The mobilization and distribution of monetary resources requires ongoing work to define who is a victim, who is responsible for suffering and what role money plays as compensation. Hence, compensation is a valuable space to understand how societies deal with disruption and how states offer an explanation of suffering. I seek to explain the circumstances in which each compensatory scheme took place in Colombia and Peru, the rationale of the valuation processes, and how victimhood and responsibility were ascribed in each country.

Undergraduate Student Role: The student working in this project will get training in: writing grant proposals and analyzing qualitative data.
First, the student will write with me the Double Hoo application, which will expose her to grant writing. Second, students will transcribe interviews and will analyze them using the qualitative data analysis software, Dedoose. By the end of the project the student will have learn to use Dedoose and will be knowledgeable in the coding process of qualitative data.

Name: Aaron Phipps
Email Address: arp5wc@virginia.edu
Department: Economics and Education Policy
Specialization: Economics of education

Research Focus: I am researching ways to improve the education opportunities of people with limited access to quality elementary and higher education. I am doing this by studying teacher labor markets (how to select good teachers and then motivate and retain them through education policy) as well as improving outreach efforts for poorer students to apply to universities, grants, and funding.

Project Description: This project is a series of lab experiments designed to test a new model of employee motivation and behavior. This involves creating and developing a new mathematical model, designing an experiment to test the implications of that model, then considerable programming to create and implement a lab experiment.

Undergraduate Student Role: Students working with me will have the opportunity to write and maintain a google app engine web application that I use to implement the experiments. This involves programming in Python and Javascript. Students will also help administer the experiment by reading instructions, guiding participants as needed, and aiding with administrative tasks. There are many opportunities to learn, whether in how to design an experiment or just more experience writing quality code that is version-controlled. If students are interested, they can also help in writing mathematical proofs for the various predictions of this new behavioral model.

Name: Alessandro Questa
Email Address: aq2ce@virginia.edu
Department: Anthropology
Specialization: Socio-Cultural Anthropology, Mexico, Indigenous population, ecology
Research Focus: My doctoral research aims to understand the indigenous notion of ecology in distress due to climate change events linked to diverse extractive enterprises (mines, dams, fracking) in the highlands of Puebla, central Mexico, as expressed by local Nawa farmers. Specifically, I look at ritual dances and shamanic practice and discourse as the main ethnographic sources in which local population express such concerns.

Project Description: Over the past two decades, adverse climate change has taken place in the Central Mexican highlands region. A series of climatic calamities followed Hurricane Pauline in 1997, including receding water springs, longer and harsher dry seasons, and subsequent hurricanes. As these and other changes continue to affect the countryside by ruining crops and harming animal and human lives, Nawa people are looking for ways to come to terms with and to harness such phenomena. While government agencies continue to fail in delivering adequate explanatory or predictive information or any effective infrastructure program to deal with the disastrous weather, Nawa are revitalizing ritual dances. This research aims to describe and to understand the practice and current effervescence of traditional Nawa dances as linked to a native theory that relies on mimesis and motivated semiosis as forms of nonverbal communication between humans and nonhumans. Nawa people see environmental distress as the outcome of agentive processes triggered by spiritual-landscape grievance, and thus, as a not-quite-Western theory for anthropogenic climate change.

Undergraduate Student Role: During my fieldwork I collected a number of short stories about local spirits, that, with the help of a local friend, I translated from Nahuatl to Spanish. I now need a second step of translation in which these short stories can be translated from Spanish to English. It hence requires a student highly proficient in Spanish language and with an aim to participate in research translation. The exiting thing about this endeavor possibly resides in the challenging engagement that an undergraduate student can have with: raw research materials in rural Spanish coming from different men and women of all ages about mountains and spirits.

I look at this also as an opportunity to teach and tutor an undergraduate student about Spanish language from Mexico.

Name: Atticus Stovall
Email Address: aes2aj@virginia.edu
Department: Environmental Sciences
Specialization: Forest Ecology
Research Focus: Forest ecosystems store the vast majority of Earth’s aboveground carbon, but the best current estimate of where this carbon is located is severely flawed. Whether you are considering forests from tropical to boreal regions, confident estimates of carbon storage can help us understand forest function and their role in the global carbon cycle. Using new technology that three-dimensionally models trees we can improve forest carbon estimates and understand the primary drivers leading to changes in forest carbon over the next century.

Project Description: The high uncertainty of terrestrial measures of forest carbon will be improved with this project using a newly developed instrument – terrestrial LiDAR – to three-dimensionally model the volume and structure of individual trees for estimating carbon. Detailed models of trees have the potential to revolutionize the way we measure and understand forests in a global context. The project plan will require 100 trees to be three-dimensionally modeled in a forest that is part of the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute. The modeled trees will be used to inform regional carbon estimates in Virginia. The area-wide carbon estimates will be used to determine the driving environmental factors influencing forest carbon.

Undergraduate Student Role: The goal of this research is to simultaneously provide hands-on experience with standard forestry techniques, an introduction to novel technology that will revolutionize forestry, and an understanding of how forests are representative of the problems addressed with global change ecology. The student will learn how to use terrestrial LiDAR to measure the volume of trees. The primary task will be separating each tree from the rest of the forest in three dimensional space. This process is intuitive and visual, requiring minimal prior experience. These separated trees will be modeled with an algorithm that I have created in R. Coding experience is not essential for this project, but could be beneficial in completing some of the simple tasks. The student will be given an introduction to Geographic Information Systems (GIS) with ArcMap for creating the final carbon map. We will be working together throughout the entirety of the process, so if any issues arise I will be available to help.

Name: Yiran Wang
Email Address: yw2ec@virginia.edu
Department: Chemical Engineering
Specialization: Biochemical Engineering
Research Focus: Virus like particles (VLP) are widely used macromolecule, which are the envelope and capsid of viruses. Since they only contain epitopes without genetic material, they cannot repeat themselves in vivo and perfectly serve to develop vaccines. However, since most VLP are produced by yeast, E. coli and insect, containment such as nucleic acid and endotoxin are always observed on the VLP purification process which impacts the efficiency of separation and quantity of product. Efficient purification method is highly demanding in the down streaming manufacture process of VLP vaccine.

Project Description: The current VLP purification process relies on disassembly, subsequently separation and reassembly. Although VLP can be expressed both in prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells, large scale bioprocesses typically use eukaryotic due to its high output and favorable environment. The eukaryotic cells, like yeast or insect, ensure the protein synthesis and the association of capsid-forming protein within the cell, which was believed to retain important post-translational modification. However, the process leads to internal contaminants packed inside of the particle, necessitating ex vivo disassembly and reassembly processing.

Disassembled capsomeres can be purified with the chromatography method. Cation exchange (CEX) resins are commonly used by binding positively charged capsomeres while discard the negatively charged contaminants.

Disassembly could be achieved by lowering ionic strength or adding reducing agents. Reassembly is enhanced by returning to the assembly ionic strength or upon removal of reducing agent, either by dialysis or by column chromatography.

It was found that our target VLPs were not sensitive to the conventional disassembly and reassembly protocol. It has stimulated interest to determine the suitable process routes, such as the reducing agent species, ionic strength, incubate duration, pH, and temperature. An ideal self-assembly process also should be developed for the purpose of forming biological functionalized VLP.

Undergraduate Student Role: Undergraduate students get to learn from the graduate student about how to read scientific literature rapidly and effectively and take advantage of this strategy to design their own experiments. In the same time, they have the opportunity to use scientific software such as KaleidaGraph(description) to graph and analyze the data.

Most importantly, they have a lot of hands on experiments to do. They have the chance to learn the basic theory of the experimental equipment and operate them to conduct their project. For example, liquid chromatograph (LC), dynamic light scattering (DLS) and transmission electronic micrograms (TEM) are the three main devices to characterize VLP. Besides the equipment, scientific method is another thing they can learn and use, such as gradient sediment analysis and dialysis.

The experiments will divide into three parts. First, I want them to try different parameters to discover the influence of disassembly and reassembly of VLP, such as different reducing agents and salt concentrations. Secondly, they would be asked to analyze the VLP with DLS and size-elusion chromatography (SEC) to characterize the protein size. In the end, I want them to see the real morphology of VLP with the help of TEM

Name: Ting Yan
Email Address:  ty4kd@virginia.edu
Department: Chemistry
Specialization: Biophysical Chemistry & Cell Biology
Research Focus: Development of a novel sample holder suitable for immobilizing live bacterial cells for correlative 3D super-resolution fluorescence microscopy and cryo-electron microscopy.

Project Description:  Super-resolution fluorescence microscopy and cryo-electron microscopy are powerful state-of-the-art imaging techniques in structural and cell biology; however, they both have limitations when used individually. Our goal is to complement their respective advantages by developing a new nanoscale correlative imaging platform that combines 3D live-cell super-resolution fluorescence microscopy and 3D cryo-electron tomography with nanometer overlay accuracy. Such a platform would provide both molecular sensitivity and resolution and thereby open up new vistas into cell biology. The last ingredient towards achieving this goal is the development of specialized sample holders capable of immobilizing live bacterial cells between two layers of graphene. Due to its favorable electrical, chemical and mechanical properties, graphene is ideally suited to enable correlative imaging with both microscopes at unprecedented spatial resolution.

Undergraduate Student Role: The undergraduate and graduate student will work as a team to evaluate commercial and home-built design prototypes of single and multilayer graphene-based sample holders. As part of this work, the undergraduate student will learn how to culture and fluorescently label bacterial cells with small chemical dyes and quantum dots. Undergraduate students will further gain experience in quantitative experimental and computational research by operating a home-built single-molecule super-resolution microscope using custom-written data acquisition and analysis software. 

Name: Gang Zhang
Email Address: gz5ud@virginia.edu
Department: Economics
Specialization: International Macroeconomics, and International Finance
Research Focus: This project is to investigate the effects of foreign capital inflows and outflows to domestic economy.  It will involve both empirical and theoretical work.  I hope that the results of project can be turned into a paper and become one part of my dissertation and potentially published.

Project Description: This project is initiated to answer two questions: (1) What are the effects of capital inflows on domestic economy? (2) Under what kind of conditions, capital inflows are expansionary or contractionary?  On one hand, FDI are more likely to be long-term investments, which are less volatile and have closed connection to real economy. On the other hand, Passive Portfolio Investment (PPI) may be just vehicles for financial purpose so that they tend to overheat the economy and generate credit boom. Once there is some bad news about the domestic economy or global economy experiences some disturbance, then PPI are more likely to flight back to the original countries and leaves the domestic country suffering. Therefore, in this project, I want to make the case, both empirically and theoretically, that is the different components of capital inflows play different roles in performance of domestic economy after the surges of capital inflow.

Undergraduate Student Role: I expect the student to cover the basics first, including reading related literature, and understanding project proposal.  Then we can discuss the student's task in the next step based on the student's competencies.  These tasks involve collecting data, conducting empirical study, building theoretical model and programming the solution algorithm.