If you see a lab that interests you, contact the professor via email or in person as soon as possible! If you’re serious about joining a lab, I would advise speaking face-to-face with the professor in charge, as emails very easily become lost in the busy life of a professor. It never hurts to ask, and you’ll never know if you don’t try!
Check out Dr. Wayne Curtis’s advising webpage here. This is a great resource covering topics ranging from making advising appointments to finding research opportunities. It should be noted that undergraduate research is NOT limited to students in the Schreyer Honors College.
Researchers that are looking for lab members (as of September 2019):
Dr. Ralph Colby: Research focuses on a molecular-level understanding of dynamics in interesting liquids. The projects listed below currently have openings:
Flow-Induced Crystallization of Polymers: Semi-crystalline polymers are a very important class of engineering thermoplastic. When subjected to flow, the polymer chains get stretched and crystallize more readily. We try to understand this flow-induced crystallization using AFM, calorimetry, optical microscopy, rheology and X-ray scattering experiments.
Number of undergraduates needed: 2
Minimum qualifications: Materials Science or Chemical Engineering undergraduates
Solutions of Native Cellulose in Ionic Liquids: Certain ionic liquids are good at breaking hydrogen bonds and can dissolve native cellulose. For many years humans have chemically modified cellulose to make it soluble for fiber spinning and coating. By dissolving native cellulose, all the hydrogen bonding in wood allows higher modulus fibers and since the ionic liquids can be easily recovered, this new processing of native cellulose is very green and sustainable.
Number of undergraduates needed: 2
Minimum qualifications: Knowledge of cellulose structure and hydrogen bonding
Semiflexible Conjugated Polymers: Conjugated polymers find uses in flexible electronic devices, such as solar cells. This class of polymer has chains that are naturally more rigid than standard flexible-chain polymers. Rigidity means that the polymers entangle more easily but also crystallize and perhaps form nematic phases above their melting point. Together with Professors Enrique Gomez and Scott Milner (both in Chemical Engineering) we aim to develop a better fundamental understanding of semiflexible conjugated polymers, using a combination of computer simulations and experiments.
Number of undergraduates needed: 3
- Dr. Wayne Curtis: Research focuses on primarily algae biofuels, African food crops, chocolate tree propagation, and biological clocks. More information at: http://www.curtislab.org/
Time commitment: Minimum of 3 hours per credit, 10 hours is minimum for learning!
Compensation: Credit or summer pay. More funding goes to students with prior experience
- Dr. Seong Kim: Research focuses on the study glass science and specifically on increasing the practical strength of glass. More information at: http://sites.psu.edu/seongkim/161-2/glass-surface-science/
Time commitment: ~10 hours a week
Compensation: Compensated by academic credit. However, if student is exceptional, they may have an opportunity to be paid.
Role of undergrads: Role that an undergrad plays in the group really depends on the maturity, motivation, and work ethic of the student. 2 of our undergraduate students are hired part-time by a company to do research in our group. Others are in more traditional undergrad roles
Dr. Costas Maranas: The Maranas group is working on the development of algorithmic and, in particular, optimization techniques to support the analysis and redesign of biological systems at different scales. More information at: http://maranasgroup.com/research.htmTime commitment: At minimum ~4hrs to stay up to speed. More time spent during summer.Compensation: Upon availability we offer REU funding in the summer.Role of undergrads: Assist graduate students with metabolic modeling and protein design projects. Mostly programming and going over databases.
- Dr. Amir Sheikhi: Research in Sheikhi Lab focuses on micro- and nanoengineering a burgeoning class of materials called soft matter, including hydrogels and colloidal particles. Hydrogels (like Jell-O!) are crosslinked polymer networks that can hold a large amount of water inside them and mimic human tissues, and colloidal particles are microscopic objects often suspended in a fluid (like Boba!). We engineer these materials to devise accessible solutions for some of the unmet biomedical and environmental challenges of the 21st century, such as tissue engineering via 3D bioprinting, drug testing/screening, blood purification, water treatment, and so forth. More information will soon be available at: www.sheikhilab.com
Time commitment: We highly encourage undergraduate researcher to spend at least 10 hours per week in the lab to strengthen their research skills. Undergraduate students will be located in the student room right in front of the research lab on the 4th floor of CBEB to enjoy a flexible lab schedule while doing their coursework.Compensation: Many courses, such as CHE 294 and CHE 494 are available to credit the hard work of undergrads. REU funding may be available during the summer. We highly value the influence of undergrads in our research by providing support throughout their studies and future career.Impact: Undergraduate students will develop advanced research skills while fostering their soft skills, such as time management, teamwork, leadership, effective communication, and ethics.
- Dr. Andrew Zydney: Research focuses on primarily membrane separations, protein purification, bioprocessing, and artificial organs. More information at: http://www.che.psu.edu/fac
Present openings: I have already made commitments to several students but might well have an opening left.
Time commitment: 10 hr / week for 3 credits during semester, other options available
Compensation: Credit during academic year, summer support
Dr. Xueyi Zhang: The DREAM Team focuses on using molecular sieves (zeolites, metal-organic frameworks, and microporous carbons) for gas separation and catalytic reactions. More information at: http://sites.psu.edu/dream
Time commitment: Typically 5 hours per week. Undergraduate students work with graduate students until they are comfortable to work on their own. For undergraduate students, courses are most important. Undergraduate students can take a break from research any time if they need to prepare for their exams, homework, etc.
Compensation: Credits are available by students enrolling in CHE 294, 494, 494H, etc.
Role of undergrads: Undergraduate students have their own projects. They work on projects that can potentially create a new research direction, or projects that help us understand existing problems. The goal of the project is to make sure they learn something in the end (knowledge, skills, or research philosophy).
Dr. Harry Allcock: Polymer synthesis and reactions, polymer structure-property relations, and small molecule chemistry. More information at: research.Chem.psu.edu/hragroup
- Dr. Bruce Logan: Development of new renewable energy technologies, such as microbial fuel cells, for achieving an energy sustainable water infrastructure. More information at: sites.psu.edu/brucelogan/
All labs in chemical engineering:
Vrentas Laboratory – Theoretical Studies in Fluid Mechanics and Diffusion (Dr. Vrentas retired in Spring 2016. This lab may no longer be available)
Last updated: August 30th, 2020