MDP Research Projects
  

Participants | Research Projects

The MDP is committed to offering students novel and creative design opportunities exploring the diverse, multidisciplinary fields of energy, environment, healthcare, and culture. Student design teams will be fully immersed in the research laboratory, collaborating with their faculty co-mentors, and using state-of-the-art equipment. These projects will fully engage the students and provide them the opportunity to see how multidisciplinary collaboration can lead to innovative results.

The following faculty-mentored design projects are available during the 2012-2013 MDP. Select a link for an overview of the project, associated faculty co-mentors, project prerequisites, and related publications.

MDP Design Projects

    1) Assessing Occupants' Risk of Injury in Existing Buildings during Seismic Excitation 

    2) DAT Space - Undergraduate Workshops in Design, Art and Technology  

    3) Design of a Dental Blood-Flow Sensing Probe 

    4) Design of a Planar Lens Using Metallic Nanostructures 

    5) Design of Deployable Blood-Flow Imaging Device 

    6) Design of Endoscope-Compatible Blood-Flow Imaging Device 

    7) Designing Mobile Games for Learning 

    8) Developing a Low-Cost, Portable Particle Counter for In-Field Emission Studies 

    9) Development of Platforms Using Dielectrophoresis and Microfluidics to Isolate Stem Cells for Analysis and Transplantation 

    10) Dual MRI-Fluorescence Probe for Molecular Imaging of Cancer 

    11) Emotion Regulation Patterns in Interactions Between Parents and their Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder: A Novel Application of a Dynamic Systems Approach 

    12) In Vivo Optical Imaging of Detection of Biomaterial-Induced Reactive Oxygen Species 

    13) Integration of Feedback Design with Consumer Tradeoff for Energy Efficient Consumer Electronics 

    14) Investigation of 3D Polypyrrole Structures as Electrodes for Supercapacitors 

    15) Microfluidic Biopsy Chip for Automated Tumor Tissue Processing 

    16) Nuclear-Encoded Mitochondrial Genes SNPs in Different Ethnic Background Relevant to Alzheimer Disease and Aging 

    17) Patient Connect Pilot Project 

    18) Portable, Low-Cost HIV Diagnostic Device 

    19) Portable, Low-Cost Malaria Diagnostic Platform 

    20) Programmable High Throughput Cell Based Assays for Immunological Diseases 

    21) Search and Rescue Robotics 

    22) Teaching Science with Video Games: Software Design, Development and Testing 

    23) The Micropallet Array: A Novel Nanotechnology for the Recovery and Molecular Profiling of Tumor Cellular Subsets 

    24) Therabot: A Remote Controllable Robot Avatar Designed for Bedridden Kids 

    25) Values in Design: Designing for Hesitation and Presence 




 Project #1:  Assessing Occupants' Risk of Injury in Existing Buildings during Seismic Excitation
Faculty Mentors:  
Professor Farzin ZareianCivil & Environmental Engineering

Professor Lisa Grant LudwigProgram in Public Health

Description:  The goal of this activity is to develop an applied method to quantify injuries in a seismic event and estimate such quantity for typical buildings in Southern California. The first question to address is: How can we describe the type of injuries that can happen during a seismic event? The answer to this question can depend on many factors, such as type of building, occupancy, ground motion intensity, and many others that will be addressed by the research group. The answer to this question requires understanding/expertise in Structural Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, and Health Science. The answer will be a vector of parameters describing the type of injuries that can happen within a seismic event, and it is denoted as the injury-vector.

The second question to answer is: How can we estimate the injury-vector using available simulation tools? The answer to this question lies in the recent advancement in loss estimation, statistics, and structural engineering; however, a fresh look at the problem from a public health perspective can increase the accuracy of estimates of injuries in a seismic event.

Students' Involvement and Expected Outcomes: Students are required to attend classes such as: PubHlth 90 NaturalDisasters, and CEE 149 Introduction to Earthquake Engineering to become familiar with the basic concepts required to perform the proposed research. In addition, students need to have weekly group meetings directed by the co-mentors to complete the required steps for completion of the project. During these meetings students will discuss the assigned special readings, computer simulation, and other activities assigned to them. As a result of this involvement students will become the new breed of engineers and scientists who not only understand the earthquake problem, but also are trained with hands-on tools for estimating the rate of injury in a building in a seismic event.

Prerequisites: Students need to be in their senior year of study, in good academic standing, and willing to work hard. The research team requires students from Civil & Environmental Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Statistics, and Health Sciences.



 Project #2:  DAT Space - Undergraduate Workshops in Design, Art and Technology
Faculty Mentors:  
Professor Donald J. PattersonInformatics

Professor Peter O. KrappFilm & Media Studies

Dr. Garnet D. HertzInformatics

Description:  

Description: This project is aimed at contributing to DAT Space, a highly successful MDP-supported project in organizing, hosting and documenting workshops for UC Irvine undergraduate students in hands-on electronics and crafts. The goal of this initiative is to facilitate students in building physical projects, whether with microcontrollers, custom circuits or knitting with yarn. Our belief is that interdisciplinary collaboration and innovation happens when people produce prototypes in a social setting, and our workshops will focus on providing students with a series of fun, engaging and innovative workshops throughout the year.

Students' Involvement and Expected Outcomes: Each student involved in this initiative through MDP will be expected to organize, host and document at least one free workshop for undergraduate students at UCI during the year. The workshop topic will be based on your skills in consultation with the DAT Space officers or the faculty mentors. Past workshops have included sewing, soldering, the Arduino, electronic music, mini terrariums, play-doh circuits, and embroidery. Students will gain real-world experience in curriculum development, teaching, and course documentation.

Prerequisites: Prerequisites: UCI students in good standing who are interested in participating in workshops and have some knowledge of open source programming. Project management and teaching skills helpful.



 Project #3:  Design of a Dental Blood-Flow Sensing Probe
Faculty Mentors:  
Professor Bernard ChoiBeckman Laser Institute

Professor Petra E. Wilder-SmithBeckman Laser Institute

Description:  The Microvascular Therapeutics and Imaging (MTI) lab, directed by Dr. Bernard Choi, has developed a camera-based platform that enables real-time imaging of blood flow. We wish to design a handheld, low-cost blood-flow imaging device that can be used in the mouth to assess blood flow in teeth.

Studentsʼ Involvement and Expected Outcomes: By the end of Spring 2013, we expect to have a prototype imaging device that can be used in the mouth and whose sensitivity is characterized. We expect to collect pilot imaging data from a small set of human subjects.

Prerequisites: Desired skills include computer-based instrumentation and computer-aided design.

Recommended Web sites and publications: 
   Stoianovici C, et al. Assessment of Pulpal Vitality Using Laser Speckle Imaging. Lasers in Surgery and Medicine 2011; 43:833-837.:



 Project #4:  Design of a Planar Lens Using Metallic Nanostructures
Faculty Mentors:  
Professor Filippo CapolinoElectrical Engineering & Computer Science

Professor Regina RaganChemical Engineering & Materials Science

Description:  Planar lenses consisting of metallic nanostructures on silicon compatible materials are to be fabricated using low-cost, scalable methods for integration with Si micro (nano) electronics.

Lithography and nano-imprinting will be used to fabricate metal nano-architectures to develop methods that afford tunable properties at optical frequencies. Full-wave simulations will be performed in conjunction using a finite element method (using High Frequency Structure Simulator, HFSS by Ansys Inc.) and a finite-difference time-domain method (using CST Microwave Studio by CST Inc.) to determine nano-architectures that exhibit light focusing properties. The metallic nanostructures need to be designed to impose the proper phase-shift to the impinging light with specific incident angle, to create focusing. Structures will be characterized using scanning electron microscopy and atomic force microscopy. The refractive properties will be characterized using transmission spectroscopy and excitation of fluorescent dyes.

Students' Involvement and Expected Outcomes: Students will learn state of the art nanofabrication and characterization methods. Students will participate in deposition, and lithography to fabricate metal nanostructures. They will work with the two mentors and with Ph.D. students who have expertise in the disciplines of nanofabrication, material science, and electromagnetics of nanostructures. In addition, the students will be trained to use state of the art electromagnetic simulation software that is used in academia and industry to design optical properties.

Prerequisites: M.S. students and talented undergraduates at the Junior level or above are encouraged to express interest in this project.



 Project #5:  Design of Deployable Blood-Flow Imaging Device
Faculty Mentors:  
Dr. Pietro GalassettiPediatrics

Professor Bernard ChoiBeckman Laser Institute

Description:  The Microvascular Therapeutics and Imaging (MTI) lab, directed by Dr. Bernard Choi, has developed a camera-based platform that enables real-time imaging of blood flow. We wish to design a deployable, handheld, low-cost blood-flow imaging device that enables point-of-care mapping of blood flow. An initial application of this device is in obesity-related exercise physiology studies currently led by Dr. Pietro Galassetti.

Students' Involvement and Expected Outcomes: By the end of Spring 2013, we expect to have a prototype imaging device whose sensitivity is characterized. We expect to collect pilot imaging data from a small set of human subjects.

Prerequisites: Desired skills include computer-based instrumentation, microprocessor programming, and computer-aided design.

Recommended Web sites and publications: 
   Journal of Biomedical Optics 2011; 16 (1):016009. (2) Shin D et al. A fiber-optic fluorescence microscope using a consumergrade digital camera for in vivo cellular imaging. PLoS One 2010; 5(6):e11218.:



 Project #6:  Design of Endoscope-Compatible Blood-Flow Imaging Device
Faculty Mentors:  
Professor Bernard ChoiBeckman Laser Institute

Dr. Brian R. SmithSurgery

Description:  The Microvascular Therapeutics and Imaging (MTI) lab, directed by Dr. Bernard Choi, has developed a camera-based platform that enables real-time imaging of blood flow. We wish to design a blood-flow imaging device that can be used in an endoscope, to monitor blood flow in the esophagus after surgery.

Students' Involvement and Expected Outcomes: By the end of Spring 2013, we expect to have a prototype imaging device that can be used in the endoscope. We aspire to have preliminary in-vivo data.

Prerequisites: Desired skills include computer-based instrumentation, optical design, and computer-aided design.

Recommended Web sites and publications: 
   Hajjarian Z et al. Intravascular laser speckle imaging catheter for the mechanical evaluation of the arterial wall. Journal of Biomedical Optics 2011; 16(2):026005.:
   Forrester KR et al. Endoscopic laser imaging of tissue perfusion: new instrumentation and technique. Lasers in Surgery and Medicine 2003; 33(3):151-157.:



 Project #7:  Designing Mobile Games for Learning
Faculty Mentors:  
Professor William M. TomlinsonInformatics

Professor AnneMarie ConleyEducation

Ms. Cathy TranEducation

Description:  We address the problem that many current educational games have taken a "chocolate-covered broccoli" approach such that the gaming element is a reward for completing the educational component. For example, in "Math Tetris," every now and then, the Tetris game freezes, and players have to answer a couple of math questions to continue. That's what we don't want to do! This project is to design educational games in a way that delivers the learning material through the parts of the game that are most fun. In doing so, we incorporate theories from educational psychology, motivation, and cognitive science to the design of our games.

Our first iPad game, which started as an MDP project last year, teaches elementary school children about how the digestive system works and addresses their misconceptions of cause and effect. In "Down with Food," each organ is a mini game, and we are continuing to develop the mini games as well as integrate a healthy eating aspect. Additionally, we are starting a second app to teach people about ecological systems. A major hurdle for understanding ecosystems is that such systems are complex and the fate of one organism may depend on another organism that does not interact with it directly. More details about both games are in the links of recommended readings.

Students' Involvement and Expected Outcomes: Students will be involved in brainstorming sessions to design the games as they learn how to parse gameplay into chunks that provide a mixture of education and fun. Playing and analyzing related products, programming, discussing related research, and conducting evaluations with children will guide the design and re-design of the games. Throughout this process, we especially need several new programmers to join our current team. Expected outcomes are design knowledge, programming skills, and user testing experience through the process of creating games for the phone and/or tablet.

Prerequisites: We're looking for a team with complementary interests and skills in programming, art, animation, design, music composition, gaming, and cognitive psychology. Experience with the UNITY programming platform and mobile devices is a plus, as is experience with Illustrator. Innovative thinkers with real-world experience or relevant coursework are especially encouraged to apply.

Recommended Web sites and publications: 
   The motivational pull of video games: http://www.springerlink.com/content/h8u63440vl4q6534/
   "Down with Food" game: https://sites.google.com/a/uci.edu/mdpema/home
   Ecosystems game: https://sites.google.com/a/uci.edu/mdpema/estt



 Project #8:  Developing a Low-Cost, Portable Particle Counter for In-Field Emission Studies
Faculty Mentors:  
Professor Derek Dunn-RankinMechanical & Aerospace Engineering

Professor Rufus D. EdwardsEpidemiology

Professor Ali MohrazChemical Engineering & Materials Science

Description:  Non-standard fuels are a primary source of domestic energy in developing countries (approx. 2 billion people). The varying fuel quality (e.g. energy density, water content) and sources (e.g. cow dung, crop residue, charcoal, wood, coal) make designing a burner appropriate for local cooking techniques difficult. In addition, cookstove emissions from the developing world are the suspected source in worldwide emission inventory gaps and have a major influence on local health outcomes. The current standard to quantify this major source of pollution is a series of laboratory-based tests under controlled conditions (e.g. dried wood, controlled humidity, a standard quantity of water to boil, and a trained user). In reality, no parameter is standardized, which leads to gross underestimations.

In order to bridge this information gap, the UCI School of Epidemiology has worked with communities in developing countries to properly quantify this impact by taking direct in-home measurements of stove performance under normal use. An effective field based measurement requires the use of low-cost and portable measurement tools that still provide useful data. Current techniques, although portable, are not well characterized. Students involved with this project will design, build, and calibrate a portable particle counting device appropriate for various field environments.

Students' Involvement and Expected Outcomes:

(1) Device characterization: Students will initially work with field-based researchers in the School of Epidemiology to understand the relevant measurement parameters and challenges. After synthesizing particles in the Colloidal Sciences Laboratory, students will characterize portable and laboratory scale particle counting instruments in the Lasers, Flames, and Aerosols laboratory. Synthesized particle size will be on the order of particles measured in the field. The information acquired from initial tests can then be used to identify current measurement limitations and areas where they may be improved.

(2) Design and fabrication: Mentors will work with students on the design and fabrication of a portable particle counter. In addition to the mechanical design, students will develop the communication and data acquisition interface.

(3) Construction and testing: Finally, students will finish fabricating and testing the new device. Benchmark tests will be based on the performance of laboratory scale particle counting techniques. Limitations will be documented and addressed. Based on the prototype evaluation, students may have the opportunity to train researchers involved in field-based measurements.

Prerequisites: We're looking for a team of students, both undergraduate and graduate, with experience in experimental design, chemistry, and programming.



 Project #9:  Development of Platforms Using Dielectrophoresis and Microfluidics to Isolate Stem Cells for Analysis and Transplantation
Faculty Mentors:  
Professor Abraham P. LeeBiomedical Engineering

Professor Lisa FlanaganPathology

Description:  The goal of this project is to develop a label-free method for purifying stem cells prior to transplantation to improve the use of stem cells as therapies for human disease and injury. Generation of purified homogeneous populations of cells for transplantation will help define the precise contributions of specific cell types to repair and remove unwanted tumorigenic cells prior to transplantation.

We have found that dielectrophoresis (DEP) distinguishes neural stem cell types without the use of markers, which are necessary for most conventional cell separation techniques. We are currently developing microfluidic DEP devices to efficiently separate neural stem cell subpopulations based on their frequency responses to DEP. The aims of this project are to: (1) design and program devices to generate cells sorted by DEP parameters, and (2) explore the biological differences among stem cells tied to specific lineages. This project combines the fields of engineering (DEP, microfluidics, fabrication, design principles), biology (neural stem cells, developmental biology) and health care (cell transplantation to treat disease and injury).

Students' Involvement and Expected Outcomes: (1) Device fabrication, testing, and programming: Students will build separation devices and test their fidelity with cells or particles. This will include mask layout and developing the bonding and surface treatment of the devices. Devices will be tested with cells and resulting data used to further improve device design. Students will use LabVIEW, Python and possibly an Arduino suite to develop automation tools. (2) Characterization of isolated cells: Students will test the phenotype of isolated cells by differentiation assays, analysis of cell membranes, and exploration of biological pathways that may contribute to the dielectric properties of specific neural stem cell populations. Furthermore, isolated cells will be transplanted into models of disease or injury to assess contributions of specific progenitors to neural repair.

Prerequisites: Preference for majors in biomedical engineering, electrical engineering, computer science, or biology. Experience with cell culture or Arduino circuitry/programming is beneficial. Students majoring in computer science or a related discipline will help automate various tasks of the project.

Recommended Web sites and publications: 
   Flanagan, L.A., J. Lu, L. Wang, S.A. Marchenko, N. Jeon, A.P. Lee, E.S. Monuki. Unique dielectric properties distinguish stem cells and their differentiated progeny. Stem Cells 26(3): 656-665, 2008.:
   Labeed, F.H., J. Lu, H.J. Mulhall, S.A. Marchenko, K.F. Hoettges, L.C. Estrada, A.P. Lee, M.P. Hughes, L.A. Flanagan. Biophysical characteristics reveal neural stem cell differentiation potential. PLoS ONE 6(9):e25458, 2011.:
   Prieto, J.L., J. Lu, J.L. Nourse, L.A. Flanagan, A.P. Lee. Frequency discretization in dielectrophoretic assisted cell sorting arrays to isolate neural cells. In press, Lab on a Chip, DOI: 10.1039/c2lc21184j, 2012.:
   Wang, L., J. Lu, S.A. Marchenko, E.S. Monuki, L.A. Flanagan, A.P. Lee. Dual frequency dielectrophoresis with interdigitated sidewall electrodes for microfluidic flow-through separation of beads and cells. Electrophoresis 30(5): 782-791, 2009.:



 Project #10:  Dual MRI-Fluorescence Probe for Molecular Imaging of Cancer
Faculty Mentors:  
Professor Gultekin GulsenRadiological Sciences

Professor Jered HaunBiomedical Engineering

Description:  The ability to detect molecular biomarkers within tumors in vivo could revolutionize cancer diagnosis and treatment by non-invasively distinguishing benign lesions from malignant cancers, defining margins for surgery, and personalizing therapy. Current molecular imaging probes lack the sensitivity or specificity needed for this task; however, nanomaterials in particular hold exciting potential due to exceptional signal sensitivity, stability, and/or multiplexing capability that are afforded by large cargo capacities or unique properties such as superparamagnetism, semiconductor fluorescence, or plasmonics. Nanomaterials suffer from the tendency for solid tumors to have a non-patent or leaky vasculature, which non-selectively allows entry and accumulation. This enhanced permeability and retention factor (EPR) makes it impossible to distinguish between targeted and unbound probes [Peer, 2007]. Thus, novel capabilities are needed to activate signals in response to molecular targets but, to date, attempts to create nanomaterial contrast with a signal that can be activated upon binding to a molecular biomarker has not been demonstrated.

In this proposal, we seek to develop a dual modality imaging probe with the following features: (1) a magnetic nanocrystal core that will provide strong magnetic resonance contrast signal for localizing suspicious lesions through the EPR effect; and (2) a lipid shell containing an optically switchable conjugated polymer (polydiacetylene, PDA) to provide molecular biomarker information. We propose to activate the fluorescence properties of the PDA using bioorthogonal covalent reaction between the nanoparticle probe and affinity molecules pre-targeted to the lesion [Haun, 2010a; Devaraj, 2012]. Probe signals will be detected using a custom-built hybrid scanner with magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and fluorescence tomography (FT) capabilities[Lin, 2011].

The first aim of this project is to create the dual MRI-FT nanomaterial probes. We will synthesize iron oxide nanocrystals with extremely high magnetic susceptibility from ferro-fluids and modify the surface with lipid monomers of PDA [Haun, 2010b; Reppy. 2007]. Initial tests will seek to optimize particle stability and magnetic resonance signal. We will then attach the bioorthogonal reactant tetrazine to the probe surface and assess PDA fluorescence activation in response to a soluble form of the counter-reactant trans-cyclooctene. In our second aim, we will test fluorescence properties using prostate cancer lines that are targeted with trans-cyclooctenemodified monoclonal antibodies specific for prostate-specific biomarkers. Finally, we will assess probe signals in vivo using a subcutaneous mouse xenograft tumor model and the custom-built MRI-FT scanner currently available in Dr. Gulsen's laboratory. Dr. Gulsen also has IUCAC-approved protocols for several mouse models.

Student involvement and expected outcomes: Undergraduate students are expected to be a part of this study in both creation and characterization of the agents. Initially, they will help with synthesis and modification of the magnetic nanocrystal-lipid shell nanoparticles. Secondly, they will assist in characterization of the magnetic resonance and fluorescence properties of the probes before and after activation. Finally, students will be involved in imaging studies. In vivo MRI and optical imaging are important techniques for many preclinical studies, and students will receive hands-on experience in imaging acquisition and analysis. Based on these diverse experiences in the fields of nanotechnology, biomedical imaging, and cancer biology, this project will make an ideal setting for undergraduate students to develop multidisciplinary knowledge and skills.

Prerequisites: This study is open to any students in biomedical or chemical engineering, chemistry, biology, or physics.

Recommended Web sites and publications: 
   Peer, D. et al. Nanocarriers as an emerging platform for cancer therapy. Nat Nanotechnol 2, 751-760 (2007).:
   Haun, J. B., Devaraj, N. K., Hilderbrand, S. A., Lee, H. & Weissleder, R. Bioorthogonal chemistry amplifies nanoparticle binding and enhances the sensitivity of cell detection. Nat Nanotechnol 5, 660-665 (2010).:
   Devaraj, N. K., Thurber, G. M., Keliher, E. J., Marinelli, B. & Weissleder, R. Reactive polymer enables efficient in vivo bioorthogonal chemistry. P Natl Acad Sci Usa 109, 4762-4767 (2012).:
   Lin, Y. et al. A photo-multiplier tube-based hybrid MRI and frequency domain fluorescence tomography system for small animal imaging. Phys Med Biol 56, 4731-4747 (2011).:
   Haun, J. B., Yoon, T. J., Lee, H. & Weissleder, R. Magnetic nanoparticle biosensors. Wiley Interdiscip Rev Nanomed Nanobiotechnol 2, 291-304 (2010).:
   Reppy, M. A. and Pindzola, B. A. Biosensing with polydiacetylene materials: structures, optical properties, and applications. Chem Comm, 4317-38.:



 Project #11:  Emotion Regulation Patterns in Interactions Between Parents and their Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder: A Novel Application of a Dynamic Systems Approach
Faculty Mentors:  
Professor Yuqing GuoProgram in Nursing Science

Professor Wendy GoldbergPsychology & Social Behavior

Description:  Problem: Autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) are the fastest growing group of developmental disabilities and are considered a public health concern. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that the prevalence of autism in the United States has risen from 1 to 150 births in 2002 to 1 in 88 births in 2012. Individuals with ASD typically have difficulties in social interaction, communication skills, and cognitive functioning. Despite the crucial influence of emotion on the development of social interaction skills, surprisingly few studies have focused on emotion regulation in children with ASD. Furthermore, little is known about how the parent and the child with ASD co-regulate (in other words, how do they adjust and adapt to one another) in the context of their everyday interaction. These omissions are particularly glaring in light of the challenges these parents face in dealing with their child's affective displays, which can go from "no affective response" to "emotional outburst" in a matter of seconds. The present project addresses these gaps.

Solution: The creativity of this project is to develop an emotion regulation coding system which captures the emotional interactions in both families of children with ASD and families of typically developing children. Another creative aspect of the project lies in its novel application of a state-of-the-science technology called State Space Grid (SSG). SSG is a computer-based dynamic systems approach that can provide new insights into parent-child dynamics. For decades, measuring dyadic or triadic parent-child interactions has presented a methodological and analytic challenge for developmental psychologists. To address this challenge, SSG was created to allow researchers to quantify dyadic and triadic observation data. Using State Space Grid software, researchers can now describe multiple interaction patterns simultaneously and can track movement between emotional states in real time. The proposed study will be the first to use SSG to explore dynamic emotional processes in children with ASD as they interact with their parents. Both dyadic data (child-mother, child-father) and triadic data (child-mother-father) will be derived from the project.

Objectives and Significance: The ultimate goal of this project is the novel expansion of State Space Grid approach to emotion regulation research in children with ASD. The specific objectives are to: (a) develop a valid and reliable emotion regulation coding system; (b) examine differences in dyadic regulation between families of children with ASD and families of typically developing children; and (c) explore the distinctive patterns of triadic emotion regulation in families of children with ASD as compared with families of typically developing children. The findings will provide a better understanding of the maladaptive emotion regulation processes found in social interactions of children with ASD. The knowledge generated from the current novel project may in turn lead to advances in family therapy and new interventions for children with ASD and their parents.

Multidisciplinary Team: Two disciplines will participate in this study. Dr. Wendy Goldberg, a professor in the Department of Psychology and Social Behavior in the School of Social Ecology, is an expert on autism and family relationships. Dr. Yuqing Guo, an assistant professor from the Program in Nursing Science, has applied the State Space Grid to study co-regulation in secure child-mother vs. insecure child-mother dyads using a dataset of the NICHD Study of Early Child Care and Youth Development.

Students' Involvement and Expected Outcomes: Students will be responsible for searching the literature, attending training on how to develop an observation coding system, creating an emotion regulation coding system, obtaining satisfactory observation reliability, conducting observation coding, exporting observation data to the State Space Grid software, and creating the final dataset for statistical analysis. An opportunity for a collaborative presentation of findings at professional meetings will be made available to highly motivated and active students.

References: If you need references, please contact Dr. Guo (gyuqing@uci.edu).

Prerequisites: Student Eligibility: (1) Students who are interested in one or more of the following topics: emotion, emotion regulation, parent-child interaction, autism, developmental psychology, observation research, and dynamic systems. (2) Students who have experience with behavioral coding are preferred, but it is not a requirement. (3) Students who are self-motivated, responsible team-players.



 Project #12:  In Vivo Optical Imaging of Detection of Biomaterial-Induced Reactive Oxygen Species
Faculty Mentors:  
Professor Gultekin GulsenRadiological Sciences

Professor Wendy LiuBiomedical Engineering

Description:  Development of novel biomaterials with improved biocompatibility and integrated tissue function is expected to make an impact in cardiovascular and tissue engineering research. A better understanding of the mechanisms underlying the foreign body response may help to develop new biomaterials that invoke a controlled foreign body response. In this study, our aim will be using in vivo small animal imaging to measure the body response for these new biomaterials. Establishing such an in vivo measurement platform will allow us to design novel materials that may be useful for implanted devices including cell encapsulation therapies, cardiovascular devices such as stents and vessel grafts, artificial tissues, and biosensors.

Our first specific aim is to detect the reactive oxygen species (ROS) produced by inflammatory cells in response to biomaterial surfaces in vivo. This method has been established earlier using Luminol that exhibit luminescence in the presence of ROS [Liu, 2011 #2246]. Therefore, we will first perform bioluminescence imaging using Luminol and polystyrene beads, a material known to elicit an inflammatory response and ROS generation. These beads will be subcutaneously implanted to the mice and imaging will be performed once a week for four weeks. Once the body response is verified using in vivo imaging, our second specific aim will be to use this platform to evaluate the performance of newly developed biomaterials. More specifically, we will test materials decorated with immunomodulatory proteins, and examine their effect on the inflammatory response and ROS generation.

Students' Involvement and Expected Outcomes: Students are expected to contribute in multiple phases of this proposed study. First, they can join our animal technician in implanting the beads to the mice and hence get some training in animal preparation and care. Secondly, they will be involved in imaging studies. In vivo optical imaging is an important technique for many preclinical studies and students will find a chance to gain hands-on experience in optical imaging and analysis. Finally, they will gain experience in novel biomaterials. Therefore, this project will provide an ideal environment for students to develop multidisciplinary skills and knowledge including biomaterials, biology and imaging.

Prerequisites: This study is open to any biomedical engineering, biology, physics or electrical engineering students.

Recommended Web sites and publications: 
   Liu et. al. "Real-time in vivo detection of biomaterial-induced reactive oxygen species", Biomaterials, 2011 Mar;32(7):1796-801:
   Negrin et. al. "In vivo imaging using bioluminescence: a tool for probing graft-versus-host disease", Nature, 2006, 6, 484-490:



 Project #13:  Integration of Feedback Design with Consumer Tradeoff for Energy Efficient Consumer Electronics
Faculty Mentors:  
Professor Daniel S. StokolsPlanning, Policy, & Design

Professor G.P. LiElectrical Engineering & Computer Science

Dr. Arthur ZhangElectrical Engineering & Computer Science

Description:  Direct feedback from electronics and energy management systems has been proven to induce consumer participation in energy saving. The advancement in information technology and the penetration of personal electronics devices has allowed instant electronic alerts via various formats and media, such as text messages and tactile feedback. However, with the increased use of electronic alerts, the feedback pathways need to be carefully designed to encourage positive behavior and avoid premature termination of compliance.

The goal of this project is essentially to understand the consumer's frustration threshold in the persistence of these alerts in relation to energy efficient solutions. Researchers and electronics design engineers may properly adjust the frequency of alerts that may turn consumers away from using the proposed energy saving solution. Furthermore, it is also important to consider the type of alert being used to convey the message. It is crucial to understand whether a sound, tactile, visual, social message or a combination of these forms will engage or halt further participation by consumers for more efficient power management, such as a set-top box.

Student's Involvement and Expected Outcomes: A team of four undergraduate researchers from departments within the Engineering and Social Sciences schools are encouraged to participate in this research project. All members are expected to dedicate a minimum of five hours to research, design, survey and data analysis. Expected outcomes include:
1. A literature research report on related existing research results.
2. A test feedback system for a selected consumer electronic device.
3. A survey designed to collect initial data with IRB approval.
4. An experiment conducted within California Plug Load Research Center with volunteers and the test feedback system.
5. Preliminary results on effective feedback frequency, delay, and format.

Prerequisites: Students from the Engineering and Social Sciences schools are encouraged to apply for this research project. Experiences with electronics system (engineering) and survey design process (social science) are strongly recommended. Good work ethic and teamwork experience are desired.



 Project #14:  Investigation of 3D Polypyrrole Structures as Electrodes for Supercapacitors
Faculty Mentors:  
Dr. Lawrence KulinskyMechanical & Aerospace Engineering

Professor Marc J. MadouMechanical & Aerospace Engineering

Professor Allon HochbaumChemistry

Description:  Polypyrrole (PPy) is a conductive polymer that has gained significant interest owing to its unique electrical and mechanical properties, chemical stability, ease of fabrication and ability to store charges (known as pseudocapacitance). The lateral growth characteristics of PPy during electrodeposition have been exploited to create three-dimensional interconnecting 3D conducting polymeric structures that have been difficult to fabricate with other methods. As electrodes, these 3D structures exhibit faster reaction kinetics and higher sensitivity than conventional planar electrodes.

In this project, students will learn electrodeposition techniques to create 3D supercapacitor microelectrodes. Electrochemical characterization techniques such as cyclic voltammetry and galvanostatic charge/discharge tests will be performed to measure the capacitance of these high surface area 3D electrodes.

Student involvement and expected outcome: Undergraduate participants will be paired with a graduate student researcher. The feasibility of 3D polypyrrole microstructures as electrodes in supercapacitors will be assessed. Students will learn different electrochemical characterization techniques (operating a potentiostat), create three-dimensional polymer structures and measure the energy storage capacity of supercapacitors. Students will have opportunity to present their research results at lab meetings and university symposia.

Prerequisites: Undergraduate and graduate students from the school of engineering and physical sciences are encouraged to participate.

Recommended Web sites and publications: 
   Jurewicz, K., et al., Supercapacitors from nanotubes/polypyrrole composites. Chemical Physics Letters, 2001. 347(1-3): p. 36-40.:
   Beidaghi, M. and C. Wang, Micro-supercapacitors based on three dimensional interdigital polypyrrole/C-MEMS electrodes. Electrochimica Acta, 2011. 56(25): p. 9508-9514.:



 Project #15:  Microfluidic Biopsy Chip for Automated Tumor Tissue Processing
Faculty Mentors:  
Professor Jered HaunBiomedical Engineering

Professor Marian WatermanMicrobiology & Molecular Genetics

Description:  The ability to extract molecular information from solid tumor specimens could revolutionize patient care by drastically improving diagnostic and prognostic capabilities, as well as enabling personalized medicine. Single cell-based molecular analysis techniques, ranging from widely used methods such as flow cytometry to advanced miniaturized devices [Haun, 2011], are advantageous because they can provide quantitative, multiplexed, and high throughput results. Despite their clinical potential, routine use of these techniques is limited by the need to process tumor tissue specimens into single cells. Dissociation procedures are typically performed at a centralized laboratory using manual procedures and standard laboratory equipment. As a result, diagnostic quality is compromised by the valuable time consumed and cell losses incurred during batch processing steps. A more powerful strategy would involve automated processing of solid tumor specimens and subsequent cell-based analysis immediately at the patient's bedside. Thus, there is a critical need to develop new techniques that will enable automated dissociation of solid tumor tissue at the point-of-care. In this project, we seek to test a novel microfluidic device, called the Biopsy Chip, to automate tumor tissue dissociation for downstream cell-based molecular diagnostics. The Biopsy Chip contains a dissociation chamber component to disrupt tissue using hydrodynamic forces but without additional chemical or proteolytic treatment. This is an important feature that could potentially lead to better expression retention for certain biomarkers. We have also incorporated a microfabricated porous membrane filter to selectively allow single cells to exit the device but retain tissue aggregates for continued processing.

The first aim of this project is to design and fabricate the microfluidic tumor tissue dissociation and filtering devices. Fluid dynamics simulations will be used to study flow patterns under different device configurations. Prototypes will then be fabricated using a laminate technology to maximize throughput and allow easy integration of the separate components. For specific aim 2, we will test performance of the devices using cancer cell line models, including small tissue aggregates of varying complexity to study dissociation capabilities. Tissue models will include cancer cell lines grown on collagen and released as an intact sheet with collagenase and tumor spheroids produced using the hanging drop method. We will also use spontaneously generated cell aggregates of colon cancer initiating cells (CCICs). These cells are routinely employed by Dr. Waterman in her research on colon cancer biology, were originally isolated here at UCI, and are interesting because they retain self-renewal capacity and better recapitulate the histology of their primary tumor [Sikander, 2010]. Device performance metrics will include total and single cell yields as well as cell damage assessed by propidium iodide exclusion assay and immunofluorescent labeling of tumor biomarkers.

Student involvement and expected outcomes: Undergraduate students are expected to be a part of this study in terms of device design, fabrication, and testing. First, students will be involved in the design and fabrication of the devices. Second, they will receive hands-on training preparing and operating the devices. Finally, students will assist in cell culture tasks to create the tumor tissue models. Based on these diverse experiences in the fields of microfluidics/microfabrication technologies and cancer biology, this project will make an ideal setting for undergraduate students to develop multidisciplinary knowledge and skills.

Prerequisites: This study is open to any students in biomedical, chemical, or mechanical engineering, as well as biology or chemistry.

Recommended Web sites and publications: 
   Hanahan, D. & Weinberg, R. A. The hallmarks of cancer: The Next Generation. Cell 144, 646-74(2011).:
   El-Ali, J., Sorger, P. K. & Jensen, K. F. Cells on chips. Nature 442, 403-411 (2006).:
   Haun, J. B. et al. Micro-NMR for rapid molecular analysis of human tumor samples. Sci Transl Med 3, 71ra16 (2011).:
   Sikandar, S. S. et al. NOTCH signaling is required for formation and self-renewal of tumorinitiating cells and for repression of secretory cell differentiation in colon cancer. Cancer Res 70, 1469-1478 (2010).:



 Project #16:  Nuclear-Encoded Mitochondrial Genes SNPs in Different Ethnic Background Relevant to Alzheimer Disease and Aging
Faculty Mentors:  
Professor Rick LathropInformatics

Professor Jorge BusciglioNeurobiology & Behavior

Dr. Pinar CoskunNeurobiology & Behavior

Description:  The mitochondria are essential components of human cells. They produce most of the ATP in the cell via Oxidative Phosphorylation. The mitochondria are also essential for a range of other metabolic functions including regulation of apoptosis. The human mitochondrial genome is only about 16Kkb long, only 20% of which is believed to be non-coding region. This gives high risk of function altering or inhibiting changes from even low amounts of single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs). A number of SNPs within the mitochondrial genome have been linked with a number of health related effects ranging from muscle disorders to Alzheimer's disease and longevity. In addition to the mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) located within the mitochondria which encodes 37 genes, the mitochondrial genome includes almost 1,500 genes coded from nuclear DNA (nDNA).

DNA sequencing technology has come a long way since the turn of the century. With large numbers of groups attempting to bring the cost of sequencing a human genome down to the affordability of the common person, advancements have been achieved frequently. Some of the latest technologies include chips that identify specific errors within the human genome and completely new ways of sequencing DNA like the latest IONTorrent sequencing machine. However, along with the innovations in this field has also come a relatively high error rate. As with all protocols within biology there is space for variance; however, it must be minimized so as to amplify the signal of the data while eliminating the noise. Within the Human Genome sequence, there are a number of ethnic profiles that are recognized via haplogroups, usually within the Y-Chromsome (of paternal inheritance) and in mtDNA (of maternal inheritance). mtDNA haplogroups have been identified for most ethnicities, one of the main pieces of evidence for a mitochondrial eve (origin of all mitochondria).

One result of this research has been that there are a series of SNPs connected to each haplogroup in Alzheimer Disease (AD) However 99% of the proteins used in proper mitochondrial function are nuclear-encoded mitochondrial genes (NEMGs). Yet there is limited literature on specific SNPs in NEMGs for mitochondrial disease, AD and longevity. Furthermore, it is still unknown the correlation of those SNPs to follow to mitochondrial ethnic lineage. This provides a foundation for further research in discovering SNPs that would affect the NEMGs within ethnic groups relevant to AD and aging.

Hypothesis: Since mitochondrial DNA coded gene products and mtDNA itself interact with the NEMGs, both genomes should function in harmony. SNPs in either genome could induce varied mitochondria behavior and possible inhibition of cell normal cell function. I hypothesize that by minimizing error rates in the latest sequencing technology, we will find that as with mtDNA there are unique SNPs for each ethnicity within NEMGs' DNA that are as of yet unknown.

Methods: To test this hypothesis we will first use the 1000 genome project database of human genomes published in HAPMAP. We will divide the population into ethnic categories. Then, using algorithms in bioinformatics we will identify any SNPs on defined NEMGs that are common among each ethnic group. After this first data harvesting step, we will move toward an experimental outlook. We will use AD patient blood samples to sequence their mitochondrial haplotypes and confirm the NEMG SNPs specific to ethic groups. Once evidence has confirmed the hypothesis we can move towards linking specific mitochondrial diseases and dysfunction to individual SNPs.



 Project #17:  Patient Connect Pilot Project
Faculty Mentors:  
Professor Stephanie ReichEducation

Professor G.P. LiElectrical Engineering & Computer Science

Dr. Arthur ZhangElectrical Engineering & Computer Science

Professor Mark WarschauerEducation

Description:  This project is the pilot phase of the Patient Connect Program, in partnership with Children's Hospital of Orange County (CHOC), Cox Communications, UCI/CalIT2, OC Department of Education and OC Business Council. The overall goal is to work with local school districts to provide uncompromised distant classroom experiences for critically/chronically ill children, based on transformational technologies in information systems, human computer interface, and education. This will be achieved through iterative development and deployment of a two-way digital communication and interaction system that allows children to participate in classroom activities as fully as possible from their home or hospital environment.

The core premise of this initiative is that the educational and psycho-social needs of the patient do not end when the patient is discharged. Though the patient has many resources at school and at CHOC, their condition may be such that they are too sick to go to school yet not sick enough to be an inpatient, thus leaving a gap in this continuity when at home. This gap can be bridged, and existing services can be improved, by effective use of current and emerging technologies.

The objective of this MDP project is to facilitate a smooth deployment of the first two Patient-connect systems to help two students who are identified by CHOC and their school districts as most suitable. (Their parents also seek to participate.) The MDP team will conduct data collection from video, audio and sensor communications. Further data analysis to determine efficacy of assistive functions will be carried out. A final report will be prepared to recommend most effective features for larger scale deployment in the next phase of the program.

Key issues to be addressed: (1) Positive impact for patients and for the educational environment of their classrooms; (2) Meet patients' and parents' expectations; (3) Identify and overcome any obstacles to successful implementation.

Students' Involvement and Expected Outcomes: A balanced team of four graduate/undergraduate researchers from Engineering, Computer Science, and the School of Education are encouraged to participate in this project. All members are expected to dedicate a minimum of five hours into research, design, survey and data analysis. Expected outcomes include: (1) Setup of patient-connect systems, video conferencing devices, configuration of high-speed internet, database system and server (CHOC/patient's home/patient's school); (2) Service two students' classroom needs as project progress; (3) Final project report on Patient-connect system viability for education purposes.

Prerequisites: Students from any program or department are invited to apply for this research project. In general, students will need to have a background and interest in either computer/digital systems (typically majoring in engineering or ICS) or in the collection, analysis, and reporting of field research data (typically majoring or minoring in education, social sciences, or social ecology). Good work ethic and teamwork experience are desired.



 Project #18:  Portable, Low-Cost HIV Diagnostic Device
Faculty Mentors:  
Professor William TangBiomedical Engineering

Professor Oladele OgunseitanEnvironmental Health, Science, & Policy

Description:  This multidisciplinary project aims at developing a portable, low-cost diagnostic device with the following design objectives: (1) Portable diagnostic device suitable for use in developing countries, (2) targets diagnosis of HIV epidemic in a resource limited setting, (3) low-cost and high throughput performance, and (4) clear identification of positive and negative diagnosis.

Students' Involvement and Expected Outcomes: The student team will perform the following tasks to complete their projects. The intent is to develop the prototype following FDA design controls as if the final device would be submitted to the FDA for review and approval. The team will:

  •  Define the Market Opportunity

    •  Including fully defining the problem, the need, the customers, costs, etc.

  •  Define the FDA Design Control Requirements

    •  Understand and complete the required documentation including Design Inputs, Design Outputs, Risk Analysis, etc.

  •  Define the Product Specification

    •  Define the required features of the device.

  •  Explore Possible Technical Solutions

    •  Brainstorm the different engineering options that could meet the requirements.

  •  Review Technical Solutions versus Requirements

    •  Team Design Review to select the preferred engineering solution to pursue.

  •  Detail Preferred Technical Solution

    •  Produce descriptions and drawings of the selected system to allow for prototype fabrication.

  •  Fabricate Initial Prototype

    •  Fabricate a working prototype to allow system demonstration.

  •  Test Prototype
  •  Review and Revise Design

    •  Evaluate results of initial testing and user feedback.

  •  Revise and Test Prototype

    •  Rework prototype and re-test.

  •  Document and Present Project Development Results

    •  Document final system design and present final system analysis.

Prerequisites: The team should consist of at least a few engineering students at senior standing.



 Project #19:  Portable, Low-Cost Malaria Diagnostic Platform
Faculty Mentors:  
Professor William TangBiomedical Engineering

Professor Oladele OgunseitanEnvironmental Health, Science, & Policy

Description:  This multidisciplinary project aims at developing a portable, low-cost malaria diagnostic platform for low-resource setting deployment. Using aptamers as biosensors with the unique properties of binding to specific target molecules allows the development of highly selective sensors for plasmodium lactate dehydrogenase (PLDH). Recent findings indicate that PLDH is present in the saliva of infected patients, making this target enzyme an ideal candidate biomarker without the need to draw and test blood.

Students' Involvement and Expected Outcomes: The student team will perform the following tasks to complete their projects. The intent is to develop the prototype following FDA design controls as if the final device would be submitted to the FDA for review and approval. The team will:

  •  Define the Market Opportunity

    • Including fully defining the problem, the need, the customers, costs, etc.

  •  Define the FDA Design Control Requirements

    • Understand and complete the required documentation including Design Inputs, Design Outputs, Risk Analysis, etc.

  •  Define the Product Specification

    • Define the required features of the device.

  •  Explore Possible Technical Solutions

    • Brainstorm the different engineering options that could meet the requirements.

  •  Review Technical Solutions versus Requirements

    • Team Design Review to select the preferred engineering solution to pursue.

  •  Detail Preferred Technical Solution

    • Produce descriptions and drawings of the selected system to allow for prototype fabrication.

  •  Fabricate Initial Prototype

    • Fabricate a working prototype to allow system demonstration.

  •  Test Prototype
  •  Review and Revise Design

    • Evaluate results of initial testing and user feedback.

  •  Revise and Test Prototype

    • Rework prototype and re-test.

  •  Document and Present Project Development Results

    • Document final system design and present final system analysis.

Prerequisites: The team should consist of at least a few engineering students at senior standing.



 Project #20:  Programmable High Throughput Cell Based Assays for Immunological Diseases
Faculty Mentors:  
Professor Anshu AgrawalMedicine

Dr. John CollinsBiomedical Engineering

Description:  The aim of the project is to develop electrically activated droplets driven programmable high throughput platform for performing cell secretion based immunological assays routinely used for determining the efficacy of immunological drugs and vaccines in humans. They will be established for early detection markers for various immunological diseases. We will develop an integrated platform using multilayer printed circuit boards to transport reagents in droplets, process whole blood samples, perform cell cultures and monitor cell secretion using nanomagnetic particles enabled giant magnetoresistance sensors. Thus, technological fusion of digital microfluidics, nanomagnetic sensing, autoimmunological bioassay will come together in this integrated platform for studying immunological diseases. Dr. Collins has the expertise to develop micro/nano devices and electrical instrumentation for cell based assays.

Cytokine secretion by Antigen Presenting cells such as Dendritic cells and monocytes is altered in diseases either at the basal level without activation or after activation with various ligands (Toll like receptor, NOD etc.). This altered cytokine secretion also influences the nature of T helper cell responses by affecting their polarization. The imbalance in TH cell polarization leads to development of various diseases. For example, in autoimmune diseases such as lupus there is deficiency in the generation of T regulatory cells accompanied by an increase in TH1 cells. Dr Agrawal's laboratory has the expertise to perform such assays; however, these assays are labor-intensive, time consuming and require large quantities of blood. Here we propose to use an automated engineering platform to perform such assays.

Students' Involvement and Expected Outcomes:
Immunology: Students will learn to purify APCs and T cells from human blood and set up the assays. They will also learn to perform ELISAs or flow cytometry based cytokine detection assays.
Engineering: Students will design digital fluidic electrode array for PCB-based devices and learn electrical instrumentation and programming for switching and data acquisition.

Prerequisites: Biology and Biomedical Engineering majors preferred. Previous experience with CAD design and programming software is useful but not required.



 Project #21:  Search and Rescue Robotics
Faculty Mentors:  
Professor Michael McCarthyMechanical & Aerospace Engineering

Professor Jeffrey L.. KrichmarCognitive Sciences

Professor James E.. BobrowMechanical & Aerospace Engineering

Professor Ian G. HarrisComputer Science

Description:  We intend to build a team of robots to compete in the annual RoboCupRescue Robot League competition. The RoboCupRescue Robot League has three objectives: (1) to increase awareness of the challenges for deploying robots to respond to emergencies such as urban search and rescue and bomb disposal, (2) to provide objective performance evaluations of mobile robots operating in complex environments, and (3) to promote collaboration among researchers. In the Robot League's search and rescue event, our robots will search for simulated victims (mannequins that give off heat, CO2, sound, and movement) while negotiating challenging terrain and generating maps. Our approach is to field deploy a team of autonomous robots to explore large areas and structures without direct human control. Each individual robot would be relatively cheap and simple. A possible platform to use the computing, communication, and sensing capability of a smartphone to control a moderately sized robot or R/C car. The robot design and control will take inspiration from biology, cognitive science and neuroscience.

Students' Involvement and Expected Outcomes: Students will be expected to work with team members and mentors with the goal of fielding a RoboCupRescue team at the German RoboCup Open in April 2013 (there is currently no US Open). Students will learn skills in artificial intelligence, embedded systems, robot design, and software development.

Prerequisites: To be eligible to participate, students should have experience (either coursework or work related) in one or more of these areas: artificial intelligence, computer programming, electronic design, mechanical design, or robotics.

Recommended Web sites and publications: 
   : http://www.nist.gov/el/isd/testarenas.cfm
   : https://www.facebook.com/RoboRescueUCI
   : http://www.socsci.uci.edu/~jkrichma/CARL/index.html
   : http://www.cogsci.uci.edu/~noros/android_robotic_platform.html



 Project #22:  Teaching Science with Video Games: Software Design, Development and Testing
Faculty Mentors:  
Professor Peter O. KrappFilm & Media Studies

Professor Craig MartensChemistry

Description:  Using new computer games and game mods, this project is directed at developing tools that allow students to visit and become at home in new territories of science using the process that underlies mastery of video games. The focus will be on identifying key concepts underlying science, ranging from the simple and already familiar classical mechanics of particles, through wave phenomena, thermodynamic principles such as the second law of thermodynamics, up to the counterintuitive—even bizarre—properties of the quantum world. Our overall goals are twofold: (1) to involve UCI undergraduate students in the process of learning the science, expressing the principles in terms of evolution of a game, and designing a visually appealing, procedurally instructive, and fun to play product; and (2) making this product available to students at the appropriate level, ranging from elementary school through college, and assessing the efficacy of learning science by playing the games.

Students' Involvement and Expected Outcomes: This project will bring students of science and computer science together to collaborate on producing prototype games. The first step will be to take simple classic games, such as Pac Man and Pong, and mod them to illustrate particular scientific concepts. These games will be designed to run in a Web browser, and will be made available online. A simple game for very young players that demonstrates solid to liquid to gas phase changes in a molecular dynamics simulation to which energy is added by running vigorously in place is just one idea that will be pursued.

Prerequisites: Some experience in programming languages and/or in interactive design will be required, although additional skills can be learned on the job. Coursework in chemistry, physics, and mathematics will also be useful, but not required; a secondary goal of the project is to give a "feel" for the science to the developers as well as to the gamers.



 Project #23:  The Micropallet Array: A Novel Nanotechnology for the Recovery and Molecular Profiling of Tumor Cellular Subsets
Faculty Mentors:  
Professor Mark BachmanElectrical Engineering & Computer Science

Professor Edward L. NelsonBiological Chemistry

Description:  This project aims at the refinement of the micropallet array platform technology that is used to separate, identify, collect, and analyze single adherent cells. The long-term goal of this project is to use this platform to sort and further analyze human tumor biopsies. We are specifically interested in the variety of tumor cellular elements (endothelial progenitor cells, cancer stem cells, myoepithelial cells, amongst others) to assess their relative contributions to tumor biology. We are currently finalizing the groundwork necessary to provide proof of principle for the application of the micropallet array to this work scope and for the analyses of primary human tumor samples.

Student's Involvement and Expected Outcomes: Students who will participate in this project will be involved in any or all of the following tasks, depending on their specific interests:

1. Device fabrication: Further refine the standard photolithography technique used to fabricate standard micropallet arrays.

2. Cell subset identification strategy: Advance the current cell identification strategy, multicolor immunofluorescent confocal imaging, by adding the capacity to interrogate 1 to 2 additional cell surface markers to the existing cell surface marker panel. This will involve adapting conjugation chemistries to individual antibodies, establishing appropriate controls and demonstration of functionality on the micropallet array.

3. Software analysis: Develop software to aid in the identification of cells plated and immunofluorescently imaged on a micropallet array.

The expected outcome of this project is to finalize the micropallet array platform technology for its application to human tumor biopsies. In participating in this project, students will develop strong skills in several disciplines to encompass the multidisciplinary aspect of this program, including microfabrication, mammalian cell culture, flow cytometry, confocal imaging, antibody-fluorophore conjugation chemistries, and computer programming.

Prerequisites: Students are invited to apply with background(s) in biomedical engineering, cell biology, and computer programming. Preference will be given to students with experience in any or all of these fields.



 Project #24:  Therabot: A Remote Controllable Robot Avatar Designed for Bedridden Kids
Faculty Mentors:  
Professor Simon PennyStudio Art

Professor Yuqing GuoProgram in Nursing Science

Professor Jill BergProgram in Nursing Science

Description:  Thereabot is a multifunctional embodied avatar by which bedridden kids can do errands, carry on conversations and even play games, i.e. with other kids via their therabots. Therabot will be controlled from the bed. In addition to remote control (probably via cell phone technology) the bots will support two-way audio and video, with a controllable camera (at least 180 on the horizontal axis), long-life batteries and a carry basket. The Therabot will offer a variety of modes of control that use body parts in ways that promote the well-being of patients and prevent the atrophy of muscles. For instance, a foot-controlled steering interface will provide physical therapy in the form of motor control and muscle exercise for the legs. It will also provide kids with a venue or mobile sociality in the hospital environment (and possibly beyond) through the use of GPS-enabled robots. In addition to carrying a live video facial image of the owner, these devices will permit all kinds of personalization, costuming, etc., providing a creative outlet for these kids.

Being confined to a bed can take a toll on the body and mind—soreness and difficulty getting out of bed or even standing up, as well as social isolation. This experience can be quite demoralizing. The patient often loses confidence and the will to participate in physical therapy. Our goal is to incorporate play, physical activity and active interaction into normally mundane and difficult road to recovery, and to bolster the patient's agency in his or her interactions with the world and the healing process herself.

Students' Involvement and Expected Outcomes: Our goal is to research and design the project in Winter 2013, produce a working prototype and conduct preliminary tests in Spring 2013. In situ testing with hospital patients will occur in summer 2013, or earlier.

Prerequisites: We are looking to assemble a working team of students with experience in one or more of the following areas: engineering, computer science, biomedical engineering, medicine, nursing, and physical therapy.



 Project #25:  Values in Design: Designing for Hesitation and Presence
Faculty Mentors:  
Professor Sanjoy MazumdarPlanning, Policy, & Design

Professor Geoffrey BowkerInformatics

Professor Judith GregoryInformatics

Description:  This project invites you to enliven everyday life on campus. As with many campuses, the design of public space at UCI has been motivated by values of efficiency (getting cars parked, getting students to classes) and security (keeping it safe) and is seen by many to create "sociofugal"—unfriendly and uninspiring—spaces. Our challenge is to take such a "dead" space (a parking garage, unused open space) on campus and develop a redesign based around the values of hesitation and presence. By hesitation and presence, we mean creating spaces where people will stop, become aware of the area and people around themselves, and engage in meditation or reflection in ways that take them outside of the constant drive to get to the next class or meeting. This will both permit and encourage enriched relationships with their physical environments. To get there, we will use ideas and principles from the fields of design, architecture, social ecology, policy, and computer science.

Students will learn about the ways that values are interwoven into the fabric of our built infrastructure. They will learn how to plan and conduct extended observations: they will find and analyze sites which hold desired values either on campus or near their homes. These observations will be used as the basis for formulating design specifications. Students will then learn how to use tools such as AutoCAD and sketching tools from Autodesk to design for the spaces they have chosen. We wish to see how these tools can be enabling. Next, students will use tools such as 3-D printers to produce models of their ideal spaces. Finally, they will develop proposals to implement their suggestions demonstrating how their chosen outcomes are socially and environmentally sustainable. Finally, these modeling tools will be used to create and stage a participatory exhibit of the spaces designed for hesitation and presence on UCI campus.

Prerequisites: The program is open to all undergraduate and graduate students. There is no specific skill set needed to join this project; however, we will need at least one team member to have good computing skills and at least one to have some training in ethnographic observation. Courses in or interest in design and in working with software and hardware will be valued.

Recommended Web sites and publications: 
   Gehl, J. (2010). Cities for people. Washington: Island Press.:
   Cool film: Urbanized: http://urbanize Tight dfilm.com/about/
   Knobel, C. and Bowker, G. C. Values in Design: http://cacm.acm.org/magazines/2011/7/109899-values-in-design/fulltext
   Sommer, R. (1974). Tight spaces: Hard architecture and how to humanize it. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall.: