SURF-IT Research Projects


Participants | Research Projects

The SURF-IT program is committed to offering students challenging and unique research opportunities that explore the diverse, multidisciplinary nature of telecommunications and information technology, and ultimately focus on furthering the development of the Internet. Students will be fully immersed in the research laboratory, collaborating with their faculty mentors and teams, and using state-of-the-art equipment. These projects will fully engage the student and provide the opportunity to see how telecommunication and information technology developments are applied in real life to produce significant and tangible final results.

Calit2 faculty, students and research professionals with leading California technology companies conduct research in “living laboratories” focused on the scientific, technological, and social components related to information technologies.

2013 SURF-IT Research Projects

The following faculty-mentored research projects are available during the 2012 SURF-IT Program. They are divided into their own unique areas of research. Select a link for an overview of the project, associated faculty mentors, project prerequisites, and related publications.

Undergraduate Research Projects Mentored by Calit2 Faculty

    1) : iSelfControl: Can an App Promote Self-Regulation in Children with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)?  

    2) A Heuristic Approach for Mixed Type Area Facility Layout Problems 

    3) Clinic in the Park - Promoting Health and Wellness at the Orange County Great Park 

    4) Cloud-Based Writing in K-12 Schools 

    5) Computerized Alcohol Screening and Brief Intervention in the Emergency Department 

    6) Crowd Development 

    7) Optimized Storage Shapes for Multi-Dimensional Gridded Datasets 

    8) Plant Guild Composer 

    9) Randomized Clinical Trial Comparing the Use of Perioperative Epidural Analgesia to Conventional Intravenous Narcotics and NSAIDS for Patients Undergoing Laparoscopic Colorectal Resection 

    10) Signal Processing and Analysis of Electromyography Recordings in a Translational Research Model for Repair of Cauda Equina Injury 

    11) Synthesis and Characterization of N-Type Organic Semiconductors 

    12) Technologies to Support the Transition to Adulthood for People with Disabilities 

    13) Visualizing the Energy Footprint of a Networked Environment 

 Project #1:  : iSelfControl: Can an App Promote Self-Regulation in Children with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)?
Faculty Mentor:  Professor Kimberley D. LakesPediatrics

Description:  Self-regulation - the ability to monitor, evaluate, and control one's behavior to achieve short- and long-term objectives - is usually considered to be just as critical to educational and social success as is academic content knowledge. People with poor self-regulation have difficulty persisting when faced with challenges, focusing their attention, and avoiding distractions and delays (Diamond, 2012). Researchers (Moffit et al., 2011) have noted that intervention to promote self-regulation is warranted as it can lead to more positive developmental outcomes. Our objective is to refine and study a Web-based application (iSelfControl) that we designed as an intervention to improve self-regulation. Our overarching hypothesis is that by promoting attention to the self and present moment using a step-by-step mindfulness exercise, iSelfControl will make the self-regulatory process more visible and accessible.

iSelfControl was designed to prompt children to: (a) monitor their behavior by focusing their attention on the present moment (What am I doing right now?); (b) evaluate their behavior (What am I supposed to be doing right now?); and (c) correct their behavior, if necessary (What can I do to meet my goals?). iSelfControl will provide students and teachers with a mechanism to promote and monitor student self-regulation in a laboratory school classroom (based on earned points to reward on task and appropriate behavior). By aggregating data, it will provide feedback on student progress throughout the day, week, and over longer periods of time. For students, iSelfControl will involve 2-minute mindfulness exercises every 30 minutes. iSelfControl also will provide an opportunity for students, parents and teachers to note triggers for off-task or negative behaviors, which will be used to individualize intervention by delivering pre-emptive messages (e.g., a screen with the words, "Stop! Look! Listen!") prior to transitions or events that tend to trigger such behaviors.

We will implement and study iSelfControl for six weeks in a laboratory school classroom (in the UC Irvine Department of Pediatrics laboratory school for children with attention and behavior difficulties) setting with 20 3rd through 5th grade children.

H1: The application will be perceived by teachers, parents, and students as a beneficial tool to promote individualized intervention in the classroom by providing better data and better bases for communication.

H2: The data gathered by the application will lead to individualized intervention to support success at school, by delivering customized prompts and pre-emptive warnings.

H3: The application will promote better self-regulation.

Student's Involvement and Expected Outcomes:
The student will work with us to revise the current application and incorporate new data and application features. We will pilot the revised application over a period of about six weeks, during which we will collect data via the app as well as symptom measures. The primary expected outcome is a revised Web-based application that students in the school will use via iPads that are in their classrooms already. We expect that the data we collect will lead to a publication and will be used as preliminary data in a grant application to the National Institutes of Health. Our team of investigators includes faculty from pediatrics (Drs. Lakes & Schuck), informatics (Dr. Ziv), and education (Drs. Warschauer & Collins). For this project, Dr. Lakes will serve as the primary mentor, and Dr. Ziv will supervise and assist the work involving application development. Dr. Ziv's faculty profile is at:

Prerequisites: Preferred: Experience with the development and testing of new apps; experience or interest in education or childhood development.

Recommended Web sites and publications: 

 Project #2:  A Heuristic Approach for Mixed Type Area Facility Layout Problems
Faculty Mentor:  Professor Amelia C. ReganComputer Science

Description:  Facility layout problems involve arrangement of machines, storage areas, and/or work areas within the confines of physical structure, and are one of the most critical problems in manufacturing systems design. However, the facility layout problem is one of the combinatorial optimization and non-deterministic polynomial complete problems, and it is difficult to obtain an optimal solution for large-sized problems in reasonable computational time. In the case of mixed type areas, it is more difficult to solve in designated time since the problem involves more factors to consider.
These problems have significant implications for land use and energy consumption for manufacturing and logistics operations.
Metaheuristics such as genetic algorithms and simulated annealing fall into categories known as evolutionary and global search methods which are commonly applied to these kinds of problems.

In this research, guided by Professor Amelia Regan and Visiting Researcher, Professor Junjae Chae, School of Air Transport, Transportation and Logistics, Korea Aerospace University and Dmitri Arkhipov, PhD Student, Department of Computer Science, the participating student researcher will help to develop and implement a computational solution for some typical mixed-area facility location problems. Potential solutions will be worked out ahead of time by the research team and the summer will be spent implementing these and developing methods for testing their efficacy.

Student?s Involvement and Expected Outcomes:
The student will be involved in the development and testing of the code to implement one or more metaheuristic solutions for these problems. The design of tests to compare the quality of solutions using a benchmark solution method (most likely a very simple Greedy Randomized Adaptive Search Procedure or GRASP technique) and one or more metaheuristics will be a key to the success of the work and the student researcher will be intimately involved in this step of the research.

Prerequisites: Students should have good programming skills at the level of third-year computer science -- probably ICS or CSE majors, although students possessing these skills should apply regardless of their actual UCI majors. Students should have an interest in developing computational solutions for real-world problems.

Recommended Web sites and publications: 
   Kusiak, A., & Heragu, S. S. (1987). The facility layout problem. European Journal of operational research, 29(3), 229-251.

2. Whitley, D. (1994). A genetic algorithm tutorial. Statistics and computing, 4(2), 65-85.


 Project #3:  Clinic in the Park - Promoting Health and Wellness at the Orange County Great Park
Faculty Mentor:  Professor Shahram LotfipourEmergency Medicine

Description:  The mission of the Clinic is to establish innovative models of health promotion and disease prevention in non-traditional venues. Families are assisted with access to health insurance, health care through medical and dental homes, and social services. Health education and prevention information are provided in addition to medical, dental, and nutrition health screenings.

The student will be required to develop a data tracking and evaluation system to demonstrate a return on investment of the project. Demographic data will also be tracked to improve the services provided and adjust them depending on the target visitor demographic.

The co-leader in the project is Dr. Phyllis Agran, professor of pediatrics. Her faculty profile is at:

Student?s Involvement and Expected Outcomes:
1. Create a digital interface for patients for data entry at the park and an electronic database for patient information and follow-up
2. Create electronic communication with participants and augment online information; create an iOS application for outreach and visitor communication
3. Participate in the development and phased implementation of the Clinic in the Park
4. Develop the data tracking system for evaluating measurable outcomes. Refine, test, and evaluate the instruments and tools used to track outcomes
5. Collect and analyze outcomes data
6. Prepare reports
7. Research cost effective data that can be applied to outcomes such that a Return on Investment is demonstrated
8. Attend Community meetings as predetermined

Prerequisites: Applicants should have previous experience in health data tracking and analysis. Knowledge of HIPAA guidelines and completion of a HIPAA module is beneficial. Medical experience is not necessary but some exposure to Public Health practices, interventions, and community outreach would be preferred. Programming experience is also not required but iOS development experience will be useful for application development.

Recommended Web sites and publications: 
   1. Evaluating Your Community-Based Program; American Academy of Pediatrics
2. Economic evaluation of injury prevention and control programs, in Injury research: Theories, methods and approaches (2012). Author(s): Miller, T.R.; and Hendrie, D.
3. The cost of child and adolescent injuries and the savings from prevention, in Injury prevention for children and adolescents: Research, practice, and advocacy (2012). Author(s): Miller, T.R.; Zaloshnja, E.; Hendrie, D.; and Finkelstein, E.


 Project #4:  Cloud-Based Writing in K-12 Schools
Faculty Mentor:  Professor Mark WarschauerEducation

Description:  This research and design project has two components (and thus seeks two SURF-IT fellows, a Software Engineering Researcher and a Technology and Education Researcher). On the one hand, we are iteratively designing software for analyzing large amounts of student writing produced via Google docs. On the other hand, we are deploying that software and other tools to investigate the teaching and learning of collaborative writing in a K-12 school district. The goal of the project is to better understand the role of technology in improving writing, literacy, and learning in K-12 school districts, and develop innovative software tools for assisting in that effort.
The software portion of the project will build on a Web-based app previously developed by a team of undergraduates called SCAPES. The evaluation component of the study will involve using SCAPES and other tools to analyze the ways that middle school students write in Google docs and the relationship to other data we have collected, including student surveys and test score outcomes.

We seek two students, with different types of involvement and outcomes:

A Software Engineering Researcher will further develop the SCAPES app that we have started last year. This will be a research and development initiative that will involve learning about SCAPES, improving its capacity through programming, and analyzing the results achieved. Michael Cupino, a software engineer at Google who last year helped develop SCAPES when he was an undergraduate researcher at UCI, will consult on this effort. The Software Engineering Researcher will develop important skills related to research and development of apps for analyzing large text-based data sets.

A Technology and Education Researcher will use SCAPES and other tools and data to help qualitatively and quantitatively analyze student writing and learning outcomes. Outcomes will include reports and articles on the value of cloud-based writing to improve student learning for diverse learners. The Technology and Education Researcher will develop valuable skills related to evaluation research on technology and learning, including the use of a variety of software tools for analyzing data.

Prerequisites: The Software Engineering Researcher requires skills and experience in programming. Some knowledge of python, javascript, app engine, jquery, Google Docs API, and subversion is helpful (but you needn?t be expert in all of them!) We are looking for somebody who is highly motivated, a self-starter, and who can work with a good deal of independence.

The Technology and Education Researcher requires an interest in how digital media can be used in education. Prior experience in a research project on technology, learning, and literacy is desirable, as are general computer skills and strong oral and written communication skills.

Recommended Web sites and publications: 
   For both positions:
(1) Copy of Google-funded proposal:
(2) Write-up of earlier stage of research:
(3) Presentation to State Senate committee on technology in education:

For Software Engineering Researcher position:
(4) SCAPES app:
(5) source code:
(6) documentation:

 Project #5:  Computerized Alcohol Screening and Brief Intervention in the Emergency Department
Faculty Mentor:  Professor Shahram LotfipourEmergency Medicine

Description:  One of the purposes of the study is to bring behavioral change in community towards alcohol. Computerized Alcohol Screening and Brief Intervention (CASI) is a program used to screen patients for alcohol consumption levels and provide education and resources to improve attitudes and habits towards alcohol for people determined to be at risk of alcohol dependence. CASI is the screening portion of the larger Screening, Brief Intervention, and Referral to Treatment (SBIRT) process. Moreover, CASI provides the Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test (AUDIT), an assessment tool used by the World Health Organization. CASI is an information technology tool which was developed at the Center for Trauma and Injury Prevention Research at the UCI Department of Emergency Medicine.

In an emergency department, the conventional SBIRT process is difficult to implement due to time constraints; the AUDIT through CASI?s innovative technological interface and pathway reduces the time barrier, taking only about six minutes. In addition to saving time, other benefits of CASI include decreased errors from data entry and decreased cost per survey. Moreover, CASI seems to provide increased patient comfort and satisfaction. By using computerized surveys, patients are more likely to reveal sensitive information such as substance abuse and sexual habits. Since June 2006, CASI has been used to screen patients and provide resources. With new research ideas, CASI is now used to provide additional follow-up part as described below.

The Institutional Review Board (IRB) approved the Adult CASI study and the Adolescent CASI study in 2011. Screening for adult CASI patients and screening for adolescent CASI patients started in early 2012.

This summer?s proposal has two different aspects:

1. New information technology interface. The current interface uses Flash that is not compatible with all mobile devices. This interface will need to be revised. The current interface also needs to be revamped to address the needs of young adults and adolescents. This will include addition of graphics and better transitions. The current program sometimes freezes and the tablet shuts down. We are investigating whether this is tablet related or because of WiFi in the ED.

2. Prospective research proposal on investigating the effectiveness of CASI vs. standard of care in adults and adolescent ED patients.

The purpose of our proposed study is to examine the effectiveness of CASI for trauma patients and others in the Emergency Department of the UCI Medical Center in Orange, CA and improve overall patient care and health.

Prerequisites: Applicants should have experience and coursework in some combination of health care, biology, evaluation research, and studies of alcohol abuse. Upper division standing is preferred. Students must be able to attend regular meetings and work sessions at the Medical Center in Orange.

Recommended Web sites and publications: 
   .: .

 Project #6:  Crowd Development
Faculty Mentor:  Professor Andre van der Hoek Informatics

Description:  Today?s crowdsourcing systems are changing the nature of work, allowing transient, casual workers to do tasks that challenge even experts. For example, players of the game FoldIt produced an accurate 3D model of an enzyme in just 10 days, a problem that had stumped researchers for 15 years. Crowdsourcing systems work by organizing work into microtasks ? short (seconds to minutes), self-descriptive, and modular units of work. Workers simply join a system and do microtasks, and the system takes care of the rest.

Could software development be crowdsourced? We are exploring this question through the design of an online IDE for crowd development. Workers log in to a Web application and are assigned a microtask; these are generated automatically by the system. Each microtask consists of a single page, containing any needed instructions and background and providing an editor to work with an artifact. For example, to debug, workers are provided a failing test and a function and asked to edit the function to pass the test.

Potential projects include:

*crowdsourcing software design
*crowdsourcing UI creation
*gamification of programming tasks

The project will involve designing and implementing an approach to crowdsourcing an aspect of software development. Activities will include reading background materials on crowdsourcing; prototyping, designing, and implementing an approach; and (potentially) conducting a user study to evaluate it. Students will have an opportunity to work closely with a multi-university research team and participate directly in the research process. Students will gain gain technical skills implementing their approach in a crowd development infrastructure.

Prerequisites: Applicants hould be proficient programming in Java. Experience with Web development in any language preferred, but not required.

Recommended Web sites and publications: 
   [1] F. Khatib, S. Cooper, M. D. Tyka, K. Xu, I. Makedon, Z. Popović, D. Baker, and Foldit Players. 2011. Algorithm discovery by protein folding game players. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, vol. 108.
[2] Luis von Ahn and Laura Dabbish. 2008. Designing games with a purpose. Communications of the ACM, 51, 8 (August 2008), 58-67.
[3] Max Goldman, Greg Little, & Robert C. Miller. 2011. Real-time collaborative coding in a web IDE. In Proceedings of the Symposium on User interface software and technology (UIST), 155-164.
[4] W. Li, S. A. Seshia, and S. Jha. 2012. CrowdMine: towards crowdsourced human-assisted verification. Design Automation Conference (DAC), 1254-1255.

 Project #7:  Optimized Storage Shapes for Multi-Dimensional Gridded Datasets
Faculty Mentor:  Professor Charles S. ZenderEarth System Science

Description:  Many, if not most geophysical datasets such as climate simulations are stored in a self-describing data format called netCDF. Data access speeds vary by factors of thousands, and depend primarily upon how well their storage layout matches the hyperslab request. This project will improve understanding and parameterization of the optimal layout (i.e., the "chunking") to maximize fast access and minimize slow access to netCDF datasets.

Our netCDF Operators (NCO) are a widely used, opensource toolkit for manipulating and analyzing (statistics, trends, comparison with observations) netCDF data. NCO supports a range of chunking policies, but has no heuristic for guiding the user on optimal chunking.

The student will first conduct sensitivity tests to benchmark access times for common hyperslab requests. Then the student will construct and implement new, optimal chunking policies. The first few weeks will be devoted to literature review and to scripting benchmark tests to assess the dependence of wallclock time on data layout. The next few weeks will be analysis and hypothesis testing of generic chunking policies motivated by the benchmarking results. The last few weeks will be implementation and analysis of optimized chunking policies in NCO.

Prerequisites: Proficiency with C and multi-dimensional data.

Recommended Web sites and publications: 
   1. Chunking Data: Why it Matters
2. Efficient Organization of Large Multidimensional Arrays
3. Optimal Chunking of Large Multidimensional Arrays for Data Warehousing
4. netCDF Operators
5. Zender, C. S., and H. J. Mangalam (2007), Scaling Properties of Common Statistical Operators for Gridded Datasets, Int. J. High Perform. Comput. Appl., 21(4), 485-498, doi:10.1177/1094342007083802.
6. Zender, C. S. (2008), Analysis of Self-describing Gridded Geoscience Data with netCDF Operators (NCO), Environ. Modell. Softw., 23(10), 1338-1342, doi:10.1016/j.envsoft.2008.03.004. :

 Project #8:  Plant Guild Composer
Faculty Mentor:  Professor William M. TomlinsonInformatics

Description:  This summer we are continuing the development of the Plant Guild Composer (PGC), a software tool to aid design of plant guilds, purpose-built ecosystems that sustainably produce food, energy, and building materials with minimal inputs and maintenance. The PGC will explore the small-scale interactions among plants in a single plot that, when designed carefully, will create new production possibilities. The PGC database design represents plant data in the form of a functional analysis. A functional analysis divides the inherent and relational attributes of an organism into categories mapping approximately onto the concepts of inputs, environmental conditions, and outputs. Each plant must further be understood in terms of its role in a guild designed to sustainably provide services to humans. Undergirded by the database of plant data relevant to their region, the PGC will guide the user through nine steps: introduction to the permaculture design principles; guild site selection; specification of environmental details; guild service requirements specification; key species selection; key species placement; support species selection; support species placement; and validation.

Student?s Involvement and Expected Outcomes: We seek one or two students with expertise in computing and/or design or a related discipline. The students will be involved in creating a conceptual mock-up of the nine steps in the PGC, the database interface, and implementation of the mock-ups. The students will be able to develop skills and experience in iterative design and implementation based on user population feedback. The students will also be involved in writing up any findings of this process, with the goal of submitting a full paper jointly authored with Tomlinson and graduate student Juliet Norton to the ACM SIGCHI conference by the end of the summer.

Prerequisites: The students should have expertise in computing and design and an interest in working with or learning about environmental studies. Skills should include at least interface/user experience design and database-backed web development (particularly Javascript) is a significant plus.

Recommended Web sites and publications: 
   Norton, J., Stringfellow, A., and LaViola, J. (2012). Domestic Plant Guilds: A Novel Application for Sustainable HCI", CHI 2012 Workshop on Simple, Sustainable Living.


 Project #9:  Randomized Clinical Trial Comparing the Use of Perioperative Epidural Analgesia to Conventional Intravenous Narcotics and NSAIDS for Patients Undergoing Laparoscopic Colorectal Resection
Faculty Mentor:  Professor Alessio PigazziSurgery

Description:  Laparoscopic colorectal surgery (LCS) has become a popular procedure in the United States. The laparoscopic approach includes unmistakable short-term advantages: reduced post-operative pain, a faster recovery, quicker return of bowel function, a shorter hospital stay, possible immune benefits, and better cosmetic results. Laparoscopic colorectal surgery can be directed towards a variety of pathologies, from inflammatory bowel diseases such as Crohn?s disease and ulcerative colitis, to diverticulitis and colorectal cancer. For all its benefits, however, it is still a procedure that involves a considerable amount of abdominal wall trauma. While the procedure is done through small incisions, patients still encounter a considerable amount of postoperative discomfort, potentially leading to lengthened hospital stays. Postoperative pain has traditionally been treated with narcotics and non-narcotic medication, often administered intravenously (IV) as patients are restricted from oral consumption (PO) until normal bowel function is restored.

A less traditional route for laparoscopic colorectal surgery pain management is found in the delivery of local anesthetics and opioids via an epidural catheter. Epidural analgesia (EA) has been widespread in its use in obstetrics, but its application in laparoscopic colorectal surgery has been minimal. A greater understanding of the effects of epidural analgesia on laparoscopic procedures is warranted. Epidural analgesia has the potential to offer patients substantial pain management, a decrease hospital stay, and a more rapid return of normal bowel function and quality of life.

Objectives: This study is a large randomized control trial that assesses the efficacy of EA compared to that of IV/PO pain medication in patients undergoing laparoscopic and robotic-assisted laparoscopic colorectal surgery. Our primary endpoints include hospital length of stay and total amount of narcotic used. Secondary endpoints include decreased pain, earlier return of bowel function, better quality of life, and less occurrence of side effects in the epidural group.

Student Responsibilities and Outcomes: This is a clinical study that involves the use of electronic medical charts for data gathering. Data will collected prospectively. The student will be involved in recruitment of patients in the clinic, randomization, and then post-operative follow up. The student will need to be participating in the clinic for recruitment and follow up purposes. Post-Operative follow up includes AM rounds with the colorectal team starting at 6AM every day, collecting data using Quest (electronic medical records) and entering data into the electronic database for patients involved in the study. The student will acquire the skills required to conduct a randomized controlled study and prospective data collection. He/she will be required to analyze data, and discuss the outcomes with the attending surgeon. Once data is collected, the student will also participate in writing the research findings for publication.

Prerequisites: Sophomore standing; preference should be given to the students who are currently part of the Colorectal Surgery Research Association. Must be able to participate in weekly meetings on Tuesday PM.

Recommended Web sites and publications: 
   1. Stefanou AJ, Reickert CA, Velanovich V, Falvo A, Rubinfeld I. Laparoscopic colectomy significantly decreases length of stay compared with open operation. Surg Endosc. 2011 Jul 27.
2. Schwenk W, Haase O, NEudecker J, Muller JM. Short term benefits for laparoscopic colorectal resection. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2005 Jul 20;(3): CD003145.
3. Panchal SJ, Muller-Schwefe P, Wurzelmann JI. Opioid-induced bowel dysfunction: prevalence, pathophysiology and burden. Int J Clin Pract. 2007 Jul;61(7):1181-7. Epub 2007 May 4.
4. Marret E, Remy C, Bonnet F. Postoperative Pain Forum Group. Meta-analysis of epidural analgesia versus parenteral opioid analgesia after colorectal surgery. Br J Surg 2007; 94:665-673.
5. Turunen P, Carpelan-Holmstrom M, Kairaluoma P, Wikstrom H, Kruuna O, Pere P, Bachmann M, Sarna S. Scheinin. Epidural analgesia diminished pain but did not otherwise improve enhanced recovery after laparoscopic sigmoidectomy: a prospective randomized study. Surg Endosc. 2009 Jan;23(1):31-7. Epub 2008 Sept 24.
6. Bardam L, Funch-Jensen P, Jensen P, Crawford ME, Kehlet H. Recovery after laparoscopic colonic surgery with epidural analgesia, and early oral nutrition and mobilization. Lancet 1995; 345: 763-764.

 Project #10:  Signal Processing and Analysis of Electromyography Recordings in a Translational Research Model for Repair of Cauda Equina Injury
Faculty Mentor:  Professor Leif HavtonAnesthesiology

Description:  The Havton laboratory studies neural repair of cauda equina and conus medullaris forms of spinal cord injury. The studies are multi-disciplinary and collaborative. In this project, a novel surgical replantation approach is used to reverse neurological deficits, including paralysis, autonomic dysfunction, and neuropathic pain, after a lumbosacral ventral root avulsion injury in the non-human primate. The studies are performed with colleagues at the California National Primate Research Center at UC Davis and Johns Hopkins University. The project is supported by research funds from the Department of Defense. If successful, the studies will guide future clinical studies in humans and a first clinical trial to reverse neurological deficits after cauda equina/conus medullaris injuries.

For the proposed project, electromyography (EMG) recordings are obtained from the external anal sphincter in the non-human primate before and after a lumbosacral ventral root avulsion injury and surgical replantation. EMG studies are performed to determine denervation of muscle after injury and signs for reinnervation after surgical ventral root repair. A large body of recordings has been collected, including multiple data points in all subjects to allow for detailed time course studies.

Student's Involvement and Expected Outcomes: The student will be part of a research team, which is working collaboratively. The student is expected to be involved with signal processing and the development of programs, using MATLAB, as well as with analysis of the collected EMG data. The studies will include analysis of EMG frequency and amplitude as well as fast Fourier transform and time-frequency analysis. At the end of the project, the student will have an excellent understanding of experimental design, EMG data collection and analysis. It is expected that the student will be engaged in the scientific project and be able to make significant contributions to the analysis and interpretation of functional data.

Prerequisites: Prior experience with MATLAB preferred; experience in biology or medicine preferred.

Recommended Web sites and publications: 
   Chang HH, Havton LA. Serotonergic 5-HT(1A) receptor agonist (8-OH-DPAT) ameliorates impaired micturition reflexes in a chronic ventral root avulsion model of incomplete cauda equina/conus medullaris injury. Exp Neurol. 2013 Jan;239:210-7.
2. Chang HH, Havton LA. Modulation of the visceromotor reflex by a lumbosacral ventral root avulsion injury and repair in rats. Am J Physiol Renal Physiol. 2012 Sep;303(5):F641-7.
3. Havton LA. A lumbosacral ventral root avulsion injury and repair model for studies of neuropathic pain in rats. Methods Mol Biol. 2012;851:185-93.
4. Havton LA, Carlstedt T. Repair and rehabilitation of plexus and root avulsions in animal models and patients. Curr Opin Neurol. 2009 Dec;22(6):570-4.


 Project #11:  Synthesis and Characterization of N-Type Organic Semiconductors
Faculty Mentor:  Professor Alon A. GorodetskyChemical Engineering & Materials Science

Description:  Organic semiconductors have attracted a great deal of attention in the academic and research world due to their advantageous physical and chemical properties. Indeed, organic semiconductors are tunable at the molecular level, necessitate minimal infrastructure investment for processing, and can be recycled with minimal environmental impact. Although organic semiconductors have found some applications in cell phones, flat displays, and solar cells, they have not yet lived up to their full technological potential. This stems from the limited number of electron transporting (n-type) organic semiconductor materials that are both stable and simple to synthesize. Given the scarcity of n-type organic semiconductors, we have recently developed a new class of these materials based on the well-known hexabenzocoronene motif. This new material will potentially enable the application of organic semiconductors in disposable/inexpensive integrated circuits and electronic devices.

Student?s Involvement and Expected Outcomes
This interdisciplinary project lies at the interface of electrical engineering and organic chemistry. Specifically, the student will: (1) reproduce chemistry that we have developed for the synthesis n-type materials, (2) optimize deposition techniques for the preparation of organic semiconductor thin films, and (3) electrically characterize organic thin film transistors. Through these three goals, the students will receive training from skilled graduate students and postdoctoral scholars in synthetic chemistry techniques, physical vapor deposition of organics/metals, and the use of a probe station. The overall goal will be to characterize the desirable n-type organic semiconductor materials in terms of standard transistor figures of merit, i.e. mobility, on/off current ratio, and threshold voltage.

Prerequisites: Students with previous experience in the INRF or BION clean rooms are preferred, but such experience is not essential.

Recommended Web sites and publications: 
   1) Anthony, J. E., Facchetti, A., Heeney, M., Marder, S. R. and Zhan, X. n-Type Organic Semiconductors in Organic Electronics. Advanced Materials, 2012, 22, 3876.
2) Liang, Z., Tang, Q., Mao, R., Liu, D., Xu, J. and Miao, Q. The Position of Nitrogen in N-Heteropentacenes Matters. Advanced Materials, 2011, 23, 5514.
3) Yang, X., Dou, X., and Müllen, K. Efficient Synthesis of Symmetrically and Unsymmetrically Substituted Hexaphenylbenzene Analogues by Suzuki?Miyaura Coupling Reactions. Chemistry - An Asian Journal, 2008, 3, 759.

 Project #12:  Technologies to Support the Transition to Adulthood for People with Disabilities
Faculty Mentor:  Professor Gillian R. HayesInformatics

Description:  Supporting students with disabilities, particularly those with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) and other neurodevelopmental disorders, in their transition from school into adulthood can be a difficult challenge, leading to poor outcomes in terms of employment, secondary education, and independent living. For example, youth with disabilities are significantly more underemployed or unemployed when compared to their peers in the general population. Second, youth with disabilities are far more likely to drop out of school (both high school and post-secondary education). Third, people experiencing disabilities participate in fewer community activities and social relationships and report feeling more isolated. Fourth, the majority of these individuals do not expect their low quality of life to improve, and 40% of them expect life to get worse.

Adopting simple off-the-shelf hardware (e.g., iPods, iPads, and mobile phones) has been suggested by both the media and researchers to teach transition skills in a more engaging interactive format. These systems can support work (e.g., scheduling, communication, and task management) and life skills (e.g., wayfinding and socialization). In this project, students will spend the summer designing and developing a mobile application to support one or more of these areas. This work fits into a larger research agenda including both undergraduate and graduate students that is focused on designing, developing, and evaluating technologies for individuals with ASD and other related disabilities.

Student?s Involvement and Expected Outcomes:
The students working on this project will design and develop a mobile application using iOS. Thus, the student will read extensively about ASD and assistive technologies, develop mobile design skills, and learn to build mobile software for Apple devices. In particular, the mapping between what is known in the literature and through our empirical data to design and eventually development is a key skill in technology research that will be honed through the work of this project.

Prerequisites: Students should have experience with some object oriented programming language. Having developed for iOS before would be preferred but is not strictly required. Students should have an interest in assistive technologies or special education, though no prior experience in these areas is required.

Recommended Web sites and publications: 
   1. Gentry, T., Wallace, J., Kvarfordt, C., Lynch, K. Personal digital assistants as cognitive aids for high school students with autism: Results of a community-based trial. Journal of Vocational Rehabilitation, Volume 32 (2010), 101-107.
2. Hayes, G.R., Hirano, S., Marcu, G., Monibi, M., Nguyen, D.H., Yeganyan, M. Interactive visual supports for children with autism. Springer Personal and Ubiquitous Computing, 14(7), (2010), 663-680.
3. Skouge, J.R., Kelly, ML, Roberts, KD, Leake DW, Stodden, RA. Technologies for self-determination for youth with developmental disabilities. Education and Training in Developmental Disabilities. 42, (2007), 475-482.

 Project #13:  Visualizing the Energy Footprint of a Networked Environment
Faculty Mentor:  Professor Debra J.. RichardsonInformatics

Description:  Networks of devices are at the core of modern society, being crucial to the function of many homes and workplaces, as well as being the backbone infrastructure of much of large industry. We are interested in investigating what the energy issues in these networks are and where they lie. We are investigating whether presenting the data regarding these networks through use of an information dashboard is conducive to the identification of energy sinks in these systems. This would hopefully allow us to find potential intervention points in networked systems and methods for resolving some of these issues. Improving energy awareness in these systems may be key to short term environmental sustainability.

To understand how resource consumption, management and awareness relate to user behavior, we would like to build out an energy dashboard. The core IT component of this project will involve the design and development of an energy dashboard component for an energy-monitoring tool. This goal of the dashboard is to visualize the energy consumption of devices in a network in a granular, scalable and meaningful manner, such that it enables the identification of energy sinks within the network being monitored. The construction of this tool is a multi-disciplinary process that will involve understanding what and how energy data is collected from various devices, knowledge development in energy management and awareness tools, and an interest in sustainability. The process of building this tool will also incorporate learning and applying techniques from the fields of human-computer interaction, networking and data visualization. The topics surrounding this research include sustainability, green IT and software engineering.

Student involvement and expected outcomes:
The primary activities the student would engage in would be:

1. Research regarding effective communication of energy data, in particular through the use of an information dashboard.

2. Development of a distributed energy visualization tool, with significant code contributions to the front end development.

Skills developed would include: programming experience, Web application development, experience with data visualization, and learning about energy management systems and distributed systems. The primary research question the student would be involved with is: Does effective visualization of energy data in a networked environment empower decision making with respect to energy management?

Prerequisites: --‐ Interest in development of Web applications

--‐ Familiar with at least some of the following: Java, SQL, PHP, Javascript

--‐ Familiar with MVC frameworks such as Rails, Play, etc.

--‐ Experience with data visualization including d3.js and related tools

Recommended Web sites and publications: 
   1. Visualizing the Energy Footprint of a Software Development Environment
2. An Energy Dashboard for Networked Devices (we can provide a copy)