2021 Inclusive Excellence Summer Research Experience
The 2021 Inclusive Excellence Summer Research Experience will offer College of Science students in their first year at RIT (including transfer students) an opportunity to do research with a College of Science faculty mentor. Because our aim is to broaden our research groups to include a greater diversity of culture, experiences, and ways of thinking, preference will be given to students from nontraditional and underrepresented groups.
If you are selected for this fellowship program, you will be paired with a faculty research mentor and will be expected to work full-time in your mentor’s research group (~40 hours/week) over the summer (2021) for approximately 10 weeks (May 24 to July 30). You will receive a stipend of $4,500 and will be eligible to receive additional funds for research supplies and travel to a conference. This summer experience may qualify as co-op or experiential learning.
Our 2021 IE Research Mentors are profiled below. Please submit any questions to Dr. Lea Michel Lvmsch@rit.edu.
The 2021 Summer Research Experience application is now closed.
Meet our 2021 IE Research Mentors
Dr. Michael Gleghorn
Assistant Professor of Biochemistry
School of Chemistry and Materials Science
Research: Protein and Nucleic Acid Biochemistry and Structural Biology
Our lab is interested in studying the structural interactions of proteins with nucleic acids and other molecules. We generate DNA expression constructs to then express proteins in E. coli cells, and then we work to purify these proteins so that they are suitable for crystal screening. We are particularly interested in the interaction of VapC proteins with the tRNA molecules they act upon.
Dr. Moumita Das
Associate Professor of Physics
School of Physics and Astronomy
Research: Health and Disease
From embryogenesis, to osteoarthritis, to cancer, physical forces and mechanical properties of tissues play a key role in health and disease. Many physical models of tissues largely focus on a single level of complexity e.g. individual cells or large collections of cells. A multi-scale approach is critically needed to address the complex interplay of mechanisms at each level, and bridge the gap between models at different levels. My long-term goal is to use multi-scale modeling to explain how mechanical forces are sensed and transmitted from molecules to cells to tissues, and how these processes impact tissue dynamics, properties, and biological functions. To this end, my group uses a combination of analytical theory and computer simulations to investigate time-dependent mechanical properties of tissues based on interplay of mechanics, geometry, and statistical physics of underlying components. Our models are informed and tested via close collaborations with experimental labs.
Dr. Tony Wong
School of Mathematical Sciences
Research: Education Research Project or Climate Science
The education research project will use longitudinal and course-level student data to investigate factors related to student retention and persistence in college. Familiarity with the Python programming language is required for data analysis. Most work will be virtual with Zoom meetings and check-, although physically-distanced in-person meetings are also a possibility.
The climate science project would involve mathematical climate models and examining the impacts of correlations in the data sets used to validate these models. Familiarity with any programming language and Calculus 1 are required.
Dr. Jeyhan Kartaltepe
Assistant Professor of Physics
Astrophysical Sciences and Technology Program Faculty
Research: Galaxy Evolution / Astronomy
I work in the area of galaxy evolution, investigating how galaxies formed and evolved in the early universe to become today's galaxies. Much of my research focuses on the role that the mergers of galaxies have on their evolutionary path. A project would involve analyzing images or spectroscopy from an extragalactic survey taken with a ground-based or space-based telescope (such as Hubble, Keck, or simulated JWST data).
Experience: Interest in astronomy is the most important, having taken an astro course would be ideal (for the background knowledge) but not essential.
Dr. Elena Fedorovskaya
Integrated Sciences Academy
College of Science
Research: Applied Neuroscience
Interested in working on a research project related to Applied Neuroscience this summer? Work is underway to establish a new multidisciplinary research Center for Applied Neuroscience that will focus on research at the intersection of cognitive science, artificial intelligence, neurobiology, and computational modeling to generate new knowledge and to develop novel technological solutions. The project being considered for the summer is: Multimodal Sensory Integration for Virtual and Augmented Reality Systems.
Dr. Lea Michel
School of Chemistry and Material Science
Research: Protein Biochemistry and Structural Biology
Dr. Michel is a biophysicist by training and currently works in the fields of protein biochemistry and structural biology. Project Example: Sepsis is a disease caused by the effects of a systemic infection accompanied by host hyper-immune response. Gram-negative sepsis (GNS) accounts for just under half of the overall cases of bacterial sepsis, which is currently one of the leading causes of death in hospitals. One pivotal clinical study demonstrated that human antisera raised against a J5 mutant of Escherichia coli (E. coli) reduced death in human sepsis patients in half. Later, IgG from that antisera was shown to bind several E. coli lipoproteins, including peptidoglycan associated lipoprotein (Pal). Since those studies, Pal has been shown to be released from E. coli in several animal models of GNS and to cause an inflammatory response and death in certain animal models, suggesting that Pal may be a bacterial mediator of E. coli sepsis. The Michel Research Group uses biochemical and biophysical methods to better understand how and why Pal is released from E. coli during sepsis, with the long-term goal of using Pal as a biomarker for early diagnosis of sepsis.
Dr. Dina Newman
Thomas Gosnell School of Life Sciences
Research: Biology Education Research
Molecular Biology and Genetics are difficult topics for students since the mechanisms are only indirectly observable, and we must rely on abstract or simplistic visual representations to build mental models of complex processes. Dr. Newman’s interests lie in both uncovering how experts and novices differ in their conceptions as well as how to more effectively lead novices to expert-like thinking. As an example of a current project relating to the first type of research, the team has developed a set of cards with different types of representations of DNA; faculty and students sort them differently, revealing interesting differences and gaps in student understanding. The second type of research involves creating new activities for classroom use. Past projects have involved physical models and interactive video vignettes to teach core concepts of biology. Future work will focus on developing online activities from hands-on materials.