July 6-August 5, 2022
Cognition, Aging, and Brain Imaging
Caitlin Bowman, Psychology
The Cognition, Aging, and Brain Imaging Lab is part of UWM’s Department of Psychology, and our research focuses on healthy memory function in young and older adults. We want to understand how individuals are able to both form memories of individual experiences and also make connections between experiences to derive new knowledge. To answer this question, we ask human participants to do computer-based memory experiments that can be completed in the lab or online. We also use fMRI to measure the brain mechanisms of memory and their age-related change. Students who become involved with the lab may help design the experiments and program them using python-based computer software. They may help manage data collection and complete initial data analysis. They will also be involved in weekly lab meetings where we discuss ongoing projects, review data, and read research articles related to current projects.
Computational Modeling of Cancer Cells
Mahsa Dabagh, Biomedical Engineering
The objective of the project is to computationally model cancer cells in response to their neighboring cells. We will use these models to study the dynamic interaction of the cells in their microenvironment. The student will learn to develop the model and to change its parameters using cell stiffness and adhesion strength to represent malignancy. This allows for exploration of other parameters that can impact a cancer cell’s growth. The student will work in a small team to develop the models and analyze data.
Collaboration for Resilience and Emotional Wellness Science
Hobart Davies, Psychology
The student will join the CREWS team (the Collaboration for Resilience and Emotional Wellness Science), our collaboration with MCW, Marquette, and Rosalind Franklin. Our projects deal with parental well-being during and after a child’s stay in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit or in the Complex Care Program, Interpreted Medical Encounters, or the Palliative Care Program at Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin. The student will learn about our Team Science process, and get direct experience in qualitative coding of data and literature reviews.
Effects of Estrogens on Learning and Memory in Mouse Models of Menopause and Alzheimer’s Disease
Karyn Frick, Psychology
Our laboratory’s main goal is to identifying the molecular mechanisms in the brain through which estrogens enhance memory in mouse models of menopause and Alzheimer’s disease. This project will introduce students to the basic elements of neuroscience research. Within the four- week program period, students will gain hands-on experience handling and behaviorally testing mice, and will be introduced to brain surgery, gonadectomy surgery, hormone treatments, brain dissections, and molecular biology techniques.
Neurobiology of Attention and Perception in Humans
Adam S. Greenberg, Psychology (UWM) & Biomedical Engineering (MCW)
The Sensory Neuroscience, Attention, and Perception Laboratory (SNAP Lab) aims to understand how human behavior is guided by the world we perceive. We primarily study how perception of objects (in both visual and auditory modalities) and attention to objects are implemented in brain mechanisms. We use a combination of cognitive neuroscience methods including psychophysics, functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI), Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS), and computational modeling. During this four-week program, students will learn how to create visual/auditory stimuli, test human subjects, and engage in supervised data analysis through hands-on experience. There may also be opportunities to collect and/or work with human neuroimaging data.
Variations in the Concentration and Chemical Speciation of Nutrients in a Coastal Lagoon
Laodong Guo, Freshwater Sciences
We seek to understand seasonal variations in the abundances and chemical speciation of nutrients (nitrogen and phosphorus), and their relationship with algal bloom and water quality in a coastal lagoon during summer growing season. Students will learn sampling techniques, water sample processing, chemical analysis of nutrients, and data processing/interpretation in the School of Freshwater Sciences. Students will also be trained in the operation of analytical instruments, such as ion chromatograph, UV-visible spectroscopy, and autoanalyzer. Student tasks include conducting a literature search, field water sampling, sample processing, nutrient analysis using relevant instruments, data entry/processing, and data interpretation.
E-Cigarette Cessation for Young Adults
Joshua Gwon, Nursing
The objective of this project is to test the feasibility and efficacy of an online e-cigarette cessation intervention for young adults. Students will attend project meetings, assist with recruitment of participants, assist with running lab-based assessments with participants, and begin analysis of data.
Understanding Communication Behaviors among Individuals who are Neurodiverse
Jessica Kahlow, Communication
The purpose of this study is to better understand communication among individuals who are neurodiverse. Since individuals who are neurodiverse exhibit many relational and communication challenges, this study serves to lay the groundwork as a foundational piece in communication and neurodiversity. Specifically, the study will ask neurodiverse participants to respond to common measures about relational quality and self-disclosure, and it will also ask them a series of open-ended questions about their communication behaviors. This project will ideally yield two separate projects; the first will use quantitative data and the second will use qualitative data. The student may conduct library research, create a source chart, set up a survey, and code and analyze themes in responses.
This project explores the possibility that our willingness to trust experts depends, in large part, on how much we know (or believe we know) about a topic. For example, our willingness to trust teachers, and defer to their decisions, is impacted by what we know (or believe we know) about how children should be taught. My lab explores this question by conducting experiments with laypeople (people who volunteer to participate in psychology experiments), as well as amateurs (pre-service teachers), and experts (teachers) within an area. Student researchers are involved in all parts of this research, including recruitment of participants, conducting interviews with participants, and entering and analyzing data. Students will also learn about relevant research in this area and will be encouraged to explore other, related topics.
The Panther Buoy: An Internet of Things Water Quality Monitoring System
Todd Miller, Public Health
The Panther Buoy is a water quality monitoring system developed by the Miller Laboratory at UWM. This buoy contains all electronics needed to sense water and weather variables (temperature, wind, waves, algae, dissolved oxygen), save the data to onboard storage and send the data to a website using an embedded cellular modem. The student will assist the professor and graduate students in the construction of these buoy systems. The student will be responsible for building one of the sensors on the buoy (temperature chain or light sensor), programming the sensor and testing it in the lab and in Lake Michigan if time allows. The student for this project would ideally have some experience in building electronics (e.g. Arduino), circuits and/or computer programming.
Neurobiology of Learning, Memory, and Aging-Related Deficit
James Moyer, Psychology
The student will learn a variety of laboratory techniques, including protein analyses, animal handling, morphological analyses, as well as general lab procedures/responsibilities. The student will learn responsibility for our neuronal reconstructions, which involve creating 3D-reconstructions of neurons from biocytin-filled neuronal recordings (e.g., filling a neuron with a dye during recordings to make it visible). These studies are technologically demanding and will involve analyzing dendritic length, branching patterns, and spine density as a function of cortical layer, learning, and aging.
English Consonant Clusters Spoken by Non-native Speakers of English
Hanyong Park, Linguistics
Spanish learners of English may pronounce “school” as “eschool,” Japanese learners of English may pronounce “cream” as “coo.rea.mu,” and Korean learners of English may pronounce “play” as “pulay.” These are examples of how some English learners find consonant clusters (e.g., school, play, cream, etc.) to be a challenge if those clusters aren’t present in their native language. Such accented pronunciations of consonant clusters are the focus of our research. We examine the detailed acoustic properties of accented utterances and investigate their relationship with listeners’ evaluation, such as comprehensibility and accentedness. We also explore the influence of the learners’ native language on their accented variants of English consonant clusters and how learners are “accented” not just in production but in perception, which may not be always apparent. Students will be making acoustic analysis of accented utterances and examining listeners’ evaluation patterns. These tasks do not require previous experience. We will provide all the necessary training in using software such as Praat or Microsoft Excel. You will learn how to examine various aspects of speech sound, and to organize and analyze the collected perception data. We encourage you to visit the UWM Phonetics Lab webpage (https://sites.uwm.edu/phonetics-lab/) to see our ongoing projects.
The Fate and Transport of Uranium in Groundwater during Flooding Events
Charles Paradis, Geosciences
This research will seek to answer: 1) Is uranium mobilized in groundwater during flooding events of river water? 2) What hydrogeologic compartment (e.g. variably saturated zone or saturated zone) contributed to uranium mobilization?, and 3) What mass transport mechanism (e.g. dissolution or desorption) contributed to uranium mobilization? The methods used will be analysis and modeling of added solute tracer, uranium, and aqueous-/solid-phase geochemistry data previously collected during experiments conducted in the summer of 2020 and 2021 at a former United States Department of Energy Office of Legacy Management uranium mill tailings site in Riverton, Wyoming. The results will yield insights into better understanding the fate and transport of uranium in groundwater during periodic flooding events and inform best management practices of uranium-impacted groundwater.
Holding on to a Single Protein Molecule
Ionel Popa, Physics
Proteins are the molecules that perform the majority of tasks needed in our cells, and their activity is what determines how well our cells function and communicate with each other. Our body is made of ~37 trillion cells, and each cell has on average 10^10 proteins. So, it is hard to even imagine that one could separate a single protein molecule from such a high number and perform measurements on it in a laboratory settings. In this project, you will learn to do just that – to separate and tether a single protein molecule between a glass surface and a paramagnetic bead and apply mechanical forces in the picoNewton range (10^-9 N), similarly to what a protein experiences in our bodies. You will be measuring how mechanical forces trigger domain unfolding, which is the loss of 3D structure due to the breaking of the hydrogen bonds that hold the protein structure together. You will be joining a young, dynamic and diverse research team composed of chemists, biologists, physicists and engineers. For more information, visit http://popalab.uwm.edu.
Investigations of Protein Interactions in Living Cells using Advanced Fluorescence Micro-Spectroscopy Technology
Valerica Raicu, Physics
My lab works on developing optical instrumentation and software and applying it to studies of membrane receptor interactions with one another as well as with cognate ligands in living cells. We probe the amount of energy exchanged between an optically excited molecule and an unexcited fluorescent molecule to determine the distance between such molecules, which are attached to proteins of interest and used as sensors of proximity between proteins. We have written software that allows for rapid quantitation of such interactions, such as to determine how protein complexes respond to changes in concentration as well as to addition of natural and artificial ligands, or drugs. Students will prepare for this work by reading published articles from my lab and will use algorithms for data analysis using a computer. Students can choose to participate in biological sample preparation using proteins expressed in living cells (either in purified form or within their cellular milieu), imaging of fluorescent samples, or analysis of fluorescence images. There are also opportunities for students to write computer codes for incorporation into the lab’s software suites for instrument control and data analysis.
Self-Healing Metal Matrix Composites
Pradeep Rohatgi, Materials Engineering
Self-healing in metal matrix composites could change how we repair space shuttles and rovers deployed in areas with no human contact. The ability to autonomously repair and fix a broken part similar to how bones heal could completely alter the space race. This project aims to develop a composite material using the shape memory properties of Nitinol alloys. The student will learn the basic concepts of how shape memory alloys work, how they can be embedded in metal matrices, and how to test the failure and recovery modes in the composite materials.
Living for the City: The Black Middle Class in Milwaukee
Ermitte Saint-Jacques, African and African Diaspora Studies
This project looks closely at the residence of middle- and upper-middleclass African Americans in central-city Milwaukee and adjacent neighborhoods. How do they overcome the challenges of living in the city? Do their economic resources and social capital free them from reliance on inadequate city services? How are their experiences similar to lower-middle class African Americans living in Milwaukee or to middle-class African Americans residing in the adjacent suburbs of Milwaukee? In addition to exploring the lived experiences of middle- and upper-middleclass African Americans in Milwaukee, the proposed study examines understandings of Black identity within the boundaries of race, gender, and place, specifically the connections that middle- and upper-middleclass African Americans have with their home, neighbors and communities and their practices of place making that manifest in their civic engagement. What does Black success look like in Milwaukee? Collecting oral histories from middle- and upper-middleclass African American residents in Milwaukee provides an understanding of their life experiences. In addition to providing an alternative narrative, this oral history project provides insights into social inequality by studying the advantaged.
Investigation of the Properties of Reduced Graphene Oxide for Strain Sensing Applications
Nathan Salowitz, Mechanical Engineering
Reduced graphene oxide (rGO) has the potential to be used for strain sensors, 100 times more sensitive than common strain gauges (aka gauge factor), and functioning through large strains, 20 times greater than what would destroy normal strain sensors. Being carbon, rGO is also more readily available, less expensive, and more environmentally friendly then the materials common strain gauges are made of like copper, nickel, or silver. However, the unique microstructure of rGO gives it unique electromechanical properties. The student will join a team experimentally exploring the electromechanical properties of reduced graphene oxide for use in strain sensing. A basic understanding of electronics will help in this project.
Amanda Seligman, History
This project explores the history of the education of “geniuses” in the United States. UR@UWM students participating in this project during summer 2022 will research the biographies of one or more geniuses from world history and contribute to a research database and blog about how their characteristics map onto contemporary understandings of giftedness.
Taking Back Our World
Arijit Sen, Architecture
“Taking Back our World” is a public humanities project focusing on environmental justice. In Summer 2022, a team of undergraduate students from UWM, MIAD, and MSOE will organize primary data collected over the last 5 years into to a growing digital and physical archive focusing on the cultural and built landscape of Milwaukee’s Washington Park and Sherman Park neighborhoods. Our goal is to draw, design, print and disseminate a series of zines (small-circulation self-published work of original or appropriated texts and images, usually reproduced via a copy machine) to share compelling stories of everyday human struggles and successes against economic, environmental, racial, and policy-based injustices that plague these communities. We plan to use these zines in a website exhibit, circulate digital versions via social media, and build little-zine-libraries in selected locations across Washington Park. UR@UWM students will be trained in ways to analyze ethnographic research data, quantitative data collection, and data-visualization. They will analyze and interpret collected evidence, and curate exhibits for public dissemination.
The Stern Studio
Nathaniel Stern, Art & Design
The Stern Studio works with students from across art, engineering, and the humanities on public interest projects that include large-scale international exhibitions, documentaries and audiobooks or podcasts, books, and scientific research. Current projects include a docu-series on anti-racist action in Milwaukee, a series of kinetic sculptures that explore global energy use and eco-waste, a proposed podcast around art and science’s influence on one another, and a new battery design that replaces lithium with sodium. Student researchers will work on one or more of these projects as suited to their skills and interests, as well as upcoming deadlines for the studio. Please visit http://nathanielstern.com for sample projects, documentation, press, links, and more.