Faculty Sponsored Research

This page lists research projects that are funded by individual faculty members. Student researchers are selected by the faculty member, not the URC, and study award amounts may vary depending upon each grant's terms. However, the students are included in the SRP program and enjoy the same benefits and opportunities as the URC-selected students. Interested students are advised to contact each faculty member directly for more information about their offerings for summer 2020.

Students selected for these projects are considered part of the Summer Research Program. Students** selected for these opportunities are eligible for subsidized housing and other support, but are expected to participate in the activities of the program, including weekly seminars, area coordinator group meetings and, most importantly, the Research Ethics session and the End of Summer Conference on July 29, 2020. Students should note that they will also be required to turn in a final abstract and report to the URC (although it will not be necessary for the student to write two reports - the URC will accept a copy of whatever report the mentor requires, as long as it meets our minimum page guidelines). For questions about the URC's final report or presentation requirements, please contact the URC.

** Recent graduates may be eligible to apply for these opportunities, however they will not be eligible for the URC housing subsidy.

Note to Faculty: Our guidelines state that faculty-funded opportunities need to be communicated to the URC for posting by February 3, 2020 in order to be considered eligible for URC support. Faculty/Departments must notify the URC about their selected students no later than March 16, 2020. 

Please also note: Grants that include funding to support housing costs may not be eligible to receive URC housing subsidies!

Faculty Sponsored Research Opportunities for Summer 2020:

Professor Jeff Cannon (Chemistry Dept) may support up to four students working on projects in synthetic organic chemistry. Projects include the development of new catalysts, discovery of new transition metal-catalyzed reactions, and the total synthesis of biologically active natural products. Interested students with a background in chemistry or biochemistry are welcome to apply and should contact Prof. Cannon directly. More details on recent work in the Cannon group can be found at their website: cannonchem.com

Professor Andrew Udit (Chemistry Dept) may support up to 3 students working on projects that involve virus nanotechnology, coagulation, and heparin activity. Projects will utilize techniques from molecular biology, biochemistry, synthetic chemistry, and biophysics. Students with backgrounds in chemistry and biochemistry are welcome to apply and should contact Prof. Udit directly.

Professor Justin Li (Cognitive Science Dept) may support one or two students on projects on human and AI memory retrieval. Projects will draw on cognitive science to explore how AI's might be more efficient in finding the knowledge they need, and in turn, whether these models say anything about human cognition. Previous work in this area can be found on Prof. Li's website (https://justinnhli.com/cv). Students with computer science experience are welcome to apply and should contact Prof. Li at justinnhli@oxy.edu.https://ssl.gstatic.com/ui/v1/icons/mail/images/cleardot.gif

Professor Sabrina Stierwalt (Physics Dept) may support up to 3 students working on projects in extragalactic observational astrophysics. Projects include the development of cluster-finding algorithms to search for super star clusters in merging galaxies, using archival data to compute spectral energy distributions for merging galaxies, and analyzing radio continuum images for galaxies expected to harbor black holes. Interested students with a background in astrophysics and/or a strong background in coding (Python, r) are welcome to apply and should contact Prof. Stierwalt directly. More details on recent work in the Stierwalt group can be found on the group website:http://galaxies.oxycreates.org.

Professor Amanda Zellmer (Biology Dept) may support up to 1 student working on projects that involve modeling species distributions under environmental change. Projects will utilize techniques from computational biology, conservation biology, and global change biology. Students with backgrounds in biology, environmental science, and computer science are welcome to apply and should contact Prof. Zellmer directly.

Professor Gretchen North has support for one student working on projects designed to help understand and predict the physiological and ecological responses of plants in southern California or the tropics to increasing temperatures and increasing drought. Particularly welcome are projects that focus on species encountered on or near the Occidental College campus. If you are interested in this opportunity contact Prof. North directly.

Professor Cheryl Okumura may be able to support one or two summer students to participate in her American Heart Association-funded project “Persistence of Group A Streptococcus in macrophage phagosomes: new targets for therapy". Projects include work in cell biology, microbiology and molecular biology. Students should have taken Bio 130 to apply. Interested students should contact Professor Okumura in the Biology Department directly.


Opportunities offered Summer 2019:

Professor Raul Navarro may support up to four students working on different facets of organic chemistry research, the heart of which lies in our ability to make carbon-carbon bonds. Specifically, projects in the Navarro Lab include the development of new methodologies to efficiently construct value-added aromatic derivatives, and the synthesis of natural products with promising biological properties. Students who are interested should contact Professor Navarro via email: rnavarro@oxy.edu. For more information, please see the group website: www.navarro.oxycreates.org.

Professor Eileen Spain may support one student, 8-10 weeks within the SRP dates, to participate in her NIH-funded project "Quantitative Atomic Force Microscopy Investigations of Adhesion of a Planktonic Bacterial Predator to Biofilm Prey." Bacteria often thrive in complex, structured communities called biofilms. Because the bacteria in biofilms can be distinct from their free-swimming counterparts, they can be difficult to control or eradicate using conventional means. The bacterial predator Bdellovibrio bacteriovorus has been shown to consume bacterial biofilms and may yet serve as a biofilm control agent. To accomplish this objective, it is critical to first understand the fundamental chemistry of how the predator differentiates between prey and non-prey cells. To quantitatively explore the interactions of Bdellovibrio predators and other cells, Prof. Spain and a student collaborator will measure adhesion between live planktonic Bdellovibrio cells and a range of different surfaces with atomic force microscopy (AFM)." Interested students should contact emspain@oxy.edu, Chemistry Dept.

Professors Elizabeth Braker, Shana Goffredi, and Gretchen North of the Biology Department may have funding to support 1-4 students during the URC Summer Research Program to conduct research on species interactions in the rain forest of Costa Rica. The Oxy team will travel to La Selva Biological Station in late May to study different aspects of the ecology of rain forest plants, insects, and microbes. Participants can expect extreme conditions of heat, humidity, and biting insects; close encounters with monkeys and sloths; and an opportunity to do research alongside a diverse team of international scientists. Interested students should contact one of the Biology faculty above well before the SRP deadline.