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 2021.

Please note that some of the content listed below is general information for the SRP and may be different than what is planned for the 2021 SRP. Due to continued uncertainties about the pandemic there will be modifications to the program based on the current regulations. The SRP 2021 has been confirmed for 10 weeks, June 1 - August 6, 2021.

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 planned for the week of August 2, 2021. 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 January 29, 2021 in order to be considered eligible for URC support. Faculty/Departments must notify the URC about their selected students no later than March 16, 2021. 

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


Faculty Sponsored Research Opportunities offered for Summer 2021:

Professor Jeff Cannon (Chemistry Dept) may support students to work on NSF and NIH supported projects in synthetic organic chemistry. Projects focus on new methods for carbon-carbon bond formation to make biologically relevant small molecules. Students will develop skills in catalysis, chemical synthesis, spectroscopic analysis, and computational methods. 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, and biophysics. Students with backgrounds in chemistry, biochemistry, and biology are welcome to apply and should contact Prof. Udit directly. 

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. Students who make substantial progress over the summer will be able to present their work at national conferences. 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 Irina Rabkina (Computer Science Dept) may support up to 2 students working on projects that relate to social reasoning. Projects lie at the intersection of cognitive science and computer science, and involve aspects of cognitive modeling, data collection/dataset generation, and artificial intelligence research. Students with computer science and/or cognitive science experience are welcome to apply and should contact Prof. Rabkina directly.

Professor Shana Goffredi (Biology Dept) may support up to 3 students to work on an NSF supported project in marine symbioses. Projects will combine a variety of molecular, imaging, and experimental approaches to examine whether internal bacteria positively influence the success of marine invertebrate parasites. Interested students with a background in marine biology, environmental science, or microbiology, should contact Prof. Goffredi directly. More details on recent work in the SymbiOxys group can be found on the group website: http://sites.oxy.edu/sgoffredi/Symbiosis_Lab.


The following were Faculty Sponsored Research Opportunities offered for Summer 2020. Feel free to contact the listed mentor to inquire about the availability for SRP 2021:

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 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.