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Office of Undergraduate Research & Creative Inquiry

Current Research Project Openings

As we receive undergraduate research assistant requests, we will post them on this page. Please check back frequently for new listings.  

Agriculture

Opportunities in Plant Pathology

Plant pathology is the study of plant diseases, their causes, effects, and control. Keeping plants healthy requires an understanding of the organisms and agents that cause disease as well as an understanding of how plants grow and are affected by disease. Our faculty have a wide range of expertise and frequently take undergraduate research students for research training opportunities in their labs. Many of our faculty also participate in the Interdepartmental Genetics Program. Our faculty research interests include: Plant Disease, Plant Health, Genetics (Plant genetics of models and crops, fungal genetics, population genetics, host plant resistance genetics), Microbiology (Fungi, Bacteria, Viruses), Pathogens (Fungi, Bacteria, Viruses, Nematodes), Plant-Microbe Interactions, Molecular biology, Genomics, Bioinformatics, Biotechnology, Epidemiology, Applied Plant Pathology and Microbiology, Disease diagnosis and management.

Student Assistant Activities: Will vary by lab

Department: Plant Pathology

Time Commitment: Will vary by lab

Required Skills: Will vary by lab

Course credit: Available via enrollment in PLPTH 495 Undergraduate Research in Plant Pathology for 0, 1, 2, or 3 credits.

Funding: May be available.

If interested, please contact Dr. Richard Todd (rbtodd@ksu.edu).   

   

Plant and Soil Science Internship in the K-State Root Ecology and Hydropedology Laboratory

The KSU Hydropedology and Root Ecology Laboratory is seeking a student majoring in a soil and plant science discipline for an internship. The project is focused on developing an automated camera system that images plant roots belowground. 

Student Assistant Activities: Collecting plant data, analyzing root images, building minirhizotron cameras, conducting field work to support and maintain equipment and collect field data, and supporting the project in other ways as needed.

Department: Agronomy

Time Commitment: Part time in Spring 2021 and full time in Summer 2021

Required Skills: Must be able to lift fifty pounds and conduct field work in potentially adverse or hot weather conditions.

Preferred Skills: Experience with electronics and wiring; experience or desire to learn about identifying plants and plant growth stages.

Funding: Hourly wage is contingent upon the applicant's experience. Funding is from several sources, but primarily the National Science Foundation.

Course Credit: Available.

If interested, please send Dr. Colby Moorberg (moorberg@k-state.edu) an email with an attached resume.

  

Soil Water Processes Lab

Our group focuses on studying soil properties and applications of soil moisture information in agriculture and hydrology. We investigate the spatial patterns of multiple soil properties at the field, regional, and state level. We also explore soil moisture changes in time in cropland and grassland. See the website for more information: https://soil-physics.github.io/ksu/.

Student Assistant Activities: Students in our lab learn how to take soil samples, conduct multiple analyses and handle instrumentation both laboratory and field conditions. Undergraduate student collaborate with projects led by graduate students, but highly motivated students can develop their own research ideas directly supervised by the principal investigator of the program.

Department: Agronomy  

Time Commitment: Flexible, in-campus schedule. About 10 hours per week.

Required Skills: Highly motivated, attention to detail, valid drivers license, enrolled in at least 6 credits

Funding: Depends on project and semester

If interested, please contact Dr. Andres Patrignani (andrespatrignani@ksu.edu).

 

Arts and Sciences

Computational drug discovery for cancer, immunology, malaria and COVID-19

Students will apply computational methods to analyze potential drug/target interactions, characterize trends in structure activity relationships, predict drug binding pockets, and identify new drugs. Methods used may include molecular modeling and visualization, molecular dynamics simulations, quantum chemistry, and machine learning. We will primarily focus on potential drugs for cancer, immunology, and malaria. Computational results will be tested experimentally in our lab and labs of collaborators.

Student Assistant Activities: Apply computational methods to drive research projects. Participate in research teams. Contribute to research that will be published in academic journals. Lots of data analysis. Help other research team members.

Department: Biochemistry

Time Commitment: 8+ hours a week during the school year, 30+ hours a week during the summer. Looking for commitment for 2+ years.

Required Skills: Some background and interest in chemistry, physics, mathematics/statistics, computer science as applied to biomedical problems. Previous programming experience especially with Python and Linux desirable.

Course credit: Available.

Funding: Potential as students gain experience.

If interested, please contact Dr. Ho Leung Ng (hng@ksu.edu).

 

Get Creative using GIS for Storytelling!

Help facilitate engagement with the local community by telling the story of Wildcat Creek using ArcGIS Online story maps and dashboards.  

After the 2018 Labor Day flooding of Wildcat Creek in Manhattan, KS there has been increasing interest in building flood resilience and overall sustainability of the Wildcat Creek Watershed and surrounding areas. As part of an effort to Nurture Wildcat Creek you will help develop openly available online educational materials, particularly an interactive storymap web application that provides an overview of the creek, its watershed, and the history of its development and flooding.  Previous experience with ArcGIS highly preferred. 

Student Assistant Activities: Collecting, organizing, and summarizing data and reports on the Wildcat Creek Watershed in Riley County, Kansas. Preparing a website to host the collected information. Developing a storymap summarizing the information.

Department: Geography and Geospatial Sciences

Preferred Skills: Previous experience with ArcGIS.

If interested, please contact Dr. Katherine Nelson (ksnelson@ksu.edu).

   

Inventing New Ways to Make Molecules for Medicine, Agriculture and Energy through Organic Synthesis

The student will work alongside graduate students and postdocs in our research group, participating in the invention of new organic reactions and catalytic methods to synthesize small molecules for application in medicinal chemistry/pharmaceuticals, agrochemistry, materials and energy.

The student will be trained in the field of organic synthesis as broadly defined. This includes use of air-free and moisture-free techniques, purification techniques and analytical techniques, while screening reaction conditions to find and optimized synthetic process. 

The above techniques/instruments to be trained on include, but are not limited to: working under dry and inert atmosphere (glovebox), Gas Chromatography (GC), Liquid Chromatography (HPLC and SFC). This in addition to becoming proficient in the synthesis, purification of organic compounds and characterization via NMR and other spectroscopy techniques.

Student Assistant Activities: Setting up reactions, working them up, analyzing data/results; presenting biweekly reports; participating in group meetings and present both research and recent literature; may present research results at intra- or extramural scientific events/conferences; can become a co-author in peer-reviewed publications in scientific chemistry journals

Department: Chemistry

Time Commitment: Flexible to accommodate student's classes/schedule, but time to generate results and data to publish.

Required Skills: Currently taking Organic Chemistry courses or planning to take them (CHM350, CHM531 or CHM550)

Preferred Skills: Show motivation and continued interest in learning organic synthesis/organic chemistry

Course Credit: Available

If interested, please contact Dr. Socrates B. Munoz (socmunoz@ksu.edu)

 Engineering

Engineering Internship in the K-State Root Ecology and Hydropedology Laboratory

The KSU Hydropedology and Root Ecology Laboratory is seeking a student majoring in engineering (or who has experience with coding, wiring, and robotics) for an internship. The project is focused on developing an automated camera system that images plant roots belowground. 

Student Assistant Activities: Building minirhizotron cameras, conducting field work to support and maintain equipment and collect field data, analyzing root images, and supporting the project in other ways as needed.

Department: Agronomy

Time Commitment: Part time in Spring 2021 and full time in Summer 2021

Required Skills: Must be able to lift fifty pounds and conduct field work in potentially adverse or hot weather conditions.

Preferred Skills: Experience with the Python programming language

Funding: Hourly wage is contingent upon the applicant's experience. Funding is from several sources, but primarily the National Science Foundation.

Course Credit: Available.

If interested, please send Dr. Colby Moorberg (moorberg@k-state.edu) an email with an attached resume.

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