Office of Undergraduate Research

UR@UWM Summer 2011 Research Projects

Please check back for updates to this list!

Work with Marine Robots This Summer! 
Dr. Tom Consi, Great Lakes WATER Institute                            

My lab is developing amphibious robots for scientific research and environmental monitoring applications.  We currently have one prototype vehicle: LMAR which stands for the Lake Michigan Amphibious Robot.  This stout 4 wheeled vehicle is designed to enter the crashing waves from the beach carrying numerous sensors and sampling devices to perform its underwater mission.  We plan a full summer of field tests with LMAR on Bradford Beach in Milwaukee.   You will participate in many aspects of these field operations: preparing the robot, transport to and from the site, robot operations and post-mission data analysis.  All that is needed is a passion for robots and a willingness to work hard, learn and get wet!

Assessing Influence of Pain on Daily Function
Dr. Bhagwant Sindhu, Occupational Therapy

Pain has been described as having two dimensions, namely its sensory and reactive dimensions. The sensory dimension means how the pain is perceived, i.e. its intensity and how it feels (e.g. hot, cold, piercing, etc). Whereas, reactive dimension means what is the influence of pain on ability of a person to function. The reactive dimension is also described as pain interference. Controversy exists on the influence of pain on ability to perform daily tasks such as cooking and bathing. This controversy may be because a non-linear relationship exists between pain intensity and functional ability. The purpose of the current research project is to examine the relationship between pain and function by performing and in-depth literature review.

The Neuroscience of Exercise
Dr. J. Carson Smith, Human Movement Science

The aims of this project are to examine how exercise may effect: 1) brain blood flow; 2) brain activation; 3) feelings of depression and anxiety, or cognitive function and memory ability; and 4) the inter-relationships between changes in mood and cognitive function and changes in brain blood flow and brain activation patterns during emotional or cognitive tasks.

Integrating Library Information Science and Nursing Research to Promote Health
Dr. Jennifer Doering, Nursing

The objective of this experience will be to learn basic skills pertaining to research around sleep in economically disadvantaged mothers, with an emphasis on library and information science skills. The student will work with an interdisciplinary research team to learn how to find specific information on a variety of health-related topics surrounding self-management of sleep, sleep environments, depression after childbirth, and health disparities in economically disadvantaged mothers. Other skills may include data entry, cleaning, assisting with administrative paperwork, and database management. The student will leave this experience familiar with the UWM library system including how to access multiple information systems, finding health science resources, and search strategies--skills that will benefit the student throughout their undergraduate studies.

Brain Activity Associated with Responses to Emotional Stimuli in Depression & Anxiety
Dr. Christine Larson, Psychology

My laboratory is dedicated to understanding the neural bases of health and pathological emotional processing and also understanding dysregulated responses to emotional stimuli among people prone to depression and anxiety, and the differences in brain activity associated with dysregrulation.

Hand Grip Rehabilitation for People with Disability
Dr. Na Jin Seo, Industrial Engineering

The goal of our research is 1) to develop interventions to improve hand function for people with disability; and 2) to understand neurologic and biomechanical mechanisms underlying their difficulties in hand function. Our target population is persons with neurologic disorders such as stroke. We will conduct laboratory testing in which stroke survivors will perform various tasks with their hands while their grip force and muscle activities are recorded using instruments. Test results will be analyzed to improve our understanding of mechanisms underlying disability and to evaluate new rehabilitation interventions. Students will be involved in laboratory testing, data collection, analysis, interpretation of data, literature review, and other research activities, together with current research assistants in the laboratory.

Brain Control of Human Movement
Dr. Wendy Huddleston, Human Movement Science

The focus of this project is to better understand cortical control mechanisms involved in human movement. The specific objectives of this work include investigating how visual attention to a target affects eye movement; clarifying the relationship between visual attention and motor intention; and identifying how different areas of the cerebral cortex contribute to goal-directed movement. Student's tasks may include collecting and analyzing eye tracking data, simple computer script writing for experiments, and assisting with data collection for neuroimaging experiments at the Medical College of Wisconsin.

International Participation in Internet Design
Dr. Sandra Braman, Communication

The Internet is genuinely global in nature. Many of the cultural innovations, new social and business practices, and political developments that characterize life in the Internet era were first developed outside of the United States. As critics note, though, the US dominated much of the Internet design process, continues to play a heavy hand in Internet governance, and is still the country that hosts the most websites. Ever since the beginning of the Internet design process in 1969, however, other countries have been active players in decision-making. This research project will examine interactions between the global realities of the Internet and the US emphasis in the design process by exploring the various ways in which individuals, corporations, non-profit groups, and governments from outside the United States have participated in the Internet design process. It will look at needs from around the world that were taken into account as the Internet has been designed, built, and continues to be adapted. And it will learn how players from outside of the US have influenced the ways in which we currently experience the Internet. This research will be undertaken through analysis of a 5700+ document series that records the first 40 years of the Internet design process (1969-2009). Students who work on this project will acquire a number of skills used in social science research, learn how to use research software, and gain some experience working in a research team. The project will be of interest to students who expect to major in communication, political science, computer science, business with an emphasis in decision-making, international studies, global studies, media studies, information science/information resources, sociology, or mass communication. Opportunities are available for students who like to continue working on the project after their participation in the UR@UWM program.

Documentary Film Outreach
Film Department, Peck School of the Arts

We have numerous documentary films in all stages of production and are looking for assistance with outreach and promotion for our films and projects. Films range in subject from Hmong culture, Great Lakes water scientists, a Milwaukee inner-city track club, Milwaukee's music scene and cultural history, health initiatives, educational initiatives and youth video, among others. Students will assist with our web site creation and updates and social media plan; research on partners, screenings, film festivals and social media; and assist with the creation of databases and communication with our partners.

Transgenic Zebrafish as a Model of Neurodegeneration
Dr. Henry Tomasiewicz, Biological Sciences

Humans with mutation in the tau gene, which encodes a microtubule associated protein (MAP), suffer from premature neuronal degeneration. This disease runs in families harboring specific mutations in this gene. Affected individuals suffer from Alzheimer type symptoms, and introduction of the mutant tau gene into zebrafish may recapitulate the disease, thus providing a model system for studying the role of tau in the developing pathology. Students will assist in zebrafish husbandry, injecting transgene DNA into 1-cell zebrafish embryos, and screening zebrafish for gene expression.