/ Provost's Office

SHARP

Every year students join mentors in disciplines across campus to delve into research through the Summer Hope Academic Research Program (SHARP).

Through SHARP students conduct research with faculty mentors each summer. Students learn cutting-edge research techniques, conduct literature reviews, attend seminars and analyze data. At the same time they engage with other research students across campus with lunches, weekly ice cream socials and other events planned by individual departments or divisions. Typically research is presented to the larger community through professional conferences, divisional poster sessions and/or the annual Hope College Celebration of Undergraduate Research and Creative Performance.

Abstracts

Find your area of study and peruse the available research projects.

Apply for summer research at Hope! 

Art and Art History

Interactive Art: Ripples on a Pond

The short term goal of the project will be to create an interactive "pond" on a large touch screen that will produce ripples that emanate from the locations that are touched. The long term goal of the research is to produce interactive art that will morph in response to interaction from viewers. If this sounds somewhat vague, it is. That is because the exact shape the project will take will depend heavily on input from those involved.

Feel free to discuss the project with Dr. Cusack for more details, especially if you have a strong interest in the project but are not certain you have the qualifications.

Faculty Mentor(s): Charles Cusack
Home Department: Computer Science

Qualifications: All students interested in this research project are encouraged to apply. Current enrollment in an undergraduate program is required.Familiarity with a programming language (C, C++, Java, Python, etc.) required. Experience with art/design (especially digital art) a plus. Experience working with hardware devices such as a Raspberry Pi and especially anything with touch screen technology a plus.

Working Conditions: This position requires remaining in a sitting or standing position for frequent periods of time, typing and computer work. You may be required to lift, move, and transport related laboratory equipment. In the case of temporary or permanent condition(s) that require(s) accommodation(s), reasonable accommodation(s) may be requested.

Runs from 5/15/2023 through 7/14/2023

Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

A Canary in the Coalmine: Using the house sparrow as a model for testing the effects of air pollution on behavior and physiology

This interdisciplinary project will incorporate the disciplines of Biology, Neuroscience, Psychology, Chemistry and Materials Science. However the project is specifically housed within the Hope College Department of Biology.

There is great concern regarding the adverse health implications of engineered nanoparticles. However, there are many circumstances where the production of incidental nanoparticles, i.e., nanoparticles unintentionally generated as a side product of some anthropogenic process, is of even greater concern. These nanoparticles can transport through the respiratory system and translocate to other organs, including the brain. The health implications of this transport has been study in in-vitro systems and animals models like mice, but never before in birds. Birds are an interesting model because their respiratory anatomy makes them uniquely susceptible to airborne contaminants. Additionally, we expect that this species should be an interesting model as they should be exposed to incidental nanoparticles present in air. This project will examine both the visual and auditory sensory processing of the songbird the house sparrow (passer domesticus), behavioral changes, and resulting bioaccumulation of iron. House sparrows frequently occupy a variety of human dominated environments and therefore span the gradient of noise and light pollution areas.

Faculty Mentor(s): Kelly Ronald, Natalia Gonzalez-Pech
Home Department: Biology

Qualifications: All students interested in this research project are encouraged to apply. Current enrollment in an undergraduate program is required.

Working Conditions: This position requires remaining in a sitting or standing position for frequent periods of time, field work (personal transportation not required) typing and computer work. You may be required to lift, move, and transport related laboratory equipment. May be required to work with animals and potentially hazardous and toxic materials. In the case of temporary or permanent condition(s) that require(s) accommodation(s), reasonable accommodation(s) may be requested.

Runs from 5/8/2023 through 7/14/2023

Activation of Carbon-Carbon Bonds using Transition Metal Catalysis

An opportunity is available to contribute to an ongoing research program at Hope College in the general areas of transition metal-catalyzed carbon-carbon single bond activation and the development of new organic reactions. In addition to basic research and experimental techniques common to organic and inorganic chemistry, students working on projects in these areas can expect to gain experience in the reactivity and manipulation of air sensitive compounds, the analysis and understanding of reaction mechanisms, and the process of developing new organic reactions.
Work in the Johnson group at Hope College will focus upon a number of aspects of the carbon-carbon bond activation. These will include 1) further understanding of the reaction mechanism, 2) the use of mechanistic information for the rational development of more active catalysts for the extension of substrate scope, and 3) the development of new organic transformations involving the cleavage and further reaction of carbon-carbon single bonds.
For more information, please feel free to contact Prof. Jeff Johnson at jjohnson@hope.edu.

Faculty Mentor(s): Jeffrey Johnson
Home Department: Chemistry

Qualifications: All students interested in this research project are encouraged to apply. Current enrollment in an undergraduate program is required.

Working Conditions: This position requires remaining in a sitting or standing position for frequent periods of time, typing and computer work. You may be required to lift, move, and transport related laboratory equipment. In the case of temporary or permanent condition(s) that require(s) accommodation(s), reasonable accommodation(s) may be requested.

Runs from 5/15/2023 through 7/21/2023

Assessing auditory and visual processing with evoked potentials in the house sparrow, passer domesticus

This interdisciplinary project will incorporate the disciplines of Biology, Neuroscience, and Psychology. However the project is specifically housed within the Hope College Department of Biology.

Anthropogenic disturbances have long changed the dynamics of our ecosystems and habitats. Alongside this change in the physical environment comes alterations of both the environmental light and sound profiles. New research has shed light on the strategies that animals use to signal in environments that are dominated by sound and light pollution. For example, there is repeated evidence to suggest that birds in urban areas sing at higher-frequencies to avoid masking by lower-frequency traffic noise. Less is known, however, about whether signal receivers differ in their visual and auditory physiology as a result of noise and sound pollution. As communication involves both the successful production of signals as well as the successful reception of these signals, it is imperative that we examine receiver sensory processing as a function of anthropogenic disturbance. This project will examine both the visual and auditory sensory processing of the song bird the house sparrow (passer domesticus). House sparrows frequently occupy a variety of human dominated environments and therefore span the gradient of noise and light pollution areas. We would predict that house sparrows captured in areas with greater human disturbance might show better high frequency hearing than animals captured in more rural areas; additionally, we might also expect that visual temporal resolution (e.g., the ability to of detect motion) will differ between the two populations. Studies examining the effects of human disturbance on receiver sensory processing are vitally important to developing efficient and effective conservation efforts.

Students involved in this project will be involved in both field and lab techniques including auditory and visual recordings in the field, animal handling and capture, and physiological experiments (auditory and visual evoked potential recordings) in the lab.

Faculty Mentor(s): Kelly Ronald
Home Department: Biology

Qualifications: All students interested in this research project are encouraged to apply. Current enrollment in an undergraduate program is required.

Working Conditions: This position requires remaining in a sitting or standing position for frequent periods of time, field work (personal transportation not required) typing and computer work. You may be required to lift, move, and transport related laboratory equipment. May be required to work with animals and potentially hazardous and toxic materials. In the case of temporary or permanent condition(s) that require(s) accommodation(s), reasonable accommodation(s) may be requested.

Runs from 5/8/2023 through 7/14/2023

Bacterial virus biology and genome evolution

A bacteriophage, or more simply, phage, is a virus that infects bacterial cells. They are the most numerous biological entities in the world and collectively carry the largest assembly of novel genetic information. Mycobacteriophages are phages that infect the bacterial genus, Mycobacterium. Nearly 40 genetically distinct types have been described (grouped into “clusters” based on genome sequence similarity), all of which are capable of infecting the same host, M. smegmatis MC2155. Research in my lab is focused on understanding basic mycobacteriophage biology and more broadly, phage genome evolution.

One of my research projects explores the biology of ‘Cluster K’ mycobacteriophages. Mycobacteriophage members of this cluster are particularly noteworthy because of their general ability to infect a broad range of mycobacterial hosts, often including the human pathogen, M. tuberculosis. Our focus is on more clearly describing the growth features of several distinct subgroups of Cluster K1 phages, which may relate to differences in host preference in the environment. One interesting aspect of at least one subgroup of Cluster K mycobacteriophages (subcluster K1) is that they appear more readily isolated at lower temperatures compared to other mycobacteriophages of similarly large clusters. This subgroup of Cluster K1 mycobacteriophages typically do not propagate at 42°C, and the point of inhibition appears to be after phage DNA has been transferred into host cells. Further, analysis of one-step growth curve performed at lower temperatures show that they release markedly higher numbers of new phage particles at cell lysis compared to ‘control’ mycobacteriophages, consistent with an adaptation to an environment with a low host density. We believe there is a link between these isolation and temperature-dependent growth features of Cluster K mycobacteriophages and their recognized broader host range. This project is nearing completion, but several questions still remain to be addressed.

Another research project in my lab explores how mycobacteriophages recognize and initiate infection of mycobacterial host cells. Despite the nearly 40 distinct genomic types, or clusters, of mycobacteriophages isolated on the single host, Mycobacterium smegmatis, only a few clusters - A2, A3, G, K, AB - have phages that can also efficiently infect a broader range of hosts, including M. tuberculosis and/or other mycobacterial species. Previous analyses have pointed to the initiation of phage infection as critical in determining host range. However, the molecular and genetic details initiating mycobacteriophage infection are largely unknown. In this project, we are continuing our investigation into how mycobacteriophages initiate infection of mycobacterial host cells, from reversible binding to irreversible binding and phage DNA transfer into the host cell, using microbiological, genetic, and molecular approaches. We have isolated mycobacterial cell mutants with reduced sensitivity to mycobacteriophage infection and are investigating the basis of their change in phenotype. In addition, we are specifically investigating a conserved gene that is predicted to be a component of the tail tip structure of phages from this subset of mycobacteriophages (Clusters A2, A3, G, K, AB), but not other clusters, for its role in the infection initiation process.

The newest research project in my lab uses mycobacteriophages as a model phage system but is focused more generally on bacteriophage genomics and genome evolution. This project seeks to better understand the similarities and differences in phage genome structure and gene content across known bacteriophages, and to address questions on the nature and function of the evolutionary mechanisms that generate the observed genomic and genetic diversity. To address these questions, we are constructing pairs of phages with modified genomes that differ in the presence/absence of specific coding information and are using them in assays to assess their impact on phage growth and fitness. This work will help us understand how genetic diversity, prevalent in phage genomes, is generated, as well as better understand the modular nature of phage genomes.

Faculty Mentor(s): Joseph Stukey
Home Department: Biology

Qualifications: All students interested in this research project are encouraged to apply. Current enrollment in an undergraduate program is required. Preferred qualifications: some basic subject knowledge and biological lab experience (e.g., biology course lab), good organization skills, effective oral/written communication skills, sound critical thinking/logical reasoning skills, and able to work independently. Positions are open to current Hope College students.

Working Conditions: This position requires remaining in a sitting or standing position for frequent periods of time, typing and computer work. You may be required to lift, move, and transport related laboratory equipment. In the case of temporary or permanent condition(s) that require(s) accommodation(s), reasonable accommodation(s) may be requested.

Runs from 5/15/2023 through 7/21/2023

Chemical Avenues to Sustainable Energy Consumption

ELINSKI LAB: The Elinski Lab (elinskilab.org) focuses on surface chemistry and tribology - the study of surfaces in relative motion, (including friction, adhesion, lubrication, and wear. Please note that this area of research is not traditionally covered in coursework, but pulls on core principles from chemistry, materials science, physics, and engineering. Everything an interested student would need to know will be taught in the lab, so Dr. Elinski encourages all students to meet with her and apply, regardless of year in school or course background!

BACKGROUND: There is a significant imbalance between energy produced in the United States vs that which is consumed, with roughly two-thirds of produced energy wasted. One source of this loss is the energy dissipation associated with friction and wear between surfaces in relative motion. To address this, one goal of the Elinski Lab is to understand how fundamental chemical mechanisms in sliding contacts can be capitalized on for controlling friction and wear processes.

PROJECT OVERVIEW: Student researchers interested in this area will work on one of two projects. One project focuses on nanomaterial composite systems in dry sliding contacts, with target applications for electric vehicles and space lubrication (funding through NASA). The second project focuses on understanding surface reactions in oil environments (funding through the American Chemical Society Petroleum Research Fund). Both projects will study confined, nanoscale dynamic (sliding) contacts to understand chemical-mechanical relationships. Surface modification methods - including nanoparticle films to control roughness and self-assembled monolayers to control functionality - will be used to systematically interrogate the formation of protective surface films. These surface-bound films develop as a result of chemical processes driven by mechanical forces. A better understanding of film formation can help develop advanced control over sliding interfaces, improving strategies towards mitigating energy loss.

A suite of analytical instruments will be used for this work, including atomic force microscopy (AFM), rheology, scanning electron microscopy and energy dispersive spectroscopy (SEM/EDS), confocal Raman microspectroscopy, and attenuated total reflectance Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy (ATR-FTIR).

DETAILS: The summer research program will consist of 10 forty-hour work weeks to be conducted in the Elinski Lab on Hope College’s campus. In addition to the research there are professional development activities, along with planned social events throughout the summer to meet fellow chemistry researchers and students conducting research in other departments! There is also the potential for research projects to be continued into the following academic year.

Working on this research will provide students with a strong foundation in fundamental chemistry at surfaces and interfaces along with multidisciplinary skills in materials, mechanics, and the wider reaching principles of nanoscience. As the primary leads for their research, students will also have opportunities for authoring peer-reviewed journal articles and presenting and networking at scientific conferences.

Faculty Mentor(s): Dr. Meagan Elinski
Home Department: Chemistry

Qualifications: All students interested in this research project are encouraged to apply. Current enrollment in an undergraduate program is required.

Working Conditions: This position requires remaining in a sitting or standing position for frequent periods of time, typing and computer work. You may be required to lift, move, and transport related laboratory equipment. In the case of temporary or permanent condition(s) that require(s) accommodation(s), reasonable accommodation(s) may be requested.

Runs from 5/29/2023 through 8/4/2023

Chemical Defenses of Pioneer Plant Seeds

This interdisciplinary project will incorporate perspectives from both Biology and Chemistry to elucidate the basis of chemical defenses in tropical pioneer plant seeds. It is specifically housed within the Hope College Department of Chemistry, but student investigators will work closely with both Dr. Murray (Biology, emeritus) and Dr. Sanford (Chemistry).
Tropical rainforests are legendary for their biological diversity and for the complexity of interactions among their species. The interactions between animals and plants are especially prominent – animals are important as pollinators, seed dispersers and seed predators, and plants are under strong selection pressure to reinforce the positive interactions with animals and to weaken the negative ones. “Pioneer” plants – those that specialize on colonizing recently disturbed patches of forest but which cannot compete in the shaded understory – constitute a model system in which to study tropical plant-animal interactions because their seeds must survive in the soil for years despite intense threats from both animals and pathogenic fungi. This summer, we will continue our characterization of the chemical defenses of pioneer plant seeds, focusing on species whose seeds can survive for decades in tropical soils, despite threats from seed-eating animals and microbial attack. Students involved in this research will employ a variety of extraction, chemical separation and analysis techniques, as well as toxicity bioassays against fungi and arthropods. They will also gain experience in hypothesis formation and statistical analysis, in analyzing the scientific literature critically, and in presenting their research results in written and oral formats. If you are interested in this research, email Dr. Sanford at sanford@hope.edu to make an appointment to discuss the research opportunities available in the Sanford group.

Faculty Mentor(s): Elizabeth Sanford
Home Department: Chemistry

Qualifications: All students interested in this research project are encouraged to apply. Current enrollment in an undergraduate program is required.

Working Conditions: This position requires remaining in a sitting or standing position for frequent periods of time, typing and computer work. You may be required to lift, move, and transport related laboratory equipment. In the case of temporary or permanent condition(s) that require(s) accommodation(s), reasonable accommodation(s) may be requested.Use of chemicals will be required.

Runs from 5/15/2023 through 7/21/2023

Combating oxidative stress: Molecular analysis of System xc- and the cellular anti-oxidant defense system

In living organisms, routine metabolic processes result in the formation of oxidants within the cellular environment that can be toxic to the cells themselves. My research is focused on discovering the molecular mechanism by which oxidants regulate a membrane transport system, System xc-, that provides neurons and glia with the precursors required to synthesize a cellular antioxidant called glutathione. System xc- is a plasma membrane transport system that catalyzes the stoichiometric exchange of extracellular cystine for intracellular glutamate in the brain. The internalized cystine is then used for glutathione synthesis which protects the brain from oxidative damage. While several groups have demonstrated transcriptional regulation of System xc- within 24 hours of exposure of cells to oxidants there have been essentially no studies which have examined the short-term regulation of transporter activity. My students and I have shown that oxidants acutely (within minutes) regulate System xc- by modulating the cell surface expression of the transporter. These exciting findings suggest a novel form of regulation of System xc- that may serve as a critical component of the cellular defense system in protecting cells from oxidative insults. We are currently using biochemical and molecular techniques to 1) identify important trafficking motifs and post-translation modifications that occur within the intracellular regions of System xc- and 2) describe the cellular signaling pathways that are involved in the hydrogen peroxide-regulated activity of System xc-. Ultimately, this work will provide us with a better understanding of molecular processes which acutely regulate System xc- and identify key proteins which regulate transporter trafficking. As such, this work may provide direction for future studies aimed at pharmacological manipulation of System xc- activity for therapeutic benefit.

Each student in the Chase lab has their own independent research project that fits into the overall research aims of the lab. Students also assist in formulating testable hypotheses and constructing appropriate experimental designs to test their hypotheses.

Faculty Mentor(s): Leah Chase
Home Department: Chemistry

Qualifications: All students interested in this research project are encouraged to apply. Current enrollment in an undergraduate program is required.

Working Conditions: This position requires remaining in a sitting or standing position for frequent periods of time, typing and computer work. You may be required to lift, move, and transport related laboratory equipment. In the case of temporary or permanent condition(s) that require(s) accommodation(s), reasonable accommodation(s) may be requested.

Runs from 5/15/2023 through 7/21/2023

Control of Cellular signaling in cancer

This interdisciplinary project will incorporate the disciplines of chemistry and biology. The project is specifically housed within the Hope College Departments of biology and chemistry .

Research conducted in our lab focuses on elucidating the normal function for VACM-1/cul5, an endothelium specific gene product which shares sequence homology with cullins, a family of intracellular proteins that regulate diverse signaling pathways in response to changes in the cellular environment. Our work to date indicates that VACM-1 protein regulates cellular growth by a mechanism that distinguishes it from growth regulating factors, and from other cullins, and thus suggests a unique biological role for this largely uncharacterized protein. We have shown that both, in cancer cells and in endothelial cells, VACM-1 inhibits growth while expression of VACM-1 mutant has a dominant negative effect on cellular proliferation in vitro. Importantly, expression of VACM-1 mutants and the knockout of VACM-1 using CRISPR, convert endothelial cells to the angiogenic phenotype. Consequently, VACM-1 may play a role as a potential novel suppressor of angiogenesis in vivo.
Thus, the goal of our recent research is to test the hypothesis that VACM-1 is involved in the regulation of endothelial cell growth, and to identify the mechanism of VACM-1 regulated angiogenesis in vitro. Specifically, we are examining the effects of posttranslational modification on the biological activity of VACM-1 and whether aberrant expression of VACM-1, or expression of mutated VACM-1 may lead to a disease, cancer in particular. Students will be involved in designing experiments that test different aspects of the structure-function properties of VACM-1. Students involved in our research projects will learn experimental procedures that include DNA isolation, site-directed mutagenesis, cell culture, immunocytochemistry, spectrophotometry, fluorescence polarization techniques, polyacrylamide gel analysis and Western blotting. Importantly, students will learn to read, discuss, and question research papers effectively and to prepare scientific manuscripts.

Faculty Mentor(s): Maria Burnatowska-Hledin
Home Department: Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

Qualifications: All students interested in this research project are encouraged to apply. Current enrollment in an undergraduate program is required.

Working Conditions: This position requires remaining in a sitting or standing position for frequent periods of time, typing and computer work. You may be required to lift, move, and transport related laboratory equipment. In the case of temporary or permanent condition(s) that require(s) accommodation(s), reasonable accommodation(s) may be requested.

Runs from 5/15/2023 through 7/21/2023

Dopaminergic degeneration to study olfactory dysfunction in a zebrafish model of Parkinson’s Disease

Parkinson’s disease (PD) is one of the most common neurodegenerative diseases and leading causes of long-term disabilities and mortality in aging populations. Olfactory dysfunction is present in 96% of individuals with PD. Interestingly, olfactory loss is among the earliest symptoms of PD, preceding motor dysfunction for years.

Although very prevalent, the mechanisms underpinning olfactory dysfunction in Parkinson’s Disease are largely unknown. Our overarching goal is to advance our understanding of mechanisms linking Parkinson’s Disease and olfactory dysfunction. For this, we established a novel model of retrograde degeneration by dopaminergic degeneration in the olfactory system of zebrafish.

Our central hypothesis is that dopaminergic loss in the olfactory bulb will cause retrograde degeneration to olfactory sensory neurons in the olfactory epithelium. To study this, we perform (1) histological and morphological studies of the olfactory system, using confocal immunofluorescent techniques, and (2) olfactory functional studies, using behavioral assays.

Faculty Mentor(s): Erika Calvo-Ochoa
Home Department: Biology

Qualifications: All students interested in this research project are encouraged to apply. Preference is given to students who are interested in pursuing research for at least one academic year and who have taken intro to bio and/or neuro, and preferably at least one upper bio/neuro course.

Working Conditions: This position requires remaining in a sitting or standing position for frequent periods of time, typing and computer work. You may be required to lift, move, and transport related laboratory equipment. May be required to work with animals and potentially hazardous materials. In the case of temporary or permanent condition(s) that require(s) accommodation(s), reasonable accommodation(s) may be requested.

Runs from 5/15/2023 through 7/21/2023

Electrochemical and Mass Spec Detection of Homocysteine and Homocysteic Acid

Bipolar disorder is a serious mood disorder that is characterized by periods of depression and mania. The development of novel therapies for this disorder has been hampered by the lack of a reliable animal model. We recently discovered that treatment of rats from postnatal day 3-18 with the glutamatergic agonist, homocysteic acid (HCA), leads to the development of manic and depressive behaviors in male and female rats. This model was developed based upon the clinical observation that elevated levels of the amino acid, homocysteine (HCY), are associated with the development of neuropsychiatric disorders. However, we reasoned that HCA, which is the oxidized metabolite of HCY, may actually dysregulate important glutamatergic pathways in the brain resulting in behaviors consistent with the bipolar phenotype. In order to provide strong construct validity to our new animal mode, we plan to directly test the hypothesis that elevated levels of HCY during the same critical period in developing rats will lead to an increase in HCA levels in the plasma and brain and the development of a mixed depressive/manic state. The specific goal for this summer is to complete the measurement of HCA and HCY levels in the plasma and brains rats exposed to high HCY during development. These data will analyzed in combination with our previous behavioral assessment of HCY treated rats so that we can better understand the link between HCA levels and the development of manic and depressive behaviors.

Faculty Mentor(s): Kenneth Brown
Home Department: Chemistry

Qualifications: All students interested in this research project are encouraged to apply. Current enrollment in an undergraduate program is required.

Working Conditions: This position requires remaining in a sitting or standing position for frequent periods of time, typing and computer work. You may be required to lift, move, and transport related laboratory equipment. In the case of temporary or permanent condition(s) that require(s) accommodation(s), reasonable accommodation(s) may be requested.

Runs from 5/15/2023 through 7/21/2023

GWRI - Characterization of the bacterial population in local watersheds, and relation to human health and environment

Appearance of fecal bacteria from human and livestock origin in ground water has local and global health implications. In the local Holland area watershed, high fecal bacterial counts, especially following heavy rainfall, regularly closes down swimming and other recreational use. Furthermore, although bacterial contamination is not problematic in drinking water locally thanks to municipal water treatment, it is a major cause of poor health, particularly in children, in many developing countries. Our laboratory is working to identify water-borne fecal bacterial in terms of species of host origin.

This project is a collaborative effort between Dr. Pikaart and Drs. Aaron Best and Brent Krueger.

Faculty Mentor(s): Michael Pikaart
Home Department: Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

Qualifications: All students interested in this research project are encouraged to apply. Current enrollment in an undergraduate program is required.

Working Conditions: This position requires remaining in a sitting or standing position for frequent periods of time, typing and computer work. You may be required to lift, move, and transport related laboratory equipment. In the case of temporary or permanent condition(s) that require(s) accommodation(s), reasonable accommodation(s) may be requested.

Runs from 5/15/2023 through 7/21/2023

GWRI - Computational and biochemical analysis of microbial sources within the Lake Macatawa watershed

This project blends computer science, math, biology, and chemistry. Our research efforts have resulted in the compilation of a large multi-year dataset that includes DNA sequences for many thousands of microbes, as well as individually isolated E. coli strains, from hundreds of samples acquired under a variety of environmental conditions. We hope to understand how the variation in the different microbial species that are present and their relative abundance depends on environmental conditions and other factors such as antimicrobial resistance genes present within the microbes themselves. To accomplish this we will combine sophisticated computational methods (e.g. machine learning) with more next-generation sequencing, PCR, and biochemical analyses. Using these tools, we are posing several questions: If we find evidence of fecal contamination, can we tell whether that contamination is from humans versus nonhuman origin (domestic or wildlife) and can we identify the specific location from which such contamination is originating? Do we identify antimicrobial resistance genes in E. coli that are living in the watershed? Students are likely to focus on either biochemical or computational methods, though it is possible for a student to work in both areas if they desire.

Faculty Mentor(s): Aaron Best, Brent Krueger, Michael Pikaart
Home Department: Biology

Qualifications: All students interested in this research project are encouraged to apply. Current enrollment in an undergraduate program is required.

Working Conditions: This position requires remaining in a sitting or standing position for frequent periods of time, field work (personal transportation not required) typing and computer work. You may be required to lift, move, and transport related laboratory equipment. May be required to work with animals and potentially hazardous and toxic materials. In the case of temporary or permanent condition(s) that require(s) accommodation(s), reasonable accommodation(s) may be requested.

Runs from 5/15/2023 through 7/21/2023

GWRI - Evaluating the response of Michigan peatlands to recent climate change

Peatlands are a natural carbon sink, and currently store more carbon than the world’s forests combined in the form of partially decomposed organic matter. However, climate change is expected to shift the climate window of peatlands to the north. Southwest Michigan lies at the southern extreme of the current range of peatlands, and could therefore be the first to be affected by warming. This project will evaluate if climate change has already started to impact the carbon balance of these ecosystems. Students involved in this project will participate in a 10-day field campaign, sampling bogs from the Michigan-Indiana border to the upper peninsula, then conduct measurements and experiments exploring how carbon and nitrogen cycling change along the transect.
This project has roles for students with a variety of interests, ranging from ecology to analytical chemistry.

Faculty Mentor(s): Michael Philben
Home Department: Geological and Environmental Science

Qualifications: All students interested in this research project are encouraged to apply. Current enrollment in an undergraduate program is required.

Working Conditions: This position requires remaining in a sitting or standing position for frequent periods of time, typing and computer work. You may be required to lift, move, and transport related laboratory equipment. In the case of temporary or permanent condition(s) that require(s) accommodation(s), reasonable accommodation(s) may be requested.

Runs from 5/15/2023 through 7/21/2023

GWRI - Global Surveys of Drinking Quality and Wellbeing of At Risk Populations

Lack of sustainable access to clean drinking water continues to be an issue of paramount global importance, leading to millions of preventable deaths annually. Best practices for providing sustainable access to clean drinking water, however, remain unclear. Widespread installation of low-cost, in-home, point of use water filtration systems is a promising strategy. Interventions such as these need to be done in a way that recognizes the needs and desires of the local community and is sensitive and consistent with the local culture. Finally assessment of success of the intervention is a critical tool to aid future projects. Students involved in this project will assist in a number of possible projects including: creation of survey instruments that assess community needs, public health and wellbeing, and likelihood of intervention success; understanding connections among bacterial communities, chemical contaminants and other environmental factors found in different drinking water sources from across the world; analysis of databases of drinking water quality.

Faculty Mentor(s): Aaron Best, Brent Krueger, Michael Pikaart
Home Department: Biology

Qualifications: All students interested in this research project are encouraged to apply. Current enrollment in an undergraduate program is required.

Working Conditions: This position requires remaining in a sitting or standing position for frequent periods of time, field work (personal transportation not required) typing and computer work. You may be required to lift, move, and transport related laboratory equipment. May be required to work with animals and potentially hazardous and toxic materials. In the case of temporary or permanent condition(s) that require(s) accommodation(s), reasonable accommodation(s) may be requested.

Runs from 5/15/2023 through 7/21/2023

Mitochondrial genome regulation by nucleoid proteins involved in redox sensing and one-carbon metabolism

This project focuses on biochemical mechanisms that control the function of mitochondria, specialized compartments within cells that are central to energy production and cell metabolism. Defects in mitochondrial gene expression cause a multitude of inherited human diseases and contribute significantly to age-related pathologies, like neurodegenerative disorders and cancer. Study of the basic biochemical mechanisms governing mitochondrial DNA transcription and genome stability will allow for a deeper understanding of these diseases, for which there are few effective treatments. Mitochondria contain their own small genome (mitochondrial DNA) that contains the genetic instructions for a small number of proteins required for cellular energy production. For mitochondria to function properly, these organelles rely on genetic instructions carried within their own genome, as well as those carried in the nuclear genome. Nuclear DNA carries the instructions for the majority of the 2000-member mitochondrial proteome, including a number of nucleoid proteins which are shown to associate with mitochondrial DNA. How cells regulate the expression of the mitochondrial genome in response to changing energetic needs is largely unknown. Students working on this project will explore if proteins known to interact with mitochondrial DNA serve as sensors of nutrient availability and in turn control mitochondrial gene expression, providing insight into fundamental mechanisms that control mammalian cell function.

Specifically, the research will focus on the intersection between one-carbon metabolism and redox metabolism with mitochondrial genome regulation. Enzymes involved in one-carbon metabolism provide 1C (methyl groups) for the synthesis of nucleotides and amino acids. These enzymes are interconnected with cellular pathways that regenerate antioxidants, molecules or proteins that help combat oxidative damage in cells. Recent studies to determine proteins that interact with mtDNA identified a group of four interconnected proteins that are involved in one-carbon metabolism and redox sensing (ALDH1L2, MTHFD1L, SHMT2, PRDX5). Students will explore the hypothesis that the proximity of ALDH1L2, MTHFD1L, SHMT2, and PRDX5 to mtDNA is required to relay nutrient status signals and regulate mtDNA maintenance and expression to meet changing metabolic needs. A combination of biochemical and cell biology approaches will be used to characterize these four proteins in the following ways: 1) Monitor protein localization and mitochondrial genome maintenance in cells with altered one-carbon metabolism; 2) determine the nature of the interaction of these proteins with mtDNA; and 3) Assess whether DNA association alters protein activity.

Faculty Mentor(s): Kristin Dittenhafer-Reed
Home Department: Chemistry

Qualifications: All students interested in this research project are encouraged to apply. Current enrollment in an undergraduate program is required.

Working Conditions: This position requires remaining in a sitting or standing position for frequent periods of time, typing and computer work. You may be required to lift, move, and transport related laboratory equipment. In the case of temporary or permanent condition(s) that require(s) accommodation(s), reasonable accommodation(s) may be requested.

Runs from 5/15/2023 through 7/21/2023

Olfactory degeneration and dysfunction following acute hypoxia in zebrafish

Hypoxia, a lack of enough oxygen in tissues to sustain bodily functions, has a detrimental impact on behavioral health. It is important to understand the detrimental impact on brain physiology and function following hypoxia as the overall performance of the central nervous system (CNS). Zebrafish are ideal models to study hypoxic damage in the brain. They have been shown to be susceptible to hypoxic attacks, and have been used as an alternative model to study hypoxic-ischemic brain damage.

Our overarching goal is to study the effects of low oxygen on the olfactory system. For this, we established a novel model of hypoxic exposure in zebrafish. The central hypothesis is that acute hypoxic exposure will cause neural degeneration throughout the olfactory system, and that this will lead to olfactory dysfunction.

To study this, we use (1) behavioral assays to assess olfactory function and behavior, and (2) confocal microscopy to study fluorescent markers of neural degeneration.

Faculty Mentor(s): Erika Calvo-Ochoa
Home Department: Biology

Qualifications: All students interested in this research project are encouraged to apply. Preference is given to applicants who are interested in doing research for at least a year and have taken intro to bio and or intro to neuro and preferably at least an upper bio/neuro course. Ability to work independently, accurately and to problem solve technical and methodological issues that arise during the course of research. Ability to apply sound research techniques, methodology and logical critical analysis.

Working Conditions: This position requires remaining in a sitting or standing position for frequent periods of time, typing and computer work. You may be required to lift, move, and transport related laboratory equipment. May be required to work with animals and potentially hazardous materials. In the case of temporary or permanent condition(s) that require(s) accommodation(s), reasonable accommodation(s) may be requested.

Runs from 5/15/2023 through 7/21/2023

Organic synthesis and photochemistry of colorful photoswitching dyes

The Gillmore research group of 3-5 Hope College undergraduate students will focus on the synthesis of organic photoswitches that are triggered by long-wavelength visible or near infrared (NIR) irradiation (Yang, et al. J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2014, 136, 13190). Eventual application of these dyes will include their incorporation into polymer networks with the goal of developing NIR responsive polymeric materials for use in photomechanical applications such as wireless ""soft robotic"" actuators, binary optical switches and positioners, or surfaces with morphing topologies, at wavelengths other device components do not absorb and which may be compatible with biomedical applications including transdermal irradiation. However our current ACS PRF grant first funds our study of far more fundamental structure property relationships of these dyes. We have recently discovered how to functionalize these dyes in ways their initial discoverer did not, and shown that substitution on the quinoline ring has as big or bigger effect than on the phenyl ring they initially studied. Thus we will explore a range of electron donating and withdrawing (push-pull) substitituents at multiple positions on both rings to see how far into the NIR we can push these dyes, and to correlate structural and spectral changes to further our fundamental understanding. Additional work may focus on adding synthetic handles to incorporate the dyes into more complex structures, and on exploring the range of reaction conditions to which the dyes are stable.

Students also interested in computational modeling can additionally contribute to target selection based on computed spectral properties, and should note their computational interests in their application or via email. (Don't apply to both this project and my computational project - just apply to one but express interest in both.) Students with more detailed spectroscopic / analytical / physical interests may in the future pursue more detailed photophysical studies of the dyes. But organic synthesis will be the group's primary thrust for at least the next 6-18 months.

Hope students on this project are expected to begin during the spring semester (CHEM 490 for 0 or 1 credit, or by tying this research to a related CHEM 256B Organic Chemistry II Laboratory elective independent synthesis project.) Likewise there is a definite expectation for all Hope students to continue the work into the Fall semester as well, unless we reach a different understanding in advance.

Faculty Mentor(s): Jason Gillmore
Home Department: Chemistry

Qualifications: All students interested in this research project are encouraged to apply. Current enrollment in an undergraduate program is required.

Working Conditions: This position requires remaining in a sitting or standing position for frequent periods of time, typing and computer work. You may be required to lift, move, and transport related laboratory equipment. In the case of temporary or permanent condition(s) that require(s) accommodation(s), reasonable accommodation(s) may be requested.

Runs from 5/10/2023 through 7/19/2023

Regulation of mitochondrial DNA transcription

Overview: Defects in mitochondrial gene expression cause a multitude of inherited human diseases and contribute significantly to age-related pathologies, like neurodegenerative disorders and cancer. Study of the basic biochemical mechanisms governing mitochondrial DNA transcription and genome stability will allow for a deeper understanding of these diseases, for which there are few effective treatments. Mitochondria exist at the center of cellular biosynthetic pathways and play a major role in energy production, apoptosis and oxidative stress. Mitochondria contain a DNA genome (mtDNA) encoding thirteen essential components of oxidative phosphorylation, the metabolic pathway generating cellular energy currency in the form of ATP. The remaining 1500 member mitochondrial proteome is encoded by the nuclear genome, including an additional 70 components needed for oxidative phosphorylation and the machinery required for mtDNA replication, transcription, and translation. Therefore, coordination of nuclear and mitochondrial gene expression is essential for mitochondrial function. While core components of mitochondrial transcription initiation are known, a detailed understanding of transcriptional control is lacking. The goal of the research is to uncover biochemical mechanisms that govern mitochondrial gene expression and mtDNA stability.

Specific project details: Regulation of mtDNA transcription by reversible protein post-translational modifications. Protein post-translational modifications (PTMs), including reversible lysine acetylation and serine/threonine phosphorylation, can regulate protein function. Dynamic PTM of histone proteins and nuclear transcription factors control nuclear gene expression; however whether similar mechanisms exist in the mitochondria is unknown. Our work and others revealed proteins involved in mtDNA gene expression are subject to PTM. This project will determine the role of PTMs in regulating mtDNA transcription and mtDNA stability. Students involved in this project will integrate chemical and biological course knowledge to carry out experiments and will learn lab techniques including: protein purification, enzyme assays, cell culture, western blotting, and molecular biology approaches.

Faculty Mentor(s): Kristin Dittenhafer-Reed
Home Department: Chemistry

Qualifications: All students interested in this research project are encouraged to apply. Current enrollment in an undergraduate program is required.

Working Conditions: This position requires remaining in a sitting or standing position for frequent periods of time, typing and computer work. You may be required to lift, move, and transport related laboratory equipment. In the case of temporary or permanent condition(s) that require(s) accommodation(s), reasonable accommodation(s) may be requested.

Runs from 5/15/2023 through 7/21/2023

Sliding Processes in Soft Materials

ELINSKI LAB: The Elinski Lab (elinskilab.org) focuses on surface chemistry and tribology - the study of surfaces in relative motion, (including friction, adhesion, lubrication, and wear. Please note that this area of research is not traditionally covered in coursework, but pulls on core principles from chemistry, materials science, physics, and engineering. Everything an interested student would need to know will be taught in the lab, so Dr. Elinski encourages all students to meet with her and apply, regardless of year in school or course background!

BACKGROUND: Soft materials have an impressive range of applications, from flexible electronics and haptic interfaces to biomimicry such as artificial cartilage. In particular, hydrogels (water-swollen polymer networks) bring a unique set of characteristics to these applications through their notable durability, stretchability, and aqueous composition. Given the complexity of interfaces formed with hydrogels and any potential hybrid structures, chemical structure-function relationships are at the core of many of the processes involved with motion (sliding processes) in potential applications. The Elinski Lab aims to develop a deeper fundamental understanding of the sliding processes of hydrogel composites to enable the broader incorporation of soft materials in tailored applications.

PROJECT OVERVIEW: Student researchers on this project will synthesize hydrogels and hydrogel-nanomaterial composites, with material choice focusing on target applications including haptic interfaces and modeling osteoarthritis treatments for the cartilage in joints. For either target application, the focus will be understanding the interplay of chemical-mechanical behavior in controlled environments and impact on interfacial adhesion, friction, and wear.

A suite of analytical instruments will be used for this work, including atomic force microscopy (AFM), rheology, scanning electron microscopy and energy dispersive spectroscopy (SEM/EDS), confocal Raman microspectroscopy, and attenuated total reflectance Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy (ATR-FTIR).

DETAILS: The summer research program will consist of 10 forty-hour work weeks to be conducted in the Elinski Lab on Hope College’s campus. In addition to the research there are professional development activities, along with planned social events throughout the summer to meet fellow chemistry researchers and students conducting research in other departments! There is also the potential for research projects to be continued into the following academic year.

Working on this research will provide students with a strong foundation in fundamental chemistry at surfaces and interfaces along with multidisciplinary skills in materials, (bio)mechanics, and the wider reaching principles of nanoscience. As the primary leads for their research, students will also have opportunities for authoring peer-reviewed journal articles and presenting and networking at scientific conferences.

Faculty Mentor(s): Dr. Meagan Elinski
Home Department: Chemistry

Qualifications: All students interested in this research project are encouraged to apply. Current enrollment in an undergraduate program is required.

Working Conditions: This position requires remaining in a sitting or standing position for frequent periods of time, typing and computer work. You may be required to lift, move, and transport related laboratory equipment. In the case of temporary or permanent condition(s) that require(s) accommodation(s), reasonable accommodation(s) may be requested.

Runs from 5/29/2023 through 8/4/2023

Urbanization and the availability of carotenoids in the diets of songbirds

In intersexual communication many signals have evolved to honestly convey information about the sender to the receiver. The carotenoid-based colors (e.g., bright red, orange, and yellow) of passerine birds have become a model system for the study of honest signaling and sexual selection via female. Male feather carotenoid pigmentation has been linked to males with a better ability to resist and recover from parasitic infections, higher quality diets, and lower exposure to oxidative stress. Females, in turn, have been shown to prefer males that have greater carotenoid pigmentation as it is an honest reflection of male condition on a variety of scales. While perhaps best known for their role in signaling displays, carotenoids also play an essential role in avian vision, and therefore the sensory perception of the carotenoid displays themselves. In birds, cone photoreceptors contain an oil droplet, a small organelle filled with carotenoids that functions in selectively absorbing certain wavelengths of light and therefore shifting the spectral sensitivity of the cone visual pigments.

It is our hypothesis that there will therefore be differences in the retinal carotenoids of songbirds based on their habitat, urban or rural. We will apply currently accepted HPLC protocols on hydrolyzed retinal carotenoid esters to study this hypothesis. We will simultaneously attempt to develop more robust HPLC/MS/MS methods, which may be feasible directly on retinal extracts without ester hydrolysis.

Faculty Mentor(s): Kelly Ronald, Jason Gillmore
Home Department: Chemistry

Qualifications: All students interested in this research project are encouraged to apply. Current enrollment in an undergraduate program is required.

Working Conditions: This position requires remaining in a sitting or standing position for frequent periods of time, field work (personal transportation not required) typing and computer work. You may be required to lift, move, and transport related laboratory equipment. May be required to work with animals and potentially hazardous and toxic materials. In the case of temporary or permanent condition(s) that require(s) accommodation(s), reasonable accommodation(s) may be requested.

Runs from 5/15/2023 through 7/21/2023

Biology

A Canary in the Coalmine: Using the house sparrow as a model for testing the effects of air pollution on behavior and physiology

This interdisciplinary project will incorporate the disciplines of Biology, Neuroscience, Psychology, Chemistry and Materials Science. However the project is specifically housed within the Hope College Department of Biology.

There is great concern regarding the adverse health implications of engineered nanoparticles. However, there are many circumstances where the production of incidental nanoparticles, i.e., nanoparticles unintentionally generated as a side product of some anthropogenic process, is of even greater concern. These nanoparticles can transport through the respiratory system and translocate to other organs, including the brain. The health implications of this transport has been study in in-vitro systems and animals models like mice, but never before in birds. Birds are an interesting model because their respiratory anatomy makes them uniquely susceptible to airborne contaminants. Additionally, we expect that this species should be an interesting model as they should be exposed to incidental nanoparticles present in air. This project will examine both the visual and auditory sensory processing of the songbird the house sparrow (passer domesticus), behavioral changes, and resulting bioaccumulation of iron. House sparrows frequently occupy a variety of human dominated environments and therefore span the gradient of noise and light pollution areas.

Faculty Mentor(s): Kelly Ronald, Natalia Gonzalez-Pech
Home Department: Biology

Qualifications: All students interested in this research project are encouraged to apply. Current enrollment in an undergraduate program is required.

Working Conditions: This position requires remaining in a sitting or standing position for frequent periods of time, field work (personal transportation not required) typing and computer work. You may be required to lift, move, and transport related laboratory equipment. May be required to work with animals and potentially hazardous and toxic materials. In the case of temporary or permanent condition(s) that require(s) accommodation(s), reasonable accommodation(s) may be requested.

Runs from 5/8/2023 through 7/14/2023

Assessing auditory and visual processing with evoked potentials in the house sparrow, passer domesticus

This interdisciplinary project will incorporate the disciplines of Biology, Neuroscience, and Psychology. However the project is specifically housed within the Hope College Department of Biology.

Anthropogenic disturbances have long changed the dynamics of our ecosystems and habitats. Alongside this change in the physical environment comes alterations of both the environmental light and sound profiles. New research has shed light on the strategies that animals use to signal in environments that are dominated by sound and light pollution. For example, there is repeated evidence to suggest that birds in urban areas sing at higher-frequencies to avoid masking by lower-frequency traffic noise. Less is known, however, about whether signal receivers differ in their visual and auditory physiology as a result of noise and sound pollution. As communication involves both the successful production of signals as well as the successful reception of these signals, it is imperative that we examine receiver sensory processing as a function of anthropogenic disturbance. This project will examine both the visual and auditory sensory processing of the song bird the house sparrow (passer domesticus). House sparrows frequently occupy a variety of human dominated environments and therefore span the gradient of noise and light pollution areas. We would predict that house sparrows captured in areas with greater human disturbance might show better high frequency hearing than animals captured in more rural areas; additionally, we might also expect that visual temporal resolution (e.g., the ability to of detect motion) will differ between the two populations. Studies examining the effects of human disturbance on receiver sensory processing are vitally important to developing efficient and effective conservation efforts.

Students involved in this project will be involved in both field and lab techniques including auditory and visual recordings in the field, animal handling and capture, and physiological experiments (auditory and visual evoked potential recordings) in the lab.

Faculty Mentor(s): Kelly Ronald
Home Department: Biology

Qualifications: All students interested in this research project are encouraged to apply. Current enrollment in an undergraduate program is required.

Working Conditions: This position requires remaining in a sitting or standing position for frequent periods of time, field work (personal transportation not required) typing and computer work. You may be required to lift, move, and transport related laboratory equipment. May be required to work with animals and potentially hazardous and toxic materials. In the case of temporary or permanent condition(s) that require(s) accommodation(s), reasonable accommodation(s) may be requested.

Runs from 5/8/2023 through 7/14/2023

Bacterial virus biology and genome evolution

A bacteriophage, or more simply, phage, is a virus that infects bacterial cells. They are the most numerous biological entities in the world and collectively carry the largest assembly of novel genetic information. Mycobacteriophages are phages that infect the bacterial genus, Mycobacterium. Nearly 40 genetically distinct types have been described (grouped into “clusters” based on genome sequence similarity), all of which are capable of infecting the same host, M. smegmatis MC2155. Research in my lab is focused on understanding basic mycobacteriophage biology and more broadly, phage genome evolution.

One of my research projects explores the biology of ‘Cluster K’ mycobacteriophages. Mycobacteriophage members of this cluster are particularly noteworthy because of their general ability to infect a broad range of mycobacterial hosts, often including the human pathogen, M. tuberculosis. Our focus is on more clearly describing the growth features of several distinct subgroups of Cluster K1 phages, which may relate to differences in host preference in the environment. One interesting aspect of at least one subgroup of Cluster K mycobacteriophages (subcluster K1) is that they appear more readily isolated at lower temperatures compared to other mycobacteriophages of similarly large clusters. This subgroup of Cluster K1 mycobacteriophages typically do not propagate at 42°C, and the point of inhibition appears to be after phage DNA has been transferred into host cells. Further, analysis of one-step growth curve performed at lower temperatures show that they release markedly higher numbers of new phage particles at cell lysis compared to ‘control’ mycobacteriophages, consistent with an adaptation to an environment with a low host density. We believe there is a link between these isolation and temperature-dependent growth features of Cluster K mycobacteriophages and their recognized broader host range. This project is nearing completion, but several questions still remain to be addressed.

Another research project in my lab explores how mycobacteriophages recognize and initiate infection of mycobacterial host cells. Despite the nearly 40 distinct genomic types, or clusters, of mycobacteriophages isolated on the single host, Mycobacterium smegmatis, only a few clusters - A2, A3, G, K, AB - have phages that can also efficiently infect a broader range of hosts, including M. tuberculosis and/or other mycobacterial species. Previous analyses have pointed to the initiation of phage infection as critical in determining host range. However, the molecular and genetic details initiating mycobacteriophage infection are largely unknown. In this project, we are continuing our investigation into how mycobacteriophages initiate infection of mycobacterial host cells, from reversible binding to irreversible binding and phage DNA transfer into the host cell, using microbiological, genetic, and molecular approaches. We have isolated mycobacterial cell mutants with reduced sensitivity to mycobacteriophage infection and are investigating the basis of their change in phenotype. In addition, we are specifically investigating a conserved gene that is predicted to be a component of the tail tip structure of phages from this subset of mycobacteriophages (Clusters A2, A3, G, K, AB), but not other clusters, for its role in the infection initiation process.

The newest research project in my lab uses mycobacteriophages as a model phage system but is focused more generally on bacteriophage genomics and genome evolution. This project seeks to better understand the similarities and differences in phage genome structure and gene content across known bacteriophages, and to address questions on the nature and function of the evolutionary mechanisms that generate the observed genomic and genetic diversity. To address these questions, we are constructing pairs of phages with modified genomes that differ in the presence/absence of specific coding information and are using them in assays to assess their impact on phage growth and fitness. This work will help us understand how genetic diversity, prevalent in phage genomes, is generated, as well as better understand the modular nature of phage genomes.

Faculty Mentor(s): Joseph Stukey
Home Department: Biology

Qualifications: All students interested in this research project are encouraged to apply. Current enrollment in an undergraduate program is required. Preferred qualifications: some basic subject knowledge and biological lab experience (e.g., biology course lab), good organization skills, effective oral/written communication skills, sound critical thinking/logical reasoning skills, and able to work independently. Positions are open to current Hope College students.

Working Conditions: This position requires remaining in a sitting or standing position for frequent periods of time, typing and computer work. You may be required to lift, move, and transport related laboratory equipment. In the case of temporary or permanent condition(s) that require(s) accommodation(s), reasonable accommodation(s) may be requested.

Runs from 5/15/2023 through 7/21/2023

Chemical Avenues to Sustainable Energy Consumption

ELINSKI LAB: The Elinski Lab (elinskilab.org) focuses on surface chemistry and tribology - the study of surfaces in relative motion, (including friction, adhesion, lubrication, and wear. Please note that this area of research is not traditionally covered in coursework, but pulls on core principles from chemistry, materials science, physics, and engineering. Everything an interested student would need to know will be taught in the lab, so Dr. Elinski encourages all students to meet with her and apply, regardless of year in school or course background!

BACKGROUND: There is a significant imbalance between energy produced in the United States vs that which is consumed, with roughly two-thirds of produced energy wasted. One source of this loss is the energy dissipation associated with friction and wear between surfaces in relative motion. To address this, one goal of the Elinski Lab is to understand how fundamental chemical mechanisms in sliding contacts can be capitalized on for controlling friction and wear processes.

PROJECT OVERVIEW: Student researchers interested in this area will work on one of two projects. One project focuses on nanomaterial composite systems in dry sliding contacts, with target applications for electric vehicles and space lubrication (funding through NASA). The second project focuses on understanding surface reactions in oil environments (funding through the American Chemical Society Petroleum Research Fund). Both projects will study confined, nanoscale dynamic (sliding) contacts to understand chemical-mechanical relationships. Surface modification methods - including nanoparticle films to control roughness and self-assembled monolayers to control functionality - will be used to systematically interrogate the formation of protective surface films. These surface-bound films develop as a result of chemical processes driven by mechanical forces. A better understanding of film formation can help develop advanced control over sliding interfaces, improving strategies towards mitigating energy loss.

A suite of analytical instruments will be used for this work, including atomic force microscopy (AFM), rheology, scanning electron microscopy and energy dispersive spectroscopy (SEM/EDS), confocal Raman microspectroscopy, and attenuated total reflectance Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy (ATR-FTIR).

DETAILS: The summer research program will consist of 10 forty-hour work weeks to be conducted in the Elinski Lab on Hope College’s campus. In addition to the research there are professional development activities, along with planned social events throughout the summer to meet fellow chemistry researchers and students conducting research in other departments! There is also the potential for research projects to be continued into the following academic year.

Working on this research will provide students with a strong foundation in fundamental chemistry at surfaces and interfaces along with multidisciplinary skills in materials, mechanics, and the wider reaching principles of nanoscience. As the primary leads for their research, students will also have opportunities for authoring peer-reviewed journal articles and presenting and networking at scientific conferences.

Faculty Mentor(s): Dr. Meagan Elinski
Home Department: Chemistry

Qualifications: All students interested in this research project are encouraged to apply. Current enrollment in an undergraduate program is required.

Working Conditions: This position requires remaining in a sitting or standing position for frequent periods of time, typing and computer work. You may be required to lift, move, and transport related laboratory equipment. In the case of temporary or permanent condition(s) that require(s) accommodation(s), reasonable accommodation(s) may be requested.

Runs from 5/29/2023 through 8/4/2023

Chemical Defenses of Pioneer Plant Seeds

This interdisciplinary project will incorporate perspectives from both Biology and Chemistry to elucidate the basis of chemical defenses in tropical pioneer plant seeds. It is specifically housed within the Hope College Department of Chemistry, but student investigators will work closely with both Dr. Murray (Biology, emeritus) and Dr. Sanford (Chemistry).
Tropical rainforests are legendary for their biological diversity and for the complexity of interactions among their species. The interactions between animals and plants are especially prominent – animals are important as pollinators, seed dispersers and seed predators, and plants are under strong selection pressure to reinforce the positive interactions with animals and to weaken the negative ones. “Pioneer” plants – those that specialize on colonizing recently disturbed patches of forest but which cannot compete in the shaded understory – constitute a model system in which to study tropical plant-animal interactions because their seeds must survive in the soil for years despite intense threats from both animals and pathogenic fungi. This summer, we will continue our characterization of the chemical defenses of pioneer plant seeds, focusing on species whose seeds can survive for decades in tropical soils, despite threats from seed-eating animals and microbial attack. Students involved in this research will employ a variety of extraction, chemical separation and analysis techniques, as well as toxicity bioassays against fungi and arthropods. They will also gain experience in hypothesis formation and statistical analysis, in analyzing the scientific literature critically, and in presenting their research results in written and oral formats. If you are interested in this research, email Dr. Sanford at sanford@hope.edu to make an appointment to discuss the research opportunities available in the Sanford group.

Faculty Mentor(s): Elizabeth Sanford
Home Department: Chemistry

Qualifications: All students interested in this research project are encouraged to apply. Current enrollment in an undergraduate program is required.

Working Conditions: This position requires remaining in a sitting or standing position for frequent periods of time, typing and computer work. You may be required to lift, move, and transport related laboratory equipment. In the case of temporary or permanent condition(s) that require(s) accommodation(s), reasonable accommodation(s) may be requested.Use of chemicals will be required.

Runs from 5/15/2023 through 7/21/2023

Combating oxidative stress: Molecular analysis of System xc- and the cellular anti-oxidant defense system

In living organisms, routine metabolic processes result in the formation of oxidants within the cellular environment that can be toxic to the cells themselves. My research is focused on discovering the molecular mechanism by which oxidants regulate a membrane transport system, System xc-, that provides neurons and glia with the precursors required to synthesize a cellular antioxidant called glutathione. System xc- is a plasma membrane transport system that catalyzes the stoichiometric exchange of extracellular cystine for intracellular glutamate in the brain. The internalized cystine is then used for glutathione synthesis which protects the brain from oxidative damage. While several groups have demonstrated transcriptional regulation of System xc- within 24 hours of exposure of cells to oxidants there have been essentially no studies which have examined the short-term regulation of transporter activity. My students and I have shown that oxidants acutely (within minutes) regulate System xc- by modulating the cell surface expression of the transporter. These exciting findings suggest a novel form of regulation of System xc- that may serve as a critical component of the cellular defense system in protecting cells from oxidative insults. We are currently using biochemical and molecular techniques to 1) identify important trafficking motifs and post-translation modifications that occur within the intracellular regions of System xc- and 2) describe the cellular signaling pathways that are involved in the hydrogen peroxide-regulated activity of System xc-. Ultimately, this work will provide us with a better understanding of molecular processes which acutely regulate System xc- and identify key proteins which regulate transporter trafficking. As such, this work may provide direction for future studies aimed at pharmacological manipulation of System xc- activity for therapeutic benefit.

Each student in the Chase lab has their own independent research project that fits into the overall research aims of the lab. Students also assist in formulating testable hypotheses and constructing appropriate experimental designs to test their hypotheses.

Faculty Mentor(s): Leah Chase
Home Department: Chemistry

Qualifications: All students interested in this research project are encouraged to apply. Current enrollment in an undergraduate program is required.

Working Conditions: This position requires remaining in a sitting or standing position for frequent periods of time, typing and computer work. You may be required to lift, move, and transport related laboratory equipment. In the case of temporary or permanent condition(s) that require(s) accommodation(s), reasonable accommodation(s) may be requested.

Runs from 5/15/2023 through 7/21/2023

Control of Cellular signaling in cancer

This interdisciplinary project will incorporate the disciplines of chemistry and biology. The project is specifically housed within the Hope College Departments of biology and chemistry .

Research conducted in our lab focuses on elucidating the normal function for VACM-1/cul5, an endothelium specific gene product which shares sequence homology with cullins, a family of intracellular proteins that regulate diverse signaling pathways in response to changes in the cellular environment. Our work to date indicates that VACM-1 protein regulates cellular growth by a mechanism that distinguishes it from growth regulating factors, and from other cullins, and thus suggests a unique biological role for this largely uncharacterized protein. We have shown that both, in cancer cells and in endothelial cells, VACM-1 inhibits growth while expression of VACM-1 mutant has a dominant negative effect on cellular proliferation in vitro. Importantly, expression of VACM-1 mutants and the knockout of VACM-1 using CRISPR, convert endothelial cells to the angiogenic phenotype. Consequently, VACM-1 may play a role as a potential novel suppressor of angiogenesis in vivo.
Thus, the goal of our recent research is to test the hypothesis that VACM-1 is involved in the regulation of endothelial cell growth, and to identify the mechanism of VACM-1 regulated angiogenesis in vitro. Specifically, we are examining the effects of posttranslational modification on the biological activity of VACM-1 and whether aberrant expression of VACM-1, or expression of mutated VACM-1 may lead to a disease, cancer in particular. Students will be involved in designing experiments that test different aspects of the structure-function properties of VACM-1. Students involved in our research projects will learn experimental procedures that include DNA isolation, site-directed mutagenesis, cell culture, immunocytochemistry, spectrophotometry, fluorescence polarization techniques, polyacrylamide gel analysis and Western blotting. Importantly, students will learn to read, discuss, and question research papers effectively and to prepare scientific manuscripts.

Faculty Mentor(s): Maria Burnatowska-Hledin
Home Department: Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

Qualifications: All students interested in this research project are encouraged to apply. Current enrollment in an undergraduate program is required.

Working Conditions: This position requires remaining in a sitting or standing position for frequent periods of time, typing and computer work. You may be required to lift, move, and transport related laboratory equipment. In the case of temporary or permanent condition(s) that require(s) accommodation(s), reasonable accommodation(s) may be requested.

Runs from 5/15/2023 through 7/21/2023

Dopaminergic degeneration to study olfactory dysfunction in a zebrafish model of Parkinson’s Disease

Parkinson’s disease (PD) is one of the most common neurodegenerative diseases and leading causes of long-term disabilities and mortality in aging populations. Olfactory dysfunction is present in 96% of individuals with PD. Interestingly, olfactory loss is among the earliest symptoms of PD, preceding motor dysfunction for years.

Although very prevalent, the mechanisms underpinning olfactory dysfunction in Parkinson’s Disease are largely unknown. Our overarching goal is to advance our understanding of mechanisms linking Parkinson’s Disease and olfactory dysfunction. For this, we established a novel model of retrograde degeneration by dopaminergic degeneration in the olfactory system of zebrafish.

Our central hypothesis is that dopaminergic loss in the olfactory bulb will cause retrograde degeneration to olfactory sensory neurons in the olfactory epithelium. To study this, we perform (1) histological and morphological studies of the olfactory system, using confocal immunofluorescent techniques, and (2) olfactory functional studies, using behavioral assays.

Faculty Mentor(s): Erika Calvo-Ochoa
Home Department: Biology

Qualifications: All students interested in this research project are encouraged to apply. Preference is given to students who are interested in pursuing research for at least one academic year and who have taken intro to bio and/or neuro, and preferably at least one upper bio/neuro course.

Working Conditions: This position requires remaining in a sitting or standing position for frequent periods of time, typing and computer work. You may be required to lift, move, and transport related laboratory equipment. May be required to work with animals and potentially hazardous materials. In the case of temporary or permanent condition(s) that require(s) accommodation(s), reasonable accommodation(s) may be requested.

Runs from 5/15/2023 through 7/21/2023

Electrochemical and Mass Spec Detection of Homocysteine and Homocysteic Acid

Bipolar disorder is a serious mood disorder that is characterized by periods of depression and mania. The development of novel therapies for this disorder has been hampered by the lack of a reliable animal model. We recently discovered that treatment of rats from postnatal day 3-18 with the glutamatergic agonist, homocysteic acid (HCA), leads to the development of manic and depressive behaviors in male and female rats. This model was developed based upon the clinical observation that elevated levels of the amino acid, homocysteine (HCY), are associated with the development of neuropsychiatric disorders. However, we reasoned that HCA, which is the oxidized metabolite of HCY, may actually dysregulate important glutamatergic pathways in the brain resulting in behaviors consistent with the bipolar phenotype. In order to provide strong construct validity to our new animal mode, we plan to directly test the hypothesis that elevated levels of HCY during the same critical period in developing rats will lead to an increase in HCA levels in the plasma and brain and the development of a mixed depressive/manic state. The specific goal for this summer is to complete the measurement of HCA and HCY levels in the plasma and brains rats exposed to high HCY during development. These data will analyzed in combination with our previous behavioral assessment of HCY treated rats so that we can better understand the link between HCA levels and the development of manic and depressive behaviors.

Faculty Mentor(s): Kenneth Brown
Home Department: Chemistry

Qualifications: All students interested in this research project are encouraged to apply. Current enrollment in an undergraduate program is required.

Working Conditions: This position requires remaining in a sitting or standing position for frequent periods of time, typing and computer work. You may be required to lift, move, and transport related laboratory equipment. In the case of temporary or permanent condition(s) that require(s) accommodation(s), reasonable accommodation(s) may be requested.

Runs from 5/15/2023 through 7/21/2023

GWRI - Characterization of the bacterial population in local watersheds, and relation to human health and environment

Appearance of fecal bacteria from human and livestock origin in ground water has local and global health implications. In the local Holland area watershed, high fecal bacterial counts, especially following heavy rainfall, regularly closes down swimming and other recreational use. Furthermore, although bacterial contamination is not problematic in drinking water locally thanks to municipal water treatment, it is a major cause of poor health, particularly in children, in many developing countries. Our laboratory is working to identify water-borne fecal bacterial in terms of species of host origin.

This project is a collaborative effort between Dr. Pikaart and Drs. Aaron Best and Brent Krueger.

Faculty Mentor(s): Michael Pikaart
Home Department: Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

Qualifications: All students interested in this research project are encouraged to apply. Current enrollment in an undergraduate program is required.

Working Conditions: This position requires remaining in a sitting or standing position for frequent periods of time, typing and computer work. You may be required to lift, move, and transport related laboratory equipment. In the case of temporary or permanent condition(s) that require(s) accommodation(s), reasonable accommodation(s) may be requested.

Runs from 5/15/2023 through 7/21/2023

GWRI - Computational and biochemical analysis of microbial sources within the Lake Macatawa watershed

This project blends computer science, math, biology, and chemistry. Our research efforts have resulted in the compilation of a large multi-year dataset that includes DNA sequences for many thousands of microbes, as well as individually isolated E. coli strains, from hundreds of samples acquired under a variety of environmental conditions. We hope to understand how the variation in the different microbial species that are present and their relative abundance depends on environmental conditions and other factors such as antimicrobial resistance genes present within the microbes themselves. To accomplish this we will combine sophisticated computational methods (e.g. machine learning) with more next-generation sequencing, PCR, and biochemical analyses. Using these tools, we are posing several questions: If we find evidence of fecal contamination, can we tell whether that contamination is from humans versus nonhuman origin (domestic or wildlife) and can we identify the specific location from which such contamination is originating? Do we identify antimicrobial resistance genes in E. coli that are living in the watershed? Students are likely to focus on either biochemical or computational methods, though it is possible for a student to work in both areas if they desire.

Faculty Mentor(s): Aaron Best, Brent Krueger, Michael Pikaart
Home Department: Biology

Qualifications: All students interested in this research project are encouraged to apply. Current enrollment in an undergraduate program is required.

Working Conditions: This position requires remaining in a sitting or standing position for frequent periods of time, field work (personal transportation not required) typing and computer work. You may be required to lift, move, and transport related laboratory equipment. May be required to work with animals and potentially hazardous and toxic materials. In the case of temporary or permanent condition(s) that require(s) accommodation(s), reasonable accommodation(s) may be requested.

Runs from 5/15/2023 through 7/21/2023

GWRI - Contemporary sand dune and wetlands studies

This project focuses on contemporary dune processes, including the interdunal wetlands at Saugatuck Harbor Natural Area (SHNA), and other coastal dune complexes along Lake Michigan’s eastern coast. SHNA is home to several large interdunal wetlands or slacks, an endangered ecosystem amidst the coastal dunes of Lake Michigan. We have been performing ecohydrological studies in these wetlands for 6 years and are continuing and expanding our longitudinal study again this summer. Summer research will include 1. Reading pertinent scholarly articles and developing relevant interdisciplinary background in geology, ecology, and hydrology; 2. Collecting and analyzing ground and surface water samples for selected analytes; 3. Performing vegetation quadrat sampling; 4. Performing hydrological studies based on data from the groundwater monitoring wells. Multispectral imaging has also been ongoing at this site and will be performed again this coming year. Additional multispectral imaging will be performed at other coastal dune complexes along the lakeshore as well.

Faculty Mentor(s): Suzanne DeVries-Zimmerman, Brian Yurk, Mike Philben
Home Department: Geological and Environmental Science

Qualifications: All students interested in this research project are encouraged to apply. Current enrollment in an undergraduate program is required.

Working Conditions: This position requires remaining in a sitting or standing position for frequent periods of time, typing and computer work. You may be required to lift, move, and transport related laboratory equipment. In the case of temporary or permanent condition(s) that require(s) accommodation(s), reasonable accommodation(s) may be requested.

Runs from 5/15/2023 through 7/21/2023

GWRI - Evaluating the response of Michigan peatlands to recent climate change

Peatlands are a natural carbon sink, and currently store more carbon than the world’s forests combined in the form of partially decomposed organic matter. However, climate change is expected to shift the climate window of peatlands to the north. Southwest Michigan lies at the southern extreme of the current range of peatlands, and could therefore be the first to be affected by warming. This project will evaluate if climate change has already started to impact the carbon balance of these ecosystems. Students involved in this project will participate in a 10-day field campaign, sampling bogs from the Michigan-Indiana border to the upper peninsula, then conduct measurements and experiments exploring how carbon and nitrogen cycling change along the transect.
This project has roles for students with a variety of interests, ranging from ecology to analytical chemistry.

Faculty Mentor(s): Michael Philben
Home Department: Geological and Environmental Science

Qualifications: All students interested in this research project are encouraged to apply. Current enrollment in an undergraduate program is required.

Working Conditions: This position requires remaining in a sitting or standing position for frequent periods of time, typing and computer work. You may be required to lift, move, and transport related laboratory equipment. In the case of temporary or permanent condition(s) that require(s) accommodation(s), reasonable accommodation(s) may be requested.

Runs from 5/15/2023 through 7/21/2023

GWRI - Global Surveys of Drinking Quality and Wellbeing of At Risk Populations

Lack of sustainable access to clean drinking water continues to be an issue of paramount global importance, leading to millions of preventable deaths annually. Best practices for providing sustainable access to clean drinking water, however, remain unclear. Widespread installation of low-cost, in-home, point of use water filtration systems is a promising strategy. Interventions such as these need to be done in a way that recognizes the needs and desires of the local community and is sensitive and consistent with the local culture. Finally assessment of success of the intervention is a critical tool to aid future projects. Students involved in this project will assist in a number of possible projects including: creation of survey instruments that assess community needs, public health and wellbeing, and likelihood of intervention success; understanding connections among bacterial communities, chemical contaminants and other environmental factors found in different drinking water sources from across the world; analysis of databases of drinking water quality.

Faculty Mentor(s): Aaron Best, Brent Krueger, Michael Pikaart
Home Department: Biology

Qualifications: All students interested in this research project are encouraged to apply. Current enrollment in an undergraduate program is required.

Working Conditions: This position requires remaining in a sitting or standing position for frequent periods of time, field work (personal transportation not required) typing and computer work. You may be required to lift, move, and transport related laboratory equipment. May be required to work with animals and potentially hazardous and toxic materials. In the case of temporary or permanent condition(s) that require(s) accommodation(s), reasonable accommodation(s) may be requested.

Runs from 5/15/2023 through 7/21/2023

Mitochondrial genome regulation by nucleoid proteins involved in redox sensing and one-carbon metabolism

This project focuses on biochemical mechanisms that control the function of mitochondria, specialized compartments within cells that are central to energy production and cell metabolism. Defects in mitochondrial gene expression cause a multitude of inherited human diseases and contribute significantly to age-related pathologies, like neurodegenerative disorders and cancer. Study of the basic biochemical mechanisms governing mitochondrial DNA transcription and genome stability will allow for a deeper understanding of these diseases, for which there are few effective treatments. Mitochondria contain their own small genome (mitochondrial DNA) that contains the genetic instructions for a small number of proteins required for cellular energy production. For mitochondria to function properly, these organelles rely on genetic instructions carried within their own genome, as well as those carried in the nuclear genome. Nuclear DNA carries the instructions for the majority of the 2000-member mitochondrial proteome, including a number of nucleoid proteins which are shown to associate with mitochondrial DNA. How cells regulate the expression of the mitochondrial genome in response to changing energetic needs is largely unknown. Students working on this project will explore if proteins known to interact with mitochondrial DNA serve as sensors of nutrient availability and in turn control mitochondrial gene expression, providing insight into fundamental mechanisms that control mammalian cell function.

Specifically, the research will focus on the intersection between one-carbon metabolism and redox metabolism with mitochondrial genome regulation. Enzymes involved in one-carbon metabolism provide 1C (methyl groups) for the synthesis of nucleotides and amino acids. These enzymes are interconnected with cellular pathways that regenerate antioxidants, molecules or proteins that help combat oxidative damage in cells. Recent studies to determine proteins that interact with mtDNA identified a group of four interconnected proteins that are involved in one-carbon metabolism and redox sensing (ALDH1L2, MTHFD1L, SHMT2, PRDX5). Students will explore the hypothesis that the proximity of ALDH1L2, MTHFD1L, SHMT2, and PRDX5 to mtDNA is required to relay nutrient status signals and regulate mtDNA maintenance and expression to meet changing metabolic needs. A combination of biochemical and cell biology approaches will be used to characterize these four proteins in the following ways: 1) Monitor protein localization and mitochondrial genome maintenance in cells with altered one-carbon metabolism; 2) determine the nature of the interaction of these proteins with mtDNA; and 3) Assess whether DNA association alters protein activity.

Faculty Mentor(s): Kristin Dittenhafer-Reed
Home Department: Chemistry

Qualifications: All students interested in this research project are encouraged to apply. Current enrollment in an undergraduate program is required.

Working Conditions: This position requires remaining in a sitting or standing position for frequent periods of time, typing and computer work. You may be required to lift, move, and transport related laboratory equipment. In the case of temporary or permanent condition(s) that require(s) accommodation(s), reasonable accommodation(s) may be requested.

Runs from 5/15/2023 through 7/21/2023

Olfactory degeneration and dysfunction following acute hypoxia in zebrafish

Hypoxia, a lack of enough oxygen in tissues to sustain bodily functions, has a detrimental impact on behavioral health. It is important to understand the detrimental impact on brain physiology and function following hypoxia as the overall performance of the central nervous system (CNS). Zebrafish are ideal models to study hypoxic damage in the brain. They have been shown to be susceptible to hypoxic attacks, and have been used as an alternative model to study hypoxic-ischemic brain damage.

Our overarching goal is to study the effects of low oxygen on the olfactory system. For this, we established a novel model of hypoxic exposure in zebrafish. The central hypothesis is that acute hypoxic exposure will cause neural degeneration throughout the olfactory system, and that this will lead to olfactory dysfunction.

To study this, we use (1) behavioral assays to assess olfactory function and behavior, and (2) confocal microscopy to study fluorescent markers of neural degeneration.

Faculty Mentor(s): Erika Calvo-Ochoa
Home Department: Biology

Qualifications: All students interested in this research project are encouraged to apply. Preference is given to applicants who are interested in doing research for at least a year and have taken intro to bio and or intro to neuro and preferably at least an upper bio/neuro course. Ability to work independently, accurately and to problem solve technical and methodological issues that arise during the course of research. Ability to apply sound research techniques, methodology and logical critical analysis.

Working Conditions: This position requires remaining in a sitting or standing position for frequent periods of time, typing and computer work. You may be required to lift, move, and transport related laboratory equipment. May be required to work with animals and potentially hazardous materials. In the case of temporary or permanent condition(s) that require(s) accommodation(s), reasonable accommodation(s) may be requested.

Runs from 5/15/2023 through 7/21/2023

Pioneer plant growth and reproduction in the cloud forest of Monteverde, Costa Rica

This project involves exploring two long term data sets collected in the cloud forest of Monteverde, Costa Rica and traveling to Costa Rica to collect this year’s data. Tree and branch falls create gaps in the forest canopy, allowing more light to reach the forest floor. Pioneer plants germinate in these gaps, grow, and produce seeds. We will explore a data set that includes measurements of new canopy gaps collected annually over the last 40 years along 5 different 500 meter long transects in the forest. We will also explore a 20+ year data set that includes measurements of growth and reproduction for 6 pioneer plant species along the same transects. By connecting the two data sets we hope to understand the relationships between the characteristics of the gap that a plant germinates in and its rates of growth and reproduction. This will involve statistical analysis using R (no prior experience required). As part of this project, we will spend 2-3 weeks working in the cloud forest in Monteverde.

Faculty Mentor(s): Brian Yurk
Home Department: Mathematics and Statistics

Qualifications: All students interested in this research project are encouraged to apply. Current enrollment in an undergraduate program is required.

Working Conditions: This position requires remaining in a sitting or standing position for frequent periods of time, typing and computer work. You may be required to lift, move, and transport related laboratory equipment. In the case of temporary or permanent condition(s) that require(s) accommodation(s), reasonable accommodation(s) may be requested. This project involves field work in the cloud forest of Costa Rica. This requires full days of walking and working off-trail in forested, mountainous regions in wet, muddy conditions.

Runs from 5/8/2023 through 7/14/2023

Programmatic Belonging Cues to Elevate the Cultural Climate for Improved Undergraduate Student Success in Engineering

This five-year project focuses on increasing retention and 4-year graduation rates of engineering students at Hope College through an NSF-funded grant. Student researchers who participate in this project will be part of the evaluation team and will work this summer to analyze data from the first two years of the program. Members of the research team will work in an interdisciplinary environment that is housed in the biology department. However, the context of the research will be in engineering, and the methods used will include both psychological and educational approaches.

The work this summer will include analyzing survey data from the Basic Psychological Need Satisfaction and Frustration Scale to determine if students’ basic psychological needs were met. Furthermore, the research team will qualitative analyze interviews from engineering students to determine which interventions were most effective/ineffective in establishing a sense of belonging. This mixed methods approach will result in significant and new knowledge concerning the factors that lead to greater sense of belonging, motivation, and persistence to graduation of students in engineering. More specifically, evaluation will determine: (a) students’ feelings of motivational support, (b) how the program supports and/or frustrates feelings of motivational support, (c) if students’ experiences are similar to or different from comparison students, (d) the effects of programmatic practices on students’ motivation, and (e) the relationship between felt motivational support and retention.

Students who participate in this project will learn quantitative and qualitative methods of analysis, conduct a comprehensive literature review, and participate in the writing of a formal report for stakeholders.

Faculty Mentor(s): Stephen Scogin
Home Department: Biology

Qualifications: All students interested in this research project are encouraged to apply. Current enrollment in an undergraduate program is required.

Working Conditions: This position requires remaining in a sitting or standing position for frequent periods of time, typing and computer work. You may be required to lift, move, and transport related laboratory equipment. In the case of temporary or permanent condition(s) that require(s) accommodation(s), reasonable accommodation(s) may be requested.

Runs from 5/22/2023 through 7/28/2023

Regulation of mitochondrial DNA transcription

Overview: Defects in mitochondrial gene expression cause a multitude of inherited human diseases and contribute significantly to age-related pathologies, like neurodegenerative disorders and cancer. Study of the basic biochemical mechanisms governing mitochondrial DNA transcription and genome stability will allow for a deeper understanding of these diseases, for which there are few effective treatments. Mitochondria exist at the center of cellular biosynthetic pathways and play a major role in energy production, apoptosis and oxidative stress. Mitochondria contain a DNA genome (mtDNA) encoding thirteen essential components of oxidative phosphorylation, the metabolic pathway generating cellular energy currency in the form of ATP. The remaining 1500 member mitochondrial proteome is encoded by the nuclear genome, including an additional 70 components needed for oxidative phosphorylation and the machinery required for mtDNA replication, transcription, and translation. Therefore, coordination of nuclear and mitochondrial gene expression is essential for mitochondrial function. While core components of mitochondrial transcription initiation are known, a detailed understanding of transcriptional control is lacking. The goal of the research is to uncover biochemical mechanisms that govern mitochondrial gene expression and mtDNA stability.

Specific project details: Regulation of mtDNA transcription by reversible protein post-translational modifications. Protein post-translational modifications (PTMs), including reversible lysine acetylation and serine/threonine phosphorylation, can regulate protein function. Dynamic PTM of histone proteins and nuclear transcription factors control nuclear gene expression; however whether similar mechanisms exist in the mitochondria is unknown. Our work and others revealed proteins involved in mtDNA gene expression are subject to PTM. This project will determine the role of PTMs in regulating mtDNA transcription and mtDNA stability. Students involved in this project will integrate chemical and biological course knowledge to carry out experiments and will learn lab techniques including: protein purification, enzyme assays, cell culture, western blotting, and molecular biology approaches.

Faculty Mentor(s): Kristin Dittenhafer-Reed
Home Department: Chemistry

Qualifications: All students interested in this research project are encouraged to apply. Current enrollment in an undergraduate program is required.

Working Conditions: This position requires remaining in a sitting or standing position for frequent periods of time, typing and computer work. You may be required to lift, move, and transport related laboratory equipment. In the case of temporary or permanent condition(s) that require(s) accommodation(s), reasonable accommodation(s) may be requested.

Runs from 5/15/2023 through 7/21/2023

Sex-based physiology and gene expression in plants

Sex differences in physiology are common in animals. We know that there are statistical differences by sex in average height in humans, in mean weight of mature elephant seals, or in song production in many birds. We know far less about sex-based differences in plants. Unlike animals, in most plants, sexes are combined into a single individual. In approximately 6-7% of species, sexes are found in separate individuals. Using a native sex-switching understory tree, we’ll be collecting data on differences in functioning between males and females. This project will involve substantial amounts of time spent in the woods to collect data. We’ll be visiting established field sites in northern Michigan. We’ll collect data on flowering, health, and photosynthetic rates and use these data to understand in what ways sex affects how an individual functions. We’ll also use collected tissues to explore how gene activation changes between sexes in different tissues.

Students will participate in hypothesis formation, experimental design, data acquisition, and analysis. They will routinely read and discuss scientific literature, and will develop skills for writing scientific papers and delivering scientific presentations.

Note that this study involves a substantial field-based component of 2-3 weeks. When in the field, working hours are daylight hours (and sometimes pre-dawn hours). Trees don’t follow 8-5 hour days or know about weekends. Weekend work is required. Overnight accommodations will consist of camping. Field work requires stamina and the ability to persist in the midst of heat, cold, rain, and bugs. Strength is required, with the ability to carry packs and equipment weighing up to 50 lbs. Field work is also fun, with the chance to spend time in lovely areas of the state, meet new people, and opportunities to hike during rainy weather. Once field data and samples are collected, we will spend time in lab entering and cleaning physiology data, learning to code in R and run analyses, and extracting RNA from collected tissues.


Students hired to work in the Plant Sex Lab are hired to work on questions of sex, gender, and physiology. Field-based science is subject to a vagaries of extreme weather, permitting agencies, and other interesting conditions. Under rare circumstances, projects may be vastly modified or even canceled once underway. In such a situation, we may choose to begin a commensurate project. SHARP compensation is project-based, which means it may involve a bit more or a bit less than a 40-hr work week.

Faculty Mentor(s): Jennifer Blake-Mahmud
Home Department: Biology

Qualifications: All students interested in this research project are encouraged to apply. Current enrollment in an undergraduate program is required.Preferred qualifications include but are not limited to: subject knowledge, organization skills and oral/written communication skills to discuss and document research progress. Ability to work independently, accurately and ethically collect data, and to problem solve technical and methodological issues that arise during the course of research. Ability to apply sound research techniques, methodology and logical critical analysis. Students are expected to have or gain training in driving a university vehicle.

Working Conditions: This position requires that you can hike with a 50 lb backpack for 2 miles, hand carry 50lbs over rough terrain for 1/2 mile, get up and down (squatting, bending, kneeling) repeatedly during the day, move equipment around within field sites, and work in diverse weather conditions: including cold to 0C, heat to 35C, with insects and other creatures found in wild areas. Experience and comfort with camping and hiking required. This position also requires remaining in a sitting or standing position for frequent periods of time, typing, and computer work. In the case of temporary or permanent condition(s) that require(s) accommodation(s), reasonable accommodation(s) may be requested.

Runs from 5/15/2023 through 7/14/2023

Sliding Processes in Soft Materials

ELINSKI LAB: The Elinski Lab (elinskilab.org) focuses on surface chemistry and tribology - the study of surfaces in relative motion, (including friction, adhesion, lubrication, and wear. Please note that this area of research is not traditionally covered in coursework, but pulls on core principles from chemistry, materials science, physics, and engineering. Everything an interested student would need to know will be taught in the lab, so Dr. Elinski encourages all students to meet with her and apply, regardless of year in school or course background!

BACKGROUND: Soft materials have an impressive range of applications, from flexible electronics and haptic interfaces to biomimicry such as artificial cartilage. In particular, hydrogels (water-swollen polymer networks) bring a unique set of characteristics to these applications through their notable durability, stretchability, and aqueous composition. Given the complexity of interfaces formed with hydrogels and any potential hybrid structures, chemical structure-function relationships are at the core of many of the processes involved with motion (sliding processes) in potential applications. The Elinski Lab aims to develop a deeper fundamental understanding of the sliding processes of hydrogel composites to enable the broader incorporation of soft materials in tailored applications.

PROJECT OVERVIEW: Student researchers on this project will synthesize hydrogels and hydrogel-nanomaterial composites, with material choice focusing on target applications including haptic interfaces and modeling osteoarthritis treatments for the cartilage in joints. For either target application, the focus will be understanding the interplay of chemical-mechanical behavior in controlled environments and impact on interfacial adhesion, friction, and wear.

A suite of analytical instruments will be used for this work, including atomic force microscopy (AFM), rheology, scanning electron microscopy and energy dispersive spectroscopy (SEM/EDS), confocal Raman microspectroscopy, and attenuated total reflectance Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy (ATR-FTIR).

DETAILS: The summer research program will consist of 10 forty-hour work weeks to be conducted in the Elinski Lab on Hope College’s campus. In addition to the research there are professional development activities, along with planned social events throughout the summer to meet fellow chemistry researchers and students conducting research in other departments! There is also the potential for research projects to be continued into the following academic year.

Working on this research will provide students with a strong foundation in fundamental chemistry at surfaces and interfaces along with multidisciplinary skills in materials, (bio)mechanics, and the wider reaching principles of nanoscience. As the primary leads for their research, students will also have opportunities for authoring peer-reviewed journal articles and presenting and networking at scientific conferences.

Faculty Mentor(s): Dr. Meagan Elinski
Home Department: Chemistry

Qualifications: All students interested in this research project are encouraged to apply. Current enrollment in an undergraduate program is required.

Working Conditions: This position requires remaining in a sitting or standing position for frequent periods of time, typing and computer work. You may be required to lift, move, and transport related laboratory equipment. In the case of temporary or permanent condition(s) that require(s) accommodation(s), reasonable accommodation(s) may be requested.

Runs from 5/29/2023 through 8/4/2023

The Preparation of Thiophene Compounds for Use as Electrochemical Sensors

Thiophene compounds can be polymerized onto electrode surfaces to give highly conducting films for sensor applications. This project has two goals. One is to understand how the chemical structure of the monomer and conditions of polymerization affect the morphology of the film. The second is to prepare a variety of functionalized thiophene monomers that can be polymerized on electrodes and then used as sensors. Examples of compounds currently under development are ferrocene and porphyrin functionalized thiophenes for use as glucose sensors. Incoming students will be given a monomer or group of monomers that they will prepare through approximately 3-4 step synthetic sequences. A student will be responsible for the planning, execution and standard characterization of the materials with the support of the faculty mentor and the group members. The focus of this group is organic synthesis, so students should have had one year of organic chemistry lecture and lab. Once the compounds are made and characterized, the compounds will be electropolymerized and tested for potential sensor applications. The film morphologies will be studied with our new Scanning Electron Microscope. Students will present research results in written and oral formats. If you are interested in this research, email Dr. Sanford at sanford@hope.edu to make an appointment to discuss the research opportunities available in the Sanford group.

Faculty Mentor(s): Elizabeth Sanford
Home Department: Chemistry

Qualifications: All students interested in this research project are encouraged to apply. Current enrollment in an undergraduate program is required.Student should have completed CHEM231/256.

Working Conditions: This position requires remaining in a sitting or standing position for frequent periods of time, typing and computer work. You may be required to lift, move, and transport related laboratory equipment. In the case of temporary or permanent condition(s) that require(s) accommodation(s), reasonable accommodation(s) may be requested. This position requires the use of chemicals.

Runs from 5/15/2023 through 7/21/2023

Urbanization and the availability of carotenoids in the diets of songbirds

In intersexual communication many signals have evolved to honestly convey information about the sender to the receiver. The carotenoid-based colors (e.g., bright red, orange, and yellow) of passerine birds have become a model system for the study of honest signaling and sexual selection via female. Male feather carotenoid pigmentation has been linked to males with a better ability to resist and recover from parasitic infections, higher quality diets, and lower exposure to oxidative stress. Females, in turn, have been shown to prefer males that have greater carotenoid pigmentation as it is an honest reflection of male condition on a variety of scales. While perhaps best known for their role in signaling displays, carotenoids also play an essential role in avian vision, and therefore the sensory perception of the carotenoid displays themselves. In birds, cone photoreceptors contain an oil droplet, a small organelle filled with carotenoids that functions in selectively absorbing certain wavelengths of light and therefore shifting the spectral sensitivity of the cone visual pigments.

It is our hypothesis that there will therefore be differences in the retinal carotenoids of songbirds based on their habitat, urban or rural. We will apply currently accepted HPLC protocols on hydrolyzed retinal carotenoid esters to study this hypothesis. We will simultaneously attempt to develop more robust HPLC/MS/MS methods, which may be feasible directly on retinal extracts without ester hydrolysis.

Faculty Mentor(s): Kelly Ronald, Jason Gillmore
Home Department: Chemistry

Qualifications: All students interested in this research project are encouraged to apply. Current enrollment in an undergraduate program is required.

Working Conditions: This position requires remaining in a sitting or standing position for frequent periods of time, field work (personal transportation not required) typing and computer work. You may be required to lift, move, and transport related laboratory equipment. May be required to work with animals and potentially hazardous and toxic materials. In the case of temporary or permanent condition(s) that require(s) accommodation(s), reasonable accommodation(s) may be requested.

Runs from 5/15/2023 through 7/21/2023

Chemistry

A Canary in the Coalmine: Using the house sparrow as a model for testing the effects of air pollution on behavior and physiology

This interdisciplinary project will incorporate the disciplines of Biology, Neuroscience, Psychology, Chemistry and Materials Science. However the project is specifically housed within the Hope College Department of Biology.

There is great concern regarding the adverse health implications of engineered nanoparticles. However, there are many circumstances where the production of incidental nanoparticles, i.e., nanoparticles unintentionally generated as a side product of some anthropogenic process, is of even greater concern. These nanoparticles can transport through the respiratory system and translocate to other organs, including the brain. The health implications of this transport has been study in in-vitro systems and animals models like mice, but never before in birds. Birds are an interesting model because their respiratory anatomy makes them uniquely susceptible to airborne contaminants. Additionally, we expect that this species should be an interesting model as they should be exposed to incidental nanoparticles present in air. This project will examine both the visual and auditory sensory processing of the songbird the house sparrow (passer domesticus), behavioral changes, and resulting bioaccumulation of iron. House sparrows frequently occupy a variety of human dominated environments and therefore span the gradient of noise and light pollution areas.

Faculty Mentor(s): Kelly Ronald, Natalia Gonzalez-Pech
Home Department: Biology

Qualifications: All students interested in this research project are encouraged to apply. Current enrollment in an undergraduate program is required.

Working Conditions: This position requires remaining in a sitting or standing position for frequent periods of time, field work (personal transportation not required) typing and computer work. You may be required to lift, move, and transport related laboratory equipment. May be required to work with animals and potentially hazardous and toxic materials. In the case of temporary or permanent condition(s) that require(s) accommodation(s), reasonable accommodation(s) may be requested.

Runs from 5/8/2023 through 7/14/2023

Activation of Carbon-Carbon Bonds using Transition Metal Catalysis

An opportunity is available to contribute to an ongoing research program at Hope College in the general areas of transition metal-catalyzed carbon-carbon single bond activation and the development of new organic reactions. In addition to basic research and experimental techniques common to organic and inorganic chemistry, students working on projects in these areas can expect to gain experience in the reactivity and manipulation of air sensitive compounds, the analysis and understanding of reaction mechanisms, and the process of developing new organic reactions.
Work in the Johnson group at Hope College will focus upon a number of aspects of the carbon-carbon bond activation. These will include 1) further understanding of the reaction mechanism, 2) the use of mechanistic information for the rational development of more active catalysts for the extension of substrate scope, and 3) the development of new organic transformations involving the cleavage and further reaction of carbon-carbon single bonds.
For more information, please feel free to contact Prof. Jeff Johnson at jjohnson@hope.edu.

Faculty Mentor(s): Jeffrey Johnson
Home Department: Chemistry

Qualifications: All students interested in this research project are encouraged to apply. Current enrollment in an undergraduate program is required.

Working Conditions: This position requires remaining in a sitting or standing position for frequent periods of time, typing and computer work. You may be required to lift, move, and transport related laboratory equipment. In the case of temporary or permanent condition(s) that require(s) accommodation(s), reasonable accommodation(s) may be requested.

Runs from 5/15/2023 through 7/21/2023

Bacterial virus biology and genome evolution

A bacteriophage, or more simply, phage, is a virus that infects bacterial cells. They are the most numerous biological entities in the world and collectively carry the largest assembly of novel genetic information. Mycobacteriophages are phages that infect the bacterial genus, Mycobacterium. Nearly 40 genetically distinct types have been described (grouped into “clusters” based on genome sequence similarity), all of which are capable of infecting the same host, M. smegmatis MC2155. Research in my lab is focused on understanding basic mycobacteriophage biology and more broadly, phage genome evolution.

One of my research projects explores the biology of ‘Cluster K’ mycobacteriophages. Mycobacteriophage members of this cluster are particularly noteworthy because of their general ability to infect a broad range of mycobacterial hosts, often including the human pathogen, M. tuberculosis. Our focus is on more clearly describing the growth features of several distinct subgroups of Cluster K1 phages, which may relate to differences in host preference in the environment. One interesting aspect of at least one subgroup of Cluster K mycobacteriophages (subcluster K1) is that they appear more readily isolated at lower temperatures compared to other mycobacteriophages of similarly large clusters. This subgroup of Cluster K1 mycobacteriophages typically do not propagate at 42°C, and the point of inhibition appears to be after phage DNA has been transferred into host cells. Further, analysis of one-step growth curve performed at lower temperatures show that they release markedly higher numbers of new phage particles at cell lysis compared to ‘control’ mycobacteriophages, consistent with an adaptation to an environment with a low host density. We believe there is a link between these isolation and temperature-dependent growth features of Cluster K mycobacteriophages and their recognized broader host range. This project is nearing completion, but several questions still remain to be addressed.

Another research project in my lab explores how mycobacteriophages recognize and initiate infection of mycobacterial host cells. Despite the nearly 40 distinct genomic types, or clusters, of mycobacteriophages isolated on the single host, Mycobacterium smegmatis, only a few clusters - A2, A3, G, K, AB - have phages that can also efficiently infect a broader range of hosts, including M. tuberculosis and/or other mycobacterial species. Previous analyses have pointed to the initiation of phage infection as critical in determining host range. However, the molecular and genetic details initiating mycobacteriophage infection are largely unknown. In this project, we are continuing our investigation into how mycobacteriophages initiate infection of mycobacterial host cells, from reversible binding to irreversible binding and phage DNA transfer into the host cell, using microbiological, genetic, and molecular approaches. We have isolated mycobacterial cell mutants with reduced sensitivity to mycobacteriophage infection and are investigating the basis of their change in phenotype. In addition, we are specifically investigating a conserved gene that is predicted to be a component of the tail tip structure of phages from this subset of mycobacteriophages (Clusters A2, A3, G, K, AB), but not other clusters, for its role in the infection initiation process.

The newest research project in my lab uses mycobacteriophages as a model phage system but is focused more generally on bacteriophage genomics and genome evolution. This project seeks to better understand the similarities and differences in phage genome structure and gene content across known bacteriophages, and to address questions on the nature and function of the evolutionary mechanisms that generate the observed genomic and genetic diversity. To address these questions, we are constructing pairs of phages with modified genomes that differ in the presence/absence of specific coding information and are using them in assays to assess their impact on phage growth and fitness. This work will help us understand how genetic diversity, prevalent in phage genomes, is generated, as well as better understand the modular nature of phage genomes.

Faculty Mentor(s): Joseph Stukey
Home Department: Biology

Qualifications: All students interested in this research project are encouraged to apply. Current enrollment in an undergraduate program is required. Preferred qualifications: some basic subject knowledge and biological lab experience (e.g., biology course lab), good organization skills, effective oral/written communication skills, sound critical thinking/logical reasoning skills, and able to work independently. Positions are open to current Hope College students.

Working Conditions: This position requires remaining in a sitting or standing position for frequent periods of time, typing and computer work. You may be required to lift, move, and transport related laboratory equipment. In the case of temporary or permanent condition(s) that require(s) accommodation(s), reasonable accommodation(s) may be requested.

Runs from 5/15/2023 through 7/21/2023

Catalysts for Nitrile Oxidation

This project seeks to transform nitriles into building blocks for drugs and agricultural products. Nitriles are inexpensive, abundant chemical feedstocks that are produced from petroleum. Oxidation of nitriles is possible when they are coordinated to transition metals, but this reaction is not often observed or well understood. My goal is to investigate and develop the nitrile oxidation reaction, in order to provide new avenues for preparation of chemical building blocks featuring carbon-nitrogen bonds. If successful, this research could expedite synthesis of new medicines while mitigating cost. Working on this project allows students a chance to author an article for a peer-reviewed journal. Such papers help a student get into graduate or professional schools! In addition, students can present their works at professional meetings. These travel costs will be covered by grant money!

Faculty Mentor(s): Dr. Turlington
Home Department: Chemistry

Qualifications: All students interested in this research project are encouraged to apply. Current enrollment in an undergraduate program is required.

Working Conditions: This position requires remaining in a sitting or standing position for frequent periods of time, typing and computer work. You may be required to lift, move, and transport related laboratory equipment. In the case of temporary or permanent condition(s) that require(s) accommodation(s), reasonable accommodation(s) may be requested.

Runs from 5/22/2023 through 7/21/2023

Chemical Avenues to Sustainable Energy Consumption

ELINSKI LAB: The Elinski Lab (elinskilab.org) focuses on surface chemistry and tribology - the study of surfaces in relative motion, (including friction, adhesion, lubrication, and wear. Please note that this area of research is not traditionally covered in coursework, but pulls on core principles from chemistry, materials science, physics, and engineering. Everything an interested student would need to know will be taught in the lab, so Dr. Elinski encourages all students to meet with her and apply, regardless of year in school or course background!

BACKGROUND: There is a significant imbalance between energy produced in the United States vs that which is consumed, with roughly two-thirds of produced energy wasted. One source of this loss is the energy dissipation associated with friction and wear between surfaces in relative motion. To address this, one goal of the Elinski Lab is to understand how fundamental chemical mechanisms in sliding contacts can be capitalized on for controlling friction and wear processes.

PROJECT OVERVIEW: Student researchers interested in this area will work on one of two projects. One project focuses on nanomaterial composite systems in dry sliding contacts, with target applications for electric vehicles and space lubrication (funding through NASA). The second project focuses on understanding surface reactions in oil environments (funding through the American Chemical Society Petroleum Research Fund). Both projects will study confined, nanoscale dynamic (sliding) contacts to understand chemical-mechanical relationships. Surface modification methods - including nanoparticle films to control roughness and self-assembled monolayers to control functionality - will be used to systematically interrogate the formation of protective surface films. These surface-bound films develop as a result of chemical processes driven by mechanical forces. A better understanding of film formation can help develop advanced control over sliding interfaces, improving strategies towards mitigating energy loss.

A suite of analytical instruments will be used for this work, including atomic force microscopy (AFM), rheology, scanning electron microscopy and energy dispersive spectroscopy (SEM/EDS), confocal Raman microspectroscopy, and attenuated total reflectance Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy (ATR-FTIR).

DETAILS: The summer research program will consist of 10 forty-hour work weeks to be conducted in the Elinski Lab on Hope College’s campus. In addition to the research there are professional development activities, along with planned social events throughout the summer to meet fellow chemistry researchers and students conducting research in other departments! There is also the potential for research projects to be continued into the following academic year.

Working on this research will provide students with a strong foundation in fundamental chemistry at surfaces and interfaces along with multidisciplinary skills in materials, mechanics, and the wider reaching principles of nanoscience. As the primary leads for their research, students will also have opportunities for authoring peer-reviewed journal articles and presenting and networking at scientific conferences.

Faculty Mentor(s): Dr. Meagan Elinski
Home Department: Chemistry

Qualifications: All students interested in this research project are encouraged to apply. Current enrollment in an undergraduate program is required.

Working Conditions: This position requires remaining in a sitting or standing position for frequent periods of time, typing and computer work. You may be required to lift, move, and transport related laboratory equipment. In the case of temporary or permanent condition(s) that require(s) accommodation(s), reasonable accommodation(s) may be requested.

Runs from 5/29/2023 through 8/4/2023

Chemical Defenses of Pioneer Plant Seeds

This interdisciplinary project will incorporate perspectives from both Biology and Chemistry to elucidate the basis of chemical defenses in tropical pioneer plant seeds. It is specifically housed within the Hope College Department of Chemistry, but student investigators will work closely with both Dr. Murray (Biology, emeritus) and Dr. Sanford (Chemistry).
Tropical rainforests are legendary for their biological diversity and for the complexity of interactions among their species. The interactions between animals and plants are especially prominent – animals are important as pollinators, seed dispersers and seed predators, and plants are under strong selection pressure to reinforce the positive interactions with animals and to weaken the negative ones. “Pioneer” plants – those that specialize on colonizing recently disturbed patches of forest but which cannot compete in the shaded understory – constitute a model system in which to study tropical plant-animal interactions because their seeds must survive in the soil for years despite intense threats from both animals and pathogenic fungi. This summer, we will continue our characterization of the chemical defenses of pioneer plant seeds, focusing on species whose seeds can survive for decades in tropical soils, despite threats from seed-eating animals and microbial attack. Students involved in this research will employ a variety of extraction, chemical separation and analysis techniques, as well as toxicity bioassays against fungi and arthropods. They will also gain experience in hypothesis formation and statistical analysis, in analyzing the scientific literature critically, and in presenting their research results in written and oral formats. If you are interested in this research, email Dr. Sanford at sanford@hope.edu to make an appointment to discuss the research opportunities available in the Sanford group.

Faculty Mentor(s): Elizabeth Sanford
Home Department: Chemistry

Qualifications: All students interested in this research project are encouraged to apply. Current enrollment in an undergraduate program is required.

Working Conditions: This position requires remaining in a sitting or standing position for frequent periods of time, typing and computer work. You may be required to lift, move, and transport related laboratory equipment. In the case of temporary or permanent condition(s) that require(s) accommodation(s), reasonable accommodation(s) may be requested.Use of chemicals will be required.

Runs from 5/15/2023 through 7/21/2023

Combating oxidative stress: Molecular analysis of System xc- and the cellular anti-oxidant defense system

In living organisms, routine metabolic processes result in the formation of oxidants within the cellular environment that can be toxic to the cells themselves. My research is focused on discovering the molecular mechanism by which oxidants regulate a membrane transport system, System xc-, that provides neurons and glia with the precursors required to synthesize a cellular antioxidant called glutathione. System xc- is a plasma membrane transport system that catalyzes the stoichiometric exchange of extracellular cystine for intracellular glutamate in the brain. The internalized cystine is then used for glutathione synthesis which protects the brain from oxidative damage. While several groups have demonstrated transcriptional regulation of System xc- within 24 hours of exposure of cells to oxidants there have been essentially no studies which have examined the short-term regulation of transporter activity. My students and I have shown that oxidants acutely (within minutes) regulate System xc- by modulating the cell surface expression of the transporter. These exciting findings suggest a novel form of regulation of System xc- that may serve as a critical component of the cellular defense system in protecting cells from oxidative insults. We are currently using biochemical and molecular techniques to 1) identify important trafficking motifs and post-translation modifications that occur within the intracellular regions of System xc- and 2) describe the cellular signaling pathways that are involved in the hydrogen peroxide-regulated activity of System xc-. Ultimately, this work will provide us with a better understanding of molecular processes which acutely regulate System xc- and identify key proteins which regulate transporter trafficking. As such, this work may provide direction for future studies aimed at pharmacological manipulation of System xc- activity for therapeutic benefit.

Each student in the Chase lab has their own independent research project that fits into the overall research aims of the lab. Students also assist in formulating testable hypotheses and constructing appropriate experimental designs to test their hypotheses.

Faculty Mentor(s): Leah Chase
Home Department: Chemistry

Qualifications: All students interested in this research project are encouraged to apply. Current enrollment in an undergraduate program is required.

Working Conditions: This position requires remaining in a sitting or standing position for frequent periods of time, typing and computer work. You may be required to lift, move, and transport related laboratory equipment. In the case of temporary or permanent condition(s) that require(s) accommodation(s), reasonable accommodation(s) may be requested.

Runs from 5/15/2023 through 7/21/2023

Computational Modelling of Organic Dyes

An opportunity exists for one or two students to continue to develop and apply computational methods to predict spectroscopic properties of organic molecules in support of synthetic and mechanistic organic photochemistry studies.

Our computational work developing efficient methods to accurately predict ground state reduction potentials has appeared as a cover article on J. Phys. Chem. A in 2008 and in greater detail in J. Org. Chem. in 2012. We have more recently extended this work by comparing it to even less ""expensive"" computational methods developed by collaborators at Arizona State University, which we published in J. Phys. Org. Chem. in 2015. We also use computation to help us understand other photochemical and electrochemical phenomena we discover experimentally (most of my group's nine experimental papers have at least some computational modeling in them. In the next three years we plan to focus on predicting the absorption spectra of a family of long-wavelength azo dyes, to guide our synthetic target selection. This will include my group's first foray into time dependent density functional theory (TD-DFT), but we have good literature precedent to follow. However we may also continue to explore computational electrochemistry ourselves and in possible collaboration with Dr. Guarr's Organic Energy Storage Lab at the MSU Bioeconomy Institute.

This project can be purely computational or can involve up to 50% experimental organic chemistry for students who have completed a year of organic chemistry with lab (potentially including synthesis, spectroscopy, and/or electrochemistry).

In your application essay please note your computational interests (and any relevant experience), and also whether you'd prefer a purely computational or mixed computation and wet chemistry project.

Students on this project will certainly have the option (and perhaps the expectation) to begin during the spring semester and/or to continue the research into the following academic year (for credit or on a volunteer basis.) It may also be possible to tie this research to a related CHEM 256B Organic Chemistry II Laboratory elective independent project.

DO NOT APPLY TO *BOTH* THIS PROJECT *AND* MY EXPERIMENTAL PROJECT - APPLY TO THE ONE YOU PREFER AND EMAIL ME IF YOU ARE ALSO INTERESTED IN THE OTHER. OR BETTER YET, EMAIL FOR AN APPOINTMENT TO COME CHAT WITH ME ABOUT RESEARCH.

Faculty Mentor(s): Jason Gillmore
Home Department: Chemistry

Qualifications: All students interested in this research project are encouraged to apply. Current enrollment in an undergraduate program is required. Students applying to this project should be well-organized, comfortable with computers, familiar with Microsoft Excel, and interested in both computational modeling and chemistry. Experience with computational modeling, even if only in the undergraduate laboratory curriculum (e.g., General Chemistry Lab or Organic Chemistry Lab at Hope each have one experiment on computational modeling), is a big plus. Having had organic chemistry (or even any chemistry beyond high school) is definitely beneficial but not essential.

Working Conditions: This position requires remaining in a sitting or standing position for frequent periods of time, typing and computer work. You may be required to lift, move, and transport related laboratory equipment. In the case of temporary or permanent condition(s) that require(s) accommodation(s), reasonable accommodation(s) may be requested.

Runs from 5/10/2023 through 7/19/2023

Control of Cellular signaling in cancer

This interdisciplinary project will incorporate the disciplines of chemistry and biology. The project is specifically housed within the Hope College Departments of biology and chemistry .

Research conducted in our lab focuses on elucidating the normal function for VACM-1/cul5, an endothelium specific gene product which shares sequence homology with cullins, a family of intracellular proteins that regulate diverse signaling pathways in response to changes in the cellular environment. Our work to date indicates that VACM-1 protein regulates cellular growth by a mechanism that distinguishes it from growth regulating factors, and from other cullins, and thus suggests a unique biological role for this largely uncharacterized protein. We have shown that both, in cancer cells and in endothelial cells, VACM-1 inhibits growth while expression of VACM-1 mutant has a dominant negative effect on cellular proliferation in vitro. Importantly, expression of VACM-1 mutants and the knockout of VACM-1 using CRISPR, convert endothelial cells to the angiogenic phenotype. Consequently, VACM-1 may play a role as a potential novel suppressor of angiogenesis in vivo.
Thus, the goal of our recent research is to test the hypothesis that VACM-1 is involved in the regulation of endothelial cell growth, and to identify the mechanism of VACM-1 regulated angiogenesis in vitro. Specifically, we are examining the effects of posttranslational modification on the biological activity of VACM-1 and whether aberrant expression of VACM-1, or expression of mutated VACM-1 may lead to a disease, cancer in particular. Students will be involved in designing experiments that test different aspects of the structure-function properties of VACM-1. Students involved in our research projects will learn experimental procedures that include DNA isolation, site-directed mutagenesis, cell culture, immunocytochemistry, spectrophotometry, fluorescence polarization techniques, polyacrylamide gel analysis and Western blotting. Importantly, students will learn to read, discuss, and question research papers effectively and to prepare scientific manuscripts.

Faculty Mentor(s): Maria Burnatowska-Hledin
Home Department: Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

Qualifications: All students interested in this research project are encouraged to apply. Current enrollment in an undergraduate program is required.

Working Conditions: This position requires remaining in a sitting or standing position for frequent periods of time, typing and computer work. You may be required to lift, move, and transport related laboratory equipment. In the case of temporary or permanent condition(s) that require(s) accommodation(s), reasonable accommodation(s) may be requested.

Runs from 5/15/2023 through 7/21/2023

Dopaminergic degeneration to study olfactory dysfunction in a zebrafish model of Parkinson’s Disease

Parkinson’s disease (PD) is one of the most common neurodegenerative diseases and leading causes of long-term disabilities and mortality in aging populations. Olfactory dysfunction is present in 96% of individuals with PD. Interestingly, olfactory loss is among the earliest symptoms of PD, preceding motor dysfunction for years.

Although very prevalent, the mechanisms underpinning olfactory dysfunction in Parkinson’s Disease are largely unknown. Our overarching goal is to advance our understanding of mechanisms linking Parkinson’s Disease and olfactory dysfunction. For this, we established a novel model of retrograde degeneration by dopaminergic degeneration in the olfactory system of zebrafish.

Our central hypothesis is that dopaminergic loss in the olfactory bulb will cause retrograde degeneration to olfactory sensory neurons in the olfactory epithelium. To study this, we perform (1) histological and morphological studies of the olfactory system, using confocal immunofluorescent techniques, and (2) olfactory functional studies, using behavioral assays.

Faculty Mentor(s): Erika Calvo-Ochoa
Home Department: Biology

Qualifications: All students interested in this research project are encouraged to apply. Preference is given to students who are interested in pursuing research for at least one academic year and who have taken intro to bio and/or neuro, and preferably at least one upper bio/neuro course.

Working Conditions: This position requires remaining in a sitting or standing position for frequent periods of time, typing and computer work. You may be required to lift, move, and transport related laboratory equipment. May be required to work with animals and potentially hazardous materials. In the case of temporary or permanent condition(s) that require(s) accommodation(s), reasonable accommodation(s) may be requested.

Runs from 5/15/2023 through 7/21/2023

Electrochemical and Mass Spec Detection of Homocysteine and Homocysteic Acid

Bipolar disorder is a serious mood disorder that is characterized by periods of depression and mania. The development of novel therapies for this disorder has been hampered by the lack of a reliable animal model. We recently discovered that treatment of rats from postnatal day 3-18 with the glutamatergic agonist, homocysteic acid (HCA), leads to the development of manic and depressive behaviors in male and female rats. This model was developed based upon the clinical observation that elevated levels of the amino acid, homocysteine (HCY), are associated with the development of neuropsychiatric disorders. However, we reasoned that HCA, which is the oxidized metabolite of HCY, may actually dysregulate important glutamatergic pathways in the brain resulting in behaviors consistent with the bipolar phenotype. In order to provide strong construct validity to our new animal mode, we plan to directly test the hypothesis that elevated levels of HCY during the same critical period in developing rats will lead to an increase in HCA levels in the plasma and brain and the development of a mixed depressive/manic state. The specific goal for this summer is to complete the measurement of HCA and HCY levels in the plasma and brains rats exposed to high HCY during development. These data will analyzed in combination with our previous behavioral assessment of HCY treated rats so that we can better understand the link between HCA levels and the development of manic and depressive behaviors.

Faculty Mentor(s): Kenneth Brown
Home Department: Chemistry

Qualifications: All students interested in this research project are encouraged to apply. Current enrollment in an undergraduate program is required.

Working Conditions: This position requires remaining in a sitting or standing position for frequent periods of time, typing and computer work. You may be required to lift, move, and transport related laboratory equipment. In the case of temporary or permanent condition(s) that require(s) accommodation(s), reasonable accommodation(s) may be requested.

Runs from 5/15/2023 through 7/21/2023

Engineering Materials that Move

This interdisciplinary project will incorporate the disciplines of mechanical engineering, materials science, chemistry, and physics. However, the project is specifically housed within the Hope College Department of Engineering.

Responsive materials are materials that convert one form of energy into another. The Smith Lab studies liquid crystal elastomers, which are rubbery materials composed of interconnected liquid crystal molecules. These materials exhibit unique optical, thermal, and mechanical properties. For example, certain liquid crystal elastomers can reversibly change their length by over 300% when heated above a critical temperature. Some of these elastomers also have mechanical properties similar to skeletal muscle. Potential applications for these materials include soft robotics, micro valves and pumps, miniaturized locomotion, energy harvesting, flexible electronics for responsive medical devices, and as a design template for architectured materials

The research in the Smith Lab is divided into two main projects:

The goal of the first project is to study the mechanical response of liquid crystal elastomer structures. Student researchers will fabricate elastomer samples and characterize them using various techniques such as tension testing and dynamic mechanical analysis. This project may require students to design and perform experiments on structures that can undergo rapid shape change driven by light or heat stimuli (like the rapid snap of the venus fly trap). Some students may have the opportunity to develop and run finite element analysis simulations.

The goal of the second project is to explore techniques for creating aligned liquid crystal elastomers. The function of these materials depends on the alignment of their liquid crystal constituents. Techniques for producing various alignments in these materials have been developed over the last several decades, but challenges still remain. Students working on this project should have an interest in chemistry, chemical engineering, or materials science. Students will synthesize small molecules and characterize them using NMR, FTIR spectroscopy, gas chromatography/mass spectroscopy, etc. The project will also involve polymer synthesis and characterization.

There is substantial overlap between these two projects and students will have the opportunity to develop the ability to work on interdisciplinary teams and will be able to learn about both topics.

Current openings are for Hope College students only. For more information about this project or the specific material systems, please contact the project mentor and/or see the references below.

References:
M.L. Smith, J. Gao, A.A. Skandani, et al. Tuned photomechanical switching of laterally constrained arches, Smart Materials and Structures Vol. 28, 075009, 2019

M. Ravi Shankar, M. L. Smith, et al. Contactless, photoinitiated snap-through in azobenzene-functionalized polymers, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Vol. 110, pgs. 18792-18797, 2013.

C.M. Yackaki, C. M., M. Saed, D. P. Nair, et al. Tailorable and programmable liquid-crystalline elastomers using a two-stage thiol-acrylate reaction, RSC Advances Vol. 5, 18997-19001, 2015.

Faculty Mentor(s): Matthew Smith
Home Department: Engineering

Qualifications: All students interested in this research project are encouraged to apply. Current enrollment in an undergraduate program is required.

Working Conditions: This position requires remaining in a sitting or standing position for frequent periods of time, typing and computer work. You may be required to lift, move, and transport related laboratory equipment. In the case of temporary or permanent condition(s) that require(s) accommodation(s), reasonable accommodation(s) may be requested.

Runs from 5/15/2023 through 7/21/2023

Exploring a Degradation Mechanism in Halide Perovskites, a Material for Next-Generation Solar Cells

This project aims to uncover degradation processes in next-generation printable solar cells. For any solar cell, stability is key - we aim to have these electronic devices last 30+ years outdoors in all weather conditions. This is especially true for printable solar cells where the components of the device are made by printing them from inks.

Students engaged in this work will help the Christians Group push forward ongoing degradation studies of printable solar cells with the goal of developing better models and understanding for degradation prediction and mitigation. Students will make solar cell materials, perform degradation studies using a suite of instrumentation (such as, absorption spectroscopy, x-ray diffraction, scanning electron microscopy, and others), and assist in building mathematical models to describe these systems.

Students will read scientific literature, fabricate materials, learn multiple characterization methods, brainstorm new experiment ideas, collect and analyze data, and present their work in multiple venues, including the opportunity to travel to and participate in a national scientific meeting.

The work is highly interdisciplinary, combining aspects of chemical engineering, chemistry, physics, and materials science. It is expected that students will be available for at least 9 weeks during the research period.

Faculty Mentor(s): Jeffrey Christians
Home Department: Engineering

Qualifications: All students interested in this research project are encouraged to apply. Current enrollment in an undergraduate program is required.Students of all years and prior experience will be considered. Chemistry lab skills are highly beneficial, particularly organic chemistry lab.

Working Conditions: This position requires remaining in a sitting or standing position for frequent periods of time, typing and computer work. You may be required to lift, move, and transport related laboratory equipment. In the case of temporary or permanent condition(s) that require(s) accommodation(s), reasonable accommodation(s) may be requested.

Runs from 5/15/2023 through 7/21/2023

GWRI - Characterization of the bacterial population in local watersheds, and relation to human health and environment

Appearance of fecal bacteria from human and livestock origin in ground water has local and global health implications. In the local Holland area watershed, high fecal bacterial counts, especially following heavy rainfall, regularly closes down swimming and other recreational use. Furthermore, although bacterial contamination is not problematic in drinking water locally thanks to municipal water treatment, it is a major cause of poor health, particularly in children, in many developing countries. Our laboratory is working to identify water-borne fecal bacterial in terms of species of host origin.

This project is a collaborative effort between Dr. Pikaart and Drs. Aaron Best and Brent Krueger.

Faculty Mentor(s): Michael Pikaart
Home Department: Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

Qualifications: All students interested in this research project are encouraged to apply. Current enrollment in an undergraduate program is required.

Working Conditions: This position requires remaining in a sitting or standing position for frequent periods of time, typing and computer work. You may be required to lift, move, and transport related laboratory equipment. In the case of temporary or permanent condition(s) that require(s) accommodation(s), reasonable accommodation(s) may be requested.

Runs from 5/15/2023 through 7/21/2023

GWRI - Computational and biochemical analysis of microbial sources within the Lake Macatawa watershed

This project blends computer science, math, biology, and chemistry. Our research efforts have resulted in the compilation of a large multi-year dataset that includes DNA sequences for many thousands of microbes, as well as individually isolated E. coli strains, from hundreds of samples acquired under a variety of environmental conditions. We hope to understand how the variation in the different microbial species that are present and their relative abundance depends on environmental conditions and other factors such as antimicrobial resistance genes present within the microbes themselves. To accomplish this we will combine sophisticated computational methods (e.g. machine learning) with more next-generation sequencing, PCR, and biochemical analyses. Using these tools, we are posing several questions: If we find evidence of fecal contamination, can we tell whether that contamination is from humans versus nonhuman origin (domestic or wildlife) and can we identify the specific location from which such contamination is originating? Do we identify antimicrobial resistance genes in E. coli that are living in the watershed? Students are likely to focus on either biochemical or computational methods, though it is possible for a student to work in both areas if they desire.

Faculty Mentor(s): Aaron Best, Brent Krueger, Michael Pikaart
Home Department: Biology

Qualifications: All students interested in this research project are encouraged to apply. Current enrollment in an undergraduate program is required.

Working Conditions: This position requires remaining in a sitting or standing position for frequent periods of time, field work (personal transportation not required) typing and computer work. You may be required to lift, move, and transport related laboratory equipment. May be required to work with animals and potentially hazardous and toxic materials. In the case of temporary or permanent condition(s) that require(s) accommodation(s), reasonable accommodation(s) may be requested.

Runs from 5/15/2023 through 7/21/2023

GWRI - Contemporary sand dune and wetlands studies

This project focuses on contemporary dune processes, including the interdunal wetlands at Saugatuck Harbor Natural Area (SHNA), and other coastal dune complexes along Lake Michigan’s eastern coast. SHNA is home to several large interdunal wetlands or slacks, an endangered ecosystem amidst the coastal dunes of Lake Michigan. We have been performing ecohydrological studies in these wetlands for 6 years and are continuing and expanding our longitudinal study again this summer. Summer research will include 1. Reading pertinent scholarly articles and developing relevant interdisciplinary background in geology, ecology, and hydrology; 2. Collecting and analyzing ground and surface water samples for selected analytes; 3. Performing vegetation quadrat sampling; 4. Performing hydrological studies based on data from the groundwater monitoring wells. Multispectral imaging has also been ongoing at this site and will be performed again this coming year. Additional multispectral imaging will be performed at other coastal dune complexes along the lakeshore as well.

Faculty Mentor(s): Suzanne DeVries-Zimmerman, Brian Yurk, Mike Philben
Home Department: Geological and Environmental Science

Qualifications: All students interested in this research project are encouraged to apply. Current enrollment in an undergraduate program is required.

Working Conditions: This position requires remaining in a sitting or standing position for frequent periods of time, typing and computer work. You may be required to lift, move, and transport related laboratory equipment. In the case of temporary or permanent condition(s) that require(s) accommodation(s), reasonable accommodation(s) may be requested.

Runs from 5/15/2023 through 7/21/2023

GWRI - Evaluating the response of Michigan peatlands to recent climate change

Peatlands are a natural carbon sink, and currently store more carbon than the world’s forests combined in the form of partially decomposed organic matter. However, climate change is expected to shift the climate window of peatlands to the north. Southwest Michigan lies at the southern extreme of the current range of peatlands, and could therefore be the first to be affected by warming. This project will evaluate if climate change has already started to impact the carbon balance of these ecosystems. Students involved in this project will participate in a 10-day field campaign, sampling bogs from the Michigan-Indiana border to the upper peninsula, then conduct measurements and experiments exploring how carbon and nitrogen cycling change along the transect.
This project has roles for students with a variety of interests, ranging from ecology to analytical chemistry.

Faculty Mentor(s): Michael Philben
Home Department: Geological and Environmental Science

Qualifications: All students interested in this research project are encouraged to apply. Current enrollment in an undergraduate program is required.

Working Conditions: This position requires remaining in a sitting or standing position for frequent periods of time, typing and computer work. You may be required to lift, move, and transport related laboratory equipment. In the case of temporary or permanent condition(s) that require(s) accommodation(s), reasonable accommodation(s) may be requested.

Runs from 5/15/2023 through 7/21/2023

GWRI - Global Surveys of Drinking Quality and Wellbeing of At Risk Populations

Lack of sustainable access to clean drinking water continues to be an issue of paramount global importance, leading to millions of preventable deaths annually. Best practices for providing sustainable access to clean drinking water, however, remain unclear. Widespread installation of low-cost, in-home, point of use water filtration systems is a promising strategy. Interventions such as these need to be done in a way that recognizes the needs and desires of the local community and is sensitive and consistent with the local culture. Finally assessment of success of the intervention is a critical tool to aid future projects. Students involved in this project will assist in a number of possible projects including: creation of survey instruments that assess community needs, public health and wellbeing, and likelihood of intervention success; understanding connections among bacterial communities, chemical contaminants and other environmental factors found in different drinking water sources from across the world; analysis of databases of drinking water quality.

Faculty Mentor(s): Aaron Best, Brent Krueger, Michael Pikaart
Home Department: Biology

Qualifications: All students interested in this research project are encouraged to apply. Current enrollment in an undergraduate program is required.

Working Conditions: This position requires remaining in a sitting or standing position for frequent periods of time, field work (personal transportation not required) typing and computer work. You may be required to lift, move, and transport related laboratory equipment. May be required to work with animals and potentially hazardous and toxic materials. In the case of temporary or permanent condition(s) that require(s) accommodation(s), reasonable accommodation(s) may be requested.

Runs from 5/15/2023 through 7/21/2023

Mitochondrial genome regulation by nucleoid proteins involved in redox sensing and one-carbon metabolism

This project focuses on biochemical mechanisms that control the function of mitochondria, specialized compartments within cells that are central to energy production and cell metabolism. Defects in mitochondrial gene expression cause a multitude of inherited human diseases and contribute significantly to age-related pathologies, like neurodegenerative disorders and cancer. Study of the basic biochemical mechanisms governing mitochondrial DNA transcription and genome stability will allow for a deeper understanding of these diseases, for which there are few effective treatments. Mitochondria contain their own small genome (mitochondrial DNA) that contains the genetic instructions for a small number of proteins required for cellular energy production. For mitochondria to function properly, these organelles rely on genetic instructions carried within their own genome, as well as those carried in the nuclear genome. Nuclear DNA carries the instructions for the majority of the 2000-member mitochondrial proteome, including a number of nucleoid proteins which are shown to associate with mitochondrial DNA. How cells regulate the expression of the mitochondrial genome in response to changing energetic needs is largely unknown. Students working on this project will explore if proteins known to interact with mitochondrial DNA serve as sensors of nutrient availability and in turn control mitochondrial gene expression, providing insight into fundamental mechanisms that control mammalian cell function.

Specifically, the research will focus on the intersection between one-carbon metabolism and redox metabolism with mitochondrial genome regulation. Enzymes involved in one-carbon metabolism provide 1C (methyl groups) for the synthesis of nucleotides and amino acids. These enzymes are interconnected with cellular pathways that regenerate antioxidants, molecules or proteins that help combat oxidative damage in cells. Recent studies to determine proteins that interact with mtDNA identified a group of four interconnected proteins that are involved in one-carbon metabolism and redox sensing (ALDH1L2, MTHFD1L, SHMT2, PRDX5). Students will explore the hypothesis that the proximity of ALDH1L2, MTHFD1L, SHMT2, and PRDX5 to mtDNA is required to relay nutrient status signals and regulate mtDNA maintenance and expression to meet changing metabolic needs. A combination of biochemical and cell biology approaches will be used to characterize these four proteins in the following ways: 1) Monitor protein localization and mitochondrial genome maintenance in cells with altered one-carbon metabolism; 2) determine the nature of the interaction of these proteins with mtDNA; and 3) Assess whether DNA association alters protein activity.

Faculty Mentor(s): Kristin Dittenhafer-Reed
Home Department: Chemistry

Qualifications: All students interested in this research project are encouraged to apply. Current enrollment in an undergraduate program is required.

Working Conditions: This position requires remaining in a sitting or standing position for frequent periods of time, typing and computer work. You may be required to lift, move, and transport related laboratory equipment. In the case of temporary or permanent condition(s) that require(s) accommodation(s), reasonable accommodation(s) may be requested.

Runs from 5/15/2023 through 7/21/2023

Olfactory degeneration and dysfunction following acute hypoxia in zebrafish

Hypoxia, a lack of enough oxygen in tissues to sustain bodily functions, has a detrimental impact on behavioral health. It is important to understand the detrimental impact on brain physiology and function following hypoxia as the overall performance of the central nervous system (CNS). Zebrafish are ideal models to study hypoxic damage in the brain. They have been shown to be susceptible to hypoxic attacks, and have been used as an alternative model to study hypoxic-ischemic brain damage.

Our overarching goal is to study the effects of low oxygen on the olfactory system. For this, we established a novel model of hypoxic exposure in zebrafish. The central hypothesis is that acute hypoxic exposure will cause neural degeneration throughout the olfactory system, and that this will lead to olfactory dysfunction.

To study this, we use (1) behavioral assays to assess olfactory function and behavior, and (2) confocal microscopy to study fluorescent markers of neural degeneration.

Faculty Mentor(s): Erika Calvo-Ochoa
Home Department: Biology

Qualifications: All students interested in this research project are encouraged to apply. Preference is given to applicants who are interested in doing research for at least a year and have taken intro to bio and or intro to neuro and preferably at least an upper bio/neuro course. Ability to work independently, accurately and to problem solve technical and methodological issues that arise during the course of research. Ability to apply sound research techniques, methodology and logical critical analysis.

Working Conditions: This position requires remaining in a sitting or standing position for frequent periods of time, typing and computer work. You may be required to lift, move, and transport related laboratory equipment. May be required to work with animals and potentially hazardous materials. In the case of temporary or permanent condition(s) that require(s) accommodation(s), reasonable accommodation(s) may be requested.

Runs from 5/15/2023 through 7/21/2023

Organic Catalysts for Polymers

Oftentimes companies use metal catalysts to make polymers, but the metal residues can be harmful if using polymers inside the body. To make polymers with medical applications, researchers are turning to organic catalysts. Organic catalysts work well making certain types of polymers, but they struggle to make polymers with therapeutic metals embedded in the polymer. I am seeking to discover new organic catalysts to make polymers with metals in them for medical applications, called metallopolymers. Working on this project allows students a chance to author an article for a peer-reviewed journal. Such papers help a student get into graduate or professional schools! In addition, students can present their works at professional meetings. These travel costs will be covered by grant money!

Faculty Mentor(s): Dr. Turlington
Home Department: Chemistry

Qualifications: All students interested in this research project are encouraged to apply. Current enrollment in an undergraduate program is required.

Working Conditions: This position requires remaining in a sitting or standing position for frequent periods of time, typing and computer work. You may be required to lift, move, and transport related laboratory equipment. In the case of temporary or permanent condition(s) that require(s) accommodation(s), reasonable accommodation(s) may be requested.

Runs from 5/22/2023 through 7/21/2023

Organic synthesis and photochemistry of colorful photoswitching dyes

The Gillmore research group of 3-5 Hope College undergraduate students will focus on the synthesis of organic photoswitches that are triggered by long-wavelength visible or near infrared (NIR) irradiation (Yang, et al. J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2014, 136, 13190). Eventual application of these dyes will include their incorporation into polymer networks with the goal of developing NIR responsive polymeric materials for use in photomechanical applications such as wireless ""soft robotic"" actuators, binary optical switches and positioners, or surfaces with morphing topologies, at wavelengths other device components do not absorb and which may be compatible with biomedical applications including transdermal irradiation. However our current ACS PRF grant first funds our study of far more fundamental structure property relationships of these dyes. We have recently discovered how to functionalize these dyes in ways their initial discoverer did not, and shown that substitution on the quinoline ring has as big or bigger effect than on the phenyl ring they initially studied. Thus we will explore a range of electron donating and withdrawing (push-pull) substitituents at multiple positions on both rings to see how far into the NIR we can push these dyes, and to correlate structural and spectral changes to further our fundamental understanding. Additional work may focus on adding synthetic handles to incorporate the dyes into more complex structures, and on exploring the range of reaction conditions to which the dyes are stable.

Students also interested in computational modeling can additionally contribute to target selection based on computed spectral properties, and should note their computational interests in their application or via email. (Don't apply to both this project and my computational project - just apply to one but express interest in both.) Students with more detailed spectroscopic / analytical / physical interests may in the future pursue more detailed photophysical studies of the dyes. But organic synthesis will be the group's primary thrust for at least the next 6-18 months.

Hope students on this project are expected to begin during the spring semester (CHEM 490 for 0 or 1 credit, or by tying this research to a related CHEM 256B Organic Chemistry II Laboratory elective independent synthesis project.) Likewise there is a definite expectation for all Hope students to continue the work into the Fall semester as well, unless we reach a different understanding in advance.

Faculty Mentor(s): Jason Gillmore
Home Department: Chemistry

Qualifications: All students interested in this research project are encouraged to apply. Current enrollment in an undergraduate program is required.

Working Conditions: This position requires remaining in a sitting or standing position for frequent periods of time, typing and computer work. You may be required to lift, move, and transport related laboratory equipment. In the case of temporary or permanent condition(s) that require(s) accommodation(s), reasonable accommodation(s) may be requested.

Runs from 5/10/2023 through 7/19/2023

Regulation of mitochondrial DNA transcription

Overview: Defects in mitochondrial gene expression cause a multitude of inherited human diseases and contribute significantly to age-related pathologies, like neurodegenerative disorders and cancer. Study of the basic biochemical mechanisms governing mitochondrial DNA transcription and genome stability will allow for a deeper understanding of these diseases, for which there are few effective treatments. Mitochondria exist at the center of cellular biosynthetic pathways and play a major role in energy production, apoptosis and oxidative stress. Mitochondria contain a DNA genome (mtDNA) encoding thirteen essential components of oxidative phosphorylation, the metabolic pathway generating cellular energy currency in the form of ATP. The remaining 1500 member mitochondrial proteome is encoded by the nuclear genome, including an additional 70 components needed for oxidative phosphorylation and the machinery required for mtDNA replication, transcription, and translation. Therefore, coordination of nuclear and mitochondrial gene expression is essential for mitochondrial function. While core components of mitochondrial transcription initiation are known, a detailed understanding of transcriptional control is lacking. The goal of the research is to uncover biochemical mechanisms that govern mitochondrial gene expression and mtDNA stability.

Specific project details: Regulation of mtDNA transcription by reversible protein post-translational modifications. Protein post-translational modifications (PTMs), including reversible lysine acetylation and serine/threonine phosphorylation, can regulate protein function. Dynamic PTM of histone proteins and nuclear transcription factors control nuclear gene expression; however whether similar mechanisms exist in the mitochondria is unknown. Our work and others revealed proteins involved in mtDNA gene expression are subject to PTM. This project will determine the role of PTMs in regulating mtDNA transcription and mtDNA stability. Students involved in this project will integrate chemical and biological course knowledge to carry out experiments and will learn lab techniques including: protein purification, enzyme assays, cell culture, western blotting, and molecular biology approaches.

Faculty Mentor(s): Kristin Dittenhafer-Reed
Home Department: Chemistry

Qualifications: All students interested in this research project are encouraged to apply. Current enrollment in an undergraduate program is required.

Working Conditions: This position requires remaining in a sitting or standing position for frequent periods of time, typing and computer work. You may be required to lift, move, and transport related laboratory equipment. In the case of temporary or permanent condition(s) that require(s) accommodation(s), reasonable accommodation(s) may be requested.

Runs from 5/15/2023 through 7/21/2023

Sliding Processes in Soft Materials

ELINSKI LAB: The Elinski Lab (elinskilab.org) focuses on surface chemistry and tribology - the study of surfaces in relative motion, (including friction, adhesion, lubrication, and wear. Please note that this area of research is not traditionally covered in coursework, but pulls on core principles from chemistry, materials science, physics, and engineering. Everything an interested student would need to know will be taught in the lab, so Dr. Elinski encourages all students to meet with her and apply, regardless of year in school or course background!

BACKGROUND: Soft materials have an impressive range of applications, from flexible electronics and haptic interfaces to biomimicry such as artificial cartilage. In particular, hydrogels (water-swollen polymer networks) bring a unique set of characteristics to these applications through their notable durability, stretchability, and aqueous composition. Given the complexity of interfaces formed with hydrogels and any potential hybrid structures, chemical structure-function relationships are at the core of many of the processes involved with motion (sliding processes) in potential applications. The Elinski Lab aims to develop a deeper fundamental understanding of the sliding processes of hydrogel composites to enable the broader incorporation of soft materials in tailored applications.

PROJECT OVERVIEW: Student researchers on this project will synthesize hydrogels and hydrogel-nanomaterial composites, with material choice focusing on target applications including haptic interfaces and modeling osteoarthritis treatments for the cartilage in joints. For either target application, the focus will be understanding the interplay of chemical-mechanical behavior in controlled environments and impact on interfacial adhesion, friction, and wear.

A suite of analytical instruments will be used for this work, including atomic force microscopy (AFM), rheology, scanning electron microscopy and energy dispersive spectroscopy (SEM/EDS), confocal Raman microspectroscopy, and attenuated total reflectance Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy (ATR-FTIR).

DETAILS: The summer research program will consist of 10 forty-hour work weeks to be conducted in the Elinski Lab on Hope College’s campus. In addition to the research there are professional development activities, along with planned social events throughout the summer to meet fellow chemistry researchers and students conducting research in other departments! There is also the potential for research projects to be continued into the following academic year.

Working on this research will provide students with a strong foundation in fundamental chemistry at surfaces and interfaces along with multidisciplinary skills in materials, (bio)mechanics, and the wider reaching principles of nanoscience. As the primary leads for their research, students will also have opportunities for authoring peer-reviewed journal articles and presenting and networking at scientific conferences.

Faculty Mentor(s): Dr. Meagan Elinski
Home Department: Chemistry

Qualifications: All students interested in this research project are encouraged to apply. Current enrollment in an undergraduate program is required.

Working Conditions: This position requires remaining in a sitting or standing position for frequent periods of time, typing and computer work. You may be required to lift, move, and transport related laboratory equipment. In the case of temporary or permanent condition(s) that require(s) accommodation(s), reasonable accommodation(s) may be requested.

Runs from 5/29/2023 through 8/4/2023

The Preparation of Thiophene Compounds for Use as Electrochemical Sensors

Thiophene compounds can be polymerized onto electrode surfaces to give highly conducting films for sensor applications. This project has two goals. One is to understand how the chemical structure of the monomer and conditions of polymerization affect the morphology of the film. The second is to prepare a variety of functionalized thiophene monomers that can be polymerized on electrodes and then used as sensors. Examples of compounds currently under development are ferrocene and porphyrin functionalized thiophenes for use as glucose sensors. Incoming students will be given a monomer or group of monomers that they will prepare through approximately 3-4 step synthetic sequences. A student will be responsible for the planning, execution and standard characterization of the materials with the support of the faculty mentor and the group members. The focus of this group is organic synthesis, so students should have had one year of organic chemistry lecture and lab. Once the compounds are made and characterized, the compounds will be electropolymerized and tested for potential sensor applications. The film morphologies will be studied with our new Scanning Electron Microscope. Students will present research results in written and oral formats. If you are interested in this research, email Dr. Sanford at sanford@hope.edu to make an appointment to discuss the research opportunities available in the Sanford group.

Faculty Mentor(s): Elizabeth Sanford
Home Department: Chemistry

Qualifications: All students interested in this research project are encouraged to apply. Current enrollment in an undergraduate program is required.Student should have completed CHEM231/256.

Working Conditions: This position requires remaining in a sitting or standing position for frequent periods of time, typing and computer work. You may be required to lift, move, and transport related laboratory equipment. In the case of temporary or permanent condition(s) that require(s) accommodation(s), reasonable accommodation(s) may be requested. This position requires the use of chemicals.

Runs from 5/15/2023 through 7/21/2023

The sustainable design and synthesis of multifunctional metal-based nanomaterials

The Goch group focuses on the sustainable development of nanomaterials for water remediation and energy related applications. The design of these nanomaterials is based on the comprehension of the surface chemistry, from adsorption to catalysis, involved in each environmental step. Working in the Goch lab, students will gain skills in environmental engineering, material science, inorganic, analytical, physical and green chemistry. Our research program will provide feasible solutions for environmental problems, including ones that new-technology-based and well-established industries face.

Faculty Mentor(s): Natalia Gonzalez-Pech
Home Department: Chemistry

Qualifications: All students interested in this research project are encouraged to apply. Current enrollment in an undergraduate program is required.

Working Conditions: This position requires remaining in a sitting or standing position for frequent periods of time, typing and computer work. You may be required to lift, move, and transport related laboratory equipment. In the case of temporary or permanent condition(s) that require(s) accommodation(s), reasonable accommodation(s) may be requested.

Runs from 5/15/2023 through 7/21/2023

Urbanization and the availability of carotenoids in the diets of songbirds

In intersexual communication many signals have evolved to honestly convey information about the sender to the receiver. The carotenoid-based colors (e.g., bright red, orange, and yellow) of passerine birds have become a model system for the study of honest signaling and sexual selection via female. Male feather carotenoid pigmentation has been linked to males with a better ability to resist and recover from parasitic infections, higher quality diets, and lower exposure to oxidative stress. Females, in turn, have been shown to prefer males that have greater carotenoid pigmentation as it is an honest reflection of male condition on a variety of scales. While perhaps best known for their role in signaling displays, carotenoids also play an essential role in avian vision, and therefore the sensory perception of the carotenoid displays themselves. In birds, cone photoreceptors contain an oil droplet, a small organelle filled with carotenoids that functions in selectively absorbing certain wavelengths of light and therefore shifting the spectral sensitivity of the cone visual pigments.

It is our hypothesis that there will therefore be differences in the retinal carotenoids of songbirds based on their habitat, urban or rural. We will apply currently accepted HPLC protocols on hydrolyzed retinal carotenoid esters to study this hypothesis. We will simultaneously attempt to develop more robust HPLC/MS/MS methods, which may be feasible directly on retinal extracts without ester hydrolysis.

Faculty Mentor(s): Kelly Ronald, Jason Gillmore
Home Department: Chemistry

Qualifications: All students interested in this research project are encouraged to apply. Current enrollment in an undergraduate program is required.

Working Conditions: This position requires remaining in a sitting or standing position for frequent periods of time, field work (personal transportation not required) typing and computer work. You may be required to lift, move, and transport related laboratory equipment. May be required to work with animals and potentially hazardous and toxic materials. In the case of temporary or permanent condition(s) that require(s) accommodation(s), reasonable accommodation(s) may be requested.

Runs from 5/15/2023 through 7/21/2023

Communication

Sliding Processes in Soft Materials

ELINSKI LAB: The Elinski Lab (elinskilab.org) focuses on surface chemistry and tribology - the study of surfaces in relative motion, (including friction, adhesion, lubrication, and wear. Please note that this area of research is not traditionally covered in coursework, but pulls on core principles from chemistry, materials science, physics, and engineering. Everything an interested student would need to know will be taught in the lab, so Dr. Elinski encourages all students to meet with her and apply, regardless of year in school or course background!

BACKGROUND: Soft materials have an impressive range of applications, from flexible electronics and haptic interfaces to biomimicry such as artificial cartilage. In particular, hydrogels (water-swollen polymer networks) bring a unique set of characteristics to these applications through their notable durability, stretchability, and aqueous composition. Given the complexity of interfaces formed with hydrogels and any potential hybrid structures, chemical structure-function relationships are at the core of many of the processes involved with motion (sliding processes) in potential applications. The Elinski Lab aims to develop a deeper fundamental understanding of the sliding processes of hydrogel composites to enable the broader incorporation of soft materials in tailored applications.

PROJECT OVERVIEW: Student researchers on this project will synthesize hydrogels and hydrogel-nanomaterial composites, with material choice focusing on target applications including haptic interfaces and modeling osteoarthritis treatments for the cartilage in joints. For either target application, the focus will be understanding the interplay of chemical-mechanical behavior in controlled environments and impact on interfacial adhesion, friction, and wear.

A suite of analytical instruments will be used for this work, including atomic force microscopy (AFM), rheology, scanning electron microscopy and energy dispersive spectroscopy (SEM/EDS), confocal Raman microspectroscopy, and attenuated total reflectance Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy (ATR-FTIR).

DETAILS: The summer research program will consist of 10 forty-hour work weeks to be conducted in the Elinski Lab on Hope College’s campus. In addition to the research there are professional development activities, along with planned social events throughout the summer to meet fellow chemistry researchers and students conducting research in other departments! There is also the potential for research projects to be continued into the following academic year.

Working on this research will provide students with a strong foundation in fundamental chemistry at surfaces and interfaces along with multidisciplinary skills in materials, (bio)mechanics, and the wider reaching principles of nanoscience. As the primary leads for their research, students will also have opportunities for authoring peer-reviewed journal articles and presenting and networking at scientific conferences.

Faculty Mentor(s): Dr. Meagan Elinski
Home Department: Chemistry

Qualifications: All students interested in this research project are encouraged to apply. Current enrollment in an undergraduate program is required.

Working Conditions: This position requires remaining in a sitting or standing position for frequent periods of time, typing and computer work. You may be required to lift, move, and transport related laboratory equipment. In the case of temporary or permanent condition(s) that require(s) accommodation(s), reasonable accommodation(s) may be requested.

Runs from 5/29/2023 through 8/4/2023

Computer Science

A mathematical model to predict nerve activation and guide development of a home-based treatment for phantom limb pain

The overall goal of this research is to develop a non-invasive, home-based therapy for treating phantom limb pain. This project focuses on the use of mathematical models to predict effective electrode configurations and stimulation parameters to activate different portions of the nerve.

This position will entail significant computer work so knowledge of programming in Matlab or a similar language is needed. If you are hired for this position you will be a member of a research team where some people are concentrating on experimental data collection with human subjects. If you are interested, you would have the opportunity to contribute in other areas of the project as well.

Faculty Mentor(s): Katharine Polasek
Home Department: Engineering

Qualifications: All students interested in this research project are encouraged to apply. Current enrollment in an undergraduate program is required.

Working Conditions: This position requires remaining in a sitting or standing position for frequent periods of time, typing and computer work. You may be required to lift, move, and transport related laboratory equipment. In the case of temporary or permanent condition(s) that require(s) accommodation(s), reasonable accommodation(s) may be requested.

Runs from 5/15/2023 through 7/21/2023

A Mobile App for Data Collection

Researchers from several departments will be involved collecting data on microbes found in the Lake Macatawa Watershed. They will be collecting hundreds of samples under a variety of environmental conditions. The software designed for this project will assist in data collecting, streamlining an otherwise manual process to collect and catalog specimens to minimize human error.

Faculty Mentor(s): Mike Jipping
Home Department: Computer Science

Qualifications: All students interested in this research project are encouraged to apply. Current enrollment in an undergraduate program is required. Applicant should be proficient in programming. Javascript will likely be used in the programming of the app and time to learn the language and hone skills will be given.

Working Conditions: This position requires remaining in a sitting or standing position for frequent periods of time, typing and computer work. You may be required to lift, move, and transport related laboratory equipment. In the case of temporary or permanent condition(s) that require(s) accommodation(s), reasonable accommodation(s) may be requested.Use of chemicals will be required.

Runs from 5/15/2023 through 7/14/2023

Chemical Avenues to Sustainable Energy Consumption

ELINSKI LAB: The Elinski Lab (elinskilab.org) focuses on surface chemistry and tribology - the study of surfaces in relative motion, (including friction, adhesion, lubrication, and wear. Please note that this area of research is not traditionally covered in coursework, but pulls on core principles from chemistry, materials science, physics, and engineering. Everything an interested student would need to know will be taught in the lab, so Dr. Elinski encourages all students to meet with her and apply, regardless of year in school or course background!

BACKGROUND: There is a significant imbalance between energy produced in the United States vs that which is consumed, with roughly two-thirds of produced energy wasted. One source of this loss is the energy dissipation associated with friction and wear between surfaces in relative motion. To address this, one goal of the Elinski Lab is to understand how fundamental chemical mechanisms in sliding contacts can be capitalized on for controlling friction and wear processes.

PROJECT OVERVIEW: Student researchers interested in this area will work on one of two projects. One project focuses on nanomaterial composite systems in dry sliding contacts, with target applications for electric vehicles and space lubrication (funding through NASA). The second project focuses on understanding surface reactions in oil environments (funding through the American Chemical Society Petroleum Research Fund). Both projects will study confined, nanoscale dynamic (sliding) contacts to understand chemical-mechanical relationships. Surface modification methods - including nanoparticle films to control roughness and self-assembled monolayers to control functionality - will be used to systematically interrogate the formation of protective surface films. These surface-bound films develop as a result of chemical processes driven by mechanical forces. A better understanding of film formation can help develop advanced control over sliding interfaces, improving strategies towards mitigating energy loss.

A suite of analytical instruments will be used for this work, including atomic force microscopy (AFM), rheology, scanning electron microscopy and energy dispersive spectroscopy (SEM/EDS), confocal Raman microspectroscopy, and attenuated total reflectance Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy (ATR-FTIR).

DETAILS: The summer research program will consist of 10 forty-hour work weeks to be conducted in the Elinski Lab on Hope College’s campus. In addition to the research there are professional development activities, along with planned social events throughout the summer to meet fellow chemistry researchers and students conducting research in other departments! There is also the potential for research projects to be continued into the following academic year.

Working on this research will provide students with a strong foundation in fundamental chemistry at surfaces and interfaces along with multidisciplinary skills in materials, mechanics, and the wider reaching principles of nanoscience. As the primary leads for their research, students will also have opportunities for authoring peer-reviewed journal articles and presenting and networking at scientific conferences.

Faculty Mentor(s): Dr. Meagan Elinski
Home Department: Chemistry

Qualifications: All students interested in this research project are encouraged to apply. Current enrollment in an undergraduate program is required.

Working Conditions: This position requires remaining in a sitting or standing position for frequent periods of time, typing and computer work. You may be required to lift, move, and transport related laboratory equipment. In the case of temporary or permanent condition(s) that require(s) accommodation(s), reasonable accommodation(s) may be requested.

Runs from 5/29/2023 through 8/4/2023

Classifying Patient-Handling Techniques to Reduce Risk of Musculoskeletal Injury in Nursing Students

Risk of musculoskeletal injury, particularly at the low back, in nursing personnel has been associated with the performance of manual patient-handling tasks, which include maneuvers such as lifting, lowering, pivoting, pushing, pulling, and repositioning. An area of research which remains unexplored, to the best of our knowledge, is whether task maneuvers differ in nursing students and nursing personnel and whether there are any differences in task maneuvers between professional nurses with and without low back pain. The long-term goal of this work is to develop a wearable sensor-based system to mitigate risk of injury by providing feedback to nursing students and personnel about the quality of their performance.

As a first step towards this goal, this pilot proposal has two specific aims:
1) To characterize patterns in task maneuvers across nursing students and nurses in the workforce (with and without low back injury); and
2) To apply machine learning algorithms in the classification of posture (‘good’, ‘poor’, and ‘possibly neutral’) according to patient weight, task performed, and trunk, hip, and knee joint angles.

Faculty Mentor(s): Omofolakunmi Olagbemi, Brooke Odle
Home Department: Computer Science

Qualifications: All students interested in this research project are encouraged to apply. Current enrollment in an undergraduate program is required.

Working Conditions: This position requires remaining in a sitting or standing position for frequent periods of time, typing and computer work. You may be required to lift, move, and transport related laboratory equipment. In the case of temporary or permanent condition(s) that require(s) accommodation(s), reasonable accommodation(s) may be requested.

Runs from 5/22/2023 through 7/21/2023

Computational Modelling of Organic Dyes

An opportunity exists for one or two students to continue to develop and apply computational methods to predict spectroscopic properties of organic molecules in support of synthetic and mechanistic organic photochemistry studies.

Our computational work developing efficient methods to accurately predict ground state reduction potentials has appeared as a cover article on J. Phys. Chem. A in 2008 and in greater detail in J. Org. Chem. in 2012. We have more recently extended this work by comparing it to even less ""expensive"" computational methods developed by collaborators at Arizona State University, which we published in J. Phys. Org. Chem. in 2015. We also use computation to help us understand other photochemical and electrochemical phenomena we discover experimentally (most of my group's nine experimental papers have at least some computational modeling in them. In the next three years we plan to focus on predicting the absorption spectra of a family of long-wavelength azo dyes, to guide our synthetic target selection. This will include my group's first foray into time dependent density functional theory (TD-DFT), but we have good literature precedent to follow. However we may also continue to explore computational electrochemistry ourselves and in possible collaboration with Dr. Guarr's Organic Energy Storage Lab at the MSU Bioeconomy Institute.

This project can be purely computational or can involve up to 50% experimental organic chemistry for students who have completed a year of organic chemistry with lab (potentially including synthesis, spectroscopy, and/or electrochemistry).

In your application essay please note your computational interests (and any relevant experience), and also whether you'd prefer a purely computational or mixed computation and wet chemistry project.

Students on this project will certainly have the option (and perhaps the expectation) to begin during the spring semester and/or to continue the research into the following academic year (for credit or on a volunteer basis.) It may also be possible to tie this research to a related CHEM 256B Organic Chemistry II Laboratory elective independent project.

DO NOT APPLY TO *BOTH* THIS PROJECT *AND* MY EXPERIMENTAL PROJECT - APPLY TO THE ONE YOU PREFER AND EMAIL ME IF YOU ARE ALSO INTERESTED IN THE OTHER. OR BETTER YET, EMAIL FOR AN APPOINTMENT TO COME CHAT WITH ME ABOUT RESEARCH.

Faculty Mentor(s): Jason Gillmore
Home Department: Chemistry

Qualifications: All students interested in this research project are encouraged to apply. Current enrollment in an undergraduate program is required. Students applying to this project should be well-organized, comfortable with computers, familiar with Microsoft Excel, and interested in both computational modeling and chemistry. Experience with computational modeling, even if only in the undergraduate laboratory curriculum (e.g., General Chemistry Lab or Organic Chemistry Lab at Hope each have one experiment on computational modeling), is a big plus. Having had organic chemistry (or even any chemistry beyond high school) is definitely beneficial but not essential.

Working Conditions: This position requires remaining in a sitting or standing position for frequent periods of time, typing and computer work. You may be required to lift, move, and transport related laboratory equipment. In the case of temporary or permanent condition(s) that require(s) accommodation(s), reasonable accommodation(s) may be requested.

Runs from 5/10/2023 through 7/19/2023

Control of Cellular signaling in cancer

This interdisciplinary project will incorporate the disciplines of chemistry and biology. The project is specifically housed within the Hope College Departments of biology and chemistry .

Research conducted in our lab focuses on elucidating the normal function for VACM-1/cul5, an endothelium specific gene product which shares sequence homology with cullins, a family of intracellular proteins that regulate diverse signaling pathways in response to changes in the cellular environment. Our work to date indicates that VACM-1 protein regulates cellular growth by a mechanism that distinguishes it from growth regulating factors, and from other cullins, and thus suggests a unique biological role for this largely uncharacterized protein. We have shown that both, in cancer cells and in endothelial cells, VACM-1 inhibits growth while expression of VACM-1 mutant has a dominant negative effect on cellular proliferation in vitro. Importantly, expression of VACM-1 mutants and the knockout of VACM-1 using CRISPR, convert endothelial cells to the angiogenic phenotype. Consequently, VACM-1 may play a role as a potential novel suppressor of angiogenesis in vivo.
Thus, the goal of our recent research is to test the hypothesis that VACM-1 is involved in the regulation of endothelial cell growth, and to identify the mechanism of VACM-1 regulated angiogenesis in vitro. Specifically, we are examining the effects of posttranslational modification on the biological activity of VACM-1 and whether aberrant expression of VACM-1, or expression of mutated VACM-1 may lead to a disease, cancer in particular. Students will be involved in designing experiments that test different aspects of the structure-function properties of VACM-1. Students involved in our research projects will learn experimental procedures that include DNA isolation, site-directed mutagenesis, cell culture, immunocytochemistry, spectrophotometry, fluorescence polarization techniques, polyacrylamide gel analysis and Western blotting. Importantly, students will learn to read, discuss, and question research papers effectively and to prepare scientific manuscripts.

Faculty Mentor(s): Maria Burnatowska-Hledin
Home Department: Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

Qualifications: All students interested in this research project are encouraged to apply. Current enrollment in an undergraduate program is required.

Working Conditions: This position requires remaining in a sitting or standing position for frequent periods of time, typing and computer work. You may be required to lift, move, and transport related laboratory equipment. In the case of temporary or permanent condition(s) that require(s) accommodation(s), reasonable accommodation(s) may be requested.

Runs from 5/15/2023 through 7/21/2023

Estimating Low Back Forces using Wearable Sensors

This project seeks to use machine learning with IMUs to predict internal forces in the low back. As the world of biomechanics looks to collect data in more realistic environments using wearable sensors, machine learning has been used to help in assessing data. Machine learning with wearable sensors will help with setting the foundation for assessing patient-handling tasks outside of the lab. Creating ways to collect data in a more realistic environment(outside of a lab setting) will allow further advancements in this area of research. This project will be the continuation of work started by a previous student.

Faculty Mentor(s): Brooke Odle
Home Department: Engineering

Qualifications: All students interested in this research project are encouraged to apply. Current enrollment in an undergraduate program is required.Preferred qualifications include but are not limited to: knowledge of anatomy and computer programming languages (Python and/or MATLAB), organization skills and oral/written communication skills to discuss and document research progress. Ability to work independently, accurately and to problem solve technical and methodological issues that arise during the course of research. Ability to apply sound research techniques, methodology and logical critical analysis. Student(s) will receive training in proper human subject research and follow all IRB regulations.

Working Conditions: This position requires remaining in a sitting or standing position for frequent periods of time, typing and computer work. You may be required to lift, move, and transport related laboratory equipment. In the case of temporary or permanent condition(s) that require(s) accommodation(s), reasonable accommodation(s) may be requested.

Runs from 5/15/2023 through 7/21/2023

EXPLAINABILITY IN MULTIVARIATE TIME SERIES CLASSIFICATION MACHINE LEARNING MODELS

Machine learning (ML) classifiers are typically seen as black boxes in which the reasoning behind the determination of their outputs (whether these be classification labels or regression estimates) is not fully explainable. Notwithstanding the increasing application of ML models in several disciplines, the lack of explainability does not engender and promote trust in these models. This study seeks to focus specifically on explainability of ML models applied in posture classification of selected patient-handling tasks using data obtained from participants during task performance. Deciphering the features or dimensions that most significantly impact the resulting classifications will serve as a basis in formulating metrics that would be indicative of what constitutes good posture and, by extension, what constitutes neutral or poor posture. This investigation into posture will serve as a tool to facilitate promotion of good posture during task completion, thereby reducing the incidence of low back pain among professional nurses.

Faculty Mentor(s): Omofolakunmi Olagbemi, Brooke Odle
Home Department: Computer Science

Runs from 5/22/2023 through 7/21/2023

Explorations in Graph Pebbling

We will explore graph pebbling problems, with particular interest in exploring topics related to Graham's Conjecture. This project can lean more mathematical or algorithmic depending on the student(s) involved. For more details, contact Dr. Cusack.

Faculty Mentor(s): Charles Cusack
Home Department: Computer Science

Qualifications: All students interested in this research project are encouraged to apply. Current enrollment in an undergraduate program is required.Strong preference given to students who have taken (and done well in) CSCI 255 and/or MATH 280. Spring enrollment in CSCI 385 and/or MATH 360 a plus.

Working Conditions: This position requires remaining in a sitting or standing position for frequent periods of time, typing and computer work. You may be required to lift, move, and transport related laboratory equipment. In the case of temporary or permanent condition(s) that require(s) accommodation(s), reasonable accommodation(s) may be requested.

Runs from 5/15/2023 through 7/14/2023

Exploring the potential for geologic storage of CO2 in faulted subsurface reservoirs in the northern Gulf of Mexico continental shelf and deep offshore Niger Delta Basin

The release of anthropogenic CO2 into Earth’s atmosphere has risen progressively and has resulted in and amplified climatic variations around the globe with unprecedented effect on humans. Geological sequestration of CO2 via subsurface storage in reservoirs can significantly alleviate this effect but its mechanism is under explored. Therefore, it is imperative to understand the structural framework, possibility of reactivation, and sealing potential of faults of subsurface storage complexes in order to prevent migration of injected CO2 outside the target storage strata. This research aims to investigate the potential for geologic storage of CO2 in the northern Gulf of Mexico continental shelf and deep offshore Niger Delta Basin, through detailed characterization of the structural framework, reactivation likelihood, and seal-ability of faults of depleted subsurface reservoirs, as well as determine their volumetric capacity for sequestration of captured CO2. Specifically, we will apply a multidisciplinary method incorporating geology, geophysics, physics and environmental science, and will utilize a suite of geological and geophysical data and industry software packages such as Petrel, PetroMod, Techlog and GeoEx to detail the trapping mechanism of storage complexes identified within the study area and unravel their sealing abilities, and the new knowledge will provide the basis for the management of geologic sequestration of carbon in the Gulf of Mexico, Niger Delta and the world at large, in order to mitigate global climate disasters resulting from anthropogenic CO2 emissions. In addition, students will develop outstanding subsurface characterization skills that make for employability within the sustainable energy development sector.

Faculty Mentor(s): Uzonna Anyiam
Home Department: Geological and Environmental Science

Qualifications: All students interested in this research project are encouraged to apply. Current enrollment in an undergraduate program is required.Preferred qualifications include but are not limited to: subject knowledge, organization skills and oral/written communication skills to discuss and document research progress. Ability to work independently, accurately and to problem solve technical and methodological issues that arise during the course of research. Ability to apply sound research techniques, methodology and logical critical analysis.

Working Conditions: This position requires remaining in a sitting or standing position for frequent periods of time, typing and computer work. You may be required to lift, move, and transport related laboratory equipment. In the case of temporary or permanent condition(s) that require(s) accommodation(s), reasonable accommodation(s) may be requested.

Runs from 5/15/2023 through 7/21/2023

GWRI - Computational and biochemical analysis of microbial sources within the Lake Macatawa watershed

This project blends computer science, math, biology, and chemistry. Our research efforts have resulted in the compilation of a large multi-year dataset that includes DNA sequences for many thousands of microbes, as well as individually isolated E. coli strains, from hundreds of samples acquired under a variety of environmental conditions. We hope to understand how the variation in the different microbial species that are present and their relative abundance depends on environmental conditions and other factors such as antimicrobial resistance genes present within the microbes themselves. To accomplish this we will combine sophisticated computational methods (e.g. machine learning) with more next-generation sequencing, PCR, and biochemical analyses. Using these tools, we are posing several questions: If we find evidence of fecal contamination, can we tell whether that contamination is from humans versus nonhuman origin (domestic or wildlife) and can we identify the specific location from which such contamination is originating? Do we identify antimicrobial resistance genes in E. coli that are living in the watershed? Students are likely to focus on either biochemical or computational methods, though it is possible for a student to work in both areas if they desire.

Faculty Mentor(s): Aaron Best, Brent Krueger, Michael Pikaart
Home Department: Biology

Qualifications: All students interested in this research project are encouraged to apply. Current enrollment in an undergraduate program is required.

Working Conditions: This position requires remaining in a sitting or standing position for frequent periods of time, field work (personal transportation not required) typing and computer work. You may be required to lift, move, and transport related laboratory equipment. May be required to work with animals and potentially hazardous and toxic materials. In the case of temporary or permanent condition(s) that require(s) accommodation(s), reasonable accommodation(s) may be requested.

Runs from 5/15/2023 through 7/21/2023

Interactive Art: Ripples on a Pond

The short term goal of the project will be to create an interactive "pond" on a large touch screen that will produce ripples that emanate from the locations that are touched. The long term goal of the research is to produce interactive art that will morph in response to interaction from viewers. If this sounds somewhat vague, it is. That is because the exact shape the project will take will depend heavily on input from those involved.

Feel free to discuss the project with Dr. Cusack for more details, especially if you have a strong interest in the project but are not certain you have the qualifications.

Faculty Mentor(s): Charles Cusack
Home Department: Computer Science

Qualifications: All students interested in this research project are encouraged to apply. Current enrollment in an undergraduate program is required.Familiarity with a programming language (C, C++, Java, Python, etc.) required. Experience with art/design (especially digital art) a plus. Experience working with hardware devices such as a Raspberry Pi and especially anything with touch screen technology a plus.

Working Conditions: This position requires remaining in a sitting or standing position for frequent periods of time, typing and computer work. You may be required to lift, move, and transport related laboratory equipment. In the case of temporary or permanent condition(s) that require(s) accommodation(s), reasonable accommodation(s) may be requested.

Runs from 5/15/2023 through 7/14/2023

Kids Hope USA Mobile App

Kids Hope USA requires a new mobile app to allow Directors, Mentors and Prayer
Partners to easily access the tools they need in fulfilling their roles. The solution must interact with the current WordPress website and supporting data, and will focus on supporting Mentors in their roles. It is not decided whether this project will incorporate phone apps or Web apps.

Faculty Mentor(s): Mike Jipping
Home Department: Computer Science

Qualifications: All students interested in this research project are encouraged to apply. Current enrollment in an undergraduate program is required. Applicants must be proficient in programming and must be willing to learn a new language in a short time. Ability to work independently, accurately and to problem solve technical and methodological issues that arise during the course of the project are important.

Working Conditions: This position requires remaining in a sitting or standing position for frequent periods of time, typing and computer work. You may be required to lift, move, and transport related laboratory equipment. In the case of temporary or permanent condition(s) that require(s) accommodation(s), reasonable accommodation(s) may be requested.Use of chemicals will be required.

Runs from 5/15/2023 through 7/14/2023

Sliding Processes in Soft Materials

ELINSKI LAB: The Elinski Lab (elinskilab.org) focuses on surface chemistry and tribology - the study of surfaces in relative motion, (including friction, adhesion, lubrication, and wear. Please note that this area of research is not traditionally covered in coursework, but pulls on core principles from chemistry, materials science, physics, and engineering. Everything an interested student would need to know will be taught in the lab, so Dr. Elinski encourages all students to meet with her and apply, regardless of year in school or course background!

BACKGROUND: Soft materials have an impressive range of applications, from flexible electronics and haptic interfaces to biomimicry such as artificial cartilage. In particular, hydrogels (water-swollen polymer networks) bring a unique set of characteristics to these applications through their notable durability, stretchability, and aqueous composition. Given the complexity of interfaces formed with hydrogels and any potential hybrid structures, chemical structure-function relationships are at the core of many of the processes involved with motion (sliding processes) in potential applications. The Elinski Lab aims to develop a deeper fundamental understanding of the sliding processes of hydrogel composites to enable the broader incorporation of soft materials in tailored applications.

PROJECT OVERVIEW: Student researchers on this project will synthesize hydrogels and hydrogel-nanomaterial composites, with material choice focusing on target applications including haptic interfaces and modeling osteoarthritis treatments for the cartilage in joints. For either target application, the focus will be understanding the interplay of chemical-mechanical behavior in controlled environments and impact on interfacial adhesion, friction, and wear.

A suite of analytical instruments will be used for this work, including atomic force microscopy (AFM), rheology, scanning electron microscopy and energy dispersive spectroscopy (SEM/EDS), confocal Raman microspectroscopy, and attenuated total reflectance Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy (ATR-FTIR).

DETAILS: The summer research program will consist of 10 forty-hour work weeks to be conducted in the Elinski Lab on Hope College’s campus. In addition to the research there are professional development activities, along with planned social events throughout the summer to meet fellow chemistry researchers and students conducting research in other departments! There is also the potential for research projects to be continued into the following academic year.

Working on this research will provide students with a strong foundation in fundamental chemistry at surfaces and interfaces along with multidisciplinary skills in materials, (bio)mechanics, and the wider reaching principles of nanoscience. As the primary leads for their research, students will also have opportunities for authoring peer-reviewed journal articles and presenting and networking at scientific conferences.

Faculty Mentor(s): Dr. Meagan Elinski
Home Department: Chemistry

Qualifications: All students interested in this research project are encouraged to apply. Current enrollment in an undergraduate program is required.

Working Conditions: This position requires remaining in a sitting or standing position for frequent periods of time, typing and computer work. You may be required to lift, move, and transport related laboratory equipment. In the case of temporary or permanent condition(s) that require(s) accommodation(s), reasonable accommodation(s) may be requested.

Runs from 5/29/2023 through 8/4/2023

Upgrade to the MyMilkData App

Dr. Esquerra-Zwiers from the Nursing department does research involving breastfeeding mothers. She is interested in factors that can affect breast milk. Students in the Hope Software Institute have designed and written an app that she uses to collect data for her research. She needs this app updated, especially to allow researchers to access the data in several ways.

Faculty Mentor(s): Mike Jipping
Home Department: Computer Science

Qualifications: All students interested in this research project are encouraged to apply. Students must be current enrolled or be incoming first-year students.

Working Conditions: This position requires remaining in a sitting or standing position for frequent periods of time, typing and computer work. You may be required to lift, move, and transport related laboratory equipment. In the case of temporary or permanent condition(s) that require(s) accommodation(s), reasonable accommodation(s) may be requested.

Runs from 5/22/2023 through 7/21/2023

Economics and Business

GWRI - Effective Practices in Water, Sanitation and Health Interventions Globally

In 2010, access to water and sanitation was recognized as a human right. Five years later, an ambitious target of achieving universal access to safely managed water, sanitation, and hygiene services by 2030 was agreed upon in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Over ten years later, the world is still falling short of meeting this goal. As of 2020, while the global COVID-19 pandemic raged, almost half the world's population did not have access to safely managed clean water or sanitation services. One response by a variety of non-governmental organizations has been to provide water filters or other water, sanitation and hygiene trainings and interventions (WASH) at the household level. Much of the evaluation research, however, shows household level interventions have intermittent to ineffective long-term impacts. Most of this scholarship focuses primarily on small sample sizes and is conducted primarily in rural areas. My own previous work with a Hope student created a review of this literature to be used by projects working in more urban settings with larger populations as part of a systematic evaluation of such interventions. This project will continue to build on this literature compilation and analysis as well as focus specifically on what is known about work in rural areas with indigenous people groups. We will specially focus on the Maasai, Turkana and Pokot ethnic groups in Kenya. What groups have done various WASH interventions and what have been the outcomes? What works in meeting access to enough and clean water as well as fostering related health improvements in rural, indigenous communities? What costs are involved? How are local and national governmental interventions and services involved? We will work together to read and analyze previous research as well as compile currently disparate data from various non-governmental organizations (NGOs) as well as governmental sources to create a clear picture of the water and sanitation work supporting these communities.

Faculty Mentor(s): Virginia Beard
Home Department: Political Science

Qualifications: Preferred qualifications include but are not limited to: some knowledge of and interest in water issues, organization skills and oral/written communication skills to discuss and document research progress. Ability to work independently, accurately and with integrity. Ability to learn new and apply new as well as continuing research techniques, methodology and logical critical analysis well. Preferred sophomore with experience in social science research methodologies

Working Conditions: This position requires remaining in a sitting or standing position for frequent periods of time, typing and computer work. In the case of temporary or permanent condition(s) that require(s) accommodation(s), reasonable accommodation(s) may be requested. While some remote work will be part of this position, there will be an expected ability for student researcher to work at Hope, on campus, at least one-two day(s) per week.

Runs from 5/22/2023 through 7/14/2023

Education

Chemical Avenues to Sustainable Energy Consumption

ELINSKI LAB: The Elinski Lab (elinskilab.org) focuses on surface chemistry and tribology - the study of surfaces in relative motion, (including friction, adhesion, lubrication, and wear. Please note that this area of research is not traditionally covered in coursework, but pulls on core principles from chemistry, materials science, physics, and engineering. Everything an interested student would need to know will be taught in the lab, so Dr. Elinski encourages all students to meet with her and apply, regardless of year in school or course background!

BACKGROUND: There is a significant imbalance between energy produced in the United States vs that which is consumed, with roughly two-thirds of produced energy wasted. One source of this loss is the energy dissipation associated with friction and wear between surfaces in relative motion. To address this, one goal of the Elinski Lab is to understand how fundamental chemical mechanisms in sliding contacts can be capitalized on for controlling friction and wear processes.

PROJECT OVERVIEW: Student researchers interested in this area will work on one of two projects. One project focuses on nanomaterial composite systems in dry sliding contacts, with target applications for electric vehicles and space lubrication (funding through NASA). The second project focuses on understanding surface reactions in oil environments (funding through the American Chemical Society Petroleum Research Fund). Both projects will study confined, nanoscale dynamic (sliding) contacts to understand chemical-mechanical relationships. Surface modification methods - including nanoparticle films to control roughness and self-assembled monolayers to control functionality - will be used to systematically interrogate the formation of protective surface films. These surface-bound films develop as a result of chemical processes driven by mechanical forces. A better understanding of film formation can help develop advanced control over sliding interfaces, improving strategies towards mitigating energy loss.

A suite of analytical instruments will be used for this work, including atomic force microscopy (AFM), rheology, scanning electron microscopy and energy dispersive spectroscopy (SEM/EDS), confocal Raman microspectroscopy, and attenuated total reflectance Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy (ATR-FTIR).

DETAILS: The summer research program will consist of 10 forty-hour work weeks to be conducted in the Elinski Lab on Hope College’s campus. In addition to the research there are professional development activities, along with planned social events throughout the summer to meet fellow chemistry researchers and students conducting research in other departments! There is also the potential for research projects to be continued into the following academic year.

Working on this research will provide students with a strong foundation in fundamental chemistry at surfaces and interfaces along with multidisciplinary skills in materials, mechanics, and the wider reaching principles of nanoscience. As the primary leads for their research, students will also have opportunities for authoring peer-reviewed journal articles and presenting and networking at scientific conferences.

Faculty Mentor(s): Dr. Meagan Elinski
Home Department: Chemistry

Qualifications: All students interested in this research project are encouraged to apply. Current enrollment in an undergraduate program is required.

Working Conditions: This position requires remaining in a sitting or standing position for frequent periods of time, typing and computer work. You may be required to lift, move, and transport related laboratory equipment. In the case of temporary or permanent condition(s) that require(s) accommodation(s), reasonable accommodation(s) may be requested.

Runs from 5/29/2023 through 8/4/2023

Programmatic Belonging Cues to Elevate the Cultural Climate for Improved Undergraduate Student Success in Engineering

This five-year project focuses on increasing retention and 4-year graduation rates of engineering students at Hope College through an NSF-funded grant. Student researchers who participate in this project will be part of the evaluation team and will work this summer to analyze data from the first two years of the program. Members of the research team will work in an interdisciplinary environment that is housed in the biology department. However, the context of the research will be in engineering, and the methods used will include both psychological and educational approaches.

The work this summer will include analyzing survey data from the Basic Psychological Need Satisfaction and Frustration Scale to determine if students’ basic psychological needs were met. Furthermore, the research team will qualitative analyze interviews from engineering students to determine which interventions were most effective/ineffective in establishing a sense of belonging. This mixed methods approach will result in significant and new knowledge concerning the factors that lead to greater sense of belonging, motivation, and persistence to graduation of students in engineering. More specifically, evaluation will determine: (a) students’ feelings of motivational support, (b) how the program supports and/or frustrates feelings of motivational support, (c) if students’ experiences are similar to or different from comparison students, (d) the effects of programmatic practices on students’ motivation, and (e) the relationship between felt motivational support and retention.

Students who participate in this project will learn quantitative and qualitative methods of analysis, conduct a comprehensive literature review, and participate in the writing of a formal report for stakeholders.

Faculty Mentor(s): Stephen Scogin
Home Department: Biology

Qualifications: All students interested in this research project are encouraged to apply. Current enrollment in an undergraduate program is required.

Working Conditions: This position requires remaining in a sitting or standing position for frequent periods of time, typing and computer work. You may be required to lift, move, and transport related laboratory equipment. In the case of temporary or permanent condition(s) that require(s) accommodation(s), reasonable accommodation(s) may be requested.

Runs from 5/22/2023 through 7/28/2023

Sliding Processes in Soft Materials

ELINSKI LAB: The Elinski Lab (elinskilab.org) focuses on surface chemistry and tribology - the study of surfaces in relative motion, (including friction, adhesion, lubrication, and wear. Please note that this area of research is not traditionally covered in coursework, but pulls on core principles from chemistry, materials science, physics, and engineering. Everything an interested student would need to know will be taught in the lab, so Dr. Elinski encourages all students to meet with her and apply, regardless of year in school or course background!

BACKGROUND: Soft materials have an impressive range of applications, from flexible electronics and haptic interfaces to biomimicry such as artificial cartilage. In particular, hydrogels (water-swollen polymer networks) bring a unique set of characteristics to these applications through their notable durability, stretchability, and aqueous composition. Given the complexity of interfaces formed with hydrogels and any potential hybrid structures, chemical structure-function relationships are at the core of many of the processes involved with motion (sliding processes) in potential applications. The Elinski Lab aims to develop a deeper fundamental understanding of the sliding processes of hydrogel composites to enable the broader incorporation of soft materials in tailored applications.

PROJECT OVERVIEW: Student researchers on this project will synthesize hydrogels and hydrogel-nanomaterial composites, with material choice focusing on target applications including haptic interfaces and modeling osteoarthritis treatments for the cartilage in joints. For either target application, the focus will be understanding the interplay of chemical-mechanical behavior in controlled environments and impact on interfacial adhesion, friction, and wear.

A suite of analytical instruments will be used for this work, including atomic force microscopy (AFM), rheology, scanning electron microscopy and energy dispersive spectroscopy (SEM/EDS), confocal Raman microspectroscopy, and attenuated total reflectance Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy (ATR-FTIR).

DETAILS: The summer research program will consist of 10 forty-hour work weeks to be conducted in the Elinski Lab on Hope College’s campus. In addition to the research there are professional development activities, along with planned social events throughout the summer to meet fellow chemistry researchers and students conducting research in other departments! There is also the potential for research projects to be continued into the following academic year.

Working on this research will provide students with a strong foundation in fundamental chemistry at surfaces and interfaces along with multidisciplinary skills in materials, (bio)mechanics, and the wider reaching principles of nanoscience. As the primary leads for their research, students will also have opportunities for authoring peer-reviewed journal articles and presenting and networking at scientific conferences.

Faculty Mentor(s): Dr. Meagan Elinski
Home Department: Chemistry

Qualifications: All students interested in this research project are encouraged to apply. Current enrollment in an undergraduate program is required.

Working Conditions: This position requires remaining in a sitting or standing position for frequent periods of time, typing and computer work. You may be required to lift, move, and transport related laboratory equipment. In the case of temporary or permanent condition(s) that require(s) accommodation(s), reasonable accommodation(s) may be requested.

Runs from 5/29/2023 through 8/4/2023

Engineering

A mathematical model to predict nerve activation and guide development of a home-based treatment for phantom limb pain

The overall goal of this research is to develop a non-invasive, home-based therapy for treating phantom limb pain. This project focuses on the use of mathematical models to predict effective electrode configurations and stimulation parameters to activate different portions of the nerve.

This position will entail significant computer work so knowledge of programming in Matlab or a similar language is needed. If you are hired for this position you will be a member of a research team where some people are concentrating on experimental data collection with human subjects. If you are interested, you would have the opportunity to contribute in other areas of the project as well.

Faculty Mentor(s): Katharine Polasek
Home Department: Engineering

Qualifications: All students interested in this research project are encouraged to apply. Current enrollment in an undergraduate program is required.

Working Conditions: This position requires remaining in a sitting or standing position for frequent periods of time, typing and computer work. You may be required to lift, move, and transport related laboratory equipment. In the case of temporary or permanent condition(s) that require(s) accommodation(s), reasonable accommodation(s) may be requested.

Runs from 5/15/2023 through 7/21/2023

Chemical Avenues to Sustainable Energy Consumption

ELINSKI LAB: The Elinski Lab (elinskilab.org) focuses on surface chemistry and tribology - the study of surfaces in relative motion, (including friction, adhesion, lubrication, and wear. Please note that this area of research is not traditionally covered in coursework, but pulls on core principles from chemistry, materials science, physics, and engineering. Everything an interested student would need to know will be taught in the lab, so Dr. Elinski encourages all students to meet with her and apply, regardless of year in school or course background!

BACKGROUND: There is a significant imbalance between energy produced in the United States vs that which is consumed, with roughly two-thirds of produced energy wasted. One source of this loss is the energy dissipation associated with friction and wear between surfaces in relative motion. To address this, one goal of the Elinski Lab is to understand how fundamental chemical mechanisms in sliding contacts can be capitalized on for controlling friction and wear processes.

PROJECT OVERVIEW: Student researchers interested in this area will work on one of two projects. One project focuses on nanomaterial composite systems in dry sliding contacts, with target applications for electric vehicles and space lubrication (funding through NASA). The second project focuses on understanding surface reactions in oil environments (funding through the American Chemical Society Petroleum Research Fund). Both projects will study confined, nanoscale dynamic (sliding) contacts to understand chemical-mechanical relationships. Surface modification methods - including nanoparticle films to control roughness and self-assembled monolayers to control functionality - will be used to systematically interrogate the formation of protective surface films. These surface-bound films develop as a result of chemical processes driven by mechanical forces. A better understanding of film formation can help develop advanced control over sliding interfaces, improving strategies towards mitigating energy loss.

A suite of analytical instruments will be used for this work, including atomic force microscopy (AFM), rheology, scanning electron microscopy and energy dispersive spectroscopy (SEM/EDS), confocal Raman microspectroscopy, and attenuated total reflectance Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy (ATR-FTIR).

DETAILS: The summer research program will consist of 10 forty-hour work weeks to be conducted in the Elinski Lab on Hope College’s campus. In addition to the research there are professional development activities, along with planned social events throughout the summer to meet fellow chemistry researchers and students conducting research in other departments! There is also the potential for research projects to be continued into the following academic year.

Working on this research will provide students with a strong foundation in fundamental chemistry at surfaces and interfaces along with multidisciplinary skills in materials, mechanics, and the wider reaching principles of nanoscience. As the primary leads for their research, students will also have opportunities for authoring peer-reviewed journal articles and presenting and networking at scientific conferences.

Faculty Mentor(s): Dr. Meagan Elinski
Home Department: Chemistry

Qualifications: All students interested in this research project are encouraged to apply. Current enrollment in an undergraduate program is required.

Working Conditions: This position requires remaining in a sitting or standing position for frequent periods of time, typing and computer work. You may be required to lift, move, and transport related laboratory equipment. In the case of temporary or permanent condition(s) that require(s) accommodation(s), reasonable accommodation(s) may be requested.

Runs from 5/29/2023 through 8/4/2023

Classifying Patient-Handling Techniques to Reduce Risk of Musculoskeletal Injury in Nursing Students

The risk of musculoskeletal injury in nursing personnel, particularly at the low back, has been associated with the performance of manual patient-handling tasks. van Wyk et al (2010) determined that task maneuvers differ in nursing students and professional nurses, and this despite the fact that nursing programs typically incorporate patient handling
training in the curriculum. Doss et al (2018) investigated the effects of providing posture coaching and feedback to student nurses while they performed patient-handling tasks and concluded that such intervention could have positive effects on lifting behaviors and techniques employed during patient-handling. Other studies have investigated the effect
of trunk flexion on the exertion experienced by nurses during patient handling (Freitag 2012, 2014). In the study by Doss et al (2018), three tasks were performed in total. We propose to build on that work by incorporating a higher number of tasks performed by nursing students in our experiments while also investigating multi-joint coordination, as opposed to focusing only on trunk flexion. As was done by Doss et al ( 2018), our study will focus on nursing students who will be selected from various stages in their college experience: freshmen and sophomores (no clinical skills experience), juniors and seniors (with clinical skills and potentially nursing practicum experience). To collect data during task performance by nursing students, we will use the OpenSense Real Time system (Slade, 2021) system with
eight inertial measurement units (IMUs) placed on the trunk, pelvis, thighs, calves, and feet of participants as they perform the following tasks: (i) lift and reposition a patient from supine to seated position, (ii) turn a patient over on his/her side, (iii) lift a patient’s leg, (iv) lift a patient from a wheelchair, (v) sit a patient up at the end of the bed, and (vi) place a sling under a patient. Trunk, hip, and knee flexion angles will be computed using OpenSense (Al Borno, 2022). Time spent in particular postures as well as total time to complete the tasks will be recorded and compared across each group. Linear acceleration and angular rotation signals captured by the sensors during task performance will serve as inputs to a machine learning classifier that distinguishes posture according to task, patient weight, and joint angles. The successful completion of this project will result in knowledge about the influence of posture and patient weight on manual patient-handling task performance in nursing students, and potentially pave the way to the development of a tool that can provide real time feedback on postures adopted by nurses and caregivers during patient handling. This work will therefore provide a foundation for exploring training methods to mitigate risk of musculoskeletal injury in nursing students as well as nursing personnel in the workforce.

Faculty Mentor(s): Brooke Odle
Home Department: Engineering

Qualifications: All students interested in this research project are encouraged to apply. Current enrollment in an undergraduate program is required.Preferred qualifications include but are not limited to: knowledge of human anatomy AND/OR a computer programming language (MATLAB, Python, C, etc), organization skills and oral/written communication skills to discuss and document research progress. If you are interested, but do not meet all of the preferred skills, you can be trained to gained these skills during the summer. Ability to work independently, accurately and to problem solve technical and methodological issues that arise during the course of research. Ability to apply sound research techniques, methodology and logical critical analysis. Student(s) will receive training in proper human subject research and follow all IRB regulations.

Working Conditions: This position requires remaining in a sitting or standing position for frequent periods of time, typing and computer work. You may be required to lift, move, and transport related laboratory equipment. In the case of temporary or permanent condition(s) that require(s) accommodation(s), reasonable accommodation(s) may be requested.

Runs from 5/15/2023 through 7/21/2023

Computational Modelling of Organic Dyes

An opportunity exists for one or two students to continue to develop and apply computational methods to predict spectroscopic properties of organic molecules in support of synthetic and mechanistic organic photochemistry studies.

Our computational work developing efficient methods to accurately predict ground state reduction potentials has appeared as a cover article on J. Phys. Chem. A in 2008 and in greater detail in J. Org. Chem. in 2012. We have more recently extended this work by comparing it to even less ""expensive"" computational methods developed by collaborators at Arizona State University, which we published in J. Phys. Org. Chem. in 2015. We also use computation to help us understand other photochemical and electrochemical phenomena we discover experimentally (most of my group's nine experimental papers have at least some computational modeling in them. In the next three years we plan to focus on predicting the absorption spectra of a family of long-wavelength azo dyes, to guide our synthetic target selection. This will include my group's first foray into time dependent density functional theory (TD-DFT), but we have good literature precedent to follow. However we may also continue to explore computational electrochemistry ourselves and in possible collaboration with Dr. Guarr's Organic Energy Storage Lab at the MSU Bioeconomy Institute.

This project can be purely computational or can involve up to 50% experimental organic chemistry for students who have completed a year of organic chemistry with lab (potentially including synthesis, spectroscopy, and/or electrochemistry).

In your application essay please note your computational interests (and any relevant experience), and also whether you'd prefer a purely computational or mixed computation and wet chemistry project.

Students on this project will certainly have the option (and perhaps the expectation) to begin during the spring semester and/or to continue the research into the following academic year (for credit or on a volunteer basis.) It may also be possible to tie this research to a related CHEM 256B Organic Chemistry II Laboratory elective independent project.

DO NOT APPLY TO *BOTH* THIS PROJECT *AND* MY EXPERIMENTAL PROJECT - APPLY TO THE ONE YOU PREFER AND EMAIL ME IF YOU ARE ALSO INTERESTED IN THE OTHER. OR BETTER YET, EMAIL FOR AN APPOINTMENT TO COME CHAT WITH ME ABOUT RESEARCH.

Faculty Mentor(s): Jason Gillmore
Home Department: Chemistry

Qualifications: All students interested in this research project are encouraged to apply. Current enrollment in an undergraduate program is required. Students applying to this project should be well-organized, comfortable with computers, familiar with Microsoft Excel, and interested in both computational modeling and chemistry. Experience with computational modeling, even if only in the undergraduate laboratory curriculum (e.g., General Chemistry Lab or Organic Chemistry Lab at Hope each have one experiment on computational modeling), is a big plus. Having had organic chemistry (or even any chemistry beyond high school) is definitely beneficial but not essential.

Working Conditions: This position requires remaining in a sitting or standing position for frequent periods of time, typing and computer work. You may be required to lift, move, and transport related laboratory equipment. In the case of temporary or permanent condition(s) that require(s) accommodation(s), reasonable accommodation(s) may be requested.

Runs from 5/10/2023 through 7/19/2023

Development of a Haptic Feedback Sensor System to Monitor and Alert Poor Posture

Haptic feedback sensors may serve as a training tool to improve posture during tasks in different occupational settings. The purpose of this project is to develop a sensor-based system to detect and alert users whenever poor and/or awkward postures during tasks (like patient-handling: pushing, pulling, lifting, turning a patient) are adopted. This is a new project, so an emphasis will be placed on design and fabricating the system. Time pending, validation tests via human subjects testing will be performed.

Faculty Mentor(s): Brooke Odle
Home Department: Engineering

Qualifications: All students interested in this research project are encouraged to apply. Current enrollment in an undergraduate program is required.Preferred qualifications include but are not limited to: knowledge of electrical circuits and/or instrumentation, experience with building circuits, organization skills and oral/written communication skills to discuss and document research progress. Ability to work independently, accurately and to problem solve technical and methodological issues that arise during the course of research. Ability to apply sound research techniques, methodology and logical critical analysis.

Working Conditions: This position requires remaining in a sitting or standing position for frequent periods of time, typing and computer work. You may be required to lift, move, and transport related laboratory equipment. In the case of temporary or permanent condition(s) that require(s) accommodation(s), reasonable accommodation(s) may be requested.

Runs from 5/15/2023 through 7/21/2023

Engineering Materials that Move

This interdisciplinary project will incorporate the disciplines of mechanical engineering, materials science, chemistry, and physics. However, the project is specifically housed within the Hope College Department of Engineering.

Responsive materials are materials that convert one form of energy into another. The Smith Lab studies liquid crystal elastomers, which are rubbery materials composed of interconnected liquid crystal molecules. These materials exhibit unique optical, thermal, and mechanical properties. For example, certain liquid crystal elastomers can reversibly change their length by over 300% when heated above a critical temperature. Some of these elastomers also have mechanical properties similar to skeletal muscle. Potential applications for these materials include soft robotics, micro valves and pumps, miniaturized locomotion, energy harvesting, flexible electronics for responsive medical devices, and as a design template for architectured materials

The research in the Smith Lab is divided into two main projects:

The goal of the first project is to study the mechanical response of liquid crystal elastomer structures. Student researchers will fabricate elastomer samples and characterize them using various techniques such as tension testing and dynamic mechanical analysis. This project may require students to design and perform experiments on structures that can undergo rapid shape change driven by light or heat stimuli (like the rapid snap of the venus fly trap). Some students may have the opportunity to develop and run finite element analysis simulations.

The goal of the second project is to explore techniques for creating aligned liquid crystal elastomers. The function of these materials depends on the alignment of their liquid crystal constituents. Techniques for producing various alignments in these materials have been developed over the last several decades, but challenges still remain. Students working on this project should have an interest in chemistry, chemical engineering, or materials science. Students will synthesize small molecules and characterize them using NMR, FTIR spectroscopy, gas chromatography/mass spectroscopy, etc. The project will also involve polymer synthesis and characterization.

There is substantial overlap between these two projects and students will have the opportunity to develop the ability to work on interdisciplinary teams and will be able to learn about both topics.

Current openings are for Hope College students only. For more information about this project or the specific material systems, please contact the project mentor and/or see the references below.

References:
M.L. Smith, J. Gao, A.A. Skandani, et al. Tuned photomechanical switching of laterally constrained arches, Smart Materials and Structures Vol. 28, 075009, 2019

M. Ravi Shankar, M. L. Smith, et al. Contactless, photoinitiated snap-through in azobenzene-functionalized polymers, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Vol. 110, pgs. 18792-18797, 2013.

C.M. Yackaki, C. M., M. Saed, D. P. Nair, et al. Tailorable and programmable liquid-crystalline elastomers using a two-stage thiol-acrylate reaction, RSC Advances Vol. 5, 18997-19001, 2015.

Faculty Mentor(s): Matthew Smith
Home Department: Engineering

Qualifications: All students interested in this research project are encouraged to apply. Current enrollment in an undergraduate program is required.

Working Conditions: This position requires remaining in a sitting or standing position for frequent periods of time, typing and computer work. You may be required to lift, move, and transport related laboratory equipment. In the case of temporary or permanent condition(s) that require(s) accommodation(s), reasonable accommodation(s) may be requested.

Runs from 5/15/2023 through 7/21/2023

Estimating Low Back Forces using Wearable Sensors

This project seeks to use machine learning with IMUs to predict internal forces in the low back. As the world of biomechanics looks to collect data in more realistic environments using wearable sensors, machine learning has been used to help in assessing data. Machine learning with wearable sensors will help with setting the foundation for assessing patient-handling tasks outside of the lab. Creating ways to collect data in a more realistic environment(outside of a lab setting) will allow further advancements in this area of research. This project will be the continuation of work started by a previous student.

Faculty Mentor(s): Brooke Odle
Home Department: Engineering

Qualifications: All students interested in this research project are encouraged to apply. Current enrollment in an undergraduate program is required.Preferred qualifications include but are not limited to: knowledge of anatomy and computer programming languages (Python and/or MATLAB), organization skills and oral/written communication skills to discuss and document research progress. Ability to work independently, accurately and to problem solve technical and methodological issues that arise during the course of research. Ability to apply sound research techniques, methodology and logical critical analysis. Student(s) will receive training in proper human subject research and follow all IRB regulations.

Working Conditions: This position requires remaining in a sitting or standing position for frequent periods of time, typing and computer work. You may be required to lift, move, and transport related laboratory equipment. In the case of temporary or permanent condition(s) that require(s) accommodation(s), reasonable accommodation(s) may be requested.

Runs from 5/15/2023 through 7/21/2023

Exploring a Degradation Mechanism in Halide Perovskites, a Material for Next-Generation Solar Cells

This project aims to uncover degradation processes in next-generation printable solar cells. For any solar cell, stability is key - we aim to have these electronic devices last 30+ years outdoors in all weather conditions. This is especially true for printable solar cells where the components of the device are made by printing them from inks.

Students engaged in this work will help the Christians Group push forward ongoing degradation studies of printable solar cells with the goal of developing better models and understanding for degradation prediction and mitigation. Students will make solar cell materials, perform degradation studies using a suite of instrumentation (such as, absorption spectroscopy, x-ray diffraction, scanning electron microscopy, and others), and assist in building mathematical models to describe these systems.

Students will read scientific literature, fabricate materials, learn multiple characterization methods, brainstorm new experiment ideas, collect and analyze data, and present their work in multiple venues, including the opportunity to travel to and participate in a national scientific meeting.

The work is highly interdisciplinary, combining aspects of chemical engineering, chemistry, physics, and materials science. It is expected that students will be available for at least 9 weeks during the research period.

Faculty Mentor(s): Jeffrey Christians
Home Department: Engineering

Qualifications: All students interested in this research project are encouraged to apply. Current enrollment in an undergraduate program is required.Students of all years and prior experience will be considered. Chemistry lab skills are highly beneficial, particularly organic chemistry lab.

Working Conditions: This position requires remaining in a sitting or standing position for frequent periods of time, typing and computer work. You may be required to lift, move, and transport related laboratory equipment. In the case of temporary or permanent condition(s) that require(s) accommodation(s), reasonable accommodation(s) may be requested.

Runs from 5/15/2023 through 7/21/2023

Exploring the potential for geologic storage of CO2 in faulted subsurface reservoirs in the northern Gulf of Mexico continental shelf and deep offshore Niger Delta Basin

The release of anthropogenic CO2 into Earth’s atmosphere has risen progressively and has resulted in and amplified climatic variations around the globe with unprecedented effect on humans. Geological sequestration of CO2 via subsurface storage in reservoirs can significantly alleviate this effect but its mechanism is under explored. Therefore, it is imperative to understand the structural framework, possibility of reactivation, and sealing potential of faults of subsurface storage complexes in order to prevent migration of injected CO2 outside the target storage strata. This research aims to investigate the potential for geologic storage of CO2 in the northern Gulf of Mexico continental shelf and deep offshore Niger Delta Basin, through detailed characterization of the structural framework, reactivation likelihood, and seal-ability of faults of depleted subsurface reservoirs, as well as determine their volumetric capacity for sequestration of captured CO2. Specifically, we will apply a multidisciplinary method incorporating geology, geophysics, physics and environmental science, and will utilize a suite of geological and geophysical data and industry software packages such as Petrel, PetroMod, Techlog and GeoEx to detail the trapping mechanism of storage complexes identified within the study area and unravel their sealing abilities, and the new knowledge will provide the basis for the management of geologic sequestration of carbon in the Gulf of Mexico, Niger Delta and the world at large, in order to mitigate global climate disasters resulting from anthropogenic CO2 emissions. In addition, students will develop outstanding subsurface characterization skills that make for employability within the sustainable energy development sector.

Faculty Mentor(s): Uzonna Anyiam
Home Department: Geological and Environmental Science

Qualifications: All students interested in this research project are encouraged to apply. Current enrollment in an undergraduate program is required.Preferred qualifications include but are not limited to: subject knowledge, organization skills and oral/written communication skills to discuss and document research progress. Ability to work independently, accurately and to problem solve technical and methodological issues that arise during the course of research. Ability to apply sound research techniques, methodology and logical critical analysis.

Working Conditions: This position requires remaining in a sitting or standing position for frequent periods of time, typing and computer work. You may be required to lift, move, and transport related laboratory equipment. In the case of temporary or permanent condition(s) that require(s) accommodation(s), reasonable accommodation(s) may be requested.

Runs from 5/15/2023 through 7/21/2023

Physical Property Modeling from Equations of State

This project will incorporate concepts from the disciplines of engineering, physics, chemistry, mathematics, and computer science. However the project is specifically housed within the Hope College Department of Engineering and the mentor is an Engineering faculty member. Due to the limited availability of research positions, it is anticipated that the student researcher will be a Hope engineering major in the chemical, biochemical, or environmental engineering emphasis option.

In chemical process design, engineers need general methods for predicting physical properties of various substances as both liquids and vapors. Chemical engineers commonly use cubic equations of state such as Soave-Redlich-Kwong (SRK) and Peng-Robinson (PR). In this work, students will use common equations of state to predict vapor-liquid phase equilibrium or PVT behavior and apply mathematical methods to generate data for physical properties from these equations. Mathematical principles of elementary calculus and elementary statistics may be studied and applied, such as multivariable series expansions and linear/nonlinear least squares regression. Students participating in the research will be expected to have taken one year of calculus; other coursework in math, chemistry, engineering, or computer science may be helpful but is not required of applicants. The goal of this work will be to generate relatively simple, yet general, equations to accurately predict physical properties.

Recent results have included series approximations for the vapor pressure, phase densities, and volume change and enthalpy change of vaporization predicted by the SRK and PR equations at moderate to high pressures; a method for estimating vapor pressures and liquid densities based upon a low temperature limit; methods for generalizing Antoine vapor pressure constants from the SRK and PR equations; variable transformations which simplify the use of these equations; and an alternative approach to compressibility charts which models the effect of three substance-specific variables with a graphical method which previously modeled only two variables.

Other ongoing or potential projects include applying these methods to more complex cubic equations used in practice and simulation software, such as the Stryjek/Vidal variant of the PR equation or the Twu-Sim-Tassone (TST) equation; generalization or improvement of simple estimation methods like Watson's correlation for heat of vaporization or the Rackett equation for liquid density; investigating approaches for applying these methods or alternative methods with techniques like volume translation or lattice fluid equations that show proper scaling behavior at the critical point; and a generalization of these methods for predicting phase behavior of mixtures.

Two students who participated in this research won awards for presenting their work at the national American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE) undergraduate research poster session and competition, in 2008 and 2014.

Faculty Mentor(s): Michael Misovich
Home Department: Engineering

Qualifications: All students interested in this research project are encouraged to apply. Current enrollment in an undergraduate program at Hope College is required. Students applying to this project should be well-organized and comfortable with computers. Interest in machine learning or other data science techniques would be useful.

Working Conditions: This position requires remaining in a sitting or standing position for frequent periods of time, typing and computer work. In the case of temporary or permanent condition(s) that require(s) accommodation(s), reasonable accommodation(s) may be requested.

Runs from 5/22/2023 through 7/14/2023

Predicting Failure of Composite Aircraft Materials

Traditionally, commercial aircraft structures have been constructed from aluminum alloys. In recent years, aircraft skin and reinforcing structures are increasingly comprised of carbon fiber epoxy matrix composites. Such aircraft include the Boeing 787, Airbus A350, and Airbus A380. Although the strength and dynamic performance of aluminum structures is well known, composite laminated structures are not well characterized. Aluminum alloys used for aircraft structures tend to be quite ductile and damage resistant. Carbon-fiber epoxy matrix composites, on the other hand, are less ductile and have complex failure modes. This project will use computer simulation and modeling to predict the deformation and damage of composite structures under dynamic loading conditions.

Faculty Mentor(s): Roger Veldman
Home Department: Engineering

Qualifications: All students interested in this research project are encouraged to apply. Current enrollment in an undergraduate program is required.

Working Conditions: This position requires remaining in a sitting or standing position for frequent periods of time, typing and computer work. You may be required to lift, move, and transport related laboratory equipment. In the case of temporary or permanent condition(s) that require(s) accommodation(s), reasonable accommodation(s) may be requested.

Runs from 5/8/2023 through 6/30/2023

Programmatic Belonging Cues to Elevate the Cultural Climate for Improved Undergraduate Student Success in Engineering

This five-year project focuses on increasing retention and 4-year graduation rates of engineering students at Hope College through an NSF-funded grant. Student researchers who participate in this project will be part of the evaluation team and will work this summer to analyze data from the first two years of the program. Members of the research team will work in an interdisciplinary environment that is housed in the biology department. However, the context of the research will be in engineering, and the methods used will include both psychological and educational approaches.

The work this summer will include analyzing survey data from the Basic Psychological Need Satisfaction and Frustration Scale to determine if students’ basic psychological needs were met. Furthermore, the research team will qualitative analyze interviews from engineering students to determine which interventions were most effective/ineffective in establishing a sense of belonging. This mixed methods approach will result in significant and new knowledge concerning the factors that lead to greater sense of belonging, motivation, and persistence to graduation of students in engineering. More specifically, evaluation will determine: (a) students’ feelings of motivational support, (b) how the program supports and/or frustrates feelings of motivational support, (c) if students’ experiences are similar to or different from comparison students, (d) the effects of programmatic practices on students’ motivation, and (e) the relationship between felt motivational support and retention.

Students who participate in this project will learn quantitative and qualitative methods of analysis, conduct a comprehensive literature review, and participate in the writing of a formal report for stakeholders.

Faculty Mentor(s): Stephen Scogin
Home Department: Biology

Qualifications: All students interested in this research project are encouraged to apply. Current enrollment in an undergraduate program is required.

Working Conditions: This position requires remaining in a sitting or standing position for frequent periods of time, typing and computer work. You may be required to lift, move, and transport related laboratory equipment. In the case of temporary or permanent condition(s) that require(s) accommodation(s), reasonable accommodation(s) may be requested.

Runs from 5/22/2023 through 7/28/2023

Reconstructing Compton scattering tomography images using machine learning

This project involves exploring machine learning techniques to reconstruct limited-data Compton scattering tomography (CST) images from synthetic data sets. CST utilizes scatter gamma-ray radiation to visualize hidden changes in the density of materials [1]. Example applications of CST include detecting corrosion in an object or bone density changes in a person. A key advantage of CST over other imaging and tomographic techniques is that only a single side of the object must be accessed to create an image. A complication of CST is that single-sided data collection yields a data set that is too limited for accurate image reconstruction using common techniques, such as a Radon transform. I have investigated iterative CST image reconstruction using a penalized weighted least squares algorithm with limited success. Others have demonstrated reconstruction of classic tomographic images using machine learning algorithms with limited data [2].

This will be a collaborative effort between the student(s) and mentor to identify potential machine learning techniques for image reconstruction from literature review, select the most promising technique(s), develop computational software algorithm(s) to reconstruct those images, reconstruct images using synthetic data and evaluate the performance of the algorithm(s) compared to common and past image reconstruction techniques. The mentor will provide the synthetic data and evaluation tools for the student(s). A goal of the research is presentation of the results at a regional or national conference as a student submission.

References:
[1] DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/S0168-9002(01)01205-0
[2] DOI: https://doi.org/10.1109/TIP.2013.2283142

Faculty Mentor(s): Jeff Martin
Home Department: Mathematics and Statistics

Qualifications: All students interested in this research project are encouraged to apply. Current enrollment in an undergraduate program at Hope College is required. Students applying to this project should be well-organized and comfortable with computers. Interest in machine learning or other data science techniques would be useful.

Working Conditions: This position requires remaining in a sitting or standing position for frequent periods of time, typing and computer work. In the case of temporary or permanent condition(s) that require(s) accommodation(s), reasonable accommodation(s) may be requested.

Runs from 5/15/2023 through 7/21/2023

Sliding Processes in Soft Materials

ELINSKI LAB: The Elinski Lab (elinskilab.org) focuses on surface chemistry and tribology - the study of surfaces in relative motion, (including friction, adhesion, lubrication, and wear. Please note that this area of research is not traditionally covered in coursework, but pulls on core principles from chemistry, materials science, physics, and engineering. Everything an interested student would need to know will be taught in the lab, so Dr. Elinski encourages all students to meet with her and apply, regardless of year in school or course background!

BACKGROUND: Soft materials have an impressive range of applications, from flexible electronics and haptic interfaces to biomimicry such as artificial cartilage. In particular, hydrogels (water-swollen polymer networks) bring a unique set of characteristics to these applications through their notable durability, stretchability, and aqueous composition. Given the complexity of interfaces formed with hydrogels and any potential hybrid structures, chemical structure-function relationships are at the core of many of the processes involved with motion (sliding processes) in potential applications. The Elinski Lab aims to develop a deeper fundamental understanding of the sliding processes of hydrogel composites to enable the broader incorporation of soft materials in tailored applications.

PROJECT OVERVIEW: Student researchers on this project will synthesize hydrogels and hydrogel-nanomaterial composites, with material choice focusing on target applications including haptic interfaces and modeling osteoarthritis treatments for the cartilage in joints. For either target application, the focus will be understanding the interplay of chemical-mechanical behavior in controlled environments and impact on interfacial adhesion, friction, and wear.

A suite of analytical instruments will be used for this work, including atomic force microscopy (AFM), rheology, scanning electron microscopy and energy dispersive spectroscopy (SEM/EDS), confocal Raman microspectroscopy, and attenuated total reflectance Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy (ATR-FTIR).

DETAILS: The summer research program will consist of 10 forty-hour work weeks to be conducted in the Elinski Lab on Hope College’s campus. In addition to the research there are professional development activities, along with planned social events throughout the summer to meet fellow chemistry researchers and students conducting research in other departments! There is also the potential for research projects to be continued into the following academic year.

Working on this research will provide students with a strong foundation in fundamental chemistry at surfaces and interfaces along with multidisciplinary skills in materials, (bio)mechanics, and the wider reaching principles of nanoscience. As the primary leads for their research, students will also have opportunities for authoring peer-reviewed journal articles and presenting and networking at scientific conferences.

Faculty Mentor(s): Dr. Meagan Elinski
Home Department: Chemistry

Qualifications: All students interested in this research project are encouraged to apply. Current enrollment in an undergraduate program is required.

Working Conditions: This position requires remaining in a sitting or standing position for frequent periods of time, typing and computer work. You may be required to lift, move, and transport related laboratory equipment. In the case of temporary or permanent condition(s) that require(s) accommodation(s), reasonable accommodation(s) may be requested.

Runs from 5/29/2023 through 8/4/2023

The Preparation of Thiophene Compounds for Use as Electrochemical Sensors

Thiophene compounds can be polymerized onto electrode surfaces to give highly conducting films for sensor applications. This project has two goals. One is to understand how the chemical structure of the monomer and conditions of polymerization affect the morphology of the film. The second is to prepare a variety of functionalized thiophene monomers that can be polymerized on electrodes and then used as sensors. Examples of compounds currently under development are ferrocene and porphyrin functionalized thiophenes for use as glucose sensors. Incoming students will be given a monomer or group of monomers that they will prepare through approximately 3-4 step synthetic sequences. A student will be responsible for the planning, execution and standard characterization of the materials with the support of the faculty mentor and the group members. The focus of this group is organic synthesis, so students should have had one year of organic chemistry lecture and lab. Once the compounds are made and characterized, the compounds will be electropolymerized and tested for potential sensor applications. The film morphologies will be studied with our new Scanning Electron Microscope. Students will present research results in written and oral formats. If you are interested in this research, email Dr. Sanford at sanford@hope.edu to make an appointment to discuss the research opportunities available in the Sanford group.

Faculty Mentor(s): Elizabeth Sanford
Home Department: Chemistry

Qualifications: All students interested in this research project are encouraged to apply. Current enrollment in an undergraduate program is required.Student should have completed CHEM231/256.

Working Conditions: This position requires remaining in a sitting or standing position for frequent periods of time, typing and computer work. You may be required to lift, move, and transport related laboratory equipment. In the case of temporary or permanent condition(s) that require(s) accommodation(s), reasonable accommodation(s) may be requested. This position requires the use of chemicals.

Runs from 5/15/2023 through 7/21/2023

The sustainable design and synthesis of multifunctional metal-based nanomaterials

The Goch group focuses on the sustainable development of nanomaterials for water remediation and energy related applications. The design of these nanomaterials is based on the comprehension of the surface chemistry, from adsorption to catalysis, involved in each environmental step. Working in the Goch lab, students will gain skills in environmental engineering, material science, inorganic, analytical, physical and green chemistry. Our research program will provide feasible solutions for environmental problems, including ones that new-technology-based and well-established industries face.

Faculty Mentor(s): Natalia Gonzalez-Pech
Home Department: Chemistry

Qualifications: All students interested in this research project are encouraged to apply. Current enrollment in an undergraduate program is required.

Working Conditions: This position requires remaining in a sitting or standing position for frequent periods of time, typing and computer work. You may be required to lift, move, and transport related laboratory equipment. In the case of temporary or permanent condition(s) that require(s) accommodation(s), reasonable accommodation(s) may be requested.

Runs from 5/15/2023 through 7/21/2023

Treating Phantom Limb Pain with Electrical Stimulation

We have designed a therapy to treat phantom limb pain in individuals with amputated limbs. The therapy primarily consists of electrical stimulation of the nerves in the residual limb to create a tapping sensation in the phantom hand. We also have a robotic device that will tap on their prosthetic, matching the timing and location of the stimulated sensation. This will allow the subject to see and feel the touch to their hand. We hypothesize that this will decrease phantom limb pain and that the brain activity in response to the electrically stimulated touch will also change over the 12 week therapy. We will be collecting data on pain levels before, during, and after the therapy and will also be recording brain signals in response to electrical stimulation using a electroencephalogram (EEG) to monitor changes in cortical activity.

The student(s) will be involved in experimental design, equipment setup and programming, taking data with human subjects and data analysis. Programming and data analysis will be performed in Matlab. Student(s) will receive training in proper human subject research and follow all IRB regulations.

Faculty Mentor(s): Katharine Polasek
Home Department: Engineering

Qualifications: All students interested in this research project are encouraged to apply. Current enrollment in an undergraduate program is required.

Working Conditions: This position requires remaining in a sitting or standing position for frequent periods of time, typing and computer work. You may be required to lift, move, and transport related laboratory equipment. In the case of temporary or permanent condition(s) that require(s) accommodation(s), reasonable accommodation(s) may be requested.

Runs from 5/15/2023 through 7/21/2023

Environmental

A Canary in the Coalmine: Using the house sparrow as a model for testing the effects of air pollution on behavior and physiology

This interdisciplinary project will incorporate the disciplines of Biology, Neuroscience, Psychology, Chemistry and Materials Science. However the project is specifically housed within the Hope College Department of Biology.

There is great concern regarding the adverse health implications of engineered nanoparticles. However, there are many circumstances where the production of incidental nanoparticles, i.e., nanoparticles unintentionally generated as a side product of some anthropogenic process, is of even greater concern. These nanoparticles can transport through the respiratory system and translocate to other organs, including the brain. The health implications of this transport has been study in in-vitro systems and animals models like mice, but never before in birds. Birds are an interesting model because their respiratory anatomy makes them uniquely susceptible to airborne contaminants. Additionally, we expect that this species should be an interesting model as they should be exposed to incidental nanoparticles present in air. This project will examine both the visual and auditory sensory processing of the songbird the house sparrow (passer domesticus), behavioral changes, and resulting bioaccumulation of iron. House sparrows frequently occupy a variety of human dominated environments and therefore span the gradient of noise and light pollution areas.

Faculty Mentor(s): Kelly Ronald, Natalia Gonzalez-Pech
Home Department: Biology

Qualifications: All students interested in this research project are encouraged to apply. Current enrollment in an undergraduate program is required.

Working Conditions: This position requires remaining in a sitting or standing position for frequent periods of time, field work (personal transportation not required) typing and computer work. You may be required to lift, move, and transport related laboratory equipment. May be required to work with animals and potentially hazardous and toxic materials. In the case of temporary or permanent condition(s) that require(s) accommodation(s), reasonable accommodation(s) may be requested.

Runs from 5/8/2023 through 7/14/2023

Chemical Avenues to Sustainable Energy Consumption

ELINSKI LAB: The Elinski Lab (elinskilab.org) focuses on surface chemistry and tribology - the study of surfaces in relative motion, (including friction, adhesion, lubrication, and wear. Please note that this area of research is not traditionally covered in coursework, but pulls on core principles from chemistry, materials science, physics, and engineering. Everything an interested student would need to know will be taught in the lab, so Dr. Elinski encourages all students to meet with her and apply, regardless of year in school or course background!

BACKGROUND: There is a significant imbalance between energy produced in the United States vs that which is consumed, with roughly two-thirds of produced energy wasted. One source of this loss is the energy dissipation associated with friction and wear between surfaces in relative motion. To address this, one goal of the Elinski Lab is to understand how fundamental chemical mechanisms in sliding contacts can be capitalized on for controlling friction and wear processes.

PROJECT OVERVIEW: Student researchers interested in this area will work on one of two projects. One project focuses on nanomaterial composite systems in dry sliding contacts, with target applications for electric vehicles and space lubrication (funding through NASA). The second project focuses on understanding surface reactions in oil environments (funding through the American Chemical Society Petroleum Research Fund). Both projects will study confined, nanoscale dynamic (sliding) contacts to understand chemical-mechanical relationships. Surface modification methods - including nanoparticle films to control roughness and self-assembled monolayers to control functionality - will be used to systematically interrogate the formation of protective surface films. These surface-bound films develop as a result of chemical processes driven by mechanical forces. A better understanding of film formation can help develop advanced control over sliding interfaces, improving strategies towards mitigating energy loss.

A suite of analytical instruments will be used for this work, including atomic force microscopy (AFM), rheology, scanning electron microscopy and energy dispersive spectroscopy (SEM/EDS), confocal Raman microspectroscopy, and attenuated total reflectance Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy (ATR-FTIR).

DETAILS: The summer research program will consist of 10 forty-hour work weeks to be conducted in the Elinski Lab on Hope College’s campus. In addition to the research there are professional development activities, along with planned social events throughout the summer to meet fellow chemistry researchers and students conducting research in other departments! There is also the potential for research projects to be continued into the following academic year.

Working on this research will provide students with a strong foundation in fundamental chemistry at surfaces and interfaces along with multidisciplinary skills in materials, mechanics, and the wider reaching principles of nanoscience. As the primary leads for their research, students will also have opportunities for authoring peer-reviewed journal articles and presenting and networking at scientific conferences.

Faculty Mentor(s): Dr. Meagan Elinski
Home Department: Chemistry

Qualifications: All students interested in this research project are encouraged to apply. Current enrollment in an undergraduate program is required.

Working Conditions: This position requires remaining in a sitting or standing position for frequent periods of time, typing and computer work. You may be required to lift, move, and transport related laboratory equipment. In the case of temporary or permanent condition(s) that require(s) accommodation(s), reasonable accommodation(s) may be requested.

Runs from 5/29/2023 through 8/4/2023

Exploring the potential for geologic storage of CO2 in faulted subsurface reservoirs in the northern Gulf of Mexico continental shelf and deep offshore Niger Delta Basin

The release of anthropogenic CO2 into Earth’s atmosphere has risen progressively and has resulted in and amplified climatic variations around the globe with unprecedented effect on humans. Geological sequestration of CO2 via subsurface storage in reservoirs can significantly alleviate this effect but its mechanism is under explored. Therefore, it is imperative to understand the structural framework, possibility of reactivation, and sealing potential of faults of subsurface storage complexes in order to prevent migration of injected CO2 outside the target storage strata. This research aims to investigate the potential for geologic storage of CO2 in the northern Gulf of Mexico continental shelf and deep offshore Niger Delta Basin, through detailed characterization of the structural framework, reactivation likelihood, and seal-ability of faults of depleted subsurface reservoirs, as well as determine their volumetric capacity for sequestration of captured CO2. Specifically, we will apply a multidisciplinary method incorporating geology, geophysics, physics and environmental science, and will utilize a suite of geological and geophysical data and industry software packages such as Petrel, PetroMod, Techlog and GeoEx to detail the trapping mechanism of storage complexes identified within the study area and unravel their sealing abilities, and the new knowledge will provide the basis for the management of geologic sequestration of carbon in the Gulf of Mexico, Niger Delta and the world at large, in order to mitigate global climate disasters resulting from anthropogenic CO2 emissions. In addition, students will develop outstanding subsurface characterization skills that make for employability within the sustainable energy development sector.

Faculty Mentor(s): Uzonna Anyiam
Home Department: Geological and Environmental Science

Qualifications: All students interested in this research project are encouraged to apply. Current enrollment in an undergraduate program is required.Preferred qualifications include but are not limited to: subject knowledge, organization skills and oral/written communication skills to discuss and document research progress. Ability to work independently, accurately and to problem solve technical and methodological issues that arise during the course of research. Ability to apply sound research techniques, methodology and logical critical analysis.

Working Conditions: This position requires remaining in a sitting or standing position for frequent periods of time, typing and computer work. You may be required to lift, move, and transport related laboratory equipment. In the case of temporary or permanent condition(s) that require(s) accommodation(s), reasonable accommodation(s) may be requested.

Runs from 5/15/2023 through 7/21/2023

GWRI - Computational and biochemical analysis of microbial sources within the Lake Macatawa watershed

This project blends computer science, math, biology, and chemistry. Our research efforts have resulted in the compilation of a large multi-year dataset that includes DNA sequences for many thousands of microbes, as well as individually isolated E. coli strains, from hundreds of samples acquired under a variety of environmental conditions. We hope to understand how the variation in the different microbial species that are present and their relative abundance depends on environmental conditions and other factors such as antimicrobial resistance genes present within the microbes themselves. To accomplish this we will combine sophisticated computational methods (e.g. machine learning) with more next-generation sequencing, PCR, and biochemical analyses. Using these tools, we are posing several questions: If we find evidence of fecal contamination, can we tell whether that contamination is from humans versus nonhuman origin (domestic or wildlife) and can we identify the specific location from which such contamination is originating? Do we identify antimicrobial resistance genes in E. coli that are living in the watershed? Students are likely to focus on either biochemical or computational methods, though it is possible for a student to work in both areas if they desire.

Faculty Mentor(s): Aaron Best, Brent Krueger, Michael Pikaart
Home Department: Biology

Qualifications: All students interested in this research project are encouraged to apply. Current enrollment in an undergraduate program is required.

Working Conditions: This position requires remaining in a sitting or standing position for frequent periods of time, field work (personal transportation not required) typing and computer work. You may be required to lift, move, and transport related laboratory equipment. May be required to work with animals and potentially hazardous and toxic materials. In the case of temporary or permanent condition(s) that require(s) accommodation(s), reasonable accommodation(s) may be requested.

Runs from 5/15/2023 through 7/21/2023

GWRI - Effective Practices in Water, Sanitation and Health Interventions Globally

In 2010, access to water and sanitation was recognized as a human right. Five years later, an ambitious target of achieving universal access to safely managed water, sanitation, and hygiene services by 2030 was agreed upon in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Over ten years later, the world is still falling short of meeting this goal. As of 2020, while the global COVID-19 pandemic raged, almost half the world's population did not have access to safely managed clean water or sanitation services. One response by a variety of non-governmental organizations has been to provide water filters or other water, sanitation and hygiene trainings and interventions (WASH) at the household level. Much of the evaluation research, however, shows household level interventions have intermittent to ineffective long-term impacts. Most of this scholarship focuses primarily on small sample sizes and is conducted primarily in rural areas. My own previous work with a Hope student created a review of this literature to be used by projects working in more urban settings with larger populations as part of a systematic evaluation of such interventions. This project will continue to build on this literature compilation and analysis as well as focus specifically on what is known about work in rural areas with indigenous people groups. We will specially focus on the Maasai, Turkana and Pokot ethnic groups in Kenya. What groups have done various WASH interventions and what have been the outcomes? What works in meeting access to enough and clean water as well as fostering related health improvements in rural, indigenous communities? What costs are involved? How are local and national governmental interventions and services involved? We will work together to read and analyze previous research as well as compile currently disparate data from various non-governmental organizations (NGOs) as well as governmental sources to create a clear picture of the water and sanitation work supporting these communities.

Faculty Mentor(s): Virginia Beard
Home Department: Political Science

Qualifications: Preferred qualifications include but are not limited to: some knowledge of and interest in water issues, organization skills and oral/written communication skills to discuss and document research progress. Ability to work independently, accurately and with integrity. Ability to learn new and apply new as well as continuing research techniques, methodology and logical critical analysis well. Preferred sophomore with experience in social science research methodologies

Working Conditions: This position requires remaining in a sitting or standing position for frequent periods of time, typing and computer work. In the case of temporary or permanent condition(s) that require(s) accommodation(s), reasonable accommodation(s) may be requested. While some remote work will be part of this position, there will be an expected ability for student researcher to work at Hope, on campus, at least one-two day(s) per week.

Runs from 5/22/2023 through 7/14/2023

GWRI - Evaluating the response of Michigan peatlands to recent climate change

Peatlands are a natural carbon sink, and currently store more carbon than the world’s forests combined in the form of partially decomposed organic matter. However, climate change is expected to shift the climate window of peatlands to the north. Southwest Michigan lies at the southern extreme of the current range of peatlands, and could therefore be the first to be affected by warming. This project will evaluate if climate change has already started to impact the carbon balance of these ecosystems. Students involved in this project will participate in a 10-day field campaign, sampling bogs from the Michigan-Indiana border to the upper peninsula, then conduct measurements and experiments exploring how carbon and nitrogen cycling change along the transect.
This project has roles for students with a variety of interests, ranging from ecology to analytical chemistry.

Faculty Mentor(s): Michael Philben
Home Department: Geological and Environmental Science

Qualifications: All students interested in this research project are encouraged to apply. Current enrollment in an undergraduate program is required.

Working Conditions: This position requires remaining in a sitting or standing position for frequent periods of time, typing and computer work. You may be required to lift, move, and transport related laboratory equipment. In the case of temporary or permanent condition(s) that require(s) accommodation(s), reasonable accommodation(s) may be requested.

Runs from 5/15/2023 through 7/21/2023

GWRI - Northern Lake County, Indiana: Environmental Contamination and Environmental Justice Issues

Decades of industrial activity have led to dangerous levels of both metal and organic contaminants within residential and public areas of Lake County, Indiana, United States. While there have been notable efforts to remedy this contamination, the underlying concern from the community remains. Therefore, the goal of this research is to characterize the environmental contamination in soil, sediment, water, and air within Lake County, including Gary, Hammond, and East Chicago. Preliminary steps of this project include testing and developing various analytical methods to find the most accurate and time-conscious method for the determination of metal and organic contaminants within the samples. For the metal detection, the samples are processed using an electrochemical Anodic Stripping Voltammetry and Inductively Coupled Plasma methods specific for lead detection, as lead has proven to cause numerous health concerns upon exposure. For the organic compounds, the EPA has designated Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs) as being a potential environmental and human health hazard. We are currently developing Gas Chromatography-Mass Spec methods to determine PAHs in soil and water samples.

Faculty Mentor(s): Kenneth Brown
Home Department: Chemistry

Qualifications: All students interested in this research project are encouraged to apply. Current enrollment in an undergraduate program is required.

Working Conditions: This position requires remaining in a sitting or standing position for frequent periods of time, typing and computer work. In the case of temporary or permanent condition(s) that require(s) accommodation(s), reasonable accommodation(s) may be requested.

Runs from 5/22/2023 through 7/14/2023

GWRI - Plastic Pollution Pathways: Limiting Litter in Local Lakes – Hope College students only

This project examines plastic litter in the Holland area, focusing on pathways that transport litter to Lake Macatawa and Lake Michigan. The project will include literature research and fieldwork to collect and characterize litter on roadsides, along waterways, and in or near storm drains. Lab work will focus on analyzing and classifying litter collected in the Holland area. Activities may also include determining the rate of flux of roadside litter and installing equipment to capture litter within tributaries to Lake Macatawa. Goals for the project are to identify litter sources and modes of transport in an attempt to reduce plastic pollution in local water bodies. All research details including dates are tentative and subject to change.

Faculty Mentor(s): Brian Bodenbender
Home Department: Geological and Environmental Science

Qualifications: All students interested in this research project are encouraged to apply. Current enrollment in an Hope College undergraduate program is required.

Working Conditions: This position may require remaining in a sitting or standing position for extended periods of time, typing, and computer work. You may be required to lift, move, and transport related laboratory and field equipment in natural environments including waterways. In the case of temporary or permanent condition(s) that require(s) accommodation(s), reasonable accommodation(s) may be requested. Researchers will handle roadside and water-borne waste that potentially may include chemically, physically, and/or biologically hazardous materials whose exact nature cannot be foreseen.

Runs from 5/22/2023 through 7/14/2023

Sex-based physiology and gene expression in plants

Sex differences in physiology are common in animals. We know that there are statistical differences by sex in average height in humans, in mean weight of mature elephant seals, or in song production in many birds. We know far less about sex-based differences in plants. Unlike animals, in most plants, sexes are combined into a single individual. In approximately 6-7% of species, sexes are found in separate individuals. Using a native sex-switching understory tree, we’ll be collecting data on differences in functioning between males and females. This project will involve substantial amounts of time spent in the woods to collect data. We’ll be visiting established field sites in northern Michigan. We’ll collect data on flowering, health, and photosynthetic rates and use these data to understand in what ways sex affects how an individual functions. We’ll also use collected tissues to explore how gene activation changes between sexes in different tissues.

Students will participate in hypothesis formation, experimental design, data acquisition, and analysis. They will routinely read and discuss scientific literature, and will develop skills for writing scientific papers and delivering scientific presentations.

Note that this study involves a substantial field-based component of 2-3 weeks. When in the field, working hours are daylight hours (and sometimes pre-dawn hours). Trees don’t follow 8-5 hour days or know about weekends. Weekend work is required. Overnight accommodations will consist of camping. Field work requires stamina and the ability to persist in the midst of heat, cold, rain, and bugs. Strength is required, with the ability to carry packs and equipment weighing up to 50 lbs. Field work is also fun, with the chance to spend time in lovely areas of the state, meet new people, and opportunities to hike during rainy weather. Once field data and samples are collected, we will spend time in lab entering and cleaning physiology data, learning to code in R and run analyses, and extracting RNA from collected tissues.


Students hired to work in the Plant Sex Lab are hired to work on questions of sex, gender, and physiology. Field-based science is subject to a vagaries of extreme weather, permitting agencies, and other interesting conditions. Under rare circumstances, projects may be vastly modified or even canceled once underway. In such a situation, we may choose to begin a commensurate project. SHARP compensation is project-based, which means it may involve a bit more or a bit less than a 40-hr work week.

Faculty Mentor(s): Jennifer Blake-Mahmud
Home Department: Biology

Qualifications: All students interested in this research project are encouraged to apply. Current enrollment in an undergraduate program is required.Preferred qualifications include but are not limited to: subject knowledge, organization skills and oral/written communication skills to discuss and document research progress. Ability to work independently, accurately and ethically collect data, and to problem solve technical and methodological issues that arise during the course of research. Ability to apply sound research techniques, methodology and logical critical analysis. Students are expected to have or gain training in driving a university vehicle.

Working Conditions: This position requires that you can hike with a 50 lb backpack for 2 miles, hand carry 50lbs over rough terrain for 1/2 mile, get up and down (squatting, bending, kneeling) repeatedly during the day, move equipment around within field sites, and work in diverse weather conditions: including cold to 0C, heat to 35C, with insects and other creatures found in wild areas. Experience and comfort with camping and hiking required. This position also requires remaining in a sitting or standing position for frequent periods of time, typing, and computer work. In the case of temporary or permanent condition(s) that require(s) accommodation(s), reasonable accommodation(s) may be requested.

Runs from 5/15/2023 through 7/14/2023

Sliding Processes in Soft Materials

ELINSKI LAB: The Elinski Lab (elinskilab.org) focuses on surface chemistry and tribology - the study of surfaces in relative motion, (including friction, adhesion, lubrication, and wear. Please note that this area of research is not traditionally covered in coursework, but pulls on core principles from chemistry, materials science, physics, and engineering. Everything an interested student would need to know will be taught in the lab, so Dr. Elinski encourages all students to meet with her and apply, regardless of year in school or course background!

BACKGROUND: Soft materials have an impressive range of applications, from flexible electronics and haptic interfaces to biomimicry such as artificial cartilage. In particular, hydrogels (water-swollen polymer networks) bring a unique set of characteristics to these applications through their notable durability, stretchability, and aqueous composition. Given the complexity of interfaces formed with hydrogels and any potential hybrid structures, chemical structure-function relationships are at the core of many of the processes involved with motion (sliding processes) in potential applications. The Elinski Lab aims to develop a deeper fundamental understanding of the sliding processes of hydrogel composites to enable the broader incorporation of soft materials in tailored applications.

PROJECT OVERVIEW: Student researchers on this project will synthesize hydrogels and hydrogel-nanomaterial composites, with material choice focusing on target applications including haptic interfaces and modeling osteoarthritis treatments for the cartilage in joints. For either target application, the focus will be understanding the interplay of chemical-mechanical behavior in controlled environments and impact on interfacial adhesion, friction, and wear.

A suite of analytical instruments will be used for this work, including atomic force microscopy (AFM), rheology, scanning electron microscopy and energy dispersive spectroscopy (SEM/EDS), confocal Raman microspectroscopy, and attenuated total reflectance Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy (ATR-FTIR).

DETAILS: The summer research program will consist of 10 forty-hour work weeks to be conducted in the Elinski Lab on Hope College’s campus. In addition to the research there are professional development activities, along with planned social events throughout the summer to meet fellow chemistry researchers and students conducting research in other departments! There is also the potential for research projects to be continued into the following academic year.

Working on this research will provide students with a strong foundation in fundamental chemistry at surfaces and interfaces along with multidisciplinary skills in materials, (bio)mechanics, and the wider reaching principles of nanoscience. As the primary leads for their research, students will also have opportunities for authoring peer-reviewed journal articles and presenting and networking at scientific conferences.

Faculty Mentor(s): Dr. Meagan Elinski
Home Department: Chemistry

Qualifications: All students interested in this research project are encouraged to apply. Current enrollment in an undergraduate program is required.

Working Conditions: This position requires remaining in a sitting or standing position for frequent periods of time, typing and computer work. You may be required to lift, move, and transport related laboratory equipment. In the case of temporary or permanent condition(s) that require(s) accommodation(s), reasonable accommodation(s) may be requested.

Runs from 5/29/2023 through 8/4/2023

The sustainable design and synthesis of multifunctional metal-based nanomaterials

The Goch group focuses on the sustainable development of nanomaterials for water remediation and energy related applications. The design of these nanomaterials is based on the comprehension of the surface chemistry, from adsorption to catalysis, involved in each environmental step. Working in the Goch lab, students will gain skills in environmental engineering, material science, inorganic, analytical, physical and green chemistry. Our research program will provide feasible solutions for environmental problems, including ones that new-technology-based and well-established industries face.

Faculty Mentor(s): Natalia Gonzalez-Pech
Home Department: Chemistry

Qualifications: All students interested in this research project are encouraged to apply. Current enrollment in an undergraduate program is required.

Working Conditions: This position requires remaining in a sitting or standing position for frequent periods of time, typing and computer work. You may be required to lift, move, and transport related laboratory equipment. In the case of temporary or permanent condition(s) that require(s) accommodation(s), reasonable accommodation(s) may be requested.

Runs from 5/15/2023 through 7/21/2023

Urbanization and the availability of carotenoids in the diets of songbirds

In intersexual communication many signals have evolved to honestly convey information about the sender to the receiver. The carotenoid-based colors (e.g., bright red, orange, and yellow) of passerine birds have become a model system for the study of honest signaling and sexual selection via female. Male feather carotenoid pigmentation has been linked to males with a better ability to resist and recover from parasitic infections, higher quality diets, and lower exposure to oxidative stress. Females, in turn, have been shown to prefer males that have greater carotenoid pigmentation as it is an honest reflection of male condition on a variety of scales. While perhaps best known for their role in signaling displays, carotenoids also play an essential role in avian vision, and therefore the sensory perception of the carotenoid displays themselves. In birds, cone photoreceptors contain an oil droplet, a small organelle filled with carotenoids that functions in selectively absorbing certain wavelengths of light and therefore shifting the spectral sensitivity of the cone visual pigments.

It is our hypothesis that there will therefore be differences in the retinal carotenoids of songbirds based on their habitat, urban or rural. We will apply currently accepted HPLC protocols on hydrolyzed retinal carotenoid esters to study this hypothesis. We will simultaneously attempt to develop more robust HPLC/MS/MS methods, which may be feasible directly on retinal extracts without ester hydrolysis.

Faculty Mentor(s): Kelly Ronald, Jason Gillmore
Home Department: Chemistry

Qualifications: All students interested in this research project are encouraged to apply. Current enrollment in an undergraduate program is required.

Working Conditions: This position requires remaining in a sitting or standing position for frequent periods of time, field work (personal transportation not required) typing and computer work. You may be required to lift, move, and transport related laboratory equipment. May be required to work with animals and potentially hazardous and toxic materials. In the case of temporary or permanent condition(s) that require(s) accommodation(s), reasonable accommodation(s) may be requested.

Runs from 5/15/2023 through 7/21/2023

Geological and Environmental Science

A Canary in the Coalmine: Using the house sparrow as a model for testing the effects of air pollution on behavior and physiology

This interdisciplinary project will incorporate the disciplines of Biology, Neuroscience, Psychology, Chemistry and Materials Science. However the project is specifically housed within the Hope College Department of Biology.

There is great concern regarding the adverse health implications of engineered nanoparticles. However, there are many circumstances where the production of incidental nanoparticles, i.e., nanoparticles unintentionally generated as a side product of some anthropogenic process, is of even greater concern. These nanoparticles can transport through the respiratory system and translocate to other organs, including the brain. The health implications of this transport has been study in in-vitro systems and animals models like mice, but never before in birds. Birds are an interesting model because their respiratory anatomy makes them uniquely susceptible to airborne contaminants. Additionally, we expect that this species should be an interesting model as they should be exposed to incidental nanoparticles present in air. This project will examine both the visual and auditory sensory processing of the songbird the house sparrow (passer domesticus), behavioral changes, and resulting bioaccumulation of iron. House sparrows frequently occupy a variety of human dominated environments and therefore span the gradient of noise and light pollution areas.

Faculty Mentor(s): Kelly Ronald, Natalia Gonzalez-Pech
Home Department: Biology

Qualifications: All students interested in this research project are encouraged to apply. Current enrollment in an undergraduate program is required.

Working Conditions: This position requires remaining in a sitting or standing position for frequent periods of time, field work (personal transportation not required) typing and computer work. You may be required to lift, move, and transport related laboratory equipment. May be required to work with animals and potentially hazardous and toxic materials. In the case of temporary or permanent condition(s) that require(s) accommodation(s), reasonable accommodation(s) may be requested.

Runs from 5/8/2023 through 7/14/2023

Exploring the potential for geologic storage of CO2 in faulted subsurface reservoirs in the northern Gulf of Mexico continental shelf and deep offshore Niger Delta Basin

The release of anthropogenic CO2 into Earth’s atmosphere has risen progressively and has resulted in and amplified climatic variations around the globe with unprecedented effect on humans. Geological sequestration of CO2 via subsurface storage in reservoirs can significantly alleviate this effect but its mechanism is under explored. Therefore, it is imperative to understand the structural framework, possibility of reactivation, and sealing potential of faults of subsurface storage complexes in order to prevent migration of injected CO2 outside the target storage strata. This research aims to investigate the potential for geologic storage of CO2 in the northern Gulf of Mexico continental shelf and deep offshore Niger Delta Basin, through detailed characterization of the structural framework, reactivation likelihood, and seal-ability of faults of depleted subsurface reservoirs, as well as determine their volumetric capacity for sequestration of captured CO2. Specifically, we will apply a multidisciplinary method incorporating geology, geophysics, physics and environmental science, and will utilize a suite of geological and geophysical data and industry software packages such as Petrel, PetroMod, Techlog and GeoEx to detail the trapping mechanism of storage complexes identified within the study area and unravel their sealing abilities, and the new knowledge will provide the basis for the management of geologic sequestration of carbon in the Gulf of Mexico, Niger Delta and the world at large, in order to mitigate global climate disasters resulting from anthropogenic CO2 emissions. In addition, students will develop outstanding subsurface characterization skills that make for employability within the sustainable energy development sector.

Faculty Mentor(s): Uzonna Anyiam
Home Department: Geological and Environmental Science

Qualifications: All students interested in this research project are encouraged to apply. Current enrollment in an undergraduate program is required.Preferred qualifications include but are not limited to: subject knowledge, organization skills and oral/written communication skills to discuss and document research progress. Ability to work independently, accurately and to problem solve technical and methodological issues that arise during the course of research. Ability to apply sound research techniques, methodology and logical critical analysis.

Working Conditions: This position requires remaining in a sitting or standing position for frequent periods of time, typing and computer work. You may be required to lift, move, and transport related laboratory equipment. In the case of temporary or permanent condition(s) that require(s) accommodation(s), reasonable accommodation(s) may be requested.

Runs from 5/15/2023 through 7/21/2023

GWRI - Characterization of the bacterial population in local watersheds, and relation to human health and environment

Appearance of fecal bacteria from human and livestock origin in ground water has local and global health implications. In the local Holland area watershed, high fecal bacterial counts, especially following heavy rainfall, regularly closes down swimming and other recreational use. Furthermore, although bacterial contamination is not problematic in drinking water locally thanks to municipal water treatment, it is a major cause of poor health, particularly in children, in many developing countries. Our laboratory is working to identify water-borne fecal bacterial in terms of species of host origin.

This project is a collaborative effort between Dr. Pikaart and Drs. Aaron Best and Brent Krueger.

Faculty Mentor(s): Michael Pikaart
Home Department: Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

Qualifications: All students interested in this research project are encouraged to apply. Current enrollment in an undergraduate program is required.

Working Conditions: This position requires remaining in a sitting or standing position for frequent periods of time, typing and computer work. You may be required to lift, move, and transport related laboratory equipment. In the case of temporary or permanent condition(s) that require(s) accommodation(s), reasonable accommodation(s) may be requested.

Runs from 5/15/2023 through 7/21/2023

GWRI - Computational and biochemical analysis of microbial sources within the Lake Macatawa watershed

This project blends computer science, math, biology, and chemistry. Our research efforts have resulted in the compilation of a large multi-year dataset that includes DNA sequences for many thousands of microbes, as well as individually isolated E. coli strains, from hundreds of samples acquired under a variety of environmental conditions. We hope to understand how the variation in the different microbial species that are present and their relative abundance depends on environmental conditions and other factors such as antimicrobial resistance genes present within the microbes themselves. To accomplish this we will combine sophisticated computational methods (e.g. machine learning) with more next-generation sequencing, PCR, and biochemical analyses. Using these tools, we are posing several questions: If we find evidence of fecal contamination, can we tell whether that contamination is from humans versus nonhuman origin (domestic or wildlife) and can we identify the specific location from which such contamination is originating? Do we identify antimicrobial resistance genes in E. coli that are living in the watershed? Students are likely to focus on either biochemical or computational methods, though it is possible for a student to work in both areas if they desire.

Faculty Mentor(s): Aaron Best, Brent Krueger, Michael Pikaart
Home Department: Biology

Qualifications: All students interested in this research project are encouraged to apply. Current enrollment in an undergraduate program is required.

Working Conditions: This position requires remaining in a sitting or standing position for frequent periods of time, field work (personal transportation not required) typing and computer work. You may be required to lift, move, and transport related laboratory equipment. May be required to work with animals and potentially hazardous and toxic materials. In the case of temporary or permanent condition(s) that require(s) accommodation(s), reasonable accommodation(s) may be requested.

Runs from 5/15/2023 through 7/21/2023

GWRI - Contemporary sand dune and wetlands studies

This project focuses on contemporary dune processes, including the interdunal wetlands at Saugatuck Harbor Natural Area (SHNA), and other coastal dune complexes along Lake Michigan’s eastern coast. SHNA is home to several large interdunal wetlands or slacks, an endangered ecosystem amidst the coastal dunes of Lake Michigan. We have been performing ecohydrological studies in these wetlands for 6 years and are continuing and expanding our longitudinal study again this summer. Summer research will include 1. Reading pertinent scholarly articles and developing relevant interdisciplinary background in geology, ecology, and hydrology; 2. Collecting and analyzing ground and surface water samples for selected analytes; 3. Performing vegetation quadrat sampling; 4. Performing hydrological studies based on data from the groundwater monitoring wells. Multispectral imaging has also been ongoing at this site and will be performed again this coming year. Additional multispectral imaging will be performed at other coastal dune complexes along the lakeshore as well.

Faculty Mentor(s): Suzanne DeVries-Zimmerman, Brian Yurk, Mike Philben
Home Department: Geological and Environmental Science

Qualifications: All students interested in this research project are encouraged to apply. Current enrollment in an undergraduate program is required.

Working Conditions: This position requires remaining in a sitting or standing position for frequent periods of time, typing and computer work. You may be required to lift, move, and transport related laboratory equipment. In the case of temporary or permanent condition(s) that require(s) accommodation(s), reasonable accommodation(s) may be requested.

Runs from 5/15/2023 through 7/21/2023

GWRI - Effective Practices in Water, Sanitation and Health Interventions Globally

In 2010, access to water and sanitation was recognized as a human right. Five years later, an ambitious target of achieving universal access to safely managed water, sanitation, and hygiene services by 2030 was agreed upon in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Over ten years later, the world is still falling short of meeting this goal. As of 2020, while the global COVID-19 pandemic raged, almost half the world's population did not have access to safely managed clean water or sanitation services. One response by a variety of non-governmental organizations has been to provide water filters or other water, sanitation and hygiene trainings and interventions (WASH) at the household level. Much of the evaluation research, however, shows household level interventions have intermittent to ineffective long-term impacts. Most of this scholarship focuses primarily on small sample sizes and is conducted primarily in rural areas. My own previous work with a Hope student created a review of this literature to be used by projects working in more urban settings with larger populations as part of a systematic evaluation of such interventions. This project will continue to build on this literature compilation and analysis as well as focus specifically on what is known about work in rural areas with indigenous people groups. We will specially focus on the Maasai, Turkana and Pokot ethnic groups in Kenya. What groups have done various WASH interventions and what have been the outcomes? What works in meeting access to enough and clean water as well as fostering related health improvements in rural, indigenous communities? What costs are involved? How are local and national governmental interventions and services involved? We will work together to read and analyze previous research as well as compile currently disparate data from various non-governmental organizations (NGOs) as well as governmental sources to create a clear picture of the water and sanitation work supporting these communities.

Faculty Mentor(s): Virginia Beard
Home Department: Political Science

Qualifications: Preferred qualifications include but are not limited to: some knowledge of and interest in water issues, organization skills and oral/written communication skills to discuss and document research progress. Ability to work independently, accurately and with integrity. Ability to learn new and apply new as well as continuing research techniques, methodology and logical critical analysis well. Preferred sophomore with experience in social science research methodologies

Working Conditions: This position requires remaining in a sitting or standing position for frequent periods of time, typing and computer work. In the case of temporary or permanent condition(s) that require(s) accommodation(s), reasonable accommodation(s) may be requested. While some remote work will be part of this position, there will be an expected ability for student researcher to work at Hope, on campus, at least one-two day(s) per week.

Runs from 5/22/2023 through 7/14/2023

GWRI - Evaluating the response of Michigan peatlands to recent climate change

Peatlands are a natural carbon sink, and currently store more carbon than the world’s forests combined in the form of partially decomposed organic matter. However, climate change is expected to shift the climate window of peatlands to the north. Southwest Michigan lies at the southern extreme of the current range of peatlands, and could therefore be the first to be affected by warming. This project will evaluate if climate change has already started to impact the carbon balance of these ecosystems. Students involved in this project will participate in a 10-day field campaign, sampling bogs from the Michigan-Indiana border to the upper peninsula, then conduct measurements and experiments exploring how carbon and nitrogen cycling change along the transect.
This project has roles for students with a variety of interests, ranging from ecology to analytical chemistry.

Faculty Mentor(s): Michael Philben
Home Department: Geological and Environmental Science

Qualifications: All students interested in this research project are encouraged to apply. Current enrollment in an undergraduate program is required.

Working Conditions: This position requires remaining in a sitting or standing position for frequent periods of time, typing and computer work. You may be required to lift, move, and transport related laboratory equipment. In the case of temporary or permanent condition(s) that require(s) accommodation(s), reasonable accommodation(s) may be requested.

Runs from 5/15/2023 through 7/21/2023

GWRI - Global Surveys of Drinking Quality and Wellbeing of At Risk Populations

Lack of sustainable access to clean drinking water continues to be an issue of paramount global importance, leading to millions of preventable deaths annually. Best practices for providing sustainable access to clean drinking water, however, remain unclear. Widespread installation of low-cost, in-home, point of use water filtration systems is a promising strategy. Interventions such as these need to be done in a way that recognizes the needs and desires of the local community and is sensitive and consistent with the local culture. Finally assessment of success of the intervention is a critical tool to aid future projects. Students involved in this project will assist in a number of possible projects including: creation of survey instruments that assess community needs, public health and wellbeing, and likelihood of intervention success; understanding connections among bacterial communities, chemical contaminants and other environmental factors found in different drinking water sources from across the world; analysis of databases of drinking water quality.

Faculty Mentor(s): Aaron Best, Brent Krueger, Michael Pikaart
Home Department: Biology

Qualifications: All students interested in this research project are encouraged to apply. Current enrollment in an undergraduate program is required.

Working Conditions: This position requires remaining in a sitting or standing position for frequent periods of time, field work (personal transportation not required) typing and computer work. You may be required to lift, move, and transport related laboratory equipment. May be required to work with animals and potentially hazardous and toxic materials. In the case of temporary or permanent condition(s) that require(s) accommodation(s), reasonable accommodation(s) may be requested.

Runs from 5/15/2023 through 7/21/2023

GWRI - Northern Lake County, Indiana: Environmental Contamination and Environmental Justice Issues

Decades of industrial activity have led to dangerous levels of both metal and organic contaminants within residential and public areas of Lake County, Indiana, United States. While there have been notable efforts to remedy this contamination, the underlying concern from the community remains. Therefore, the goal of this research is to characterize the environmental contamination in soil, sediment, water, and air within Lake County, including Gary, Hammond, and East Chicago. Preliminary steps of this project include testing and developing various analytical methods to find the most accurate and time-conscious method for the determination of metal and organic contaminants within the samples. For the metal detection, the samples are processed using an electrochemical Anodic Stripping Voltammetry and Inductively Coupled Plasma methods specific for lead detection, as lead has proven to cause numerous health concerns upon exposure. For the organic compounds, the EPA has designated Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs) as being a potential environmental and human health hazard. We are currently developing Gas Chromatography-Mass Spec methods to determine PAHs in soil and water samples.

Faculty Mentor(s): Kenneth Brown
Home Department: Chemistry

Qualifications: All students interested in this research project are encouraged to apply. Current enrollment in an undergraduate program is required.

Working Conditions: This position requires remaining in a sitting or standing position for frequent periods of time, typing and computer work. In the case of temporary or permanent condition(s) that require(s) accommodation(s), reasonable accommodation(s) may be requested.

Runs from 5/22/2023 through 7/14/2023

GWRI - Plastic Pollution Pathways: Limiting Litter in Local Lakes – Hope College students only

This project examines plastic litter in the Holland area, focusing on pathways that transport litter to Lake Macatawa and Lake Michigan. The project will include literature research and fieldwork to collect and characterize litter on roadsides, along waterways, and in or near storm drains. Lab work will focus on analyzing and classifying litter collected in the Holland area. Activities may also include determining the rate of flux of roadside litter and installing equipment to capture litter within tributaries to Lake Macatawa. Goals for the project are to identify litter sources and modes of transport in an attempt to reduce plastic pollution in local water bodies. All research details including dates are tentative and subject to change.

Faculty Mentor(s): Brian Bodenbender
Home Department: Geological and Environmental Science

Qualifications: All students interested in this research project are encouraged to apply. Current enrollment in an Hope College undergraduate program is required.

Working Conditions: This position may require remaining in a sitting or standing position for extended periods of time, typing, and computer work. You may be required to lift, move, and transport related laboratory and field equipment in natural environments including waterways. In the case of temporary or permanent condition(s) that require(s) accommodation(s), reasonable accommodation(s) may be requested. Researchers will handle roadside and water-borne waste that potentially may include chemically, physically, and/or biologically hazardous materials whose exact nature cannot be foreseen.

Runs from 5/22/2023 through 7/14/2023

Sex-based physiology and gene expression in plants

Sex differences in physiology are common in animals. We know that there are statistical differences by sex in average height in humans, in mean weight of mature elephant seals, or in song production in many birds. We know far less about sex-based differences in plants. Unlike animals, in most plants, sexes are combined into a single individual. In approximately 6-7% of species, sexes are found in separate individuals. Using a native sex-switching understory tree, we’ll be collecting data on differences in functioning between males and females. This project will involve substantial amounts of time spent in the woods to collect data. We’ll be visiting established field sites in northern Michigan. We’ll collect data on flowering, health, and photosynthetic rates and use these data to understand in what ways sex affects how an individual functions. We’ll also use collected tissues to explore how gene activation changes between sexes in different tissues.

Students will participate in hypothesis formation, experimental design, data acquisition, and analysis. They will routinely read and discuss scientific literature, and will develop skills for writing scientific papers and delivering scientific presentations.

Note that this study involves a substantial field-based component of 2-3 weeks. When in the field, working hours are daylight hours (and sometimes pre-dawn hours). Trees don’t follow 8-5 hour days or know about weekends. Weekend work is required. Overnight accommodations will consist of camping. Field work requires stamina and the ability to persist in the midst of heat, cold, rain, and bugs. Strength is required, with the ability to carry packs and equipment weighing up to 50 lbs. Field work is also fun, with the chance to spend time in lovely areas of the state, meet new people, and opportunities to hike during rainy weather. Once field data and samples are collected, we will spend time in lab entering and cleaning physiology data, learning to code in R and run analyses, and extracting RNA from collected tissues.


Students hired to work in the Plant Sex Lab are hired to work on questions of sex, gender, and physiology. Field-based science is subject to a vagaries of extreme weather, permitting agencies, and other interesting conditions. Under rare circumstances, projects may be vastly modified or even canceled once underway. In such a situation, we may choose to begin a commensurate project. SHARP compensation is project-based, which means it may involve a bit more or a bit less than a 40-hr work week.

Faculty Mentor(s): Jennifer Blake-Mahmud
Home Department: Biology

Qualifications: All students interested in this research project are encouraged to apply. Current enrollment in an undergraduate program is required.Preferred qualifications include but are not limited to: subject knowledge, organization skills and oral/written communication skills to discuss and document research progress. Ability to work independently, accurately and ethically collect data, and to problem solve technical and methodological issues that arise during the course of research. Ability to apply sound research techniques, methodology and logical critical analysis. Students are expected to have or gain training in driving a university vehicle.

Working Conditions: This position requires that you can hike with a 50 lb backpack for 2 miles, hand carry 50lbs over rough terrain for 1/2 mile, get up and down (squatting, bending, kneeling) repeatedly during the day, move equipment around within field sites, and work in diverse weather conditions: including cold to 0C, heat to 35C, with insects and other creatures found in wild areas. Experience and comfort with camping and hiking required. This position also requires remaining in a sitting or standing position for frequent periods of time, typing, and computer work. In the case of temporary or permanent condition(s) that require(s) accommodation(s), reasonable accommodation(s) may be requested.

Runs from 5/15/2023 through 7/14/2023

Sliding Processes in Soft Materials

ELINSKI LAB: The Elinski Lab (elinskilab.org) focuses on surface chemistry and tribology - the study of surfaces in relative motion, (including friction, adhesion, lubrication, and wear. Please note that this area of research is not traditionally covered in coursework, but pulls on core principles from chemistry, materials science, physics, and engineering. Everything an interested student would need to know will be taught in the lab, so Dr. Elinski encourages all students to meet with her and apply, regardless of year in school or course background!

BACKGROUND: Soft materials have an impressive range of applications, from flexible electronics and haptic interfaces to biomimicry such as artificial cartilage. In particular, hydrogels (water-swollen polymer networks) bring a unique set of characteristics to these applications through their notable durability, stretchability, and aqueous composition. Given the complexity of interfaces formed with hydrogels and any potential hybrid structures, chemical structure-function relationships are at the core of many of the processes involved with motion (sliding processes) in potential applications. The Elinski Lab aims to develop a deeper fundamental understanding of the sliding processes of hydrogel composites to enable the broader incorporation of soft materials in tailored applications.

PROJECT OVERVIEW: Student researchers on this project will synthesize hydrogels and hydrogel-nanomaterial composites, with material choice focusing on target applications including haptic interfaces and modeling osteoarthritis treatments for the cartilage in joints. For either target application, the focus will be understanding the interplay of chemical-mechanical behavior in controlled environments and impact on interfacial adhesion, friction, and wear.

A suite of analytical instruments will be used for this work, including atomic force microscopy (AFM), rheology, scanning electron microscopy and energy dispersive spectroscopy (SEM/EDS), confocal Raman microspectroscopy, and attenuated total reflectance Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy (ATR-FTIR).

DETAILS: The summer research program will consist of 10 forty-hour work weeks to be conducted in the Elinski Lab on Hope College’s campus. In addition to the research there are professional development activities, along with planned social events throughout the summer to meet fellow chemistry researchers and students conducting research in other departments! There is also the potential for research projects to be continued into the following academic year.

Working on this research will provide students with a strong foundation in fundamental chemistry at surfaces and interfaces along with multidisciplinary skills in materials, (bio)mechanics, and the wider reaching principles of nanoscience. As the primary leads for their research, students will also have opportunities for authoring peer-reviewed journal articles and presenting and networking at scientific conferences.

Faculty Mentor(s): Dr. Meagan Elinski
Home Department: Chemistry

Qualifications: All students interested in this research project are encouraged to apply. Current enrollment in an undergraduate program is required.

Working Conditions: This position requires remaining in a sitting or standing position for frequent periods of time, typing and computer work. You may be required to lift, move, and transport related laboratory equipment. In the case of temporary or permanent condition(s) that require(s) accommodation(s), reasonable accommodation(s) may be requested.

Runs from 5/29/2023 through 8/4/2023

Urbanization and the availability of carotenoids in the diets of songbirds

In intersexual communication many signals have evolved to honestly convey information about the sender to the receiver. The carotenoid-based colors (e.g., bright red, orange, and yellow) of passerine birds have become a model system for the study of honest signaling and sexual selection via female. Male feather carotenoid pigmentation has been linked to males with a better ability to resist and recover from parasitic infections, higher quality diets, and lower exposure to oxidative stress. Females, in turn, have been shown to prefer males that have greater carotenoid pigmentation as it is an honest reflection of male condition on a variety of scales. While perhaps best known for their role in signaling displays, carotenoids also play an essential role in avian vision, and therefore the sensory perception of the carotenoid displays themselves. In birds, cone photoreceptors contain an oil droplet, a small organelle filled with carotenoids that functions in selectively absorbing certain wavelengths of light and therefore shifting the spectral sensitivity of the cone visual pigments.

It is our hypothesis that there will therefore be differences in the retinal carotenoids of songbirds based on their habitat, urban or rural. We will apply currently accepted HPLC protocols on hydrolyzed retinal carotenoid esters to study this hypothesis. We will simultaneously attempt to develop more robust HPLC/MS/MS methods, which may be feasible directly on retinal extracts without ester hydrolysis.

Faculty Mentor(s): Kelly Ronald, Jason Gillmore
Home Department: Chemistry

Qualifications: All students interested in this research project are encouraged to apply. Current enrollment in an undergraduate program is required.

Working Conditions: This position requires remaining in a sitting or standing position for frequent periods of time, field work (personal transportation not required) typing and computer work. You may be required to lift, move, and transport related laboratory equipment. May be required to work with animals and potentially hazardous and toxic materials. In the case of temporary or permanent condition(s) that require(s) accommodation(s), reasonable accommodation(s) may be requested.

Runs from 5/15/2023 through 7/21/2023

Global Health

Chemical Defenses of Pioneer Plant Seeds

This interdisciplinary project will incorporate perspectives from both Biology and Chemistry to elucidate the basis of chemical defenses in tropical pioneer plant seeds. It is specifically housed within the Hope College Department of Chemistry, but student investigators will work closely with both Dr. Murray (Biology, emeritus) and Dr. Sanford (Chemistry).
Tropical rainforests are legendary for their biological diversity and for the complexity of interactions among their species. The interactions between animals and plants are especially prominent – animals are important as pollinators, seed dispersers and seed predators, and plants are under strong selection pressure to reinforce the positive interactions with animals and to weaken the negative ones. “Pioneer” plants – those that specialize on colonizing recently disturbed patches of forest but which cannot compete in the shaded understory – constitute a model system in which to study tropical plant-animal interactions because their seeds must survive in the soil for years despite intense threats from both animals and pathogenic fungi. This summer, we will continue our characterization of the chemical defenses of pioneer plant seeds, focusing on species whose seeds can survive for decades in tropical soils, despite threats from seed-eating animals and microbial attack. Students involved in this research will employ a variety of extraction, chemical separation and analysis techniques, as well as toxicity bioassays against fungi and arthropods. They will also gain experience in hypothesis formation and statistical analysis, in analyzing the scientific literature critically, and in presenting their research results in written and oral formats. If you are interested in this research, email Dr. Sanford at sanford@hope.edu to make an appointment to discuss the research opportunities available in the Sanford group.

Faculty Mentor(s): Elizabeth Sanford
Home Department: Chemistry

Qualifications: All students interested in this research project are encouraged to apply. Current enrollment in an undergraduate program is required.

Working Conditions: This position requires remaining in a sitting or standing position for frequent periods of time, typing and computer work. You may be required to lift, move, and transport related laboratory equipment. In the case of temporary or permanent condition(s) that require(s) accommodation(s), reasonable accommodation(s) may be requested.Use of chemicals will be required.

Runs from 5/15/2023 through 7/21/2023

Combating oxidative stress: Molecular analysis of System xc- and the cellular anti-oxidant defense system

In living organisms, routine metabolic processes result in the formation of oxidants within the cellular environment that can be toxic to the cells themselves. My research is focused on discovering the molecular mechanism by which oxidants regulate a membrane transport system, System xc-, that provides neurons and glia with the precursors required to synthesize a cellular antioxidant called glutathione. System xc- is a plasma membrane transport system that catalyzes the stoichiometric exchange of extracellular cystine for intracellular glutamate in the brain. The internalized cystine is then used for glutathione synthesis which protects the brain from oxidative damage. While several groups have demonstrated transcriptional regulation of System xc- within 24 hours of exposure of cells to oxidants there have been essentially no studies which have examined the short-term regulation of transporter activity. My students and I have shown that oxidants acutely (within minutes) regulate System xc- by modulating the cell surface expression of the transporter. These exciting findings suggest a novel form of regulation of System xc- that may serve as a critical component of the cellular defense system in protecting cells from oxidative insults. We are currently using biochemical and molecular techniques to 1) identify important trafficking motifs and post-translation modifications that occur within the intracellular regions of System xc- and 2) describe the cellular signaling pathways that are involved in the hydrogen peroxide-regulated activity of System xc-. Ultimately, this work will provide us with a better understanding of molecular processes which acutely regulate System xc- and identify key proteins which regulate transporter trafficking. As such, this work may provide direction for future studies aimed at pharmacological manipulation of System xc- activity for therapeutic benefit.

Each student in the Chase lab has their own independent research project that fits into the overall research aims of the lab. Students also assist in formulating testable hypotheses and constructing appropriate experimental designs to test their hypotheses.

Faculty Mentor(s): Leah Chase
Home Department: Chemistry

Qualifications: All students interested in this research project are encouraged to apply. Current enrollment in an undergraduate program is required.

Working Conditions: This position requires remaining in a sitting or standing position for frequent periods of time, typing and computer work. You may be required to lift, move, and transport related laboratory equipment. In the case of temporary or permanent condition(s) that require(s) accommodation(s), reasonable accommodation(s) may be requested.

Runs from 5/15/2023 through 7/21/2023

GWRI - Characterization of the bacterial population in local watersheds, and relation to human health and environment

Appearance of fecal bacteria from human and livestock origin in ground water has local and global health implications. In the local Holland area watershed, high fecal bacterial counts, especially following heavy rainfall, regularly closes down swimming and other recreational use. Furthermore, although bacterial contamination is not problematic in drinking water locally thanks to municipal water treatment, it is a major cause of poor health, particularly in children, in many developing countries. Our laboratory is working to identify water-borne fecal bacterial in terms of species of host origin.

This project is a collaborative effort between Dr. Pikaart and Drs. Aaron Best and Brent Krueger.

Faculty Mentor(s): Michael Pikaart
Home Department: Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

Qualifications: All students interested in this research project are encouraged to apply. Current enrollment in an undergraduate program is required.

Working Conditions: This position requires remaining in a sitting or standing position for frequent periods of time, typing and computer work. You may be required to lift, move, and transport related laboratory equipment. In the case of temporary or permanent condition(s) that require(s) accommodation(s), reasonable accommodation(s) may be requested.

Runs from 5/15/2023 through 7/21/2023

GWRI - Effective Practices in Water, Sanitation and Health Interventions Globally

In 2010, access to water and sanitation was recognized as a human right. Five years later, an ambitious target of achieving universal access to safely managed water, sanitation, and hygiene services by 2030 was agreed upon in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Over ten years later, the world is still falling short of meeting this goal. As of 2020, while the global COVID-19 pandemic raged, almost half the world's population did not have access to safely managed clean water or sanitation services. One response by a variety of non-governmental organizations has been to provide water filters or other water, sanitation and hygiene trainings and interventions (WASH) at the household level. Much of the evaluation research, however, shows household level interventions have intermittent to ineffective long-term impacts. Most of this scholarship focuses primarily on small sample sizes and is conducted primarily in rural areas. My own previous work with a Hope student created a review of this literature to be used by projects working in more urban settings with larger populations as part of a systematic evaluation of such interventions. This project will continue to build on this literature compilation and analysis as well as focus specifically on what is known about work in rural areas with indigenous people groups. We will specially focus on the Maasai, Turkana and Pokot ethnic groups in Kenya. What groups have done various WASH interventions and what have been the outcomes? What works in meeting access to enough and clean water as well as fostering related health improvements in rural, indigenous communities? What costs are involved? How are local and national governmental interventions and services involved? We will work together to read and analyze previous research as well as compile currently disparate data from various non-governmental organizations (NGOs) as well as governmental sources to create a clear picture of the water and sanitation work supporting these communities.

Faculty Mentor(s): Virginia Beard
Home Department: Political Science

Qualifications: Preferred qualifications include but are not limited to: some knowledge of and interest in water issues, organization skills and oral/written communication skills to discuss and document research progress. Ability to work independently, accurately and with integrity. Ability to learn new and apply new as well as continuing research techniques, methodology and logical critical analysis well. Preferred sophomore with experience in social science research methodologies

Working Conditions: This position requires remaining in a sitting or standing position for frequent periods of time, typing and computer work. In the case of temporary or permanent condition(s) that require(s) accommodation(s), reasonable accommodation(s) may be requested. While some remote work will be part of this position, there will be an expected ability for student researcher to work at Hope, on campus, at least one-two day(s) per week.

Runs from 5/22/2023 through 7/14/2023

GWRI - Global Surveys of Drinking Quality and Wellbeing of At Risk Populations

Lack of sustainable access to clean drinking water continues to be an issue of paramount global importance, leading to millions of preventable deaths annually. Best practices for providing sustainable access to clean drinking water, however, remain unclear. Widespread installation of low-cost, in-home, point of use water filtration systems is a promising strategy. Interventions such as these need to be done in a way that recognizes the needs and desires of the local community and is sensitive and consistent with the local culture. Finally assessment of success of the intervention is a critical tool to aid future projects. Students involved in this project will assist in a number of possible projects including: creation of survey instruments that assess community needs, public health and wellbeing, and likelihood of intervention success; understanding connections among bacterial communities, chemical contaminants and other environmental factors found in different drinking water sources from across the world; analysis of databases of drinking water quality.

Faculty Mentor(s): Aaron Best, Brent Krueger, Michael Pikaart
Home Department: Biology

Qualifications: All students interested in this research project are encouraged to apply. Current enrollment in an undergraduate program is required.

Working Conditions: This position requires remaining in a sitting or standing position for frequent periods of time, field work (personal transportation not required) typing and computer work. You may be required to lift, move, and transport related laboratory equipment. May be required to work with animals and potentially hazardous and toxic materials. In the case of temporary or permanent condition(s) that require(s) accommodation(s), reasonable accommodation(s) may be requested.

Runs from 5/15/2023 through 7/21/2023

GWRI - Northern Lake County, Indiana: Environmental Contamination and Environmental Justice Issues

Decades of industrial activity have led to dangerous levels of both metal and organic contaminants within residential and public areas of Lake County, Indiana, United States. While there have been notable efforts to remedy this contamination, the underlying concern from the community remains. Therefore, the goal of this research is to characterize the environmental contamination in soil, sediment, water, and air within Lake County, including Gary, Hammond, and East Chicago. Preliminary steps of this project include testing and developing various analytical methods to find the most accurate and time-conscious method for the determination of metal and organic contaminants within the samples. For the metal detection, the samples are processed using an electrochemical Anodic Stripping Voltammetry and Inductively Coupled Plasma methods specific for lead detection, as lead has proven to cause numerous health concerns upon exposure. For the organic compounds, the EPA has designated Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs) as being a potential environmental and human health hazard. We are currently developing Gas Chromatography-Mass Spec methods to determine PAHs in soil and water samples.

Faculty Mentor(s): Kenneth Brown
Home Department: Chemistry

Qualifications: All students interested in this research project are encouraged to apply. Current enrollment in an undergraduate program is required.

Working Conditions: This position requires remaining in a sitting or standing position for frequent periods of time, typing and computer work. In the case of temporary or permanent condition(s) that require(s) accommodation(s), reasonable accommodation(s) may be requested.

Runs from 5/22/2023 through 7/14/2023

The Preparation of Thiophene Compounds for Use as Electrochemical Sensors

Thiophene compounds can be polymerized onto electrode surfaces to give highly conducting films for sensor applications. This project has two goals. One is to understand how the chemical structure of the monomer and conditions of polymerization affect the morphology of the film. The second is to prepare a variety of functionalized thiophene monomers that can be polymerized on electrodes and then used as sensors. Examples of compounds currently under development are ferrocene and porphyrin functionalized thiophenes for use as glucose sensors. Incoming students will be given a monomer or group of monomers that they will prepare through approximately 3-4 step synthetic sequences. A student will be responsible for the planning, execution and standard characterization of the materials with the support of the faculty mentor and the group members. The focus of this group is organic synthesis, so students should have had one year of organic chemistry lecture and lab. Once the compounds are made and characterized, the compounds will be electropolymerized and tested for potential sensor applications. The film morphologies will be studied with our new Scanning Electron Microscope. Students will present research results in written and oral formats. If you are interested in this research, email Dr. Sanford at sanford@hope.edu to make an appointment to discuss the research opportunities available in the Sanford group.

Faculty Mentor(s): Elizabeth Sanford
Home Department: Chemistry

Qualifications: All students interested in this research project are encouraged to apply. Current enrollment in an undergraduate program is required.Student should have completed CHEM231/256.

Working Conditions: This position requires remaining in a sitting or standing position for frequent periods of time, typing and computer work. You may be required to lift, move, and transport related laboratory equipment. In the case of temporary or permanent condition(s) that require(s) accommodation(s), reasonable accommodation(s) may be requested. This position requires the use of chemicals.

Runs from 5/15/2023 through 7/21/2023

Global Studies

GWRI - Effective Practices in Water, Sanitation and Health Interventions Globally

In 2010, access to water and sanitation was recognized as a human right. Five years later, an ambitious target of achieving universal access to safely managed water, sanitation, and hygiene services by 2030 was agreed upon in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Over ten years later, the world is still falling short of meeting this goal. As of 2020, while the global COVID-19 pandemic raged, almost half the world's population did not have access to safely managed clean water or sanitation services. One response by a variety of non-governmental organizations has been to provide water filters or other water, sanitation and hygiene trainings and interventions (WASH) at the household level. Much of the evaluation research, however, shows household level interventions have intermittent to ineffective long-term impacts. Most of this scholarship focuses primarily on small sample sizes and is conducted primarily in rural areas. My own previous work with a Hope student created a review of this literature to be used by projects working in more urban settings with larger populations as part of a systematic evaluation of such interventions. This project will continue to build on this literature compilation and analysis as well as focus specifically on what is known about work in rural areas with indigenous people groups. We will specially focus on the Maasai, Turkana and Pokot ethnic groups in Kenya. What groups have done various WASH interventions and what have been the outcomes? What works in meeting access to enough and clean water as well as fostering related health improvements in rural, indigenous communities? What costs are involved? How are local and national governmental interventions and services involved? We will work together to read and analyze previous research as well as compile currently disparate data from various non-governmental organizations (NGOs) as well as governmental sources to create a clear picture of the water and sanitation work supporting these communities.

Faculty Mentor(s): Virginia Beard
Home Department: Political Science

Qualifications: Preferred qualifications include but are not limited to: some knowledge of and interest in water issues, organization skills and oral/written communication skills to discuss and document research progress. Ability to work independently, accurately and with integrity. Ability to learn new and apply new as well as continuing research techniques, methodology and logical critical analysis well. Preferred sophomore with experience in social science research methodologies

Working Conditions: This position requires remaining in a sitting or standing position for frequent periods of time, typing and computer work. In the case of temporary or permanent condition(s) that require(s) accommodation(s), reasonable accommodation(s) may be requested. While some remote work will be part of this position, there will be an expected ability for student researcher to work at Hope, on campus, at least one-two day(s) per week.

Runs from 5/22/2023 through 7/14/2023

Kinesiology

Classifying Patient-Handling Techniques to Reduce Risk of Musculoskeletal Injury in Nursing Students

The risk of musculoskeletal injury in nursing personnel, particularly at the low back, has been associated with the performance of manual patient-handling tasks. van Wyk et al (2010) determined that task maneuvers differ in nursing students and professional nurses, and this despite the fact that nursing programs typically incorporate patient handling
training in the curriculum. Doss et al (2018) investigated the effects of providing posture coaching and feedback to student nurses while they performed patient-handling tasks and concluded that such intervention could have positive effects on lifting behaviors and techniques employed during patient-handling. Other studies have investigated the effect
of trunk flexion on the exertion experienced by nurses during patient handling (Freitag 2012, 2014). In the study by Doss et al (2018), three tasks were performed in total. We propose to build on that work by incorporating a higher number of tasks performed by nursing students in our experiments while also investigating multi-joint coordination, as opposed to focusing only on trunk flexion. As was done by Doss et al ( 2018), our study will focus on nursing students who will be selected from various stages in their college experience: freshmen and sophomores (no clinical skills experience), juniors and seniors (with clinical skills and potentially nursing practicum experience). To collect data during task performance by nursing students, we will use the OpenSense Real Time system (Slade, 2021) system with
eight inertial measurement units (IMUs) placed on the trunk, pelvis, thighs, calves, and feet of participants as they perform the following tasks: (i) lift and reposition a patient from supine to seated position, (ii) turn a patient over on his/her side, (iii) lift a patient’s leg, (iv) lift a patient from a wheelchair, (v) sit a patient up at the end of the bed, and (vi) place a sling under a patient. Trunk, hip, and knee flexion angles will be computed using OpenSense (Al Borno, 2022). Time spent in particular postures as well as total time to complete the tasks will be recorded and compared across each group. Linear acceleration and angular rotation signals captured by the sensors during task performance will serve as inputs to a machine learning classifier that distinguishes posture according to task, patient weight, and joint angles. The successful completion of this project will result in knowledge about the influence of posture and patient weight on manual patient-handling task performance in nursing students, and potentially pave the way to the development of a tool that can provide real time feedback on postures adopted by nurses and caregivers during patient handling. This work will therefore provide a foundation for exploring training methods to mitigate risk of musculoskeletal injury in nursing students as well as nursing personnel in the workforce.

Faculty Mentor(s): Brooke Odle
Home Department: Engineering

Qualifications: All students interested in this research project are encouraged to apply. Current enrollment in an undergraduate program is required.Preferred qualifications include but are not limited to: knowledge of human anatomy AND/OR a computer programming language (MATLAB, Python, C, etc), organization skills and oral/written communication skills to discuss and document research progress. If you are interested, but do not meet all of the preferred skills, you can be trained to gained these skills during the summer. Ability to work independently, accurately and to problem solve technical and methodological issues that arise during the course of research. Ability to apply sound research techniques, methodology and logical critical analysis. Student(s) will receive training in proper human subject research and follow all IRB regulations.

Working Conditions: This position requires remaining in a sitting or standing position for frequent periods of time, typing and computer work. You may be required to lift, move, and transport related laboratory equipment. In the case of temporary or permanent condition(s) that require(s) accommodation(s), reasonable accommodation(s) may be requested.

Runs from 5/15/2023 through 7/21/2023

Estimating Low Back Forces using Wearable Sensors

This project seeks to use machine learning with IMUs to predict internal forces in the low back. As the world of biomechanics looks to collect data in more realistic environments using wearable sensors, machine learning has been used to help in assessing data. Machine learning with wearable sensors will help with setting the foundation for assessing patient-handling tasks outside of the lab. Creating ways to collect data in a more realistic environment(outside of a lab setting) will allow further advancements in this area of research. This project will be the continuation of work started by a previous student.

Faculty Mentor(s): Brooke Odle
Home Department: Engineering

Qualifications: All students interested in this research project are encouraged to apply. Current enrollment in an undergraduate program is required.Preferred qualifications include but are not limited to: knowledge of anatomy and computer programming languages (Python and/or MATLAB), organization skills and oral/written communication skills to discuss and document research progress. Ability to work independently, accurately and to problem solve technical and methodological issues that arise during the course of research. Ability to apply sound research techniques, methodology and logical critical analysis. Student(s) will receive training in proper human subject research and follow all IRB regulations.

Working Conditions: This position requires remaining in a sitting or standing position for frequent periods of time, typing and computer work. You may be required to lift, move, and transport related laboratory equipment. In the case of temporary or permanent condition(s) that require(s) accommodation(s), reasonable accommodation(s) may be requested.

Runs from 5/15/2023 through 7/21/2023

Mathematics and Statistics

Analytical Calculation of the Threshold Parameter for Resistive-Tearing-Unstable Plasmas

Plasmas are hot, electrically charged gases that at subject to highly complex and turbulent dynamics. The physical equations that govern plasma dynamics are highly nonlinear and difficult to solve analytically, though a wealth of numerical/computational studies are present in the literature. Reduced models attempt to mathematically describe these nonlinear dynamics by making appropriate approximations without losing essential physics - one such reduced model approach is centered around the use of eigenmodes to describe the system. Eigenmodes in plasma systems are typically characterized as "stable" (decaying) or "unstable" (growing) - it is common in reduced models to ignore stable eigenmodes in favor of only the unstable eigenmodes. However, more recent work has demonstrated that via nonlinear effects, stable modes can contribute in a significant way to the turbulent dynamics of a system. One can derive a so-called 'threshold parameter', which quantities the extent to which a given stable eigenmode plays a role in the nonlinear evolution of the system. This project will perform an in-depth mathematical calculation of the threshold parameter for the resistive-tearing unstable plasma system, which appears in nuclear fusion contexts as well as in the sun's atsmophere, driving magnetic reconnection and coronal mass ejections. A student in this project will develop a detailed mathematical description of the threshold parameter to assess unstable vs. stable eigenmode roles in resistive magnetic reconnection.

Faculty Mentor(s): Zach Williams
Home Department: Physics

Qualifications: All students interested in this research project are encouraged to apply. Current enrollment in an undergraduate program is required. This is a very mathematically intensive project, so an interested student must have completed the full calculus and multivariable math sequence at a minimum, any additional math experience beyond that is encouraged. Physics experience at the level of PHYS 270 (Modern Physics) is desirable but not required.

Working Conditions: This position requires remaining in a sitting or standing position for frequent periods of time, typing and computer work. You may be required to lift, move, and transport related laboratory equipment. In the case of temporary or permanent condition(s) that require(s) accommodation(s), reasonable accommodation(s) may be requested.

Runs from 5/15/2023 through 7/21/2023

Chemical Avenues to Sustainable Energy Consumption

ELINSKI LAB: The Elinski Lab (elinskilab.org) focuses on surface chemistry and tribology - the study of surfaces in relative motion, (including friction, adhesion, lubrication, and wear. Please note that this area of research is not traditionally covered in coursework, but pulls on core principles from chemistry, materials science, physics, and engineering. Everything an interested student would need to know will be taught in the lab, so Dr. Elinski encourages all students to meet with her and apply, regardless of year in school or course background!

BACKGROUND: There is a significant imbalance between energy produced in the United States vs that which is consumed, with roughly two-thirds of produced energy wasted. One source of this loss is the energy dissipation associated with friction and wear between surfaces in relative motion. To address this, one goal of the Elinski Lab is to understand how fundamental chemical mechanisms in sliding contacts can be capitalized on for controlling friction and wear processes.

PROJECT OVERVIEW: Student researchers interested in this area will work on one of two projects. One project focuses on nanomaterial composite systems in dry sliding contacts, with target applications for electric vehicles and space lubrication (funding through NASA). The second project focuses on understanding surface reactions in oil environments (funding through the American Chemical Society Petroleum Research Fund). Both projects will study confined, nanoscale dynamic (sliding) contacts to understand chemical-mechanical relationships. Surface modification methods - including nanoparticle films to control roughness and self-assembled monolayers to control functionality - will be used to systematically interrogate the formation of protective surface films. These surface-bound films develop as a result of chemical processes driven by mechanical forces. A better understanding of film formation can help develop advanced control over sliding interfaces, improving strategies towards mitigating energy loss.

A suite of analytical instruments will be used for this work, including atomic force microscopy (AFM), rheology, scanning electron microscopy and energy dispersive spectroscopy (SEM/EDS), confocal Raman microspectroscopy, and attenuated total reflectance Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy (ATR-FTIR).

DETAILS: The summer research program will consist of 10 forty-hour work weeks to be conducted in the Elinski Lab on Hope College’s campus. In addition to the research there are professional development activities, along with planned social events throughout the summer to meet fellow chemistry researchers and students conducting research in other departments! There is also the potential for research projects to be continued into the following academic year.

Working on this research will provide students with a strong foundation in fundamental chemistry at surfaces and interfaces along with multidisciplinary skills in materials, mechanics, and the wider reaching principles of nanoscience. As the primary leads for their research, students will also have opportunities for authoring peer-reviewed journal articles and presenting and networking at scientific conferences.

Faculty Mentor(s): Dr. Meagan Elinski
Home Department: Chemistry

Qualifications: All students interested in this research project are encouraged to apply. Current enrollment in an undergraduate program is required.

Working Conditions: This position requires remaining in a sitting or standing position for frequent periods of time, typing and computer work. You may be required to lift, move, and transport related laboratory equipment. In the case of temporary or permanent condition(s) that require(s) accommodation(s), reasonable accommodation(s) may be requested.

Runs from 5/29/2023 through 8/4/2023

Computational Modelling of Organic Dyes

An opportunity exists for one or two students to continue to develop and apply computational methods to predict spectroscopic properties of organic molecules in support of synthetic and mechanistic organic photochemistry studies.

Our computational work developing efficient methods to accurately predict ground state reduction potentials has appeared as a cover article on J. Phys. Chem. A in 2008 and in greater detail in J. Org. Chem. in 2012. We have more recently extended this work by comparing it to even less ""expensive"" computational methods developed by collaborators at Arizona State University, which we published in J. Phys. Org. Chem. in 2015. We also use computation to help us understand other photochemical and electrochemical phenomena we discover experimentally (most of my group's nine experimental papers have at least some computational modeling in them. In the next three years we plan to focus on predicting the absorption spectra of a family of long-wavelength azo dyes, to guide our synthetic target selection. This will include my group's first foray into time dependent density functional theory (TD-DFT), but we have good literature precedent to follow. However we may also continue to explore computational electrochemistry ourselves and in possible collaboration with Dr. Guarr's Organic Energy Storage Lab at the MSU Bioeconomy Institute.

This project can be purely computational or can involve up to 50% experimental organic chemistry for students who have completed a year of organic chemistry with lab (potentially including synthesis, spectroscopy, and/or electrochemistry).

In your application essay please note your computational interests (and any relevant experience), and also whether you'd prefer a purely computational or mixed computation and wet chemistry project.

Students on this project will certainly have the option (and perhaps the expectation) to begin during the spring semester and/or to continue the research into the following academic year (for credit or on a volunteer basis.) It may also be possible to tie this research to a related CHEM 256B Organic Chemistry II Laboratory elective independent project.

DO NOT APPLY TO *BOTH* THIS PROJECT *AND* MY EXPERIMENTAL PROJECT - APPLY TO THE ONE YOU PREFER AND EMAIL ME IF YOU ARE ALSO INTERESTED IN THE OTHER. OR BETTER YET, EMAIL FOR AN APPOINTMENT TO COME CHAT WITH ME ABOUT RESEARCH.

Faculty Mentor(s): Jason Gillmore
Home Department: Chemistry

Qualifications: All students interested in this research project are encouraged to apply. Current enrollment in an undergraduate program is required. Students applying to this project should be well-organized, comfortable with computers, familiar with Microsoft Excel, and interested in both computational modeling and chemistry. Experience with computational modeling, even if only in the undergraduate laboratory curriculum (e.g., General Chemistry Lab or Organic Chemistry Lab at Hope each have one experiment on computational modeling), is a big plus. Having had organic chemistry (or even any chemistry beyond high school) is definitely beneficial but not essential.

Working Conditions: This position requires remaining in a sitting or standing position for frequent periods of time, typing and computer work. You may be required to lift, move, and transport related laboratory equipment. In the case of temporary or permanent condition(s) that require(s) accommodation(s), reasonable accommodation(s) may be requested.

Runs from 5/10/2023 through 7/19/2023

Explorations in Graph Pebbling

We will explore graph pebbling problems, with particular interest in exploring topics related to Graham's Conjecture. This project can lean more mathematical or algorithmic depending on the student(s) involved. For more details, contact Dr. Cusack.

Faculty Mentor(s): Charles Cusack
Home Department: Computer Science

Qualifications: All students interested in this research project are encouraged to apply. Current enrollment in an undergraduate program is required.Strong preference given to students who have taken (and done well in) CSCI 255 and/or MATH 280. Spring enrollment in CSCI 385 and/or MATH 360 a plus.

Working Conditions: This position requires remaining in a sitting or standing position for frequent periods of time, typing and computer work. You may be required to lift, move, and transport related laboratory equipment. In the case of temporary or permanent condition(s) that require(s) accommodation(s), reasonable accommodation(s) may be requested.

Runs from 5/15/2023 through 7/14/2023

Exploring the potential for geologic storage of CO2 in faulted subsurface reservoirs in the northern Gulf of Mexico continental shelf and deep offshore Niger Delta Basin

The release of anthropogenic CO2 into Earth’s atmosphere has risen progressively and has resulted in and amplified climatic variations around the globe with unprecedented effect on humans. Geological sequestration of CO2 via subsurface storage in reservoirs can significantly alleviate this effect but its mechanism is under explored. Therefore, it is imperative to understand the structural framework, possibility of reactivation, and sealing potential of faults of subsurface storage complexes in order to prevent migration of injected CO2 outside the target storage strata. This research aims to investigate the potential for geologic storage of CO2 in the northern Gulf of Mexico continental shelf and deep offshore Niger Delta Basin, through detailed characterization of the structural framework, reactivation likelihood, and seal-ability of faults of depleted subsurface reservoirs, as well as determine their volumetric capacity for sequestration of captured CO2. Specifically, we will apply a multidisciplinary method incorporating geology, geophysics, physics and environmental science, and will utilize a suite of geological and geophysical data and industry software packages such as Petrel, PetroMod, Techlog and GeoEx to detail the trapping mechanism of storage complexes identified within the study area and unravel their sealing abilities, and the new knowledge will provide the basis for the management of geologic sequestration of carbon in the Gulf of Mexico, Niger Delta and the world at large, in order to mitigate global climate disasters resulting from anthropogenic CO2 emissions. In addition, students will develop outstanding subsurface characterization skills that make for employability within the sustainable energy development sector.

Faculty Mentor(s): Uzonna Anyiam
Home Department: Geological and Environmental Science

Qualifications: All students interested in this research project are encouraged to apply. Current enrollment in an undergraduate program is required.Preferred qualifications include but are not limited to: subject knowledge, organization skills and oral/written communication skills to discuss and document research progress. Ability to work independently, accurately and to problem solve technical and methodological issues that arise during the course of research. Ability to apply sound research techniques, methodology and logical critical analysis.

Working Conditions: This position requires remaining in a sitting or standing position for frequent periods of time, typing and computer work. You may be required to lift, move, and transport related laboratory equipment. In the case of temporary or permanent condition(s) that require(s) accommodation(s), reasonable accommodation(s) may be requested.

Runs from 5/15/2023 through 7/21/2023

GWRI - Computational and biochemical analysis of microbial sources within the Lake Macatawa watershed

This project blends computer science, math, biology, and chemistry. Our research efforts have resulted in the compilation of a large multi-year dataset that includes DNA sequences for many thousands of microbes, as well as individually isolated E. coli strains, from hundreds of samples acquired under a variety of environmental conditions. We hope to understand how the variation in the different microbial species that are present and their relative abundance depends on environmental conditions and other factors such as antimicrobial resistance genes present within the microbes themselves. To accomplish this we will combine sophisticated computational methods (e.g. machine learning) with more next-generation sequencing, PCR, and biochemical analyses. Using these tools, we are posing several questions: If we find evidence of fecal contamination, can we tell whether that contamination is from humans versus nonhuman origin (domestic or wildlife) and can we identify the specific location from which such contamination is originating? Do we identify antimicrobial resistance genes in E. coli that are living in the watershed? Students are likely to focus on either biochemical or computational methods, though it is possible for a student to work in both areas if they desire.

Faculty Mentor(s): Aaron Best, Brent Krueger, Michael Pikaart
Home Department: Biology

Qualifications: All students interested in this research project are encouraged to apply. Current enrollment in an undergraduate program is required.

Working Conditions: This position requires remaining in a sitting or standing position for frequent periods of time, field work (personal transportation not required) typing and computer work. You may be required to lift, move, and transport related laboratory equipment. May be required to work with animals and potentially hazardous and toxic materials. In the case of temporary or permanent condition(s) that require(s) accommodation(s), reasonable accommodation(s) may be requested.

Runs from 5/15/2023 through 7/21/2023

GWRI - Contemporary sand dune and wetlands studies

This project focuses on contemporary dune processes, including the interdunal wetlands at Saugatuck Harbor Natural Area (SHNA), and other coastal dune complexes along Lake Michigan’s eastern coast. SHNA is home to several large interdunal wetlands or slacks, an endangered ecosystem amidst the coastal dunes of Lake Michigan. We have been performing ecohydrological studies in these wetlands for 6 years and are continuing and expanding our longitudinal study again this summer. Summer research will include 1. Reading pertinent scholarly articles and developing relevant interdisciplinary background in geology, ecology, and hydrology; 2. Collecting and analyzing ground and surface water samples for selected analytes; 3. Performing vegetation quadrat sampling; 4. Performing hydrological studies based on data from the groundwater monitoring wells. Multispectral imaging has also been ongoing at this site and will be performed again this coming year. Additional multispectral imaging will be performed at other coastal dune complexes along the lakeshore as well.

Faculty Mentor(s): Suzanne DeVries-Zimmerman, Brian Yurk, Mike Philben
Home Department: Geological and Environmental Science

Qualifications: All students interested in this research project are encouraged to apply. Current enrollment in an undergraduate program is required.

Working Conditions: This position requires remaining in a sitting or standing position for frequent periods of time, typing and computer work. You may be required to lift, move, and transport related laboratory equipment. In the case of temporary or permanent condition(s) that require(s) accommodation(s), reasonable accommodation(s) may be requested.

Runs from 5/15/2023 through 7/21/2023

GWRI - Global Surveys of Drinking Quality and Wellbeing of At Risk Populations

Lack of sustainable access to clean drinking water continues to be an issue of paramount global importance, leading to millions of preventable deaths annually. Best practices for providing sustainable access to clean drinking water, however, remain unclear. Widespread installation of low-cost, in-home, point of use water filtration systems is a promising strategy. Interventions such as these need to be done in a way that recognizes the needs and desires of the local community and is sensitive and consistent with the local culture. Finally assessment of success of the intervention is a critical tool to aid future projects. Students involved in this project will assist in a number of possible projects including: creation of survey instruments that assess community needs, public health and wellbeing, and likelihood of intervention success; understanding connections among bacterial communities, chemical contaminants and other environmental factors found in different drinking water sources from across the world; analysis of databases of drinking water quality.

Faculty Mentor(s): Aaron Best, Brent Krueger, Michael Pikaart
Home Department: Biology

Qualifications: All students interested in this research project are encouraged to apply. Current enrollment in an undergraduate program is required.

Working Conditions: This position requires remaining in a sitting or standing position for frequent periods of time, field work (personal transportation not required) typing and computer work. You may be required to lift, move, and transport related laboratory equipment. May be required to work with animals and potentially hazardous and toxic materials. In the case of temporary or permanent condition(s) that require(s) accommodation(s), reasonable accommodation(s) may be requested.

Runs from 5/15/2023 through 7/21/2023

Interactive Art: Ripples on a Pond

The short term goal of the project will be to create an interactive "pond" on a large touch screen that will produce ripples that emanate from the locations that are touched. The long term goal of the research is to produce interactive art that will morph in response to interaction from viewers. If this sounds somewhat vague, it is. That is because the exact shape the project will take will depend heavily on input from those involved.

Feel free to discuss the project with Dr. Cusack for more details, especially if you have a strong interest in the project but are not certain you have the qualifications.

Faculty Mentor(s): Charles Cusack
Home Department: Computer Science

Qualifications: All students interested in this research project are encouraged to apply. Current enrollment in an undergraduate program is required.Familiarity with a programming language (C, C++, Java, Python, etc.) required. Experience with art/design (especially digital art) a plus. Experience working with hardware devices such as a Raspberry Pi and especially anything with touch screen technology a plus.

Working Conditions: This position requires remaining in a sitting or standing position for frequent periods of time, typing and computer work. You may be required to lift, move, and transport related laboratory equipment. In the case of temporary or permanent condition(s) that require(s) accommodation(s), reasonable accommodation(s) may be requested.

Runs from 5/15/2023 through 7/14/2023

Pioneer plant growth and reproduction in the cloud forest of Monteverde, Costa Rica

This project involves exploring two long term data sets collected in the cloud forest of Monteverde, Costa Rica and traveling to Costa Rica to collect this year’s data. Tree and branch falls create gaps in the forest canopy, allowing more light to reach the forest floor. Pioneer plants germinate in these gaps, grow, and produce seeds. We will explore a data set that includes measurements of new canopy gaps collected annually over the last 40 years along 5 different 500 meter long transects in the forest. We will also explore a 20+ year data set that includes measurements of growth and reproduction for 6 pioneer plant species along the same transects. By connecting the two data sets we hope to understand the relationships between the characteristics of the gap that a plant germinates in and its rates of growth and reproduction. This will involve statistical analysis using R (no prior experience required). As part of this project, we will spend 2-3 weeks working in the cloud forest in Monteverde.

Faculty Mentor(s): Brian Yurk
Home Department: Mathematics and Statistics

Qualifications: All students interested in this research project are encouraged to apply. Current enrollment in an undergraduate program is required.

Working Conditions: This position requires remaining in a sitting or standing position for frequent periods of time, typing and computer work. You may be required to lift, move, and transport related laboratory equipment. In the case of temporary or permanent condition(s) that require(s) accommodation(s), reasonable accommodation(s) may be requested. This project involves field work in the cloud forest of Costa Rica. This requires full days of walking and working off-trail in forested, mountainous regions in wet, muddy conditions.

Runs from 5/8/2023 through 7/14/2023

Reconstructing Compton scattering tomography images using machine learning

This project involves exploring machine learning techniques to reconstruct limited-data Compton scattering tomography (CST) images from synthetic data sets. CST utilizes scatter gamma-ray radiation to visualize hidden changes in the density of materials [1]. Example applications of CST include detecting corrosion in an object or bone density changes in a person. A key advantage of CST over other imaging and tomographic techniques is that only a single side of the object must be accessed to create an image. A complication of CST is that single-sided data collection yields a data set that is too limited for accurate image reconstruction using common techniques, such as a Radon transform. I have investigated iterative CST image reconstruction using a penalized weighted least squares algorithm with limited success. Others have demonstrated reconstruction of classic tomographic images using machine learning algorithms with limited data [2].

This will be a collaborative effort between the student(s) and mentor to identify potential machine learning techniques for image reconstruction from literature review, select the most promising technique(s), develop computational software algorithm(s) to reconstruct those images, reconstruct images using synthetic data and evaluate the performance of the algorithm(s) compared to common and past image reconstruction techniques. The mentor will provide the synthetic data and evaluation tools for the student(s). A goal of the research is presentation of the results at a regional or national conference as a student submission.

References:
[1] DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/S0168-9002(01)01205-0
[2] DOI: https://doi.org/10.1109/TIP.2013.2283142

Faculty Mentor(s): Jeff Martin
Home Department: Mathematics and Statistics

Qualifications: All students interested in this research project are encouraged to apply. Current enrollment in an undergraduate program at Hope College is required. Students applying to this project should be well-organized and comfortable with computers. Interest in machine learning or other data science techniques would be useful.

Working Conditions: This position requires remaining in a sitting or standing position for frequent periods of time, typing and computer work. In the case of temporary or permanent condition(s) that require(s) accommodation(s), reasonable accommodation(s) may be requested.

Runs from 5/15/2023 through 7/21/2023

Sliding Processes in Soft Materials

ELINSKI LAB: The Elinski Lab (elinskilab.org) focuses on surface chemistry and tribology - the study of surfaces in relative motion, (including friction, adhesion, lubrication, and wear. Please note that this area of research is not traditionally covered in coursework, but pulls on core principles from chemistry, materials science, physics, and engineering. Everything an interested student would need to know will be taught in the lab, so Dr. Elinski encourages all students to meet with her and apply, regardless of year in school or course background!

BACKGROUND: Soft materials have an impressive range of applications, from flexible electronics and haptic interfaces to biomimicry such as artificial cartilage. In particular, hydrogels (water-swollen polymer networks) bring a unique set of characteristics to these applications through their notable durability, stretchability, and aqueous composition. Given the complexity of interfaces formed with hydrogels and any potential hybrid structures, chemical structure-function relationships are at the core of many of the processes involved with motion (sliding processes) in potential applications. The Elinski Lab aims to develop a deeper fundamental understanding of the sliding processes of hydrogel composites to enable the broader incorporation of soft materials in tailored applications.

PROJECT OVERVIEW: Student researchers on this project will synthesize hydrogels and hydrogel-nanomaterial composites, with material choice focusing on target applications including haptic interfaces and modeling osteoarthritis treatments for the cartilage in joints. For either target application, the focus will be understanding the interplay of chemical-mechanical behavior in controlled environments and impact on interfacial adhesion, friction, and wear.

A suite of analytical instruments will be used for this work, including atomic force microscopy (AFM), rheology, scanning electron microscopy and energy dispersive spectroscopy (SEM/EDS), confocal Raman microspectroscopy, and attenuated total reflectance Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy (ATR-FTIR).

DETAILS: The summer research program will consist of 10 forty-hour work weeks to be conducted in the Elinski Lab on Hope College’s campus. In addition to the research there are professional development activities, along with planned social events throughout the summer to meet fellow chemistry researchers and students conducting research in other departments! There is also the potential for research projects to be continued into the following academic year.

Working on this research will provide students with a strong foundation in fundamental chemistry at surfaces and interfaces along with multidisciplinary skills in materials, (bio)mechanics, and the wider reaching principles of nanoscience. As the primary leads for their research, students will also have opportunities for authoring peer-reviewed journal articles and presenting and networking at scientific conferences.

Faculty Mentor(s): Dr. Meagan Elinski
Home Department: Chemistry

Qualifications: All students interested in this research project are encouraged to apply. Current enrollment in an undergraduate program is required.

Working Conditions: This position requires remaining in a sitting or standing position for frequent periods of time, typing and computer work. You may be required to lift, move, and transport related laboratory equipment. In the case of temporary or permanent condition(s) that require(s) accommodation(s), reasonable accommodation(s) may be requested.

Runs from 5/29/2023 through 8/4/2023

The impact of non-pharmaceutical interventions and environmental factors on dengue fever incidence in Singapore

Dengue fever is a serious and potentially fatal disease, endemic in many tropical countries
around the world. Due to the covid-19 pandemic, unprecedented non-pharmaceutical mitigation measures were implemented in Singapore. This study attempts to quantify the effect of those measures on dengue fever incidence. We will also propose prediction models for dengue fever incidence which incorporate the implementation of measures for covid-19 mitigation as well as environmental factors like total rainfall.

Faculty Mentor(s): Yew-Meng Koh
Home Department: Mathematics and Statistics

Qualifications: All students interested in this research project are encouraged to apply. Students must be current enrolled or be incoming first-year students.

Working Conditions: This position requires remaining in a sitting or standing position for frequent periods of time, typing and computer work. You may be required to lift, move, and transport related laboratory equipment. In the case of temporary or permanent condition(s) that require(s) accommodation(s), reasonable accommodation(s) may be requested.

Runs from 5/15/2023 through 7/21/2023

Studying Identity Development in Pre-Med Students

Research has shown that medical school students' empathy toward patients decreases over time. Is the empathy of pre-health students in college also decreasing over time? Since 2018, Dr. Aaron Franzen (Sociology) has given an annual survey to Hope College pre-health students with a variety of questions aimed at investigating this question and ones related to it. The survey questions cover a range of topics including religion, political views, moral foundations, empathy, demographics, and more. In summer 2022, students analyzed these survey questions using Latent Class Analysis (LCA) to determine several different groups of students who had similar survey responses, as well as examining how these groups changed over time. In summer 2023, we will have more data and will continue with LCA methods to analyze the data and also analyze the data using methods other than LCA to explore this rich longitudinal data set and address important sociological questions related to it.

Faculty Mentor(s): Paul Pearson, Mark Pearson, and Aaron Franzen
Home Department: Mathematics and Statistics

Qualifications: All students interested in this research project are encouraged to apply. Students must be current enrolled or be incoming first-year students.

Working Conditions: This position requires remaining in a sitting or standing position for frequent periods of time, field work (personal transportation not required) typing and computer work. You may be required to lift, move, and transport related laboratory equipment. May be required to work with animals and potentially hazardous and toxic materials. In the case of temporary or permanent condition(s) that require(s) accommodation(s), reasonable accommodation(s) may be requested.

Runs from 5/15/2023 through 7/21/2023

Neuroscience

A Canary in the Coalmine: Using the house sparrow as a model for testing the effects of air pollution on behavior and physiology

This interdisciplinary project will incorporate the disciplines of Biology, Neuroscience, Psychology, Chemistry and Materials Science. However the project is specifically housed within the Hope College Department of Biology.

There is great concern regarding the adverse health implications of engineered nanoparticles. However, there are many circumstances where the production of incidental nanoparticles, i.e., nanoparticles unintentionally generated as a side product of some anthropogenic process, is of even greater concern. These nanoparticles can transport through the respiratory system and translocate to other organs, including the brain. The health implications of this transport has been study in in-vitro systems and animals models like mice, but never before in birds. Birds are an interesting model because their respiratory anatomy makes them uniquely susceptible to airborne contaminants. Additionally, we expect that this species should be an interesting model as they should be exposed to incidental nanoparticles present in air. This project will examine both the visual and auditory sensory processing of the songbird the house sparrow (passer domesticus), behavioral changes, and resulting bioaccumulation of iron. House sparrows frequently occupy a variety of human dominated environments and therefore span the gradient of noise and light pollution areas.

Faculty Mentor(s): Kelly Ronald, Natalia Gonzalez-Pech
Home Department: Biology

Qualifications: All students interested in this research project are encouraged to apply. Current enrollment in an undergraduate program is required.

Working Conditions: This position requires remaining in a sitting or standing position for frequent periods of time, field work (personal transportation not required) typing and computer work. You may be required to lift, move, and transport related laboratory equipment. May be required to work with animals and potentially hazardous and toxic materials. In the case of temporary or permanent condition(s) that require(s) accommodation(s), reasonable accommodation(s) may be requested.

Runs from 5/8/2023 through 7/14/2023

Assessing auditory and visual processing with evoked potentials in the house sparrow, passer domesticus

This interdisciplinary project will incorporate the disciplines of Biology, Neuroscience, and Psychology. However the project is specifically housed within the Hope College Department of Biology.

Anthropogenic disturbances have long changed the dynamics of our ecosystems and habitats. Alongside this change in the physical environment comes alterations of both the environmental light and sound profiles. New research has shed light on the strategies that animals use to signal in environments that are dominated by sound and light pollution. For example, there is repeated evidence to suggest that birds in urban areas sing at higher-frequencies to avoid masking by lower-frequency traffic noise. Less is known, however, about whether signal receivers differ in their visual and auditory physiology as a result of noise and sound pollution. As communication involves both the successful production of signals as well as the successful reception of these signals, it is imperative that we examine receiver sensory processing as a function of anthropogenic disturbance. This project will examine both the visual and auditory sensory processing of the song bird the house sparrow (passer domesticus). House sparrows frequently occupy a variety of human dominated environments and therefore span the gradient of noise and light pollution areas. We would predict that house sparrows captured in areas with greater human disturbance might show better high frequency hearing than animals captured in more rural areas; additionally, we might also expect that visual temporal resolution (e.g., the ability to of detect motion) will differ between the two populations. Studies examining the effects of human disturbance on receiver sensory processing are vitally important to developing efficient and effective conservation efforts.

Students involved in this project will be involved in both field and lab techniques including auditory and visual recordings in the field, animal handling and capture, and physiological experiments (auditory and visual evoked potential recordings) in the lab.

Faculty Mentor(s): Kelly Ronald
Home Department: Biology

Qualifications: All students interested in this research project are encouraged to apply. Current enrollment in an undergraduate program is required.

Working Conditions: This position requires remaining in a sitting or standing position for frequent periods of time, field work (personal transportation not required) typing and computer work. You may be required to lift, move, and transport related laboratory equipment. May be required to work with animals and potentially hazardous and toxic materials. In the case of temporary or permanent condition(s) that require(s) accommodation(s), reasonable accommodation(s) may be requested.

Runs from 5/8/2023 through 7/14/2023

Chemical Avenues to Sustainable Energy Consumption

ELINSKI LAB: The Elinski Lab (elinskilab.org) focuses on surface chemistry and tribology - the study of surfaces in relative motion, (including friction, adhesion, lubrication, and wear. Please note that this area of research is not traditionally covered in coursework, but pulls on core principles from chemistry, materials science, physics, and engineering. Everything an interested student would need to know will be taught in the lab, so Dr. Elinski encourages all students to meet with her and apply, regardless of year in school or course background!

BACKGROUND: There is a significant imbalance between energy produced in the United States vs that which is consumed, with roughly two-thirds of produced energy wasted. One source of this loss is the energy dissipation associated with friction and wear between surfaces in relative motion. To address this, one goal of the Elinski Lab is to understand how fundamental chemical mechanisms in sliding contacts can be capitalized on for controlling friction and wear processes.

PROJECT OVERVIEW: Student researchers interested in this area will work on one of two projects. One project focuses on nanomaterial composite systems in dry sliding contacts, with target applications for electric vehicles and space lubrication (funding through NASA). The second project focuses on understanding surface reactions in oil environments (funding through the American Chemical Society Petroleum Research Fund). Both projects will study confined, nanoscale dynamic (sliding) contacts to understand chemical-mechanical relationships. Surface modification methods - including nanoparticle films to control roughness and self-assembled monolayers to control functionality - will be used to systematically interrogate the formation of protective surface films. These surface-bound films develop as a result of chemical processes driven by mechanical forces. A better understanding of film formation can help develop advanced control over sliding interfaces, improving strategies towards mitigating energy loss.

A suite of analytical instruments will be used for this work, including atomic force microscopy (AFM), rheology, scanning electron microscopy and energy dispersive spectroscopy (SEM/EDS), confocal Raman microspectroscopy, and attenuated total reflectance Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy (ATR-FTIR).

DETAILS: The summer research program will consist of 10 forty-hour work weeks to be conducted in the Elinski Lab on Hope College’s campus. In addition to the research there are professional development activities, along with planned social events throughout the summer to meet fellow chemistry researchers and students conducting research in other departments! There is also the potential for research projects to be continued into the following academic year.

Working on this research will provide students with a strong foundation in fundamental chemistry at surfaces and interfaces along with multidisciplinary skills in materials, mechanics, and the wider reaching principles of nanoscience. As the primary leads for their research, students will also have opportunities for authoring peer-reviewed journal articles and presenting and networking at scientific conferences.

Faculty Mentor(s): Dr. Meagan Elinski
Home Department: Chemistry

Qualifications: All students interested in this research project are encouraged to apply. Current enrollment in an undergraduate program is required.

Working Conditions: This position requires remaining in a sitting or standing position for frequent periods of time, typing and computer work. You may be required to lift, move, and transport related laboratory equipment. In the case of temporary or permanent condition(s) that require(s) accommodation(s), reasonable accommodation(s) may be requested.

Runs from 5/29/2023 through 8/4/2023

Chemical Defenses of Pioneer Plant Seeds

This interdisciplinary project will incorporate perspectives from both Biology and Chemistry to elucidate the basis of chemical defenses in tropical pioneer plant seeds. It is specifically housed within the Hope College Department of Chemistry, but student investigators will work closely with both Dr. Murray (Biology, emeritus) and Dr. Sanford (Chemistry).
Tropical rainforests are legendary for their biological diversity and for the complexity of interactions among their species. The interactions between animals and plants are especially prominent – animals are important as pollinators, seed dispersers and seed predators, and plants are under strong selection pressure to reinforce the positive interactions with animals and to weaken the negative ones. “Pioneer” plants – those that specialize on colonizing recently disturbed patches of forest but which cannot compete in the shaded understory – constitute a model system in which to study tropical plant-animal interactions because their seeds must survive in the soil for years despite intense threats from both animals and pathogenic fungi. This summer, we will continue our characterization of the chemical defenses of pioneer plant seeds, focusing on species whose seeds can survive for decades in tropical soils, despite threats from seed-eating animals and microbial attack. Students involved in this research will employ a variety of extraction, chemical separation and analysis techniques, as well as toxicity bioassays against fungi and arthropods. They will also gain experience in hypothesis formation and statistical analysis, in analyzing the scientific literature critically, and in presenting their research results in written and oral formats. If you are interested in this research, email Dr. Sanford at sanford@hope.edu to make an appointment to discuss the research opportunities available in the Sanford group.

Faculty Mentor(s): Elizabeth Sanford
Home Department: Chemistry

Qualifications: All students interested in this research project are encouraged to apply. Current enrollment in an undergraduate program is required.

Working Conditions: This position requires remaining in a sitting or standing position for frequent periods of time, typing and computer work. You may be required to lift, move, and transport related laboratory equipment. In the case of temporary or permanent condition(s) that require(s) accommodation(s), reasonable accommodation(s) may be requested.Use of chemicals will be required.

Runs from 5/15/2023 through 7/21/2023

Combating oxidative stress: Molecular analysis of System xc- and the cellular anti-oxidant defense system

In living organisms, routine metabolic processes result in the formation of oxidants within the cellular environment that can be toxic to the cells themselves. My research is focused on discovering the molecular mechanism by which oxidants regulate a membrane transport system, System xc-, that provides neurons and glia with the precursors required to synthesize a cellular antioxidant called glutathione. System xc- is a plasma membrane transport system that catalyzes the stoichiometric exchange of extracellular cystine for intracellular glutamate in the brain. The internalized cystine is then used for glutathione synthesis which protects the brain from oxidative damage. While several groups have demonstrated transcriptional regulation of System xc- within 24 hours of exposure of cells to oxidants there have been essentially no studies which have examined the short-term regulation of transporter activity. My students and I have shown that oxidants acutely (within minutes) regulate System xc- by modulating the cell surface expression of the transporter. These exciting findings suggest a novel form of regulation of System xc- that may serve as a critical component of the cellular defense system in protecting cells from oxidative insults. We are currently using biochemical and molecular techniques to 1) identify important trafficking motifs and post-translation modifications that occur within the intracellular regions of System xc- and 2) describe the cellular signaling pathways that are involved in the hydrogen peroxide-regulated activity of System xc-. Ultimately, this work will provide us with a better understanding of molecular processes which acutely regulate System xc- and identify key proteins which regulate transporter trafficking. As such, this work may provide direction for future studies aimed at pharmacological manipulation of System xc- activity for therapeutic benefit.

Each student in the Chase lab has their own independent research project that fits into the overall research aims of the lab. Students also assist in formulating testable hypotheses and constructing appropriate experimental designs to test their hypotheses.

Faculty Mentor(s): Leah Chase
Home Department: Chemistry

Qualifications: All students interested in this research project are encouraged to apply. Current enrollment in an undergraduate program is required.

Working Conditions: This position requires remaining in a sitting or standing position for frequent periods of time, typing and computer work. You may be required to lift, move, and transport related laboratory equipment. In the case of temporary or permanent condition(s) that require(s) accommodation(s), reasonable accommodation(s) may be requested.

Runs from 5/15/2023 through 7/21/2023

Dopaminergic degeneration to study olfactory dysfunction in a zebrafish model of Parkinson’s Disease

Parkinson’s disease (PD) is one of the most common neurodegenerative diseases and leading causes of long-term disabilities and mortality in aging populations. Olfactory dysfunction is present in 96% of individuals with PD. Interestingly, olfactory loss is among the earliest symptoms of PD, preceding motor dysfunction for years.

Although very prevalent, the mechanisms underpinning olfactory dysfunction in Parkinson’s Disease are largely unknown. Our overarching goal is to advance our understanding of mechanisms linking Parkinson’s Disease and olfactory dysfunction. For this, we established a novel model of retrograde degeneration by dopaminergic degeneration in the olfactory system of zebrafish.

Our central hypothesis is that dopaminergic loss in the olfactory bulb will cause retrograde degeneration to olfactory sensory neurons in the olfactory epithelium. To study this, we perform (1) histological and morphological studies of the olfactory system, using confocal immunofluorescent techniques, and (2) olfactory functional studies, using behavioral assays.

Faculty Mentor(s): Erika Calvo-Ochoa
Home Department: Biology

Qualifications: All students interested in this research project are encouraged to apply. Preference is given to students who are interested in pursuing research for at least one academic year and who have taken intro to bio and/or neuro, and preferably at least one upper bio/neuro course.

Working Conditions: This position requires remaining in a sitting or standing position for frequent periods of time, typing and computer work. You may be required to lift, move, and transport related laboratory equipment. May be required to work with animals and potentially hazardous materials. In the case of temporary or permanent condition(s) that require(s) accommodation(s), reasonable accommodation(s) may be requested.

Runs from 5/15/2023 through 7/21/2023

Electrochemical and Mass Spec Detection of Homocysteine and Homocysteic Acid

Bipolar disorder is a serious mood disorder that is characterized by periods of depression and mania. The development of novel therapies for this disorder has been hampered by the lack of a reliable animal model. We recently discovered that treatment of rats from postnatal day 3-18 with the glutamatergic agonist, homocysteic acid (HCA), leads to the development of manic and depressive behaviors in male and female rats. This model was developed based upon the clinical observation that elevated levels of the amino acid, homocysteine (HCY), are associated with the development of neuropsychiatric disorders. However, we reasoned that HCA, which is the oxidized metabolite of HCY, may actually dysregulate important glutamatergic pathways in the brain resulting in behaviors consistent with the bipolar phenotype. In order to provide strong construct validity to our new animal mode, we plan to directly test the hypothesis that elevated levels of HCY during the same critical period in developing rats will lead to an increase in HCA levels in the plasma and brain and the development of a mixed depressive/manic state. The specific goal for this summer is to complete the measurement of HCA and HCY levels in the plasma and brains rats exposed to high HCY during development. These data will analyzed in combination with our previous behavioral assessment of HCY treated rats so that we can better understand the link between HCA levels and the development of manic and depressive behaviors.

Faculty Mentor(s): Kenneth Brown
Home Department: Chemistry

Qualifications: All students interested in this research project are encouraged to apply. Current enrollment in an undergraduate program is required.

Working Conditions: This position requires remaining in a sitting or standing position for frequent periods of time, typing and computer work. You may be required to lift, move, and transport related laboratory equipment. In the case of temporary or permanent condition(s) that require(s) accommodation(s), reasonable accommodation(s) may be requested.

Runs from 5/15/2023 through 7/21/2023

Mitochondrial genome regulation by nucleoid proteins involved in redox sensing and one-carbon metabolism

This project focuses on biochemical mechanisms that control the function of mitochondria, specialized compartments within cells that are central to energy production and cell metabolism. Defects in mitochondrial gene expression cause a multitude of inherited human diseases and contribute significantly to age-related pathologies, like neurodegenerative disorders and cancer. Study of the basic biochemical mechanisms governing mitochondrial DNA transcription and genome stability will allow for a deeper understanding of these diseases, for which there are few effective treatments. Mitochondria contain their own small genome (mitochondrial DNA) that contains the genetic instructions for a small number of proteins required for cellular energy production. For mitochondria to function properly, these organelles rely on genetic instructions carried within their own genome, as well as those carried in the nuclear genome. Nuclear DNA carries the instructions for the majority of the 2000-member mitochondrial proteome, including a number of nucleoid proteins which are shown to associate with mitochondrial DNA. How cells regulate the expression of the mitochondrial genome in response to changing energetic needs is largely unknown. Students working on this project will explore if proteins known to interact with mitochondrial DNA serve as sensors of nutrient availability and in turn control mitochondrial gene expression, providing insight into fundamental mechanisms that control mammalian cell function.

Specifically, the research will focus on the intersection between one-carbon metabolism and redox metabolism with mitochondrial genome regulation. Enzymes involved in one-carbon metabolism provide 1C (methyl groups) for the synthesis of nucleotides and amino acids. These enzymes are interconnected with cellular pathways that regenerate antioxidants, molecules or proteins that help combat oxidative damage in cells. Recent studies to determine proteins that interact with mtDNA identified a group of four interconnected proteins that are involved in one-carbon metabolism and redox sensing (ALDH1L2, MTHFD1L, SHMT2, PRDX5). Students will explore the hypothesis that the proximity of ALDH1L2, MTHFD1L, SHMT2, and PRDX5 to mtDNA is required to relay nutrient status signals and regulate mtDNA maintenance and expression to meet changing metabolic needs. A combination of biochemical and cell biology approaches will be used to characterize these four proteins in the following ways: 1) Monitor protein localization and mitochondrial genome maintenance in cells with altered one-carbon metabolism; 2) determine the nature of the interaction of these proteins with mtDNA; and 3) Assess whether DNA association alters protein activity.

Faculty Mentor(s): Kristin Dittenhafer-Reed
Home Department: Chemistry

Qualifications: All students interested in this research project are encouraged to apply. Current enrollment in an undergraduate program is required.

Working Conditions: This position requires remaining in a sitting or standing position for frequent periods of time, typing and computer work. You may be required to lift, move, and transport related laboratory equipment. In the case of temporary or permanent condition(s) that require(s) accommodation(s), reasonable accommodation(s) may be requested.

Runs from 5/15/2023 through 7/21/2023

Olfactory degeneration and dysfunction following acute hypoxia in zebrafish

Hypoxia, a lack of enough oxygen in tissues to sustain bodily functions, has a detrimental impact on behavioral health. It is important to understand the detrimental impact on brain physiology and function following hypoxia as the overall performance of the central nervous system (CNS). Zebrafish are ideal models to study hypoxic damage in the brain. They have been shown to be susceptible to hypoxic attacks, and have been used as an alternative model to study hypoxic-ischemic brain damage.

Our overarching goal is to study the effects of low oxygen on the olfactory system. For this, we established a novel model of hypoxic exposure in zebrafish. The central hypothesis is that acute hypoxic exposure will cause neural degeneration throughout the olfactory system, and that this will lead to olfactory dysfunction.

To study this, we use (1) behavioral assays to assess olfactory function and behavior, and (2) confocal microscopy to study fluorescent markers of neural degeneration.

Faculty Mentor(s): Erika Calvo-Ochoa
Home Department: Biology

Qualifications: All students interested in this research project are encouraged to apply. Preference is given to applicants who are interested in doing research for at least a year and have taken intro to bio and or intro to neuro and preferably at least an upper bio/neuro course. Ability to work independently, accurately and to problem solve technical and methodological issues that arise during the course of research. Ability to apply sound research techniques, methodology and logical critical analysis.

Working Conditions: This position requires remaining in a sitting or standing position for frequent periods of time, typing and computer work. You may be required to lift, move, and transport related laboratory equipment. May be required to work with animals and potentially hazardous materials. In the case of temporary or permanent condition(s) that require(s) accommodation(s), reasonable accommodation(s) may be requested.

Runs from 5/15/2023 through 7/21/2023

Regulation of mitochondrial DNA transcription

Overview: Defects in mitochondrial gene expression cause a multitude of inherited human diseases and contribute significantly to age-related pathologies, like neurodegenerative disorders and cancer. Study of the basic biochemical mechanisms governing mitochondrial DNA transcription and genome stability will allow for a deeper understanding of these diseases, for which there are few effective treatments. Mitochondria exist at the center of cellular biosynthetic pathways and play a major role in energy production, apoptosis and oxidative stress. Mitochondria contain a DNA genome (mtDNA) encoding thirteen essential components of oxidative phosphorylation, the metabolic pathway generating cellular energy currency in the form of ATP. The remaining 1500 member mitochondrial proteome is encoded by the nuclear genome, including an additional 70 components needed for oxidative phosphorylation and the machinery required for mtDNA replication, transcription, and translation. Therefore, coordination of nuclear and mitochondrial gene expression is essential for mitochondrial function. While core components of mitochondrial transcription initiation are known, a detailed understanding of transcriptional control is lacking. The goal of the research is to uncover biochemical mechanisms that govern mitochondrial gene expression and mtDNA stability.

Specific project details: Regulation of mtDNA transcription by reversible protein post-translational modifications. Protein post-translational modifications (PTMs), including reversible lysine acetylation and serine/threonine phosphorylation, can regulate protein function. Dynamic PTM of histone proteins and nuclear transcription factors control nuclear gene expression; however whether similar mechanisms exist in the mitochondria is unknown. Our work and others revealed proteins involved in mtDNA gene expression are subject to PTM. This project will determine the role of PTMs in regulating mtDNA transcription and mtDNA stability. Students involved in this project will integrate chemical and biological course knowledge to carry out experiments and will learn lab techniques including: protein purification, enzyme assays, cell culture, western blotting, and molecular biology approaches.

Faculty Mentor(s): Kristin Dittenhafer-Reed
Home Department: Chemistry

Qualifications: All students interested in this research project are encouraged to apply. Current enrollment in an undergraduate program is required.

Working Conditions: This position requires remaining in a sitting or standing position for frequent periods of time, typing and computer work. You may be required to lift, move, and transport related laboratory equipment. In the case of temporary or permanent condition(s) that require(s) accommodation(s), reasonable accommodation(s) may be requested.

Runs from 5/15/2023 through 7/21/2023

Sliding Processes in Soft Materials

ELINSKI LAB: The Elinski Lab (elinskilab.org) focuses on surface chemistry and tribology - the study of surfaces in relative motion, (including friction, adhesion, lubrication, and wear. Please note that this area of research is not traditionally covered in coursework, but pulls on core principles from chemistry, materials science, physics, and engineering. Everything an interested student would need to know will be taught in the lab, so Dr. Elinski encourages all students to meet with her and apply, regardless of year in school or course background!

BACKGROUND: Soft materials have an impressive range of applications, from flexible electronics and haptic interfaces to biomimicry such as artificial cartilage. In particular, hydrogels (water-swollen polymer networks) bring a unique set of characteristics to these applications through their notable durability, stretchability, and aqueous composition. Given the complexity of interfaces formed with hydrogels and any potential hybrid structures, chemical structure-function relationships are at the core of many of the processes involved with motion (sliding processes) in potential applications. The Elinski Lab aims to develop a deeper fundamental understanding of the sliding processes of hydrogel composites to enable the broader incorporation of soft materials in tailored applications.

PROJECT OVERVIEW: Student researchers on this project will synthesize hydrogels and hydrogel-nanomaterial composites, with material choice focusing on target applications including haptic interfaces and modeling osteoarthritis treatments for the cartilage in joints. For either target application, the focus will be understanding the interplay of chemical-mechanical behavior in controlled environments and impact on interfacial adhesion, friction, and wear.

A suite of analytical instruments will be used for this work, including atomic force microscopy (AFM), rheology, scanning electron microscopy and energy dispersive spectroscopy (SEM/EDS), confocal Raman microspectroscopy, and attenuated total reflectance Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy (ATR-FTIR).

DETAILS: The summer research program will consist of 10 forty-hour work weeks to be conducted in the Elinski Lab on Hope College’s campus. In addition to the research there are professional development activities, along with planned social events throughout the summer to meet fellow chemistry researchers and students conducting research in other departments! There is also the potential for research projects to be continued into the following academic year.

Working on this research will provide students with a strong foundation in fundamental chemistry at surfaces and interfaces along with multidisciplinary skills in materials, (bio)mechanics, and the wider reaching principles of nanoscience. As the primary leads for their research, students will also have opportunities for authoring peer-reviewed journal articles and presenting and networking at scientific conferences.

Faculty Mentor(s): Dr. Meagan Elinski
Home Department: Chemistry

Qualifications: All students interested in this research project are encouraged to apply. Current enrollment in an undergraduate program is required.

Working Conditions: This position requires remaining in a sitting or standing position for frequent periods of time, typing and computer work. You may be required to lift, move, and transport related laboratory equipment. In the case of temporary or permanent condition(s) that require(s) accommodation(s), reasonable accommodation(s) may be requested.

Runs from 5/29/2023 through 8/4/2023

The Preparation of Thiophene Compounds for Use as Electrochemical Sensors

Thiophene compounds can be polymerized onto electrode surfaces to give highly conducting films for sensor applications. This project has two goals. One is to understand how the chemical structure of the monomer and conditions of polymerization affect the morphology of the film. The second is to prepare a variety of functionalized thiophene monomers that can be polymerized on electrodes and then used as sensors. Examples of compounds currently under development are ferrocene and porphyrin functionalized thiophenes for use as glucose sensors. Incoming students will be given a monomer or group of monomers that they will prepare through approximately 3-4 step synthetic sequences. A student will be responsible for the planning, execution and standard characterization of the materials with the support of the faculty mentor and the group members. The focus of this group is organic synthesis, so students should have had one year of organic chemistry lecture and lab. Once the compounds are made and characterized, the compounds will be electropolymerized and tested for potential sensor applications. The film morphologies will be studied with our new Scanning Electron Microscope. Students will present research results in written and oral formats. If you are interested in this research, email Dr. Sanford at sanford@hope.edu to make an appointment to discuss the research opportunities available in the Sanford group.

Faculty Mentor(s): Elizabeth Sanford
Home Department: Chemistry

Qualifications: All students interested in this research project are encouraged to apply. Current enrollment in an undergraduate program is required.Student should have completed CHEM231/256.

Working Conditions: This position requires remaining in a sitting or standing position for frequent periods of time, typing and computer work. You may be required to lift, move, and transport related laboratory equipment. In the case of temporary or permanent condition(s) that require(s) accommodation(s), reasonable accommodation(s) may be requested. This position requires the use of chemicals.

Runs from 5/15/2023 through 7/21/2023

Urbanization and the availability of carotenoids in the diets of songbirds

In intersexual communication many signals have evolved to honestly convey information about the sender to the receiver. The carotenoid-based colors (e.g., bright red, orange, and yellow) of passerine birds have become a model system for the study of honest signaling and sexual selection via female. Male feather carotenoid pigmentation has been linked to males with a better ability to resist and recover from parasitic infections, higher quality diets, and lower exposure to oxidative stress. Females, in turn, have been shown to prefer males that have greater carotenoid pigmentation as it is an honest reflection of male condition on a variety of scales. While perhaps best known for their role in signaling displays, carotenoids also play an essential role in avian vision, and therefore the sensory perception of the carotenoid displays themselves. In birds, cone photoreceptors contain an oil droplet, a small organelle filled with carotenoids that functions in selectively absorbing certain wavelengths of light and therefore shifting the spectral sensitivity of the cone visual pigments.

It is our hypothesis that there will therefore be differences in the retinal carotenoids of songbirds based on their habitat, urban or rural. We will apply currently accepted HPLC protocols on hydrolyzed retinal carotenoid esters to study this hypothesis. We will simultaneously attempt to develop more robust HPLC/MS/MS methods, which may be feasible directly on retinal extracts without ester hydrolysis.

Faculty Mentor(s): Kelly Ronald, Jason Gillmore
Home Department: Chemistry

Qualifications: All students interested in this research project are encouraged to apply. Current enrollment in an undergraduate program is required.

Working Conditions: This position requires remaining in a sitting or standing position for frequent periods of time, field work (personal transportation not required) typing and computer work. You may be required to lift, move, and transport related laboratory equipment. May be required to work with animals and potentially hazardous and toxic materials. In the case of temporary or permanent condition(s) that require(s) accommodation(s), reasonable accommodation(s) may be requested.

Runs from 5/15/2023 through 7/21/2023

Nursing

Upgrade to the MyMilkData App

Dr. Esquerra-Zwiers from the Nursing department does research involving breastfeeding mothers. She is interested in factors that can affect breast milk. Students in the Hope Software Institute have designed and written an app that she uses to collect data for her research. She needs this app updated, especially to allow researchers to access the data in several ways.

Faculty Mentor(s): Mike Jipping
Home Department: Computer Science

Qualifications: All students interested in this research project are encouraged to apply. Students must be current enrolled or be incoming first-year students.

Working Conditions: This position requires remaining in a sitting or standing position for frequent periods of time, typing and computer work. You may be required to lift, move, and transport related laboratory equipment. In the case of temporary or permanent condition(s) that require(s) accommodation(s), reasonable accommodation(s) may be requested.

Runs from 5/22/2023 through 7/21/2023

Physics

1 of 18 BModeling X-ray Emission from Magnetars

The astrophysics group is studying high-energy emission as X rays from magnetars which are neutron stars with the highest magnetic fields exhibiting persistent soft X-ray luminosities characterized by Blackbody emission from the thermal surface. In addition, it is observed the many indicate a higher energy component called high-energy tails with approximate power law spectra. Also, magnetars are observed to undergo bursting and more occasionally as giant flare emission. The main goal of the program taking place at Hope College is to develop key analytics describing the Compton scattering cross section that is quantum electrodynamics (QED) correct that is spin-dependent and polarization-dependent in the electron rest frame. To accomplish this task, we implement Sokolov & Ternov electron wave functions. We will develop efficient computer codes written in C++ that either can be used directly in a Monte Carlo code or used to make large tables of the cross sections. If tables, we will develop efficient code to interpolate these tables. We plan to take advantage of the cores within the computation node as well as using a NVIDIA graphics processor unit (GPU) to improve the computations. Polarization characteristics of magnetar emission will be ascertained to serve as a guide for science agendas of planned future hard X-ray/soft gamma-ray polarimeters such as NASA’s LEAP and AMEGO mission. Recently launched, LEAP has been making polarization observations of magnetars.

Faculty Mentor(s): Peter Gonthier
Home Department: Physics

Qualifications: All students interested in this research project are encouraged to apply. Current enrollment in an Hope College undergraduate program is required.

Working Conditions: This position requires remaining in a sitting or standing position for frequent periods of time, typing and computer work. You may be required to lift, move, and transport related laboratory equipment. In the case of temporary or permanent condition(s) that require(s) accommodation(s), reasonable accommodation(s) may be requested.

Runs from 5/15/2023 through 7/21/2023

Analytical Calculation of the Threshold Parameter for Resistive-Tearing-Unstable Plasmas

Plasmas are hot, electrically charged gases that at subject to highly complex and turbulent dynamics. The physical equations that govern plasma dynamics are highly nonlinear and difficult to solve analytically, though a wealth of numerical/computational studies are present in the literature. Reduced models attempt to mathematically describe these nonlinear dynamics by making appropriate approximations without losing essential physics - one such reduced model approach is centered around the use of eigenmodes to describe the system. Eigenmodes in plasma systems are typically characterized as "stable" (decaying) or "unstable" (growing) - it is common in reduced models to ignore stable eigenmodes in favor of only the unstable eigenmodes. However, more recent work has demonstrated that via nonlinear effects, stable modes can contribute in a significant way to the turbulent dynamics of a system. One can derive a so-called 'threshold parameter', which quantities the extent to which a given stable eigenmode plays a role in the nonlinear evolution of the system. This project will perform an in-depth mathematical calculation of the threshold parameter for the resistive-tearing unstable plasma system, which appears in nuclear fusion contexts as well as in the sun's atsmophere, driving magnetic reconnection and coronal mass ejections. A student in this project will develop a detailed mathematical description of the threshold parameter to assess unstable vs. stable eigenmode roles in resistive magnetic reconnection.

Faculty Mentor(s): Zach Williams
Home Department: Physics

Qualifications: All students interested in this research project are encouraged to apply. Current enrollment in an undergraduate program is required. This is a very mathematically intensive project, so an interested student must have completed the full calculus and multivariable math sequence at a minimum, any additional math experience beyond that is encouraged. Physics experience at the level of PHYS 270 (Modern Physics) is desirable but not required.

Working Conditions: This position requires remaining in a sitting or standing position for frequent periods of time, typing and computer work. You may be required to lift, move, and transport related laboratory equipment. In the case of temporary or permanent condition(s) that require(s) accommodation(s), reasonable accommodation(s) may be requested.

Runs from 5/15/2023 through 7/21/2023

Chemical Avenues to Sustainable Energy Consumption

ELINSKI LAB: The Elinski Lab (elinskilab.org) focuses on surface chemistry and tribology - the study of surfaces in relative motion, (including friction, adhesion, lubrication, and wear. Please note that this area of research is not traditionally covered in coursework, but pulls on core principles from chemistry, materials science, physics, and engineering. Everything an interested student would need to know will be taught in the lab, so Dr. Elinski encourages all students to meet with her and apply, regardless of year in school or course background!

BACKGROUND: There is a significant imbalance between energy produced in the United States vs that which is consumed, with roughly two-thirds of produced energy wasted. One source of this loss is the energy dissipation associated with friction and wear between surfaces in relative motion. To address this, one goal of the Elinski Lab is to understand how fundamental chemical mechanisms in sliding contacts can be capitalized on for controlling friction and wear processes.

PROJECT OVERVIEW: Student researchers interested in this area will work on one of two projects. One project focuses on nanomaterial composite systems in dry sliding contacts, with target applications for electric vehicles and space lubrication (funding through NASA). The second project focuses on understanding surface reactions in oil environments (funding through the American Chemical Society Petroleum Research Fund). Both projects will study confined, nanoscale dynamic (sliding) contacts to understand chemical-mechanical relationships. Surface modification methods - including nanoparticle films to control roughness and self-assembled monolayers to control functionality - will be used to systematically interrogate the formation of protective surface films. These surface-bound films develop as a result of chemical processes driven by mechanical forces. A better understanding of film formation can help develop advanced control over sliding interfaces, improving strategies towards mitigating energy loss.

A suite of analytical instruments will be used for this work, including atomic force microscopy (AFM), rheology, scanning electron microscopy and energy dispersive spectroscopy (SEM/EDS), confocal Raman microspectroscopy, and attenuated total reflectance Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy (ATR-FTIR).

DETAILS: The summer research program will consist of 10 forty-hour work weeks to be conducted in the Elinski Lab on Hope College’s campus. In addition to the research there are professional development activities, along with planned social events throughout the summer to meet fellow chemistry researchers and students conducting research in other departments! There is also the potential for research projects to be continued into the following academic year.

Working on this research will provide students with a strong foundation in fundamental chemistry at surfaces and interfaces along with multidisciplinary skills in materials, mechanics, and the wider reaching principles of nanoscience. As the primary leads for their research, students will also have opportunities for authoring peer-reviewed journal articles and presenting and networking at scientific conferences.

Faculty Mentor(s): Dr. Meagan Elinski
Home Department: Chemistry

Qualifications: All students interested in this research project are encouraged to apply. Current enrollment in an undergraduate program is required.

Working Conditions: This position requires remaining in a sitting or standing position for frequent periods of time, typing and computer work. You may be required to lift, move, and transport related laboratory equipment. In the case of temporary or permanent condition(s) that require(s) accommodation(s), reasonable accommodation(s) may be requested.

Runs from 5/29/2023 through 8/4/2023

Computational Investigations of Magnetic Reconnection in the Solar Corona

This project will examine the dynamics of a plasma system using computer programming tools and a novel mathematical approach referred to as truncated eigenmode decomposition. Plasmas are hot, electrically charged gases that couple closely to electric and magnetic fields and can be found in stars and nuclear fusion experiments. They are dynamically very complex, subject to a number of instabilities and turbulent behavior. One dynamic process of great interest is that of magnetic reconnection, whereby oppositely-oriented magnetic field lines cancel each other out, releasing significant quantities of energy into the plasma. This process can lead to sawtooth crashes in nuclear fusion experiments that degrade the confinement, as well as to coronal mass ejections in the sun's atmosphere. While this process has studied extensively for decades, we will use a new approach that aims to distill the system down to its most fundamental attributes (referred to as eigenmodes). A student working on this project will do extensive programming work in Python using the Dedalus framework to solve partial differential equations and examine the effectiveness of the novel truncated eigenmode decomposition. Pending the success of the new model, we will proceed in making quantitative predictions about importance aspects of reconnection, such as the reconnection rate, which can be vetted against satellite observations.

Faculty Mentor(s): Zach Williams
Home Department: Physics

Qualifications: All students interested in this research project are encouraged to apply. Current enrollment in an undergraduate program is required. Prior experience with programming is desirable but not required. Physics experience at least at the level of PHYS 122 is preferred but not required.

Working Conditions: This position requires remaining in a sitting or standing position for frequent periods of time, typing and computer work. You may be required to lift, move, and transport related laboratory equipment. In the case of temporary or permanent condition(s) that require(s) accommodation(s), reasonable accommodation(s) may be requested.

Runs from 5/15/2023 through 7/21/2023

Computational Modeling of the Fundamental Dynamics behind Solar Convection Cells

Rayleigh-Benard Convection (RBC) is a complex nonlinear process that occurs in fluids and plasma systems in which coherent cells of fluid flow form in response to a difference in temperature at the system boundaries. This occurs in a wide range of physical regimes, from ocean currents to atmospheric airflow to stellar interiors. While this phenomenon has been widely studied for a long time, there are still open areas of research - one prominent questions is to ask how heat transport scales with specific parameters in the system for highly nonlinear and turbulent configurations. This project will continue existing work performed at Hope College to describe RBC using a novel approach referred to as a truncated eigenmode expansion. A student in this project will be involved in extensive programming efforts to model this system using the Dedalus coding framework within the Python programming language. They will explore the effectiveness of the truncated eigenmode expansion, and use this novel method to make quantitative predictions about systems subject to RBC, specifically calculations of the well-known Nusselt number which quantifies turbulent convection vs. diffusive processes. Pending the success of this work, this project will then begin adapting the model, currently applicable to neutral fluids, to incorporate electromagnetic effects within the plasma contexts. Prior programming experience is desirable but not required. Any exposure to physics coursework or fluid dynamics is desirable but not required.

Faculty Mentor(s): Zach Williams
Home Department: Physics

Qualifications: All students interested in this research project are encouraged to apply. Current enrollment in an undergraduate program is required. Prior programming experience is desirable but not required. Any exposure to physics coursework or fluid dynamics is desirable but not required.

Working Conditions: This position requires remaining in a sitting or standing position for frequent periods of time, typing and computer work. You may be required to lift, move, and transport related laboratory equipment. In the case of temporary or permanent condition(s) that require(s) accommodation(s), reasonable accommodation(s) may be requested.

Runs from 5/15/2023 through 7/21/2023

Computational Modelling of Organic Dyes

An opportunity exists for one or two students to continue to develop and apply computational methods to predict spectroscopic properties of organic molecules in support of synthetic and mechanistic organic photochemistry studies.

Our computational work developing efficient methods to accurately predict ground state reduction potentials has appeared as a cover article on J. Phys. Chem. A in 2008 and in greater detail in J. Org. Chem. in 2012. We have more recently extended this work by comparing it to even less ""expensive"" computational methods developed by collaborators at Arizona State University, which we published in J. Phys. Org. Chem. in 2015. We also use computation to help us understand other photochemical and electrochemical phenomena we discover experimentally (most of my group's nine experimental papers have at least some computational modeling in them. In the next three years we plan to focus on predicting the absorption spectra of a family of long-wavelength azo dyes, to guide our synthetic target selection. This will include my group's first foray into time dependent density functional theory (TD-DFT), but we have good literature precedent to follow. However we may also continue to explore computational electrochemistry ourselves and in possible collaboration with Dr. Guarr's Organic Energy Storage Lab at the MSU Bioeconomy Institute.

This project can be purely computational or can involve up to 50% experimental organic chemistry for students who have completed a year of organic chemistry with lab (potentially including synthesis, spectroscopy, and/or electrochemistry).

In your application essay please note your computational interests (and any relevant experience), and also whether you'd prefer a purely computational or mixed computation and wet chemistry project.

Students on this project will certainly have the option (and perhaps the expectation) to begin during the spring semester and/or to continue the research into the following academic year (for credit or on a volunteer basis.) It may also be possible to tie this research to a related CHEM 256B Organic Chemistry II Laboratory elective independent project.

DO NOT APPLY TO *BOTH* THIS PROJECT *AND* MY EXPERIMENTAL PROJECT - APPLY TO THE ONE YOU PREFER AND EMAIL ME IF YOU ARE ALSO INTERESTED IN THE OTHER. OR BETTER YET, EMAIL FOR AN APPOINTMENT TO COME CHAT WITH ME ABOUT RESEARCH.

Faculty Mentor(s): Jason Gillmore
Home Department: Chemistry

Qualifications: All students interested in this research project are encouraged to apply. Current enrollment in an undergraduate program is required. Students applying to this project should be well-organized, comfortable with computers, familiar with Microsoft Excel, and interested in both computational modeling and chemistry. Experience with computational modeling, even if only in the undergraduate laboratory curriculum (e.g., General Chemistry Lab or Organic Chemistry Lab at Hope each have one experiment on computational modeling), is a big plus. Having had organic chemistry (or even any chemistry beyond high school) is definitely beneficial but not essential.

Working Conditions: This position requires remaining in a sitting or standing position for frequent periods of time, typing and computer work. You may be required to lift, move, and transport related laboratory equipment. In the case of temporary or permanent condition(s) that require(s) accommodation(s), reasonable accommodation(s) may be requested.

Runs from 5/10/2023 through 7/19/2023

Design of Next-Generation Neutron Detector

As the ability to accelerate exotic radioactive nuclear beams has developed at different accelerators around the world, we have developed an ambitious program in this area of study using the capabilities at the Fast Radioactive Ion Beam facility (FRIB) at Michigan State University and the Radioactive Isotope Beam Factory (RIBF) at RIKEN (Japan). For neutron-rich nuclei very far from stability, the emission of several neutrons becomes the dominant decay mechanism and multi-neutron systems such as the so-called “tetraneutron" (4n), or larger, are predicted in the region. However, the multi-neutron detection is very challenging because several hits in the detector may come from the multiple interactions of a single neutron (cross-talk). Space-time conditions must be applied to reduce such events, significantly reducing efficiency as the number of neutrons increases. Students working with Dr. Monteagudo and Dr. DeYoung will be involved in the design, simulation, prototyping, and construction of the next generation of multi-million dollar neutron detectors to be used with the High Resolution Spectrometer (HRS) at FRIB.

Dates subject to change

Faculty Mentor(s): Belen Monteagudo and Paul DeYoung
Home Department: Physics

Qualifications: All students interested in this research project are encouraged to apply. Current enrollment in an undergraduate program is required. Also open to incoming first-year students.

Working Conditions: This position requires remaining in a sitting or standing position for frequent periods of time, typing and computer work. You may be required to lift, move, and transport related laboratory equipment. In the case of temporary or permanent condition(s) that require(s) accommodation(s), reasonable accommodation(s) may be requested.

Runs from 5/15/2023 through 7/21/2023

Engineering Materials that Move

This interdisciplinary project will incorporate the disciplines of mechanical engineering, materials science, chemistry, and physics. However, the project is specifically housed within the Hope College Department of Engineering.

Responsive materials are materials that convert one form of energy into another. The Smith Lab studies liquid crystal elastomers, which are rubbery materials composed of interconnected liquid crystal molecules. These materials exhibit unique optical, thermal, and mechanical properties. For example, certain liquid crystal elastomers can reversibly change their length by over 300% when heated above a critical temperature. Some of these elastomers also have mechanical properties similar to skeletal muscle. Potential applications for these materials include soft robotics, micro valves and pumps, miniaturized locomotion, energy harvesting, flexible electronics for responsive medical devices, and as a design template for architectured materials

The research in the Smith Lab is divided into two main projects:

The goal of the first project is to study the mechanical response of liquid crystal elastomer structures. Student researchers will fabricate elastomer samples and characterize them using various techniques such as tension testing and dynamic mechanical analysis. This project may require students to design and perform experiments on structures that can undergo rapid shape change driven by light or heat stimuli (like the rapid snap of the venus fly trap). Some students may have the opportunity to develop and run finite element analysis simulations.

The goal of the second project is to explore techniques for creating aligned liquid crystal elastomers. The function of these materials depends on the alignment of their liquid crystal constituents. Techniques for producing various alignments in these materials have been developed over the last several decades, but challenges still remain. Students working on this project should have an interest in chemistry, chemical engineering, or materials science. Students will synthesize small molecules and characterize them using NMR, FTIR spectroscopy, gas chromatography/mass spectroscopy, etc. The project will also involve polymer synthesis and characterization.

There is substantial overlap between these two projects and students will have the opportunity to develop the ability to work on interdisciplinary teams and will be able to learn about both topics.

Current openings are for Hope College students only. For more information about this project or the specific material systems, please contact the project mentor and/or see the references below.

References:
M.L. Smith, J. Gao, A.A. Skandani, et al. Tuned photomechanical switching of laterally constrained arches, Smart Materials and Structures Vol. 28, 075009, 2019

M. Ravi Shankar, M. L. Smith, et al. Contactless, photoinitiated snap-through in azobenzene-functionalized polymers, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Vol. 110, pgs. 18792-18797, 2013.

C.M. Yackaki, C. M., M. Saed, D. P. Nair, et al. Tailorable and programmable liquid-crystalline elastomers using a two-stage thiol-acrylate reaction, RSC Advances Vol. 5, 18997-19001, 2015.

Faculty Mentor(s): Matthew Smith
Home Department: Engineering

Qualifications: All students interested in this research project are encouraged to apply. Current enrollment in an undergraduate program is required.

Working Conditions: This position requires remaining in a sitting or standing position for frequent periods of time, typing and computer work. You may be required to lift, move, and transport related laboratory equipment. In the case of temporary or permanent condition(s) that require(s) accommodation(s), reasonable accommodation(s) may be requested.

Runs from 5/15/2023 through 7/21/2023

Exploring a Degradation Mechanism in Halide Perovskites, a Material for Next-Generation Solar Cells

This project aims to uncover degradation processes in next-generation printable solar cells. For any solar cell, stability is key - we aim to have these electronic devices last 30+ years outdoors in all weather conditions. This is especially true for printable solar cells where the components of the device are made by printing them from inks.

Students engaged in this work will help the Christians Group push forward ongoing degradation studies of printable solar cells with the goal of developing better models and understanding for degradation prediction and mitigation. Students will make solar cell materials, perform degradation studies using a suite of instrumentation (such as, absorption spectroscopy, x-ray diffraction, scanning electron microscopy, and others), and assist in building mathematical models to describe these systems.

Students will read scientific literature, fabricate materials, learn multiple characterization methods, brainstorm new experiment ideas, collect and analyze data, and present their work in multiple venues, including the opportunity to travel to and participate in a national scientific meeting.

The work is highly interdisciplinary, combining aspects of chemical engineering, chemistry, physics, and materials science. It is expected that students will be available for at least 9 weeks during the research period.

Faculty Mentor(s): Jeffrey Christians
Home Department: Engineering

Qualifications: All students interested in this research project are encouraged to apply. Current enrollment in an undergraduate program is required.Students of all years and prior experience will be considered. Chemistry lab skills are highly beneficial, particularly organic chemistry lab.

Working Conditions: This position requires remaining in a sitting or standing position for frequent periods of time, typing and computer work. You may be required to lift, move, and transport related laboratory equipment. In the case of temporary or permanent condition(s) that require(s) accommodation(s), reasonable accommodation(s) may be requested.

Runs from 5/15/2023 through 7/21/2023

Exploring the potential for geologic storage of CO2 in faulted subsurface reservoirs in the northern Gulf of Mexico continental shelf and deep offshore Niger Delta Basin

The release of anthropogenic CO2 into Earth’s atmosphere has risen progressively and has resulted in and amplified climatic variations around the globe with unprecedented effect on humans. Geological sequestration of CO2 via subsurface storage in reservoirs can significantly alleviate this effect but its mechanism is under explored. Therefore, it is imperative to understand the structural framework, possibility of reactivation, and sealing potential of faults of subsurface storage complexes in order to prevent migration of injected CO2 outside the target storage strata. This research aims to investigate the potential for geologic storage of CO2 in the northern Gulf of Mexico continental shelf and deep offshore Niger Delta Basin, through detailed characterization of the structural framework, reactivation likelihood, and seal-ability of faults of depleted subsurface reservoirs, as well as determine their volumetric capacity for sequestration of captured CO2. Specifically, we will apply a multidisciplinary method incorporating geology, geophysics, physics and environmental science, and will utilize a suite of geological and geophysical data and industry software packages such as Petrel, PetroMod, Techlog and GeoEx to detail the trapping mechanism of storage complexes identified within the study area and unravel their sealing abilities, and the new knowledge will provide the basis for the management of geologic sequestration of carbon in the Gulf of Mexico, Niger Delta and the world at large, in order to mitigate global climate disasters resulting from anthropogenic CO2 emissions. In addition, students will develop outstanding subsurface characterization skills that make for employability within the sustainable energy development sector.

Faculty Mentor(s): Uzonna Anyiam
Home Department: Geological and Environmental Science

Qualifications: All students interested in this research project are encouraged to apply. Current enrollment in an undergraduate program is required.Preferred qualifications include but are not limited to: subject knowledge, organization skills and oral/written communication skills to discuss and document research progress. Ability to work independently, accurately and to problem solve technical and methodological issues that arise during the course of research. Ability to apply sound research techniques, methodology and logical critical analysis.

Working Conditions: This position requires remaining in a sitting or standing position for frequent periods of time, typing and computer work. You may be required to lift, move, and transport related laboratory equipment. In the case of temporary or permanent condition(s) that require(s) accommodation(s), reasonable accommodation(s) may be requested.

Runs from 5/15/2023 through 7/21/2023

Fundamental Studies of Exotic Unstable Neutron Rich Nuclei

As the ability to accelerate exotic radioactive nuclear beams has developed at different accelerators around the world, we have developed an ambitious program in this area of study using the capabilities at the Fast Radioactive Ion Beam facility (FRIB) at Michigan State University and the Radioactive Isotope Beam Factory (RIBF) of RIKEN (Japan). Hope College was one of nine schools that constructed the MoNA and LISA detectors, made of 288 modular elements to detect neutrons (over 8 tons of material). With these devices we study the structure of nuclei far from stability such as 25O, 13,16Be, or 12,13Li. The Nuclear Group has been involved in most of the MoNA experiments and has done the analysis of several separate experiments. In particular, this project aims to investigate the structure of the unbound 15Be by means of a systematic study from multiple experiments using the SAMURAI setup (RIKEN). The goal is to identify a potential contribution from its 3/2+ ground state through the study of its sequential three neutron decay.

Students working with Dr. Monteagudo and Dr. DeYoung will participate in data analysis and will collaborate on a regular basis with part of the international SAMURAI collaboration (LPC-Caen Nuclear Structure Group) and with the MoNA collaboration.

Dates subject to change.

Faculty Mentor(s): Belen Monteagudo and Paul DeYoung
Home Department: Physics

Qualifications: All students interested in this research project are encouraged to apply. Current enrollment in an undergraduate program is required. This project is also open to incoming first- year students.

Working Conditions: This position requires remaining in a sitting or standing position for frequent periods of time, typing and computer work. You may be required to lift, move, and transport related laboratory equipment. In the case of temporary or permanent condition(s) that require(s) accommodation(s), reasonable accommodation(s) may be requested.

Runs from 5/15/2023 through 7/21/2023

Interdisciplinary Studies with the Hope Particle Accelerator

Hope College is home to a 1.7 MV tandem pelletron particle accelerator. This accelerator is used to study a variety of (primarily) interdisciplinary questions. Current plans call for two studies.


1) PFAS contamination of ground water is a serious health concern. This contamination is frequently found around airports (PFAS as a component of fire-fighting foams) and land fills (where water proofing remnants end up). The Nuclear Group is attempting to develop a rapid test for PFAS in water based on simple evaporative concentration and (p,gamma) reactions with 19F (the F in PFAS). These gamma are measured with a high purity germanium detector with an associated active Compton suppression shield.
2) Regularly, the accelerator group partners with researchers from other groups (both physics and other disciplines). A researcher involved with this project will be expected to collaborate with several (possible) research groups that may include irradiation of plant material to quantize their susceptibility to space radiation during transport to Mars, irradiation of photovoltaic samples to quantized radiation hardness in space, and irradiation of novel superconductor samples to understand the structure and sensitivity. Other projects will likely be added to this list as the summer of 2023 approaches. (Students from other research groups should select their advisors projects.)


Dates subject to change.

Faculty Mentor(s): Paull DeYoung and Belen Monteagudo
Home Department: Physics

Qualifications: All students interested in this research project are encouraged to apply. Current enrollment in an undergraduate program is required. This project is also open to incoming first-year students.

Working Conditions: This position requires remaining in a sitting or standing position for frequent periods of time, typing and computer work. You may be required to lift, move, and transport related laboratory equipment. In the case of temporary or permanent condition(s) that require(s) accommodation(s), reasonable accommodation(s) may be requested.

Runs from 5/15/2023 through 7/21/2023

Investigating fundamental mechanism of novel superconductors using artificially generated defects

The superconductor is a unique material that shows two fascinating properties: zero resistance and Meissner effect below its critical temperature. Thanks to these unique properties, the superconductor has been used as a key material for future technology: quantum computation circuits, spintronics, energy-saving devices, superconducting magnets, and magnetic levitation trains. In particular, recent discovery of room temperature superconductors attracted much more attention to the field of superconductivity. The focus on this project is to understand the fundamental mechanism of superconductivity in various novel superconductors. The students in this project will conduct low-temperature experiments down to 4 Kelvin to measure resistance and penetration depth of various superconductors such as Copper-Oxide and Fe-based superconductors using a state-of-the-art cooling equipment. In addition, the 1.7 MV Pelletron tandem particle accelerator located on the basement of VanderWerf Hall will be used to generate atomic-size defects on various superconducting samples by conducting irradiation with high energy Proton and Alpha particles. Students will learn and operate the state-of-the-art accelerator and 4 Kelvin cooling equipment. In addition, students will also learn various hands-on experimental skills, LabView interface, and Origin data analysis. In the end, students will present their scientific results at professional conferences and publish them to scientific journals.

Faculty Mentor(s): Kyuil Cho
Home Department: Physics

Qualifications: All students interested in this research project are encouraged to apply. Current enrollment in an undergraduate program is required.

Working Conditions: This position requires remaining in a sitting or standing position for frequent periods of time, typing and computer work. You may be required to lift, move, and transport related laboratory equipment. In the case of temporary or permanent condition(s) that require(s) accommodation(s), reasonable accommodation(s) may be requested.

Runs from 5/15/2023 through 7/21/2023

Reconstructing Compton scattering tomography images using machine learning

This project involves exploring machine learning techniques to reconstruct limited-data Compton scattering tomography (CST) images from synthetic data sets. CST utilizes scatter gamma-ray radiation to visualize hidden changes in the density of materials [1]. Example applications of CST include detecting corrosion in an object or bone density changes in a person. A key advantage of CST over other imaging and tomographic techniques is that only a single side of the object must be accessed to create an image. A complication of CST is that single-sided data collection yields a data set that is too limited for accurate image reconstruction using common techniques, such as a Radon transform. I have investigated iterative CST image reconstruction using a penalized weighted least squares algorithm with limited success. Others have demonstrated reconstruction of classic tomographic images using machine learning algorithms with limited data [2].

This will be a collaborative effort between the student(s) and mentor to identify potential machine learning techniques for image reconstruction from literature review, select the most promising technique(s), develop computational software algorithm(s) to reconstruct those images, reconstruct images using synthetic data and evaluate the performance of the algorithm(s) compared to common and past image reconstruction techniques. The mentor will provide the synthetic data and evaluation tools for the student(s). A goal of the research is presentation of the results at a regional or national conference as a student submission.

References:
[1] DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/S0168-9002(01)01205-0
[2] DOI: https://doi.org/10.1109/TIP.2013.2283142

Faculty Mentor(s): Jeff Martin
Home Department: Mathematics and Statistics

Qualifications: All students interested in this research project are encouraged to apply. Current enrollment in an undergraduate program at Hope College is required. Students applying to this project should be well-organized and comfortable with computers. Interest in machine learning or other data science techniques would be useful.

Working Conditions: This position requires remaining in a sitting or standing position for frequent periods of time, typing and computer work. In the case of temporary or permanent condition(s) that require(s) accommodation(s), reasonable accommodation(s) may be requested.

Runs from 5/15/2023 through 7/21/2023

Sliding Processes in Soft Materials

ELINSKI LAB: The Elinski Lab (elinskilab.org) focuses on surface chemistry and tribology - the study of surfaces in relative motion, (including friction, adhesion, lubrication, and wear. Please note that this area of research is not traditionally covered in coursework, but pulls on core principles from chemistry, materials science, physics, and engineering. Everything an interested student would need to know will be taught in the lab, so Dr. Elinski encourages all students to meet with her and apply, regardless of year in school or course background!

BACKGROUND: Soft materials have an impressive range of applications, from flexible electronics and haptic interfaces to biomimicry such as artificial cartilage. In particular, hydrogels (water-swollen polymer networks) bring a unique set of characteristics to these applications through their notable durability, stretchability, and aqueous composition. Given the complexity of interfaces formed with hydrogels and any potential hybrid structures, chemical structure-function relationships are at the core of many of the processes involved with motion (sliding processes) in potential applications. The Elinski Lab aims to develop a deeper fundamental understanding of the sliding processes of hydrogel composites to enable the broader incorporation of soft materials in tailored applications.

PROJECT OVERVIEW: Student researchers on this project will synthesize hydrogels and hydrogel-nanomaterial composites, with material choice focusing on target applications including haptic interfaces and modeling osteoarthritis treatments for the cartilage in joints. For either target application, the focus will be understanding the interplay of chemical-mechanical behavior in controlled environments and impact on interfacial adhesion, friction, and wear.

A suite of analytical instruments will be used for this work, including atomic force microscopy (AFM), rheology, scanning electron microscopy and energy dispersive spectroscopy (SEM/EDS), confocal Raman microspectroscopy, and attenuated total reflectance Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy (ATR-FTIR).

DETAILS: The summer research program will consist of 10 forty-hour work weeks to be conducted in the Elinski Lab on Hope College’s campus. In addition to the research there are professional development activities, along with planned social events throughout the summer to meet fellow chemistry researchers and students conducting research in other departments! There is also the potential for research projects to be continued into the following academic year.

Working on this research will provide students with a strong foundation in fundamental chemistry at surfaces and interfaces along with multidisciplinary skills in materials, (bio)mechanics, and the wider reaching principles of nanoscience. As the primary leads for their research, students will also have opportunities for authoring peer-reviewed journal articles and presenting and networking at scientific conferences.

Faculty Mentor(s): Dr. Meagan Elinski
Home Department: Chemistry

Qualifications: All students interested in this research project are encouraged to apply. Current enrollment in an undergraduate program is required.

Working Conditions: This position requires remaining in a sitting or standing position for frequent periods of time, typing and computer work. You may be required to lift, move, and transport related laboratory equipment. In the case of temporary or permanent condition(s) that require(s) accommodation(s), reasonable accommodation(s) may be requested.

Runs from 5/29/2023 through 8/4/2023

Understanding the Origins of Heavy Elements in the Universe

Nuclear fusion of light elements in stars cannot explain the origin and observed abundances of elements in the universe with masses greater than iron. It is believed that a significant fraction of the current heavy nuclei are formed in supernova and neutron-star mergers via rapid neutron capture (r process). The r process involves complicated chains successive neutron capture and beta decay. Starting with lighter nuclei the steps lead to heavy nuclei along paths that are far from the stable nuclei that are well known. These chains involve hundreds of nuclei that are not naturally occurring and where only a fraction can be measured in the laboratory. Those that can be measured serve as benchmarks for theoretical calculation of the rest. The Nuclear Group is currently collaborating with the Summing NaI group at the National Superconducting Cyclotron Lab to measure the half-life and beta decay intensity functions of nuclei such as 99,100Y, 62,63Cr, 64Mn, and 65Fe; all very neutron rich. The group will also be participating a number of additional measurements with the SuN group at Argonne National Labs and the Facility for Rare Isotope Beams based on detectors fabricated by Hope student researchers.

Dates subject to change.

Faculty Mentor(s): Paul DeYoung and Belen Monteagudo
Home Department: Physics

Qualifications: All students interested in this research project are encouraged to apply. Students must be current enrolled or be incoming first-year students.

Working Conditions: This position requires remaining in a sitting or standing position for frequent periods of time, typing and computer work. You may be required to lift, move, and transport related laboratory equipment. In the case of temporary or permanent condition(s) that require(s) accommodation(s), reasonable accommodation(s) may be requested.

Runs from 5/15/2023 through 7/21/2023

Political Science

GWRI - Effective Practices in Water, Sanitation and Health Interventions Globally

In 2010, access to water and sanitation was recognized as a human right. Five years later, an ambitious target of achieving universal access to safely managed water, sanitation, and hygiene services by 2030 was agreed upon in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Over ten years later, the world is still falling short of meeting this goal. As of 2020, while the global COVID-19 pandemic raged, almost half the world's population did not have access to safely managed clean water or sanitation services. One response by a variety of non-governmental organizations has been to provide water filters or other water, sanitation and hygiene trainings and interventions (WASH) at the household level. Much of the evaluation research, however, shows household level interventions have intermittent to ineffective long-term impacts. Most of this scholarship focuses primarily on small sample sizes and is conducted primarily in rural areas. My own previous work with a Hope student created a review of this literature to be used by projects working in more urban settings with larger populations as part of a systematic evaluation of such interventions. This project will continue to build on this literature compilation and analysis as well as focus specifically on what is known about work in rural areas with indigenous people groups. We will specially focus on the Maasai, Turkana and Pokot ethnic groups in Kenya. What groups have done various WASH interventions and what have been the outcomes? What works in meeting access to enough and clean water as well as fostering related health improvements in rural, indigenous communities? What costs are involved? How are local and national governmental interventions and services involved? We will work together to read and analyze previous research as well as compile currently disparate data from various non-governmental organizations (NGOs) as well as governmental sources to create a clear picture of the water and sanitation work supporting these communities.

Faculty Mentor(s): Virginia Beard
Home Department: Political Science

Qualifications: Preferred qualifications include but are not limited to: some knowledge of and interest in water issues, organization skills and oral/written communication skills to discuss and document research progress. Ability to work independently, accurately and with integrity. Ability to learn new and apply new as well as continuing research techniques, methodology and logical critical analysis well. Preferred sophomore with experience in social science research methodologies

Working Conditions: This position requires remaining in a sitting or standing position for frequent periods of time, typing and computer work. In the case of temporary or permanent condition(s) that require(s) accommodation(s), reasonable accommodation(s) may be requested. While some remote work will be part of this position, there will be an expected ability for student researcher to work at Hope, on campus, at least one-two day(s) per week.

Runs from 5/22/2023 through 7/14/2023

Renze L. Hoeksema Political Science Undergraduate Research Project

This research project is meant to expose undergraduate students to research and scholarly analysis in political science and to prepare students for careers in international relations, including but not limited to the academy, diplomacy and statesmanship, intelligence and national security, and global non-governmental organizations.This research project should identify an important question or public policy problem in one of the above-mentioned fields, present a sound and compelling methodology or research design for exploring that question or problem, and carry out the proposed research. An important expectation is that the student researcher will produce an independent work product for which he or she, with the assistance of the faculty mentor, will seek a venue or outlet for publication. The dissemination of the student research should include at least one presentation on campus and one presentation at a professional conference (for example, the Midwest Political Science Association annual meeting). The student will also work with the faculty mentor to identify potential outlets for publishing the student research, including political science journals, undergraduate research journals, and other sites.

Faculty Mentor(s): Political Science faculty member to be determined based on student project proposal
Home Department: Political Science

Qualifications: Students must be a rising junior or senior majoring in political science at Hope College by May 15. Members of the Hope College political science department will select the student recipient of the award based upon a thorough review of the applicant’s academic performance, experiences, extra-curricular involvement, and the caliber of the research proposal.

Working Conditions: This position requires remaining in a sitting or standing position for frequent periods of time, typing and computer work. In the case of temporary or permanent condition(s) that require(s) accommodation(s), reasonable accommodation(s) may be requested.

Runs from 5/15/2023 through 7/21/2023

Psychology

Assessing auditory and visual processing with evoked potentials in the house sparrow, passer domesticus

This interdisciplinary project will incorporate the disciplines of Biology, Neuroscience, and Psychology. However the project is specifically housed within the Hope College Department of Biology.

Anthropogenic disturbances have long changed the dynamics of our ecosystems and habitats. Alongside this change in the physical environment comes alterations of both the environmental light and sound profiles. New research has shed light on the strategies that animals use to signal in environments that are dominated by sound and light pollution. For example, there is repeated evidence to suggest that birds in urban areas sing at higher-frequencies to avoid masking by lower-frequency traffic noise. Less is known, however, about whether signal receivers differ in their visual and auditory physiology as a result of noise and sound pollution. As communication involves both the successful production of signals as well as the successful reception of these signals, it is imperative that we examine receiver sensory processing as a function of anthropogenic disturbance. This project will examine both the visual and auditory sensory processing of the song bird the house sparrow (passer domesticus). House sparrows frequently occupy a variety of human dominated environments and therefore span the gradient of noise and light pollution areas. We would predict that house sparrows captured in areas with greater human disturbance might show better high frequency hearing than animals captured in more rural areas; additionally, we might also expect that visual temporal resolution (e.g., the ability to of detect motion) will differ between the two populations. Studies examining the effects of human disturbance on receiver sensory processing are vitally important to developing efficient and effective conservation efforts.

Students involved in this project will be involved in both field and lab techniques including auditory and visual recordings in the field, animal handling and capture, and physiological experiments (auditory and visual evoked potential recordings) in the lab.

Faculty Mentor(s): Kelly Ronald
Home Department: Biology

Qualifications: All students interested in this research project are encouraged to apply. Current enrollment in an undergraduate program is required.

Working Conditions: This position requires remaining in a sitting or standing position for frequent periods of time, field work (personal transportation not required) typing and computer work. You may be required to lift, move, and transport related laboratory equipment. May be required to work with animals and potentially hazardous and toxic materials. In the case of temporary or permanent condition(s) that require(s) accommodation(s), reasonable accommodation(s) may be requested.

Runs from 5/8/2023 through 7/14/2023

Programmatic Belonging Cues to Elevate the Cultural Climate for Improved Undergraduate Student Success in Engineering

This five-year project focuses on increasing retention and 4-year graduation rates of engineering students at Hope College through an NSF-funded grant. Student researchers who participate in this project will be part of the evaluation team and will work this summer to analyze data from the first two years of the program. Members of the research team will work in an interdisciplinary environment that is housed in the biology department. However, the context of the research will be in engineering, and the methods used will include both psychological and educational approaches.

The work this summer will include analyzing survey data from the Basic Psychological Need Satisfaction and Frustration Scale to determine if students’ basic psychological needs were met. Furthermore, the research team will qualitative analyze interviews from engineering students to determine which interventions were most effective/ineffective in establishing a sense of belonging. This mixed methods approach will result in significant and new knowledge concerning the factors that lead to greater sense of belonging, motivation, and persistence to graduation of students in engineering. More specifically, evaluation will determine: (a) students’ feelings of motivational support, (b) how the program supports and/or frustrates feelings of motivational support, (c) if students’ experiences are similar to or different from comparison students, (d) the effects of programmatic practices on students’ motivation, and (e) the relationship between felt motivational support and retention.

Students who participate in this project will learn quantitative and qualitative methods of analysis, conduct a comprehensive literature review, and participate in the writing of a formal report for stakeholders.

Faculty Mentor(s): Stephen Scogin
Home Department: Biology

Qualifications: All students interested in this research project are encouraged to apply. Current enrollment in an undergraduate program is required.

Working Conditions: This position requires remaining in a sitting or standing position for frequent periods of time, typing and computer work. You may be required to lift, move, and transport related laboratory equipment. In the case of temporary or permanent condition(s) that require(s) accommodation(s), reasonable accommodation(s) may be requested.

Runs from 5/22/2023 through 7/28/2023

Sociology and Social Work

Studying Identity Development in Pre-Med Students

Research has shown that medical school students' empathy toward patients decreases over time. Is the empathy of pre-health students in college also decreasing over time? Since 2018, Dr. Aaron Franzen (Sociology) has given an annual survey to Hope College pre-health students with a variety of questions aimed at investigating this question and ones related to it. The survey questions cover a range of topics including religion, political views, moral foundations, empathy, demographics, and more. In summer 2022, students analyzed these survey questions using Latent Class Analysis (LCA) to determine several different groups of students who had similar survey responses, as well as examining how these groups changed over time. In summer 2023, we will have more data and will continue with LCA methods to analyze the data and also analyze the data using methods other than LCA to explore this rich longitudinal data set and address important sociological questions related to it.

Faculty Mentor(s): Paul Pearson, Mark Pearson, and Aaron Franzen
Home Department: Mathematics and Statistics

Qualifications: All students interested in this research project are encouraged to apply. Students must be current enrolled or be incoming first-year students.

Working Conditions: This position requires remaining in a sitting or standing position for frequent periods of time, field work (personal transportation not required) typing and computer work. You may be required to lift, move, and transport related laboratory equipment. May be required to work with animals and potentially hazardous and toxic materials. In the case of temporary or permanent condition(s) that require(s) accommodation(s), reasonable accommodation(s) may be requested.

Runs from 5/15/2023 through 7/21/2023

Other Information

Notice of Non-Discrimination

Hope College adheres to all federal and state civil rights laws and regulations prohibiting discrimination in private institutions of higher education.

Hope College affirms the dignity of all persons as made in the image of God. Hope College is committed to being a welcoming, vibrant and caring academic community where academic excellence and the pursuit of knowledge are strengthened by our commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion; and grounded in the historic Christian faith, where the full humanity of all may flourish in an environment in which there is room for different perspectives that bring people together. It is the policy of Hope College not to discriminate on the basis of age, disability, ethnicity, familial status, genetic information, height, national origin, race, religion (except in the event of a bona fide occupational qualification), sex (including gender expression, gender identity, pregnancy, sexual orientation), theological perspectives (e.g., conservative, progressive, traditional), veteran status, weight or any other legally protected attribute, status or characteristic.

Our commitment to an equitable and inclusive place of learning, living, and working together, and to prevent discrimination and harassment, is the responsibility of all members of the Hope community.

This policy covers nondiscrimination in all the College’s programs and activities, including employment, admissions, and access to educational opportunities.

The following individual has been designated to handle inquiries regarding the College’s nondiscrimination policies:

Senior Director of Equity and Compliance
Office of Equity and Compliance
DeWitt Center, Room 220
(616) 395-6816

For further information, you can contact the local Office for Civil Rights at:

Office for Civil Rights (Cleveland Office), U.S. Department of Education
1350 Euclid Avenue, Suite 325
Cleveland, OH 44115-1812
216-522-4970

Here is a link to a video from the U.S. Department of Education: How to File a Complaint with the Office for Civil Rights (OCR)

Request Accomodations

If you are a qualified individual with a disability or a disabled veteran, you may request a reasonable accommodation if you are unable or limited in your ability to access job openings or to apply for a job on this site as a result of your disability. You can request reasonable accommodations by contacting Human Resources by email at hr@hope.edu or by phone at 616.395.7811.

Notice of Filing

Notice of Filing
Pursuant to 20 CFR §655.734(a)(1)(ii)

Please take notice that Hope College has filed a labor condition application in connection with petitioning for one (1) H-1B nonimmigrant. The labor condition application involves a nonimmigrant in the occupational classification of Chemistry Teachers, Postsecondary at $71,327 per year from 07/01/2022 to 06/30/2025 at 35 East 12th Street, Holland, MI, 49423. The labor condition application is available for public inspection at 141 East 12th Street, Holland, MI 49423. Complaints alleging misrepresentation of material facts in the labor condition application and/or failure to comply with the terms of the labor condition application may be filed with any office of the Wage and Hour Division of the United States Department of Labor.

Committment to Diverse Hiring

Hope College is committed to continuing to develop a diverse and inclusive community through its summer research recruitment and hiring process. Candidates from underrepresented backgrounds or historically underrepresented groups are encouraged to apply.