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SURF: Announcements of Opportunity

Below are Announcements of Opportunity posted by Caltech faculty and JPL technical staff for the SURF program. Additional AOs for the Amgen Scholars program can be found here.

Specific GROWTH projects being offerred for summer 2018 can be found here.

Each AO indicates whether or not it is open to non-Caltech students. If an AO is NOT open to non-Caltech students, please DO NOT contact the mentor.

Announcements of Opportunity are posted as they are received. Please check back regularly for new AO submissions! Remember: This is just one way that you can go about identifying a suitable project and/or mentor.

Announcements for external summer programs are listed here.

Students pursuing opportunities at JPL must be
U.S. citizens or U.S. permanent residents.

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Project:  MALDI-TOF Isolate Database Generation & Planetary Protection Archive Upkeep
Disciplines:  Biology/Bioengineering, Computer Science
Mentor:  Wayne Schubert, (JPL),, Phone: (818) 354-2999
Background:  The MALDI Biotyper CA (Bruker corporation), is a fast, accurate and effective microbial identification system. The MALDI Biotyper identifies microorganisms using MALDI-TOF (Matrix Assisted Laser Desorption Ionization-Time of Flight) Mass Spectrometry to measure a unique molecular fingerprint of highly abundant proteins that are found in all microorganisms. The characteristic patterns of these proteins are used to reliably and accurately identify a particular microorganism down to the species level by matching the respective pattern with a proprietary database. The Bruker MALDI Biotyper instrument and its associated database provide a fast and feasible technical path forward for the analysis of spacecraft microbial isolates. This Biotyper provides for a high-throughput and easy utilization into the current existing flow (e.g. can use the isolates that are directly growing from the NASA Standard Assay). The technical bottleneck is the limited number of bacterial isolates in the current Bruker database (~3000 bacterial isolates). The current database is not comprehensive enough to encompass bacterial species found in the spacecraft assembly clean rooms. In absence of such database, we will be unable to get identification or get false positive identifications. Development of this database will allow JPL researchers to quickly identify spacecraft-associated microbes. Once this comprehensive database is available, MALDI biotyper profiling will be a potential contender to 16S sequence fingerprinting (currently used technology) for generating a rapid, high-confidence inventory of planetary protection isolates.
Description:  During this study, MALDI biotyper profiles will be generated of all the unique bacterial isolates from the planetary protection archiving collection that are already identified based on 16S sequencing. In addition, planetary protection isolate archive and laboratory maintenance activities will be performed.
Student Requirements:  Microbiology, familiar with MALDI-TOF analysis for isolates
Location / Safety:  Project building and/or room locations: . Student will need special safety training: Yes.
Programs:  This AO can be done under the following programs:

  Program    Available To
       SURF    both Caltech and non-Caltech students 

Click on a program name for program info and application requirements.

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