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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 2019 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:  Microscopy for Life Detection
Disciplines:  Physics/Applied Physics, Computer Science
Mentor:  Christian Lindensmith, (JPL),, Phone: (818) 354-6697
Background:  We are developing advanced microscopes for terrestrial field use and potential proposal to planetary lander opportunities. These methods typically use simple optics combined with computational methods to make high throughput observations at high resolution. Multiple opportunities are possible depending on student interests and backgrounds.
Description:  Multiple types of project are possible, with a variety of subsets in each. Projects can include hands on assembly and testing of benchtop and/or field microscope optics, electronics, and fluid handling systems. A second category of project is analysis of existing data. We have extensive data sets of field and laboratory data and are working to develop automated techniques for evaluating the data. Projects in this category would involve a combination of hand analysis of existing datasets and possible algorithm development to automate the processing, including comparison of the performance of automated methods with expert observations. Work in this category would include using and developing computer tools (starting from Matlab, ImageJ, or similar tools) for hand analysis and algorithm development. Interest in behavior of bacteria or fluid dynamics of small particles would be particularly valuable here.
References:  1. Lindensmith, Christian A., et al. A submersible, off-axis holographic microscope for detection of microbial motility and morphology in aqueous and icy environments PloS one 11.1 (2016): e0147700.
2. Bedrossian, Manuel; Lindensmith, Christian A; Nadeau, Jay. Detection of microorganisms with digital holographic microscopy in plume samples from Enceladus and other icy worlds Astrobiology.
3. Bedrossian, Manuel; Barr, Casey; Lindensmith, Christian A; Nealson, Kenneth; Nadeau, Jay. Quantifying microorganisms at low concentrations using digital holographic video microscopy (DHM) Journal of Visualized Experiments.
Student Requirements:  Some programming and software development ability is required, with preference for at least familiarity with Matlab, python, Java, or ImageJ/FIJI. Familiarity with Fourier transforms and their properties is a plus, as is electricity and magnetism and properties of light. For data analysis oriented projects, some experience or interest in biological microscopy or observation of particles in flows is a plus.
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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