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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:  Europa Clipper Bulk Materials Database Development
Disciplines:  Biology/Bioengineering, Microbiology
Mentor:  Emily Seto, (JPL), emily.p.seto@jpl.nasa.gov
Mentor URL:  https://planetaryprotection.jpl.nasa.gov/seto-bio  (opens in new window)
Background:  With the Europa Clipper mission set to investigate Europa, requirements must be met to prevent inadvertent contamination of a possible ocean or liquid water body. It is a requirement for spacecraft hardware to undergo a minimum 3-order bulk HMR to reduce the bioburden present on the spacecraft hardware and to help achieve the <1x10-4 probability of contamination of Europa. A subset of the bioburden consists of microorganisms that are encapsulated in materials. The goal of this project is for bulk materials that cannot withstand the traditional sterilization procedures, to be assessed and quantified for native, encapsulated bioburden. This process will involve testing materials with the current procedures, formulating new procedures, and developing a materials database that can be used as a reference point for future projects.
Description:  The intern will conduct analysis of the bulk materials applied on the spacecraft along with protocol development for different material types. Processing of the bulk materials for native, encapsulated bioburden will include utilization of equipment such as (Waring Blender and Cryogenic Grinder) followed by standard microbial culturing techniques to calculate colony forming units or a non-culture, molecular-based approach. Other skills desired include the following: qPCR, PCR, wet lab skills, aseptic technique, statistics, and data analysis.
References:  https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0273117716001113
Student Requirements:  Applicants who have a background in both microbiology/molecular biology and have worked in a departmental laboratory. Experience outside of academia is highly preferred. Familiarity with aseptic technique and molecular methods are also desired.
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    Caltech students only 

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


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