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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:  Genetic inventory of microbes present on spacecraft and spacecraft associated surfaces.
Disciplines:  Biology/Bioengineering, Genetics, Microbiology, Biochemistry
Mentor:  Lisa Guan, (JPL), lisa.guan@jpl.nasa.gov, Phone: (818) 354-2814
Background:  In compliance with the Committee on Space Research Planetary Protection Policy, NASA monitors the total microbial burden of spacecraft as a means for minimizing forward contamination, which is the inadvertent transfer of viable contaminant microorganisms, to extraterrestrial environments. It is critical to identify and document all potential sources of biological contamination from pre-flight spacecraft hardware. Conventional microbiological approaches have examined cultivable and non-cultivable microorganisms, but currently, taxonomic metagenomics is the best approach we have to determine the microbial biodiversity without the need of isolation and lab cultivation of individual species. A metagenomics approach provides a comprehensive taxonomic profile of a microbial community in a given habitat. This project will apply laboratory protocols that are at the cutting-edge of environmental genomics technology to identify, document, and archive the broadest spectrum possible of potential terrestrial contaminants from critical spacecraft hardware during the M2020 spacecraft assembly process.
Description:  The M2020 Genetic Inventory project aims to identify, document, and archive all potential sources of biological contamination from
M2020 flight hardware. Samples collected from spacecraft hardware and associated surfaces will be processed for DNA extraction, DNA quantification, genomic library preparation, and DNA sequencing. The task involves joining staff scientists in conducting a sample processing workflow for low-biomass samples. The student will have hands-on experience with state-of-the-art molecular biology lab techniques and instruments.
References: 

https://planetaryprotection.jpl.nasa.gov/ https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Kasthuri_Venkateswaran2/publication/263536268_Venkateswaran_K_La_Duc_M_T_Vaishampayan_P_2012_Genetic_Inventory_Task_Final_Report_JPL_Publication_12-12_In_pp_1-117_Pasadena_CA_Jet_Propulsion_Laboratory_California_Institute_of_Technology/links/0f31753bc2633224dc000000/Venkateswaran-K-La-Duc-M-T-Vaishampayan-P-2012-Genetic-Inventory-Task-Final-Report-JPL-Publication-12-12-In-pp-1-117-Pasadena-CA-Jet-Propulsion-Laboratory-California-Institute-of-Technology.pdf
Student Requirements:  Molecular Biology
Genetics
Biology
Biochemistry
Chemistry
Organic Chemistry
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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