SURF 2021

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This page is intended for students interested in working on SURF projects in the Summer of 2021. It contains information about how to apply for a SURF project in my group along with a list of project areas.

Note: Projects will be posted here starting after finals week and up to the start of classes. Please check back after that time for more information.

Applying for a SURF project

Because I get many students interested in doing SURFs in my group and because we have several projects available, we use the first few weeks in January to sort out who we will work with in writing proposals. We only submit one proposal per project area and so we often can't accommodate everyone who wants to work in my group over the summer.

  1. A list of SURF project descriptions is given in the table below. Due to the number of SURF projects that we support, we are only able to support students who select from among these projects. Please make sure to read the project descriptions, required skills (if any) and skim a few of the listed references before contacting me about doing a SURF project.
  2. Students interested in writing proposals for SURF projects should contact me via e-mail by 8 Jan (Fri) and provide the following information:
    • A list of up to three SURF projects from the list below that you are interested in working on
    • A one page resume listing relevant experience and coursework
    • If you are not a Caltech student, I will also need the following additional information:
      • An unofficial copy of your academic transcript
      • Names of two faculty members at your current institution that I can contact for a reference
  3. Starting on 9 January, I will go through all applications and work with my group to identify who is a possible fit for each project. We will then contact you and ask for you to meet (or talk with) possible co-mentors so that we can eventually work out who we will work with in writing up a proposal.
  4. We hope to make final decisions on projects by about 18 Jan, at which point we will start working with students on writing up proposals.
  5. All applications should go through the normal SURF application process, described at SURF applications are due on ~22 Feb.
  6. If you are selected for a SURF, please be aware of the following information
    • All SURF projects in my group will start on 15 Jun (Tue). If you can't start on that date, please make sure that you indicate this when you contact me
    • All SURF projects are for a minimum of 10 weeks, although I usually recommend that you try to stay for 12 weeks if possible. It's hard to complete a project in just 10 weeks and spending a few extra weeks can greatly improve the project.
    • All SURF students in my group will be expected to devote full-time effort to their SURF project, so you cannot have a second job in addition to your SURF.
    • Additional information on SURF available here:

List of available projects

Projects will be posted as they come available. I recommend waiting until near the deadline submission before submitting your project preferences.

Title Grant/Project Co-Mentors Comments
Genetically-Programmed Synthetic Cells and Multi-Cellular Machines NSF Cell Free None Multiple projects may be available; competitive selection
Test Design for Extremely Resilient System AFOSR T&E Josefine Graebener
Modeling tools for design and analysis of synthetic biological circuits NSF Cell Free Ayush Pandey
Optimizing cell extract for a proto-flagellar system NSF EAGER Manisha Kapasiawala