Undergraduate Research

Department Chair: Alan West, 801 Mudd, 212-854-4453


Research in this laboratory will involve experimental studies in protein engineering. Molecular biology tools and techniques will be used including genetic engineering, electrophoresis, chromatography, and assay development. Academic credit and work study are available. Students should be prepared to commit at least 8 hours per week in exchange for academic credit.

Contact: Professor Scott Banta,, 820 Mudd, 212-854-7531


  • engineering of protein molecules using recombinant DNA technology

  • protein purification and protein analysis

  • mathematical modeling of metabolic networks


These projects all involve experimental studies and require at least 6 hours per week commitment. Opportunities are available to study new/unique synthetic materials, mainly macromolecular (i.e., polymeric), for potential applications as advanced coatings, sensors, and thin films. Other projects address characterizing materials used in drug manufacture, packaging, and delivery. Participants learn experimental methods and are responsible for systematic application of the methods, data reduction, and reporting of results. Projects can be undertaken for academic credit or may involve sponsored internships.

Projects are available to exploit computing skills for materials research, teaching, or Internet applications. Participants normally enroll for academic credit, but work study and internships may be available. Familiarity with Windows- and/or UNIX-based operating systems is necessary, and depending on the project, knowledge of computing languages/software packages (e.g., Fortran, C, Mathcad, IDL) and/or Web-development tools (e.g., html) is also necessary.

Contact: Professor Chris Durning,, 801 Mudd, 212-854-8161

  • advanced materials research: behavior of macromolecules in solution; adsorption and self-assembly of macromolecules and nanoparticles; characterization of materials for pharmaceutical applications

  • computing: computer simulation of molecular systems; data analysis; software development; Web page development


These activities include experimental laboratory work such as polymer synthesis, analysis of soft material surfaces and properties, construction of novel instrumentation for characterizing polymeric materials, as well as some theoretical calculations of polymer properties. Students should be prepared to commit 6–8 hours per week to attain academic credit.

Contact: Professor Jeff Koberstein,, 801 Mudd, 212-854-3120


  • chemical patterning of polymer surfaces

  • decoration of biomaterial surfaces with cell adhesion ligands

  • gas separation membranes prepared from silicon oxides

  • polymeric surfactants for supercritical carbon dioxide


The laboratory can host three undergraduate students at most at any one time; students seeking long-term associations are preferred. The first opportunity involves both experimental and modeling work associated with the development of a blood-processing device (artificial kidney). The second opportunity involves use of computational flow modeling (CFM) to simulate cell capture in a system designed to recover fetal cells from maternal tissue. It carries the possibility of a summer internship with a collaborating California company. Any academic credit and/or wages are normally available only after a probationary period that may be as long as an academic year. The weekly time commitment will be at least 10 hours. Previous employment, not necessarily professional, is desirable. Students must have a GPA of 3.3 or higher.

Contact: Professor Edward Leonard,, 801 Mudd, 212-854-4448; laboratory: 1033 Mudd (212-854-3007);

  • study of transport phenomena in microfluidic flow of blood

  • modeling and simulation of cell capture in microfluidic arrays


Activities will entail a weekly time commitment of 4 hours or more. Both academic credit and remunerative positions available. Term-time and summer positions available.

Contact: Professor Ben O’Shaughnessy,, 1006 Mudd, 212-854-3203


  • biology of the cell and applications: fusion and crossing of cell membrane barriers; viral defense and drug delivery strategies; cell healing; intracellular trafficking; the immune system; evolution

  • computer projects: developing interactive Web-based learning interfaces; JavaScript modules for dynamic graphic visualization; Web site development


This opportunity involves primarily experimental work in support of doctoral research projects. The work will provide exposure to basic electrochemical experiments and may involve some optical and electronic microscopy. Some opportunities may exist for enhancing the group’s software infrastructure. Students should be prepared to commit approximately 6–8 hours per week in exchange for academic credit ( CHEN E3900: Undergraduate research project). Work-study opportunities may exist.

Contact: Professor Alan West,, 801 Mudd, 212-854-4453

  • electrochemistry, with applications in fuel cells, corrosion or metallization of electronic, magnetical, or mechanical devices

500 W. 120th St., Mudd 801, New York, NY 10027    212-854-4453                 
©2018 Columbia University