Projects looking for students

Do you need students?

If you are a faculty member or graduate student with a project and you are seeking undergraduates, please let us know so we can share your opportunity. We will post your project on this page as well as email our students.

Please check back often!
New listings are posted when received. Even if some appear out of date, it's worth checking with the faculty member.


DBF group

Ana Aguilar-Islas
Associate Professor of Chemical Oceanography

We are seeking two or three students (juniors or seniors) to join our team from June 3 to August 23, 2019.

The Northern Gulf of Alaska Long Term Ecological Research (NGA LTER) project invites undergraduate students to participate in our interdisciplinary oceanographic research. We seek highly motivated undergraduates with interest in marine science, biology, chemistry, physics, and/or computer science to work with scientists at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. The students’ research will integrate with work currently being done on the NGA LTER ecosystem. Oceanographic research projects include water column characterization measurements, zooplankton studies, particle dynamics studies, data analysis, and numerical oceanographic modeling.

College level background in biology, chemistry, physics, computer science, or marine science is required.
Other requirements include the ability to carefully follow instructions, to work well in a team setting, and to have good communication skills.
Desired qualities include upper division status in a B.S. program, with an interest in continuing scientific research upon graduation.

Must be a registered student in an undergraduate program.
Citizenship or permanent residency in the United States or its possessions is required.
Members of groups under-represented in earth and environmental science are particularly encouraged to apply.

$12/hr for a summer full-time position (40 hours per week) over 12 weeks.


To apply, email your resume and a cover letter to Elizabeth Dobbins ( The cover letter should include a brief description of your interest in participating in LTER research. Make sure your resume includes:

Contact information: email address and telephone numbers,
Applicable completed coursework,
Previous laboratory/field experience, and
Anticipated graduation date
Preliminary contact with potential mentors is highly suggested. You can find potential mentors and their fields of study on our Personnel Page.





Ana Aguilar-Islas
Associate Professor of Chemical Oceanography

We are looking for a detail-oriented student (sophomore, junior or senior) to help with general laboratory activities in preparation for our Arctic drift expedition. Previous laboratory experience is desired.

The student should be available to work ~10 hrs. per week (flexible times) during the Spring semester (2019). The rate is $10.50 per hr.

To apply go to:
Please include in your application a note stating you are applying to the lab assistant position in the chemical oceanography lab.





Andrej Podlutsky
Associate Professor of Molecular Biology
(907) 474-6759
Office: AHRB-2W04

* Hibernation and DNA repair.
Hibernating animals exhibit low body temperature for several months. Most known cellular repair enzymes are active at normal body temperature removing all kind of DNA damages. So what happens to this process when animals are hibernating? One of the possible protective mechanisms during hibernation is DNA compaction, when vast stretches of DNA are compacted, becoming structurally similar to heterochromatin, and inaccessible for transcription. In collaboration with Dr. Kelly drew Lab we are studying this process in Arctic ground squirrels, which lives at least twice as long as similar size rats. Relevance to the field of aging research: it has long been noted that hibernating mammalian species are long-lived compared to similarly sized non-hibernators. However, an exact molecular mechanism(s) remains elusive. With our current project, we will be able to determine not only the importance of DNA compaction for cellular protection but also shed light on a possible molecular mechanism behind the exceptional longevity of hibernators.

* DNA repair in virally infected cells.
Humans come into regular contact with a spectrum of infectious agents, such as viruses. According to the CDC, there are over 200 viruses that contribute to just the common cold. Viruses will infect host cell DNA and begin to produce new viruses. In addition to viral challenges, cells must defend against endogenous threats like oxidative stress, which cause a variety of DNA damage and could lead to mutations. Our hypothesis is that the virus-infected cells could not repair their own damaged DNA properly and as a result, the damage is passed onto subsequent generations in the form of mutations. Accumulation of damaged and mutated DNA results in a predisposition to cancer and subsequent progression to tumor formation. For example, individuals infected with HIV/AIDS, show a greater increase in certain types of cancer, like Kaposi sarcoma and leukemia. Using the BCBL1 cell line as a model, we are studying DNA repair during the lytic-stage of viral infection.

* DNA repair in cancer cell lines.
The National Institute of Health lists approximately one hundred human cancerous cell lines, which are used in research in the USA and worldwide. Most of these cell lines exhibit some degree of genome instabilities, like chromosomal aberrations, genes loss, and point mutations. However, in many cases little is known about DNA repair processes in those cell lines. We are studying just that, how cancerous cell lines are dealing with the DNA damage caused by X-ray or UV-C exposures, how they activate apoptotic or survival programs. By doing this, we will provide cancer researchers with valuable information on widely-used cancer cell lines.

* Gene-specific DNA repair.
DNA strands breaks are the major form of DNA damage after radiation exposure.  Any DNA damage should be recognized and repaired by cellular repair machinery.  Unrepaired DNA damage can lead to various diseases, notably -cancer.  The initial amount of DNA damage can be correlated to the exposure dose of radiation and this used to predict later-occurring health effects.  Broken strands in cellular DNA are traditionally quantified by the comet assay, which is a single-cell gel electrophoresis technique that typically involves a one-time screening of the extent of DNA damage in live cells. It has long been suggested, but never proven, that cell has a special repair mechanism that distinguishes DNA damage in coding regions, genes and exons, from damages found in “junk” DNA, uncoding/repetitive regions of genome. With our invention, the v-comet technique, we could separate and collect undamaged DNA from damaged/unrepaired DNA regions and study them in comparison. This is of special interest for the cancer research, because causal link between genome stability and cancer progression is not resolved.

Freshman, Sophomore or Junior standing. GPA 3.0 or higher with a strong desire to do research in a lab - about 20 hours/week.  Even if you do not have lab experience, you should consider applying.

Assistance Provided
Laboratory training, authorship on publication (your research) and a strong recommendation letter (upon completion of the project). Possibility of pay.

Uma Bhatt
Professor of Atmospheric Sciences

Are you interested in mining big data to investigate Alaska/Arctic climate or fire weather and sea ice seasonal forecasts? Do you like to make plots to explain the story that climate data tells? Contact Dr. Bhatt to learn more about potential projects related to high-latitude climate processes. 


Contact: Dr. Nicole Mölders
Professor of Atmospheric Sciences

Undergraduate students interested in:

1) Research on the thermal comfort at various ambient temperatures
- Carrying out comfort surveys and relating them to meteorological conditions.
- Students from engineering, geography and geophysics are encouraged to apply

2) Transpiration experiments
- Building a mannequin that pulls water from a reservoir to measure its skin temperature, evaporation of water at different ambient air temperatures.


Richard Collins
Professor of Atmospheric Science
(907) 474-7607
301 Akasofu Building

Undergraduates have the opportunity to work on a variety of projects addressing the weather and climate of the upper atmosphere. Students can work on experimental projects and observations associated with the Lidar Research Laboratory at Poker Flat Research Range (LRL-PFRR). Students can also work on analytical projects using datasets that have been acquired at LRL-PFRR.

Contact: Dr. Javier Fochesatto
Professor of Atmospheric Sciences

Upper level (juniors/seniors) undergraduates (Physics, Chemistry, Engineering, Biology, Natural Resources) can apply to work with one of the following research lines:
1) Lidar remote sensing studies of microphysical properties of aerosols and clouds.
2) Lidar Remote Sensing - Polarimetry and Raman Spectroscopy - .
3) Chemical speciation and microphysical characteristics of volcanic ashes and Alaskan pollen by means of Laser Raman Spectroscopy and FT-IR microspectroscopy.
4) Changes in biogeochemical functions in boreal forest associated to extreme summer environmental conditions in high latitude.
5) Exploring new satellite remote sensing platforms for surface fluxes retrievals.
6) Use of CFD codes to compute aerodynamic performance in Unmanned Aircraft systems


Steffi Ickert-Bond
Associate Professor of Botany and Curator of the Herbarium (ALA), UA Museum
907-474-6277 (office)

Campbell Webb

Dr. Ickert-Bond is looking for three highly motivated students to work with plant taxonomy and contribute to the development of the new Flora of Alaska. Students will help with taxonomic detective work, data curation, and gain skills in biodiversity informatics. Opportunities start with one semester and may available for up to three years.

Students may be any year of study and will earn $12/hour. The call for this position will be on UAF job site soon.
Taylor Stinchcomb   

Todd Brinkman

Alaska EPSCoR is seeking an undergraduate student (sophomore, junior or senior) to assist with a data visualization project for the Spring semester. The student will work with researchers to design and execute an interactive visualization of soundscape research on aircraft activity over traditional (subsistence) harvest areas. The data were collected along caribou harvest corridors for the village of Nuiqsut in 2016. Preference will be given to a student from a North Slope community who is currently in good academic standing at UAF.

Some experience with web design, computer programming and/or GIS would be beneficial but not required.

Student Assistant C position, up to 20 hours per week


Falk Huettmann

Seeking 2 students, any year of study, willing to learn and work on GIS, climate and wildlife data.
This project provides opportunities for students to explore and work-up specific forestry and climate GIS data for birds and habitats in Interior Alaska.

Students will gain experience in learning geographic information systems (GIS, ArcGIS or QGIS), insights into landscape ecology, bird, habitat and climate management issues, and digital data skills for Alaska. Office space, hardware and software provided.

Experience required:
R skills would ideal, or at least a willingness to learn

None provided. Students would need to seek funding from URSA Project application or find another source if they require funding. Project coordinator would help with the process.



Steffi Ickert-Bond
Associate Professor of Botany and Curator of the Herbarium (ALA), UA Museum
907-474-6277 (office)

This study will expand our understanding of the role of glacial cycles in producing genetic and taxonomic diversity by untangling the complex network of divergences and hybridization events that have generated diversity in a Beringian polyploid complex.  Learn state-of-the art
molecular sequencing techniques to better understand plant biodiversity in Alaska and visit some amazing field sites in the Aleutians.

Ickert-Bond lab website

Herbarium website and Facebook collections/herb/ ALAHerbarium/


Dr. Javier Fochessato
317 Akasofu Building
Upper level (juniors/seniors) undergraduates can apply to work with one of the following research lines:

1) Lidar remote sensing studies of microphysical properties of aerosols and clouds. 
In this research line we are working on applications of a newly developed Full Stokes Lidar. Applications to Clouds and Aerosols.
This research will be partially in the laboratory to set up the lidar receiver and perform lidar observations and, partially dedicated to run scattering codes to analyze field observations. 
Students from Engineering, Physics or Applied Mathematics are encouraged to apply.
2) Lidar Remote Sensing - Polarimetry and Raman Spectroscopy - . 
This project is in the construction and calibration phase. The instrument is intended to demonstrate the feasibility to simultaneously determine the fractions of ice, liquid and water vapor in tropospheric aerosols and cloud layers by means of laser spectroscopy.
The research will be in laboratory helping on instrument construction and calibration as well as in running the first set of observations. 
Students from Engineering or Physics are encouraged to apply. 
3) Chemical speciation and microphysical characteristics of volcanic ashes and Alaskan pollen by means of Laser Raman Spectroscopy and FT-IR microspectroscopy.
This research is to help in the determination of chemical species of volcanic ashes and Alaskan pollen through spectroscopic techniques. 
The student will run samples in the lab and then determine the chemical composition based on multiparametric non-linear fitting code developed in  Matlab. 
Students from Chemistry, Environmental Chemistry and Engineering,  Physics and Applied Mathematics are encouraged to apply. 
4) Changes in biogeochemical functions in boreal forest associated to extreme summer environmental conditions in high latitude. 
This research requires an analysis of large scale reanalysis data and in parallel determination of heat, moisture and carbon fluxes. 
Students from Biology, Ecology, Natural Resources and Physics are encouraged to apply.
5) Exploring new satellite remote sensing platforms for surface fluxes retrievals. 
This research entails processing new NASA and NOAA satellite remote sensing platforms and to explore the calculation of surface fluxes of heat and moisture. This effort has connections to Agricultural and hydrology research and to atmospheric sciences remote sensing and modeling cal/val. 
Students from Natural Resources, Engineering, Physics, etc. are encouraged to apply.

6) Use of CFD codes to compute aerodynamic performance in UAS systems
Implementation of Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) solver oriented to unmanned aircraft systems development. CFD codes are used to numerically solve the fluid the around wings and aircraft body to compute lifting, drag and momentum in dynamic flying conditions and control. Familiarity with C language and Python is preferred. Students from Mechanical Engineering, Applied Mathematics and Physics are encourage to apply.


Contact:Office of Intellectual Property and Commercialization

OIPC welcomes applications from students interested in assisting with creating marketability reports for technologies owned by UAF.  Each report will analyze where a technology may fit in the market, assess the technology's stage of development, identify potential customers, and describe any work that must occur before delivering the technology to the market. This opportunity is open to students in the business, science, and engineering disciplines. Students will be expected to put in up to 60 hours of work; compensation of up to $750 is available.

UAF’s office of Intellectual Property and Commercialization (OIPC) works to identify university innovations, analyze such technologies for marketability and patentability, protect the technologies as intellectual property, and market and license the technologies for the benefit of the public, the university, and our community."