While planning the Tufts Math and Science Open House, which will be occurring on Monday, October 28th (hope to see you all there!), I have learned so many amazing things about my classmates and peers. The research opportunities for undergraduates at this university are incredible and limitless.
Many of the panelists and tour guides that will be facilitating next month’s open house participated in the Summer Scholars Program, which is an initiative that offers research apprenticeships to students with Tufts professors and faculty members. The university supports 40-50 Tufts undergraduates, and not only gives them an extremely generous scholarship, but also covers all research expenses with the hope that the research will lead to a senior honors thesis. While recruiting qualified students to speak at the open house, and lets face it they are all more than qualified, I learned a lot about the research that my classmates and peers have been working on.
Here are some examples of research projects Tufts students created this past summer under the guidance of Tufts professors. Within the chemistry department, one student’s project looked at the chemical analysis of Martian meteorite samples. In the biochemistry department through the Tufts School of Medicine, a student did research on the characterization of metabolic change in breast cancer. Under the guidance of my own academic advisor and favorite biology professor, Philip Starks, a student looked at the relationship between native and invasive wasps on Loval Lepidopteran populations. A quantitative economics major did research through the Public Health and Community Medicine department at the Tufts School of Medicine, conducting qualitative research to develop a quantitative measure of family meals as it pertains to adolescent risk prevention. Through the Tufts Freidman School of Nutrition, a student looked at the characteristics and implications of the global contemporary infant food market. One of my classmates did research on the neuropharmacology of excessive alcohol drinking within the biopsychology department. One of my teammates on the track team did a project on the role of polymerase theta in interstrand crosslink repair and the characterization of null mus308 mutant, in the biology department. The list goes on and on!
The research opportunities offered at Tufts are very unique compared to other liberal arts colleges, which was one of the main reasons this university appealed to me. As a biopsychology major, I did research in the Tufts biomedical engineering department for a summer. The research I worked on, under the guidance of a PhD student in the department, looked at the dynamics of constructing brain tissue for brain transplants, which could be used to cure diseases that involve a loss of brain function, such as Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease. The goal of my research was to see if using frozen rat neural cells over fresh cells would increase or decrease the survival rate of the neural tissue cells.
By now you can see that opportunities for undergraduates to participate in groundbreaking research are plentiful at Tufts. Come to the Math and Science Open House on October 28th to learn more and meet the researchers themselves!