The Vertically Integrated Projects (VIP) program provides undergraduate students the opportunity to participate in multiyear, multidisciplinary, team-based projects under the guidance of faculty and graduate students in their areas of expertise. Undergraduate students can earn technical elective or free elective course credits (depending on major) for working on specific research projects with other undergraduates, graduate students, and faculty, in their research labs. This is a valuable team-based learning experience on cutting-edge topics that will greatly enhance your resume when applying for jobs or graduate school.

The goals of the VIP program are to:

  • Provide the time and context necessary for undergraduate students to learn and practice many different professional skills, make substantial technical contributions to the project, and experience many different roles on a large design team
  • Support long-term interaction between the faculty, graduate and undergraduate students on the team. The graduate students assist the faculty in mentoring the undergraduates as they work on the design projects embedded in the graduate students' research
  • Enable the completion of large-scale design projects that are of significant benefit to the associated research programs

New Teams for 2017

This spring 2017 semester there is one new VIP team and seven existing VIP teams that are looking for new students to join them. Information on these teams is included below. Interested students are strongly encouraged to contact the team advisers to find out how to apply for the team and preregister for the appropriate VIP class section. Space is limited and teams can fill up fast!

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In addition to earning course credits, students benefit from their VIP experience in the following ways:

  • Provide a realistic experience as part of a large multidisciplinary design/discovery team – work with many different personalities towards a common goal, just as you will in the work force
  • Learn and practice many different practical skills in their field – apply the knowledge you learn in other classes and learn new skills in a practical environment
  • Opportunity to learn/master different roles and skills in a team-based environment – progress from “new-hire” to experienced worker, to team leader
  • Provide an in-depth experience in their field that can help guide and motivate their other course work – see why you are covering certain topics in other classes and how they are applied in the real world
  • Authentic multi-disciplinary experience through knowledge exchange across many boundaries – work with students from other majors/disciplines, other years, and other areas of expertise/experience
  • Provide a greater sense of “community” within their university experience – make new friends in your major and others, learn what faculty and graduate students really do
  • Understand the process of innovation and discovery – put your skills and creativity to work creating “new” things, document and present your creations to the community at large

 

Collaborative Unmanned Aerial Vehicles

Unmanned Aerial Vehicles

Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) are currently the most dynamic growth sector of the international aerospace industry. The Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI) and other industry groups predict that in the next 3 to 4 years, more than 70,000 jobs will be created in the UAV area with an economic impact of more than $13.6 billion. By 2025, that could increase to more than 100,000 jobs and an economic impact of $82 billion. While military uses such as intelligence surveillance and reconnaissance (called ISR) are what people are most familiar with, civilian applications are increasing at a rapid rate and are predicted to eclipse military applications as the most promising areas for UAVs. These civilian applications include such things as aerial photography and cinematography, for which UAVs are already in wide use, to agricultural crop inspection and maintenance, wildlife monitoring and protection, land surveying, utility right-of-way inspection, fire fighting, disaster and emergency relief efforts, and search and rescue.

Learn more about UAV Team

Engineering Critical Patient Care

Critical Patient Care

The work environment for Anesthesiologists in the surgical theater, ICU and patient transport is little changed for decades. Significant improvements can be made in patient safety, ergonomics and work flow for anesthesiologists, technicians and nurses. There are a number of potential projects which individually can significantly improve the environment for anesthesiologists and other providers resulting in improving the standard of patient care.

Learn more about the Engineering Critical Patient Care Team

'Skintronics' Electronic System on the Skin

Since 1979 when the first transdermal delivery of scopolamine was approved in the US, transdermal drug delivery (TDD) has been of a great interest due to the enhanced delivery effectiveness compared to the conventional oral intake that has a limitation of diminished drug concentration in the body. The TDD method has demonstrated that it can resolve issues of inconvenient intravenous injections. An advanced TDD system that uses penetration enhancers has offered efficient transportation of drug from the skin (stratum corneum) into blood vessels. However, the major concern of the TDD approach was to minimize pain from needle injection. Recently developed methods using silicon microneedles have addressed the aforementioned issue by offering effective tissue penetration. 

Learn more about the Skintronics Team

Medical Device Development and Prototyping

Medical Device Design and Prototyping Thumbnail
Medical device development is a growing industry, with a total revenue of about $110 billion and a projected growth rate of 5%.  Electro-medical/therapeutic devices currently occupy about 33% of that market.  In the Electromagnetics lab, researchers apply electromagnetic principles to the design and development of diagnostic and therapeutic tools, primarily in the area of cancer and diabetes research.  Ongoing research includes using hyperthermia as a direct or collateral approach to cancer therapy, glucose monitoring and delivery systems, the development of bio-mimicking gels, and other projects that result as a direct collaboration with the medical or dental communities.  Students engaged in this work through the VIP program will be trained in the fundamentals of electromagnetic theory as well as relevant software and hardware that will be used in the execution of their research and development projects.

Learn more about the Medical Device Design and Prototyping Team

Nanoinformatics

Nanoinformatics Team
There is a critical need to automatically extract and synthesize knowledge and trends in nanotechnology research from an exponentially increasing body of literature. New engineered nanomaterials (ENMs), such as nanomedicines, are continuously being discovered and Natural Language Processing (NLP) approaches can semi‐automate the cataloging of ENMs and their unique physico‐chemical properties. Although lagging behind the discovery of biomedical relationships, the proposed applications of ENMs can also be linked to their physico‐chemical properties using NLP techniques. The potential for unintended consequences resulting from the commercialization of any emerging technology, including nanotechnology, underscores the need for risk assessment to keep pace with ENMs discovery and application. NLP approaches can be used to automatically aggregate studies on the exposure and hazard of ENMs as well as link the physicochemical properties to the measured effects.

Learn more about the Nanoinformatics Team

Aerosol-Enabled Nanomaterials Synthesis, Characterization & Applications

Aerosol Thumbnail
Overactive bladder (OAB) occurs during bladder filling and affects ~20% of the adult US population. The current tool for evaluating bladder filling is a urodynamics study which uses a catheter to fill the bladder while pressure is measured. Tension sensitive nerves in the bladder wall are responsible for providing bladder fullness information to the brain and increased bladder wall tension during filling is thought to be a critical factor in OAB. However, pressure often increases little during bladder filling and does not accurately reflect changes in bladder wall tension. Therefore, effective assessment of OAB using standard clinical urodynamics testing is difficult or impossible, and a new diagnostic test for OAB that includes the evaluation of bladder wall tension is needed. In addition to pressure, the biomechanical parameters that can directly affect the load on the bladder wall tension sensors during filling include bladder geometry, acute changes in bladder elasticity, and spontaneous rhythmic bladder contractions. Our team has discovered that the bladder is a smart material that can acutely regulate its preload tension, and we have clinically quantified this “dynamic elasticity” in patients with OAB.

Learn more about the Aerosol Team

MechanoUrology

MechanoUrology Team Thumb nail
Overactive bladder (OAB) occurs during bladder filling and affects ~20% of the adult US population. The current tool for evaluating bladder filling is a urodynamics study which uses a catheter to fill the bladder while pressure is measured. Tension sensitive nerves in the bladder wall are responsible for providing bladder fullness information to the brain and increased bladder wall tension during filling is thought to be a critical factor in OAB. However, pressure often increases little during bladder filling and does not accurately reflect changes in bladder wall tension. Therefore, effective assessment of OAB using standard clinical urodynamics testing is difficult or impossible, and a new diagnostic test for OAB that includes the evaluation of bladder wall tension is needed. In addition to pressure, the biomechanical parameters that can directly affect the load on the bladder wall tension sensors during filling include bladder geometry, acute changes in bladder elasticity, and spontaneous rhythmic bladder contractions. Our team has discovered that the bladder is a smart material that can acutely regulate its preload tension, and we have clinically quantified this “dynamic elasticity” in patients with OAB.

Learn more about the MechanoUrology Team

Sustain Lab

Sustain Lab Diagram

Technology and communities can have direct or indirect consequences that adversely affect quality of life. The SustainLab concept is to critically study current issues that negatively impact human quality of life and develop solutions that can be immediately deployed to help address these problems. SustainLab’s overall goal is to make long-term positive impact to communities by designing and implementing solutions that combine function and aesthetics.

Learn more about the Sustain Lab.