Honors College

Oak View Hall, Room 210
509 Meadow Brook Road
Rochester, MI 48309-4452
(location map)
(248) 370-4450
Fax: (248) 370-4479

Scholarship Opportunities

Michigan Center for Undergraduate Research

The Michigan Center for Undergraduate Research (MCUR) supports and advances strong undergraduate research by nurturing innovative ideas, projects and collaborations. Housed in the Honors College, MCUR provides for undergraduate researchers across Oakland University by offering information and training, by promoting ingenuity and aspiration, and by helping develop projects and project funding plans.
Get Started

Undergraduate research opportunities are available in nearly every major.

Through research, you’ll learn to hone your skills in writing, creativity, editing and researching - skills essential for employment and/or graduate school.

Where do you start?
First, explore your options:  areas of study,  research mentors and  centers and facilities
Then, reach out to a professor or mentor within your field of interest.

Questions? Contact mcur@oakland.edu.

As an undergraduate researcher, MCUR provides exceptional mentors to help guide you through your field of study. These mentors are regularly conducting research and pursuing their passion for discovery. Mentors can be found in a variety of departments throughout Oakland University including:

Biological Sciences

Amy Banes-Berceli

Hypertension and the renal and vascular complications of diabetes

Fabia Battistuzzi

When and how species have evolved and investigate the connections between their genetic innovations and variations in environmental conditions

Rasul Chaudhry

Embryonic stem cell development and differentiation - osteogenesis and neurogenesis; Tissue engineering; Regulation of gene expression; Metabolic pathways of hazardous chemicals; Environmental biotechnology and toxicology

Mary Jamieson

The effects of global environmental change on species interactions and biological diversity

Lan Jiang

The regulation of tracheal gene expression and how tracheal-expressed genes control the complex cellular behaviors that result in the formation of a continuous tubular network

Shailesh Lal

A multidisciplinary approach in genomics, genetics and bioinformatics to study fundamental processes that impact gene expression in plants from a genome-wide perspective

Gerald Madlambayan

Define the integrated roles of different stem and progenitor cell populations in cancer initiation, progression and relapse

Raffel Thomas

Understand how parasites influence the ecology and evolution of their hosts, and how ecological and anthropogenic factors affect parasite-host dynamics

Mi Hye Song

The molecular and genetic mechanisms of centrosome assembly by applying biochemistry, cell biology, genetics, proteomics and quantitative imaging to the study of centrosome biology in the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans model

Scott Tiegs

Use field-based experimental and observational approaches — usually in aquatic ecosystems — with the aim of better understanding how human activities impact aquatic ecosystems

Luis Villa-diaz

The self-renewal properties of hPSCs, which are influenced by the microenvironment in which they are cultured, in particular the extracellular matrix (ECM)

Satish Walia

Molecular mechanisms of antibiotic resistance in bacteria and biodegradation of xenobiotics such as polychlorinated biphenyl, nitrotoluenes, and the mutagenic properties of their biodegradation products

Douglas Wendell

Develop molecular markers for rapid-cycling Brassica rapa

Randal Westrick

Understanding and preventing the development of pathologic intravascular blood clot formation

Biomedical Diagnostic and Therapeutic Sciences

Kristin Landis-Piwowar

Cancer biology, cancer therapeutics, molecular diagnostics, familial leukemia


Ferman Chavez

Develop small molecule models for the active sites of these enzymes which will help to understand the role of various metals in this family and help to probe the mechanisms involved for these enzymes

Roman Dembinski

The synthesis of analogs of natural products, particularly coordination complexes of nucleosides and nucleotides

Nessan Kerrigan

Development of efficient enantioselective and diastereoselective synthetic methods and their application in drug molecule and natural product synthesis

Sanela Martic

Designing functional bioconjugates for understanding the biological processes at the fundamental level

Michael Sevilla

The chemistry of free radical species produced by the high energy irradiation of DNA by gamma irradiation and ion beams

Evan Trivedi

Light activation and near infrared light

Communication and Journalism

Erin Meyers

Digital or “new” media technologies, most notably the Internet, and the audiences who engage with them

Electrical and Computer Engineering

Hoda Abdel-Aty-Zohdy

Bio-technology with bio-inspired intelligent signal perception and processing (ISPP)
Jai Li
Statistical signal processing for biomedical imaging and communications, computer graphics, pattern recognition and algorithms

Engineering and Computer Science

Subramaniam Ganesan

Divisible load scheduling; condition based maintenance for military and manufacturing;
real time DSP/multi-core systems for specific applications; agent based health monitoring
Khalid Mahmood
Open source speech and Video API in android platform; programming and GUI design
Gautam Singh
Information system modeling, management and efficient data retrieval; temporal database design for applications in manufacturing and process monitoring
Jing Tang
Image reconstruction, evaluation, and analysis in emission computed tomography
Xia Wang
Fuel cell and battery modeling and testing, biomass pellets optimization, turbulent boundary layers with separation, forced convection turbulent boundary layers
Peng Zhao
Combustion and reacting flows, internal combustion engines, energy conversion, environmental science

Environmental Health and Safety

Richard Olawoyin

Human Health Exposure Risk Assessment, NanoEHS (nanotechnology), Fire Protection Engineering, Global Occupational Safety and Health Administration, Hazard Management in Nuclear Safety

Exercise Science

Tamara Hew-Butler

Hyponatremia, exercise-associated collapse, water and sodium homeostasis, exercise and human performance, arginine vasopressin, endurance running

Myung Choi

Regulation of local and whole body lipid metabolism in sedentary overweight and obese humans before and after exercise training and nutritional intervention

Eye Research Institute

Frank Giblin

The possible role of oxidative and free radical processes in the formation of nuclear cataract, resulting in blindness, along with the unusually active antioxidant mechanisms present in the epithelium of the lens that help to keep the tissue transparent

Dao-Qi Zhang

The regulation of dopamine release in the vertebrate retina, a simple and accessible model of the CNS

Health Sciences

Jennifer Lucarelli

Prevention and improvement of chronic diseases in children, adolescents and adults in community-based settings

Melissa Reznar

Behavioral nutrition, lifestyle interventions food environment, college health


Cheryl Riley-Doucet

Developing and testing multi-sensory interventions (MSE) to assist family caregivers and older adults in the symptom management of chronic illness and dementia

Physical Therapy

Sara Arena

Cardiopulmonary, blood pressure, health promotion and wellness, home care

Deborah Doherty

Oncology rehabilitation; Cultural competency

Jacqueline Drouin

Exercise training in special populations, oncology rehabilitation

Melodie Kondratek

Orthopedics: intervention techniques for spinal conditions; Pediatrics: the use of orthopedic manual therapy techniques in the treatment of children

Kristine Thompson

Professional issues, professional development


Brad Roth

Biological physics and computational physics: Electrical stimulation of cardiac tissue

Steffan Puwal

Biophysical methods in heart defibrillation

Yang Xia

Multidisciplinary microscopic imaging study of articular cartilage


Scott Pickett

Investigate the mechanisms that may impact recovery from psychological trauma; examine the interaction between psychological stress, anxiety, and health

Michele Purdie

Predictors and consequences of sexual assault perpetration and victimization, with a particular emphasis on childhood trauma, substance use, and emotion regulation

Todd Shackelford

Human sexual psychology and behavior with special focus on sexual conflict between men and women

Kanako Taku

The construct of posttraumatic growth (PTG), personal growth experienced as a result of the struggle with major life crises or traumatic events

Jennifer Vonk

Cognitive continuities and discontinuities between humans and both closely and distantly related species

Lisa Welling

Hormonal and psychological sources of individual differences in human mate preferences and behavior

Virgil Zeigler-Hill

Self-esteem, narcissism, cognitive representations of the self, and interpersonal relationships

Sociology, Anthropology, Social Work and Criminal Justice

Jon Carroll

Cultural transmission, social interaction and integration, political and economic organization, social science applications of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and computer modeling and simulation, archaeology of the Eastern Woodlands of North America

Suzanne Spencer-Wood

Feminist theory in anthropology and archaeology, nonlinear systems theory, archaeological theory and method, feminist historical archaeology, historical archaeology of class, ethnicity, market access and settlement, industrial archaeology and cultural resource management

Photo-documentary of Syrian refugees
Journalism student Salwan Georges' project began as an  Honors College thesis to document the life and struggles of Iraqi-Americans in Dearborn. He took more than 1,000 images over a six-month time period to illustrate their stories. Some of his photos were selected to be part of the  March 5 Washington Post article “Starting over in Dearborn, Michigan: The Arab capital of North America.” Since that article ran, the newspaper has asked him to serve as its Detroit area freelance photographer.

Exploring eye diseases in premature babies
Nathan Spix studies retinopathy of prematurity, a disease that occurs in premature babies. He discovered a passion for research, and his experience in the lab has made a positive impact on his classroom studies.

Religious pilgrimage and New Age Spirituality
Anthropology major Alex Morton’s research led her to the mountains of northern Spain, where she took part in El Camino de Santiago, a pilgrimage to the historic cathedral  some believe houses the remains of Jesus’s apostle Saint James the Great. Morton observed and interviewed pilgrims to better understand the journey’s cultural significance. The focus of my research was about the reasons people do El Camino de Santiago, the impact El Camino has on the individual and the community, and the differences between routes of the Camino,” said Morton. 

Cognitive psychology in young children
Rooted in cognitive psychology, Kathleen Saigh’s research explores “physical, social, and relational categorization formation in young children,” particularly those with Autism Spectrum Disorders, and also highlights “emotion recognition and theory of mind.” The psychology major presented her work at the 2013 Cognitive Development Society meeting and at Meeting of Minds conferences the past two years.

Causes of blindness
Mark English conducted research at OU’s Eye Research Institute (ERI) examining how the absence of peripherin/RDS, a protein in the eye, can lead to vision loss. He has presented his research during the ERI’s SUPER program. When peripherin/RDS is not present, photoreceptors lose their shape, which leads to blinding diseases such as retinitis pigmentosa and macular degeneration,” the biology major explained. “To provide a more complete understanding of the relationship between peripherin/RDS and photoreceptor structure, I have developed a standard measurement for the affinity of peripherin/RDS and cell membranes."

Undergraduate Research Funding Opportunities

Web GURU Guide to Undergraduate Research
This guide is full of additional information about undergraduate research programs, mentoring, and professionalism in the lab. 

Council on Undergraduate Research
CUR helps support and promote high-quality undergraduate student-faculty collaborative research and scholarship.

Center for Undergraduate Research Leadership
The Center for Undergraduate Research Leadership (CURL), supports undergraduate research leadership initiatives. CURL assists in supporting leadership development and excellence among the Oakland University undergraduate community, and the qualities of creativity, innovation and social and public enterprise. The leadership center aims to advance the idea that strong undergraduate research leadership supports the future of higher education, the engine powering the success of our colleges and universities and of the public and private sectors.