Undergraduate Research

We have a diverse, multidisciplinary groups of researchers, so it is impossible to describe the “typical” project. For a survey of past projects, take a look at our publications, but remember that our current and future ones expand from that work. In short, we are interested in all aspects of neuromechanics — that is, interactions between the neural and musculoskeletal systems that influence the way we move. Some of us do experimental work on animals or humans, others perform computational studies, still others build things; everyone does a good deal of data analysis and programming in Matlab. We generally use balance control as a tractable paradigm for studying basic principles of neuromechanical interactions for movement. Check out the prospective research projects, along with the information of the mentor that you will be working with. The ongoing research projects in the lab serve only as a jumping-off point for future research directions–what you bring to the table in terms of both enthusiasm and skills is just as important.

So before you contact anyone, take a minute to think about what kind of research would excite you, both on a day-to-day basis (e.g. deriving equations, programming, analyzing data, working with people, building circuits or devices) and on a long-term basis (e.g. building robots, helping patients, figuring out how the brain works). Why should we be excited about you joining the lab?

Guidelines for undergraduate research

  • Highly motivated, curious, and independent individuals will be recruited. You must be persevering, tenacious, resourceful, responsible, attentive to detail, and responsive to guidance. You will not be told exactly what to do on a day to day basis, but you are expected to follow advice that is given and maintain a reasonable rate of progress. You are not expected to know anything coming in to the lab, but you are expected to learn what you need to know.
  • Freshmen and sophomores preferred, juniors considered. Seniors need to do some serious convincing that senior projects, grad/med school applications, job searches, and senioritis, will not be impediments to research progress.
  • Research is not like a class; it usually takes a semester to get oriented to the ways of the lab, and acquires basic knowledge and skills to finish a project. Therefore: a minimum of 2 semesters and 3 credit hours or 10 hours/week commitment is required.Summer work is encouraged. The first semester is probationary; if things are not working well after 1 semester, I reserve the right to terminate the project.
  • You can volunteer, receive academic credit, or receive a fellowship to work in the lab. Check the Georgia Tech UROP websitefor opportunities. PURA award deadlines are usually due about half a semester in advance. However, it is not likely that you will receive a PURA two semesters in a row. You may be considered for paid work in the lab only after 2 exemplary semesters working in the lab.
  • Your grade will be based on your final presentation at a lab meeting, your weekly presentation at lab meetings, contribution to discussion of lab meetings, net results of your semester’s work, and the usefulness and clarity of your final report. Consistent progress over the semester is more highly regarded than heroic efforts at the end of the semester.
  • You will be assigned a graduate student mentor to whom you will report directly and receive guidance. In return for their mentorship, you will help the graduate student with their research. This will allow you to familiarize yourself with the lab and gain a background to pursue your individual projects.

How to Apply

Read through the projects presented on the pages linked above. Most are ongoing projects that will take a least two or three semester for you to make a contribution. Please send an e-mail with the following information to Dr. Ting and to the grad student listed in the project description.

  • Your name and contact information
  • Your major, GPA (min 3.0 required, >3.5 preferred), and expected graduation date
  • Courses taken and grades (or attach an unofficial transcript)
  • A short essay (1-2 pages) on why you want to do research and some information on what kind of research you would like to do. For example, do you like building things, programming, writing, electronics, any previous research experience or projects, any work or volunteer activities you have had. If you could do anything in biomedical engineering or another field, what would it be, (i.e. what would be the coolest project you could think of)? Give us an idea of something scientific that you read about and thought was interesting.
  • Which projects are interesting to you? Why? Any comments or questions you have about the projects.
  • Name of some references and contact information
  • Anything else you would like to tell us about yourself
  • Now you are ready to email Dr. Ting.

Undergraduate Research Awards

Here are some research awards of our undergraduate researchers:

Ana Gomez del Campo, Emory/GT Computational Neuroscience Research Fellowship, Petit Scholars Research Program

Alix Macklin, GT President's Undergraduate Research Award, Petit Scholars Research Program

Chris Versteeg, Emory/GT Computational Neuroscience Research Fellowship, GT President's Undergraduate Research Award

Jane Punkattalee, Emory/GT Computational Neuroscience Research Fellowship

Tyler Piccini-Ash, GT President's Undergraduate Research Award

Cole Simpson, GT Air Products Mechanical Engineering Undergraduate Research Award

Harrison Bartlett,  GT President's Undergraduate Research Award, NSF Graduate Research Fellowship

Joey Jilk, Petit Scholars Research Program, GT President's Undergraduate Research Award

Keith van Antwerp, GT President's Undergraduate Research Award

Subina Surendran, Petit Scholars Research Program

Ravi Parikh, GT President's Undergraduate Research Award

Hari Trivedi, GT President's Undergraduate Research Award

David Ashley,  GT President's Undergraduate Research Award

Papers published by undergraduates

Here are papers published with undergraduates authors from our lab:

Song, Y.S., Ha, S., Hsu, H., Ting, L.H., Liu, C.K. (2017) Stair negotiation made easier using novel interactive energy-recycling assistive stairs. PLoS ONE 12(7):e0179637. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0179637. PMCID: PMC5507489

Versteeg, C., Ting, L.H., Allen, J.L. (2016) Interactions between high-level task goals alters reactive balance recovery strategies in a detailed musculoskeletal model. Journal of Biomechanics, in press.

Puntkattalee, M.J., Whitmire, C.J., Macklin, A.S., Stanley, G.B., and Ting, L.H. (2016). Directional acuity of whole body perturbations during standing balance. Gait and Posture, 48:77-82.

Simpson, C.S., Sohn, M.H., Allen, J.L., and Ting, L.H. (2015). Feasible muscle activation ranges based on inverse dynamics analyses of human walking. J Biomech 48, 2990-2997. PMC4592831

Chen, T.L., Bhattacharjee, T., McKay, J.L., Borinski, J.E., Hackney, M.E., Ting, L.H., and Kemp, C.C. (2015). Evaluation by Expert Dancers of a Robot That Performs Partnered Stepping via Haptic Interaction. PLoS One 10, e0125179. PMC4438977

Joseph Jilk, D., Safavynia, S.A., and Ting, L.H. (2014). Contribution of vision to postural behaviors during continuous support-surface translations. Exp Brain Res 232, 169-180. PMC4065169

Bartlett, H.L., Ting, L.H., and Bingham, J.T. (2014). Accuracy of force and center of pressure measures of the Wii Balance Board. Gait Posture 39, 224-228. PMC3842432

Trivedi, H., Leonard, J.A., Ting, L.H., and Stapley, P.J. (2010). Postural responses to unexpected perturbations of balance during reaching. Exp Brain Res 202, 485-491. PMC4059204

van Antwerp, K.W., Burkholder, T.J., and Ting, L.H. (2007). Inter-joint coupling effects on muscle contributions to endpoint force and acceleration in a musculoskeletal model of the cat hindlimb. J Biomech 40, 3570-3579. PMC4346316