RSI Research Projects 2012

Download the application form here

Please submit completed forms to OpenLab (Blk E Level 1M) by 11th May 2012

Title: Marine Biology – Diversity of symbiotic algae in corals in Singapore

Synopsis:Although corals are capable of obtaining food on their own, their survival and growth has been shown to depend largely on the nutrition derived from their unicellular algal symbiont, zooxanthellae. It has been found that different species of hard corals can host different clades of zooxanthellae and in this study, you will be required to identify the zooxanthellae using molecular methods. Methods used include using a denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (don’t worry, training will be provided). All these would have implications for coral growth in the changing climate system. These projects are done in collaboration with Marine Biology Laboratory and/or Tropical Marine Science Institute of the National University of Singapore.

Principal Investigator: Dr Abigayle Ng

Pre-requisites: Committed and independent students only. You will be selected individually and may be paired up with another student.

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Title: Immunology – Phagocytic ability of Drosophila S2 cells
Synopsis: We attempt to establish GFP bacteria and use them to assay the phagocytic ability of Drosophila S2 cells. Drosophila S2 cells are macrophage-like and can be used as a model for innate immunity. We test several natural compounds or herbs for their ability to affect the phagocytic ability of Drosophila S2 cells and hence, infer their ability to affect innate immunity.

Principal Investigator: Ms Wee Seok Hui

Pre-requisites: A strong interest in Immunology. Willing to explore & take risks – project is new and students will be required to read up and optimise procedures.

 

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Title: Diversity and distribution of Sargassum seaweed in coastal waters of Singapore
Synopsis: Sargassum seaweed is often abundant in tropical and subtropical waters however it is difficult to identify them based on morphology alone as they exhibit intraspecific phenotypic variation possibly due to the environmental conditions. This study aims to identify sargassum from Singapore coastal waters through methods combining both traditional morphological methods as well as using molecular markers and DNA sequencing.

Principal Investigator: Dr Abigayle Ng

Pre-requisites: Students must have a keen interest in the topic, perseverance and must be able to work independently.

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Title: Molecular pathogenesis of water-related diseases
Synopsis: Diseases such as dengue hemorrhagic fever/dengue shock syndrome and chikungunya are caused by viruses, and spreaded through vectors like mosquitoes. Number of infections and geographical distribution of vectors are rising. Pathogenesis of the diseases is poorly understood.  The project will involve molecular biology and/or protein purification techniques of viral genes/gene products in an attempt to further find out how the disease occurs at the molecular level.

Principal Investigator: Department Microbiology, National University of Singapore

Pre-requisites: Work in NUS, 3 weeks full-time in June.

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Title: Molecular biology of organisms in natural water bodies of Singapore
Synopsis: Micro-organisms are closely associated with natural water bodies. This project will study the use of molecular biology in examining water quality. Genes in key metabolic pathways of these organisms will be studied to explore and strengthen cutting-edge detection methods.

Principal Investigator: WaterHub – Technology and Water Quality Office, PUB

Pre-requisites: Able to work 3 weeks full-time at WaterHub lab, Jurong East.

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Title:  Chemistry of water quality in natural water bodies of Singapore
Synopsis: Wastewater contains significant amounts of nutrients which, if disposed untreated into receiving water bodies, may trigger an overgrowth of bacteria and algae. The degradation of water quality affects its capacity to support aquatic life. This project will focus on the development of biochemical methodology to develop and improve innovative technology of water treatment.

Principal Investigator: WaterHub – Technology and Water Quality Office, PUB

Pre-requisites: Able to work in WaterHub lab, Jurong East

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Title:   The Veredus Chip
Synopsis: This is a joint program by Raffles Institution and Veredus Laboratories, a WHO endorsed private lifescience lab that designs and sells flu detection microarray chips to hospitals and diagnostics labs worldwide. Students who take up this project will be supervised by Vereduslaboratories Scientists and be involved in the design of a DNA microchip that is used to detect H1N1, SARS and other flu epidemics.

At the end of the project students should be equipped with skills such as PCR, Reverse Transcription, Designing DNA microarray experiments within a microchip, operate a state of the art machine that reads and analyses the DNA microchip.  Students also get to intern at the Veredus Labs.

Principal Investigator: Dr Adrian Loo

Pre-requisites: 3 students who are keen, independent and committed.


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Title:   Ants and Rattans
Synopsis: An intimate partnership exists between the ants and rattans. Investigate this relationship and uncover the intricacies of the ecology of this unique partnership.

Principal Investigator: Dr Adrian Loo

Pre-requisites: 3 students who are keen, independent and committed. Must be comfortable working in the forest.


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Title:   Glass forming ability in binary Zr-Cu alloy system and their corrosion resistant properties
Synopsis: Bulk metallic glasses (BMGs) are a new class of engineering materials with interesting combination of properties that offer numerous potential applications. This project involves the study of the glass forming ability of alloys in a binary Zr-Cu alloy system. Corrosion resistance properties of these Zr-Cu BMGs will also be studied.

Principal Investigator: Dr Grace Lim and Prof Li Yi (NUS)

Pre-requisites: 2 students who have an interest in materials science. Committed individuals who are able to take initiative and work independently. Students have to be willing to travel to NUS to work in the lab


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Title:   Designing better batteries/photoelectrochemical cells
Synopsis: This project requires the students to craft their own hypothesis and experiments in order to design better batteries/photoelectrochemical cells.

Principal Investigator: Dr Grace Lim and A/P Wang Qing (NUS)

Pre-requisites: 2 students who are willing to take risk as this is a self initiated project in the area of batteries/solar cells. Creative, committed and able to work independently. Have a strong interest in technological innovations inspired by nature. Students may have to travel to NUS to use the labs.


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Title: Shrimp behaviour
Synopsis: Examine the behavior of marine shrimp, some typically associated with gobies. What do they do throughout the day? How do they moult?

Principal Investigator: Dr Abigayle Ng and Dr Zeehan Jaafar

Pre-requisites: Students must have a keen interest in the topic, perseverance and must be able to work independently.

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Title: Woodpecker (no more vacancies)
Synopsis: Explore the classical mechanics of a stick-slip motion through a woodpecker toy. Many different degrees of freedom revolving this seemly simple toy will be considered in evaluating the Lagrange’s equations of motion in this project.

Principal Investigator: Dr Tan Guoxian

Pre-requisites: Committed and independent students

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Title: Synthesis of highly efficient TiO2 nanostructures for water purification (no more vacancies)
Synopsis: Nanostructures such as nanofibres and nanotube arrays have been successful in the photocatalytic water splitting process in order to purify water. Traditionally, dopants have been used to improve the efficiency of the photocatalytic effect. This project makes use of clever modifications in the nanostructures instead to improve the performance of the water purification process.

Students will get to learn nanoscience such as different nanostructures of nanofibers/nanowires or nanotubes, and understand the working principles as well as the analysis of data from common characterisation equipment such as SEM or XRD. Students will get an opportunity to experience first-hand how scientists in the semiconductor physics field work inside a cleanroom.

Principal Investigator: Dr Tan Guoxian

Pre-requisites: Committed and independent students

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