Pitt | Swanson Engineering
Undergraduate Research

Dr. Kevin P. Chen

  • pec9@pitt.edu, (412) 624-9675, 1130 BEH
  • Background needed: AutoCAD/Solidwork, circuits, LabVIEW Programming micro-processor programming, some optic knowledge
  • Abstract: The focus of undergraduate research opportunities is to develop light and optical technology for sensors, display, and system. Students will work with senior graduate students, faculty, and postdoctoral researchers to develop circuits board, program, and optoelectronic-mechanic systems for mobile computer (e.g. cell phone), display glass, optical fibers, and laser. 

Dr. Ahmed Dallal

  • ahd12@pitt.edu, (412) 383-4423, 1203 BEH
  • Topic: Biomedical Signal Processing and Image Analysis
  • Background needed: Signal processing, image processing, computer vision (preferred), control theory.
  • Abstract: The focus of this opportunity is to study and contribute to the analysis of biomedical signals and images. Having the challenges and constraints associated with the biomedical signals, students will learn and apply state-of-the-art techniques in signal processing, image analysis, and computer vision; with the goal of achieving higher accuracy of the analysis outcomes. The students will have the chance to work on different signals and modalities (e.g., neural signals, chest X-rays, mammograms, cardiac MRIs, etc)

Dr. Samuel Dickerson

  • dickerson@pitt.edu, (412) 624-9675, 1130 BEH
  • Background needed: Printed-Circuit Board (PCB) Design, or strong desire to learn how to design boards.  Experience using embedded systems or microcontrollers also desired.
  • Abstract:  We are currently developing Internet-of-Things (IoT) sensor networks for monitoring corrosion in large scale pipe systems.   We are also investigating the design and development of smart and connected health systems for monitoring the progression of Glaucoma, a common eye disease. This work is currently supported by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and more details about the projects can be found here: https://www.engineering.pitt.edu/News/2018/Piero-Rizzo-Corrosion-Sensor/

Dr. Wei Gao

  • weigao@pitt.edu, (412) 383-4422, 1205 BEH
  • Topic: Mobile and Embedded Computing over Emerging Platforms
  • Background needed: embedded systems, operating systems, software design, wireless networks
  • Abstract: The focus of this undergraduate research opportunity in ECE is to develop innovative system solutions to improve the performance and efficiency of emerging mobile and embedded devices, including wearables, embedded sensors, implantable medical devices, etc. We are also focusing on developing new physiological sensing modularities that precisely characterize the behavioral patterns and metrics of human bodies. Students will have the opportunity to gain hands-on skills on system development, hardware prototyping and software programming over practical mobile and embedded computing platforms.

Dr. Alan D. George

  • alan.george@pitt.edu, (412) 624-9664, 1238D BEH
  • Topic: Space, High-Performance, and Resilient Computing
  • Background needed: Digital logic and circuits, microprocessor systems, software design, and/or hardware design
  • Abstract: The focus of this undergraduate research opportunity in ECE is to study and contribute to a topic in advanced computer architectures, apps, sensors, networks, systems, and/or services, often in the context of resource constraints and environmental hazards, with the goal of maximizing performance, energy-efficiency, and resilience. Students will learn and employ selected concepts, methods, and technologies in parallel, reconfigurable, dependable, and/or distributed computing, by working on a research task for next-generation spacecraft, autonomous systems, or supercomputers, in the NSF Center for Space, High-performance, and Resilient Computing (SHREC) headquartered in the ECE Department at Pitt.

Dr. Brandon Grainger

  • bmg10@pitt.edu, (412) 383-8148, 802 BEH
  • Topic: Electric power conversion for high power applications
  • Background needed: Junior standing; taken power systems analysis, electric machinery, or power conversion theory
  • Abstract: The focus of this undergraduate research opportunity is to study and contribute to a topic in the general area of electric power conversion.  Electric power conversion is equipment oriented engineering focused on the applications for designing DC/DC converters, DC/AC converters and others for higher power design.  Undergraduate students would be involved in converter design (circuit topology, control, magnetics, and power semiconductor evaluation) for relevant grid based or military based power systems.  Undergraduates are also encouraged to propose ideas that they might have in the context of the power engineering domain that he or she may have explored during a COOP experience for example.  Students will have the opportunity to go through the traditional cycle of how to conduct research through literature review to identify problems in the power conversion space.  Undergraduates will be exposed to the latest simulation platforms including ANSYS Products, Matlab/Simulink, PLECS, and PSCAD depending on the detail that is needed for analyzing the design.  Once thoroughly evaluated, opportunities for prototype or experimentation could be conducted in the Electric Power Systems Laboratory in Benedum Hall or at the Electric Power Technologies Laboratory in downtown Pittsburgh under direct supervision of experienced graduate students and faculty support.

Dr. Jingtong Hu

  • jthu@pitt.edu, (412) 383-4424, 1208 BEH
  • Topic: Embedded Systems, FPGA, Non-volatile Memories, Algorithm. 
  • Background needed: Digital logic and circuits, FPGA design, and/or micro-controllers, algorithms.
  • Abstract: There are two thrusts of research. The first one will be focusing on FPGA design and acceleration for algorithms such as Deep Learning. The students will learn both algorithms and how to implement these algorithms in hardware. The second thrust of research focuses on embedded systems and non-volatile memories. The students will learn how to optimize both software and hardwares to build energy efficient, secure, and small embedded systems such as battery-less wearable sensors, IoT devices, etc.

Dr. Steve Jacobs

  • spj1@pitt.edu, (412) 624-9667, 1207 BEH
  • Topic: Automated Stroke Lesion Segmentation in MRI Human Brain Volumes
  • Skills: Students who participate must be comfortable with Linux (Ubuntu)
  • Courses: Ideally, students who participate will have excelled in CoE 1501 or ECE 1563
  • Abstract: We are interested in evaluating and characterizing the performance of state-of-the-art algorithms for identifying damaged tissue in subjects who have suffered ischemic stroke, using structural MRI brain volumes.  We also seek to understand how the performance of lesion segmentation algorithms is affected by variability in the data, including the imaging center where the data were collected, and the utility of different MRI pulse sequences.

Dr. Alex K. Jones

  • akjones@pitt.edu, 412-624-9666, 1128 BEH
  • Topic: Reliable, Secure, and Sustainable Computing and Memories
  • Background needed: Computer Organization, Software Design
  • Abstract: This research opportunity allows students to engage and contribute to activities in topics such as next generation computer architectures, hardware accelerators, software systems, and memory systems with focus areas of reliability, resilience, and fault-tolerance of both manufacturing  flaws and external hazards such as radiation; security including topics like in memory encryption and homomorphic encryption; and/or sustainability including energy efficient design and manufacturing potentially examining full life-cycle analysis of processors and memories.  Students will work alongside of graduate students in these areas and have access to resources in the NSF Center for Space, High-performance, and Resilient Computing (SHREC) and/or Mascaro Center for Sustainable Innovation (MCSI) depending on topic.  Excellent students will be involved (and in some cases even lead) developing publications to top tier conference and journal publication venues based on their research contributions.

Dr. Robert Kerestes

  • rjk39@pitt.edu, (412) 383-5251, 1224 BEH
  • Topic: Smart Grid Network and Algorithm Design
  • Background Needed: Electric circuits, power systems fundamentals (preferred) , MATLAB and Simulink, programming in C, optimization (preferred), algorithms (preferred)
  • Abstract: This research opportunity is to contribute to the use, design and implementation of internet of things (IoT) devices and networks, which increase the efficiency of the modern power grid. This in turn will have an impact on the way we use energy, leading to a cleaner and more sustainable electric power infrastructure. Students will learn how to interface common household electrical loads through sensors and communications devices, and will use microcontrollers coupled with optimization methods to control the way that electrical sources and loads interact with one another. Physical implementations of these solutions will be tested in Pitt’s Electric Power Systems Laboratory.

Dr. Hong Koo Kim

  • hkk@pitt.edu, (412) 624-9673, 1107 BEH
  • Topic: Nanoelectronics and Nanophotonics
  • Background needed: Semiconductor device theory, EM theory, and electronic circuits
  • Abstract: This research aims at developing novel nanoelectronic/nanophotonic devices that can be integrated into chip-scale for energy-efficient, large-bandwidth computing/communication applications. Topics include single quantum-dot light sources for quantum computing, plasmonic metamaterials and devices for on-chip photonic computing, and nano-vacuum transistors and circuits for extreme environments. Students will gain hands-on experience in: modeling/simulation of device phenomena, fabrication and characterization of low-dimensional materials and devices.

Dr. Zhi-Hong Mao

  • zhm4@pitt.edu, (412) 624-9674, 1204 BEH
  • Topic: Human-machine systems and networked control systems
  • Background needed: Linear control systems and signals & systems
  • Abstract: The focus of this project is to evaluate quantitatively the capabilities of the human neural system in manual control. This project takes a comprehensive approach that synergistically combines control theory, information theory, computational neuroscience, non-invasive human experiments, and computer simulations in the study of human-in-the-loop control systems. Students will learn (i) concepts of networked control systems and neural control systems and (ii) methods for analysis, modeling, simulation, and optimal control of networked systems.

Dr. Natasa Miskov-Zivanov

  • nmzivanov@pitt.edu, (412) 624-0509, 320 SCHEN, http://www.nmzlab.pitt.edu
  • Topic: Computational Modeling, Automated Model Generation and Analysis
  • Background Needed: Software design, data analysis, digital logic
  • Abstract: Undergraduate Engineering student needed to assist with research and code development in the Mechanisms and Logic of Dynamics (MeLoDy) Lab. The position will involve testing and analysis of model construction and simulation methods for rapid in silico experimentation. Programming experience is preferred (Python, C/C++).  Research in the MeLoDy Lab focuses on computational modeling to understand mechanisms in complex dynamic systems, with applications ranging from modeling signaling pathways in biological systems to modeling interpersonal and international events.

Dr. Gregory Reed

  • gfr3@pitt.edu, (412) 383-9862, 815-E BEH
  • Topic:  Electric Power Engineering projects
  • Background needed:  basic understanding of circuits, electrical systems controls, and/or electronics (understanding of power concepts preferred):
  • Abstract:  projects available in the general areas of electric power systems analysis and simulation, microgrid developments, renewable energy systems and integration, power electronics technologies, energy storage applications, direct current (DC) infrastructure, and similar topics.  Opportunity to work within a world-class electric power laboratory with a globally recognized research group of faculty, staff, and graduate students; while performing industry-supported projects leading to practical work experiences and other benefits.  

Dr. Ervin Sejdic

  • esejdic@pitt.edu, (412) 624-0508, 321 Schenley Place
  • Topic: Data Science, Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence in Medicine
  • Background needed: Signal processing, advanced mathematics, programming, some hardware experience
  • Abstract: The focus of this undergraduate research opportunity in ECE is to study and contribute to our ongoing efforts to develop novel medical devices.

Dr. Susheng Tan 

  • sut6@pitt.edu, (412) 383-5978, B01/M104 BEH
  • Topic: Nanoscience and nanotechnology, polymers, device, surface coatings
  • Background needed: chemistry, physics, electricity, and/or materials science and engineering
  • Abstract: The focus of this undergraduate research opportunity in ECE is to study the rheological, mechanical, and electrical properties of polymers under nanoscale confinement, with the goal of gaining insight into size effect on ultimate performance of composite materials used in electronics and power systems to guide future design of high performance, energy-saving, and sustainable insulating materials.  Students will learn and employ selected concepts, methods, and technologies in nanotechnology and polymer materials science.

Dr. Feng Xiong

  • f.xiong@pitt.edu, (412) 383-5306, 1202 BEH
  • Topic: Energy-Efficient and Sustainable Nanoelectronics for Next-Generation Computing and Memory
  • Background needed: Motivation and curiosity to learn new things! The following skills are preferred but NOT required: LabView, Matlab, basic knowledge on semiconductor devices;
  • Abstract: This undergraduate research opportunity includes a broad range of topics in novel nanoelectronics, next-generation memory devices, flexible and wearable electronics, green electronics, and energy harvesting, with the emphasis on performance, energy-efficiency and scalability. Students will learn and employ in a variety of skills ranging from nanomaterial spectroscopies, device fabrications, electrical and thermal characterizations, compact models, and finite element simulations in the PI’s lab in the ECE department at Pitt.

Dr. Jun Yang

  • juy9@pitt.edu, (412) 624-9088, 1111 BEH
  • Topic: Computer Architecture
  • Background needed: digital logic and circuits, microprocessor systems, software programming skills
  • Abstract: The goal of this undergraduate research opportunity is to learn and contribute to solving critical and most relevant challenges of the state-of-the-art microprocessors, GPUs, conventional and emerging memories. Those challenges include but not are not limited to: execution performance of contemporary applications in machine learning, data analytics etc.; protecting the security of program execution in processors and memory; design challenges of emerging non-volatile memories; 3D integrated memory and circuits; power/energy optimizations; improving system reliability. Undergraduate students will have opportunity to interact with faculty advisor, graduate students and senior researchers in the group on regular basis.

Dr. Minhee Yun

  • miy16@pitt.edu, (412) 648-8989, 218E BEH
  • Topic: Bioelectronics and Nanoelectronics
  • Background needed: Physics 1 and Chemistry 1 required, Nanotechnology and Semiconductor Device knowledge optional
  • Abstract: The overall goal of the project is to develop a new innovative concept for real-time diagnostic technology, a LED-enabled biosensor based on flexible substrate. The LED-enabled flexible biosensor will be demonstrated for the detection of B-type Natriuretic Peptide (BNP) that will serve as a window for several medical problems in Heart Failure (HF) diagnosis. The proposed research will design a novel in-situ biosensing platform and bring significant improvement of the existing biosensors. This project will provide students combined training on nanofabrication, biosensing, and OLED development.