The Vertically Integrated Projects (VIPR) Program

The Vertically Integrated Projects (VIPR) program follows a national model and aims to offer a research structure that supports collaborative, interdisciplinary research teams that include undergraduate researchers, their faculty mentors, and other scientists such as graduate students, postdoctoral associates, and faculty collaborators.

Undergraduate students interested in applying to a research project in the VIPR program may now apply here: Vertically Integrated Projects – Research.

(Note: Users should log in using their UGA MyID to view the full application. The site works best using a desktop computer with Chrome or Firefox as your web browser.)

 

Important Information for Students:

  • All students participating in the VIPR program will be expected to participate in a team presentation at the annual CURO Symposium.
  • VIPR Teams are only available to second-year students and above. This helps incoming first-year students gain a foundation in their disciplines and will ensure they do not exceed the maximum number of VIPR credits they can count toward their degrees too early in their studies.
  • You can only apply to one team at a time.
  • If you are not approved (team already has too many students from your academic rank/major, etc.), you can apply to another team.
  • If you change your mind about which team you would like, either before or after you are approved, you can apply to join a different team, and the new application will replace the old one.
  • VIPR operates as a course. New students join at the beginning of Fall and Spring semesters.
  • VIPR is not offered in the summer, but continuing students may be able to continue their work in the summer through independent study with their instructor.
  • New students cannot have a time conflict with their team meeting.
  • The VIPR Program does not allow students to freely switch from team to team. As a disincentive, students will be asked take a one-semester break between participation on one team and another.
  • Students cannot hold VIPR and CURO funding simultaneously.

 

Teams Available:

 

Agricultural Robotics VIPR Team

Team Leads: Md Sultan Mahmud (Plant Pathology), Guoyu Lu (Electrical and Computer Engineering), Guoming Li (Poultry Science)

Summary: The primary goal of our VIPR team is to empower students by equipping them with practical skills and cutting-edge theoretical knowledge in the field of agricultural robotics. Through hands-on research, students will delve into concepts, algorithms, and technologies, which they will then apply to real-world agricultural problems. The concepts and technologies initiated by the students will be further developed through regular agricultural robotics projects in our labs. The team will focus on two distinct tracks: 1) plant-oriented track, where we will concentrate on developing or utilizing robotic technologies specifically tailored for crop management, and 2) animal-oriented track, where our emphasis will be on pioneering robotic solutions for poultry management.

Apply to this VIPR Team


Perception and Preparedness: A Multi-disciplinary Inquiry-based Longitudinal Study of Healthcare Seeking Behaviors Before, During and After a Pandemic

Team Leads: John M. Drake (Odum School of Ecology), Scott Carver (Odum School of Ecology); Mike Cacciatore (Grady College of Journalism & Mass Communication), Olivia Ginn (College of Engineering)

Summary: This project aims to immerse undergraduate and graduate students in an in-depth analysis of healthcare decision-making behaviors as captured through a series of public opinion polls conducted by the Center for Health Risk Communication and Center for the Ecology of Infectious Diseases. Focusing on critical issues like vaccine acceptance, this endeavor seeks to unravel the intricate patterns of healthcare-related attitudes and actions within diverse populations, particularly emphasizing the representation of minoritized groups. The team will embark on a journey of discovery and learning, diving into topics at the intersection of healthcare decision-making and public perception, overseen by an interdisciplinary team comprising a social scientist, natural scientists, and an engineer.

Apply to this VIPR Team


Developing Techniques and Devices for AI Enabled Earth-Observing Small Satellites VIPR Team

Team Leads: Deepak R. Mishra (Geography), Marguerite Madden (Geography), Susanne Ullrich (Physics and Astronomy), Lakshmish Ramaswamy (School of Computing), Fred Beyette (College of Engineering), In Kee Kim (School of Computing), Ramana Pidaparti (College of Engineering)

Summary: With the proliferation of satellites in space, low Earth orbit traffic becomes “jammed”, making it necessary to be more efficient in space-based data collection and downlink. From the perspective of Earth observers, the way to accomplish this efficiency goal is twofold: 1) Use small satellites (CubeSats), which have shorter mission lifetimes and more easily satisfy regulations limiting time in orbit; and 2) make onboard processing more sophisticated so that downlink time is reduced. The objective of this project is to develop methods and devices to implement complex detection and data processing tasks on CubeSats using artificial intelligence.

Apply to this VIPR Team


GlycoSTEM Discovery VIPR Team

Team Leads: Ryan Weiss (Biochemistry & Molecular Biology), Nadja Zeltner (Biochemistry & Molecular Biology)

Summary: GlycoSTEM Discovery is an interdisciplinary VIPR team focused on harnessing stem cell biology and glycobiology to develop new disease models and therapeutic approaches for treating rare diseases. Approximately 30 million individuals in the United States are living with a rare disease, which by definition have a prevalence of 200,000 or fewer cases in the United States. Often referred to as orphan diseases, these conditions are often overlooked in therapeutic development, primarily due to their limited patient population in combination with the high cost associated with drug development. The goal of this VIPR program is to train undergraduate students in studying the underlying disease pathology of rare genetic disorders and develop novel therapies for these often-overlooked diseases.

Apply to this VIPR Team


Metabolomics and Systems Biology VIPR Team

Team Lead: Art Edison (Complex Carbohydrate Research Center, Biochemistry & Molecular Biology, and Institute of Bioinformatics)

Summary: Systems Biology is big data in biology. It often refers to large “omics” datasets that are modeled and analyzed for biological insight. Increasingly, machine learning and AI are important tools in this analysis. The Edison lab specializes in metabolomics, which is one of the major components of systems biology. These technologies are important in many areas of biological and biomedical sciences and will become more and more critical in human health. Our VIPR team has between 10-15 undergraduate students. Students tend to stay for 2-3 years, and as they become more advanced, they become mentors for the newer students. Thus, in addition to learning about systems biology, students learn how to work in teams, to teach, and to mentor others.

Apply to this VIPR Team


Agrivoltaics: Land-Centered Solutions for a Sustainable Energy Transition

Team Leads: Mark Hunter (Odum School of Ecology), David Gattie (College of Engineering), Richard Hall (Odum School of Ecology), Rhett Jackson (Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources), Michel Kohl (Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources), Beshoy Morkos (College of Engineering), Bodie Pennisi (College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences), Jason Schmidt (College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences)

Summary: Rapid climate change associated with the burning of fossil fuels has stimulated a global transition towards renewable energy sources. However, the lower “energy density” of clean energy sources such as photovoltaics (solar power) means that large areas of land are needed to reduce our reliance on fossil fuels. Agrivoltaics provides a potential win-win for landowners and energy companies. The Odum School of Ecology, the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, the College of Engineering, and the Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources are collaborating to develop an integrated research, education, and outreach program around Agrivoltaics in the southeastern United States.

Apply to this VIPR Team


SPREE: Social Psychology of Research Experiences and Education Team

(Team at capacity for the fall semester)

Team Lead: Erin Dolan (Georgia Athletic Association Professor of Innovative Science Education)

Summary: The SPREE team studies undergraduate research experiences, including the impacts of embedding research into courses and expanding the pool of research undergraduate research mentors to include graduate students and postdoctoral researchers. This team designs and conducts qualitative and quantitative studies to understand how different forms of research experiences influence students’ educational and career trajectories—for example, by affecting their interest in STEM fields or their motivation to pursue research careers, or connecting them with key resources that can help them be successful in college and in STEM.


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