Students seeking research experience may proceed as follows:

  • Explore USC’s website (including the SOAR-SURF-SHURE Faculty Research Board below) for faculty seeking research assistants. Additional websites to explore:
  • Request an appointment (during their office hours) to discuss securing a research position.
  • After a collaboration has been set between you and your faculty member, submit your SOAR/SURF/SHURE application to request funding. Note: not all research projects are eligible for funding. Please visit our dedicated web pages to learn more about SOAR and SURF/SHURE funding requirements and deadlines.

Research Board

Here you will find postings of USC Dornsife faculty who are searching for student researchers. Click on each profile to learn more about the research opportunity.

Dornsife faculty interested in being added to the Board may fill out the application form and send it to

  • Contact information:

    Project title: Quantum Phase Transitions

    Position description:

    We will study the phase diagram of Quantum Hamiltonians with the intent of discovering and characterizing new quantum phases and phenomena.

    Required skills:

    Interest in upper level physics and scientific programming.

    Prerequisite coursework:

    Introductory calculus and calculus based physics.

    Preferred major(s): Science and Engineering

  • Contact Information:

    Project title: Gating mechanosensitive membrane proteins

    Project description:  This interdisciplinary project explores the theoretical physics underlying the ability of cells to sense and to respond to mechanical stimuli in their external environment. A paradigm of mechanosensation is provided by mechanosensitive ion channels found in the cell membranes of bacteria such as E. coli. The proposed research explores the physical mechanisms allowing mechanosensitive ion channels to switch between open and closed channel states depending on the tension of the cell membrane.

    Required skills:  The project requires a strong physical and mathematical background, and a strong desire to delve into the biological phenomenology of mechanosensation. See also

    Prerequisites:  Advanced calculus and physics

    Preferred major: Science and engineering

  • Contact Information:

    Project Title: Possible Selves and Identity-Based Motivation

    Position Description: Research, preparing experimental stimuli. data gathering, coding videos, data analysis.

    Required skills: High level of computer proficiency.  Familiarity with R and Photoshop is desired (but not required).

    Prerequisite coursework:  Psychology 101, Research methods and/or Statistics.

    Preferred major, class level, and other requirements: Psychology, Computer science, statistics, but all are welcome to apply and will be evaluated case by case.

    Please apply using this link.

  • Contact Information:

    Project Title: Molecular Genetics of Aging

    Project Description:  We are using the laboratory fruit-fly Drosophila to study the basic mechanisms of aging. We focus on genes and pathways that are conserved with humans, and that may lead to future interventions for human diseases. We use genetics, transgenic animals, gene over-expression and RNAi. Specific interests include the role of the mitochondria in aging, and the links between sexual differentiation and aging. Recently we have been focusing on the use of 3D video tracking to analyze phenotypes. We have used these methods to identify drugs that are promising interventions for aging. Students will begin with general lab assistance, including Drosophila media prep, dishwashing, Drosophila stock maintenance and assisting with experiments. Students will be gradually moved to more complex tasks, including Drosophila life span assays and 3D video tracking assays, and ultimately to independent research projects.

    Required skills:  A strong interest in biological research and/or computer science and video, and a willingness to work hard.

    Prerequisite coursework:  None

    Open to all majors and class levels


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