UROP Openings

Have a UROP opening you would like to submit?

Please fill out the form.

Submit your UROP opening

Superparamagnetic Nanoparticles as Versatile Neurobiological Sensors




20: Biological Engineering

Faculty Supervisor:

Alan Jasanoff

Faculty email:


Apply by:

Mar 10, 2020


He Wei: hewei@mit.edu

Project Description

This project provides a full range of training and research experience on chemistry, bioengineering, data analysis, and neuroscience. First of all, we will work on the synthesis and surface ligand exchange of superparamagnetic iron oxide nanoparticles. Then these iron oxide nanoparticles will be conjugated with peptides, DNAs, or proteins in order to make new and versatile sensors in the central nervous system. The targets of these nanoparticle sensors are key ions and neurotransmitters including but not limited to calcium, dopamine, serotonin, glutamate, and γ-aminobutyric acid. In the end, we will evaluate the performance of these nanoparticle sensors both in vitro and in vivo, by using state-of-the-art functional magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), followed by data analysis using Matlab and Analysis of Functional NeuroImages (AFNI).


Biochemistry. Prior research experience in chemistry or biology laboratories are recommended. Work hours is about 12 hours per week on this project. You’re welcomed to continue the UROP with our laboratory in future semesters including fall and IAP.