Advanced research gives EECS undergraduates the ‘big picture’

SuperUROP connects student creativity with tough challenges

Francis Chen did cutting-edge work at the intersection of EECS and biological engineering in Professor Ron Weiss’ Laboratory for Synthetic Biology in CSAIL. His project involved enabling automated DNA assembly with microfluidics.

Weiss’ lab has more than 20 researchers, including postdoctoral associates, graduate students, and undergraduates. “In general, the expectations are very high,” Chen says. “I’ve attended a few lab meetings with Professor Weiss, and I’ve noticed that he always seeks to identify the real reasons why things are the way they are, instead of being satisfied with superficial reasons. It has been a great educational experience.”

A junior, Chen plans to stay at MIT for an extra year after graduation to earn a master of engineering degree. He will then pursue an entrepreneurial or an academic career path.

“SuperUROP has given me valuable experience in the process of choosing a research topic, working in a lab, and writing a technical paper. These skills are applicable almost anywhere,” Chen says.

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