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Summer Undergraduate Research in Engineering (SURE)

SURE offers summer research internships to outstanding current U-M undergraduate students who have completed their sophomore or junior year (preference will be given to those who have completed three years of study) by the time of their internship.  Participants have the opportunity to conduct 10-12 weeks of full-time summer research with some of the country‚Äôs leading faculty in a wide range of engineering disciplines. The program provides opportunities for students to assess their interests and potential in pursuing research at the Masters or Ph.D. level in graduate school.  All participants must apply online through the SURE website.  Accepted applicants from the University of Michigan receive guidance by a faculty advisor in a College of Engineering research facility, a stipend of $6,000, attend regular meetings and seminars and contribute to an abstract booklet with highlights of their summer research project and/or experience.

Selection Process: Once the SURE Manager has shared your application with the Department, we will provide the eligible applications to the Faculty Mentors who will review your application materials. It is possible that they will reach out to you directly for further information. You do not need to do anything else, but if you have any specific questions regarding a SURE Project, you are welcome to reach out to the listed Faculty Mentor. Any notification of an offer will be sent from the SURE Manager.

General Timeline:
January – Application opens and is due
February – Applications are reviewed
March – Offers will begin being sent out
April – Offers may still be issued during this time
May – SURE Projects may begin

Learn more:

The 2024 SURE application is CLOSED
Click here to access and submit application.

The application closed on January 28, 2024

Mechanical Engineering 2024 SURE Research Projects


ME Project #1: Dynamics of Piezoelectric Microsystems
Faculty Mentor: Kenn Oldham, [email protected]
Prerequisites: Statics and or dynamics coursework
Project Description: Piezoelectric microsystems are miniature sensors and actuators that convert strain to voltage, and vice versa, in devices just a few millimeters in size.  Applications include miniature robotics, medical devices, and micro-assembly.  In this project, the student will perform a combination of experimental testing and dynamic modeling of devices fabricated by the Microdynamics Laboratory in Mechanical Engineering, to better understand motions that are feasible for these miniature engineered systems.
Research Mode: Hybrid, In-Lab 

ME Project #2: Design and Material Characterization of Cellulose Hydrogels for Wound Healing
Faculty Mentor: Jing Tang, Ph.D., [email protected]
Prerequisite: General lab experience. Basic knowledge of biology and engineering.
Project Description: The project focuses on the development of cellulose-based hydrogels to address chronic wound healing. It capitalizes on the inherent properties of cellulose, a biodegradable nanomaterial derived from biomass, for its potential in biomedical applications. The project explores the use of cellulose hydrogels in creating conductive, robust devices suitable for wound care. It involves evaluating the hydrogels’ mechanical adhesion, electrical conductivity, and drug delivery capabilities. The goal is to bridge the gap between cellulose hydrogel-based sensors and their specific applications in wound healing, offering a multifunctional solution that combines mechanical, electrical, and drug stimulations for enhanced wound care.
Research mode
: In-Lab

ME Project #3: 3D-printing of Personalized Orthotics and Prosthetics
Faculty Mentor: Albert Shih, [email protected]
ME 250 and ideally ME350
Project Description: This project partners with clinicians of the Orthotics and Prosthetics Center of Michigan Medicine to explore new applications of 3D-printing for design, manufacturing, and testing/evaluation of custom foot orthoses and prosthetic sockets with personalized fit and comfort. Innovative design features enabled by 3D-printing and initiated from clinicians and engineers will be explored and analyzed to create new classes of foot orthotics and prosthetic sockets for patient care.
Research Mode: In-Lab

ME Project #4:  Capturing the interaction between slender worms and granular materials
Faculty Mentors: Hongyi Xiao, [email protected], Eleni Gourgou, [email protected]
Prerequisites: ME211, ME240, ME360, ME395
Project Description: Understanding the interaction between an elastically deforming body and granular materials is key for soft robotic locomotion and underground sensing. This interdisciplinary project aims to understand how C. elegans, a 1mm-long, slender nematode worm, traverses in granular materials made of micron-sized particles. The student will be involved in a mix of research activities, that will include i) participation in the development and performance of wet lab experiments, ii) analysis of worm motion and of the packing structure of the surrounding particles, and iii) computational mechanics simulations that couple an elastic body that mimics the worm and discrete particles that represent the granular material. The student will participate in regular meetings with faculty mentors and other team members, maintain a lab notebook, and submit a report at the end of the program.
Research Mode: In-Lab, Hybrid

ME Project #5: Continuous Freeze Casting
Faculty Mentor: Wenda Tan, [email protected]
Prerequisites: Design, manufacturing, mechatronics
Project Description: Freeze casting is a cost-effective way to fabricate directional porous ceramics materials ( In the current process, the process is usually discrete and generates products of small sizes. In this project, we plan to design and prototype a roll-to-roll freeze-casting system to enable a continuous process to generate porous structures of large sizes.
Research Mode: In-Lab

ME Project #6: Engineering synthetic exocytosis
Faculty Mentor: Allen Liu, [email protected]
Prerequisites: None
Project Description: Building synthetic cells is an exciting area of synthetic biology with opportunities to unravel basic design and organizational principles of cellular life and unlock biomedical applications. The current paradigm in the construction of a bottom-up synthetic cell system involves the creation of more sophisticated cell-like systems based on the current understanding of cellular designs. We are interested in creating a synthetic cell that can secrete contents upon a stimulus. This is akin to how natural platelets and macrophages secrete enzymes when they become stimulated. In this project, we are using complementary peptides or DNA strands to induce fusion between two membranes and developing strategies to have membrane fusion be dependent on calcium ions. Ultimately, we want to develop synthetic cells that can sense mechanical forces to trigger the release of small molecules. Such systems will have profound implications for the future development of cell-based therapy. As part of the team, the student involved will have an opportunity to learn various in vitro biology and imaging techniques. Candidates with interests in biology and hands-on lab work are highly desirable. Basic knowledge of chemistry and molecular biology is a plus.
Research Mode: In-Lab