Research Opportunities

Thayer School's research focus areas are: engineering in medicine, energy technologies, and complex systems. Current projects address these focus areas and/or involve one or more of the following engineering disciplines: Biomedical; Chemical & Biochemical; Computer; Electrical; Engineering Physics; Environmental; Materials Science; and Mechanical.

There are several ways undergraduates can participate in current research projects: by completing an honors thesis, working as a research assistant, or serving as an intern at one of the many companies founded by engineering faculty.

Dartmouth undergraduate students talk about their research on fusion energy, HIV/AIDS, space weather prediction, and more:

Nicholas Rolfes ’11
Project: Culturally Infused Social Network Analysis
Advisor: Professor Eugene Santos Jr.

Nicholas Rolfes

"I used Bayesian knowledge bases to look at how information spreads and opinions change throughout a network. We used our information to model election results, particularly the South Carolina Democratic Primary election. The resources at Thayer are amazing and it was easy to get on board and working on this project. Dr. Santos held weekly meetings in which our group discussed articles relating to AI, computational analysis, or other interesting topics. He also supervised my work with graduate students and gave ideas of what to research next."

Professor Karl Griswold and Student
Professor Karl Griswold, right, and graduate student John Lamppa are eager to have undergraduates join their efforts to engineer therapeutic proteins that will fight lung infections in people with cystic fibrosis.

"Undergraduate assistants have been a key asset in my efforts to assemble a team of highly intelligent, creative, and productive researchers. Undergraduate students have been deeply involved in several of the lab’s ongoing projects, including some that we hope to publish in the near future. As a result, I have found that training good undergraduate assistants is a win-win situation: They have the opportunity to work in a cutting edge biotechnology laboratory and develop a set of research skills that will jump-start their future career plans, while I gain a highly motivated assistant who contributes to, and in some cases independently drives, our short term and long term research goals." —Professor Karl Griswold

Professor Solomon Diamond and Student
Students can help Professor Solomon Diamond, left, and graduate student Broc Burke build a system that will run three different brain imaging techniques at once. The goal: understanding how brains deteriorate in Alzheimer's disease or strokes.

"Undergraduate participation in research at Thayer gives students the experience of discovering and implementing new knowledge. In my laboratory, I’ve had students at all levels of experience from freshmen to seniors to graduate students working together to build a new brain imaging machine that will be used to study aging and neurological disease. It’s hard work, but it’s also fun and rewarding for us all to see the fruits of such a team effort. Students also benefit from the direct faculty mentorship and hands-on experiences that teach how to apply cutting-edge science and technology to real-world problems." —Professor Solomon Diamond

Work in a Faculty Startup

Many successful companies are the result of Thayer School research, and many engineering students begin their careers by working alongside their professors.

"We have interns working side-by-side with company scientists. The students want to do things in the lab, and the beauty is that they get to see the big picture and contribute." —Professor Tillman Gerngross, Co-founder of GlycoFi (now part of Merck, Inc.), Adimab, and Arsanis.