Major Qualifying Project

The Major Qualifying Project (MQP) is a high-level research project in the student's major field. Through the MQP every WPI student has the chance to experience the kind of real-world problem solving that will soon characterize their professional careers. With an MQP on their resume, WPI students have a leg up on the competition when it comes to launching careers or gaining admission to the best graduate schools.

The MQP involves problems typical of those found in the student's professional discipline and addresses challenging research issues. These qualifying projects are far from trivial; each requires a substantial part of an academic year, culminating in a project report and poster on project presentation day.

In Biology and Biotechnology MQPs can be done in a faculty member's research lab, in the department's ProjectLab, or off campus sites, such as the University of Massachusetts Medical Center, Tufts University Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine, or area biotechnology companies.  All projects must be approved by a Biology & Biotechnology Department faculty member or an associated Biology and Biotechnology faculty member; this individual will become the advisor of record and monitor your progress through meetings with you and close communication with the off campus supervisor.

Project Presentation Day

During the spring term of the academic year, the Biology Department at WPI holds its annual Project Presentation Day to recognize the scientific accomplishments of our undergradute students.  These presentations represent year-long efforts by our undergraduates on their Major Qualifying Projects.

The mission of the Biology Department is to prepare students for rewardng careers in industry or professional programs.  The students in our program are well-versed in the fundamental knowledge of basic science and can apply these princples to solve complex problems in the biological & life sciences.  More importantly, WPI's project-oriented curriculum prepares students to engage in a lifetime of professionalism and learning.

This year's Project Presentation Day will be held on Thursday, April 19th beginning in the morning with a guest speaker. Followed by morning and afternoon poster presentations.



We look forward to your attendance at this year's Project Presentation Day.

Recently Completed Major Qualifying Projects

A Genetic Approach to C. Elegans Cholinergic Signaling

Jason Climer, ‘10
Genes that are involved in localization or modulation of neurotransmitter receptors are difficult to identify. We generated a C. elegans strain expressing a mutated, hyperactivitied acetylcholine receptor. These animals display a dramatic movement phenotype, as well as mislocalization of a related receptor. Our genetic screen for suppressors of the movement phenotype isolated 15 suppressors, many of which would not have been isolated using traditional methods. We believe that this strategy will find novel factors that play important roles in cholinergic signaling.

A Public Health Project in Methods of Schistosomiasis haematobium Control in Adasawase, Ghana

Carrie Lynn Ellsworth, ‘11 and Victoria Michelle Mason, ‘11
Schistosomiasis is a parasitic disease that is endemic in Africa. Adasawase is a rural village in eastern Ghana that had a 49.8% prevalence rate in 2008. This project utilized a public health approach to further control schistosomiasis. Infection rates in schoolchildren were determined by urine testing and a filtration system was built for the town's water recreation area. Surveys were used to assess knowledge and a health education plan was implemented. As of 2010, infection rates have decreased to 14.5%.

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