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 23rd beginning in the morning with a guest speaker. Followed by morning and afternoon poster presentations.

View 2014 PPD Morning Schedule

View 2014 PPD Afternoon Schedule

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

Recently Completed Major Qualifying Projects

Mapping the position of an aptamer on Z05 DNA Polymerase to better understand the complex's stability and compatibility with Hot Start PCR

Danielle Wisheart ‘14
An aptamer is an oligonucleotide that specifically and reversibly binds an enzyme, influencing its activity. DNA polymerase enzyme synthesizes DNA. The benefits of adding aptamer to DNA polymerase include: Hot Start PCR compatibility, polymerase stability when in complex with aptamer, and protection against harmful environmental conditions. However, the underlying cause for these properties are not well understood. Through the development of a proteinase k experiment, this project determined the location of aptamer binding on DNA polymerase and its functional implications. 

Isolation of Temperature-sensitive Mutants in the Moss Physcomitrella patens and Mapping of Their Causal Mutation by Genome Sequencing of Pooled Segregants 

Xinxin Ding ‘14
To use plants to achieve a sustainable future, it is critical to understand how plants grow, specifically how genes direct cell growth and cell division. One effective approach to investigate these genes is the isolation of conditional mutants. This project used the moss Physcomitrella as the model organism and focused on isolating temperature-sensitive mutants with impaired growth, characterizing their morphology under the restrictive condition, as well as trying to identify the genetic mutation that causes the temperature sensitive phenotype. 

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