Doing research in the lab
All undergraduates in my lab work on their own distinct projects in consultation with myself and sometimes in collaboration with either a postdoc or a graduate student. Undergraduates do not piggyback on on-going projects of other students in the lab, but act as the primary investigator and intellectual force behind their own projects. I take it for granted that you are intelligent, but you must also be highly motivated and hard-working.
Each year, the lab takes on up to 4 senior thesis students. It is impossible to give sufficient attention to more than 4 students at a time. For this reason, I am very selective about which students I take on. Before you contact me, it helps if you have a good idea about the what the lab does and some reasonable idea of what you would like to study. Put some thought into it. The exact topic will be something you and I will develop together.
Some previous undergraduate projects include studying music perception and stress responses in monkeys, building robots to respond to audiovisual signals, social cueing in wild monkeys, x-ray videos of vocalizing animals, and comparing outer ear development in monkeys and humans.
I typically take students from Psychology, Ecology & Evolutionary Biology and Molecular Biology, but any student who is pursuing a Neuroscience certificate can be advised by me.
Letters of recommendation
I am more than happy to write letters of recommendation for any student that I know reasonably well. That is, I write letters for students who have worked in my lab or with whom I've otherwise interacted with in a serious way. It is not in your best interest to ask for a recommendation from me if you've only been a student in one of my classes. This is not because I will write you a 'negative' letter, but because the letter will be brief and superficial. Admissions committees can spot such letters immediately and do not find them helpful.
If you want a letter of recommendation, I have a simple policy: If you give me more than two weeks notice, I will do it. Anything less than that, I will not do it. Plan appropriately. Deadlines sneak up quickly!