All posts by twakeham

Top 10% Biological Science Instructors 2016-17

Karyn Fay teaching a student.Heartiest congratulations to the following faculty, staff and graduate students from Biological Sciences Department who have been identified as one of instructors who received an exceptional “Average of 7 Dimensions” student evaluation scores during the 2016-17 academic year. Their scores were in the top 10% of similarly sized sections university-wide that had at least a 50% response rate.

Provost Jacqueline Huntoon recently congratulated them for their outstanding accomplishments in teaching.

The following faculty received scores above 4.67 out of 5 on average of 7 elements of university-wide class size group during the Fall 2016 semester:

  • Dr. John Durocher, Assistant Professor
  • Ms. Brigitte Morin, Lecturer
  • Dr. Ebenezer Tumban, Assistant Professor
  • Dr. Thomas Werner, Assistant Professor (Distinguished Teaching Award Recipient in 2013)

The following instructors received scores above 4.7 out of 5 on average of 7 elements of university-wide class size group during the Fall 2016 semester:

  • Cameron Goble, Graduate Student Instructor
  • Lexi Herrewig, Graduate Student Instructor
  • Travis Wakeham, Graduate Student Instructor
  • Lukai Zhai, Graduate Student Instructor

The following faculty received scores above 4.59 out of 5 on average of 7 elements of university-wide class size group during the Spring 2017 semester:

  • Dr. Casey Huckins, Professor
  • Ms. Brigitte Morin, Lecturer (Nominated for Distinguished Teaching Award in 2017)
  • Ms. Karyn Fay, Professor of Practice (Distinguished Teaching Award Recipient in 2016)
  • Dr. Ebenezer Tumban, Assistant Professor
  • Dr. Thomas Werner, Assistant Professor (Distinguished Teaching Award Recipient in 2013)

The following instructors received scores above 4.61 out of 5 on “average of 7 elements” of university-wide class size group during the Spring 2017 semester:

  • Yiping Mao, Graduate Student Instructor
  • Travis Wakeham, Instructor and Lab Supervisor

A.D. Johnston earns first place in the 28th annual Bioathlon

A.D. Johnston team photoThe 28th annual Department of Biological Sciences Bioathlon for high school biology students was held on Wednesday at Michigan Tech. Simultaneously, a workshop was held for the accompanying biology teachers.

The Bioathlon serves as a means to stimulate interest and problem-solving in biology among our area youth. Teams from 12 Upper Peninsula high schools participated.

The team winning was A.D. Johnston High School in Bessemer. Team members were Devon Byers, Andy Aspinwall, Abbey Johnson and Sydney Wittla-Sprague. The Instructor is David Rowe.

Second place went to Marquette, third place was Calumet.

Each team was composed of four students who have no formal class work in biology beyond the traditional sophomore general biology course. All teams tackled these same four problems:

  • Dissection: Designed by Biological Sciences graduate student Ian Greenlund and assisted by undergraduate Beth Chaney. The activity was the dissection of a preserved vertebrate animal with the identification of organs or structures required.
  • Microbiology: Designed by Biological Sciences graduate student Lukai Zhai, assisted by graduate student Rupsa Basu. This activity required students to identify the genus and species of each unknown microorganism by performing three basic microbiology techniques for each unknown.
  • Field Identification: Designed by Biological Sciences graduate student Taylor Zallek assisted by graduate students Sunflower Wilson and Bradley Wells. This activity involved a search for some common organisms or their parts during a brief field trip.
  • Medical Laboratory Science: designed by undergraduate Taylor Tienhaara and assisted by medical laboratory science undergraduate students, Samantha Doyle, Kat Wheeler and Audri Mills. This activity had students competing in hematology, blood banking and donation, urinalysis and laboratory safety.

Through these exercises, students needed to demonstrate organizational skills, follow instructions, show a knowledge of facts and concepts, and exhibit laboratory skills and creativity.

Each member of the first-place team received $200 and a partial scholarship for either forensic science or genetic modification and biotechnology explorations through Michigan Tech’s Summer Youth Programs.

Members of the second-place team received $100 and members of the third-place team received $50.

Members of the top three teams also received plaques. All students participating in the competition received a certificate of participation and a Bioathlon T-shirt.

Marc Madigan, academic advisor in biological sciences, organized an activity for the teachers. He shared forensic science activities that teachers can incorporate into their classrooms.

To learn more about Bioathlon click here.

Bioathlon 2017 Logo


Houghton High School Students Visit Campus

Michigan Tech students demonstrate arterial stiffness measurements to high school students.
Ian (M.S. student) and Hannah (undergraduate) explain how to measure arterial stiffness to Houghton High School students.

Houghton High School’s Anatomy & Physiology class visited the Department of Biological Sciences and Department of Kinesiology & Integrative Physiology last week. The day began with with Alex Geborkoff (HHS teacher) and his 36 students learning how a Michigan Tech education prepares students to enter a variety of health-related fields from Dr. Shekhar Joshi and Dr. Jason Carter. Afterwards, students attended our Human Pathophysiology course taught by Dr. John Durocher. During the class they participated in a case-study related to gastritis and peptic ulcers with current Michigan Tech students. Students also got a taste a college-life by eating lunch at Wadsworth Dining Hall.

The majority of the visit was spent engaging students in hands-on lab activities that included:

  • Assessing arterial stiffness responses to a Wingate Anaerobic Test in Dr. John Durocher’s Clinical & Applied Physiology Laboratory witht the assitance of Ian Greenlund (M.S. student) and Hannah Marti (undergraduate)
  • Examining human skeletal remains from our Anatomy & Physiology Teaching Laboratory with Travis Wakeham
  • Conducting a classic experiment comparing concentric and eccentric exercise in Dr. Steve Elmer’s Exercise Physiology Laboratory  with the assistance from Lexi Herrewig (M.S. student), Mackenzie Perttu (undergraduate), and Derek Walli (M.S. student)
  • Measuring beat-to-beat blood pressure responses to stress with Ida Fonkoue (recent Ph.D. graduate) in Dr. Jason Carter’s Integrative Physiology Laboratory

We are excited to have the opportunity to share our experiences with local students and hope to motivate them to attend college and pursue a career related to health sciences!

 


John DeMay ’84 appointed President of Astellas US Technologies, Inc.

Astellas Pharma Inc logo

Astellas, a global pharmaceutical company, announced that John DeMay ’84 has been appointed as President of Astellas US Technologies, Inc.:

In this role, DeMay will be responsible for promoting collaboration and cooperation across Pharmaceutical Technology divisions functions in the Americas.  He will also serve as the site manager for AUST based in Northbrook and will represent AUST in various Americas management activities. DeMay will also continue in his role as head of Project and Product Management Group reporting to Dr. Katsutoshi Nakamura, head of Project and Product Management within Pharmaceutical Technology.

“John’s background and broad experience in this area will help him meet the challenges of this new role, while continuing to grow the strong partnerships th

at exist within AUST and between AUST and its collaborators,” said Nakamura.  “He is dedicated to assuring stable global supply of clinical and commercial products for patients.”

Previously, DeMay served as executive director, Pharmaceutical Technology Management for AUST.  He joined Astellas in 2002 as an associate director of Technical Services and later served as director and senior director of the CMC Technology group within US Pharmaceutical Technology Management.

Throughout his 15-year career at Astellas, DeMay has played an important role in the chemistry, manufacturing and control (CMC) development and CMC project management.  He has contributed to the development, introduction and stable supply of several new drug products and marketed products.

DeMay holds a Bachelor of Science in Biology degree with a Chemistry Minor from Michigan Technological University and a Bachelor of Science in Pharmacy degree from Ferris State University.

Congratulations, John!


Students Present at the 2017 Undergraduate Research Symposium

Several undergraduate students working in biology research laboratories presented at Michigan Tech’s 2017 Undergraduate Research Symposium this year. The event highlights the amazing cutting-edge research being conducted on our campus by some of our best and brightest undergraduate students!

Michelle Kelly URS 2017

Michelle Kelly from Amy Marcarelli’s laboratory challenged the assumption that variation of biological nitrogen transformation rates within streams are small. Her findings suggest that these rates can actually significantly vary and may not be estimated by a single study site per reach. Michelle’s research was funded by a Research Experience for Undergraduates through the National Science Foundation.

 

Hannah Marti URS 2017Hannah Marti from John Durocher’s laboratory explored the potential health benefits of acute mindfulness meditation. In her pilot study, she observed a reduction in anxiety, heart rate, and aortic pulse pressure after the one introductory hour of mindfulness mediation. Hannah’s research was funded through the Undergraduate Research Internship Program sponsored by the Portage Health Foundation. Hannah earned an honorable mention for her presentation!

 

Jacob Schoenborn URS 2017

Jacob Schoenborn from Xiaoqing Tang’s laboratory studied mice to understand the influence of blueberries on the function of pancreatic beta cells, which regulate the amount of glucose in the blood. His results suggest that the bioactive substances in blueberries can improve beta cell sensitivity. Jacob’s research was funded through the Undergraduate Research Internship Program sponsored by the Portage Health Foundation. Jacob earned an honorable mention for his presentation!

 

David Trine URS 2017David Trine from Thomas Werner’s laboratory reviewed the abdominal pigment pattern of Drosophila guttifera by through five toolkit genes. His findings will help to understand the evolutionary process of color patterns on animals and also may lead to future cancer research. David’s research was funded through a Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship.

 


Emily Matthys ’13 ’16 receives national scholarship

Emily Matthys API AwardEmily Matthys recently received a national scholarship through the American Proficiency Institute (API) to help offset the cost of tuition while in her clinical practicum at the Marshfield Clinic.

According to the Medical Laboratory Observer:

“An appreciation for scientific advancements flows strongly among the winners of the 2016 American Proficiency Institute (API) scholarships. Five students enrolled in medical laboratory science programs across the United States won the awards to further their education.

“Now in our ninth year of awarding API Scholarships, I continue to be impressed with the caliber of students entering the medical laboratory science profession,” said Daniel C. Edson, President of API. “This year, a number of the scholarship winners are non-traditional students. They began their studies and careers in other fields, but found the clinical laboratory enticing enough to switch course.”

Ms. Matthys, who began her career as a field biologist, discovered the laboratory is where she excelled. “I think one of the most urgent issues clinical laboratory professionals will face is the spread of multi-drug resistant microorganisms,” she noted. “It will be rewarding to help identify and diagnose these infections to help inform treatment.”

Emily received her BS degree in Biology from Northern Michigan University and came to Michigan Technological University for a MS degree under Dr. Nancy Auer studying fisheries biology. After earning her MS degree, she took a position at Finlandia University teaching microbiology and it was there that she discovered medical microbiology and knew she wanted to pursue a third degree, in Medical Laboratory Science (MLS) at Michigan Tech. She graduated our program in December of 2015, and started her clinical practicum at the Marshfield Clinic in the summer of 2016.

Karyn Fay, the director of our MLS program, noted that “Emily was a very positive role model for younger students while at Michigan Tech and this award is well earned!” “Emily comes to the practicum with a wealth of experience,” said Julie Seehafer, Ph.D., director of Laboratory Education at Marshfield Clinic. “With her technical knowledge and her leadership skills, she is likely to make an immediate contribution.”

We are very proud of Emily, and wish her the best as she completes her clinical practicum and enters the field of Medical Lab Science!


Tony Wilkinson ’80 named Director NY State Fish and Wildlife

DEC_Logo

The New York State Department of Conservation (DEC) announced that Anthony (Tony) Wilkinson, Biological Sciences MS 1980, has been appointed to lead its Division of Fish and Wildlife:

Anthony (Tony) Wilkinson has been appointed to head up the agency’s four Fish and Wildlife bureaus and more than 350 employees whose missions are to conserve, improve and protect New York’s natural resources.

“Tony Wilkinson brings a deep awareness of the issues that affect our state’s environment and our natural resources, and his decades of experience will fit in perfectly with the hundreds of colleagues here who share his passion,” said DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos.

Most recently Wilkinson was the Director for The Nature Conservancy’s Eastern NY Program, where he developed and implemented conservation plans for various habitats and species, including migratory fish in the Hudson River Estuary. He previously served as the Director of Operations for the national Natural Heritage Program, and has worked as a biologist and a zoologist for state agencies in Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Indiana.

Wilkinson has an undergraduate degree in Fisheries and Wildlife from Michigan State University and a master’s degree in Biological Science from Michigan Technological University. He grew up in southern Pennsylvania and spent much of his youth hunting, fishing and hiking with his father. He is married with two older children and lives in Saratoga County.

“I’m thrilled to be part of the DEC team and look forward to working with the sportsmen and women of New York and our fish and wildlife staff on the sound management of our precious wildlife and fisheries resources,” Wilkinson said.

Congratulations, Tony!