Category Archives: News

Medical School Early Assurance Program

Medical School

Early Assurance Program

What is it?The MSU College of Human Medicine (CHM) has partnered with Michigan Technological University to provide early assurance of medical school admission and enriched experiences for undergraduate students interested in becoming physicians in an underserved region or with an underserved population.

For more information see:

Early Assurance Program 2014 Announcment

Dr. Rupali Datta new Departmental Graduate Director

Please join me in welcoming our new Graduate Program Director, Professor Rupali Datta.

Dr. Datta joined Michigan Tech as an associate professor in 2008 under prestigious SFHI program. She has proved herself to be a true leader in the field of sustainability with special reference to environmental remediation. Her fields of specialization are Biochemistry, Plant-Microbe Interactions, Phytoremediation, Environmental Remediation and Toxicology. During her life time, she has published over 70 peer reviewed papers, 15 book chapters and two edited books. In addition, she has done over 150 presentations. Please contact Dr. Datta hereafter for any questions regarding our graduate programs.

I also want to thank Professor Nancy Auer for serving as our Graduate Program Director since 2010. During last four years, our graduate program has grown significantly and became highly visible on our campus and beyond. Dr. Auer has been a member of Michigan Tech family since 1984. She has an active research program in the areas of large lake research and restoration of native fish species. She has published many papers, as well as authored several book chapters and recently published a book with David Dempsey – The Great Lake Sturgeon.

We all are grateful to Professor Auer for her outstanding service as Graduate Program Director.


Shekhar Joshi, Chair
Department of Biological Sciences

Lake Superior Joint Monitoring program

Researchers associated with Michigan Tech, MTRI and Biological Sciences ride the RV5501

YouTube video


Great Lakes Research Vessel NOAA RV 5501 at Michigan Tech: Lake Superior Joint Monitoring Program July 2014

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) provided the boat and crew and Michigan Tech provides the people who do the sampling as part of NOAA’s Great Lakes Monitoring program. Michigan Tech and NOAA share in the analysis and discovery.
RV 5501 is a vessel of the NOAA – National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration; Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory (GLERL); The Boat Engineering Branch of the United States Coast Guard (USCG) Engineering Logistics Center designed the 55′ ANB (Aids to Navigation Boat). The Coast Guard Yard completed the detailed design and contracted the initial production of 55′ ANB. The 55′ ANB is designed primarily to service aids to navigation within the inland waters, bays, sounds and harbors of the United States. It is capable and equipped to support multi-mission operations.

Crew: Beau Braymer, Captain of RV5501; Bob Harvey, Mate of RV5501; Dr. Gary Fahnenstiel, Senior Scientist, Great Lakes Research Center and Michigan Tech Research Institute; Dr. Foad Yousef, Post doctoral research Michigan Tech and Erin Cafferty Michigan Tech Research Institute, research in freshwater biology phycology.

Guiliang Tang and Hairong Wei awarded NSF $2.5M NSF grant

PI Guiliang Tang (BioSci) and Co-PI Hairong Wei (SFRES) were awarded $2,499,979 from the National Science Foundation for their three-year project “Targeting microRNAs for Destruction in Crops by Short Tandem Target Mimic (STTM).”

From Dr. Joshi, Chair, Department of Biological Sciences:

Heartiest congratulations to Dr. Guiliang Tang and his team on receiving a $2.5 million grant from NSF Plant Genome program for the project titled “Targeting microRNAs for destruction in crop plants by Short Tandem Target Mimic (STEM) “.

This is one of the biggest grants Biological Sciences Department has received in recent years that brings our new external funding in this fiscal year close to $3.5 million.

In the current era of limited funding for University research, this is a great achievement and all the credit goes to dedication of our faculty, staff and students in pursuing and publishing high quality research.”

Dr. Sue Bagley awarded Society of Industrial Microbiology Award

This award recognizes those member(s) who have an outstanding record of sustained service to the Society for a period of seven or more years in various capacities such as a Society officer, chair of a standing or presidential committee, SIMB News editor-in-chief, JIMB editor-in-chief, Developments editor-in-chief, program chair, or other service to the Society acceptable to the committee and board; and have been an active member of SIM for 10 or more years.

Susan T. Bagley. PhD, is Professor Emerita of Environmental Microbiology in the Department of Biological Sciences at Michigan Technological University in Houghton, MI. She has over 35 years’ experience as an environmental microbiologist, working in academia and government (U.S. Environmental Protection Agency) on microbial-based treatment of air, waterborne, and industrial organic wastes, microbial production of bio-based fuels, and mutagenicity and toxicity of environmental pollutants.

More at Charles Porter Award

Portage Library Hosts Presentation on Butterflies and Moths of the U.P.

From Tech Today.

4. Portage Library Hosts Presentation on Butterflies and Moths of the U.P.
The Portage Lake District Library will host assistant professor Thomas Werner (BioSci) on Monday, June 30, from 7–8 p.m. for his slide show presentation on “Butterflies and Moths of the Upper Peninsula.”

Werner’s program will illustrate the difference between butterflies and moths, describe their complete life cycles and explain how to mount them for collections. His presentation will cover 30 common species of the Upper Peninsula including the Canadian Tiger Swallowtail, Monarch, Red Admiral, White Admiral, Luna Moth and Wooly Bear. Participants will have time to ask questions and browse through Werner’s favorite books on this topic.

Werner studied biology in Jena, Germany, and got his Ph.D. in cell and molecular biology and insect immunology in Umea, Sweden. He later moved to the United States as a postdoctoral fellow in Madison, Wisconsin. Werner is now an assistant professor in the Department of Biological Sciences at Michigan Tech where he studies animal color pattern evolution and the evolution of mushroom toxin resistance in fruit flies.

Library programs are free and everyone is welcome. For more information please call the library at 482-4570 or visit Portage Lake District Library.

25th annual Bioathlon a huge sucess

May 7, 2014

The twenty-fifth annual Department of Biological Sciences Bioathlon for high school biology students was held on Wednesday, May 7, at Michigan Technological University.  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 16 Upper Peninsula Michigan high schools participated.  The three top scores go to these schools.

The team winning FIRST PLACE was Hancock High School from Hancock, MI.

Team members:  Shannon Nulf, Ruth Venegus, Mary Jarvis, Alexis Aho

Instructor:  Brian Rajdl

The team winning SECOND PLACE was L.L.Wright High School from Ironwood, MI.

Team members: Margaret Meyer, Kathleen Mieloszyk, Corissa Mattson, Leah Braucher

Instructor: Paul Mattson

The team winning the THIRD PLACE was West Iron County High School from Iron River, MI.

Team members: Madiline McNamara, Emmy Kinner, Michelle Wiegand, Izaya Bengry

Instructor: Joel VanLanen

Each team was composed of four students who have not had formal class work in biology beyond the traditional sophomore high school general biology course.  All teams tackled the same four problems:

The four problems for the competition include:

Dissection: designed by Biological Sciences Graduate student Robert Larson and assisted by Travis Wakeham and Jenna Edwards with input from Dr. John Durocher.

Molecular Biology: designed by Biological Sciences graduate student Emily Geiger, assisted by Jennifer Connors.

Field Identification: designed by Biological Sciences graduate student Ashley Coble assisted by Tony Matthys and Troy Long.

Medical Laboratory  Science: designed and proctored by Medical Laboratory Science undergraduate students, Alyssa Elegeert, Rebecca Kurt, Roger Ellis, Sarah Westdorp, Danielle Dawson and Misty Brouilette with input from Professor of Practice Karyn Fay[j1] .

Through these exercises, students needed to demonstrate organizational skills, knowledge of facts and concepts, laboratory skills and creativity.

Each member of the first, second and third team will receive a small cash award along with a plaque.  Each student participating in the competition will also receive a certificate of participation and a Bioathlon T-shirt.

The teacher activity was: The Fungus among Us

In this workshop teachers explored some of the different roles of the fungi and conducted several simple, inexpensive activities to help students overcome their mycophobia.  The workshop was designed and taught by Stacy Cotey, Academic Advisor of Biological Sciences. Lynette Potvin, Ecologist for the US Forest Service Northern Research Station also provided a view of below-ground fungal processes with a tour of the Rhizotron and Mesocosm facilities.

Funding was provided by MTU Admissions, the Department of Biological Sciences, the Michigan Tech Fund, MTU Alumni Mark Cowan, M.D., Robert C. and Kathryn DellAngelo, M.D., Olive Kimball, D.Ed., Ph.D., Nancy Auer, Ph.D. and Janice Glime, Ph.D.,

Students funded with SURF awards working in Biological Sciences

Reprinted from Tech Today

This summer, the Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF) program will fund 23 students from across the University with funds from the Vice President for Research and the Honors Institute. The total funding for the program this year is $80,500.

Congratulations to:

Jessica Karwosk working with Dr. Rupali Datta

Mark Keranen working with Dr. Thomas Werner

Jade Ortiz working with Dr. Amy Marcarelli

Additional SURF recipients,their project titles, and their advisors are listed online.