Category Archives: News

Tumban lab MiCup poster presentation

 

Ebenezer Tumban portriat
Ebenezer Tumban

Kambrie Boomgaard (Grand Rapids Community College) will be presenting a poster based on research in Dr. Ebenezer Tumban’s research lab.

Her title and abstract are:

Assessing the Solubility of Recombinant Bacteriophage  L2 Coat Proteins in Two Bacterial Strains

Kambrie Boomgaard1,, Lukai Zhai2, Ebenezer Tumban2

 

1Grand Rapids Community College,  2Department of Biological Sciences, Michigan Technological University

Abstract:

Currently, there are about 19 human papillomavirus (HPV) types that can cause cervical, penile, and anal cancers. A Second-generation HPV vaccine (Gardasil-9) has been approved to protect against more HPV types. However, the vaccine is going to protect against HPV types that cause only 86-90% of HPV-associated cervical and penile cancers. Complete protection from all HPV-associated cancers requires the addition of HPV L1 capsid from all cancer-causing HPVs. As an alternative approach to L1, we targeted conserved epitopes on L2 capsid protein to elicit broad protection against more HPV types. We developed bacteriophage (phage) MS2 and AP205 virus-like particles (VLPs) displaying a conserved L2 epitope and consensus epitopes from the L2 of all cancer-causing HPV types. Although some of the L2-phage coat proteins assembled efficiently into VLPs, the assembly of other L2-phage coat proteins were sub-optimal. The main goal of this research was to assess if the solubility and assembly of the sub-optimal L2-phage coat proteins could be enhanced by expressing the proteins in two different bacterial strains and at different temperatures. Our preliminary results show that AP205 displaying L2 is expressed and is soluble in Origami cells induced at 37 °C.

MiCUP Poster Presentation

by Center for Diversity and Inclusion

Join the Center for Diversity and Inclusion from 3 to 5 p.m. Thursday June 16, in MUB Ballroom A where students from Delta College, Grand Rapids Community College and Wayne County Community College who have been participating theMiCUP Residential Summer Research Program will present posters.

Join in a celebration of their accomplishments. This event is free and open to the public. Refreshments will be served.

For more information email Kellie Raffaelli.

Top 10% Biological Sciences Instructors in Spring 2016

 

Fay teaching
Karyn Fay is showing a student a lab technique

Dr. Joshi congratulates the top 10% Biological Sciences instructors in spring 2016:

Heartiest congratulations to the following faculty and graduate students from Biological Sciences Department who have been identified as one of only 85 campus-wide instructors who received an exceptional “Average of 7 dimensions” student evaluation scores during Spring 2016 semester. 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 4.63 out of 5 on average of 7 elements of university-wide class size group with response rate of >50% on student evaluations of their lecture classes:

  • Dr. Amy Marcarelli, Associate Professor
  • Ms. Brigitte Morin, Lecturer
  • Ms. Karyn Fay, Professor of Practice (Winner of teaching award in 2016)
  • Dr. Thomas Werner, Assistant Professor (Winner of teaching award in 2013)

The following instructors received scores above 4.76 out of 5 on “average of 7 elements” of university-wide class size group with response rate of >50% on student evaluations of their classes:

  • Jeff Kiiskila, Graduate Student Instructor
  • Dr. Michelle Seguin, Instructor

Shekhar

Robert Larson awarded AAS-Lundbeck Research Fellowship


Robert-LarsonRobert Larson
, PhD student in Biological Sciences, has been awarded the 2016  AAS-Lundbeck Research Fellowship as announced on their website.   His research is titled ” Targeting Cardiac Sympathetic and Renin Angiotensin Systems with Ang-(1-7) in Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy” which will be completed in the Department of Internal Medicine at The University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine with Dr. Mark Chapleau.

The Summary of his research:

Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) is a relatively common inherited disease characterized by cardiac hypertrophy (enlarged heart), fibrosis, and dysfunction. Patients with HCM exhibit abnormal neural reflex control of blood pressure and heart rate, and are at high risk of developing heart failure, arrhythmias and sudden cardiac death. Current treatment strategies primarily target symptoms and not development of the disease. We propose a novel treatment strategy with Angiotensin-(1-7), a peptide known to diminish sympathetic nerve activity and the pro-fibrotic and pro-hypertrophic actions of angiotensin II. We hypothesize that a combination of sustained inhibition of cardiac sympathetic activity and inhibition of adverse cardiac actions of angiotensin II will act synergistically to prevent or reverse cardiac fibrosis, hypertrophy and arrhythmias in HCM. We will test this hypothesis using an established mouse model of HCM, in which a human mutation is targeted selectively to the heart.

Robert will be completing his degree under Kineseology and Integrative Physiology Adjunct Professor Qing-Hui Chen this summer.

Congratulations from Biological Sciences!

Coble, Marcarelli research group publication

CobleRecent PhD graduate Ashley Coble published a paper in collaboration with her advisor, Amy Marcarelli, and other Michigan Tech researchers.

“Temporal patterns of dissolved organic matter biodegradability are similar across three rivers of varying size”

Authors Ashley A. Coble, Amy M. Marcarelli, Evan S. Kane, David Toczydlowski, Robert Stottlemyer

Journal of Geophysical Research, Biogeosciences

http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/2015JG003218/full

 

 

 

Auer, Kerfoot have recent publications


Nancy AuerkerfootCongratulations to Professor Nancy Auer (Bio Sci) and her PhD Graduate Student J. Marty Holtgren who published “Re-envisioning State and Tribal Collaboration in Fishery Assessment and Restoration,” in the journal Fisheries. Read the article 
here.

Congratulations to Professor Charles Kerfoot group who published Kerfoot, W. C., M. M. Hobmeier, F. Yousef. B. Moraska LaFrancois, R. P. Maki, J. K. Hirsch. 2016. A Plague of Waterfleas (Bythotrephes): Impacts on Microcrustacean Community Structure, Seasonal Biomass, and Secondary Production in a Large Inland-lake Complex. Biol. Invasions. 18 (4): 1121-1145 doi: 10.1007/s10530-015-1050-9 Read the article here.

Stottlemyer receives new funding

Department of Biological Sciences Adjunct Professor Robert Stottlemyer, head of the North Watershed Studies research group, is the principal investigator on a project that has received $85,001 in a research and development agreement with the U.S. Department of Interior—U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
The project is titled “Climate Altered Terrestrial Carbon and Nutrient Flux to the Aquatic Foodweb from Increased Depth of Soil Ice Thaw, Selawik and Fish Rivers, Selawik National Wildlife Refuge, Alaska.”
This is a two-year project.

Houghton High School takes first place in 27th annual bioathlon competition

Houghton high school 1st placeAfter 21 years of competing, Houghton High School ended a drought and took first place in the Department of Biological Science’s 27th annual Bioathlon competition. Calumet High School took second and L.L. Wright High School (Ironwood, Michigan) rounded out third place. This year 15 western and central Upper Peninsula schools competed to display their biology knowledge. Team members did not have any biology beyond the sophomore level. The four problems the four-student teams tackled:

  • dissecting and identifying a list of muscles and other organs found in a pigeon, designed by graduate student Travis Wakeham.
  • identifying different fly genetic traits and explaining how to prepare and read an electrophoresis gel, designed by graduate student Raja Bollepugu.
  • visiting the ski trails to find and identify organisms involved in a food web and explaining how they interact with each other, designed by graduate student Tony Matthys.
  • using medical laboratory science (MLS) techniques to identify a pathogen described in a written scenario, designed by a team of MLS undergraduates Sam Doyle, Shae Thomson, Josh Bowman and Laura Kirwin.

First, second and third place teams were awarded a plaque to display at school and each student on the team was awarded $200 for first place, $100 for second place and $50 for third place. All bioathlon competitors received a certificate of participation and a t-shirt sporting this year’s competition logo.

While students were busy with challenges their teachers participated in a workshop “Ethnobotany: how people use plants” led by academic advisor and botany instructor, Stacy Cotey.  Feedback indicated that the teachers were excited to learn new activities to incorporate into lesson plans.

The Department is pleased to use this outreach activity to demonstrate the exciting disciplines available at Michigan Technological University and to support the university’s mission to emphasis Health, Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (H-STEM) education.  We look forward to next year’s competition scheduled for early May 2017.

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

More details about the competition can be found on the Bioathlon web page.

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

Team members: Andra Campbell
                               Kieran Storer                  
                               Won Young Choi
                               Ann Desrochers
Instructor:  Lauri Davis

The team winning SECOND PLACE was Calumet High School from Calumet, MI.
Team members: Chelsea Pittsley
                               Gunnar Lindemann
                               Brandon Fraki
                               Joseph Roy
Instructor:  Jennifer Peters            

The team winning the THIRD PLACE was L.L.Wright High School from Ironwood, MI.
Team members: Zane Ozello
                               Ian Hughes
                               Kinley Lyons
                               Nick Niemi  
Instructor: Cheryl Jacisin          

 

High school visit program a great success

HS visit pictureIt’s the best turnout in recent history for our high school visit program. Biological Sciences is proud to announce seven schools—about 180 students and their teachers—came to our spring semester event to help connect students to Michigan Tech. This year two schools attended for the first time in our program’s 25-plus-year history: Copper Country Christian School and Nah Tah Wahsh PSA (Hannahville Indian School),  joining the returning Superior Central (Eben Junction), Dollar Bay, Hancock, and Ontonagon High Schools. Houghton High School was also here to participate in a cooperative joint program between Biological Sciences and Kinesiology and Integrative Physiology. Unfortunately, after several attempts to reschedule, Marquette High School was unable to make it due to winter weather.

In the morning, students were greeted by our chair, Dr. Shekhar Joshi. They heard the story of how Dr. Thomas Werner became a biologist and got career advice from Dr. Amy Marcarelli, Brigitte Morin and the advisor for Pre-health, Stacy Cotey. They also attended their first college-level lecture in anatomy and physiology.  At lunch break they were introduced to the wonderful selection of food at Wadsworth Hall’s cafeteria. In the afternoon, after a quick stop to pose by the Husky Statue, they reinforced that morning’s lecture using the human anatomy and physiology  laboratory equipment to measure various parameters of their respiratory, cardiac, muscle and urinary systems and then learned how to do blood typing in the Medical Laboratory Science lab.

We are excited to participate in Michigan Tech’s mission to attract motivated students, including high school-aged girls, into the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) fields. In a broader sense the day of activities and pep talks by a diverse team of faculty, staff, and college students motivated high schoolers to think more deeply about attending college. And it hopefully encouraged a specific focus on degrees in biological sciences, medical laboratory sciences, or one of our many other life-science-related majors on campus.

 

VanAcker awarded National Student Honor Award from ASCP

VanAckerBrent VanAcker, a senior in the Medical Laboratory Science Program, was recently awarded an American Society of Clinical Pathology (ASCP) National Student Honor Award (NSHA). This award is based on academic achievement, leadership ability, community activities, professional goals, and endorsements from faculty and community leaders. Brent will be graduating at the end of this semester and then will be going to Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN to complete a Clinical Practicum in Medical Laboratory Science. Our congratulations to Brent for earning this prestigious award!

 

Submitted by:
Karyn Fay  MS MT(ASCP)SH
Director: Medical Lab Science Program
Michigan Tech University

 

Biology and KIP host Houghton High School

Houghton VisitFriday 15 April,

The Department of Biological Sciences and the Department of Kinesiology and Integrative Physiology hosted a joint visit for Houghton High School’s Anatomy and Physiology classes.  The teacher, Alex Geborkoff, accompanied 35 students who spent a day on the Michigan Tech campus learning about health careers from Pre-med advisor Stacy Cotey and faculty member Steven Elmer, attending a college lecture in Anatomy and Physiology, experiencing lunch at Wadsworth Hall Dormitory and taking part in many hands-on lab activities.  Some of the lab activities in KIP included learning about the influence of stress on blood pressure in Dr. Jason Carter’s lab and conducting an experiment comparing concentric versus eccentric muscle groups in Dr. Steven Elmer’s lab.  In Biological Sciences students learned how to measure aortic blood pressure in Dr. John Durocher’s lab and being led through a dissection by Travis Wakeham in the anatomy and physiology teaching lab.

News coverage of the visit included TV6 news.