Michigan Tech Alumnus Robert (Bob) Martin recently received the Hologic Joseph Public Health Award at the American Society for Microbiology’s recent Microbe 2016 meeting in Boston. In addition to earning his mater’s in Biological Sciences from Michigan Tech, Martin was the head of the U.P. state health lab, located on the Tech campus and also taught medical bacteriology. According to the ASM the Hologic Joseph Public Health Award “Honors a distinguished microbiologist who has exhibited exemplary leadership and service in the field of public health.” Martin is also a member of Michigan Tech’s College of Science and Arts Academy.
The Inquisitor published the article “Can this protein cure cancer? Scientists have learned to block tumor ‘messages’ in human cells” that refers to research by Dr. Xiaoqing Tang.
You can read the article here.
Original story by Mark Wilcox in 15 July Tech Today
A Michigan Tech professor has received a prestigious national recognition. Ebenezer Tumban (Bio Sci) has been named a National Academies Fellow in the Life Sciences for the 2016-17 academic year by the National Academies in Washington, DC.
In a letter to University President Glenn Mroz, Barbara A. Schaal, vice president of the academy and chair of the division of earth and life sciences, said the honor was bestowed upon Tumban because of his selection and “enthusiastic participation” in the 2016 National Academies Northstar Summer Institute (NANSI) on Undergraduate Education in Biology held last month at the University of Minnesota.
According to the letter, representatives from 15 U.S. research universities met in Minneapolis for three days of workshops, discussions, intensive teamwork and analysis focused on enhancing undergraduate education within the themes of active learning, assessment and diversity.
Tumban says he was “overwhelmed with joy” when he learned of the honor. Of the three-day summer institute he says, “I put in a lot of effort to prepare a learning activity which I used during my teaching demonstration, and I’m glad it paid off.”
Tumban expressed gratitude to Bruce Seely, dean of the College of Sciences and Arts, Provost Jackie Huntoon and Chandrashekhar Joshi, chair of the Department of Biological Sciences, for providing the financial support needed to attend the workshop.
Joshi calls Tumban “an outstanding and dedicated teacher.”
“Dr. Tumban is a phenomenal instructor who truly enjoys teaching; he is an active researcher who is engaged in developing new vaccines against human papilloma virus and he is a delightful colleague who is always willing to help others,” Joshi says.
Joshi adds that when the opportunity came for Tumban to attend the NANSI workshop, he enthusiastically volunteered. “So far, four other faculty members in biological sciences and one faculty member in chemistry have previously participated in similar NANSI workshops, and they have already incorporated what they learned into their regular classroom teachings,” Joshi said.
Tumban said he appreciates all the support he’s received. “I would also like to thank NANSI for organizing the workshop and the Center for Teaching and Learning at Michigan Tech for exposing me to different active learning strategies which were instrumental in the workshop.”
In her letter to Mroz, Schaal said, “by sending participants to the National Academies Summer Institute, your institution is at the forefront of improving undergraduate education that is so essential for preparing both future scientists and scientifically literate citizens.
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
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.
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
Robert 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!
Recent 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
Congratulations 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.
After 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
Won Young Choi
Instructor: Lauri Davis
The team winning SECOND PLACE was Calumet High School from Calumet, MI.
Team members: Chelsea Pittsley
Instructor: Jennifer Peters
The team winning the THIRD PLACE was L.L.Wright High School from Ironwood, MI.
Team members: Zane Ozello
Instructor: Cheryl Jacisin