Category Archives: Research

Biotechnology Research Center Research Forum Awards

Caleb Vogt
Caleb Vogt
The Eleventh Annual Research Forum sponsored by the Biotechnology Research Center was held on Wednesday, Oct. 22, and Thursday, Oct. 23. Forty-one graduate and undergraduate students conducting research in life science, biotechnology, human health and related areas presented posters. Oral presentations were also given. Speakers included Jeremy Goldman (Bio Med), Ashutosh Tiwari (Chem), Hairong Wei (SFRES), Justin Segula (SFRES graduate student), Jingtuo Zhang (Chem graduate student) and Caleb Vogt (Bio Med undergrad student).

Thank you to the participants, the judges and all who helped with another successful BRC Research Forum. A list of BRC award winners is below.

Graduate Grand Prize
Maria Gencoglu (ChE) “A New Virus Purification Process: Virus Flocculation in the Presence of Osmolytes”
Advisor: Caryn Heldt

Graduate Merit Awards
Emily Shearier (Bio Med) “Mesenchymal Stem Cell Spheroids for Therapy Following Axillary Lymph Node Dissection” Advisor: Feng Zhao

Yu Wang (Bio Med) “Building a Virtual Breast Elastography Phantom Lab Using Open Source Software”
Advisor: Jingfeng Jiang

Undergraduate Grand Prize
Caleb Vogt (Bio Med) “Human Mesenchymal Stem Cell Response to Nitric Oxide Relesasing Materials”
Advisors: Megan Frost and Feng Zhao

Undergraduate Merit Award
Mitchell Tahtinen (Bio Med) “Prevascularization of Natural Extracellular Matrix Scaffold”
Advisor: Feng Zhao

“Virtual Breast” Could Improve Cancer Detection

image113672-horizNext to lung cancer, breast cancer is the leading cause of cancer death in women, according to the American Cancer Society. That’s why so many medical professionals encourage women to get mammograms, even though the tests are imperfect at best: only a minority of suspicious mammograms actually leads to a cancer diagnosis.
That results in lots of needless worry for women and their families—not to mention the time, discomfort and expense of additional tests, including ultrasounds and biopsies.
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Feng Zhao Named an Academic Editor

image51532-persFeng Zhao, assistant professor of biomedical engineering, has been named an academic editor for PLOS ONE. PLOS ONE is the largest journal in the world, publishing well over 2000 articles per month. The underlying philosophy of PLOS ONE is that all research, if well-performed and well-reported, has something of value to offer the scientific community, and accordingly, PLOS ONE’s editorial criteria focuses on the technical quality of the work rather than any subjective judgments such as perceived novelty or limited relevance to a specialist field. Editorial Board members at PLOS ONE are given a high degree of editorial autonomy over the papers that they handle and are responsible for deciding whether a manuscript adheres to the journal’s criteria for publication.

Study of Key Biomolecule Earns Tolou Shokuhfar CAREER Award

Tolou Shokuhfar will be investigating the inner workings of a protein that plays a key role in human health with funding from a five-year, $400,000 Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Award.

Shokuhfar,a faculty member of both departments of biomedical engineering and mechanical engineering-engineering mechanics at Michigan Technological University, will study the biomolecule ferritin, which stores iron in the body in a non-toxic, mineralized form and releases it safely. In humans, ferritin serves as a buffer between iron deficiency and iron overload, and when it malfunctions, it may be involved in a number of degenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.
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See previous article: A graphene water balloon may soon open up new vistas for scientists seeking to understand health and disease at the most fundamental level.
It’s the Water: Graphene Balloon Yields Unprecedented Images of Hydrated Protein Molecules

Biomed Students Earn Biotechnology Research Center Awards

Graduate Research:

$300 Grand Prizes

Biotechnology Research Center

Connor McCarthy (Biomedical Engineering) for “Native Elastin Scaffolds as Blood Contacting Surfaces Incorporating Nitric Oxide Release,” Advisors: Megan Frost and Jeremy Goldman

Ecosystem Science Center

Adam Coble (SFRES) for “Both Height and Light Influence Leaf Morphology in Sugar Maple Canopy,” Advisor: Molly Cavaleri

$100 Merit Awards

Biotechnolgy Research Center

Yiping Mao (Biological Sciences) for “Overexpression of microRNA-30d increases insulin biosynthesis and protects against high-fat diet induced glucose intolerances,” Advisor Xiaoqing Tang

Mu Yang (Chemistry) for Reduction of Porcine Parvovirus Infectivity in the Presence of Protecting Osmolytes,” Advisor: Ashutosh Tiwari

Ecosystem Science Center

Cameron Goble (Biological Sciences for “Assessment of Fish Communities in Tributary Streams of the Big Manistee,” Advisor: Nancy Auer

Mickey Jarvi (SFRES) for “Sugar Maple Fine-Root Respiration is Mechanistically Constrained by Adenylate Control,” Advisor: Andrew Burton

Alida Mau (SFRES) for “Variation in photosynthetic temperature responses across vertical forest canopy gradients: Comparisons between temperate and tropical trees,” Advisor: Molly Cavaleri.

Justina Silva (US Forest Service) for “Assessment of Spatial and Temporal Sedge Mediated Oxygen Dynamics,” Advisor: Erik Lilleskov

Undergraduate Research:

$150 Grand Prizes

Biotechnology Research Center

Keegan Yates (Biomedical Engineering) for “Decellularization of Fibroblast Cell Sheets for Natural Extracellular Matrix Scaffold Preparation)”, Advisor: Feng Zhao

Ecosystem Science Center

Brittany VanderWall (SFRES) for “Leaf Mass Per Area of Sugar Maple (Acer saccharum) Varies Seasonally and Across a Vertical Gradient”, Advisor: Molly Cavaleri

$100 Undergrad Merit Award

Biotechnology Research Center

Michael Bostwick (Biomedical Engineering) for “Biomimetic Adhesive Containing Nanocomposite Hydrogels with Enhanced Mechanical Properties,” Advisor: Bruce Lee

Biomed Students Win 2014 MSGC Awards

2014 MSGC Awardees Announced: Michigan Tech faculty, staff members and students received awards tallying $71,175 in funding through the Michigan Space Grant Consortium (MSGC) sponsored by the NASA.

Undergraduates receiving $2,500 research fellowships are:

Laura Lynch (Biomed): “Prevention of Secondary Lymphedema with Biomaterial Hydrogels”

Roger Guillory (Biomed): “Characterization of the Biocompatibility of Zinc-Magnesium Alloys for Bioabsorable Coronary Stents”

NASA implemented the National Space Grant College and Fellowship Program in 1989 to provide funding for research, education, and public outreach in space-related science and technology. The program has 52 university-based consortia in the United States and Puerto Rico. As an affiliate of the Michigan Consortium, Michigan Tech has been an active participant in MSGC for over fifteen years. For more information, please contact Robert Warrington or Paige Hackney in the Institute for Leadership and Innovation

Kenneth L. Stevenson Biomedical Engineering Fellowship Program

Kenneth L. Stevenson Biomedical Engineering Fellowship Program

The Department of Biomedical Engineering at Michigan Technological University is now accepting applications for the Kenneth L. Stevenson Biomedical Engineering Summer Research Fellowship Program. The primary goal of the program is to provide deserving undergraduate and beginning graduate students the opportunity to participate in meaningful Biomedical Engineering research at Michigan Technological University. Specifically:

a)      Undergraduate students (2 awards): Undergraduates will receive undergraduate-to-graduate transitional research fellowships of $4000 each. Students entering their junior and senior years will be considered. The award is intended to introduce students to the rigors associated with graduate level research in Biomedical Engineering.

b)      Graduate students (2 awards): Students who have completed an undergraduate degree prior to the fellowship period and are beginning studies in Michigan Technological University’s Biomedical Engineering graduate program (PhD or MS) will receive fellowships of $5000 each in support of intensive summer research. These awards will allow students to establish their research in the initial phase of their graduate studies.

The application process is now open!  Program requests for applications will be announced in Tech Today beginning in mid-March, with applications for these annual awards due March 31, 2014 by noon (EST). Fellowship recipients will conduct a research project under the guidance of a Michigan Tech Department of Biomedical Engineering faculty mentor, during the summer semester. Fellowship recipients will be required to:

  • Submit a final progress report of their work and/or evidence clearly showing the work has contributed significantly to a work being prepared for peer-reviewed publication.
  • Present their research in poster or oral form, preferably at a nationally recognized research meeting or the University BRC research forum, or the Biomedical Engineering Graduate Research Forum.

Application process:

Each applicant should submit the following (Incomplete applications at the deadline will not be considered):

  1. Application Coversheet (pick up in Biomed main office MM309, or email malabeau@mtu for a copy)
  2. Project Description (2-page limit, 12-pt font- Arial, ¾-inch margins)
  3. Faculty mentor letter of support
  1. Application Coversheet. Completed coversheet should be included with each application.
  1. Project Description. Project description should be prepared with (not by) a faculty mentor, and at a minimum address the following regarding the proposed project:
    1. Motivation and Significance
    2. Specific objectives, hypotheses, and aims
    3. Brief description of the work that will be done to specifically address aims
    4. Time-line for work to be completed

The Project Description is limited to 2 pages (12-pt font, Arial, ¾-inch margins minimum) and is to be submitted as a PDF file. You may include graphs, images and tables as needed. A separate page may be used for references as needed. All references however must be cited in the text of the project description.

  1. Faculty mentor Letter of support. Letters of support should at the minimum address the following:
    1. How long have you known the student and in what capacity?
    2. Why do you think the student is likely to succeed in the project?
    3. Where does the student’s project fit into your overall research program?

To submit application, email a PDF file that includes both the Application Coversheet and Project Description to Judy Schaefer (jlschaef@mtu.edu). Ask your faculty mentor to email the letter of support to the same address.

Pumping Iron: A Hydrogel Actuator with Mussel Tone

Protein from a small, tasty mollusk inspired Michigan Technological University’s Bruce P. Lee to invent a new type of hydrogel actuator.
Hydrogels are soft networks of polymers with high water content, like jello. Because of their soft, gentle texture, they have the potential to interact safely with living tissues and have applications in a number of medical areas, including tissue engineering. Lee, an assistant professor of biomedical engineering, wanted to make a hydrogel that wouldn’t just sit there.
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