All posts by Sue Hill

CloudSat-based Assessment of GPM Microwave Imager Snowfall Observation Capabilities

Giulia Panegrossi, Jean-François Rysman, Daniele Casella, Anna Cinzia Marra, Paolo Sanò, and Mark S. Kulie published “CloudSat-based assessment of GPM Microwave Imager snowfall observation capabilities” in Remote Sensing on December 6, 2017.


The article describes a NASA Global Precipitation Measurement Microwave Imager (GMI) snowfall sensitivity study using CloudSat satellite radar data as evaluation dataset. The study illustrates complex high frequency microwave sensor signatures to snowfall events under different atmospheric conditions and microphysical composition. It defines environmental and snow-producing cloud composition thresholds where the 166 GHz GMI channel is sensitive to surface snowfall, thus providing useful guidance to improve GMI snowfall detection and estimation capabilities.

Figure 2. Snowfall event on 30 April 2014.

Graphs of height versus latitude and longitude for various quantities.
Fig. 2a. From top to bottom, the first panel shows height-lat/lon imagery of Cloud Profiling Radar (CPR) reflectivity (color bar, in dBZ), the freezing level height (blue curve), and total precipitable water (TPW) (black curve, with values provided on the right-hand side y-axis), along the CloudSat track. In this panel, cloud layers where the DARDAR product identifies supercooled droplets are superimposed and shown in magenta. Second panel shows height-lat/lon imagery of 2C-SNOW snow water content (SWC) (color bar, in kg·m−3) and the snow water path (SWP) (black curve, with values provided on right-hand side y-axis). The third panel shows the GMI brightness temperatures (TBs) closest to each CPR pixel along the CloudSat track at 166 GHz (V and H polarization, in red), 183.3 ± 3 GHz and 183.3 ± 7 GHz (in blue). Bottom panel shows GMI TB difference (∆TB) at 166 GHz (V-H, in red), and for the two 183.3 GHz channels (in blue). In the top panel, vertical lines delineate different Sectors (I to V) identified in the discussion (see text for details).
Color graphs of coordinate version temperature.
Fig. 2b. GMI TB imagery: top row from left, 10, 18.7, 36.5, and 89 (H-pol) channels; bottom row from left: 166 (H-pol) and 183.3 ± 7 channels, ∆TB at 166 GHz (V pol−H pol) and at 183.3 GHz (183.3 ± 3 GHz–183.3 ± 7 GHz). The black line segment in each panel shows the CloudSat track. The sectors (I to V) identified in the discussion are also indicated (see text for details).

Three Enterprise Teams Compete in Fifth Annual Rekhi Innovation Challenge

BoardSport Color Gradient GraphicThe Fifth Annual Rekhi Innovation Challenge kicked off on Friday Nov. 10, 2017. Three Enterprise teams are competing for funding this year: Blue Marble Security, BoardSport Technologies and Velovations. The Rekhi Challenge is a crowdfunding competition to help promote and support student innovation and entrepreneurship through Michigan Tech’s crowdfunding site, Superior Ideas. The team that raises the most money will receive a monetary match of up to $5,000.

Monetary awards for total number of unique visitors, total number of unique funders, most social media engagement, most creative marketing plan and the first team to raise $1,000 will also be presented to teams at the conclusion of the competition.

Superior Ideas was established in 2012 to help bring university research and public service projects to life. The site uses crowdfunding to raise money and awareness for university research and public service projects that may not qualify for grant funding.

The Rekhi Innovation Challenge was developed in collaboration with the Enterprise Program Office and the Vice President for Research Office with support from Michigan Tech alumnus and longtime donor Kanwal Rekhi. The Silicon Valley-based entrepreneur, earned his master’s degree in electrical engineering from Michigan Tech in 1969.

Enterprise teams that have participated in past challenges include Innovative Global Solutions, Robotics Systems, Supermileage Systems, Aerospace, Blizzard Baja, GEAR and Open Source Hardware. Velovations took first place in the last competition with $2,550 in donations and a match of $2,550 from Rekhi, bringing the grand total to $5,100 in funding for their RENEW-U project.

RENEW-U is an ergometer for wheelchair users to exercise upper-extremity muscles in order to improve strength and mobility. Over the last four years, the Rekhi Innovation Challenge has provided more than $58,000 in support for 23 different student projects, attracting 267 unique donors.

For this year’s Rekhi Innovation Challenge, Blue Marble Security Enterprise is raising money to reach out to various community members and groups to increase interest in STEM fields among middle and high school students, particularly women.

BoardSport Technologies wants to develop a SmartBoard that will track snowboarders via GPS and REECO location to ensure a speedy rescue if caught in an avalanche or lost.

Velovations Enterprise is working with a local trails club to design and build a multi-purpose trail groomer with modular parts that can be swapped in the field to accommodate varying conditions.

If you’d like to learn more about any of these projects or donate, visit Superior Ideas. The Rekhi Innovation Challenge will run through March 31, 2018. Help support student innovation and entrepreneurship at Michigan Tech by making a donation today.

Michigan Tech Society of Women Engineers Students Attend WE17 Conference


Fourteen members and an adviser of the Michigan Tech Society of Women Engineers (SWE) Section attended the annual National SWE WE17 Conference from October 25-29, 2017, in Austin, Texas.

Participants attended sessions on a variety of topics, networked with company representatives at the Career Fair with over 300 STEM based companies and celebrated women in Engineering. Michigan Tech members volunteered at Invent It! Build It! (an outreach activity for middle and high school girls).

Gretchen Hein, SWE Section adviser and faculty in Engineering Fundamentals, presented on two topics: the results of a survey of SWE Women in Academia members and whether or not there are gender differences in student performance first-year engineering courses.

Whether it was learning about making SWE more inclusive to women of color or learning to be a grateful leader in the workforce, the conference provided members with a variety of opportunities. They eagerly anticipate another opportunity to grow, network and celebrate women in STEM at SWE WE18 Conference next fall in Minneapolis.

New Engineering Faculty Fall 2017

Biomedical Engineering

Sang Yoon Han
Sang Yoon Han

Sang Yoon Han, PhD

Sang Yoon Han joins Michigan Tech’s Department of Biomedical Engineering as an assistant professor. He received his PhD in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Washington in 2012.

Han has teaching experience at the University of Washington, as well as mentoring experience. He has multiple publications, awards and patents.

Chemical Engineering

Andre R. Da Costa
Andre R. Da Costa

Andre Da Costa, PhD

Andre Da Costa joins Michigan Tech’s Department of Chemical Engineering as a professor with an endowed chair in chemical process safety. Da Costa earned his PhD in chemical engineering from the University of New South Wales in Australia. He is fluent in five languages—Spanish, English, Portuguese, Russian and French.

Da Costa served as the director and chief engineer at Pacific Gas & Electric Company prior to coming to Michigan Tech. He has also conducted extensive research on membrane technologies and holds 14 patents. He has received multiple competitive grants and serves as a chair of the Process Safety Subcommittee of the American Gas Association. Da Costa was recognized with the American Institute of Chemical Engineers’ Gary Leach Award in 2004 for his contributions to the development and oversight of professional training programs.

Civil and Environmental Engineering

Stephen M. Morse
Stephen M. Morse

Stephen Morse, PhD

Stephen Morse joins Michigan Tech’s Departments of Civil and Environmental Engineering and Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics as an assistant professor. He received his PhD in Civil Engineering from Texas Tech University.

Morse taught as an assistant professor at Texas Tech University. He also has multiple awards and publications.

Electrical and Computer Engineering

Anthony (Tony) Pinar
Anthony (Tony) Pinar

Anthony Pinar, PhD

Anthony Pinar joins Tech’s Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering as a lecturer. Pinar earned his PhD in Electrical Engineering from Michigan Tech, as well as his undergraduate degree.

He has worked at Tech as an instructor, as well as a co-advisor for an Enterprise group of four independent teams. He also has published in multiple journals.

Engineering Fundamentals

Michelle Jarvie-Eggart
Michelle Jarvie-Eggart

Michelle Jarvie-Eggart, PhD

Michelle Jarvie-Eggart joins Michigan Tech’s Department of Engineering Fundamentals as a senior lecturer. Jarvie-Eggart is no stranger to Michigan Tech, having been an instructor in civil and environmental engineering. She received her PhD in Environmental Engineering from Tech in 2007.

She has been an instructor at six universities. She has worked at Barr Engineering and Cliffs Natural Resources, Inc. She has many publications and awards and has been UP chapter president of the Society for Mining, Metallurgy and Exploration since 2014.

Geological and Mining Engineering and Sciences

Mark Kulie
Mark Kulie

Mark Kulie, PhD

Mark Kulie joins Michigan Tech’s Department of Geological and Mining Engineering and Sciences as an assistant professor. He received his PhD in Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Before coming to Tech, he held research positions at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Kulie has also taught at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, North Carolina State University and Madison College. He has received the Exceptional Service Award for Teaching and the NASA Group Achievement Award as part of the Global Precipitation Measurement Post-Launch Team. Along with the many awards he has received, Kulie also has several publications.

Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics

Parisa Abadi
Parisa Abadi

Parisa Abadi, PhD

Parisa Abadi joins Michigan Tech’s Department of Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics as an assistant professor. She received her PhD in Mechanical Engineering from Georgia Institute of Technology in 2013.

Abadi has experience in teaching and research. She has multiple publications and received awards, including the Postdoctoral Research Fellowship from the American Association of University Women in 2015. She is also a member of many professional societies, such as the Society of Women Engineers, the American Society of Mechanical Engineers and the American Physical Society.

Steven Goldsmith
Steven Goldsmith

Steven Goldsmith, PhD

Steven Goldsmith joins Michigan Tech’s Departments of Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics and Computer Science as a research professor. He has held this position previously. He received his PhD in Engineering from the University of New Mexico in 1989.

Goldsmith has multiple reports, publications and patents. He has also held many positions in academia, including lecturer and researcher. Goldsmith retired as a distinguished member of the technical staff of Sandia National Laboratories after 32 years of service.

Hassan Masoud
Hassan Masoud

Hassan Masoud, PhD

Hassan Masoud joins Michigan Tech’s Department of Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics as an assistant professor. He earned his PhD in Mechanical Engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology.

Prior to coming to Tech, Masoud worked as an assistant professor of mechanical engineering at the University of Nevada. He is a reviewer for multiple journals, including the European Journal of Computational Mechanics, and has published in several journals. He is also a member of the American Physical Society and the Society of Engineering Science.

Catechol-Based Adhesive Research

Bruce P. Lee
Bruce P. Lee, Associate Professor, Biomedical Engineering

Research by Ameya R. Narkar, Jonathan D. Kelley, Rattapol Pinnaratip, and Bruce P Lee has been accepted in Biomacromolecules.

DOI: 10.1021/acs.biomac.7b01311

Effect of Ionic Functional Groups on the Oxidation State and Interfacial Binding Property of Catechol-Based Adhesive” involves the study of marine mussels, which secrete catechol-containing adhesive proteins for underwater binding to surfaces like ship hulls and docks Catechol has been used by scientists and engineers around the world to design synthetic adhesives and coatings for wide ranges of applications. It can be used in tissue adhesive, tissue engineering scaffold, coating for preventing adhesion of bacteria, and so on.

It is shown, however, that in the presence of neutral to basic pH (for example, pH 7.4 in the body or pH 7.5-8.4 in the ocean), catechol oxidizes, leading to reduced adhesive strength. Mussels actually utilize multiple adhesive proteins with various ingenious designs to prevent catechol oxidation and to preserve strong adhesion. The adhesive proteins exhibit antioxidant properties, hydrophobicity for avoiding contact with basic sea water, and other methods in order to optimize adhesion.

We found that incorporation of acidic functional groups in the adhesive network can also prevent catechol oxidation, preserving strong adhesion, even up to a pH of 8.5. This is a much simpler approach than what the mussels employ and potentially easier for designing synthetic mimics of these adhesive proteins. This means that we will be able to design biomimetic adhesives for biomedical applications and underwater applications, which are the basic pH environments of interest.

Prevascularization of Natural Nanofibrous Extracellular Matrix

Lijun Zhang (former research fellow), Zichen Qian, Shaohai Qi (collaborator), and Feng Zhao have an accepted manuscript “Prevascularization of Natural Nanofibrous Extracellular Matrix for Engineering Completely Biological 3D Prevascularized Tissues for Diverse Applications” in the Journal of Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine.

Feng Zhao is an associate professor in the Department of Biomedical Engineering. Zhao specializes in stem cell and tissue engineering research.

doi: 10.1002/term.2512

The study indicated that a preformed functional vascular network provides an effective solution for solving the mass transportation problem in large engineered tissues after implantation. Microvessels were created on a stem cell sheet by controlling microenvironmental parameters including oxygen and nanostructure. The prevascularized stem cell sheet holds great promise for engineering 3D prevascularized tissues for diverse applications.

3D Prevascularized Tissue
3D Prevascularized Tissue

AV START Act May Boost Autonomous Vehicle Testing

Gary Peters and Jeff Naber
U.S. Sen. Gary Peters and Jeff Naber

HOUGHTON — Testing of autonomous vehicles, such as that being done at Michigan Technological University, could get a boost with legislation working its way through Congress.

The American Vision for Safer Transportation through Advancement of Revolutionary Technologies (AV START) Act was approved by the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee in October. U.S. Sen.

Gary Peters, D-Mich., sponsored the bill along with Sen. John Thune, R-S.D. U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., is a co-sponsor of the legislation.

In March, Peters visited Tech’s Advanced Power System Research Center to get informed of Tech’s research and development efforts into autonomous vehicles.

Jeff Naber, director of the center, said the bill will enable the advancement of autonomous vehicle functions.

Read more at the Mining Gazette, by Garrett Neese.

Three Student Teams Chosen for Accelerate Michigan Innovation Competition

3D PrintingThree Michigan Tech student teams have been chosen to compete in the Accelerate Michigan Innovation Competition in Detroit on Nov. 16, 2017. The student teams will compete for a total of $21,000 in funding.

Statewide, 27 teams were selected through submission of a one-minute video and a brief write-up about the company product or service, revenue model and team capabilities.

The Tech student teams are Looma, Makerhub and FitStop. Looma is a food and nutrition app that helps users eat healthier by providing preference-based recipe suggestions with integrated calendaring for preparation time and grocery lists for shopping. Makerhub is a web application that connects individuals who own 3-D printers with others who need 3-D printed parts. FitStop is a web application that connects people who are traveling for business or leisure with gyms or fitness centers in the city they are traveling to.

Three Michigan Tech-affiliated start-ups will also participate in the competition. They are StabiLux Biosciences, Goldstrike Data and Orbion.

By Jenn Donovan.

Working Luncheon, MDOT Call For Research Ideas

MDOT PavementThe MDOT Office of Research is soliciting research priority ideas for their upcoming funding years FY19/20/21. This is a great opportunity for Michigan Tech researchers from various departments to expand their research portfolio into transportation topics.

The topics are very versatile, from hard core pavement engineering to water and environmental aspects, life cycle cost engineering, even workforce development. Details on MDOT research priorities can be found here.

In the past, Michigan Tech Transportation Institute (MTTI) has submitted Tech’s research ideas to MDOT as a combined package for a stronger, unified presence. Our plans are to do so again.

From noon to1 p.m. Thursday (Nov. 9, 2017), in Dillman 309A, MTTI will be hosting a lunch meeting for discussions, gathering of ideas and to provide a setting for collaboration on the research idea topics listed. We will also share a couple of past ideas that were later turned by MDOT to RFPs and we’ll provide some insight from discussions with MDOT.

We’ve created a spreadsheet to gather information on topic ideas you’re interested in providing to MDOT. Email Pam Hannon to get a link to the spreadsheet. Contact Pam also, if you’d like to join us in the meeting by Tuesday (Nov. 7).

Lake Superior Water Festival 2017

Lake Superior Water FestivalThe Water Festival provides an opportunity for students to learn about and celebrate our most precious natural resource – the Great Lakes! A wide variety of topics from science and engineering to creative writing will be presented. Students attend four 35-minute activities. Some of the topics to be presented include Remotely-Operated- Vehicles, Leave No Trace Outdoors, cleaning wastewater, U.S. Coast Guard careers, Lake Sturgeon ecology, atmospheric research in a cloud chamber, and more.

2017 Water Festival Presenters and Descriptions

Lake Superior Water Festival Haiku

Haiku: 5 syllables, 7 syllables, 5 syllables

The beautiful five Great Lakes
Sparkling below the sky.
Nothing else compares.
Lake Superior
A gentle breeze and waves
Brings back memories.
Over on the shore
I see the waves crashing in
I feel the cold breeze.
Lake Superior
Causing sailors to fall below
Greatest of all lakes.
Rushing and foaming
Dangerously storming now
Lake Superior
The cold moving water
Crashing on the rocky shore
Icy gray water.

Water study: Students spend day learning at Lake Superior Water Festival

HOUGHTON — High school students from five Upper Peninsula counties learned more about the Great Lakes and the research being done on them at the sixth annual Lake Superior Water Festival Wednesday.

The goal is to get students thinking about Lake Superior in an interdisciplinary way, said Joan Chadde, director of the Center for Science and Environmental Outreach at Michigan Technological University.

Held at Tech’s Great Lakes Research Center, the day included 15 sessions led by Tech researchers, students and staff as well as members of organizations such as the Keweenaw Land Trust and U.S. Coast Guard.

Read more at the Mining Gazette, by Garrett Neese.

Lake Superior Water Festival at Great Lakes Research Center

HOUGHTON, Mich. (WLUC) – High school students from across the Western UP got a new perspective on Lake Superior today.

The Great Lakes Research Center hosted their 6th annual Water Festival today. Nearly 500 high school students learned about a variety of challenges and careers surrounding Lake Superior.

“The goal is for the students to get exposure to science and engineering challenges here in Lake Superior and its watershed, as well as to gain some background in history, communication skills and management,” said Joan Chadde, director of the Center for Science and Environmental Outreach.

Read more and watch the video at TV6 FOX UP, by Mariah Powell.

Lake Superior Water Festival 2017