Category Archives: News

Michigan Tech Selected as One of Seventeen Beyond Traffic Innovation Centers in the Nation

Beyond Traffic 2045Michigan Tech was selected by the US Department of Transportation as one of the seventeen Beyond Traffic Innovation Centers (BTIC) in the nation.  According to the DOT, “These Centers will be recognized by the DOT as forward-thinking and influential institutions that are capable of driving solutions to the challenges and trends identified in Beyond Traffic 2045, the US DOT’s report on current and future issues in transportation. The centers will contribute by “convening decision-makers in their megaregion and coordinating related research, curriculum, outreach, and other activities.” The Michigan Tech Center was selected as one of the three universities to serve the rural areas of the United States.

The proposal, led by the Michigan Tech Transportation Institute (MTTI), collaborated with multiple centers and institutes on campus, including: Advanced Power Systems Research Center (APSRC), Center for Technology & Training (CTT), Keweenaw Research Center (KRC), Michigan Tech Research Institute (MTRI), Rail Transportation Program (RTP), Sustainable Futures Institute (SFI) and the Tribal Technical Assistance Program (TTAP).  Additionally, numerous individual campus researchers provided information for the submission.

MTTI Director Pasi Lautala (CEE) will serve as the Beyond Traffic Coordinator, participating in future events related to regional development with the USDOT. MTTI is also planning to use the Center as encouragement for faculty, staff and students interested in transportation issues to get involved in working toward solving our nation’s transportation issues.

Further information on Beyond Traffic, including a map of the selected centers, is located here. For faculty, staff and students interested in getting involved with the center, please contact Pam Hannon (, or 906-487-3065.  For more information on MTTI, please visit our website.


After School Science and Engineering Classes for Grades 1-8

GLRC After SchoolThere will be six sessions of after school science and engineering classes for grades 1-8 from Jan. 23 to March 3, 2017. The sessions will be held from 4 to 5:30 p.m. in Room 104 of the Great Lakes Research Center.

These sessions offer hands-on explorations taught by Michigan Tech science and engineering students. 

Class Offerings:

Gr. 1-2 Transportation and Engineering: Mondays

Students will design candy cars, a bridge to hold the most weight, a boat that floats, a brain helmet that survives a crash, planes, trains and more.

Gr. 3-5 Geology Playgrounds: Wednesdays

Beaches, waterfalls, lakes, sledding hills — discover how some of these favorite places to play were formed. Each week, we will explore different geologic activities which have created cool features and shaped our home — the Keweenaw Peninsula.

Gr. 6-8 Fascinating Plants:  Thursday

Explore the amazing world of plants — visit a research greenhouse, conduct experiments on effects of road salt and acid rain, design a water treatment system using plants, try to make sugar like a plant, meet a botanist and find out how forest plant materials can replace plastics and provide medicine and food.

Cost is $75 per student. Register by Friday, Jan. 20. Pay by credit card by calling the Michigan Tech Cashier at 7-2247. Your space is not reserved until payment has been received.

Click on 2017 Winter MTU After School Classes January 23 – March 2  or wupcenter to register online.

Questions? Call 7-3341 or email Joan Chadde.

Note: Houghton school bus will drop off students at Michigan Tech by 3:50 p.m.

Coordinated by Michigan Tech Center for Science and Environmental Outreach.

Design Expo 2017 Registration Now Open

Design Expo 2017Design Expo 2017 will be held Thursday, April 13, 2017, in the MUB Ballroom.

Design Expo highlights hands-on, discovery-based learning at Michigan Tech. More than 600 students on Enterprise and Senior Design teams showcase their work and compete for awards. A panel of judges, made up of distinguished corporate representatives and Michigan Tech staff and faculty members, critique the projects. Many team projects are sponsored by industry, which allows students to gain valuable experience through competition, as well as direct exposure to real industrial problems. Design Expo is co-hosted by the College of Engineering and the Pavlis Honors College.

Registration is now open for Senior Design and Enterprise teams. Students should visit the Design Expo website to register before the deadline, Monday, Feb. 6.

By Pavlis Honors College.

New Engineering Faculty for Spring 2017

Six new faculty members joined Michigan Tech on December 26, 2016. Two tenure-track faculty have joined the College of Engineering.

Daniel Dowden, PhD, PE, SE

Daniel Dowden joined the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering as an assistant professor. He earned a PhD in Civil Engineering at the University of Buffalo, an MS in Civil Engineering at the University of Wyoming and a BS in Civil Engineering at Washington State University. He worked as a structural and test engineer, a graduate research assistant, adjunct instructor and teaching assistant at the University of Buffalo. His professional project experience includes structural design of the Central Washington University music building and assisted living facilities in San Diego and Studio City, California.

Umesh Korde
Umesh Korde

Umesh Korde, PhD

Umesh Korde joined the Department of Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics as a tenured professor. He earned his PhD in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Notre Dame, a Master of Engineering from the University of Tokyo and a Bachelor of Technology from the Indian Institute of Technology in Kharagpur, India. He comes to Michigan Tech from the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology, where he was a professor who held the Pearson Chair in Mechanical Engineering. Korde is a fellow of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers. His research interests involve dynamics and control.

By Jenn Donovan.

Zhao Group Reviews Natural Extracellular Matrix Approaches

Zhao Natural ECM

Feng Zhao and her research group were invited to review the current biomanufacturing approaches that utilize either native tissue or cell-derived natural extracellular matrix in the field of cellular and tissue engineering.

The paper discusses the existing challenges for translational application of extracellular matrix-based products and the potential resolutions.

Natural extracellular matrix for cellular and tissue biomanufacturing. Qi Xing, Zichen Qian, Wenkai Jia, Avik Ghosh, Mitchell Tahtinen, Feng Zhao F. ACS Biomaterials Science & Engineering.

DOI: 10.1021/acsbiomaterials.6b00235

New Engineering Faculty Fall 2016

Rebecca Ong

Chemical Engineering

Rebecca Ong, PhD

Rebecca Ong joins Tech’s Department of Chemical Engineering as an assistant professor. Ong received her PhD in Chemical Engineering at Michigan State University.

She has worked as an instructor in chemical engineering at Tech and as a research assistant professor at the Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center in East Lansing, Michigan. Ong is a member of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers and Phi Kappa Phi honor society.

Lei Pan, PhD

Lei Pan joins the Department of Chemical Engineering as an assistant professor. Pan received a PhD in mining engineering at Virginia Tech and also worked as a postdoctoral research associate at the Center for Advanced Separation Technologies there.

He received the Pratt Research Fellowship award at Virginia Tech, as well as the Outstanding Graduate Student Award from the Mining Department there. He worked as a reviewer for Mineral Processing and Extractive Metallurgy Review and Minerals Engineering and as a lecturer at Virginia Tech.

Jeana Collins, PhD

Jeana Collins joins Michigan Tech’s Department of Chemical Engineering as a lecturer. She received her PhD in Chemical Engineering at Michigan Tech and has worked at Tech as a graduate teaching assistant as well as a mentor for current undergraduate researchers. Collins is a recipient of the Outstanding Graduate Student teaching award.

She is a member of Omega Chi Epsilon, a chemical engineering honor society, as well as Tau Beta Phi engineering honor society, the University of Minnesota-Duluth Alumni Association and Order of the Engineer. Collins also coaches Tech’s dance team and mentors students in time management, coursework and prioritization.

Hyungchul YoonCivil and Environmental Engineering

Hyungchul Yoon, PhD

Hyungchul Yoon joins Michigan Tech’s Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering as an assistant professor. He earned his PhD in Civil Engineering from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign and received his certificate in foundation of teaching at the Center for Innovation in Teaching and Learning there.

Yoon has been a mentor at the Smart Structure Technology Laboratory at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. He has had numerous publications in journals such as the Journal of Computing in Civil Engineering. He has also given oral presentations in Osaka, Japan; San Juan, Puerto Rico; and Stanford, California.

Christian WagnerElectrical and Computer Engineering

Christian Wagner, PhD

Christian Wagner joins Michigan Tech’s Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering Department as a visiting professor.

Wagner earned his PhD in Computer Science at the University of Essex in the United Kingdom. He has served as the director of digital economy in the Digital Catapult Researcher in Residence Programme in London, UK. He also was an associate professor at the University of Nottingham and a consultant for Unilever Data Analysis.

Zhi Zheng, PhD

Zhi Zheng joins the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Michigan Tech as a research assistant professor. She earned her PhD in Electrical Engineering at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee, where she also obtained her certification in college teaching.

Zheng received the Best Paper Award at the 9th International Conference on Universal Access in Human-Computer Interaction.

Sajjad BighamMechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics

Sajjad Bigham, PhD

Sajjad Bigham joins Michigan Tech’s Department of Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics as an assistant professor. Bigham earned his PhD in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Florida and has worked as a research assistant in nanostructure energy systems there.

Bigham has multiple patents and journal publications. He was the recipient of an outstanding honor student award for academic achievements.

Susanta GhoshSusanta Ghosh, PhD

Susanta Ghosh joins the Department of  Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics as a research assistant professor. Ghosh received a PhD in Civil Engineering at the Faculty of Engineering, Indian Institute of Science in Bangalore, India, in 2008.

Prior to coming to Michigan Tech, Ghosh worked for the Department of Materials Science Engineering at the University of Michigan as a visiting research investigator. He also worked for the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Duke University. He has multiple journal publications and is the recipient of awards and fellowships.

Darrell RobinetteDarrell L. Robinette, PhD, P.E.

Darrell L. Robinette joins Michigan Tech as an assistant professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics. Robinette received his PhD in Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics from Michigan Tech in 2007.

Prior to joining the Michigan Tech faculty, Robinette worked for General Motors as an advanced hybrid and electrification architecture engineer. He volunteers with FIRST Robotics and has received many awards and recognitions. He was the SAE Foundation Stefan Pischinger Young Industry Leadership Award nominee.

Trisha SainTrisha Sain, PhD

Trisha Sain joins Michigan Tech’s Department of Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics as an assistant professor. She earned her PhD in the Department of Civil Engineering, Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore India.

Prior to coming to Tech, she worked as an assistant professor at North Carolina A&T State University, Greensboro, North Carolina. She was a postdoctoral research fellow at the Department of Aerospace Engineering at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. She was a reviewer of grant proposals for the US Army Research Office and a consultant in the mechanics division of Honeywell Technology Solutions lab in Bangalore, India.

Zequn WangZequn Wang, PhD

Zequn Wang joins Michigan Tech’s Department of Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics as an assistant professor. He earned a PhD in Industrial Engineering at Wichita State University in Kansas and worked as a postdoctoral researcher in the Integrated DEsign Automation Laboratory (IDEAL) of the Department of Mechanical Engineering at Northwestern University.

Before coming to Tech, Wang was an instructor for the engineering design optimization iSIGHT lab at Northwestern. He has presented at the Ford Research and Development Center on validating dynamic engineering models under uncertainty.

Kristina Rushlau Addresses Midyear Commencement

Midyear Commencement 2016Nearly 350 bachelor’s, master’s and PhD recipients are expected to take part in Michigan Technological University’s Midyear Commencement Saturday. Ceremonies take place at 10:30 a.m. Dec. 17, 2016, in the Wood Gym of the Student Development Complex.

Kristina Rushlau will deliver the student address. A Kalamazoo native, Rushlau graduates with a BS in Environmental Engineering. During her time at Michigan Tech, she participated in Mind Trekkers, the Society of Environmental Engineers and many other activities. She hopes to start her career in environmental engineering preferably in the Detroit Area.

Among the class of 2016 is Ashley VanSumeren from Goodrich, Michigan, who is graduating with a double major in Biomedical Engineering and Exercise Science. VanSumeren says she’s been heavily involved in undergraduate research since her sophomore year. Thanks to a scholarship from the Pavlis Honors College and Portage Health Foundation, she was able to conduct her own research project.

I looked at how the muscles of the legs and trunk contribute to seated upper body exercise. —Ashley VanSumeren

VanSumeren presented the results of her research at the Undergraduate Research Expo last march and at the Life Science and Technology Institute Research Forum in October. At the latter, she received the Grand Prize in the undergraduate division.

Michigan Tech is a family affair for VanSumeren whose parents and brother are alumni. She says she initially had “kind of sworn off” Tech because she didn’t want to appear to be “copying” her family. A visit during her senior year of high school (while en route to visit her first choice school) changed her mind. She said the opportunities she’s had in four years, including working with Olympic athletes for a senior design project, showed her that Tech was indeed the right choice.

The future is a little less clear for VanSumeren, who is planning to pursue a master’s degree in kinesiology with an emphasis on biomechanics.

I haven’t decided on a school yet, but have applied to schools across the country and in Canada. Following my master’s, I hope to get a job in a biomechanics research lab, either for a shoe company or a sport performance company.

She says she hasn’t ruled out continuing her education to earn a PhD.

Original story by Mark Wilcox.

Students look to the future after successful tenure at MTU

While earning her degree in Mechanical Engineering. Reagan May found time to be a racecar driver.

Two years ago, I was the Super Late Model Track champion in Plover, Wisconsin, followed up this past season with it in second in points. So, I’m excited to graduate, start my career as an engineer and continue racing throughout the rest of my life. —Reagan May

Ashley VanSumeren didn’t have much free time, she was double majoring in Biomedical Engineering and Exercise Science.

I got used to it. I also ended up getting a job on campus doing undergraduate research, so I really learned how to balance between class, work and research. —Ashley VanSumeren

Read more and watch the video at ABC10 News, by Rick Allen.

ABC10 Fall 2016 Commencement

Engineering Researchers Participate in TechTalks 2016

Kazuya Tajiri Tweet
Kazuya Tajiri Tweet

TechTalks 2016

Michigan Tech Research Forum
Faculty Research on Speed Dial


The Michigan Tech Research Forum is a new University presentation series showcasing the work of Michigan Tech faculty, postdocs, and researchers.

On Thursday, November 10, 2016, several researchers gave two minute presentations for the inaugural TechTalks session of the Michigan Tech Research Forum. Five of the 13 researchers presented work from engineering disciplines:

  • Andrew Barnard– Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics: “Solid State Sound—A Hot Topic”
  • Paul Sanders– Materials Science and Engineering: “Rapid Metal Design”
  • Kazuya Tajiri– Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics: “Two-Phase Transport in Proton Exchange Membrane Fuel Cells”
  • Hector Moncada-Hernandez- Biomedical Engineering: “Point-of-Care Microfluidic Device for Blood Typing”
  • Ye Sarah Sun– Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics: “Wearable Electronics, Human-Centered Monitoring”

Michigan Tech Research Forum events are presented by the Office of the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs in coordination with the Office of the Vice President of Research.

Additional TechTalks sessions are coming up in Spring 2017. Interested in nominating yourself or others? Use this online form.

Browse the Twitter conversations in “TechTalks 2016: Take One,” by Allison Mills.

On Thursday, December 1, 2016, the second set of presentations included the following from engineering research faculty:

Jeff Naber
Department of Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics
APS LABS (Advanced Power Systems Research Center)

Michael Mullins
Department of Chemical Engineering
Electrospun Nanofibers as Neural Guidance Scaffolds

Feng Zhao
Department of Biomedical Engineering
Stem Cell and Tissue Engineering Research

Chad Deering
Department of Geological and Mining Engineering and Sciences
Ignimbrites to Batholiths

Darrell Robinette
Department of Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics
Gearing for Future Connectivity

Trisha Sain
Department of Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics
Mechanics of Soft Polymers

Browse the Twitter conversations in “TechTalks 2016: Take Two,” by Allison Mills.