Category Archives: Uncategorized

The healing power of seaweed—Shedding new light on alginate microgels

Bull Kelp, a brown seaweed used to produce alginates, can grow as much as 2 feet per day. Photo credit: Jackie Hindering, www.themarinedetective.com
Bull Kelp, a brown seaweed used to produce alginates, can grow as much as 2 feet per day. Photo credit: Jackie Hindering, www.themarinedetective.com

Using seaweed to treat wounds dates back to Roman times. Alginate extracted from kelp and other brown seaweeds are still used in wound dressings today for skin grafts, burns and other difficult wounds. Biocompatible and biomimetic, alginate forms a gel when exposed to a wound, keeping tissue moist to speed healing, and reduce pain and trauma during dressing changes.

Microgels, a biodegradable biomaterial formed from microscopic polymer filaments, has broad and powerful applications in cell analysis, cell culture, drug delivery, and materials engineering.

Putting the two together to form alginate microgels could enable scientists to make important new inroads in the field of tissue engineering. But when it comes to forming microgels, the gelation process of alginate literally gets in the way.

Chang Kyoung Choi Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics
Chang Kyoung Choi
Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics

Michigan Tech researcher Chang Kyoung Choi has found a way around the problem. He creates alginate microgels by photocrosslinking the two in situ to form a bond. He uses ultraviolet (UV) light to easily cure microdroplets into microgels, a process known as photopolymerization. Curing the alginate microgels using UV light takes just tens of seconds. The result: alginate microgels that shrink or swell depending on their surrounding ion concentration, temperature, pH, and other external stimuli.

Perhaps more importantly, Choi is able to control the rate that alginate microgels break down. “A tissue scaffold should degrade at a rate proportional to the formation of new tissue, but until now, uncontrolled degradation of alginate has really limited its usefulness,” Choi says.

“Working in microfluidic devices, we can start applying UV light after the microfluids become steady, and turn off the light if necessary to stop the reaction,” he explains. “This solves the chief problem associated with previous ionic methods of making alginate microgels. Until now, the alginate phase of flow would cure before steady state was achieved, resulting in alginate microgels that clogged the microchannel.”

“Until now, uncontrolled degradation of alginate has really limited its usefulness.”

– CK Choi

Choi’s photocrosslinking technique also simplifies current methods of forming nonspherical alginate microgels that are better for observing objects, like cells, encapsulated inside. “Our preliminary results suggest that such high intensity UV does not reduce cell viability,” notes Choi.

Choi and graduate student Shuo Wang use oxidized methacrylated alginate (OMA) developed by their collaborator, Eben Alsberg at Case Western Reserve University. The team fabricated the microfluidic channels for this research at the Center for Nanophase Materials Sciences at Oak Ridge National Laboratory.


What’s in the air? Understanding long-range transport of atmospheric arsenic

Coal-fired power plant on the Navajo Nation near Page, Arizona
Coal-fired power plant on the Navajo Nation near Page, Arizona

Once emitted into the atmosphere, many air pollutants are transported long distances, going through a series of chemical reactions before falling back to the Earth’s surface. This makes air pollution not just a local problem, but a regional and a global one.

Shiliang Wu
Shilliang Wu, Geological & Mining Engineering & Sciences, Civil & Environmental Engineering

“If you’d been living in London in December 1952, you’d probably remember what air pollution can do—in just a couple of weeks, a smog event killed thousands of people,” says Michigan Tech researcher Shilling Wu.
“Today, photos of air pollution in China and India flood the Internet,” he adds. “Air pollution remains a significant challenge for the sustainability of our society, with detrimental effects on humans, animals, crops, and the ecosystem as a whole.”

An assistant professor with a dual appointment in Geological and Mining Engineering and Sciences, and Civil and Environmental Engineering, Wu examines the impacts of human activities on air quality, along with the complicated interactions between air quality, climate, land use, and land cover. Using well-established global models, he investigates a wide variety of pollutants including ozone, nitrogen oxides, volatile organic compounds, aerosols, mercury, and arsenic.

Wu’s research team recently developed the first global model to simulate the sources, transport, and deposition of atmospheric arsenic including source-receptor relationships between various regions. They were motivated by a 2012 Consumer Reports magazine study, which tested more than 200 samples of rice products in the US and found that many of them, including some organic products and infant rice cereals, contained highly toxic arsenic at worrisome levels.

“Our results indicate that reducing anthropogenic
arsenic emissions in Asia and South America can significantly reduce
arsenic pollution not only locally, but globally.”

– Shilliang Wu

“Our model simulates arsenic concentrations in ambient air over many sites around the world,” says Wu. “We have shown that arsenic emissions from Asia and South America are the dominant sources of atmospheric arsenic in the Northern and Southern Hemispheres, respectively. Asian emissions are found to contribute nearly 40 percent of the total arsenic deposition over the Arctic and North America. Our results indicate that reducing anthropogenic arsenic emissions in Asia and South America can significantly reduce arsenic pollution not only locally, but globally.”

Wu’s model simulation is not confined to any region or time period. “We can go back to the past or forward to the future; we can look at any place on Earth. As a matter of fact, some of my colleagues have applied the same models to Mars,” he says, adding: “In any case, the atmosphere is our lab, and we are interested in everything in the air.”

 


Michigan Tech Celebrates National Engineers Week

HELP US CELEBRATE EWEEK 2017! 

     National Engineers Week celebrates the positive contributions engineers make to society and is a catalyst for outreach across the country to kids and adults alike. For the past 60 years, National Engineers Week has been celebrated each February around the time of George Washington’s birthday, February 22, because Washington is considered by many to be the first US engineer.

     Tech’s events during Engineers Week, (Feb. 18-25), are again sponsored by Tau Beta Pi, the local chapter of the Engineering Honor Society.

     National Engineers Week, also known as Eweek, begins on a sweet note at Michigan Tech with an ice cream social from 5 to 6 p.m. Saturday (Feb. 18) in the Wadsworth Dining Hall.

     Things get rolling at noon Monday, (Feb. 20) with the pep band in front of the Husky statue. The iconic statue will be dressed in a lab coat and bow tie all week. The Green Campus Enterprise will have a rocket stove demo from 12:45 to 3 p.m. outside of Fisher Hall. The Mind Trekkers will be in the Dow Atrium from 1 to 3 p.m. with hands-on demonstrations. From 6 to 7 p.m. the Blue Marble Security enterprise will present a heart rate circuit board.

     Questions? Contact Morgan Herzog, Tau Beta Pi public relations officer, and/or Julia Zayan, president.

 

2017 Engineers Week_2
National Engineers Week 2017

 

Upcoming E-week events at Michigan Tech:

SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 18

5:00 PM – 6:00 PM
Tau Beta Pi
Ice cream social
Wadsworth Dining Hall

MONDAY, FEBRUARY 20

12:00 PM – 12:15 PM
Pep Band
Husky Statue

12:45 PM – 3:00 PM
Green Campus Enterprise
Rocket stove demo
outside Fisher Hall

1:00 PM – 3:00 PM
Mind Trekkers
Dow Atrium

6:00 PM – 7:00 PM
Blue Marble Security
Heart rate circuit board
EERC 722

TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 21

11:00 AM – 1:00 PM
Railroad Engineering & Activities Club
Fisher Lobby

1:00 PM – 3:00 PM
Advanced Metalworks Enterprise
Foundry demo
Husky Statue

THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 23

12:00 PM – 3:00 PM
AIChE, Chem E Car stop reaction demo
Fisher Lobby

5:00 PM – 6:00 PM
American Society of Engineering Management
Company panel
Chem Sci 101

7:00 PM – 8:00 PM
Engineers Without Borders
Presentation & meeting
Fisher 328

FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 24

11:00 AM – 1:00 PM
Formula SAE
Chassis demo
MEEM Lobby

11:00 AM – 3:00 PM
Engineering Fundamentals,
E-week cake, stop by for a piece!
Dillman 112

12:45 PM – 3:00 PM
Green Campus Enterprise,
Winterization demo
Dow A
trium

8:30 PM – 11:00 PM
Film Board, Apollo 13
Fisher 135

 


NSF Video Showcase features Geoheritage Field Education

photo by Jim Belote
photo by John Belote

image53799-scol

Dr. Erika Vye, who earned her PhD in Geology at Michigan Tech just last month, together with her PhD advisor Professor Bill Rose, have created interpretative videos about the geological underpinnings of the Keweenaw. One such video, “Geoheritage Field Education in Michigan’s UP”, which features beautiful aerial drone imagery, is live now on the NFS Video Showcase, http://videohall.com/p/791 #stemvideohall. Please watch and vote. Public choice voting will end at 8:00 pm Monday, May 23. 2016, but the video will remain online.

Vye and Rose aim to connect people more personally to the the science of Keweenaw geology. Learn more at geo.mtu.edu/KeweenawGeoheritage.


Congratulations Sarah Rajala ’74 – Recipient of the 2016 AAES National Engineering Award!

Sarah-Rajala-March2014Dr. Sarah Rajala, Dean of the Iowa State University College of Engineering, has earned the National Engineering Award from the American Association of Engineering Societies (AAES) – representing 17 multidisciplinary engineering societies from industry, government and academia. Rajala received the award on April 18 at a ceremony in Washington D.C. Rajala earned her bachelor’s degree from Michigan Technological University in 1974 and master’s and Ph.D. degrees from Rice University.

The AAES National Engineering Award recognizes Rajala’s outstanding service in three key areas: 1) inspirational leadership at the institutional, national and international levels; 2) innovations in engineering education and assessment; and 3) her tireless efforts to promote diversity in the engineering field.

“It is indeed appropriate that Sarah Rajala receive the AAES National Engineering Award,” said Joseph J. Rencis, president of the American Society for Engineering Education, one of the AAES member societies. “She is a trailblazer and embodies the criteria of inspirational leadership and devotion to engineering education, advancement of the engineering profession and promotion of public policies.” Rencis also praised Rajala’s diversity efforts, adding “Sarah has recognized the engineering profession cannot achieve full success without full participation of the rich diversity of talent in our global population.”

From Michigan Tech, Rajala received the Distinguished Alumni Award in 2008; was inducted into the Electrical and Computer Engineering Academy in 1997; became a charter member of the Presidential Council of Alumnae in 1997; and earned the Outstanding Young Alumni Award in 1986.

Rajala joined Iowa State in 2013, after having served as the first female dean of the Bagley College of Engineering at Mississippi State University. Before she became dean, Rajala was the first female tenure-track professor in the engineering department at North Carolina State University, where she organized networking activities for the college of engineering women faculty and helped create a maternity leave policy for tenure-track faculty members where none had existed.

In the classroom and through professional organizations, Rajala has worked to improve engineering education for students. She has received numerous teaching awards, provided key leadership related to reform engineering education, and was elected president of the American Society for Engineering Education [ASEE] in 2008-09.

The focus of Rajala’s research is the analysis and processing of images and image sequences and engineering educational assessment. She has directed numerous master’s theses and doctoral dissertations, authored and co-authored nearly 200 publications, and secured a patent on image sequence compression.


Dr. Denise Sekaquaptewa: Strategies to Strengthen Inclusion

Visiting Women and Minorities Lecturer/Scholar

All are welcome at an upcoming presentation by Dr. Denise Sekaquaptewa, University of Michigan Professor of Psychology, Associate Chair, and Associate Director, ADVANCE. Dr. Sekaquaptewa’s presentation will take place this Thursday, April 21, from 3:30-4:30 pm in MUB Ballroom B2. Afterwards there will be an open forum discussion on advancing a positive climate at Michigan Tech.

Dr. Sekaquaptewa’s experimental research program focuses on implicit stereotyping, prejudice, stereotype threat, and effects of category salience on test performance and academic motivation. Her current projects include studies of how environmental factors influence women students in math and science, and how stereotypes affect interracial communication.

This event is hosted by Michigan Tech Women in Science in Engineering (WISE) and the Pavlis Honors College. It is partially sponsored by the Visiting Women and Minority Lecturer/Scholar Series (WMLS) which is funded by a grant to Institutional Equity and Inclusion from the State of Michigan’s King-Chavez Parks Initiative. Refreshments will be served.

RSVP http://goo.gl/forms/Nw3zBFT5ZK

visiting women and minority lecture seriesweb


Greenhouse gas emissions vary by region – GE alumnae Deborah Huntzinger

 

Dr. Deborah Huntzinger
Dr. Deborah Huntzinger

Deborah Huntzinger, who earned her BS and PhD in Geological Engineering at Michigan Tech, is now an Assistant Professor at Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff, AZ.

During her post-doc at the University of Michigan, Huntzinger was involved in research recently published in the journal Nature, “The terrestrial biosphere as a net source of greenhouse gases to the atmosphere.”  Huntzinger is a coauthor in the research, which for the first time ever quantifies how greenhouse gas emissions vary by source sector and region.

“The comprehensive approach used to compile, synthesize, and interpret the data has led to results that bolster the understanding of human contributions to greenhouse gas emissions and point to regions where more attention is needed to manage emissions,” notes John Gierke, Huntzinger’s graduate advisor and chair of the Department of Geological and Mining Engineering and Sciences at Michigan Tech.

The group’s research suggests that a reduction in agricultural methane and nitrous oxide emissions, particularly in Southern Asia, may help mitigate climate change.

Read more at Eurekalert.org: “Greenhouse gas bookkeeping turns on its head”, and Nature: “The terrestrial biosphere as a net source of greenhouse gases to the atmosphere”.

Huntzinger’s research interests focus on improving the understanding of complex environmental systems and our ability to forecast their future variability. Her current research interests are in the integration and comparison of environmental remote sensing products, model estimates, and in situ data to advance the understanding of biospheric contributions, both spatially and temporally, to land-atmosphere carbon exchange.

 

 


Congratulations, Dr. Brett Hamlin!

image63428-persPlease join us in congratulating Dr. Brett Hamlin for his fall 2015 teaching performance. Dr. Hamlin was identified as one of only 91 instructors who received an ‘exceptional’ (average of 7 dimensions) student evaluation score. Brett’s score was in the top 10% of similarly sized sections across all courses/sections on campus; only 109 out of more than 1200 sections university-wide were rated as highly. This achievement reflects Brett’s dedication to teaching and service to Michigan Tech and the community.

Congratulations, Dr. Brett Hamlin!


National Engineers Week 2016 at Michigan Tech

scaffoldPOSTER4Time to celebrate the 65th annual National Engineers Week
February 21-27, 2016

Happy Eweek, everybody! National Engineers Week celebrates the positive contributions engineers make to society and is a catalyst for outreach. For the past 65 years, National Engineers Week (Eweek) has been celebrated each February around the time of George Washington’s birthday, February 22, because Washington is considered by many to be the first engineer in the US. This year Michigan Tech will celebrate Eweek with ten different engineering events on campus for all to enjoy. National Engineers Week at Michigan Tech is hosted by the Michigan Tech chapter of Tau Beta Pi, the Engineering Honor Society.

Eweek 2016 events include a kick-off event on Monday Feb. 22 with Mind Trekkers in Fisher Lobby from 11 am – 1 pm.  Eweek cake will be served in Dillman 112 on Wednesday afternoon Feb. 24, courtesy of the Department of Engineering Fundamentals. Last but not least, on Thursday evening Feb. 25 at 8 pm, Tau Beta Pi will put on a high-tech music and light show at the Michigan Tech Husky Dog statue.

Please check out the full lineup of Eweek events below. Any questions? Contact Alex Reichanadter, Tau Beta Pi, amreicha@mtu.edu. Hope to see you there!

MONDAY, FEBRUARY 22

Mind Trekkers
See electricity travel. Play a banana piano.
Create a tornado, and much more.
Fisher Lobby, 11 am – 1 pm

TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 23

Clean Snowmobile Challenge
Check out a zero emissions sled and more.
ME-EM Lobby, 10 am -11 am

Consumer Product Manufacturing
Quantify knife sharpness w/the CPM Enterprise.
Fisher Lobby, 11 am – 3 pm

Formula SAE
Take the 5-second seat harness challenge.
ME-EM Lobby, 1 pm – 3 pm

WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 24

Eweek Cake
You’re invited! All are welcome!
Dillman 112, 11 am – 3 pm

Am. Institute of Chemical Engineers
Try the “Minute to Win It” trivia contest.
Chem Sci Lobby, 12 noon – 1:30 pm

THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 25

SENSE
Check out the new Naval Systems Enterprise.
ME-EM Lobby, 10 am – 3 pm

Society for Environmental Engineering
Clean water via simple filtration.
Fisher Lobby, 12 noon – 3 pm

Tau Beta Pi
Enter the Rube Goldberg competition.
Wads Annex, 6 pm – 8 pm

Tau Beta Pi
Enjoy a technicolor light & music show.
Husky Statue, 8 pm


HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS – Win a Free 6-day trip to Michigan’s Upper Peninsula!

1402949974ATTENTION ALL HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS

You Could Win A FREE 6-Day trip to explore environmental science & engineering majors at Michigan Technological University in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan!!!

Monday – Saturday, June 20-25, 2016 (includes free transportation, meals, and lodging)

OPEN to all High School students in Detroit & Wayne County who want to explore environmental science careers: forestry, natural resources, wildlife, engineering, water quality, more!

Up to 20 high school students will be selected to participate. (This will be our 2nd annual trip!)

What YOU will do …

  • In the forest: identify and measure trees, and collect frog data;
  • On the water: sample aquatic life aboard a research vessel in Lake Superior;
  • In the lab: examine plankton, drive a Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV), and design a process to clean water
  • Tour a college campus, stay in a dorm, eat in dining hall;
  • Experience national and state parks, wildlife refuges, nature sanctuaries with experts in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula!

TRIP LEADERS

Mike Reed, Curator of Education, Detroit Zoological Society
Lisa Perez, U.S. Forest Service ~ Detroit Urban Connections

TO APPLY

  • Complete online application form 2016 Michigan Tech-Upper Peninsula Trip Application
  • Write 500-word essay describing what you hope to gain from this experience;
  • Mail or email 2 letters of recommendation (both from non-family members; one from a teacher) to:

Joan Chadde
115 GLRC
Michigan Tech
1400 Townsend Dr.
Houghton, MI 49931

A selection team of teachers, university faculty, and resource specialists will review applications and announce winners by March 18th. A mandatory Parent Meeting and Student Outing will be scheduled in April & May.

CHECK OUT THIS FLYER FOR EVEN MORE INFORMATION: MTU-Detroit HS Visit_Flyer 02.09.16

QUESTIONS? CONTACT:

Mike Reed, Detroit Zoo
mreed@dzs.org
Cell: (313) 595-9729

Joan Chadde,
jchadde@mtu.edu
Michigan Tech
Office: (906) 487-3341

Coordinated by the Michigan Tech Center for Science & Environmental Outreach, with funding from School of Forest Resources & Environmental Science, College of Engineering, Dept. of Civil & Environmental Engineering, Dept. of Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics, Michigan Tech Transportation Institute, Michigan Tech Admissions, Michigan Tech Housing & Residential Life, and the US Forest Service.