Tag Archives: CHEM-ENGG

Tayloria Adams—Taking Dielectrophoresis to the Next Level

Tayloria Adams
“I am the first black woman to receive a PhD in chemical engineering at Michigan Tech. I hope this will encourage others!” —Tayloria Adams ‘11 ‘14

Last year the National Science Foundation awarded Michigan Tech alumna Tayloria Adams a prestigious Postdoctoral Research Fellowship in Biology. Adams earned her Master’s and PhD in Chemical Engineering here at Michigan Tech, graduating with nine scholarships, fellowships and awards, three peer-reviewed journal publications, a book chapter, and a patent—No. WO2015051372-A1, to be exact. Her doctoral research examined the dielectric behavior of human mesenchymal stem cells, for the purpose of cell sorting in microfluidic devices.

How did you come to Michigan Tech? 

While on the hunt for a graduate school I was drawn to Michigan for two reasons: my mother lived in Detroit for a while before I was born, and affirmative action was started in the state. I applied to Michigan Tech and scheduled a visit. The environment was very welcoming, which got me hooked! Meeting Dr. Adrienne Minerick during the last year of my master’s degree was icing on the cake. My first interactions with her were in the classroom as I took her Advanced Reactive Systems course. I enjoyed her teaching style. She put a lot of effort into giving meaningful lectures and keeping students engaged. I looked into her research and I was very interested in dielectrophoresis, especially its use in studying red blood cells. The rest is history!

“I am passionate about three things: healthcare-related research, minority student success in STEM, and social justice. These areas are my calling.”

– Tayloria Adams

What was the most challenging aspect of your studies?

Research. There is a huge learning curve when entering a new research field. Learning how to design experiments effectively and accepting that there is no such thing as a perfect experiment are both great challenges. Something will always go wrong, but working through it to still collect the necessary data is what builds character and improves research skills.

What have you done since graduation?

I worked in the Michigan Tech Center for Diversity and Inclusion (CDI) for one year after graduation, as the outreach coordinator. That year gave me the opportunity to grow as a mentor and advocate for underrepresented minority students. I am now conducting postdoctoral research in the Department of Neurology at the University of California, Irvine, in Lisa Flanagan’s lab, studying neural stem and progenitor cells (NSPCs) and their therapeutic potential. NSPCs are desirable because they form the three cell types of the central nervous system, astrocytes, neurons, and oligodendrocytes. However, one challenge is that NSPCs are grown as heterogeneous mixtures and we have little information regarding, which cells are best for neural repair. I’m using dielectrophoresis, an electrokinetic separation technique, as a method to target and enrich specific cells NSPCs. My goal is to effectively sort and characterize them.

You worked hard to educate and engage diverse people about the challenges facing underrepresented students at Michigan Tech. How would you describe the difference you made?

Working at Michigan Tech’s CDI provided me an outlet to engage in important conversations and be a part of the work. CDI was also very supportive of my research. I was able to practice research presentations in the center, use the space as a writing sanctuary when I was completing my dissertation, and almost all of the staff was present at my dissertation defense, which was immensely important to me. One of the best parts of my graduate education is that my daughter Aiyanna experienced college life at the undergraduate and graduate level before reaching college age. She’s learned about important campus resources such as CDI, and I am confident that this exposure has played a part in preparing her for college. As a parent this is something I am very proud of and would consider a success. My greatest frustration was the decline I saw in the number of African American students enrolled at Michigan Tech during my time there. A second frustration is the representation in faculty members. Michigan Tech is a great institution but these are areas where growth would make a huge impact on the community. I would say the difference I’ve made so far is showing what’s possible; but there is much more work to be done.

To learn more about Dr. Adams’s research, visit tayloriaadams.com.


eCYBERMISSION Team Thanks Michigan Tech for Support

eCYBERMISSION Winners 2017
The Whiz Kids stand with Army personnel to accept the winner’s trophy for 2017.

BREAKING NEWS—WE WIN!!!

The Whiz Kids presented their work at the eCYBERMISSION National Competition on Thursday, June 29, 2017, and learned that they had won the 8th grade competition on Friday, June 30.

Lake Linden-Hubbell “Whiz Kids” Win National Competition

Three eighth grade students at Lake Linden-Hubbell Middle School not only won a national championship, but may have helped create a solution to a local issue.

Although winning was great, Whiz Kid Gabe Poirier said that wasn’t the only benefit of completing the project.

“I think that one of the greatest parts was the realization that people like us that live in such a small area can do something bigger to benefit a lot of people,” said Whiz Kid Gabe Poirier.

Advisor Gretchen Hein said the trio plans to continue their work with stamp sands next year.

Read more at Keweenaw Report. View the Facebook video.


The Whiz Kids (Siona Beaudoin, Beau Hakala and Gabriel Poirier), an 8th grade eCYBERMISSION Team from Lake Linden-Hubbell High School greatly appreciated the support they received from Michigan Tech over the past year.

From October through June, they were advised by Gretchen Hein (CoE), faculty in engineering fundamentals, and Ryan Knoll, fourth-year chemical engineering student.

eCYBERMISSION is sponsored by the Army Educational Outreach Program (AEOP) and is for sixth through ninth grade teams. This is our second year participating in this competition.

This year we competed at nationals, whereas last year we made it to regionals. Since we made it to the national level, we went to Washington D.C. this week.

As part of the week-long activities, we participated in STEM workshops, visited the National Inventors Hall of Fame, went on a tour of the Capitol building, participated in activities with the Army and presented our project for judging purposes.

From 1:30-4 p.m. today (June 29, 2017), you can vote for our team to receive the People’s Choice Award. The link to vote is here. You can also view our presentation, along with the other teams and the Awards Luncheon here. We’d like to win this award for our school and community.

eCYBERMISSION’s goal is for student teams to research and develop a process that will benefit their community. Because we live in the Copper Country, we wanted to focus on something related to that industry. Our elementary school, playground and football field were constructed on top of stamp sands which are materials that are left over from stamping the copper out of the mine rock. Also, many of our grandparents worked in the area mines. When we went to areas containing stamp sands, we noticed that few plants were growing on them. Then we visited places where the stamp sands had been remediated by placing 6″ – 12″ topsoil on top of the stamp sands and then planting various plants.

We wanted to see how plants would grow in different mixtures of stamp sand and topsoil, and how soil stressors would affect that growth. To test this, we completed two experiment.

For our first experiment, we planted four types of plants (Red Fescue, Red Clover, Alfalfa, and Trefoil) in five different quantities of stamp sand and topsoil. Our results showed that Alfalfa and Red Fescue had adequate plant growth in 100% stamp sand, with Red Fescue being the best.

In our second experiment, we tested different stressors with the plant types selected from the first experiment, which were Fescue and Alfalfa. These plants proved to grow the best in 100 percent stamp sand. The stressors were wind, wheel tracks,l and high water table.

Participating in eCYBERMISSION the past two years has been an enjoyable learning experience for us, and we will be able to apply what we have learned in our future endeavors. We were recently interviewed on the Keweenaw Report that can be read here.

When we competed at the regional competition, we came to Michigan Tech where Jeff Toorongian from the Jackson Center for Teaching and Learning set up and ensured our virtual presentation worked with the eCYBERMISSION software.

When we made it to the national competition, we learned that only one adviser would be funded to travel with us. We were so happy when Chemical Engineering, Engineering Fundamentals and the Parent Fund supported Ryan’s travel. Ryan makes our team better. He has spent the school year and his summer working with us. He came to the regional competition even though it was his finals week.

In addition to funding Ryan’s travel, Engineering Fundamentals and the College of Engineering supported the poster printing costs. If they had not, our display would have just been print-outs. Instead, we learned how to make a Powerpoint poster and they funded the printing.

We are very thankful that the Parent Fund, Chemical Engineering, Engineering Fundamentals and the College of Engineering supported our project and helped to make us a successful team.

By Gretchen Hein.

ecybermission


Adrienne Minerick Chosen for STEM Leadership Fellowship

Adrienne Minerick
Adrienne Minerick

Adrienne Minerick (ChE) has been named as one of 26 women faculty members from 23 different universities across the US and Canada in the 2017-18 class of ELATE at Drexel Fellows.

ELATE at Drexel is a professional development program for women in the academic STEM fields. Each Fellow was nominated by her dean or provost and will contribute to institutional initiatives as she expands her leadership skills.

I’m honored to have been selected as an ELATE fellow and look forward to the opportunity to learn how to enhance Michigan Tech’s mission along with strategies to lead and manage change initiatives. Adrienne Minerick

Minerick is associate dean for research and development in Tech’s College of Engineering.

ELATE at Drexel is a one-year, part-time program that focuses on increasing personal and professional leadership effectiveness, leading and managing change initiatives within institutions, using strategic finance and resource management to enhance organizational missions and creating a network of exceptional women who can bring organizational perspectives and deep personal capacity to the institutions and society they serve.

“Michigan Tech is exceptionally pleased that Adrienne was selected for the 2017-2018 Fellowship program at Drexel University to continue with her leadership and professional development,” said Ellen Horsch, vice president for administration.

Adrienne is one of 10 individuals currently engaged in our Excellence in Leadership Development program, a professional development program designed and tailored to support specific growth and advancement at Michigan Tech. I truly look forward to Adrienne’s success as a leader and as a scholar.Ellen Horsch

By Jenn Donovan.


Opportunities in Forest Biomaterials Research

Biomaterials Research
Video: Biomaterials Research

According to Mark Rudnicki, a professor of practice in forest biomaterials at Michigan Technological University, Michigan ranks ninth in the nation in acres of forest cover. It’s also home to several forest-related industries, including forestry and logging, wood products manufacturing and paper manufacturing. In 2013, Michigan Tech initiated the development of a broad coalition – with members from Michigan industry, government and academia – to facilitate the cultivation of new ways to use forest biomaterials.

The initiative has evolved into the Michigan Forest Biomaterials Institute (MiFBI) and Rudnicki is its executive director.

Read more and watch the video at Unscripted: Science and Engineering Research, by Stefanie Sidortsova.

The mission of the Michigan Forest Biomaterials Institute (MiFBI) is to enhance quality of life in Michigan by fostering sustainable forests, communities, and economies through innovative and responsible production, use, and recycling of forest biomaterials.

MIFBI invites individuals and corporate entities (businesses, institutions, associations and government agencies) supportive of developing a forest bioeconomy in Michigan to join MIFBI as a Regular or Associate member.


Multi-Dimensional Manufacturing is Best Overall Venture

CMU New Venture Competition

Jim Baker, executive director of Innovation and Industry Engagement and co-director of the Innovation Center for Entrepreneurship, and Lorelle Meadows, dean of the Pavlis Honors College, accompanied students Reggie Dillingham (SBE), Sachin Fernandes (ECE), Joseph Ryan (CS and PSY), Cedric Kennedy (SBE), Kyle Ludwig (ECE), Adam Weber (CNSA), Nick Dubiel (ME), Morgan Crocker (STC), Emily Jensen (SBE) and Brandon Talaska (ChE) who competed in the Central Michigan University New Venture Competition. The competition was held March 24, 2017.

Multi-Dimensional Manufacturing, a 3-D printing technology company founded by Nick Dubiel with support from Morgan Crocker and mentored by Jim Baker finished as the Best Overall Venture with a $30,000 cash prize and a year of mentoring from Blue Water Angels in Midland. The team is also a recent graduate of Michigan Tech’s National Science Foundation I-Corps Site Program.


Nineteen Inducted into Tau Beta Pi Honor Society

Tau Beta Pi 2017
Spring 2017 Michigan Beta – Tau Beta Pi Initiates

The College of Engineering inducted nineteen students into the Michigan Tech Michigan Beta chapter of The College of Engineering inducted nineteen students into the Michigan Tech Michigan Beta chapter of Tau Beta Pi this past last week.

Tau Beta Pi is a nationally recognized engineering honor society, and is the only one that recognizes the engineering profession. Students who join are the top 1/8th of their junior class or top 1/5th of their senior class. The society celebrates those who have distinguished scholarship and exemplary character and members strive to maintain integrity and excellence in engineering.

Spring 2017 Michigan Beta – Tau Beta Pi Initiates:

David Adamovicz – Mechanical Engineering
Adam Augustyniak – Mechanical Engineering
Ryan Beering – Geological Engineering
Kristen Bull – Materials Science and Engineering
Raymond Coyle – Mechanical Engineering
Zachary Garavet – Computer Engineering
Phoebe Glazko – Civil Engineering
Hunter Gulbranson – Chemical Engineering
Benjamin Hubbard – Mechanical Engineering
Rebecca Phipps – Chemical Engineering
Jacob Richards – Mechanical Engineering
Chelsey Rock – Materials Science and Engineering
Lucas Simonson – Electrical Engineering
Riley Stroven – Mechanical Engineering
Victoria Swanson – Civil Engineering
Michael vonKronenberger – Electrical Engineering
Sarah Wade – Computer Engineering
Kayla Wielgus – Civil Engineering
Tyler Wittmann – Environmental Engineering


Michigan Tech Design Expo is Thursday, April 13, 2017

Design Expo

VIEW THE PHOTO ALBUM

What do a satellite tag anchoring system for humpback whales, a pandemic ventilator for third-world countries, a 793 mpg supermileage vehicle and an innovative, low-cost avalanche beacon have in common?

They’re all student projects on display at Michigan Tech’s 17th annual Design Expo from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Thursday (April 13, 2017) in the Memorial Union Ballroom. The event is free and open to the public.

At the Expo, you’ll have a chance to explore the breadth and depth of undergraduate project work with more than 1,000 students from Michigan Tech’s Enterprise and senior design programs participating.

Projects and posters will be on display throughout the day. A panel of judges comprised of corporate representatives and University faculty and staff will critique the projects. Many of the projects are sponsored by industry.

Design Expo event sponsors include ITC Holdings, Black & Veatch, American Transmission Co, Code Blue, Kimberly-Clark, Miller Electric, as well as Michigan Tech Career Services, the University’s Office of Innovation and Industry Engagement and the Innovation Center for Entrepreneurship.

Michigan Tech’s innovative Enterprise program is open to all majors and facilitates interdisciplinary learning, leadership development, and team-based project work. Diverse teams of first-year through graduate-level students develop products, processes, and services within their market space, with multiyear participation.

Senior Design challenges teams of highly dedicated senior-level students to explore and address real-world design challenges in their final year. The program connects students and industry sponsors through open-ended projects where teams follow the complete design process from ideation to realization.

For more information and a complete schedule of events, visit the Design Expo website.


Sniffing Volcanoes from Space: Simon Carn at the Michigan Tech Research Forum

Simon Carn
Simon Carn

VIEW THE PHOTO ALBUM

The Michigan Tech Research Forum was developed to showcase and celebrate the work of Michigan Tech researchers and to strengthen discussions in our community.

It is a privilege and honor to announce Associate Professor Simon Carn (GMES) was selected from nominees across campus as the 2017 Distinguished Lecturer.

Carn will give his lecture at 4 p.m. Thursday (April 6, 2017) in the MUB Ballroom. He will present “Volcanology — Multidisciplinary Science for a Versatile Campus.” The session will feature ample time for mingling over snacks and refreshments before and after the lecture. All are welcome. In addition, on-site, low-cost childcare at the MUB is available for those who need it during the Distinguished Lecture. Learn more online.

John Gierke, chair of the Department of Geological and Mining Engineering and Sciences nominated Carn for the award.

According to Gierke, Carn, “was a leading scientist in the application of sensors on the satellites forming what is called the Afternoon Constellation or ‘A-Train’ to Earth observations and specifically to volcanology.

“Simon possesses a unique knack for compiling and presenting information on satellite sensors and volcanic processes in visually appealing ways and for making compelling arguments in support of scientific observations of volcanoes.”

Quoting from the NASA website that features the A-Train, “This coordinated group of satellites … are in a polar orbit, crossing the equator … within seconds to minutes of each other. This allows near-simultaneous observations of a wide variety of parameters to aid the scientific community in advancing our knowledge of Earth-system science and applying this knowledge for the benefit of society.“

Carn joined the faculty of the Department of Geological and Mining Engineering and Sciences as an assistant professor in 2008. He came to Michigan Tech from the Joint Center for Earth Systems Technology of the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. He holds a PhD in volcanology from the University of Cambridge, UK, a DEA in volcanology and magmatic processes from the Université Blaise Pascal in Clermont-Ferrant, France and a BA in geology from the University of Oxford, UK.

He has received multiple research grants totaling more than $2.8 million from NASA, the National Science Foundation, the National Geographic Society Committee for Research and Exploration, the Royal Society and the European Union.

He has taught, lectured and supervised students since 1994 at Michigan Tech and across the world at the International Volcanological Field School in Russia, Cambridge University, the Philippines Institute of Volcanology and Seismology and at international workshops in France, Italy, Iceland, Indonesia, Singapore and Costa Rica.

Carn has been a member of the International Association of Volcanology and Chemistry of the Earth’s Interior and the American Geophysical Union since 1994. He recently served on a National Academy of Sciences Committee on Improving Understanding of Volcanic Eruptions.

His current research focus is the application of remote sensing data to studies of volcanic degassing, volcanic eruption clouds and anthropogenic pollution. His main focus: SO2, a precursor of sulfate aerosol, which plays an important role in the atmosphere through negative climate forcing and impacts on cloud microphysics.

7 questions with Volcanologist Simon Carn

 

Q: When was the moment you knew volcanology was for you?

A: The first active volcano I encountered was Arenal in Costa Rica during my travels after finishing high school. However, I think the point that I first seriously considered volcanology as a career was during my MS degree in Clermont-Ferrand, France. The first field trip of that course was to Italy to see the spectacular active volcanoes Etna, Stromboli and Vesuvius.

Q: What do you like most about volcanology?
A: Studying volcanoes is undeniably exciting and exotic, and we are lucky to visit some spectacular locations for fieldwork and conferences. New eruptions can occur at any time, so there’s always something new and exciting to study. We are also fortunate in that it is relatively easy to justify studying volcanoes (e.g., to funding agencies), given their potentially significant impacts on climate, the environment and society.

Q: What is the biggest challenge in this field?
A: Accurate prediction of volcanic eruptions is a significant challenge, and will remain so until we can increase the number of global volcanoes that are intensively monitored.

Q: What has changed the most in volcanology over the past decade (or two)?
A: The amount of geophysical data collected from the ground and space has increased exponentially, along with the computational capacity to process the data and construct numerical models of volcanic processes. This has significantly advanced our understanding of the potential impacts of volcanoes.

Q: How do your two specialties—volcanology and teaching—complement each other?
A: I think volcanoes are a very effective tool for recruiting and engaging students, e.g., by using some dramatic eruption footage to pique their interest in the underlying physical processes. There are many different aspects of volcanic activity, ranging from the geological origins of volcanoes to their impacts on the atmosphere, so effective teaching of volcanology requires some expertise in multiple fields of science. Gathering the relevant information is personally very rewarding and frequently opens up new avenues for research.

Q: You studied and worked in England, France and Europe. How did you come to Michigan Tech, and how does it work as a home base?
A: After finishing my PhD in the UK, I worked on the island of Montserrat (West Indies) for several months monitoring the active Soufriere Hills volcano. This got me interested in the use of remote sensing techniques for monitoring volcanic gas emissions. I then moved to the US for a postdoc at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, using satellite data to measure volcanic emissions, and whilst there I started collaborating with the Michigan Tech volcanology group. Michigan Tech has been highly regarded for its volcanology program, and in particular for remote sensing of volcanoes, for many years and so it was an ideal fit for me when I was looking for a faculty position.

Q: I noticed the photo your grandfather took of a smoking Mt. Vesuvius during WWII (at the very bottom on your website. Was he a volcanologist, as well? How did you come across that photo?
A: He wasn’t a volcanologist, though he was a high school science teacher and a conservationist. The photo of Vesuvius was always one of his favorites, from a time when photographs were quite rare, and he often showed it to me in my youth.


Engineering Graduate Students Excel at ACS 2017 Student Research Symposium

ACS Local Student ResearchAmeya Narkar received first prize for his poster presentation at the 2017 Upper Peninsula American Chemical Society Student Research Symposium, which was held Saturday, March 25, 2017, in Marquette.

The title of the poster was “Effect of Addition of Acrylic Acid (AAc) on the Wet Adhesion Properties of Mussel-inspired Hydrogels at Multiple pH Values.” Narkar is a PhD student working in the research lab of Bruce Lee.

Muxue Zhang, a graduate student in environmental engineering, was awarded third place at the symposium.

Zhang, a second-year master’s student, presented on her thesis work about predicting the reverse osmosis (RO) rejection of toxicologically relevant organics for direct potable reuse application in wastewater reclamation processes.

She works with Daisuke Minakata (CEE). Her work is part of a funded water reuse project looking at the intrinsic interactions between a wide variety of organics and RO membrane using computational chemistry tools.

The purpose of the event is to provide a venue for students to present their research in chemistry, chemical engineering and related fields. This symposium is an excellent opportunity for students, faculty and the community at large to learn about the interesting research being conducted in the UP. It was hosted by the ACS Upper Peninsula Local Section on the campus of Northern Michigan University.


Virus Hydrophobicity is a Science360 Top Story

Science360

The Michigan Tech News story “Virus Hydrophobicity Can Help Purify Vaccines” concerning the research of Caryn Heldt made the top story of the online news magazine Science360. Heldt is an associate professor of chemical engineering at Michigan Tech.

The vaccine story, written by Michigan Tech science and technology writer Allison Mills, appeared in Science360 five days after it was published. This multimedia source is edited by the National Science Foundation in order to gather breaking STEM news from scientists, universities, and science and engineering centers.