Author: jclewin

Dr. Techtmann welcomed to campus

Dr. Stephen Techtmann is one of many new faculty welcomed to campus this year:

Stephen Techtmann, PhD

Stephen Techtmann joins the Department of Biological Sciences as an assistant professor. Prior to Michigan Tech, Techtmann was at the University of Tennessee. Techtmann earned a PhD in Molecular and Cell Biology and a Bachelor of Science in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology from the University of Maryland.

His expertise and interests are microbial ecology of extreme environments with specialization in the collection of genomic and metagenomic data to elucidate the mechanisms of evolution and adaption. He has been published in Current Opinions in Biotechnology and Environmental Microbiology.

In addition to Dr. Techtmann faculty in other Departments can be found in the special edition of Tech Today.


Andrew Chapp Awarded AHA Predoctoral Fellowship

Christina Lehman, Kinesiology and Physiology: Congratulations to Andrew Chapp for receiving a Predoctoral Fellowship from the American Heart Association. Andrew is a Biological Sciences PhD student working in Dr. Qinghui Chen’s electrophisyiology lab.  Andrew will continue to work in Dr. Chen’s lab focusing on a project titled, “Acetate as an Active Metabolite of Ethanol: Neural and Cardiovascular Implications.”

Andrew recently published a portion of his ethanol research in the American Journal of Physiology-Heart and Circulatory Physiology and has given several oral presentations pertaining to the effects of acetate on neuronal excitability.  The project Andrew has proposed is expected to have a positive impact on providing insight into the neuronal mechanisms of an alcohol associated hypertension and stroke. Additionally, this proposed study will provide not only a known cellular mechanism for pharmacological intervention of alcohol induced hypertension, but also broader implications to future studies in the alcohol research community related to acetate on learning/memory, motor control, and addiction/depression.

More information on Dr. Chen’s research can be found on his lab page.


VanGoethem and Gervais Named Academic All-American

AUSTIN, Texas — Michigan Tech football players Ryan VanGoethem (West Branch, Mich.) and Brett Gervais (Lake Linden, Mich.) were both named 2015 Academic All-Americans by the College Sports Information Directors of America today. VanGoethem, a junior punter, was named to the First Team while Gervais, a senior defensive back, earned Second Team honors.

The pair were two of only 48 NCAA Division II players nationally to earn Academic All-America status. Criteria for the award requires nominees to be in their second year at their institution and maintain at least a 3.30 cumulative grade point average. Voting by CoSIDA members is based on both academic and athletic performance.

VanGoethem is a 3.96 student in biological sciences. He posted a 39.3 yards-per-punt average with a long of 67 yards and four punts inside the opponents’ 20. His punting average was the third best in school history. VanGoethem earned All-GLIAC Honorable Mention following the 2015 season.

Gervais owns a 3.79 GPA in exercise science. Three times in his career he earned All-GLIAC recognition including a spot on the First Team in 2015. Gervais posted 61 tackles, three interceptions, two forced fumbles and a fumble recovery this past year. He finished his career with 203 career tackles and eight interceptions.

Michigan Tech has now had 20 Academic All-America First or Second Team honorees in its history. The most recent were Jacob Clark and Matt Curtin in 2012.

Full CoSIDA Division II Football Academic All-America Team Release

See the original press release at: http://www.michigantechhuskies.com/sports/fball/2015-16/releases/20151202m3680l


Several Biological Sciences students playing in the 4th Keweenaw Honors String Festival (Violapalooza)

KSO-KeweenawHonorsStringFestivalFour students from a variety of Biological Sciences majors are participating in this Saturday’s Rozsa performance of  the 4th Keweenaw Honors String Festival (Violapalooza).

The four students are:

*Laura Deters, Bioinformatics playing the viola
*Erin McKenzie, Biological Sciences playing the cello
*Elise Cheney-Makens, Biochemistry playing the cello
*Megan Schluentz, Biological Sciences playing the cello

The show will be streamed live at the Visual and Performing Arts web site. Tickets and additional information about the performance are available on the Michigan Tech Events Calendar.


Werner, X. Tang, featured in Michigan Tech Lode

Dr. Thomas Werner and Dr. Xiaoqing Tang are featured in two separate articles in the last couple of week in the Michigan Tech Lode.

The article on Dr. Werner’s research titled “Inside Look: Fruit Flies, Color Patterns and Cancer” can be found in the 8 October 2015 issue.

The article on Dr. Tang’s research titled: “Solving the mystery: what connects microRNA and proteins to the pancreas” can be found in the 1 October 2016 issue.


Updated: Biology students do well in LSTI 1st Annual Research Forum

The First Annual Research Forum sponsored by the Life Science and Technology Institute was held Sept. 24 and 25. Twenty-seven graduate and undergraduate students conducting research in life science, biotechnology, human health and related areas presented posters.

Thank you to participants, the judges and all who helped with the successful forum. A list of LSTI award winners is as follows:

Graduate Grand Prize

Sanaz Habibi (ChE) “Do Faradaic Reactions cause Hemolysis in Non-Uniform Alternating Current Electric Fields,” Advisor: Minerick

Graduate Merit Awards

  • Ramkumar Mohan (Biology)—”MicroRNA-483, A Differentially Expressed MicroRNA Between Pancreatic Beta Cells and Alpha Cells,” Advisor: Zhang/Tang
  • Ni Fan (Chem)—”Glycan-Dependent Mutual and Reversible Sequestration,” Advisor: Dam
  • Robert Larson (KIP)—”High Salt Intake Augments Excitability of Pre-sympathetic PVN Neurons,” Advisor: Chen

Undergraduate Grand Prize

Jared Pecore (Biology)—”The Mechanisms Underlying α-Amanitin Resistance in Drosophila melanogaster: A Microarray Analysis,” Advisor: Werner

Undergraduate Merit Award

Dakota Anderson (KIP)—”Upper-Extremity Eccentric Exercise: Increases in Muscle Strength and Power at Moderate Training Intensities” 

UPDATED: Here is a photo gallery of  participants.

Taken from Tech Today


New class offering: Cancer Biology, BL4752, Spring 2016

Cancer Biology imageNew class offering: Cancer Biology, BL4752, Spring 2016

• Do you know that cancer is the second leading cause of death?
• In 2013 alone, 14.9 million people had cancer & 8.2 million people died from cancer
• Do you know of anyone who has cancer?
• Are you interested in learning what causes cancer or the molecular changes that lead to cancer?

• Take BL 4752; learn about the biology of cancer with Dr. Tumban

• Course Objectives: Students will have an understanding of:
• the biological/non-­‐biological agents that cause cancer
• how these agents contribute to different cancers
• the molecular mechanism(s) leading to the disease
• how the circulatory and lymphatic systems affect the disease
• current treatment and therapeutic approaches

The prereqs are BL3012 Essential Cell Biology or BL4370 Cell Biology or BE2400 Cellular and Molecular Biology.

Cancer Biology Flyer


UPDATED: Solving the Mystery That Connects MicroRNA and Proteins in the Pancreas

Dr Tang’s research is featured this week on Michigan Tech’s home page.    

By Allison Mills MicroRNA strands were once thought of as junk genetic material. Now, researchers know that these small structures help program surrounding genes, affecting everything from eye color to cancer. For diabetes, one such connection is a classic whodunit—it was miR-483 with the SOCS3 protein in the pancreas. Unraveling this mystery is the subject of a new paper published in the Journal of Biological Chemistry.

Pancreatic Cells

Xiaoqing Tang, one of the study co-authors and an assistant professor of biology at Michigan Technological University, is poised. She is as calm as you’d expect a sleuth to be, and she explains the complex interactions of pancreatic microRNA with the meticulousness of a crime scene investigator.

First, Tang says, we have to start with the big picture—the pancreatic cells where these genes interact.

“We’re interested in the alpha and beta cells,” says Tang, explaining that beta cells secrete insulin and alpha cells secrete glucagon, which regulate our blood sugar levels. A normal ratio is generally 80 percent beta cells and 15 percent alpha cells. “In type 2 diabetic patients, the ratio is imbalanced and we see beta cell loss and alpha cell expansion,” the researcher says.

Balancing these hormones is difficult to coordinate because several organs—the liver and brain as well as the pancreas—are involved. But the real nuance is within the alpha and beta cells themselves.

More at the University News site