Author: jclewin

Amy Marcarelli Receives NSF CAREER Award

May 4, 2015—

By Mark Wilcox

Research indicates human activities have altered the global nitrogen cycle as much or more than the global carbon cycle. Yet it seems the public is far less aware of these changes.

In the world of aquatic biology, it’s a long-held belief that what goes up, must come down. As human activity causes nitrogen loads to go up along the banks of rivers and streams, nitrogen levels go down through another process. Amy Marcarelli, a Michigan Technological University associate professor in biological sciences, has received a CAREER Award from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to study this nitrogen conversion balance.

She’s looking at two biological processes: nitrogen fixation and denitrification. Nitrogen fixation is sort of like a magic show where microbes take nitrogen out of thin air, turning it into a usable form for all organisms. The trick is in the biogeochemical process, which partitions and cycles chemical elements and compounds between the living and nonliving parts of an ecosystem. The process is more or less reversed in denitrification, with the gases released into the atmosphere. The result should be a net reduction in nitrogen loads in rivers and streams. Although nitrogen fixation could offset nitrogen losses from denitrification, we know little about where and when it occurs in streams and rivers, and how it responds to human activities.

Marcarelli is looking to apply updated analytical techniques and models to test alternative hypotheses regarding how the balance between nitrogen fixation and denitrification influences nitrogen loads in streams and rivers.

With funding from the CAREER award, Marcarelli and her team will help create more accurate nitrogen budgets and models which are needed to better understand and manage the human effects on nitrogen cycling at both regional and global scales.

The CAREER awards are prestigious grants from the NSF to young faculty who effectively integrate research and teaching. Marcarelli was awarded a 5-year, $794,661 grant to continue her research into nitrogen fixation and denitrification.

Not only will her research look to affirm, or disprove, long-held beliefs, but also to create a more ecologically-savvy citizenry by integrating ecosystem ecology techniques into K-12 and undergraduate education.

Read the rest of the article at the Michigan Tech news feed

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Fruit Fly Genetics Reveal Pesticide Resistance and Insight Into Cancer

June 5, 2015—

For being so small, fruit flies have had a large impact on genetic research. Thomas Werner, an assistant professor of biological sciences at Michigan Technological University, has bridged the miniscule and the massive in an effort to better understand the mechanisms behind several unique features of fruit fly genes.

Over the past week, several studies that Werner co-authored have been published in PLoS ONE, the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, and Nature Education. All are linked by Drosophila—a genus of fruit flies—and the insights that fruit fly genetics provide on human health, specifically cancer-causing genes.

More here

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Kerfoot honored for 25 years of service

Michigan Tech Employee Service Recognition Event

On Wednesday, May 6th, faculty and staff members, along with their guests, gathered at the Memorial Union Ballroom for an awards dinner recognizing 25, 30, 35, and 40 years of service to Michigan Tech.

The following employees were recognized.

25 Years

  • Ricky Ahola, Facilities Management
  • Victoria Bergvall, Humanities
  • Leonard Bohmann, College of Engineering
  • Jacek Borysow, Physics
  • Clifton Brusso, Facilities Management
  • Tomas Co, Chemical Engineering
  • Kelly Dube, Financial Services & Operations
  • Nikki Ebert, Dining Services
  • James Frendewey, School of Technology
  • Timothy Gasperich, Chemical Engineering
  • Christopher Green, Keweenaw Research Center
  • Janet Hayden, Vice President for Governmental Relations & Secretary of the Board of Trustees
  • Michael Hendricks, Vice President for Research
  • Robert Hiltunen, Auxiliary Services
  • Jackie Kentala, Athletic & Recreation Facility Operations
  • Charles Kerfoot, Biological Sciences
  • Alexander Kostinski, Physics
  • Joel Kunnari, Keweenaw Research Center
  • Denise Laux, Chemistry
  • Jerry Lutz, Chemistry
  • Walter Milligan, Materials Science and Engineering
  • Susan Niemi, Chemical Engineering
  • Gina Stevens, Social Sciences
  • Michael Tomasi, Facilities Management
  • Jeffrey Toorongian, William G. Jackson Center for Teaching & Learning
  • Judy Verran, Dining Services
  • Craig Waddell, Humanities
  • James Waineo, Keweenaw Research Center
  • Donald Williams, Counseling Services
  • James Wood, Geological & Mining Engineering & Sciences
  • Song-Lin Yang, Mechanical Engineering & Engineering Mechanics

30 Years

  • Terry Anderson, Kinesiology & Integrative Physiology
  • Joyce Fontaine, Financial Aid Administration
  • Don Kilpela, Merchandising Operations
  • Susan Laajala, Financial Services & Operations
  • Peter Laks, School of Forest Resources & Environmental Sciences
  • Amitabh Narain, Mechanical Engineering & Engineering Mechanics
  • Anita Quinn, Vice President for Administration
  • Nils Ruonavaara, Keweenaw Research Center
  • Madhukar Vable, Mechanical Engineering & Engineering Mechanics

35 Years

  • Theodore Bornhorst, AE Seaman Mineral Museum
  • Sheila Laitinen, Facilities Management

40 Years

  • Daniel Nutini, Dining Services

Retirees

  • Lisa Moyle, Housing and Residential Life

This year’s Staff Service Recognition luncheon will be held on June 17.

Congratulations to all honorees.

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Faculty, instructors and graduate students represented in the top 10% for spring term.

Congratulations to the following faculty, instructors and graduate students from Biological Sciences Department for their inclusion in the list of campus wide, top 10% instructors in Spring 2015 semester.

The following faculty received scores above 4.54 out of 5 on average of 7 elements of university-wide class size group with response rate of >50% on student evaluations of their lecture classes:

  • Dr. Casey Huckins, Associate Professor
  • Ms. Brigitte Morin, Lecturer
  • Ms. Karyn Fay, Professor of Practice
  • Dr. Thomas Snyder, Associate Professor
  • Dr. Thomas Werner, Assistant Professor

The following instructors received scores above 4.47 out of 5 on average of 7 elements of university-wide class size group with response rate of >50% on student evaluations of their lecture/lab classes:

  • Ms. Ann Cooke, instructor
  • Ms. Emily Geiger, Graduate student
  • Dr. Jennifer Sanders, instructor
  • Mr. Travis Wakeham, Undergraduate student

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Kerfoot Receives Lifetime Achievement Award

Charles KerfootProfessor Charles Kerfoot (BioSci) has received the 2015 IAGLR Lifetime Achievement Award from the International Association for Great Lakes Research. The award recognizes important and continued contributions to the field of Great Lakes research for 20 years or more. In a letter notifying Kerfoot of the award, Douglas D. Kane, president of the IAGLR, congratulated him on an “incredibly productive and significant career.”

Dr. Kerfoot will be presenting at IAGLR 2015 (http://www.iaglr.org/iaglr2015/) on how Bythotrephes affects zooplankton community composition, at the University of Vermont in late May.

Charles Kerfoot Charles Kerfoot Charles Kerfoot

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Calumet High School Places First in Bioathlon

Calumet 1st place smallby Jenn Donovan

A team of high school students from Calumet High School took top honors in Michigan Tech’s annual Bioathlon, a biology competition held Wednesday.

A team from West Iron County High School placed second and a team from A.D. Johnston HIgh School in Bessemer was third.

The Bioathlon’s goal is to stimulate interest in biology and in problem-solving among high school students. Teams from 15 Upper Peninsula high schools participated. Each team consisted of four students who have not taken biology classes beyond the traditional sophomore general biology course.

The teams tackled the same four problems: dissection of a dogfish shark; biochemical effects on enzymes; field identification; and a medical laboratory science challenge.

A workshop on animal migration was offered for the teachers who accompanied the students to the competition.

Undergraduate and graduate students and biology faculty participated in designing the problems and supervising the competition.

Funding for the Bioathlon was provided by Michigan Tech Admissions, the Department of Biological Sciences, the Michigan Tech Fund and alumni Mark Cowan, Robert and Kathryn DellAngelo, Olive Kimball, Nancy Auer and Janice Glime.

More information on Bioathlon is available here.

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Tang, Werner awarded Research Excellence Funds

REF Awards Announced

The Vice President for Research Office announces the Research Execellence Fund Awards. Thanks to the volunteer review committees, as well as the deans and department chairs, for their time spent on this important internal research award process.

Infrastructure Enhancement Grants:

  • Stephen Kampe, IMP/MSE. Environmental Test Chamber
  • Sean Kirkpatrick, BRC/Biomed Eng. Repair and Upgrade Advanced Fluorescent Microscope
  • Will Cantrell, EPSSI/Physics. Acquisition of a Cloud Condensation Nucleus Counter
  • Cary Chabalowski, Chemistry. Acquisition of a DNA Synthesizer
  • Andrew Burton, ESC/SFRES. Remote Data Acquisition

Scholarship and Creativity Grants:

  • Joel Neves, VPA
  • Chelsea Schelly, SS
  • Marika Seigel, Humanities

Research Seed Grants:

  • Xiaoqing Tang, Bio Science
  • Feng Zhao, Biomed Eng
  • Snehamoy Chatterjee, GME
  • Loredana Valenzano, Chemistry
  • Thomas Werner, BRC/Bio Sci
  • Seyyedmohsen Azizi, SoT
  • Sunil Mehendale, SoT
  • Jingfeng Jiang, BRC/Biomed Eng
  • Tarun Dam, Chemistry
  • Amy Schrank, ESC/SFRES
  • Zhen “Leo” Liu, CEE
  • Don Lafreniere, GLRC/SS
  • Steve Elmer, KIP
  • Amber Roth, ESC/SFRES
  • Sigrid Resh, ESC/SFRES

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Huckins promoted; Marcarelli promoted with tenure

Board Promotes Faculty Members

Tech Today

At its regular meeting on Friday, the Board of Control promoted 11 associate professors with tenure to professor with tenure. They are Casey Huckins, (Bio Sci); Adrienne Minerick, (ChE); Shiyue Fang, (Chem); Brian Barkdoll, (CEE); Soner Onder and Zhenlin Wang, (CS); M. Ann Brady,(HU); Peter Moran, (MSE); Will Cantrell, (Physics); John Vucetich, (SFRES); and John Irwin, (SoT).

The Board also promoted 18 assistant professors to associate professor with tenure and one associate professor without tenure to associate professor with tenure. They are Amy Marcarelli,(Bio Sci); Caryn Heldt, (ChE); Ashutosh Tiwari, (Chem); Shane Mueller, (CLS); Scott Kuhl, (CS); Zhuo Feng, (ECE); Thomas Oommen, (GMES); Sue Collins, (HU); Ossama Abdelkhalik, Chang Kyoung Choi and Mohammad Rastgaar Aagaah, (MEEM); Andre Laplume, Junhong Min and Manish Srivastava, (SBE); Joseph Bump, (SFRES); Jinshan Tang, (SoT); Adam Wellstead and Richelle Winkler, (SS); and Joel Neves, (VPA).

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Biology alum guest speaker for commencement

Spring Commencement Ceremony This Saturday

Tech Today. Michigan Tech’s spring commencement ceremony will be this Saturday, May 2, at 10:30 a.m. in the John MacInnes Student Ice Arena. This year, nearly 1,100 students will be awarded degrees, including almost 300 graduate students.


The guest speaker will be Dr. Susan E. Skochelak, Group Vice President for Medical Education at the American Medical Association (AMA) and director of the AMA’s Center for Transforming Medical Education. She developed and leads the AMA’s Accelerating Change in Medical Education initiative working to promote innovation that better aligns physician training with the changing needs of our health care system.

Skochelak received her bachelor’s and master’s degree in biological sciences from Tech and received her MD degree from the University of Michigan. She obtained a Master’s of Public Health at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, where she trained as a resident physician in family medicine and preventive medicine. She completed a Robert Wood Johnson Clinical Scholars fellowship while at Chapel Hill.

The student speaker will be Kyle Yarusso; the Lake Elmo, MN, native will be completing his BS in Applied Ecology and Environmental Science. After graduation, he will serve as a Centennial Volunteer Ambassador with the Student Conservation Association, a non-profit that inspires lifelong stewardship of the environment. Down the road, Yarusso plans to attend graduate school, studying the human dimensions of environmentalism and conservation.

Doors to the arena open at 8:30 a.m., and students are expected to be present and prepared at 9:45 a.m. A seating chart of the graduates and additional information is available on Michigan Tech’s commencement website. Prior to the ceremony, the official ROTC commissioning ceremony will take place; a public commissioning will also occur during commencement.

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