Category Archives: Research

Call for Applications: Songer Research Award for Human Health Research

2018-19 Songer Award Recipients.
2018-19 Songer Award Recipients. Pictured Left to Right: Abby Sutherland, Billiane Kenyon, Jeremy Bigalke, Rupsa Basu, Matthew Songer, and Laura Songer.

Matthew Songer, (Biological Sciences ’79) and Laura Songer (Biological Sciences ’80) have generously donated funds to the College of Sciences and Arts (CSA) to support a research project competition for undergraduate and graduate students. Remembering their own eagerness to engage in research during their undergraduate years, the Songers established these awards to stimulate and encourage opportunities for original research by current Michigan Tech students. The College is extremely grateful for the Songers’ continuing interest in, and support of, Michigan Tech’s programs in human health and medicine. This is the second year of the competition.

Students may propose an innovative medically-oriented research project in any area of human health. The best projects will demonstrate the potential to have broad impact on improving human life. This research will be pursued in consultation with faculty members within the College of Sciences and Arts. In the Spring of 2019, the Songer’s gift will support one award for undergraduate research ($4,000) and a second award for graduate research ($6,000). Matching funds from the College may allow two additional awards.

Any Michigan Tech student interested in exploring a medically related question under the guidance of faculty in the College of Sciences and Arts may apply. Students majoring in any degree program in the college, including both traditional (i.e., biological sciences, kinesiology, chemistry) and nontraditional (i.e., physics, psychology, social science, bioethics, computer science, mathematics) programs related to human health may propose research projects connected to human health. Students are encouraged to propose original, stand-alone projects with expected durations of 6 – 12 months. The committee also encourages applications from CSA students who seek to continue research projects initiated through other campus mechanisms, such as the Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF) program, Pavlis Honors College activities or the Graduate Research Forum (GRF).

Funds from a Songer Award may be used to purchase or acquire research materials and equipment needed to perform the proposed research project. Access to and research time utilizing University core research facilities, including computing, may be supported. Requests to acquire a personal computer will be scrutinized and must be fully justified. Page charges for publications also may be covered with award funds, as will travel to appropriate academic meetings. This award may not be used for salary or compensation for the student or consulting faculty.

To apply:

  • Students should prepare a research project statement (up to five pages in length) that describes the background, methods to be used, and research objectives. The statement also should provide a detailed description of the experiments planned and expected outcomes. Students must indicate where they will carry out their project and attach a separate list of references/citations to relevant scientific literature.
  • The application package also should provide a concise title and brief summary (1 page) written for lay audiences.
  • A separate budget page should indicate how funds will be used.
  • A short letter from a consulting faculty member must verify that the student defined an original project and was the primary author of the proposal. The faculty member should also confirm her/his willingness to oversee the project. This faculty letter is not intended to serve as a recommendation on behalf of the student’s project.

Submit applications as a single PDF file to the Office of the College of Sciences and Arts by 4:00 p.m. Monday, April 22. Applications may be emailed to djhemmer@mtu.edu.

The selection committee will consist of Matthew Songer, Laura Songer, Shekhar Joshi (BioSci) and Megan Frost (KIP). The committee will review undergraduate and graduate proposals separately and will seek additional comments about the proposed research on an ad-hoc basis from reviewers familiar with the topic of the research proposal. Primary review criteria will be the originality and potential impact of the proposed study, as well as its feasibility and appropriateness for Michigan Tech’s facilities.

The committee expects to announce the recipients by early May of 2019. This one-time research award will be administered by the faculty advisor of the successful student investigator. Students will be expected to secure any necessary IRB approval before funds will be released. Funds must be expended by the end of spring semester 2020; extensions will not be granted. Recipients must submit a detailed report to the selection committee, including a description of results and an accounting of finds utilized, no later than June 30, 2020.

Any questions may be directed to Megan Frost (mcfrost@mtu.edu), David Hemmer (djhemmer@mtu.edu) or Shekhar Joshi (cpjoshi@mtu.edu).



Students Present at the 2017 Undergraduate Research Symposium

Several undergraduate students working in biology research laboratories presented at Michigan Tech’s 2017 Undergraduate Research Symposium this year. The event highlights the amazing cutting-edge research being conducted on our campus by some of our best and brightest undergraduate students!

Michelle Kelly URS 2017

Michelle Kelly from Amy Marcarelli’s laboratory challenged the assumption that variation of biological nitrogen transformation rates within streams are small. Her findings suggest that these rates can actually significantly vary and may not be estimated by a single study site per reach. Michelle’s research was funded by a Research Experience for Undergraduates through the National Science Foundation.

 

Hannah Marti URS 2017Hannah Marti from John Durocher’s laboratory explored the potential health benefits of acute mindfulness meditation. In her pilot study, she observed a reduction in anxiety, heart rate, and aortic pulse pressure after the one introductory hour of mindfulness mediation. Hannah’s research was funded through the Undergraduate Research Internship Program sponsored by the Portage Health Foundation. Hannah earned an honorable mention for her presentation!

 

Jacob Schoenborn URS 2017

Jacob Schoenborn from Xiaoqing Tang’s laboratory studied mice to understand the influence of blueberries on the function of pancreatic beta cells, which regulate the amount of glucose in the blood. His results suggest that the bioactive substances in blueberries can improve beta cell sensitivity. Jacob’s research was funded through the Undergraduate Research Internship Program sponsored by the Portage Health Foundation. Jacob earned an honorable mention for his presentation!

 

David Trine URS 2017David Trine from Thomas Werner’s laboratory reviewed the abdominal pigment pattern of Drosophila guttifera by through five toolkit genes. His findings will help to understand the evolutionary process of color patterns on animals and also may lead to future cancer research. David’s research was funded through a Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship.

 


Thomas Werner: The Butterfly Effect

Thomas Werner 201701120031Thomas Werner knew he wanted to be a butterfly biologist from a very young age when he found chasing butterflies to be a preferable diversion to missing his friends and helping his parents harvest their garden plot.

His Journey from East Berlin to the Keweenaw has been a metamorphosis. His work with fruit flies is giving researchers an avenue to explore for cancer screening, prevention, and treatment.

“I love the precision and detail work of making a clean, crisp image.”

Explore more what Werner has to say about his research in Michigan Tech’s Research Magazine article, “The Butterfly Effect”.

 


Michigan Space Grant Consortium Award Recipients Announced

K NevorskiBiology student Kevin Nevorski received $5,000 in funding through the Michigan Space Grant Consortium (MSGC), sponsored by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) for the 2017-18 funding cycle. Nevorski worked with Amy Marcarelli on this project, “Nitrogen in Space: An Examination of How Nitrogen Cycle Processes are Related in Streams and How Those Processes are Influenced at Multiple Special Scales”. Kevin earned his MS and BS from Central Michigan University before joining the Marcarelli lab in 2016 as a PhD student as part of the NSF CAREER project.

NASA implemented the National Space Grant College and Fellowship Program in 1989 to provide funding for research, education and public outreach in space-related science and technology. The program has 52 university-based consortia in the United States and Puerto Rico.

As an affiliate of the Michigan Consortium, Michigan Tech has been an active participant in MSGC for approximately 20 years. MSGC funding is administered through Michigan Tech’s Pavlis Honors College.

For more information, contact Paige Hackney in the Pavlis Honors College at 7-4371 or visit the MSGC website.




New funding for Dr. Tumban

Ebenezer Tumban portriat
Ebenezer Tumban

From our Chair, Dr. Joshi:

Heartiest congratulations to assistant professor Dr. Ebenezer Tumban for receiving his first NIH-R15 grant worth $457,197 for developing a new vaccine to enhance protection against oral HPV infections in HIV patients. This is a three-year project starting September 1, 2016. Dr. Tumban joined us just two years back so this is a great achievement of obtaining substantial extramural funding so fast. Great job, Ebenezer!

The official Tech Today announcement:

Ebenezer Tumban (Bio Sci/LSTI) is the principal investigator on a project that has received a $457,197 research and development grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services-National Institutes of Health (National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research.) The project is titled, “Development of a Multi-epitope L2 Bacteriophage VLPs Vaccine to Enhance Protection Against Oral HPV Infections in HIV Patients.” This is a three-year project.


Multiple faculty In Print

From Tech Today:

Amy Marcarelli
Amy Marcarelli

Amy Marcarelli  recently co-authored recently published book chapter: “Stream-lake interaction: understanding a coupled hydro-ecological system.” Pp 321-348 in: Jones JB, Stanley EH (eds) Streams in a Changing Environment. Academic Press.

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Casey Huckins
Casey Huckins

Casey Hucking co-authored “Genetic and phenotypic evidence for splake presence in brook trout and lake trout spawning habitats,”  in the Journal of Great Lakes Research 42(3): 738-742.

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Chandrashekhar Joshi
Chandrashekhar Joshi

Chandrashekhar P. Joshi (Dept. Chair Bio Sci) co-authored “Virus Induced Gene Silencing (VIGS) Mediated Functional Characterization of Two Genes Involved in Lignocellulosic Secondary Cell Wall Formation.” In Plant Cell lReports DOI 10.1007/s00299-016-2039-2.