Category: Undergraduate

Student artist Mara Hackman (MLS) – Outdoor Sculpture 2020

Student artist Mara Hackman sitting around her outdoor sculpture "Space"

This summer, Lisa Gordillo (VPA) is teaching Michigan Tech’s first fully-online sculpture class. Students focus on making works or art outside, and use the landscape around them as their studio. Because we’re several months into “social distancing” and many folks are longing for connection, Gordillo worked to make a class that creates connections with community (even at a distance). Student sculptors consider art, ecology, and social connection as they make new works of art this summer. 

One student artist in the class is Mara Hackman, an undergraduate student in Medical Laboratory Science. Hackman’s first sculpture, titled “Line,” was created with a “wave of trash and flowers”. Her sculpture follows the path of a stream near her home. To make this sculpture, Hackman walked her favorite nature trail and gathered the trash she found along the way. She gathered flowers from the trail and her garden, and combined them into this wave to “signify life and repair.” She hopes people will look at this piece and think about both the beauty of nature and the destruction humans can cause.

Student artist Mara Hackman outdoor sculpture "Line"

The second scupture is titled “Space,” as described by Hackman, “I started off by blowing up 240 balloons and started by tying (them) together. You think 240 balloons is a lot, and they almost completely filled up my grandma’s living room – but once I took them all outside in the field, the balloons looked small. The field was very spacious. I did different things with the balloons, pilled them up and made a line, and randomly had them spread out around the field.

I took inspiration from Tierra (2013) by artist Regina JoseGalindo. In Tierra, (the artist stood) in a field as a bulldozer dug out around here leaving less and less space. Having balloons staked around me, made me feel claustrophobic and I felt all this pressure around me. That is where I came up with the idea that all these balloons and their different colors represented the different pressures of my life … which is represented by the balloons surrounding (my sister) Kylee and only leaving her boots left.”

View more on the Outdoor Sculpture 2020 Online Gallery.


Students Earn Honorable Mention in 2020 Virtual Michigan Physiological Society Annual Conference

The first ever Michigan Physiological Society Virtual Conference just wrapped up! It was a great collection of speakers with impressive work. Several of our students and faculty participated, including two students from Dr. John J. Durocher’s research group that earned awards for their presentations!

Thomas Basala (Undergraduate Student, Biological Sciences) earned an honorable mention for his presentation: “Applied Human Physiology Fitness Trail Project: Benefits for Local Residents and Undergraduate Students.”

Aditi Vyas (PhD Student, Biological Sciences) also earned an honorable mention for her presentation: “Effects of 8-Week Active Mindfulness and Stress Management on Anxiety and Mental Health During the Covid-19 Pandemic.”

Congratulations, Thomas and Aditi!

Zoom meeting screenshot of participants.

Thomas Basala research poster

Aditi Vyas research poster

Call for Applications: Songer Research Award for Human Health Research 2020-21

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 third 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. Awarded in the Spring of 2020, the Songers’ 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. The research will be conducted over the Summer of 2020 and/or the following academic year.

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 p.m. Monday, March 30. Applications may be emailed to djhemmer@mtu.edu.


6th Annual Michigan Physiological Society Meeting

Ten graduate students, seven undergraduate students, four faculty members, and two recent alumni from Michigan Tech recently participated in the 6th annual Michigan Physiological Society Meeting held on the campus of Central Michigan University on June 27-28.

John Durocher (BIO) served as the president of the society and Ian Greenlund (KIP) served as the trainee committee chair. Four MTU graduate students completed oral presentations, with Jeremy Bigalke (KIP) winning one of the top oral presentation awards.

Another thirteen MTU students were active in poster presentations, with Sarah LewAllen (BIO) winning one of the top poster presentation awards. Finally, two graduate students served as moderators for oral presentations.
In conjunction with the annual meeting, the 3rd annual Michigan Physiology Quiz competition was held. Michigan Tech competed against six other teams from around the state. Team members included Jana Hendrickson (KIP), Sarah LewAllen (BIO), Jill Poliskey (BIO), and Colleen Toorongian (KIP).

The Michigan Tech team was very competitive through four rounds but missed making the final round between the top three teams by a single question. All team members did a great job with the intense questions.

Michigan Tech was one of only three universities from around the state to achieve Diamond-Level Sponsorship! This was possible thanks to the College of Sciences and Arts, Michigan Tech Graduate School, Department of Biomedical Engineering, Department of Kinesiology and Integrative Physiology, and Department of Biological Sciences. Additional faculty and staff members from Michigan Tech also made individual awards that contributed to the cash prizes for the quiz competition, oral presentations, and poster presentations.


MLS Program Passes NAACLS Accreditation Site Visit

MLS Faculty & Staff: Kelsey Johnson (MLS Clinical Practicum Coordinator), Karyn Fay (MLS Program Director), Brigitte Morin (Lecturer)
Pictured Left to Right: Kelsey Johnson (MLS Clinical Practicum Coordinator), Karyn Fay (MLS Program Director), and Brigitte Morin (Lecturer)

The Medical Laboratory Science (MLS) program recently had a Site Visit by the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Science (NAACLS). On April 9-10, three reviewers from NAACLS were on campus intensely evaluating curricula, laboratories and outcome measures and talking to University administrators, current students, recent graduates, clinical affiliates and the MLS advisory board. They were especially interested in evaluating the support the administration has shown to accredit the MLS program at Michigan Tech.

The accreditation procedure has been a four-year process, starting in 2014. It began with a preliminary study, a self-study and finally a successful site visit. The MLS program passed without deficiencies, which is unheard of for a first-time program accreditation.

The final step is the NAACLS Executive Board meeting in September, upon which the accreditation will be conferred. This accreditation will allow the MLS program to grow, send more students to clinical sites, and help alleviate the critical need for medical laboratory scientists not only locally, but across the country.

NAACLS logo


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.

 


Tumban lab MiCup poster presentation

 

Ebenezer Tumban portriat
Ebenezer Tumban

Kambrie Boomgaard (Grand Rapids Community College) will be presenting a poster based on research in Dr. Ebenezer Tumban’s research lab.

Her title and abstract are:

Assessing the Solubility of Recombinant Bacteriophage  L2 Coat Proteins in Two Bacterial Strains

Kambrie Boomgaard1,, Lukai Zhai2, Ebenezer Tumban2

 

1Grand Rapids Community College,  2Department of Biological Sciences, Michigan Technological University

Abstract:

Currently, there are about 19 human papillomavirus (HPV) types that can cause cervical, penile, and anal cancers. A Second-generation HPV vaccine (Gardasil-9) has been approved to protect against more HPV types. However, the vaccine is going to protect against HPV types that cause only 86-90% of HPV-associated cervical and penile cancers. Complete protection from all HPV-associated cancers requires the addition of HPV L1 capsid from all cancer-causing HPVs. As an alternative approach to L1, we targeted conserved epitopes on L2 capsid protein to elicit broad protection against more HPV types. We developed bacteriophage (phage) MS2 and AP205 virus-like particles (VLPs) displaying a conserved L2 epitope and consensus epitopes from the L2 of all cancer-causing HPV types. Although some of the L2-phage coat proteins assembled efficiently into VLPs, the assembly of other L2-phage coat proteins were sub-optimal. The main goal of this research was to assess if the solubility and assembly of the sub-optimal L2-phage coat proteins could be enhanced by expressing the proteins in two different bacterial strains and at different temperatures. Our preliminary results show that AP205 displaying L2 is expressed and is soluble in Origami cells induced at 37 °C.

MiCUP Poster Presentation

by Center for Diversity and Inclusion

Join the Center for Diversity and Inclusion from 3 to 5 p.m. Thursday June 16, in MUB Ballroom A where students from Delta College, Grand Rapids Community College and Wayne County Community College who have been participating theMiCUP Residential Summer Research Program will present posters.

Join in a celebration of their accomplishments. This event is free and open to the public. Refreshments will be served.

For more information email Kellie Raffaelli.

VanAcker awarded National Student Honor Award from ASCP

VanAckerBrent VanAcker, a senior in the Medical Laboratory Science Program, was recently awarded an American Society of Clinical Pathology (ASCP) National Student Honor Award (NSHA). This award is based on academic achievement, leadership ability, community activities, professional goals, and endorsements from faculty and community leaders. Brent will be graduating at the end of this semester and then will be going to Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN to complete a Clinical Practicum in Medical Laboratory Science. Our congratulations to Brent for earning this prestigious award!

 

Submitted by:
Karyn Fay  MS MT(ASCP)SH
Director: Medical Lab Science Program
Michigan Tech University

 


Fay winner of distinguished teaching award

FayOriginally published in Tech Today

Choi, Fay Receive Distinguished Teaching Awards

Chang Kyong Choi (ME-EM) and Karyn Fay (Bio Sci), have been named winners of the 2016 Distinguished Teaching Awards.

Choi, affectionately known as “CK”, won in the Associate Professor/Professor category, while Fay, a professor of practice, received the award in the Assistant Professor/Lecturer/Professor of Practice category.

Choi received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Mechanical Engineering from Chung-ang University in Seoul, Korea and earned a PhD from the University of Tennessee-Knoxville.

He emphasizes a personalized learning connection with each of his students, achieved through active individual meetings while valuing what he calls the “unique ideas, experiences, strengths and attitudes” each student brings to the classroom. Read Choi’s full story.

Fay, a native of Manistique, received a BS in Medical Technology from Lake Superior State College (now Lake Superior State University). She worked in medical labs throughout the country, returning to the Upper Peninsula to earn a Master’s in Biological Sciences.

After serving as hematology superior at a local hospital, she came to Michigan Tech initially as an adjunct faculty member in 2002, eventually turning to teaching full time. Read Fay’s full story.

Fay and Choi will each receive a $2,500 monetary award and a plaque at an awards dinner sponsored by University President Glenn Mroz in the fall.