Biological Sciences 50 year anniversary

Many of our alums may not remember, but the Department of Biological Sciences began at MTU in 1962, meaning that 2012 is our official 50 year anniversary. Several Emeriti and Current Faculty (Dr. James Spain, Dr. Robert Keen, Dr. Thomas Snyder, and others) are putting together a brief history of the Department, where it was, has been, and is currently going. We (myself, Patty Asselin, Jeff Lewin, Emily Betterly and Alice Soldan, among others) are working on festivities to celebrate the 50th anniversary at the Alumni Gathering scheduled for August 2-4, 2012. We’ve already developed several activities that we hope will be of interest to alums from Biological Sciences for those dates. Please stay-tuned, more information will be coming out later, with individual mailings and the Spring 2012 newsletter.


Turning off Small RNA: Michigan Tech Scientist Designs a New Tool for Breaking the Epigenetic Code

For the last dozen years, scientists have known that minuscule strings of genetic material called small RNA are critically important to our genetic makeup. But finding out what they do hasn’t been easy. Now a scientist from Michigan Technological University and his team have developed a way to turn off small RNAs and find out just how important they can be.


Patullo Visiting Executive Series Continues with Healthcare Advertising Alumnus

by Jennifer Donovan, director, public relations

Randall (Randy) Isaacson took a BS in Biological Sciences (’86) and an MS in Rhetoric and Technical Communications (’88) from Michigan Tech and turned them into a successful health care marketing and advertising career. On March 1 and 2, he will return to campus as the third speaker in the Scott Patullo Visiting Executive Series, to share his experiences with current students and the University community.

Isaacson will talk about “The Biology of Business: Making Your Way in a World of Systems, Relationships and Emotions” from 6 to 7:30 p.m., Thursday, March 1, in Memorial Union Ballroom A. Hosted by the College of Sciences and Arts, the presentation is open to the public.

While at Michigan Tech, Isaacson will meet with biological sciences, humanities and School of Business and Economics undergraduates, graduate students and faculty, as well as engineering and Enterprise students.

Isaacson began his career as a medical copywriter at Roche Pharmaceuticals in New Jersey, and later joined VICOM/FCB, a medical advertising agency in New York. After moving to Chicago in 1990, he worked as a copy supervisor at Frank J. Corbett before joining a new agency, Williams-Labadie, where he now is executive vice president.

Isaacson and his team have won numerous awards in health care advertising, including recognition from Medical Marketing and Media for creating the best pharmaceutical advertisement in 2003 and the best professional digital campaign in 2007. He credits his multidisciplinary background in biology and technical communication at Michigan Tech with preparing him for a very successful career in health care marketing and advertising.

Last fall, Michigan Tech inaugurated the Patullo Visiting Executive Series, which is designed to let Tech students interact with alumni who are emerging business leaders and executives in science, technology and business. Scott Patullo ’81 is funding the campus visits in the hope that students here can gain a strengthened sense of the nature of business and entrepreneurial leadership.


50th Anniversary

Many of our alums may not remember, but the Department of Biological Sciences began at MTU in 1962, meaning that 2012 is our official 50 year anniversary. Several Emeriti and Current Faculty (Dr. James Spain, Dr. Robert Keen, Dr. Thomas Snyder, and others) are putting together a brief history of the Department, where it was, has been, and is currently going. We (myself, Patty Asselin, Jeff Lewin, Emily Betterly and Alice Soldan, among others) are working on festivities to celebrate the 50th anniversary at the Alumni Gathering scheduled for August 2-4, 2012. We’ve already developed several activities that we hope will be of interest to alums from Biological Sciences for those dates. Please stay-tuned, more information will be coming out later, with individual mailings and the Spring 2012 newsletter.

Schedule for Alumni Weekend in celebration of Biological Sciences 50th Year Anniversary:

Friday Aug. 3 4:00-5:30 Biology Atrium CLS Social Wine, Beer, and light appetizers
Saturday Aug. 4 11:00-2:00 Houghton Waterfront/Beach Picnic and Agassiz boat rides, tour of Great Lakes Research Center. Final schedule TBA

Best wishes and regards.

Sincerely,

K. Michael Gibson, PhD
Professor and Chair


Finishing Fellowship Recipients Announced

The Graduate School is pleased to announce Finishing Fellowship recipients for the fall and spring semesters.

The fellowships provide support to PhD candidates who are close to completing their degrees; they are available through the generosity of alumni and friends of the University.

They are intended to recognize outstanding PhD candidates who are in need of financial support to finish their degrees and who are also contributing to the attainment of goals outlined in The Michigan Tech Plan.


New Faculty for 2011-12

Guiliang Tang
Guiliang Tang joins the faculty as associate professor. He comes to Michigan Tech from the University of Kentucky.

He holds a PhD in Plant Biochemistry from the Weizmann Institute of Sciences, an MS in Plant Breeding and a BS in Agronometry from Anhui Agricultural University.

Tang has been published in the International Journal of Data Mining and Bioinformatics, the American Journal of Pathology, Physiologia Plantarum and Plant Molecular Biology, among others. He is a member of the RNA Society and the American Society of Plant Biologists.

Purnima Bandyopadhyay
Purnima Bandyopadhyay joins the faculty as research assistant professor. She comes to Michigan Tech from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine. She holds a PhD in Molecular Parasitology from the University of Calcutta and has done postdoctoral work in bacterial pathogenesis at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine. Bandyopadhyay has been published in the Journal of Parasitology, the Journal of Bacteriology and the Journal of Protozoology Research, among others. She is a member of the American Society for Microbiology.

Erika Hersch-Green
Erika Hersch-Green joins the faculty as an assistant professor;She is from North Carolina State University, where she recently completed post-doctoral training. She will bring exceptional strengths in evolutionary, plant and quantitative biology to the Department.


The International Association for Great Lakes Research has honors Michigan Tech faculty members and students

The Chandler-Misener Award for the outstanding article published in the Journal of Great Lakes Research (JGLR) in 2010 was given to coauthors Professor W. Charles Kerfoot, PhD student Foad Yousef (Biological Sciences), Professor and Chair Sarah A. Green (Chemistry), former faculty member Judith W. Budd (GMES), and David J. Schwab and Henry A. Vanderploeg of NOAA.

Their paper, “Approaching Storm: Disappearing Winter Bloom in Lake Michigan,” documented the disappearance of a “doughnut” of phytoplankton in southern Lake Michigan associated with the proliferation of quagga mussels.

The award was presented to Kerfoot at the 54th International Conference on Great Lakes Research in Duluth, Minn. The Chandler-Misener Award acknowledges the most notable paper based on originality, contribution and presentation.

Cory McDonald, a PhD candidate in environmental engineering, received the JGLR/Elsevier Young Student Award. This award is given to “emerging young scientists with a JGLR article ranked in the top 10, as determined by the IAGLR Chandler-Misener Review Committee.” Recipients receive a complimentary one-year IAGLR membership and a $750 cash prize.