New Buoy For Lake Superior

The new buoy that was launched on Friday July 9 is the first of three coastal monitoring buoys that will be deployed by Michigan Tech in an effort to collect data on weather, surface and subsurface water temperature, wind speed and direction, wave height and air temperature in the Great Lakes.

Bridging the Gap Between Scientists and the Public

This Behind the Scenes article was provided to LiveScience in partnership with the National Science Foundation. Meagan Harless received a $3000 DeVlieg Foundation Fellowship for students pursuing masters or doctoral degree. Her doctorate research focuses on determining the impact of road salt and other chemical deicers on the health and distribution of local amphibian populations.

Summer: Time for Research

From Tech Alum Newsletter, June 20, 2011 Vol. 17, No. 22

Faith Lambert, a fifth-year biochemistry major from Dryden, Michigan, is researching a “metabolic disorder, phenylketonuria, one of the most common inherited genetic disorders that doesn’t allow patients to break down the essential amino acid phenylalanine” she says.

And phenylalanine can be harmful, I learned. Contained in foods with protein, if not broken down, it can severely damage the brain when levels in the body get too high in patients.

“We are treating a model of the disorder with competitive amino acids that will block phenylalanine from getting into the brain, but not cause toxic effects to the patient”, she says. “This is a completely new way of considering treatment for these patients.”

Phenylketonuria could be treated with a pill, but it won’t be cured, she says.

Lambert is working with Biology PhD student Kara Vogel and Professor and Chair of Biological Sciences Mike Gibson.

“Faith is applying a very novel dietary approach in the animal model that has real potential for clinical use in patients,” Gibson said. “The work Faith and Kara are carrying out will form the basis of a new NIH grant, and they make a great team working together.”

Vogel extolled Lambert’s virtues.

“Having reliable students with passion and dedication increases the pleasure and privilege of, and is the key to successful research,” she says. “Faith is the first student I have ever trained to work in science, and she will always be special to me.”

Lambert’s interest in biology is strong enough for her to pursue a teaching certificate and bring her knowledge to high school classrooms.

“Then, I’d like to go back to grad school, too.” she says.

2011 Bioathlon

The twenty-second annual Department of Biological Sciences Bioathlon for high school biology students was held on Wednesday, May 4, 2011 at Michigan Technological University.  Simultaneously, a workshop was held for the accompanying biology teachers.  The Bioathlon serves as a means to stimulate interest and problem-solving in biology among our youth.  Sixty four students from 18 high schools participated.

Biological Sciences Spring 2011 Faculty Retirement

Biological Sciences and the campus community joined at the Memorial Union Alumni Lounge in recognizing three members of the department who are retiring at the end of this semester, including Professor Eunice Carlson, Associate Professor Ronald Gratz and Associate Professor Robert Keen, who have logged a combined 108 years of teaching and research excellence at Michigan Tech.

Carlson received her doctorate in biology from Columbia University and has maintained an interest in microbial and environmental toxicology. Her tenure began as an assistant professor in 1970, moving to tenured associate professor in 1975 and full professor in 1985. Over the years, Carlson has taught immunology, toxicology, virology, mycology and a course in environmental toxicology and society. Carlson was awarded the Michigan Tech Research Award in August of 1985.

Two Tech Researchers Win Professional Opportunity Awards

From Tech Today, 2/8/11
by Jennifer Donovan, director of public relations

John Durocher, a research assistant professor and postdoctoral fellow in Exercise Science, and Huan Yang, a PhD candidate in Exercise Science through the Biological Sciences graduate program, have received the 2011 Caroline tum Suden/Frances Hellebrandt Professional Opportunity Awards from the American Physiological Society.

More than 140 graduate students and postdoctoral fellows throughout the US and beyond applied for the award this year. Only 38 awardees were selected, based on abstracts of their research.

“It is remarkable that both received this abstract-based award, and it is a credit to their hard work, dedication and high caliber of research,” said Dean Bruce Seely (CSA). “Most of the recipients are trainees at medical colleges throughout the US, making this even more remarkable.”

Durocher and Yang will be honored at the 2011 Experimental Biology conference in Washington, DC, this April.

New Biological Sciences Peace Corps Program

The Department of Biological Sciences is now offering Master’s Degrees which combine Peace Corps service with both thesis and report options. The new program will allow students to use their knowledge in Biology or Clinical Laboratory Sciences to serve overseas as laboratory technicians, secondary biology and science teachers and environmental educators