Award Recipients Announced for Sixth Annual ESC/BRC Graduate Research Forum Include several from Biological Sciences

The Ecosystem Science Center and the Biotechnology Research Center have
announced award recipients of the Sixth Annual ESC/BRC Graduate Research
Forum, held on March 26. Two grand prize awards, five merit awards
and four honorable mention awards were presented.

The recipients were selected from among the 43 posters and abstracts submitted by students conducting research related to ecology, the environment and biotechnology at Michigan Tech.

Uhl Takes Carnival Queen Crown

Winter Carnival week was officially kicked off Saturday night, as Anna Uhl was crowned queen. The senior biological sciences major was sponsored by Sigma Phi Epsilon and Kukkakaupa, and her talent was “My Size Salsa Dancing Barbie.”

Second place went to Jessica Thoresen, whose talent was “Legends of Azeroth” jazz dance and sponsors were First Year Experience and Celebrations Bridal & Formal Wear. She is second-year biological sciences major.

Third place went to Brittany Wood, who was sponsored by the Women’s Soccer Club and Xpressions. For her talent, the second-year marketing and sports and fitness management major read “A Letter of Desperation: Dear Brett Favre.”

Uhl will preside over the Carnival activities, including the all-nighter Wednesday night and the ride on the Zamboni at this weekend’s hockey games.

Graduate Students Schwartz and Stream Garner National Research Awards

From Tech Today, 1/29/10

The American Physiological Society (APS) announced awardees for the 2010 Carolyn tum Suden/Francis A. Hellebrandt Professional Opportunity National Award, and two Michigan Tech graduate students were on that list. Christopher Schwartz (PhD candidate, biological sciences) and Sarah Stream (MS candidate, biological sciences) were two of 38 awardees announced this week. Over 140 graduate students and postdoctoral fellows throughout the US and beyond applied for the award.

Christopher and Sarah were not quite sure what to expect when they applied for this abstract-based award this past fall.

“I think in the back of our minds we were hopeful one of us would get recognized,” said Schwartz. “We were both somewhat surprised that each of us received the award. It is quite an honor.”

The two graduate students conduct research in the Integrative Physiology Laboratory under the advisement of Jason Carter, chair of the Exercise Science, Health and Physical Education department. Schwartz’s research aims to determine the neurovascular responses to mental stress in normotensive and prehypertensive humans. Stream’s research focuses on the influence of acute alcohol consumption on neural control of blood pressure and orthstatic stability in healthy humans.

“It is remarkable that both Christopher and Sarah received this award,” said Carter. “This is a prestigious, well-recognized research award in the field of physiology. They were competing with graduate students and postdocs from some of the top universities and medical schools in our country. This award is a testament to their hard work, dedication and high caliber of research.”

Christopher and Sarah will be honored during the 2010 Experimental Biology conference in Anaheim, CA, this April. A full listing of all 38 awardees is available at the APS website.

Mike Gibson

Chair Mike Gibson had two citations in the month of October. The first publication was “4-Hydroxybutyric aciduria associated with catheter usage: A diagnostic pitfall in the identification of SSADH deficiency.” He coauthored the publication with five colleagues. The paper dealt with diagnostic pitfalls in a rare disease that Gibson’s lab has studied for almost 30 years and was published in “Mol Genet Metab,” Oct. 7.

Gibson coauthored a second paper, “Succinic Semialdehyde Dehydrogenase (SSADH): Biochemical-Molecular-Clinical Disease Mechanisms, Redox Regulation and Functional Significance,” with six colleagues, in “Antioxidants and Redox Signaling,” which is considered the premier journal in the field of oxidative stress and damage in mammalian biological systems. The paper was published Oct. 25.

New Faculty Join Biological Sciences

Research Assistant Professor Elizabeth Hager
Elizabeth Hager earned a PhD in microbiology/immunology from the University of Colorado in 1997. She has a master’s in immunology and a bachelor’s in microbiology from North Carolina State University.

Previously, she was a research assistant professor at the University of Pittsburgh.

Her research includes genetics and disease.

Her work has been published in the American Journal of Veterinary Research; the Journal of Immunology; the Journal of Molecular Microbiology; the Journal of Bacteriology; the Journal of NeuroVirology; the Journal of Inherited Metabolic Disease; the New England Journal of Medicine.

Transplanted Liver Cells Hold Hope for Treating Inherited Diseases

Mike Gibson, chair of the Department of Biological Sciences at Michigan Technological University, has spent most of his professional life trying to better understand genetic metabolic disorders that arise in children. With that knowledge, he is working to develop treatments in mice–including liver-cell transplants–that could one day be used to treat a variety of liver-based illnesses in people.