Shekhar Joshi Named Interim Chair

Shekhar Joshi
Shekhar Joshi

Professor Chandrashekhar Joshi has been appointed as the interim chair of the Department of Biological Sciences for the 2012-13 academic year, while the department conducts a search for a new chair.

According to Bruce Seely, dean of the College of Sciences and Arts, the college and the department are “borrowing” Joshi from the School of Forest Resources and Environmental Science for the year to insure that the department continues the progress made over the past three years in revitalizing its program of graduate education and research.

“Shekhar is perfectly positioned for this responsibility,” Seely said. “He is a molecular biologist so he’s already a member of the diverse profession of biological scientists. The courses he regularly teaches clearly show the connection between his work and that of the department–molecular genetics, genomics and bioinformatics.” Joshi’s research interests include bioenergy and cellulose biosynthesis in trees.

Seely said that Joshi has been “extraordinarily successful” in securing external funding to support his scholarship and research, as well as that of his graduate students.

Joshi received Michigan Tech’s Research Award in 2011, was the director of the Biotechnology Research Center (BRC) and routinely offered a course on grant writing for graduate students from across the campus.

“Shekhar has been a marvelous ambassador for interdisciplinary activities,” said Seely, noting that Joshi played a key role in the “Wood to Wheels” program; establishing the transatlantic MS in Forest Resources; providing various summer programs for high school science teachers; and setting up a multi-year collaboration with bioenergy faculty at Chonnam National University in Gwangju, South Korea.

“We’re excited to have Shekhar join us in the role as department chair in biological sciences,” Seely said. “He is a perfect role model and mentor for the numerous faculty hired in the department over the past several years. He exemplifies the college’s desire for chairs who lead by example, demonstrating excellence in teaching, scholarship and professional and institutional service.”

At the same time, Seely added, “Shekhar will fulfill the demanding role of department chair–mediating between faculty and staff and the administration.”

Outstanding Young Alumni

The Outstanding Young Alumni Award is presented each year by the Alumni Association to alumni under the age of 35 who have distinguished themselves in their careers. The award recognizes the achievement of a position or some distinction noteworthy for one so recently graduated. The following Biological Sciences alumni have previously received the Outstanding Young Alumni Award:

  • James L. Voogt (1966)
  • James D. Brodeur (1968)
  • Jeffrey M. Jentzen (1975)
  • Douglas G. Harris (1986)
  • Darla I. Olson (1993)

SURFing at Tech

Felicia Nip, a third-year biochemistry and molecular biology major at Michigan Technological University, is immersed in the world of fruit flies this summer. Through a Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF) and with mentor Thomas Werner, assistant professor of genetics and developmental biology, Nip explores how certain fruit fly strains evolved resistance to deadly mushroom toxins. Read More here.

Bioathlon 2012 Results

Contact: Jeff Lewin, (906) 487-3435

The twenty-third annual Department of Biological Sciences Bioathlon for high school biology students was held on Wednesday, May 2, 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 area youth. Teams from 16 Upper Peninsula Michigan high schools participated. The three top scores go to these schools.


Dean’s List 2012

Please join me in congratulating our Biological Sciences majors (13) and one Biochemistry and Molecular Biology major who were recently honored on the Dean’s list. It is gratifying to have almost one-half of the Dean’s List represented from Biological Sciences. Everyone in the Department, including Staff, Faculty, Grad and Undergraduate Students, should be proud of this accomplishment.

K.M. Gibson, PhD, FACMG
Professor and Chair
Department of Biological Sciences
Michigan Technological University

Student Featured in “A permaculture lesson”

Robert Richard, a student in biological sciences, was teaching the class as part of a project for his botany class at Michigan Tech and the timing couldn’t have been more appropriate with students celebrating Earth Day/Week activities. The chosen topic was permaculture – ecological design system for sustainability in all aspects of human endeavor.

Students Earn Awards for their Research

Biological Sciences was well presented in recent research forums, presentation sessions and poster sessions.

Ecosystem Science Center and Biotechnology Research Center

At the eighth annual Ecosystem Science Center and Biotechnology Research Center ESC/BRC Student Research Forum, held March 30, for the graduate students, four Grand Prize Awards and six Merit Awards were presented. They were selected from among 59 posters and abstracts submitted by graduate students conducting research related to ecology, the environment and biotechnology. Each center also awarded a Grand Prize to an undergraduate researcher in a separate division of 17 undergraduate submissions. Posters will be on display in the atrium of the Forestry building through Friday, April 13 See the complete article