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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.


The team winning FIRST PLACE was West Iron High School, from Iron River, Mi:
Team members:
Instructor: Joel Van Lanen
Aren Newby
Megan Eagloski
Madeline Waara
Sydney Wojdula

The team winning SECOND PLACE was Hancock High School from Hancock, Mi:
Team members:
Instructor: Kristin Schourek
Laura Berg
Jacob Jarvis
William Lucier
Drew Stockero

The team winning the other SECOND PLACE was Ironwood High School from Ironwood MI:
Team members:
Instructor: Paul Mattson
Katie Piispanen
Neva Bentley
Robert Burchell
Jared Joki

Each team was composed of four students who have not had formal class work in biology beyond the traditional sophomore high school general biology course. All teams tackled the same four problems:

  1. Dissection – designed by John Durocher, Ph.D. – MEEM 1101.
  2. Molecular Biology – designed by Stephanie Groves, Ph.D, Dow 710
  3. Field Identification – designed by Ashley Coble, Ph.D, CandidateNorth end, Tech Trails, off Cemetery Road
  4. Clinical Lab Science – designed by undergraduates, Kelly Roxbury, Brianna Schneider, Ana Vuk, Claire Meneguzzo-MEEM 1103

Through these exercises, students must demonstrate organizational skills, knowledge of facts and concepts, laboratory skills and creativity.

Each member of the first-place team will receive a $200 U.S. Savings Bond; the second-place team will receive a $100 U.S. Savings Bond; and the third-place team will receive a $50 U.S. Savings Bond. A plaque was awarded to the first-, second- and third-place teams. Each student participating in the competition also received a certificate of participation and a Bioathlon T-shirt.

The teacher activities included:
Dr. Thomas Werner, Assistant Professor of Biological Sciences, “Evolution of color pattern”

Stacy Cotey, Academic Advisor of Biological Sciences “Biomimicry, Nature as Inspiration”

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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

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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

$500 Grand Prize Winner from Biotechnology Research Center Annual Research Forum, Kefeng Li (Biological Sciences) “Multiple Metal Resistant Bacteria from Metal Contaminated Lake Sediments Promote Metal Accumulation and Plant Growth” His Advisor: Ramakrishna Wusirika;

$500 Grand Prize Winner from Ecosystem Science Center Annual Research Forum was Jonathan Ebel (Biological Sciences) for “Biofilm Response to Nutrient Mitigation Using Salmon Carcass Analog in Central Idaho Streams.” Advisor: Assistant Professor Amy Marcarelli.

$100 Merit Award from Biotechnology Research Center Annual Research Forum: Rafi Shaik (Biological Sciences) “Epigenetic and microRNA mediated regulation of drought responsive genes in rice” His Advisor: Ramakrishna Wusirika; More details can be seen at Biotechnology Research Center

Center for Water & Society World Water Day

From the Center for Water & Society World Water Day, Second Place Award of $150 for Original Research to Aparupa Sengupta, Her Advisors: Rupali Datta & Sue Bagley, for the presentation: “Degradation of antibiotics in wastewater using tetracycline resistant microbes recovered from an invitro hydroponic phytoremediation system”

The 3rd place World Water Day awards were a tie among Biological Sciences researchers, 3rd place to Jonathen Ebel ($100), his Advisor: Amy Marcarelli, for the research: “Biofilm Response to Nutrient Mitigation Using Salmon Carcass Analog in Central Idaho Streams”  and also, Ashley Coble ($100), her Advisor: Amy Marcarelli, for the project: “Nutrient spiraling and export responses to seasonal changes in a 1st-order tributary of Lake Superior”

The Center for Water & Society World Water Day First Place Award of $250, Coursework and Informational category award went to a class group, BL4465 Biological Oceanography: Josh Papacek, Abby Raguse, Bethany Blease, Alicia Doyle, Mike Kraft, Taylor Luginbill, Danielle Scott, Jade Woiderski, and Melanie Lemerande with their Advisor: Nancy Auer on the topic “Human Noise Pollution and its Impact on Marine Life”

Pictures and links to the posters and some video clips can be found at Center for Water & Society World Water Day Results

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Michigan Tech celebrates World Water Day

Michigan Tech celebrated World Water Day on Thursday, March 22, with a poster session, a guest lecture and a reception.

Lana Pollack, U.S. delegate  of the International Joint Commission delivered the World Water Day Lecture: “Critical Issues for the Great Lakes.” The program is Co-sponsored by CWS and the Visiting Women & Minority Lecture Series. Lana Pollack, chair of the US Section of the International Joint Commission, discussed threats to the health of the Great Lakes and how research data-based policy-making can protect these unique natural resources. The International Joint Commission is an independent, binational organization that works to prevent and resolve boundary waters disputes for the common good of the US and Canada. Lana Pollack – bio

Poster Session

Before the lecture, the Michigan Tech Center for Water and Society (CWS) sponsored a graduate poster session and competition to highlight the ongoing interdisciplinary research on water at Michigan Tech, looking toward the opening of the Great Lakes Research Center this summer. The poster session was held in the front atrium of the Dow Building. Cash prizes were awarded in 2 Poster categories:
Original Research (presentation of thesis or project research)
Coursework/Informational (presentation of coursework or literature based research)

View the Photos of the Posters and Presenters on World Water Day at Michigan Tech Report

Award Winning Posters

The Department of Biological Sciences won several of the awards in the Michigan Tech Center for Water and Society (CWS) presentation and poster session competition.

First Place Award Coursework/Informational;

BL4465 Biological Oceanography: Josh Papacek, Abby Raguse, Bethany Blease, Alicia Doyle, Mike Kraft, Taylor Luginbill, Danielle Scott, Jade Woiderski, and Melanie Lemerande; Advisor: Nancy Auer; “Human Noise Pollution and its Impact on Marine Life”

Second Place Award Original Research;

Aparupa Sengupta; Advisor: Rupali Datta & Sue Bagley; “Degradation of antibiotics in wastewater using tetracycline resistant microbes recovered from an invitro hydroponic phytoremediation system”

Third Place Award Original Research (Tie):

Jonathon Ebel, Advisor: Amy Marcarelli; “Biofilm Response to Nutrient Mitigation Using Salmon Carcass Analog in Central Idaho Streams:

Third Place Award Original Research (Tie):

Ashley A. Coble, Advisor: Amy Marcarelli “Nutrient spiraling and export responses to seasonal changes in a 1st-order tributary of Lake Superior”

Several Bio Sci students participated, More Photos of the Posters and Presenters on World Water Day at Michigan Tech are here.

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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.

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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.

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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

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