Author: ehgroth

Dr. Keat Ghee Ong Earns Research Excellence Award, Dr. Ryan Gilbert Earns Grant

Dr. Keat Ghee Ong earned a Research Exellence Award of $42,785 for “In Vivo Tracking of Human Body Fluid pH with a Wireless, Passive Sensor”

Dr. Ryan Gilbert earned a grant of $20,000 for “Mentoring Program to Analyze Biomaterial Release of Therapeutic Agents in Modulating Inflammation and Improving Regeneration within the Injured Spinal Cord”

Faculty and Students Participate in IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Conference

Faculty and students from the College of Engineering participated in the annual IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Conference Sept. 2-6 in Minneapolis.

Graduate student Sheng Hu and Professor Jindong Tan (ECE) presented a poster, “BioLogger: A Wireless Physiological Sensing and Logging System with Applications in Poultry Science.”

Professor Keat Ghee Ong (Biomedical Engineering) presented a talk, “Wireless, Magnetic-based Sensors for Biomedical Applications,” and he cochaired a session on “Magnetic Sensors.”

Graduate student Edwar Romero (MEEM) presented a poster, “The Use of Body Motion for Powering Biomedical Devices,” which was coauthored by Robert Warrington (IIS) and Michael Neuman (Biomedical Engineering).

Neuman also was a member of a panel of editors in a special session, and he gave a talk, “The Backbones of a Scientific Publication,” in a session designed for students attending the conference.

Benton Martin, Sherri Wiseman, and Rebecca Klank Earn 2nd Place

Benton Martin, Sherri Wiseman, and Rebecca Klank earned 2nd Place Award Undergraduate Research Presentation in the Michigan Tech Undergraduate Research competition.

2nd Place Award Undergraduate Research Presentation

Project Title: Development of Novel Agarose and Methylcellulose Hydrogel Blends for Nerve Regeneration  Applications

Department: Biomedical Engineering
Faculty Advisor: Dr. Ryan Gilbert, Biomedical Engineering
Student Researchers Benton Martin, Sherri Wiseman, Rebecca Klank
Trauma sustained to the central nervous system is a debilitating problem for thousands of people worldwide. Neuronal regeneration within central nervous system is hindered by several factors. Injury stimulates astrocytes to produce inhibitory extracellular matrix molecules which impede regeneration. Inhibitors within myelin, an irregular geometry, and the lack of scaffolding are other factors that constrain neuronal regeneration. Biocompatible hydrogels, injectable at room temperature, that rapidly gel at physiological temperatures (37˚C) are beneficial materials that could hold potential scaffolding materials within the injury site and slowly release beneficial therapeutics to improve regeneration outcomes. Our studies have shown that thermoreversible methylcellulose hydrogels can be combined with nerve growth supportive agarose to create hydrogel blends that accommodate these properties. Three separate novel hydrogel blends were created each using one of three different commercially available agaroses mixed with methylcellulose. Gelation time tests show that the blends gel at a faster rate than base methylcellulose at 37˚C, and culturing experiments show biocompatibility with dissociated dorsal root ganglia neurons. The different blends were further assessed using degradation tests, evaluating pore size characteristics using scanning electron microscopy, and injectability tests. This research demonstrates that blends of agarose and methylcellulose solidify much more quickly than plain methylcellulose, while solidifying at physiological temperatures that agarose cannot solidify at. Thus, these hydrogel blends merit further consideration as a component of a multi-faceted approach to promote nerve regeneration within the damaged spinal cord.

Jared Cregg and Sherri Wiseman Win Awards in Ecosystem Science Center/Biotechnology Research Center Research Forum

Two Grand Awards, five Merit Awards and two Honorable Mention Awards were presented.

Receiving the Grand Award from the Biotech Research Center was Jared Cregg (Biomedical Engineering) for “Anisotropic Microfibrous Scaffolds for Nerve Regeneration Applications.”

BRC Merit Awards were given to Lindsey Tuominen (SFRES) for “Investigating the Relationship Between Phenolic Glycoside Levels and Expression of Laccase, Phenolic Acyltransferase, and Cytochrome P450 Gene Families in Populus”; Sherri Wiseman (Biomedical Engineering), “Development of Novel Sol-Gel Glasses that Facilitate Neural Adhesion and Neurite Extension In Vitro”; and Christine Zawaski (SFRES), “Regulation of Woody Plant Development by Genes Involved in GA Signal Transduction.”

The Ecosystem Science Center Grand Award was given to Joseph Bump (SFRES) for “Wolves Configure Landscape Heterogeneity through Prey Carcass Distribution.”

The ESC Merit Awards were given to Clara Antón-Fernández (SFRES),”Correcting for Sampling Error in Individual Tree Mortality Models” and Stacie Holmes (SFRES), “Death and Taxus: Survival and Growth of Canada Yew (Taxus canadensis) Cuttings Four Years Post-planting.” Honorable Mention Awards were given to Chris Miller (SFRES), “Wood to Wire from Forest Resources in the Upper Midwest,” and to Timothy Wilson (Biological Sciences), “Re-establishment of Lake Sturgeon in the Ontonagon River, Michigan, Using Streamside Rearing.”

They were selected from among the 30 posters and abstracts submitted by graduate students conducting research related to ecology, the environment and biotechnology at Michigan Tech.

New Faculty Members Featured

• Keat Ghee Ong comes to Michigan Tech from the KMG2 Sensors Corporation.
• Ryan Gilbert comes to Michigan Tech from the Georgia Institute of Technology.
• Rupak M. Rajachar comes to Michigan Tech from the University of Washington, Seattle.


Keat Ghee Ong joins the faculty of the Department of Biomedical Engineering as an assistant professor. He comes to Michigan Tech from the KMG2 Sensors Corporation.

Ong holds a PhD, an MSE and a BSE in Electrical Engineering from the University of Kentucky. He also taught Circuit Analysis with Applications as a co-instructor for the University of Kentucky.

He has published numerous papers in journals such as the Journal of Nanoscience and Nanotechnology, Sensor Letters, Sensors and Actuators, IEEE Transactions, and Magnets and Sensors. Ong has also published book chapters in Advanced Magnetic Materials and Encyclopedia of Nanoscience and Nanotechnology. Ong holds patents for “Technique and electronic circuitry for quantifying a transient signal using threshold-crossing counting to track signal amplitude,” “Network of sensor nodes assemblies and method for remote sensing within liquid environments” and “Temperature, stress and corrosive sensing apparatus utilizing harmonic response of magnetically soft sensor element(s).”

He has received several funded contracts from the National Institute of Health and the National Science Foundation, such as a $750,000 contract for “Magnetoelastic Sensors for Biomedical Monitoring” from NIH and $100,000 for “Wireless, Embedded Sensors for Long-term Monitoring in Concrete Structures” from NSF. Ong has been a member of Tau Beta Pi and Eta Kappa Nu since 1995 and is a recipient of the Kentucky Research Challenge Trust Fund Fellowship.

Ong worked for the KMG2 Sensor Corporation in State College, Pa., as a chief scientist for four years. He was also employed at Pennsylvania State University as a postdoctoral researcher and at the University of Kentucky as a postdoctoral researcher and research engineer assistant.


Ryan Gilbert joins the faculty of the Department of Biomedical Engineering as an assistant professor. He comes to Michigan Tech from the Georgia Institute of Technology.

Gilbert holds a PhD in Biomedical Engineering from Case Western Reserve University/Georgia Institute of Technology, a BSE in Chemical Engineering from the University of Michigan. He is also pursuing a PhD.

His research interests include how central nervous system injury changes the chondroitin sulfate glycosaminoglycan character of chondroitin sulfate proteoglycans, analysis of cell-cycle arresting agents and their effect on altering apoptotic pathways in hybridoma cell lines and determining how often drivers sustained facial, periorbital and ocular injuries from deploying airbags.

Gilbert has assisted in the teaching of biomolecular engineering. He has published papers in journals such as Molecular and Cellular Neuroscience, the Society for Automotive Engineers and the Journal of Rehabilitation Research.


Rupak M. Rajachar joins the faculty the Department of Biomedical Engineering as an assistant professor. He comes to Michigan Tech from the University of Washington, Seattle.

Rajachar holds a PhD and an MSE in Biomedical Engineering and a BSE in Materials Science and Engineering from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. He also earned a fellowship in vascular biology from the University of Washington, Seattle.

He has lectured in the areas of biomaterials and been a mentor for seniors in bioengineering and undergraduates in research programs. Rajachar has published numerous works in journals, such as Bone, Calcified Tissue International and Analytical Chemistry.

Rajachar has received grants toward his research into “Effects of Age and Exercise on Microdamage and Composition of Bone” and “Dynamic Spectroscopic Imaging in Bone Biomechanics.” Rajachar has also received the Howard Hughes Medical Institute Future Faculty Teaching Apprenticeship, the Cardiovascular Training Grant Senior Fellowship, the Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship, the NIDCR Biomaterials Training Grant and the Gordon Research Conference on Biomineralization Travel Award.

He has worked as a senior fellow in the field of bioengineering at the University of Washington, a research assistant in the fields of biomedical engineering and materials science and engineering at the University of Michigan and as a research assistant in the field of physiology for the University of Michigan Medical School.