Category: Awards

Biomed Students Win Biotechnology Research Center Student Research Forum Awards

The Ecosystem Science Center and the Biotechnology Research Center announce award recipients of the Seventh Annual ESC/BRC Student Research Forum, held March 25.

For the graduate students, two Grand Prize Awards, six Merit Awards and two Honorable Mention Awards were presented. They were selected from among the 42 posters and abstracts submitted by graduate students conducting research related to ecology, the environment and biotechnology at Michigan Tech. New this year was a separate undergraduate research division with 9 submissions. For the undergraduate students, each center awarded a grand prize winner.

Posters will continue to be on display in the atrium of the Forestry building through April 8.

Graduate Research

$500 Grand Prizes

Biotechnology Research Center

Katherine Snyder (Biomedical Engineering) for “Development of a Novel Vapor Deposited Silica Sol Particles for Use as a Bioactive Materials System”, Advisor: Rupack Rajachar

Undergraduate Research

$150 Grand Prize Awards

Biotechnology Research Center

Hal Holmes (Biomedical Engineering) for “Magnetoelastic Materials as a Means to Control and Monitor Cellular Adhesion”, Advisor: Rupak Rajachar

• View the complete awards story

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Keat Ghee Ong Receives 3M Nontenured Faculty Award

Keat Ghee Ong, an assistant professor in the Department of Biomedical Engineering, has received 3M Nontenured Faculty Awards in 2009 and 2010 to support his research on wireless implantable sensor technologies. The award, which is nominated by 3M researchers working on research topics that are of interest to 3M, is currently sponsored by Jim Vanous of SEMS Electronics Applications group.

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Eli Vlaisavljevich, of Biomedical Engineering, One of Three Named as Goldwater Scholars at Michigan Tech

Story by Jennifer Donovan, director of public relations

A defenseman on Michigan Tech’s hockey team, Eli Vlaisavljevich has twice been named to the Western Collegiate Hockey Association Academic Team. He made the 4.0 GPA Dean’s List every semester and received the John MacInnes Slide Rule Award for scholastic achievement in 2008. He comes from Shoreview, Minn.

Vlaisavljevich has conducted research with Rupak Rajachar, an assistant professor of biomedical engineering, under a Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship. “He has been one of the many positive influences I have had at Michigan Tech,” Vlaisavljevich says of Rajachar. “He taught me a lot about his own research, the research field in general and the different opportunities that are available for my future.”

Vlaisavljevich was invited to give a platform research presentation at the 2008 Biomedical Engineering Society Conference. He has been accepted to present research at the 2009 Design of Medical Devices Conference this month and the ASME Bioengineering conference in June.

Academically, Michigan Tech is batting 1,000. All three of the University’s nominees for prestigious Goldwater Scholarships this year are winners of the 2009 awards.

John Mark Gubatan, Hansen Nordsiek and Eli Vlaisavljevich, all third-year students, were named Goldwater Scholars by the Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Foundation. Gubatan is a biochemistry and molecular biology major with a double minor in French and Spanish. Nordsiek is majoring in physics, and Vlaisavljevich is a biomedical engineering major.

Although Michigan Tech has produced a number of Goldwater Scholars in previous years, this is the first time the University has had more than one winner in any given year.

Goldwater scholarships–established by Congress to honor the late Senator Barry M. Goldwater–are based on academic merit, research experience and an intent to pursue a career in science, engineering or mathematics. Colleges and universities nominate students for the scholarships, which cover up to $7,500 in tuition and fees.

“The Goldwater is one of the more prestigious scholarships you can win as an undergraduate in science, engineering or math,” said Will Cantrell, associate professor of physics and Michigan Tech faculty representative for the program. “It is highly competitive.”

The Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Foundation received 1,079 nominations this year and awarded 278 scholarships. Other winners in Michigan include four students at the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor, four at Hope College and three at Michigan State University.

“Goldwater Scholars usually go on to do very well at getting NSF, NASA, DoE and other graduate fellowships,” Cantrell noted.

From Tech Today, April 9, 2009 “Three Tech Students Named Goldwater Scholars”

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BME Students Win Awards from Biotechnology Research Center

The Ecosystem Science Center and the Biotechnology Research Center have announced award recipients of the Fifth Annual ESC/BRC Graduate Research Forum, held on Feb. 27.

Two Grand Awards, six Merit Awards and three Honorable Mention Awards were presented.

$500 Grand Prizes

Biotechnology Research Center

Eric Minner (Biomedical Engineering) for “Hydrogel System Delivers Glutathione and Interleukin-10 to Mitigate Secondary Injury following Spinal Cord Damage”; advisor: Assistant Professor Ryan Gilbert

$100 Merit Prizes

Jared Cregg (Biomedical Engineering) for “The Role of Aligned Fiber Density in Axon Motility”; advisor: Assistant Professor Ryan Gilbert

Jill Jensen (Chemical Engineering) for “Selection for Improved Hybrid Poplar Via Dilute Acid and Enzymatic Hydrolysis Using Mini-Reactors”; advisor: Professor David Shonnard

Han Bing Wang (Biomedical/Chemical Engineering) for “Axonal Guidance Conduits Containing Aligned, Electrospun Poly-L-Lactic Acid Fibers Direct In Vitro Neurite Outgrowth”; advisors: Assistant Professor Ryan Gilbert (Biomedical Engineering) and Professor Michael Mullins (Chemical Engineering)

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Biomedical Engineering Students Win 1st Place, 3rd Place in University Undergraduate Research Expo

Undergraduate Research Opportunities (UROP)

Opportunities exist for undergraduate engineering students to work on independent research projects with Biomedical Engineering faculty. The opportunities vary dependant on funding and projects that are available. Some opportunities are listed below. Please contact the individual faculty member for more details about the project. If you don’t see a project that you are interested in, talk to the faculty member who most closely matches your interests. Projects may be available that are not on this web page, or new projects may be initiated based on student interest.

Undergraduate Expo 2008

1st Place Award Undergraduate Research Presentation

Release of Interleukin-10 from Agarose/Methylcellulose Blended Hydrogel for Spinal Cord Injury Applications

Department: Biomedical Engineering

Advisors: Dr. Ryan Gilbert, Biomedical Engineering

Sponsors: Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF)

Student Researchers: Rebecca Klank, Biomedical Engineering

Abstract

After initial spinal cord injury (SCI), a secondary, inflammatory injury response leads to further neuronal death. Thus, therapies are being developed to attenuate inflammation following SCI to spare neurons and improve regenerative outcomes. Interleukin-10 (IL-10) is a cytokine that modulates the inflammatory response. In this study, IL-10 was incorporated into a hydrogel blend consisting of agarose and methylcellulose and the release into solution was characterized.Bioactivity and release rate of the IL-10 was confirmed using an enzyme linked immunosorbent assay. IL-10 was released from the hydrogel over several days. These data suggest that IL-10 can be loaded into a hydrogel, and be delivered locally over a sustained period of time without altering the activity of the cytokine. Therefore, this hydrogel, loaded with IL-10, has potential to reduce inflammation over a sustained period of time and reduce secondary injury effects in the damaged spinal cord.


3rd Place Award Undergraduate Research Presentation

Anisotropic Micro-fibrous Scaffolds for Nerve Regeneration Applications

Department: Biomedical Engineering

Advisors: Dr. Ryan Gilbert, Department of Biomedical Engineering

Student Researchers: Jared Cregg, Sarah McIntyre, and Matthew Trombley, Biomedical Engineering; Han Bing Wang, Chemical Engineering

Abstract

Following spinal cord and peripheral nerve injury, regenerating axons encounter natural environments that are not suitable for growth. Systems that modify these environments to allow axonal regeneration are of interest for promoting functional recovery after injury. In this study, a novel material that incorporates physical and chemical guidance cues for directed axonal regeneration was developed by adsorbing a gradient of the neurostimulatory protein laminin-1 onto aligned micro-fiber scaffolds. Sensory neurons from chick embryo were isolated and cultured on scaffolds to evaluate material performance. We suggest that these scaffolds may act as a growth permissive substrate and provide axons with necessary guidance cues for regeneration following injury.


Novel Silica Phosphate Sol-Gel Glasses as a Model System to Study Cellular Response to Dynamic Mineralization

Department: Biomedical Engineering

Advisors: Dr. Rupak M Rajachar, Biomedical Engineering

Student Researchers: Samantha Jang-Stewart, Logan Janka, and Kyle Tourni, Biomedical Engineering

Abstract

Vascular calcification is highly correlated with cardiovascular disease mortality, especially in cases of end-stage renal disease and diabetes. Extensive studies have determined that pathological calcification is a highly regulated process. Developing synthetic biomaterials as instructive models of extra-cellular microenvironment can be a significant tool towards more physiologically relevant in vitro model systems. Therefore, the successful development of novel silica phosphate sol-gel glasses will aid our ability to address fundamental effects of dynamic processes on the regulation of pathological mineralization and ultimately to tailored cell instructive materials to control these processes.


Controlled Release of Glucosamine Affects Chondrocyte Activity in Vitro

Department: Biomedical Engineering

Advisors: Dr. Ryan Gilbert Biomedical Engineering

Student Researchers: Brandon Johnson, Biomedical Engineering

Abstract

Osteoarthritis (OA) is a disease which effects many millions of people in the U.S alone. OA is characterized by the degradation of articular cartilage in joints, leading to pain and in extreme cases physical impairment. A microgravity environment seen during forthcoming prolonged space travel missions can also create osteoarthritic conditions. Current treatments vary yet do not entirely eliminate the symptoms of this disease. Glucosamine is a commonly used treatment of OA however in its current form its effectiveness is limited. In this study a hydrogel, developed from a blend of agarose and methylcellulose, was loaded with glucosamine. We determined the effect of a controlled release of glucosamine on resident chondrocytes in vitro. Additionally, we categorized both the compressive modulus and release profile of the gel. The results of the study suggest that the investigated system may be an effective tissue engineering scaffold to house chondrocytes and release glucosamine to chondrocytes.


Novel silica phosphate sol-gel glasses as a model system to study cellular response to dynamic mineralization

Department: Biomedical Engineering

Advisors: Dr. Rupak M Rajachar, Biomedical Engineering

Student Researchers: Samantha Jang-Stewart, Logan Janka, and Kyle Tourni, Biomedical Engineering

Abstract

Vascular calcification is highly correlated with cardiovascular disease mortality, especially in cases of end-stage renal disease and diabetes. Extensive studies have determined that pathological calcification is a highly regulated process. Developing synthetic biomaterials as instructive models of extra-cellular microenvironment can be a significant tool towards more physiologically relevant in vitro model systems. Therefore, the successful development of novel silica phosphate sol-gel glasses will aid our ability to address fundamental effects of dynamic processes on the regulation of pathological mineralization and ultimately to tailored cell instructive materials to control these processes.


Characterization of Chitosan-coated Magnetoelastic Materials for Use in Percutaneous Implants

Department: Biomedical Engineering

Advisors: Dr. Rupak M Rajachar, Biomedical Engineering

Student Researchers: Logan Janka, Biomedical Engineering and Mechanical Engineering; and Natalie Hartman, Biomedical Engineering

Abstract

In this work, we are developing bioactively coated vibrational magnetoelastic (ME) materialsforuse as aremotely activated tunable coating .These coatings promote the inhibition of bacterial adhesion at the tissue-implant interface . ME sensors are currently used as an in situ method of measuring biological processes .This study developed an ME antimicrobial coating and characterized the response towards modulated sensor frequency-amplitude vibrational profiles . A thin film of chitosan, a natural polymer with antimicrobial properties, was produced using spin coating and quantified . Custom-built activation coils were constructed measuring resonant frequencies and amplitudes of coated and uncoated ME material . Based upon collected data, a representative curve was created modeling the changes in resonant frequency and amplitude . A threefold decrease in bacterial adhesion was shown in remotely vibrated ME materials versus control samples . Currently we are testing the effectiveness of these coatings at inhibiting the adhesion of multiple strains of bacteria.


Previous Projects

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Award Recipients Announced for Sixth Annual ESC/BRC Graduate Research Forum, Include Several from Biomedical Engineering

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.

$500 Grand Prizes

Ecosystem Science Center

Meagan L. Harless (Biological Sciences) for “Effects of Road Salt (NaCl Pollution on the Survival and Growth of Larval Wood Frogs (Lithobates sylvatica).” Her advisor is Casey Huckins.

Biotechnology Research Center

Eli Vlaisavljevich (Biomedical Engineering) for “Magnetoelastic Materials as Novel Bioactive Coatings for Control of Cell Adhesion to Prevent Implantable Biomaterial Associated Fibrous Overgrowth.” His advisor is Rupak Rajachar.

$100 Merit Awards

Ecosystem Science Center

Rita Koch (SFRES) for “Insect and Disease Response to Prescribed Burning and Wildfire in Pine Forests in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.” Her advisors is Linda Nagel and Andrew Storer.

Mickey Jarvi (SFRES) for “Temperature acclimation of fine roots to soil warming in a sugar maple dominated northern hardwood forest.” His advisor is Andrew Burton.

Kayla Griffith (SFRES) for “H2O18 as an Analyzer of Phragmites australis Invasion from Wet to Dry Sites” Her advisor is Catherine Tarasoff.

Biotechnology Research Center

Christopher Rivet (Biomedical Engineering) for “Development of a Composite Hydrogel Containing Electrospun Fibers for Spinal Cord Injury.” His advisor is Ryan Gilbert.

Jonathan Zuidema (Biomedical Engineering) for “Incorporation of Chitosan and Dextran into Hydrogel Blends Improves Neuronal Adhesion.” His advisor is Ryan Gilbert.

$50 Honorable Mention Awards

Ecosystem Science Center

Emmanuel Ebanyenle (SFRES) for “Impact of Shoot Borer (Hypsipyla robusta) on the Wood Anatomical Properties of Plantation Grown African Mahogany Species (Khaya ivorensis A. Chev.” His advisors are Andrew Burton and Andrew Storer.

Biotechnology Research Center

Yiru Chen (SFRES) for “Overexpression of auxin efflux carrier PIN9 gene alters secondary xylem development, gravitropic response and apical dominance in Populus.” Their advisor is Victor Busov.

Natalie Hartman (Biomedical Engineering) for “Vaporized Bioglass Polymer Composites for Interfacial Tissue Regeneration.” Her advisor is Rupak Rajachar.

Sarah Kiemle (Biological Sciences) for “Land Plant Polymer Homologs in Primitive Taxa of the Charophycean Green Algae, Chlorokybus atmophyticus and Klebsormidium flaccidum.” Her advisor is Michael Gretz.

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Eric J. Minner Wins First Place Tie, Third Place Award

Eric J. Minner, Biomedical Engineering won a first place tie in the Michigan Tech Graduate Student Council Colloquium and a third place award in the Poster Session in March 2008.

His presentation was: Hydrogel System Delivers Interleukin-10 and Glutathione to Mitigate Spinal Cord Injuries

In photo at left, Eric Minner (right) with Dr. Ryan Gilbert, Biomedical Engineering Department, advisor

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Biomed Engineering Undergraduate Named Goldwater Scholar

Sophomore Jared Cregg (Biomedical Engineering), of Eden Prairie, Minn., has been named a 2008 Goldwater Scholar. The scholarship provides $7,500 for tuition, fees, books and room and board.

Under the direction of Assistant Professor Ryan Gilbert (Biomedical Engineering), Cregg is conducting research on the development of novel, tissue-engineered peripheral nerve grafts. Currently, nerve material is harvested from other locations within the body to repair damaged peripheral nerve. Thus, developing synthetic replacements is necessary. Cregg has invented a polymer coating technique that allows for the construction of three-dimensional conduits that direct axonal outgrowth. He has presented his work at the fall 2007 Biomedical Engineering Society meeting.

“Being named a two-year Goldwater Scholar is a great honor; an honor that can be celebrated not only by me, but by my peers and faculty as well,” said Cregg. “It demonstrates Michigan Tech’s strong capacity for undergraduate research in science, math and engineering.”

“Jared entered my lab with no research experience. However, he worked very hard over the summer months to learn his research area. As a sophomore, he is conducting independent research at a graduate-student level,” said Gilbert. “Jared has shown that with some effort and hard work, amazing things can happen in the laboratory. He is an exceptional individual.”

The Goldwater scholarship is one of the most competitive awards an American undergraduate in science or engineering can receive. This year, 321 scholars were named from a field of 1,035 nominations. Only 52 of the scholars are majoring in engineering. The Goldwater Foundation is a federally endowed agency that honors the memory of Senator Barry M. Goldwater.

Cregg is also a member of Michigan Tech’s cross-country ski team and plays violin in the Keweenaw Symphony Orchestra.

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