Green Takes Part in Global Environmental Outlook

Sarah Green (Chem) has been in Nairobi, Kenya for the launch of the Sixth Global Environmental Outlook (GEO-6) at the United Nations Environmental Assembly (UNEA).

The GEO report assesses the state and trends of the environment, as well as examining the policies meant to improve it. Green has served as co-chair of the Scientific Advisory Panel for the report since its early planning meetings in 2015.
The 744-page GEO report identifies the key drivers of environmental degradation around the world in the context of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and other international agreements. It calls for integrated social, economic, and environmental policy actions to address critical issues such as air pollution, biodiversity loss, ocean health, climate change, and land degradation. Human health and well-being are intertwined with the health of the planet through the food, water, and natural systems we depend on.
The report guides governments, non-governmental organizations, and businesses in strategies to design successful policies. GEO also investigate pathways to environmentally sustainable development and synergies among the SDGs.
As co-chair of the Scientific Advisory Panel, Green, with co-chair Nicholas King (Cape Town, South Africa), guided the process of ensuring scientific integrity of GEO, including selection of authors, outline of topics, and the review process.
Since 2015 Green has attended meetings of authors and government representatives in Bangkok, Geneva, Cairo, Cancun, Guangzhou, Singapore and Nairobi. She hopes to communicate the findings of GEO to a wide audience.
Read more about Sarah Green’s contribution in the Michigan Tech News articular “Tech Chemist Reviews UN Report on the Environment

Call for Applications: Songer Research Award for Human Health Research

2018-19 Songer Award Recipients. Pictured Left to Right: Abby Sutherland, Billiane Kenyon, Jeremy Bigalke, Rupsa Basu, Matthew Songer, and Laura Songer.

Matthew Songer, (Biological Sciences ’79) and Laura Songer (Biological Sciences ’80) have generously donated funds to the College of Sciences and Arts (CSA) to support a research project competition for undergraduate and graduate students. Remembering their own eagerness to engage in research during their undergraduate years, the Songers established these awards to stimulate and encourage opportunities for original research by current Michigan Tech students. The College is extremely grateful for the Songers’ continuing interest in, and support of, Michigan Tech’s programs in human health and medicine. This is the second year of the competition.

Students may propose an innovative medically-oriented research project in any area of human health. The best projects will demonstrate the potential to have broad impact on improving human life. This research will be pursued in consultation with faculty members within the College of Sciences and Arts. In the Spring of 2019, the Songer’s gift will support one award for undergraduate research ($4,000) and a second award for graduate research ($6,000). Matching funds from the College may allow two additional awards.

Any Michigan Tech student interested in exploring a medically related question under the guidance of faculty in the College of Sciences and Arts may apply. Students majoring in any degree program in the college, including both traditional (i.e., biological sciences, kinesiology, chemistry) and nontraditional (i.e., physics, psychology, social science, bioethics, computer science, mathematics) programs related to human health may propose research projects connected to human health. Students are encouraged to propose original, stand-alone projects with expected durations of 6 – 12 months. The committee also encourages applications from CSA students who seek to continue research projects initiated through other campus mechanisms, such as the Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF) program, Pavlis Honors College activities or the Graduate Research Forum (GRF).

Funds from a Songer Award may be used to purchase or acquire research materials and equipment needed to perform the proposed research project. Access to and research time utilizing University core research facilities, including computing, may be supported. Requests to acquire a personal computer will be scrutinized and must be fully justified. Page charges for publications also may be covered with award funds, as will travel to appropriate academic meetings. This award may not be used for salary or compensation for the student or consulting faculty.

To apply:

  • Students should prepare a research project statement (up to five pages in length) that describes the background, methods to be used, and research objectives. The statement also should provide a detailed description of the experiments planned and expected outcomes. Students must indicate where they will carry out their project and attach a separate list of references/citations to relevant scientific literature.
  • The application package also should provide a concise title and brief summary (1 page) written for lay audiences.
  • A separate budget page should indicate how funds will be used.
  • A short letter from a consulting faculty member must verify that the student defined an original project and was the primary author of the proposal. The faculty member should also confirm her/his willingness to oversee the project. This faculty letter is not intended to serve as a recommendation on behalf of the student’s project.

Submit applications as a single PDF file to the Office of the College of Sciences and Arts by 4:00 p.m. Monday, April 22. Applications may be emailed to djhemmer@mtu.edu.

The selection committee will consist of Matthew Songer, Laura Songer, Shekhar Joshi (BioSci) and Megan Frost (KIP). The committee will review undergraduate and graduate proposals separately and will seek additional comments about the proposed research on an ad-hoc basis from reviewers familiar with the topic of the research proposal. Primary review criteria will be the originality and potential impact of the proposed study, as well as its feasibility and appropriateness for Michigan Tech’s facilities.

The committee expects to announce the recipients by early May of 2019. This one-time research award will be administered by the faculty advisor of the successful student investigator. Students will be expected to secure any necessary IRB approval before funds will be released. Funds must be expended by the end of spring semester 2020; extensions will not be granted. Recipients must submit a detailed report to the selection committee, including a description of results and an accounting of finds utilized, no later than June 30, 2020.

Any questions may be directed to Megan Frost (mcfrost@mtu.edu), David Hemmer (djhemmer@mtu.edu) or Shekhar Joshi (cpjoshi@mtu.edu).




Swept Away: Stream Gauges Essential to Storm Resilience

stream with wooden overhangStream gauges in the Keweenaw help us understand ecosystems and prepare our communities for flooding—but their existence is in jeopardy.

One of the most basic characteristics used to describe a stream is how much water it carries—the flow, or more accurately, discharge—which is measured in units of volume per time (typically cubic feet or cubic meters per second). Understanding how river discharge changes with time tells us important information about the stream, including how quickly something that is added to the river will be diluted and moved downstream. A river’s discharge rate also tells us how prone the river is to disturbances and what conditions the organisms that live there experience.

Understanding the river flow is also key for human communities. It allows planning for how quickly we can expect lakes and reservoirs to fill and how much water can be withdrawn for irrigation or drinking.

River flow also helps communities prepare for potential natural disasters, such as understanding how likely a river is to overflow its banks to cause a flood, and how to build culverts and bridges to withstand a flood like the one that Houghton experienced in June.

Read the full story on Unscripted.


Graduate School Announces Fall 2018 Award Recipients

We are happy to announce chemistry grad students Mingxi Fang and Xin Yan are among the winners for the Doctoral Finishing Fellowship Award. Congratulations!

Finishing Fellowships provide support to PhD candidates who are close to completing their degrees. These fellowships are available through the generosity of alumni and friends of the University. They are intended to recognize outstanding PhD candidates who are in need of financial support to finish their degrees and are also contributing to the attainment of goals outlined in The Michigan Tech Plan.




In Print

CC.inddResearch scientists Yibin Zhang and Yanbo Zeng, PhD students Shuai Xia, Mingxi Zhang and Wafa Mazi, undergraduate students Taylor Johnston and Adam Pap and faculty members Rudy Luck and Haiying Liu published a paper entitled “New Near-infrared Rhodamine Dyes with Large Stokes Shifts for Sensitive Sensing of Intracellular pH Changes and Fluctuations” in Chemical Communications.

This research is supported by the National Institute of General Medical Sciences of the National Institutes of Health under Award Number R15GM114751.