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Yogesh Kumar Ahlawat
I started my PhD at Michigan Tech in Spring 2015. My research focuses on genetic alteration in phenypropanoid pathways for an increased saccharification. As a part of my PhD dissertation, I manipulated certain phenyloxidases like laccases and peroxidases along with some transcription factors with the help a utility promoter using Poplar as my model plant. Cell wall provides the integrity, structural support and act as food reserves and constitutes cellulose, lignin and hemicellulose. Lignin imposes recalcitrance in the plant cell wall thereby hindering the release of sugar for biofuels. I produced about 200 genetically modified plants with alterated lignin and hence further investigated them for their wood and biochemical properties.
I am honored to receive the Doctoral Finishing Fellowship. Thanks to the support from the Graduate School for enabling this opportunity. In August 2014, I came to Houghton as a Ph.D. student in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Michigan Tech after I obtained my Master degree in Urban Planning from Renmin University of China. At Michigan Tech, my primal research focus is to apply optimization, control theory, and data-driven methods to investigate dynamic transportation modeling of connected and automated vehicles, as well as interdependence between transportation network and power grid systems.
I am so grateful that I have the opportunity to work with my advisor, Dr. Kuilin Zhang in the emerging area of connected, automated, and electric vehicles in smart cities. His leadership and high standard of excellence has helped me grow into my potential. I also would like to give my special thanks to my dissertation committee members, other faculty and students in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Michigan Tech for their big support throughout my journey of Ph.D. studies.
I joined Dr. Haiying Liu’s group at Michigan Tech in spring, 2014. This is my 5th year as a PhD student in chemistry major. My research interests focus on design and synthesis of novel near-infrared fluorescent probes for biological sensing and imaging application. Near-infrared fluorescence is very useful in biomedical research because it penetrates deep tissue without dealing damage to bio-systems. Besides research experience, I have been teaching General Chemistry, Instrumental Analysis, Quantitative Analysis (laboratory) and Recitation class (lecture) as a graduate teaching assistant since 2014. Those precious experience really helps me a lot in life as well as academia.
I also like sports. I learned to ski in Houghton as I never saw so much snow in winter before. Downhill skiing is so exciting and relaxing that I can relieve and take a deep breath from research when things did not go well.
I really want to express my gratitude to Graduate School and the Dean’s Advisory Panel for providing me the Finishing Fellowship in fall semester. The fellowship will help me focus on writing dissertation and finishing defense in a timely manner.
I started my PhD in Michigan Tech. in August 2015 after working as a lecturer for ten years in Northeast Forestry University, China.
My PhD research is focused on developing appropriate statistical and machine learning models to reconstruct gene regulatory network from gene expression data. In these 3 years, I developed a backward elimination random forest (BWERF) algorithm for reconstructing multilayered hierarchical gene regulatory network, and a new graphical Gaussian model (JRmGRN) for joint reconstruction of multiple gene regulatory networks using data from multiple tissues or conditions. Reconstructing gene regulatory networks helps elucidating the nature of complex biological processes and disease mechanisms in a variety of organisms. Comprehending the associations between genes has important ramifications in pathological studies for explaining disease pathways and identifying biomarkers for prognosis and diagnosis.
I would like to give my sincere gratitude to the Graduate School at Michigan Tech. for this financial support, which gives me an opportunity to put all my efforts on completing my PHD degree this semester.
Donate to the “Graduate Student Conference Award” project. This is a collaborative initiative between the Graduate School and the Graduate Student Government to foster, encourage, and recognize graduate research. Professional and scholarly conferences are key avenues for presenting one’s research out to the larger community. In addition to sharing knowledge and learning more about the work done by fellow researchers, such conferences also play a key role in graduate students’ professional development.
My research focuses on quantum mechanical simulation of nanomaterials. Over the years I have investigated different potential functionalizations of boron-nitride nanotubes and monolayers with amino acids and gold clusters.
I would like to thank the physics department and the graduate school for funding my academic endeavor. The Finishing Fellowship helps me spend my full time on dissertation writing without any distraction from other duties. The university has provided me with great opportunities to grow professionally at Michigan Tech., at the Air Force Research Laboratory and at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory.
Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics
I started my PhD in Michigan Tech in August 2013 in Mechanical Engineering. My PhD research is focused on developing and testing a new technology in cooling systems. The application of this new technology is on future generation computer cooling systems such as Data Centers and Supercomputers. It would make cooling systems working more efficiently and reduce the environmental impact and energy costs when implemented.
Along with the research activities, since Fall 2014, I have been working as Graduate Teaching Assistant and had the opportunity to teach two different labs in MEEM department which was a great experience for me.
I would like to express my sincere gratitude for the Graduate School at Michigan Tech for this financial support. This gave me an opportunity to focus on my research and also put all my efforts toward completion of my PhD degree this semester.
I am also grateful for the generous donations from MTU alumni and Friends who made this opportunity possible for me.
Lauren N. Schaefer received both an MSc in Geology (International Geological Masters in Volcanology and Geotechniques, 2012) and a PhD in Geological Engineering as a NASA Earth and Space Science Fellow (2016) at Michigan Tech under the supervision of Dr. Thomas Oommen. Her dissertation investigated the potential for large-scale debris avalanches at Pacaya Volcano in Guatemala to optimize future monitoring and mitigation efforts. A combination of experimental rock mechanics, field investigations, remote sensing, and numerical modeling not only detected, but revealed the nature and mechanics of the largest landslide surge witnessed in a single event at a volcano. Her dissertation provided rare insight into precursory deformation prior to a potential future catastrophic collapse at an active volcano. Such an event was witnessed at Mount St. Helens in 1980, and is known to have occurred at over 400 volcanoes worldwide.
Currently, Lauren is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the University of Canterbury in Christchurch, New Zealand, where she continues to research landslide and volcanic hazards.
Environmental and Energy Policy
My dissertation research examines the public perceptions of socioecological impacts of oil palm production and the political ecology of environmental change in Tabasco, Mexico. I collaborate with natural, social and engineering scientists to study the impacts of bioenergy development projects to assess the sustainability of them. My work shows that past political and economic actions impact current environmental conditions and creates institutional and structural constraints in the region to which people are adapting. A multi-pronged, interdisciplinary approach tackles problems from various angles to, in a sense, make the problem smaller. My research also studies the challenges that international, interdisciplinary teams face when studying such impacts in international settings so that future research can be more successful.