Category Archives: Awards

Doctoral Finishing Fellowship Spring 2019 Recipient – David Rosen

David Rosen
Biomedical Engineering

My graduate study at MTU began the spring of 2015.  My broad research interests and aspirations are oriented toward soft tissue biomechanics and the physiology and technologies that are associated with the topic.  For my PhD research, my interest in biomechanics has been specifically focused on a medical ultrasound technology called elastography.  Elastography is a technique used to assess soft tissue elasticity in vivo. My graduate research efforts have focused on how the distinctive mechanical properties of soft tissue (i.e. viscoelasticity, heterogeneity, and nonlinear elasticity) manifest in elastography measurements and what role they have in elastographic uncertainty as it relates medical diagnosis.

I am immensely grateful for the support provided by the Graduate School through the Doctoral Finishing Fellowship. This support is instrumental in this final stage of my graduate study. It has been a privilege to study and work on research at MTU and I am excited to see how the skills and knowledge I have developed during my time here will impact my career and my field.


Doctoral Finishing Fellowship Spring 2019 Recipient – Simeon Schum

Simeon Schum
Chemistry

I arrived at Michigan Tech in Fall 2013 after receiving my Bachelor’s degree in chemistry from University of Alaska, Fairbanks the previous spring. After arriving, I joined Dr. Lynn Mazzoleni’s group, which is primarily focused on investigating the molecular composition of atmospheric organic aerosol using ultrahigh resolution mass spectrometry.

My research has focused on the analysis and interpretation of organic aerosol collected at the Pico Mountain Observatory, which is located on Pico Island in the Azores Archipelago, within the north Atlantic Ocean. Through this work I was able to go to the site in the summers of 2014 and 2017 for a total of ten weeks and helped operate and maintain the site so that samples and observations could be obtained for researchers at Michigan Tech and other collaborating institutions. Some of my work from the site highlighted interesting questions about the aging processes that organic aerosol undergo based on the ambient conditions in the atmosphere during long-range transport.

In addition to my work with organic aerosol, I learned how to write code in R and have used that knowledge to write a code package that includes functions that do molecular formula assignment, isotope filtering, signal to noise determination, and recalibration. These are all important for the analysis of ultrahigh resolution mass spectrometry data.

First, I would like to thank Dr. Mazzoleni for her incredible assistance over the years in mentoring and providing me the opportunity to do things I may not have otherwise done. I would also like to thank the Michigan Tech Graduate school for awarding me this finishing fellowship, which will allow me to focus on finishing my dissertation and journal publications related to my work.

 


Doctoral Finishing Fellowship Spring 2019 Recipient – Xin He

Xin He
Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics

It is never easy to approach to the finishing of a Ph.D. study since one could always explore a little more. I am extremely honored to be awarded the finishing scholarship, nevertheless, the study will never end. After obtaining M.S. in New Mexico State University, I joined Michigan Tech in Spring 2016 with my research interests in computational fluid dynamics. My research topic did not take long to be specified into high-speed boundary layer flow and its stability analysis. I appreciate the opportunity that Dr. Chunpei Cai granted for joining his research group. Tech has great resources to support one on both researching and surviving in the extreme weather. Gradually, snowboarding has become my primary after-work activity throughout the year since the winter session lasts so long. Tech is always my family, being here feels like home.


Doctoral Finishing Fellowship Spring 2019 Recipient – Lukai Zhai

Lukai Zhai
Biological Sciences

I started my life in Michigan Tech as a Ph.D student majoring in Biological Sciences from 2015 Fall. My advisor, Dr. Ebenezer Tumban, kindly offered me support in his lab till now. I have had a great time working in our lab and our department. Before I came here, I earned my bachelor’s degree majoring in Biotechnology in Shandong Normal University, China. I also worked as a research scientist for two years in Shandong University, China. My impression of Michigan Tech is that it is a wonderful place to do research!

Our research focuses on 1) Developing a novel chimeric MS2 bacteriophage virus like particles (VLPs), displaying a tandem HPV L2 peptide, as candidate vaccine to protect against diverse genital HPV infections. 2) In collaboration with Dr. Pavan Muttil (University of New Mexico), formulating the MS2-L2 VLPs into a dry powder by spray-freeze drying for thermostability test (2 Month) and assessing the potential of MS2-L2 VLPs to offer oral and vaginal protection from HPV pseudovirus infection, following sublingually immunized with mucosal adjuvants. 3) Cloning, co-expressing in E. coli, and purifying two coat proteins (ORF13 and ORF14) from a novel thermophilic phage ΦIN93. Assess the potentials of the coat proteins to assemble into VLP.

It is a great honor for me to receive the Finishing Fellowship and I would like to sincerely thank the Graduate School for offering me the support! Also I want to express my gratitude to everybody who helped me in my research and life. At last, I am proud of being a Husky!


Doctoral Finishing Fellowship Spring 2019 Recipient – Xian Li

Xian Li
Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics

In August 2015, I had my first time to take an airplane trip and to travel aboard, and the destination was Michigan Tech in Houghton. Since then, I have joined Dr. Ye Sun’s research group and began my exciting Ph.D. study here. I earned my Bachelor’s Degree (from Tianjin University, China) and Master’s Degree (from Chongqing University, China) in Biomedical Engineering in China. Currently, my research focuses on the Internet of Things and Energy Harvesting, and my dissertation is mainly about developing a hybrid-powered wireless wearable system for biopotential monitoring.

I would like to give my sincere thanks to Graduate School for providing me with this finishing fellowship. Thanks to this financial support, I will be able to concentrate my efforts on completing the dissertation and to expect to graduate this semester. I really appreciate for learning the techniques and skills I needed for my future career, and I feel very proud of being a Ph.D. Candidate in Michigan Tech. I am also very thankful to my advisor and department of MEEM for their big support.


Doctoral Finishing Fellowship Spring 2019 Recipient – Niranjan Miganakallu

Niranjan Miganakallu
Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics

I am a PhD candidate in Mechanical Engineering at MTU. I arrived in the US in the Fall of 2014 to pursue my PhD at Michigan Tech after 6 years in industry and academia in India. I started working under the guidance of Dr. Jeff Naber with research in injector studies to study the combustion and emission performance on Gasoline engines.

My research primarily focuses on the impact of water injection in gasoline engines in terms of improving the performance and reducing the NOx emissions. Studies are conducted on a single cylinder engine test bench at the Mechanical Engineering building at MTU to observe the combustion and emission characteristics of gasoline combustion with water injection. My research also includes studies on gasoline sprays to study the spray characteristics using conventional and alternative fuels. These studies are conducted at a state-of-the-art Alternative Energy Research Building (AERB) combustion lab in Hancock. Optical diagnostics including imaging from high-speed camera are used to observe the sprays emanating out of high-pressure injectors inside a spray vessel at varied operating conditions. This research helps in improving the fundamental understanding of the combustion process and combustion control for gasoline combustion and its impact on the environment.

Apart from research, I have been involved with the Graduate Student Government (GSG) at Michigan Tech since 2016 in various capacities as department representative, treasurer, student liaison for several committees with regular interactions with the administration. I have also had the opportunity of serving as a member of the search committee of Dean of College of Engineering at Michigan Tech representing the graduate student body.

I would like to express my sincere gratitude to the Michigan Tech Graduate School for awarding me the Finishing Fellowship for the Spring 2019 semester. This fellowship helps me in focusing exclusively on finishing the experiments and publishing in journals to complete my dissertation in a timely manner.


Doctoral Finishing Fellowship Spring 2019 Recipient – Stefan Hupperts

Stefan Hupperts
Forest Science

By spanning aboveground and belowground ecology, my research aims to strengthen our knowledge of plant and fungal community responses to disturbance and ultimately contribute toward improved forest management systems. My work will provide critical evidence to support or refute prevailing hypotheses that management systems in Great Lakes forests can be revised to better promote species diversity. Conclusions will also help identify which plant and fungal traits are selected for or against along disturbance gradients to better inform trait databases, future modeling efforts, and forest management.
I’m extremely grateful for the support of my advisor Dr. Yvette Dickinson, the McIntire-Stennis Cooperative Forestry Research Program, and the MTU Graduate School. Living, exploring, and conducting research in the forests of the Upper Peninsula has been an incredible privilege.

Doctoral Finishing Fellowship Spring 2019 Recipient – Rupsa Basu

Rupsa Basu
Biochemistry & Molecular Biology

Back in Fall 2014, I took my first international flight from India to United States to fulfill my childhood dream of becoming a Scientist! That’s when I joined Michigan Tech to pursue Ph.D in Biochemistry & Molecular Biology program. I am fortunate enough to do my doctoral research with Dr. Ebenezer Tumban, Molecular Virology & Vaccinology Lab in Department of Biological Sciences. As a part of my dissertation research, I have handled multiple projects and have learned a lot from my adviser, who was always patient and was there to give immense guidance. My research projects are focused on developing safe and highly immunogenic bacteriophage virus-like particles based vaccines against Zika and Chikungunya viruses. Apart from that, I had the opportunity to work with different projects including working to develop a novel vaccine platform, won many awards at Michigan Tech including 3-minute thesis- 1st place & people’s choice, merit award for presentations, travel awards etc. When I am not doing research, I like to read thrillers and enjoy dancing! Can’t believe it’s the final semester. I want to thank the Graduate School, MTU, Deans and everyone who supported me. With this prestigious fellowship, I now have time to fully concentrate on my dissertation writing and graduate. Happy and proud Husky!


Doctoral Finishing Fellowship Spring 2019 Recipient – Maria Paula Kwesiga

Maria Paula Kwesiga
Biomedical Engineering

I started my doctoral program in Biomedical Engineering at Michigan Tech in the summer of 2015.  Previously I obtained my BS Degree in Medicine from the University of Algiers in Algeria. I joined Dr. Frost’s lab that specializes in controlled NO releasing polymeric biomaterials for clinical applications. My research interests are focused on understanding the role that Nitric oxide (NO) plays in cardiovascular pathologies such as Ischemic heart disease and Diabetes. Cardiovascular calcification is frequently associated with ischemic heart disease and it increases the risk of heart attacks and stroke in patients. NO has been shown to aggravate and protect against calcification. The effect of NO highly depends on the concentration and duration of treatment delivered. A novel device (the CellNO trap) was previously developed in Dr. Frost’s lab that makes it possible to measure the levels of NO produced and delivered to cells.  With the CellNO trap, we are able to determine with accuracy the point at which NO changes from a protective to aggravating effect in vascular cells in order to slow down the progression of calcification. Another area of my project is improving treatments for diabetic foot ulcers (DFU). Healing is impaired in patients with DFU, it takes on average 120 days for these wounds to close, which increases the risk of infection and amputations. NO is a free radical molecule with a very versatile role in the body and it has been shown to be involved in all the stages of wound healing. We use the CellNO trap to measure the real- time NO produced by cells involved in wound healing under normal and diabetic conditions. The goal is to incorporate the NO levels obtained into controlled NO release wound dressing that can be finely tuned to deliver the dose of NO necessary at each stage of  wound healing. This platform will facilitate the healing of DFU in the shortest time possible. I would like to thank my mentor and   advisor Dr. Megan C. Frost for all the support she has offered to me and I would like to thank the Dean and the Graduate school for awarding me the finishing fellowship for the spring semester. The funds offered will give me the time to finish my experiments and write my dissertation so that I can complete the requirements for my PhD program.


Doctoral Finishing Fellowship Spring 2019 Recipient – Anindya Majumdar

Anindya Majumdar
Biomedical Engineering

I am a PhD candidate in Biomedical Engg. at MTU. Water and biological tissues act as excellent sources of optical scatterers. Scattering from them give rise to fascinating optical phenomena. Speckles and optical phase singularities are among them, and are the subjects of my investigation. My research focuses on ways to make use of these scattering phenomena for novel ways of imaging and analyzing motion in biophysical systems. Outside of work, my time is spent exploring the beauty of the U.P. and the surrounding areas, as well as trying out the excellent variety of student organizations at Michigan Tech.

I am grateful to the Michigan Tech family for all the support I have received during my journey here.