Tag: Biological Sciences

Doctoral Finishing Fellowship – Summer 2022 Recipient – Manas Warke

I began my doctoral research in the Department of Biological Sciences at Michigan Technological University in the Spring of 2018. Before joining MTU, I obtained my B. Engg in Biotechnology from Mumbai University, India, in 2017. I worked in Dr. Dibyendu Sarkar’s lab at Stevens Institute of Technology, NJ, in the Fall of 2017.  

I was fortunate to work with Dr. Rupali Datta from the beginning of my Ph.D. My dissertation focuses on three aspects of arsenic-contaminated soil – investigating the effect of soil-Arsenic on human health, developing a technique to reduce the Arsenic accumulation in rice grains, and exploring plant-microbe interaction in an arsenic-contaminated environment.

I also had the opportunity to work on other projects like the Lead phytoremediation funded by the Housing and Urban Department and health risk estimation due to toxic metal accumulation in wild rice.

I would like to thank my advisor, Dr. Rupali Datta, for her support and guidance. I would also like to thank the Graduate Dean Awards Advisory Panel for awarding me the finishing fellowship. This award will allow me to focus my efforts on completing my dissertation document and preparing for my defense.

Doctoral Finishing Fellowship – Spring 2022 Recipient – Aditi Pradeep Vyas

Since early in my life, I knew I wanted to be in the healthcare field. I take inspiration from Dr. John J. Durocher, my advisor at Michigan Tech and my father who is a pulmonologist in India. I saw them both work hard in providing awareness for prevention and treatment of many diseases in the community. As an undergraduate in Physical Therapy, I learned more about non pharmacological treatment methods such as exercise for intervention of many diseases. I continued this by pursuing masters in Exercise Science and I learned about the research aspect of what I was doing clinically.

I wanted to expand my horizons and establish myself as a healthcare professional. I started my PhD with Dr. Durocher in fall 2018 on a National Institutes of Health project on “Mindfulness and neurocardiovascular control”. Our research is focused on evaluating the effects of non pharmacological interventions such as mindfulness, stress management, exercise and sleep for management of anxiety, blood pressure regulation and sleep. Long term high anxiety is the major cause for many cardiovascular diseases such as hypertension, heart attacks and strokes. Anxiety is also speculated to cause loss of elasticity in the arteries and high sympathetic drive which is the major reason for such cardiovascular risks. Non pharmacological treatment strategies such as mindfulness, stress management, exercise and sleep have gained popularity for managing these diseases. Our research was also active during the peak COVID-19 pandemic when everything was shut down and people were forced to follow stay at home mandates. With the uncertainties revolving around the pandemic, it has become important to maintain good health and with my research I will be able to provide better understanding to people in living a healthy stress free lifestyle. As a PhD at Michigan Tech, I was very fortunate to be an instructor where I got an opportunity to guide many students towards pursuing their careers in the healthcare field. I also got an opportunity to present my work at many conferences, win grants and awards for my research.

I am thankful to the Graduate School and the Graduate Dean Awards Advisory Panel for granting me the fellowship. This fellowship will help me finish my dissertation during the tough times of global pandemic. I am also thankful to my advisor Dr. John J. Durocher for being an amazing mentor, Dr. Joshi and the Biological Sciences department for supporting me with my PhD journey and my dissertation committee members Dr. Petushek, Dr. Steelman and Dr. Larson.

Doctoral Finishing Fellowship – Spring 2022 Recipient – Zhihong Wang

I began my Ph.D. study in 2017 and working with Dr. Xiaoqing Tang in the Department of Biological Sciences. I received my Bachelor of Science degree in Biotechnology from Northwest A&F University in 2016. 

My research focuses on the role of miR-483 in pancreatic beta-cells. Pancreatic β-cell dysfunction is central to the development and progression of type 2 diabetes. Dysregulation of microRNAs (miRNAs) has been associated with pancreatic islet dysfunction in type 2 diabetes. I found out that Loss of miR-483 could enhance high-fat diet–induced hyperglycemia and glucose intolerance by the attenuation of diet-induced insulin release. and I further demonstrated that the loss of miR-483 induces expression of Aldh1a3, a marker of β-cell dedifferentiation. My results suggest that miR-483 mimic would be a potential therapeutic target to revert β-cell dedifferentiation and be a treatment of diabetes. 

I would like to thank my advisor, Dr. Xiaoqing Tang, for her support and guidance. And I would like to thank the Graduate School, Graduate Dean Awards Advisory Panel, and the Graduate School for providing me with the Finishing Fellowship award. This will allow me to focus on writing and defending my dissertation in Spring 2022.

Doctoral Finishing Fellowship – Fall 2021 Recipient – Erin Eberhard

Erin Eberhard came to Michigan Technological University in June 2015 after earning her B.S. in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Michigan. She earned her Master’s degree from Michigan Tech in summer 2017 with the thesis, “Co-occurrence of nitrogen fixation and denitrification across a stream nitrogen gradient in a western watershed,” as part of Dr. Marcarelli’s lab NSF CAREER project looking at the dynamics of nitrogen fixation and denitrification in streams – read more about it in Biogeochemistry (Eberhard et al. 2018). She has continued her PhD studies on the same project, focusing on small-scale factors that facilitate the co-occurrence of N transformations and how they are related to microbial assemblages in streams and also across wetland-stream-lake interfaces of Great Lakes coastal wetlands. After graduation, she plans to pursue a career in a federal or state agency working to conserve and protect freshwater ecosystems and communicate science with the public.

Michigan Space Grant Consortium graduate fellowship application support

The Graduate School is offering support services to assist graduate students in applying for the Michigan Space Grant Consortium’s Graduate Fellowship, including a workshop and one-on-one writing support.

MSGC’s Graduate Fellowship opportunity supports graduate students from affiliate
institutions who are conducting research and public service projects relevant to NASA’s strategic interests as expressed in NASA’s 2014 & 2018 Strategic Plans, specifically, research focused on aerospace, space science, and earth system science. Graduate students working in other, related science, technology, engineering, and mathematics fields are also eligible to apply. Starting this year, MSGC is piloting an expanded definition of STEM to include support for interdisciplinary projects that include art, so graduate students conducting research and projects relevant to NASA’s strategic interests in disciplines not traditionally considered STEM, such as the humanities or social sciences, are likewise encouraged to apply.

Fellowship recipients are awarded $5,000. To be eligible, applicants must be U.S. nationals, have a good academic record, and be in good academic standing. Women, under-represented minorities, and persons with disabilities are strongly encouraged to apply. Students currently receiving MSGC Fellowships are eligible to reapply.

Workshop information: Overview and tips from an MSGC Fellowship reviewer
Date and Time: Friday, September 17th, from 11:00 AM – 11:50 AM
Location: Admin 404
Presenter: Will Cantrell, Associate Provost and Dean of the Graduate School
Host: Sarah Isaacson, GLAS Program Director, sisaacso@mtu.edu
Register here: https://forms.gle/RSPYtUHVD6Yjimou6
A recording of the workshop will be available beginning September 21st.

Deadlines:
Wednesday, Nov. 3 at noon — Internal deadline for undergraduate and graduate fellowship proposals
Wednesday, Nov. 10 at 5 p.m. — Final materials, after review and approval by SPO, must be uploaded to MSGC by the applicant

For more information and specific application instructions, visit the MSGC website and the MTU Graduate School’s MSGC web page.

NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program Application Support

The Graduate School is offering support services to assist graduate students in applying for the National Science Foundation’s Graduate Research Fellowship Program, including workshops and one-on-one writing support.  Fellowship recipients earn an annual stipend of $34,000.  To be eligible, applicants must be a U.S. citizen, national, or permanent resident, have never previously applied to GRFP while enrolled in a graduate degree program, have never earned a master’s or professional degree in any field, or completed more than one academic year in a graduate degree-granting program.  Applications are due October 18th – 22nd.  See https://www.nsfgrfp.org/ for full benefits and eligibility details.

Workshop 1: Overview and tips from a former NSF program manager and reviewer
Date and Time: Friday, September 3rd, from 9:00 AM to 10:30 AM
Presenter: Dr. Pushpalatha Murthy, former NSF program manager
Co-hosts: Dr. Debra Charlesworth, former NSF GRFP reviewer, and Sarah Isaacson, NSF GRFP Support Coordinator
Zoom meeting link: Please make sure to sign in with your MTU account before joining the meeting to be admitted.
Join from PC, Mac, Linux, iOS or Android: https://michigantech.zoom.us/j/83018958000

Workshop 2: Crafting your statements: Content and organization
Date and Time: Friday, September 10th, from 10:00 AM to 11:30 AM
Presenter: Sarah Isaacson, NSF GRFP Support Coordinator
Zoom meeting link: Please make sure to sign in with your MTU account before joining the meeting to be admitted.
Join from PC, Mac, Linux, iOS or Android: https://michigantech.zoom.us/j/82410509516

Personalized writing support:
Applicants will receive support via an NSF GRFP Canvas course as well as individualized writing support on application drafts from qualified staff members.

See https://www.nsfgrfp.org/ for more details. Questions? Contact Sarah Isaacson, NSF GRFP Support Coordinator: sisaacso@mtu.edu

The DeVlieg Foundation Research Award; Summer 2021 Recipient – Michelle Kelly

I’m an ecosystem ecologist, which means I work to understand the connections and feedbacks between organisms, nutrient cycles, and the environment. For my PhD dissertation, I’m exploring the links between nitrogen cycling and ecosystem metabolism in streams, rivers, and wetlands using environmental sensor data and mathematical modeling.

I’m so thankful to the DeVlieg Foundation and the Graduate Dean Awards Advisory panel for this support. With their help, I’m able to spend this summer focused on data analysis for the third chapter of my dissertation, which explores the drivers of seasonal changes in nutrient retention and export in a coastal Lake Erie wetland using a decade of sensor data. Hopefully, the results of this analysis can inform management of shoreline wetlands, which may help mitigate cyanobacterial blooms in Lake Erie.

Dean’s Award for Outstanding Scholarship – Fall 2020 and Spring 2021 Recipients

Congratulations to the following students on receiving the Outstanding Scholarship Award!

Amit Acharya – Physics
Gabriel Edzordzi Agbozo – Humanities
Oluwatomisin Shalom Akinbo – College of Business
Jessica Alger – Civil and Environmental Engineering
Alejandra Itzel Almanza Perales – Materials Science and Engineering
Emily Anible – Mathematical Sciences
Austin Arenz – College of Business
Tanner Barnes – College of Forest Resources and Environmental Science
Beth Bartel – Geology and Mining Eng Sciences
Allison Berryman – College of Business
Prateek Sameer Bhalla – Mechanical Engineering and Engineering Mechanics
Chaitanya Ganesh Bhat – Civil and Environmental Engineering
Parth Parimalbhai Bhatt – College of Forest Resources and Environmental Science
Troy Bouman – Mechanical Engineering and Engineering Mechanics
Jessica Bruning – Kinesiology Integrated Physiology
Sam Celani – Electrical and Computer Engineering
FNU Chandan Kumar – Geology and Mining Engineering Sciences
Marina Choy – Humanities
Michael Conard – Computer Science
Anthony Custard – College of Business
William Dion – Biological Sciences
Akshay Shankarrao Dongre – Mechanical Engineering and Engineering Mechanics
Jon Furlich – Mechanical Engineering and Engineering Mechanics
Dylan Gaines – Computer Science
Anindya Ghoshroy – Electrical and Computer Engineering
Qing Guo – Physics
David Hallberg – Electrical and Computer Engineering
John Harron – Civil and Environmental Engineering
Brittany Hubbard – Civil and Environmental Engineering
Saeed Jafari Kang – Mechanical Engineering and Engineering Mechanics
Dongzhao Jin – Civil and Environmental Engineering
Shreya Joshi – Physics
Siva Krishna Kakula – Computer Science
Ranit Karmakar – Electrical and Computer Engineering
Joshua Kemppainen – Mechanical Engineering and Engineering Mechanics
Pegah Kord Forooshani – Biomedical Engineering
Arianna Laiho – Kinesiology Integrated Physiology
Weibing Li – Mathematical Sciences
Yanfang Liu – Mathematical Sciences
Evan Lucas – Electrical and Computer Engineering
Ali Moazzam – Electrical and Computer Engineering
Andrea Myers – College of Forest Resources and Environmental Science
Samerender Nagam Hanumantharao – Biomedical Engineering
Veena Sathish Namboodri – Humanities
Nicholas Newberry – Chemistry
Yugandhara Yuvraj Patil – Mechanical Engineering and Engineering Mechanics
Jessica Pitts – Kinesiology Integrated Physiology
Veronica Porter – College of Forest Resources and Environmental Science
Ashfiqur Rahman – Electrical and Computer Engineering
Nelmary Rodríguez-Sepúlveda – Geology and Mining Eng Sciences
Kaitlyn Roose – Cognitive and Learning Sciences
Cristhian Paul Salas Pazmiño – Geology and Mining Engineering Sciences
Mujeeb Olushola Shittu – Biological Sciences
Cameron Shock – Physics
Prasad Pramod Soman – Materials Science and Engineering
Steven Stelly – Kinesiology Integrated Physiology
Kevin Sunderland – Biomedical Engineering
Arman Tatar – Civil and Environmental Engineering
Subin Thomas – Physics
Ariana Tyo – Biomedical Engineering
Matthew Vander Molen – College of Forest Resources and Environmental Science
Isaac Wedig – Kinesiology Integrated Physiology
Zhuo Xu – Mechanical Engineering and Engineering Mechanics
Ruiting Zhan – Chemical Engineering
Jiongxun Zhang – Mechanical Engineering and Engineering Mechanics
Zhihao Zhao – Mechanical Engineering and Engineering Mechanics
Xiaodong Zhou – Civil and Environmental Engineering

Doctoral Finishing Fellowship Spring 2021 Recipient – Rashi Yadav

Doctoral Finishing fellowship

There are a number of aspects in my life that inspired me to be a scientist. I grew up in Chandimandir Cantt, India and as a young girl, I wanted to be an army officer. I remember being awestruck whenever I would see soldiers as they worked relentlessly to protect people and I would think how fulfilling that would be. As I reached high school, I found myself appreciating various scientists that have contributed in revolutionizing the whole world. A scientist can defeat a microorganism capable of wiping out the human population. That is just incredible! That’s why I tell everyone that I am extremely proud of my work line as our unceasing efforts will eventually benefit the society and that is my key motivation which is extremely fulfilling. I am so glad that I am close to my 12 years long dream of getting a Ph.D.

I am very fortunate that I worked with Dr. Ebenezer Tumban, who guided me to conduct professional and analytical research and also taught me several aspects of life by setting up a great example by his deeds. I have done multiple projects under his guidance including assessing MS2-L2 based virus-like particles (VLPs) against Human Papillomavirus (HPV) associated with genital and oral cancer. In addition to this, I have worked on development of a novel thermostable bacteriophage VLP platform-based vaccine.

My experience of pursuing Ph.D. at Michigan Technological University has been incredible. It has been a life-time experience; MTU has the most beautiful summer and winter, though sometimes I have seen extreme winter. But, I must say it is absolutely worth it. I got several opportunities to participate in competitions at MTU and have won awards such as 3-minute thesis, summer fellowship, finishing fellowship etc.  When I am not doing research, I like to spend my time exploring places, going for a hike, painting and dancing.

I am so grateful to Graduate school, MTU for awarding me this prestigious doctoral finishing fellowship. I am so elated and thankful to the people who have supported me in my journey.

Nominee for MAGS Distinguished Thesis Award – Erin Eberhard

The Graduate School is pleased to announce the nomination of two theses to the Midwestern Association of Graduate Schools 2020 Distinguished Master’s Thesis Competition. These theses represent the best in their discipline at Michigan Tech, and represented Michigan Tech in the regional competition.


Erin Eberhard represents the field of Biological/Life Sciences.  She earned a Master of Science degree in 2017 in Biological Sciences, and is continuing her work at Michigan Tech as a PhD candidate.  Her thesis was entitled, “Co-Occurrence of Nitrogen Fixation and Denitrification Across a Stream Nitrogen Gradient in a Western Watershed.” She was nominated by her advisor, Dr. Amy Marcarelli.  Erin’s work sought to address several long-standing assumptions about nitrogen (N) cycling in stream ecosystems.  According to her advisor, “Her MS research has transformed research in our lab and broadened our ecological understanding of N cycling processes in stream ecosystems.”  Her work can be accessed on Digital Commons @ Michigan Tech.