Tag: Biological Sciences

Spring Travel Grants from Biotechnology Research Center

The BRC announces the recipients of its 2010 Spring Travel Grants:

  • Adam Abraham, (graduate student in ME-EM) will receive $500 toward a podium presentation at the American Society of Mechanical Engineers–Summer Bioengineering Conference, to be held in June in Naples, Fla.
  • Rachel Bradford (graduate student in Biomedical Engineering) will receive $500 toward a poster presentation at the 31st American Society for Bone and Mineral Research held in September in Denver, Colo.
  • Shurong Fang (graduate student in Mathematical Sciences) will receive $500 toward a podium presentation at the 2010 Joint Statistical Meetings to be held in August in Vancouver, British Columbia.
  • Kasra Momeni (graduate student in ME-EM) received $500 toward a poster presentation at the 2010 MRD Spring Meeting Symposium held in April in San Francisco, Calif.
  • Duane Morrow (graduate student in ME-EM) will receive $500 toward a podium presentation at the American Society of Mechanical Engineers–Summer Bioengineering Conference to be held in June in Naples, Fla.
  • Saikat Mukhopadhyay (graduate student in Physics) received $500 toward a podium presentation at the American Physical Society 2010 Meeting held in March in Portland, Ore.
  • Christopher Schwartz (graduate student in Biological Sciences) received $500 toward a poster presentation at the Experimental Biology 2010 Conference held in April in Anaheim, Calif.
  • Sarah Stream (graduate student in Biological Sciences) received $500 toward a poster presentation at the Experimental Biology 2010 Conference held in April in Anaheim, Cali.
  • Echoe Bouta (undergraduate in Biomedical Engineering) will receive $500 toward a poster presentation at the Molecular Mechanisms in Lymphatic Function and Disease Conference to be held in June in Lucca, Italy.
  • Connor McCarthy (undergraduate in Biomedical Engineering) will receive $500 toward a poster presentation at the Molecular Mechanisms in Lymphatic Function and Disease Conference to be held in June in Lucca, Italy.
  • John Moyer (undergraduate in ME-EM) will receive $500 toward a poster presentation at the American Society of Mechanical Engineers–Summer Bioengineering Conference to be held in June in Naples, Fla.
  • Eli Vlaisavljevich (undergraduate in Biomedical Engineering) received $500 toward a poster presentation at the Orthopaedic Research Society Meeting held in March in New Orleans, La.

PCA Inducts New Members and Honor Students

On Friday, April 16, nine alumnae were inducted into the Presidential Council of Alumnae (PCA). In addition to the nine new inductees, 30 PCA members were also on campus for their annual business meeting April 14-16.

The PCA advises the President on campus climate issues, provides suggestions for enhancing the University’s environment for students, and assists the President by identifying programs and activities that will benefit Michigan Tech. PCA works with the Office of Institutional Diversity, the Advancement area and the academic departments to help implement their ideas and support the University’s strategic plan.

The inductees are as follows:

  • Nancy A. Auer (Arnold), Biological Sciences, ’95 (PhD Alumna Graduate)
  • Ellen M. Bauman (Barrett), Electrical Engineering, ’90 and ’93 (MS Alumna Graduate)
  • Elzbieta G. Berak, Civil Engineering, ’81, Engineering Mechanics, ’85 (PhD Alumna Graduate)
  • Michelle-Anne Christensen (Irmen), Geological Engineering, ’84, Civil Engineering, ’86
  • Kathleen Haselmaier (Calder), Computer Science, ’84
  • Wendy L. Kram (Davidson), Mechanical Engineering, ’91
  • Catherine A. Leslie (Kuchta), Civil Engineering, ’83
  • Barbara K. Lograsso (Kiiskila), Metallurgical Engineering, ’80 and ’82, Metallurgical and Materials Science, ’91 (MS, PhD Alumna Graduate)
  • Erin A. Zimmer (Atwell), Chemistry, ’98

Another component of the PCA program includes the annual Women of Promise awards. This award recognizes current female students from each academic department who go above and beyond what is expected of them in terms of being a well-rounded student. The award goes to students who have demonstrated academic achievement, campus and community leadership, good citizenship, creativity and other characteristics of high-achieving individuals.

The honorees are as follows:

  • Anne E. Aho, Social Sciences
  • Ashley N. Benjamin, School of Technology
  • Kaitlyn J. Bunker, Electrical and Computer Engineering
  • Danae N. Danen, Mathematical Sciences
  • Heather L. Dickey, Computer Science
  • Andrea Dixon, Geological and Mining Engineering and Sciences
  • Roxane Gay, Humanities (PhD Alumna Candidate)
  • Krista M. Kasuboski, Exercise Science, Health and Physical Education
  • Chelsea R. Leighton, Visual and Performing Arts
  • Britta C. Lundberg, Material Science and Engineering
  • Amanda L. Malburg, Civil Engineering
  • Jaclyn E. Nesbitt, Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics (MS Alumna Graduate,  PhD Candidate)
  • Annie L. Putman, Chemistry
  • Leslie M. Sabbann, Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics (undergraduate)
  • Erin M. Scanlon, Physics
  • Alison J. Springer-Wilson, Chemical Engineering
  • Danielle M. Stoll, Biomedical Engineering
  • Anna A. Uhl, Biological Sciences
  • Donieka R. Walker, Cognitive and Learning Sciences
  • Katherine R. Waring, Environmental Engineering
  • Jill C. Witt, School of Forest Resources and Environmental Science (PhD Alumna Candidate)
  • Katie L. Wysocky, School of Business and Economics

Published in Tech Today


Michigan Space Grant Consortium Funds 27 Projects at Michigan Tech

The Michigan Space Grant Consortium (MSGC), sponsored by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), has awarded approximately $375,000 to nine Michigan universities with aerospace, engineering and space- science-related programs. Michigan Tech submitted 40 proposals, and 27 received funding totaling $105,000.

Of that, $20,000 supports undergraduate fellowships, $30,000 is for graduate research fellowships, $30,000 provides seed grants for faculty, and $25,000 is designated for outreach, including K-12 and teacher training programs.

Undergraduate students receiving $2,500 research fellowships include Andrew Ramsey (ME-EM), Phil Hohnstadt (ME-EM), Peter Solfest (Physics), Stephen Schweitzer (Biomedical Engineering), John Visser (ME-EM), Samantha Wojda (Biomedical Engineering), Patrick Bowen (MSE), William Grant (Chemical Engineering) and Ben Gerhardt (ME-EM).

Graduate students receiving $5,000 fellowships include Christopher Schwartz (Biological Sciences), Elisabet Head (Geology), Jarod Maggio (Environmental Engineering), Adam Abraham (ME-EM), Matthew Barron (Biomedical Engineering), Megan Killian (Biomedical Engineering) and Amalia Anderson (Physics).

Faculty members receiving $5,000 seed grants included Shiyan Hu, Jason Carter, Audrey Mayer, Qingli Dai, Ashok Goel and Claudio Mazzoleni. Faculty and staff members receiving $5,000 for outreach, precollege and teacher training programs include Douglas Oppliger, Shawn Oppliger, Joan Chadde and Kristi Isaacson.

One student receiving an undergraduate fellowship is Samantha Wojda. She plans to use her grant to study how hibernation affects the bones of marmots. Disuse osteoporosis is a common problem faced by astronauts in microgravity. Hibernating mammals are also at high risk for the condition, and many have developed adaptive ways of dealing with it. Wojda plans to study hibernating marmots to see how they are affected by or protected from disuse osteoporosis. What she learns may help researchers find ways to prevent human astronauts and others who are immobilized for long periods of time from developing the debilitating condition.

NASA implemented the National Space Grant College and Fellowship Program in 1989 to provide funding for research, education and public outreach in space-related science and technology. The program has 52 university-based consortia in the United States and Puerto Rico. As part of the Michigan Consortium, Michigan Tech has been an active participant in MSGC for over fifteen years.

“The MSGC offers faculty, staff and especially students opportunities to develop ideas and submit competitive proposals,” said Chris Anderson, special assistant to the President for institutional diversity and the University’s MSGC liaison. “For undergraduates, the process of developing a proposal and then doing the research allows them to apply what they’re learning in the classroom, get hands-on experience and work closely with faculty.” She added, “The Consortium allows us to do more of this, as well provide graduate fellowships, seed grants and program support.”


Award Recipients Announced for Graduate Research Forum

The Ecosystem Science Center and the Biotechnology Research Center have
announced award recipients for 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 are 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.” Victor Busov is the advisor.

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.


New Theses and Dissertations in the Library

The Graduate School is pleased to announce the arrival of new theses and dissertations from our recent graduates in the J. R. Van Pelt Library and John and Ruanne Opie Library.  The names of our graduates, their degrees, advisors, and titles of their research are listed below.

Brian Beachy
Doctor of Philosophy in Forest Science
Advisor: Andrew J Storer
Dissertation title: Impacts of the Exotic Beech Bark Disease Complex in Michigan

Jessica Beachy
Doctor of Philosophy in Forest Science
Advisor: Andrew John Storer
Dissertation title: The Development of Trapping, Survey and Educational Tools for the Exotic Invasive Emerald Ash Borer (Agrilusplanipennis Fairmaire) (Coleoptera: Buprestidae)

Luke Bowman
Master of Science in Geology
Advisor: William I Rose
Thesis title: Community Perceptions of an NGO’s Impact on Disaster Preparedness in Los Planes de La Laguna, Santa Ana Volcano, El Salvador

Venkat Donuru
Doctor of Philosophy in Chemistry
Advisor: Haiying Liu
Dissertation title: Design and Synthesis of Novel BODIPY Polymeric Dyes, and Redox-active Tetrathiafulvalene-Carbohydrate Conjugates for Potential Biosensing Applications

Chad Fortin
Master of Science in Applied Ecology
Coadvisors: Christopher Raymond Webster and David James Flaspohler
Thesis title: Floristic Quality as a Potential Driver of Vegetative Diversity-Productivity Relationships and Arthropod Habitat in Restored Grasslands

Bryan Franklin
Master of Science in Computer Science
Advisor: Steven R Seidel
Thesis title: Analysis and Performance of a UPC Implementation of a Parallel Longest Common Subsequence Algorithm

Valerie Fuchs
Doctor of Philosophy in Environmental Engineering
Coadvisors: John S Gierke and James R Mihelcic
Dissertation title: Nitrogen Removal and Sustainability of Vertical Flow Constructed Wetlands for Small Scale Wastewater Treatment

Alex Joseph Varghese
Master of Science in Electrical Engineering
Advisor: Paul L Bergstrom
Thesis title: Fabrication of Piezo Resistive Strain Sensor for Orthopedic Fracture Implant System

Jodi Lehman
Doctor of Philosophy in Rhetoric and Technical Communication
Advisor: Patricia J Sotirin
Dissertation title: International Teachers in the American Classroom: Deposing the Myth of Monolingualism

Ruben Otoniel Matias Gomez
Master of Science in Geology
Advisor: William I Rose
Thesis title: Volcanological Map of the 1961-2009 Eruption of Volcande Pacaya, Guatemala

Julian Mills-Beale
Master of Science in Civil Engineering
Advisor: Zhanping You
Thesis title: New Test Procedures for Aggregate Specific Gravities and Absorption

Srichand Pendyala
Master of Science in Computer Science
Advisor: Robert Louis Pastel
Thesis title: Sketch Recognition through Shape Based Interaction

Ratul Saha
Doctor of Philosophy in Biological Sciences
Advisor: Susan T Bagley
Dissertation title: UV Disinfection of Metalworking Fluids: Analysis Using Molecular Tools

Steven Vormwald
Master of Science in Computer Science
Advisor: Steven M Carr
Thesis title: Predicting Remote Reuse Distance Patterns in Unified Parallel C Applications

Fuyu Xu
Doctor of Philosophy in Forest Molecular Genetics and Biotechnology
Advisor: Chandrashekhar Pralhad Joshi
Dissertation title: Molecular Mechanism of Cellulose Biosynthesis in Plants


Hydro Fellowship Program

The U.S. Department of Energy has awarded a 3-year, $3 million grant to the Hydro Research Foundation.  Approximately 25 fellowships will be awarded  as early as June 2010 and will continue for two academic years.

Fellowship includes: Up to $26,000 living stipend, $2,000 annual honorarium for professor supervising fellow’s work, up to $16,900 allowance for tuition & university-sponsored health insurance, and attendance at 3 Hydro Fellows Roundtables.

Eligibility: Students who are American citizens and who will complete their Master’s by June 2012 or their Doctorate degree by June 2013 are eligible to apply. Applications will be accepted from students who will be conducting research directly related to hydropower in the fields of engineering, environmental and biologic science, or regulatory/economics.

Details available at www.hydrofoundation.org

If interested in applying please contact Jodi Lehman (jglehman@mtu.edu).


Graduate Students Schwartz and Stream Garner National Research

The American Physiological Society (APS) announced awardees for the 2010 Carolyn tum Suden/Francis A. Hellebrandt Professional Opportunity National Award, and two Michigan Tech graduate students were on that list. Christopher Schwartz (PhD candidate, biological sciences) and Sarah Stream (MS candidate, biological sciences) were two of 38 awardees announced this week. Over 140 graduate students and postdoctoral fellows throughout the US and beyond applied for the award.

Christopher and Sarah were not quite sure what to expect when they applied for this abstract-based award this past fall.

“I think in the back of our minds we were hopeful one of us would get recognized,” said Schwartz. “We were both somewhat surprised that each of us received the award. It is quite an honor.”

The two graduate students conduct research in the Integrative Physiology Laboratory under the advisement of Jason Carter, chair of the Exercise Science, Health and Physical Education department. Schwartz’s research aims to determine the neurovascular responses to mental stress in normotensive and prehypertensive humans. Stream’s research focuses on the influence of acute alcohol consumption on neural control of blood pressure and orthstatic stability in healthy humans.

“It is remarkable that both Christopher and Sarah received this award,” said Carter. “This is a prestigious, well-recognized research award in the field of physiology. They were competing with graduate students and postdocs from some of the top universities and medical schools in our country. This award is a testament to their hard work, dedication and high caliber of research.”

Christopher and Sarah will be honored during the 2010 Experimental Biology conference in Anaheim, CA, this April. A full listing of all 38 awardees is available at the APS website.


New theses and dissertations in the Library

The Graduate School is pleased to announce the arrival of new theses and dissertations in the Van Pelt and Opie Library.

Stephanie Groves
Master of Science in Biological Sciences
Advisor: Susan T Bagley
Thesis title: Optimization of Ethanol Production by Yeasts from Lignocellulosic Feedstocks

Juan Morinelly
Master of Science in Chemical Engineering
Advisor: David R Shonnard
Thesis title: Dilute Acid Pretreatment of Lignocellulosic Biomass from Forest Resources: Kinetic Characterization of Xylose Monomer and Oligomer Concentrations and Reactor Performance Mathematical Modeling

Madhana Sunder
Doctor of Philosophy in Materials Science and Engineering
Advisor: Peter Dane Moran
Dissertation title: Growth of Heteroepitaxial Single Crystal Lead Magnesium Niobate-Lead Titanate Thin Films on R-Plane Sapphire Substrates

Andrew Waisanen
Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering
Advisor: Jason R Blough
Thesis title: The Application of Experimental Transfer Path Analysis to the Identification of Vehicle Sensitivity to Tire Cavity Resonance

Peipei Zhao
Master of Science in Applied Natural Resource Economics
Advisor: Mark C Roberts
Thesis title: Duration and Co-Movement Analysis of Energy Price Cycles


Fusion Energy Sciences Fellowship Program

Description: Offers talented students the opportunity to engage in the study and research of fusion energy sciences and technology, while fostering practical work experiences at recognized research facilities. Provides incentive and support to students as they continue their education in graduate school and prepare for careers in fusion energy.

Discipline(s): physical sciences; engineering; mathematics; related scientific disciplines

Eligibility: U.S. Citizens and Legal Permanent Residents. Undergraduate seniors; bachelor’s recipients; and first and second year graduate students at the time of application

Location(s): Various locations across U. S. Participating universities with practicums at various U.S. Department of Energy research facilities

Duration: Maximum 36 months with annual renewal

Deadline(s): January 31

Benefits: $24,000 annual stipend and full payment of tuition and fees; $750 per month practicum allowance; opportunity to attend professional meetings and to participate in long-term graduate research ad DOE fusion research facilities.

Funding source(s): U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Fusion Energy Sciences

How to apply: Application materials available at http://www.orau.gov/fusion.


Predoctoral STEM Awards

The Association for Women in Science offers $1000 awards for women pursuing PhDs in the STEM fields.  Four categories of awards are available:

  • Predoctoral Award
    For a female graduate student who has advanced to PhD candidacy studying in any STEM field except Physics (
  • Schutzmeister Award
    For a female predoctoral student who has advanced to PhD candidacy studying Physics
    The Schutzmeister Award has a separate application process managed by Dr. Gerald Hardie at Western Michigan University. Do not use the materials on this site. To request application forms contact Dr. Hardie at gerald.hardie@wmich.edu.
  • Satter Award
    For a female predoctoral student who has interrupted her career for three or more years to raise a family
    The Satter Award application includes an additional document provided by the applicant’s graduate department certifying that you meet the Satter criterion.
  • Filner Award
    New this year, this award honors Barbara Filner, a long-time active AWIS member who served as President of National AWIS, and as President of the AWIS Educational Foundation for ten years. This award is given to a predoctoral student who has advanced to PhD candidacy and has participated in activities, such as mentoring and organizing workshops, that encourage women to pursue careers in science and related fields. The application process includes an additional document (up to 700 words) reviewing activities to help women achieve their career goals.