Tag: Biological Sciences

US Department of Energy Computational Sciences Graduate Fellowships

U.S. Department of Energy Computational Sciences Graduate Fellowships

The U.S. Department of Energy provides funding for students in their first or second year of graduate study in the fields of physical, engineering, computers, mathematics and life sciences. The fellowships are renewable up to four years. Students receive about $31,000 a year, as well as a $1,000 annual academic allowance for travel, research activities and attending conferences. Some students may also get matched funds for computer support up to $2,475.


Tech Reseachers Honored for Great Lakes Research

The International Association for Great Lakes Research has honored five Michigan Tech faculty members and students.

The Chandler-Misener Award for the outstanding article published in the Journal of Great Lakes Research (JGLR) in 2010 was given to coauthors Professor W. Charles Kerfoot, PhD student Foad Yousef (Biological Sciences), Professor and Chair Sarah A. Green (Chemistry), former faculty member Judith W. Budd (GMES), and David J. Schwab and Henry A. Vanderploeg of NOAA.

Their paper, “Approaching Storm: Disappearing Winter Bloom in Lake Michigan,” documented the disappearance of a “doughnut” of phytoplankton in southern Lake Michigan associated with the proliferation of quagga mussels.

The award was presented to Kerfoot at the 54th International Conference on Great Lakes Research in Duluth, Minn. The Chandler-Misener Award acknowledges the most notable paper based on originality, contribution and presentation.

Cory McDonald, a recent PhD graduate in environmental engineering, received the JGLR/Elsevier Young Student Award. This award is given to “emerging young scientists with a JGLR article ranked in the top 10, as determined by the IAGLR Chandler-Misener Review Committee.” Recipients receive a complimentary one-year IAGLR membership and a $750 cash prize.

Published in Tech Today


Department of Defense SMART

The Science, Mathematics And Research for Transformation (SMART) Scholarship for Service Program has been established by the Department of Defense (DoD) to support undergraduate and graduate students pursuing degrees in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) disciplines.

Eligibility:

  • a U.S. citizen at time of application,
  • 18 years of age or older as of August 1, 2012,
  • able to participate in summer internships at DoD laboratories,
  • willing to accept post-graduate employment with the DoD,
  • a student in good standing with a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale (as calculated by the SMART application) and,
  • pursuing an undergraduate or graduate degree in one of the disciplines listed on the About SMART page.

Benefits:

  • Full tuition and education related fees (does not include items such as meal plans, housing, or parking)
  • Cash award paid at a rate of $25,000 – $41,000 depending on prior educational experience (may be prorated depending on award length)
  • Paid summer internships
  • Health Insurance reimbursement allowance up to $1,200 per calendar year
  • Book allowance of $1,000 per academic year
  • Mentoring
  • Employment placement after graduation

Researcher Discovers Bacteria that “Fertilize” Copper-Contaminated Soil

When miners abandoned Michigan’s Copper Country, they left a lot of the red metal behind, and not in a good way. Waste from the mining operations still contains a high fraction of copper, so high that almost nothing can grow on it—and hasn’t for decades, leaving behind moonscape expanses that can stretch for acres.

Now, however, Assistant Professor Ramakrishna Wusirika (Biological Sciences) and his research team may have discovered how to make plants grow in the mine-waste desert and soak up some copper while they are at it.

Wusirika began his research using several species of Pseudomonas bacteria from the sediments of Torch Lake. In the region’s copper-mining heyday, the lake was used as a dump for mine waste. “We found bacteria that are resistant to high levels of copper,” he said. “We thought we might be able to use them to help plants grow better on contaminated soils.”

So Wusirika’s research team added copper to soil samples and then inoculated them with a copper-resistant strain of Pseudomonas. Finally, they planted the samples with maize and sunflower seeds and waited.

As expected, seeds planted in copper-free soil thrived, and seeds planted in the copper-tainted soil without bacteria were stunted. But seeds planted in the coppery soil enriched with bacteria did much better; some were nearly as vigorous as plants grown without the toxic metal.

“The bacteria seem to help with plant growth, and they also help maize and sunflower uptake copper,” said Wusirika. That means some kinds of naturally occurring bacteria could make soil more fertile and, in concert with the plants, remove at least some of the copper, a process known as rhizoremediation.

Their work, coauthored by PhD student Kefeng Li and Wusirika, was published online March 1 in the Journal of Hazardous Materials. For their next project, Wusirika’s team has been testing how well their technique might work in a real copper-mining desert. They are in the process of using these bacteria to promote plant growth in stamp sands collected near the small UP village of Gay, where the copper-processing byproduct covers about 500 acres.

Published in Tech Today.


Travel Grants Awarded

The Biotechnology Research Center has announced the recipients of its spring travel grants:

  • Graduate student Adam Abraham (Mechanical Engineering): $500 toward a poster presentation at the American Society of Mechanical Engineers–Summer Bioengineering Conference to be held in Farmington, Pa., in June.
  • Undergraduate student Emily Brown (Biomedical Engineering): $500 toward a poster presentation at the Society for Biomaterials Annual Conference held in Orlando, Fla., in April.
  • Graduate student Ning Chen (Chemistry): $500 toward a poster presentation at the 241st ACS National Meeting and Exposition held in Anaheim, Calif., in March.
  • Graduate student Stephanie Hamilton (Biomedical Engineering): $500 toward a poster presentation at the American College of Sport’s Medicine Annual Meeting to be held in Denver, Colo., in June.
  • Graduate student Weilue He (Biological Sciences): $500 toward a poster presentation at the 2011 Association for Research in Vision & Ophthalmology held in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., in May.
  • Graduate student Connor McCarthy (Materials Science and Engineering): $500 toward a poster presentation at the Society for Biomaterials Annual Conference held in Orlando, Fla., in April.
  • Graduate student Kasra Momeni (Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics): $500 toward a podium presentation at the MRS Spring 2011 Conference held in San Francisco, Calif., in April.
  • Graduate student John Moyer (Mechanical Engineering): $500 toward a poster presentation at the American Society of Mechanical Engineers–Summer Bioengineering Conference to be held in Farmington, Pa. in June.
  • Graduate student Anahita Pakzad (Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics): $500 toward a podium presentation at the 241st ACS National Meeting and Exposition held in Anaheim, Calif., in March.
  • Graduate student Srinivasa Rao Sripathi (Biological Sciences): $500 toward a poster presentation at the 2011 Association for Research in Vision & Ophthalmology held in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., in May.

Published in Tech Today.


Graduate Students participate in Nature Teacher Workshop

PhD students Tara Bal (SFRES) and Meagan Harless (Biological Sciences), along with Joan Chadde of the Western UP Center for Science, Math and Environmental Education, put on a Nature Teacher Workshop Tuesday at the Nara Nature Center. Thirty local teachers attended the session.

Bal talked about insects; Harless talked about streams and ponds. The session was based on “Hands-On Nature Activities,” a guide with information and exercises for outdoor and environmental education with children. All participants received a copy of the book.

The workshop was sponsored by the Western UP Center and the Lake Superior Stewardship Initiative.

Published in Tech Today.


Tech Students Receive NSF Awards for Grad Study, Research

The National Science Foundation has selected three Michigan Tech students and a recent graduate to receive highly competitive awards that support their research and graduate study. Another student, now at Northern Michigan University, will use his award to pursue an advanced degree at Michigan Tech.

Master’s student Chris DeDene and recent graduate David Schaeffer have received NSF Graduate Research Fellowships. DeDene will pursue a PhD in Civil Engineering at Michigan Tech. Schaeffer will continue work on his PhD in Psychology at the University of Georgia.

Fellowship recipient Erich Petushek is completing his master’s at Northern Michigan University and will be coming to Tech, where he expects to pursue a doctorate degree in Applied Cognitive Science and Human Factors focusing on Biomechanics.

Graduate Research Fellowships support students in NSF-supported STEM disciplines who are pursuing research-based degrees. Each fellow receives a three-year annual stipend of $30,000, a $10,500 cost-of-education allowance and access to the TeraGrid supercomputer network. The NSF selected 2,000 fellows from more than 12,000 applicants.

An additional 2,064 applicants received honorable mentions. Among them are Tech students Eric Peterson, a physics PhD student; Eric Wesseldyke, an environmental engineering PhD student; mechanical engineering student Andrew Tulgestke; and Jonathan Ebel, a master’s student in biological sciences. Anieri Morales of the University of Puerto Rico, who plans to pursue a graduate degree at Michigan Tech, also received an honorable mention.

Tech students Erin Thomas and John Lyons, who are earning PhD degrees in mathematical sciences and geophysics, respectively, were selected to participate in NSF’s East Asia and Pacific Summer Institutes. The institutes place US graduate students in research labs throughout East Asia and the Pacific, to help students initiate scientific relationships that will lead to future international collaborations. The awards include airfare, lodging, living expenses and a $5,000 stipend.

Thomas will be conduct research in Beijing, while Lyons will travel to Japan.

To learn more about federal funding opportunities for graduate students, attend an information session at 6 p.m., Wednesday, April 20, in Fisher 131. Faculty, advisors, undergraduates and graduate students are encouraged to attend. For more information, contact Jodi Lehman at 487-2875 or at jglehman@mtu.edu.

Published in Tech Today.


“South Pacific”: an Epic Musical Extravaganza at the Rozsa

The Tech Theatre Company, the Keweenaw Symphony Orchestra and a large cast of local actors, students, faculty and production crew bring Rodgers and Hammerstein’s epic musical “South Pacific” to the Rozsa Center stage at 7:30 p.m., Thursday, Friday and Saturday, April 14-16.

James A. Michener’s exotic “Tales of the South Pacific” come to life in this Pulitzer Prize-winning classic. The musical takes audiences on a romantic journey to two islands in the South Pacific during WWII. The song “Bali H’ai” sets a mysterious tone, “Cockeyed Optimist” will charm one and all, and “There is Nothin’ Like a Dame” will get everyone’s toes a’ tapping.

According to Patricia Helsel, production director, “This is the first large-scale musical we’ve done at Michigan Tech for some time.” Choral Director Jared Anderson is the vocal coach and music director. Assistant Professor Joel Neves will conduct the KSO pit orchestra. Students and faculty have committed their talents to the design and production of what promises to be a phenomenal musical spectacle.

Mark Oliver, a seasoned community actor, is playing Emile. Chemistry senior Tanya Johnson plays Nellie. Christopher Schwartz, PhD candidate in biological sciences (research area: exercise science), plays Lt. Cable. Michigan Tech student Kiersten Birando, also a graduate of Houghton High School, plays the role of Liat. Alesha Fumbanks, a chemical engineering major, plays Bloody Mary. Chip Rohrer, a theatre and electronic media performance major, takes the role of Luther Billis.

1940’s haircuts are courtesy of Hairsmiths Inc. Bicycle props are from the Bike Shop. Portage Health sponsors the Department of Visual and Performing Arts.

Ticket prices are $15 for the general public, $7 for students, and free for Tech students with ID. To purchase tickets, contact the Rozsa Box Office at 487-3200, the Central Ticket Office (SDC) at 487-2073, or go online at www.tickets.mtu.edu .

No refunds, exchanges or late seating, please.

submitted by Visual and Performing Arts
Published in Tech Today


World Water Day: Michigan Tech Helps Make a Difference

World Water Day was recently observed at Michigan Tech with a variety of events including a poster session.  Several graduate students were honored with awards including:

  • Ellis Adams, Environmental Policy
  • Jessica Billings, Environmental Engineering Science
  • Aleta Daniels, Forest Ecology and Managements
  • Jonathan Ebel, Biological Sciences
  • Danielle Haak, Biological Sciences
  • Laura Kangas, Applied Ecology
  • Mariah Maggio, Environmental Policy

Read more about the events and see photographs of the award recipients online.


Wildlife Conservation Award

The Safari Club International (SCI) Michigan Involvement Committee (MIC) is a non-profit corporation composed of representatives of each of the Michigan chapters of SCI.  The Committee coordinates collaboration between SCI, its Michigan chapters, and the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR); provides scholarships and grants to graduate students; and supports other wildlife conservation and education activities deemed appropriate by the organization.

The Award

Goal: To preserve and perpetuate the right to hunt and the commitment to conservation within the wildlife profession and potential future leaders of the DNR.

Purpose: To provide financial assistance to a graduate student, preferably one working on a DNR-funded university research project associated with the preservation of hunting.

Fund Financing: A minimum annual fund of $3,000 has been established by SCI MIC to finance the grant program.  Additional grants may be awarded if funding is available.  Grant amounts may vary depending upon the number of awards and the fund balance.

Award Duration: The grant will be available for use for one year between September 1 and August 31 of the next year.  An award recipient can compete for additional grants in subsequent years with other applicants.  If invited by participating chapters, each selected student will be required to visit the chapter at least once during the year of the award.

How to Apply

To Be Eligible:

1)    Student must be accepted or enrolled in a Wildlife or related discipline graduate program at a college or university in Michigan.

2)    Must be planning a career in the Wildlife Management field.

3)    Student must be familiar with hunting, hunting ethics, the role of hunting in wildlife management, and hunting’s role in society.

4)    If enrolled in a MS or MA program, it must be a thesis-based degree.

Application: There is no separate application form.  Please send a resume which outlines your background, along with three reference letters from individuals knowledgeable of your field skills and experience.  Include your name and graduate institution where enrolled on all materials submitted.  In addition, in 500 words or less, provide a response to the questions:  “Twenty years from now, what should the elements of wildlife management be, and what role do you see yourself playing in this profession?”

Selection Process: An SCI MIC committee will review application materials and select finalists.  A subcommittee will interview finalists and select the award recipient(s) by September 1, 2011.

Send all materials, by June 15, 2011 to Paul Royce, SCI-Lakeshore  Chapter, 9881 84th Avenue, Zeeland, Michigan  49464