Tag: Biomedical Engineering

Fall 2010 Finishing Fellowships Awarded

The Graduate School is proud to announce the following students are recipients of a one-time Fall 2010 Finishing Fellowship:

  • Alexandru Herescu, Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics
  • Megan L Killian, Biomedical Engineering
  • Chee Huei Lee, Physics
  • Cho Hui Lim, Chemical Engineering
  • Yu Liu, Civil Engineering
  • Jiang Lu, Physics
  • Cory P. McDonald, Environmental Engineering
  • Louis R. Pignotti, Chemistry

The fellowships are made possible by the Charles L. Lawton Endowed Fellowship, Neil V. Hakala Endowed Fellowship, Doctoral Finishing Fellowship, and the Graduate School.

Pictures of our recent awardees are available online.

Inter-American Foundation (IAF) Grassroots Development Fellowship Program

IAF Fellowships are available to currently registered students who have advanced to candidacy for the Ph.D. in the social sciences, physical sciences, technical fields and the professions as related to grassroots development issues. Applications for clinical research in the health field will NOT be considered.

Awards are based on both development and scholarly criteria. Proposals should offer a practical orientation to field-based information. In exceptional cases the IAF will support research reflecting a primary interest in macro questions of politics and economics but only as they relate to the environment of the poor. The Fellowship Program complements IAF’s support for grassroots development in Latin America and the Caribbean, and preference for those applicants whose careers or research projects are related to topics of greatest interest to the IAF.

IAF’s Fellowships provide support for Ph.D. candidates to conduct dissertation research in Latin America and the Caribbean on topics related to grassroots development. Funding is for between four and 12 months. The Inter-American Foundation expects to award up to 15 Doctoral Field Research Fellowships in 2011. Research during the 2011-2012 cycle must be initiated between June 1, 2011 and May 31, 2012.

  • Round-trip economy-class transportation to the field research site from the Fellow’s primary residence. Fellows must comply with the Fly America Act.
  • A research allowance of up to $3,000, pro-rated monthly.
  • A stipend of $1,500 per month for up to 12 months.
  • Accident and sickness insurance
  • Attendance at a required “mid-year” Grassroots Development Conference to discuss each Fellow’s progress with members of the IAF’s academic review committee and meet with IAF and IIE staff.

For more information please visit:


Arthritis, Soil, Cabaret, and DNA: Students Share their Research

The Reading Room of the Van Pelt and Opie Library was packed recently, but it wasn’t full of students cramming. This day, more than fifty students were presenting their research via posters in the bright sunlight streaming in from a wall of windows.

It was a poster session held as part of the University’s kickoff of its Generations of Discovery Capital Campaign, coinciding with Homecoming.

Megan Killian, a PhD student in biomedical engineering, discussed her work with arthritis in knees, especially after traumatic injuries. She was looking at what can be done to stop or delay the onset of arthritis after a torn anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), a common problem in contact sports.

“I’m looking at the changes in the meniscus,” Killian said. “Specifically, how the cells behave, how the meniscus degenerates over a short period of time. I am focusing on the molecular biology and histology, and other students in my lab, Adam Abraham and John Moyer, are looking at the mechanics.”

Her advisor, Tammy Haut Donahue (associate professor of mechanical engineering), is developing a better understanding of how the meniscus behaves mechanically and biochemically, and how it responds to injury and degenerative changes.

Together, the inquiry has Killian close to completing her PhD this semester, before she “goes on to a career in research-focused academia.”

Nearby, Carley Kratz presented her research in soils. The PhD student in forestry is comparing soil in special plots of the Harvard Forest in Massachusetts and the Ford Forestry Center in Alberta, with an eye toward the effects of warming.

“I’m studying how increased heat and moisture affect the soil microorganisms,” she said. “I’m mimicking future temperature and moisture increases to look at global warming, among other areas.”

She is focusing on the fungi and bacterial concentrations, she said, especially metabolic changes over time, including increased amounts of carbon cycling (how carbon moves through the global environment). “If more carbon in the soil cycles more rapidly, then that could lead to more carbon in the atmosphere, which could increase global warming,” she says.

Her research is sponsored by a US Department of Energy Office of Science graduate fellowship. Adjunct Professor Erik Lilleskov and Associate Professor Andrew Burton (SFRES), also worked on the research.

Kratz’s hopes include a postdoc in microbial ecology and an eventual professorship in the Midwest “or wherever life takes me.”

A senior in sound design, Nicole Kirch researched potential sound effects for the play, “I Am My Own Wife.” Set in Nazi and Soviet East Berlin, the play won a Pulitzer Prize for Drama and Tony Awards for Best Play and Best Actor in 2004.

“I looked at the setting of the play and tried to figure out the best sounds,” she said.

That meant using items, some old and some new, from Marlene Dietrich audio to a music box to bombs and air raid sounds to John Kennedy’s Berlin Wall speech.

“I also worked with an old phonograph, with a wax cylinder,” she said. “I didn’t want to improve the sound,” aiming instead for realistic pops and scratches from the old machine.

The setting is the bar/museum Mulack Ritze in the basement of the protagonist, and Kirch had to account for a wall of shelved memorabilia that is used in the back of the stage in the play.

“I send the sounds through speakers behind it,” she said. And she had to create pre- and post-show audio, as well as the sounds that help carry the action, all for a play that was not actually being performed here.

She did “a lot of research while bored last summer.” She wants to be a sound effects editor when she graduates.

Finally, Bryan Franklin, a PhD student in computer science, was working with common subsequences of nucleotide sequences.

“This is important because, if one is a close match with another, it can be used to study viruses and illnesses in labs and then apply the findings to humans,” he said

He had one major surprise.

“The original, published algorithm I was working with was flawed,” Franklin said. “That made it really confusing at first. It was hard to debug.”

Franklin made progress, eventually, using multiple parallel processes, to get results faster.

“I was able to get results in 1/6th the time it would have taken on a single processor,” he said. “My results are also better than the previous work I based my research on, as it always produces the longest matching subsequence.”

After leaving Tech, Franklin wants to continue working as a researcher, either in academia or industry.

by Dennis Walikainen, senior editor

Published in Tech Today

First In Series of Federal Funding Workshops – Sept 15th and 16th.

A federal fellowship/scholarship writing workshop will be held on Wednesday, September 15th  and Thursday, September 16th at 4:00 in Fisher 135.

You will only need to attend one of the workshops, as they are the same workshop, different days and time.

During the workshop we will review 3 samples of NSF GRFP personal statement essays. Tips will be given on how to organize your essay, utilize wording, and meet the merit criteria expected by reviewers

Prepare for the workshop by:

1. Understanding how NSF defines “broader impacts”

2. Brainstorming answers to NSF “personal statement” questions

    If you (or someone you know) plan on attending, please RSVP to Jodi Lehman (jglehman@mtu.edu).

    Summer 2010 Finishing Fellowships Awarded

    The Graduate School is proud to announce the following students are recipients of a one-time Summer 2010 Finishing Fellowship:

    • Atakan Altinkaynak, Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics
    • Rachel M Bradford, Biomedical Engineering
    • Archana Pandey, Engineering Physics
    • Edwar Romero-Ramirez, Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics
    • Eric M Winder, Biological Sciences

    The fellowships are made possible by the Graduate School.

    Application procedures for the Graduate School fellowship programs and photographs of recent recipients can be found online.  Nominations are currently open for Finishing Fellowships for fall semester.  Nominations are due no later than 4pm on July 29, 2010.

    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.

    Six fellowships awarded from The DeVlieg Foundation

    The Graduate School is pleased to announce the awarding of six fellowships made possible by the generous support of The DeVlieg Foundation.  This years recipients will tackle a wide range of research problems from osteoarthritis in the knee to comparing the cost and effectiveness of two water treatment technologies.  Recipients are:

    • Darrell Cass, Civil Engineering, MS Candidate
    • Colin Gurganus, Physics, PhD Candidate
    • Alexandru Herescu, Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics, PhD Candidate
    • Megan Killian, Biomedical Engineering, PhD Candidate
    • Jarod Maggio, Environmental Engineering, PhD Candidate
    • Ashlee Vincent, Environmental Engineering, MS Candidate

    See our web page for details about the nomination process, and for photos of our recipients.

    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.”

    Graduate Students Showcase Their Research in Lansing

    capitolFour graduate students from Michigan Tech have gone to Lansing to talk with legislators about their graduate studies and future plans. Participating in an observance of Graduate Education Week in Michigan, they are joining more than 70 others from universities across the state, meeting with their hometown legislators and displaying posters in the Capitol.

    Michigan Tech students include Michael Brodeur-Campbell of Lake Linden, who is working on his PhD in chemical engineering; Megan Killian from LaSalle, an interdicisplinary PhD student in biomedical and mechanical engineering; Melanie Kueber, a PhD student in civil engineering from Munising; and Christopher Morgan of Jenison, who is working toward a PhD in mechanical engineering-engineering mechanics.

    Brodeur-Campbell, who is originally from Port Huron, earned his bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering and business administration at Michigan Tech. His research focuses on improving the enzymatic breakdown of cellulose to glucose, a vital step in the production of ethanol from plants. This step has proved a major hurdle to commercial production of this kind of ethanol, which does not compete with the food supply, due to the high cost of the enzymes and the length of time they take to work.

    Killian’s research focuses on how mechanical loads applied to the meniscus–cartilage in the knee–affect the behavior of this tissue at the microscopic and cellular levels, with the aim of eventually improving tissue engineering of replacements. She is also studying osteoarthritis produced by injuries to the knee, in hopes of developing better treatments and rehabilitation strategies.

    Kueber, who also earned a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering at Michigan Tech, went on to earn her master’s in project management at Northwestern University. Back at Tech for her doctoral studies, she is working to modify specifications and test methods for coal fly ash used in highway concrete, to make coal ash more useful as a supplementary material in concrete.

    Morgan, a member of the Advanced Internal Combustion Engines research group at Michigan Tech, has been using gasoline direct- injection studies to compare ethanol to pump-grade gasoline in a combustion vessel. Now he is working on building a mobile hybrid electric vehicle learning laboratory funded by the US Department of Energy and helping undergraduate senior design students build a hybrid electric vehicle for educational use.

    Graduate education is a key to a prosperous future for Michigan, said Jacqueline Huntoon, dean of Michigan Tech’s Graduate School. Michigan ranks ninth in the US for the number of research-based doctorates awarded, with 2,720 awarded in 2008-09. Of those, 47 were awarded at Michigan Tech.


    Photos courtesy of Randy Mascharka and Eastern Michigan University

    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.