Tag: Chemistry

New theses available in the Library

The Graduate School is pleased to announce new theses are now available in the J.R. van Pelt and Opie Library from the following programs:

  • Applied Natural Resource Economics
  • Biological Sciences
  • Chemical Engineering
  • Chemistry
  • Civil Engineering
  • Environmental Engineering
  • Environmental Policy
  • Forest Ecology and Management
  • Forestry
  • Mechanical Engineering


Bi, Yapici Honored for Research to Reveal Cells’ Inner Workings

Lanrong Bi and Nazmiye Yapici are shining new light on the hidden processes within cells. For their groundbreaking research, Bi, an assistant professor of chemistry, and PhD candidate Yapici have received the Bhakta Rath Research Award.  The Rath Award recognizes research by faculty and doctoral students to meet the nation’s needs and contribute to emerging technologies.

Inside our cells are processes that make or break us. They are tied to tiny organelles, such as mitochondria, nuclei and lysosomes. To get a glimpse of those organelles, technologists infuse tissue samples with special dyes and observe them under powerful fluorescent microscopes.

When the dyes work, you can see a glowing image of the organelle. That image may someday be able to tell you if a cell is about to become cancerous or the patient is coming down with Alzheimer’s disease. Until now, however, those dyes had certain limitations.

Working together, Bi and Yapici have developed fluorescent dyes with powerful new properties: they work in acidic conditions, and they can trace hydroxyl radicals (also known as free radicals), very unstable molecules that are associated with a whole range of pathologies, from heart disease to AIDS.

“It’s difficult to monitor a cell’s interior pH, because if a cell goes acidic, the commercial dye breaks down,” said Bi. “But we have developed two dyes that become fluorescent under acidic conditions, which would make it much easier to monitor cells in a diseased state.”

This property makes these dyes especially useful in imaging lysosomes, which serve as the cell’s waste disposal system and have an interior pH of about 4.5. And there’s a good reason to look at lysosomes. “Their morphology changes as cells become cancerous,” Bi said. “This could be used for very early diagnosis, when it’s difficult to tell if a cell is cancerous or not.”

Using a different type of fluorescent dye, Bi and Yapici have also been able to verify the presence of free radicals in mitochondria–organelles that generate most of the cell’s energy–within colon cancer cells. “We do more than label mitochondria,” said Bi. “We are focusing on detecting oxidative stress, which is characteristic of many pathologies, including Parkinson’s, stroke and cancer.”

The fluorescent dyes could be used for quick, safe, inexpensive diagnostic tests, Bi said. “Just put a cell sample on a slide, add the dye, and wait 30 minutes for it to go to the specific organelles,” she said. Then look at it under a microscope.

“These novel fluorescent probes will have great potential for biomedical applications,” said James Russo of Columbia University in supporting their nomination for the Rath Award. “This project is especially exciting because the new compounds already show a dramatic improvement over a probe that is currently on the market.”

Yapici has been key to this research, Bi said. “She is an absolutely outstanding student,” she said. “She works very hard; to demonstrate one fluorescent dye, she will test it under 2,000 experimental conditions. And we will meet at two or three o’clock in the morning to do our work, because not many people are working on the fluorescent microscope at that time.”

Yapici has also been a willing collaborator, working with colleagues at Columbia and Northwestern universities on recent papers as well as with faculty in other departments at Michigan Tech.

Bi expressed her appreciation to her department chair, Professor Sarah Green. “A paper Sarah wrote back in 1990 in this area inspired me,” she said. “She is a pioneer in this field.” And she also thanked Bruce Seely, dean of sciences and arts, for his assistance, saying, “He gives pre-tenure faculty a great deal of support.”

As recipients of the Rath Award, Bi and Yapici will split a cash prize of $2,000.

Published in Tech Today.


New theses and dissertations available in the Library

The Graduate School is pleased to announce new theses and dissertations are now available in the J.R. van Pelt and Opie Library from the following programs:

  • Biological Sciences
  • Chemical Engineering
  • Chemistry
  • Civil Engineering
  • Electrical Engineering
  • Forest Ecology and Management
  • Geophysics
  • Materials Science and Engineering
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Rhetoric and Technical Communication


New theses and dissertations available in the Library

The Graduate School is pleased to announce new theses and dissertations are now available in the J.R. van Pelt and Opie Library from the following programs:

  • Applied Ecology
  • Biological Sciences
  • Chemistry
  • Civil Engineering
  • Electrical Engineering
  • Environmental Engineering
  • Forest Ecology and Management
  • Forest Molecular Genetics and Biotechnology
  • Geology
  • Mathematical Sciences
  • Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics


PhD Internship Opportunities with Proctor and Gamble

Procter & Gamble’s Doctoral Recruiting Program is currently accepting applications for a limited number of internship opportunities for students pursuing PhDs in most Engineering (all disciplines), Chemistry (all disciplines), Life Sciences (all disciplines), Mathematical Science, Material Science, Veterinary Science, and Nutrition.  The program is a paid, full time summer internship at our Cincinnati, OH or Boston, MA research facilities. The preferred period for the 10 to 12 week internship is June 1 to September 1. At P&G, Intern sessions are considered temporary employment, with a predicted ending point.  No full-time employment commitments are made; however, depending on satisfactory completion of certain criteria, candidates may be considered for full-time positions upon obtaining their PhD.

To Apply:

  1. Please go to www.experiencepg.com
  2. Click on Search Jobs
  3. Enter Job #RND00002218
  4. Click Apply

New Dissertations Available in the Library

The Graduate School is pleased to announce new dissertations are now available in the J.R. van Pelt and Opie Library from the following programs:

  • Chemistry
  • Engineering Physics
  • Mathematical Sciences
  • Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics
  • Physics
  • Rhetoric and Technical Communication


Carbon Foam: The Key Ingredient of a Better Battery?

A lighter, greener, cheaper, longer-lasting battery. Who wouldn’t want that?

Tech researchers are working on it. Actually, their design is a twist on what’s called an asymmetric capacitor, a new type of electrical storage device that’s half capacitor, half battery. It may be a marriage made in heaven.

Capacitors store an electrical charge physically and have important advantages: they are lightweight and can be recharged (and discharged) rapidly and almost indefinitely. Plus, they generate very little heat, an important issue for electronic devices. However, they can only make use of about half of their stored charge.

Batteries, on the other hand, store electrical energy chemically and can release it over longer periods at a steady voltage. And they can usually store more energy than a capacitor. But batteries are heavy and take time to charge, and even the best can’t be recharged forever.

Enter asymmetric capacitors, which bring together the best of both worlds. On the capacitor side, energy is stored by electrolyte ions that are physically attracted to the charged surface of a carbon anode. Combined with a battery-style cathode, this design delivers nearly double the energy of a standard capacitor.

Now, Tech researchers have incorporated a novel material on the battery side to make an even better asymmetric capacitor.

Their cathode relies on nickel oxyhydroxide, the same material used in rechargeable nickel-cadmium or nickel-metal hydride batteries. “In most batteries that contain nickel oxyhydroxide, metallic nickel serves as a mechanical support and a current collector,” said chemistry professor Bahne Cornilsen, who has studied nickel electrodes for a number of years, initially with NASA support. A few years ago, the team had a chance to experiment with something different: Cornilsen suggested replacing the nickel with carbon foam.

Carbon foam has advantages over nickel. “It’s lighter and cheaper, so we thought maybe we could use it as a scaffold, filling its holes with nickel oxyhydroxide,” said Tony Rogers, associate professor of chemical engineering.

Carbon foam has a lot of holes to fill. “The carbon foam we are using has 72 percent porosity,” Rogers said. “That means 72 percent of its volume is empty space, so there’s plenty of room for the nickel oxyhydroxide. The carbon foam could also be made of renewable biomass, and that’s attractive.”

But how many times can you recharge their novel asymmetric capacitor? Nobody knows; so far, they haven’t been able to wear it out. “We’ve achieved over 127,000 cycles,” Rogers said.

Other asymmetric capacitors have similar numbers, but none have the carbon-foam edge that could make them even more desirable to consumers.

“Being lighter would give it a real advantage in handheld power tools and consumer electronics,” said Rogers. Hybrid electric vehicles are another potential market, since an asymmetric capacitor can charge and discharge more rapidly than a normal battery, making it useful for regenerative braking.

The group has applied for a patent on its new technology. Chemical engineering professor Michael Mullins is also a member of the research team. Graduate students contributing to the project are PhD graduate Matthew Chye and PhD student Wen Nee Yeo of the chemical engineering department and MS student Padmanaban Sasthan Kuttipillai and PhD student Jinjin Wang of the chemistry department.

The research is funded by the US Department of Energy, the Michigan Universities Commercialization Initiative, the Michigan Tech Research Excellence Fund and the Michigan Space Grant Consortium.

by Marcia Goodrich, senior writer
Published in Tech Today


New theses and dissertations available in the Library

The Graduate School is pleased to announce new theses and dissertations are now available in the J.R. van Pelt and Opie Library from the following programs:

  • Chemical Engineering
  • Chemistry
  • Civil Engineering
  • Electrical Engineering
  • Environmental Engineering
  • Forest Ecology and Management
  • Geological Engineering
  • Geology
  • Geophysics
  • Industrial Archaeology
  • Mathematical Sciences
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics


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

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.