Tag: College of Sciences and Arts

Doctoral Finishing Fellowship – Fall 2022 Recipient – Donna Susan Mathew

I started my doctoral program at the Rhetoric, Theory and Culture department at MTU in the Fall of 2017. Prior to joining MTU, I obtained a dual master’s degree in Global Media and Communications from the London School of Economics and the University of Southern California.

My research focuses on the representation of women in contemporary “item songs” in Hindi cinema, also known as Bollywood, and how these songs reflect and reinforce patriarchal attitudes and perpetuate and contribute to a growing rape culture in India. Bollywood is considered one of the biggest cultural influencers in India. Bollywood films and music play a major role in influencing people’s perception about love, romance and consent. In recent years, the Bollywood film industry and the item song genre present in these films have come under public scrutiny for their sexist, misogynistic and stereotypical representation of women as sexual objects that cater to the male gaze. Bollywood plays a huge role in the social sexualization of the youth in a conservative, patriarchal society like India where women’s role is often relegated to the household. My research seeks to understand the phenomenon of item songs and why they are a seemingly mandatory element in Bollywood cinema. My dissertation also looks at the discourse surrounding rape culture in a number of arenas in Indian society such as the legal, social, cultural, political and media landscapes. 

I would like to thank the Graduate Dean Awards Advisory Panel for bestowing upon me the Doctoral Finishing Fellowship. The fellowship will allow me to focus entirely on completing and defending my dissertation this Fall. I would also like to extend my gratitude to my co-advisors, Dr. Diane Shoos and Dr. Stefka Hristova, for their guidance, support and encouragement throughout my research journey.

Portage Health Foundation Graduate Assistantship Fall 2022 – Xuewei Cao

I am currently a PhD candidate in the Department of Mathematical Sciences. My advisor is professor Qiuying Sha. My research is in statistical genetics. I focus on the development of novel statistical methods and efficient bioinformatical tools to find genetic variants or genes related to complex diseases and traits, such as type II diabetes, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, et al. My main project is incorporating the genotype and phenotype association network to simultaneously analyze multiple phenotypes and multiple genotypes and improve the power to identify genes that are associated with complex diseases by using the constructed network. Under the supervision of Dr. Sha, I have also collaborated with the Upper Peninsula Health Plan (UPHP) in Marquette, MI since 2019 to determine the relationship between health service costs and diabetic medication compliance for patients with diabetes in the UPHP population.

I would like to express my deepest gratitude to the Portage Health Foundation for the support, which allows me to focus on such cutting-edge research here at Michigan Tech and prepare the manuscripts for publications in the coming fall. I also want to thank my advisors Professor Qiuying Sha and Professor Shuanglin Zhang for all of their valuable guidance and support over the last four years, and I am extremely grateful to the graduate program in Math Department for their constant help and generous support throughout my entire graduate school studies.

Doctoral Finishing Fellowship – Fall 2022 Recipient – Shobhit Chaturvedi

I started my doctoral research in Spring 2018 with Dr. Christo Z. Christov in the Department of Chemistry at Michigan Technological University. Before that, I completed my B. Tech. in Chemical Engineering from Rashtrasant Tukadoji Maharaj Nagpur University was working as Project Research Assistant at the Indian Institute of Technology Bombay. My research focuses on utilizing computational techniques like Molecular Dynamics (MD), Quantum Mechanics (QM), and Quantum Mechanics/ Molecular Mechanics (QM/MM) to explore structure-function relationships in enzyme catalysis. 

During my time as a PhD candidate at Michigan Tech, I have researched an NSF funded project about ethylene forming enzyme. In this project, my research involved developing an enzyme model to establish the chemical mechanism of ethylene formation and L-Arg hydroxylation. I further explored if external electric fields can switch between the two reactivities of ethylene forming enzyme, with an aim to optimize ethylene generation. I have also worked on an NIH funded project about histone demethylases, activities of which have been linked to various forms of cancers. I used molecular dynamics simulations and combined QM/MM approach to establish the enzyme catalytic mechanism and structure-function relationship. Moreover, I have developed a computational framework for identifying second coordination sphere and long-range residues relevant for catalysis through analysis of protein correlated motions. 

I am grateful to the Graduate Dean Awards Advisory Panel and the Dean for awarding me the Doctoral Finishing Fellowship. I would also like to offer my special thanks to my advisor Dr. Christo Z. Christov, for his support throughout my PhD program.

Doctoral Finishing Fellowship – Fall 2022 Recipient – Sushree Dash

My love for optics and photonics is deep in my core. I have always been fascinated and motivated by this area of physics. Everything fascinated me, from natural phenomena to optical illusions, from ray optics to wave optics, from ordinary materials to extraordinary materials with optical effects. While my journey in optics and photonics was inevitable, it never lacked an element of surprise. 

I started my PhD here at Michigan Tech in Fall 2018, in the Department of Physics with Dr. Miguel Levy as my advisor. In my research, I focus on investigating the fundamental properties of ultra-thin magneto-optics materials. The surface effects we are investigating will lead to the miniaturization of laser components named optical isolator and, thus, the miniaturization of lasers. We researched the experimental aspects of these properties and the theoretical, i.e., density functional theory aspect of it. This gives a complete picture of our investigation of the non-reciprocity property, i.e., Faraday rotation.  

During my time at Michigan Tech, I made friends and family who helped me grow as a physicist and a better human being. Now that it’s almost time for my journey at Michigan Tech to end soon, I am sure the memories and lessons learned during these five years will always stay with me and guide me in my future endeavors. 

I am indebted to the Graduate Dean Awards Advisory panel for considering and awarding me this fellowship. I am grateful to my advisor; Dr. Levy’s teachings helped me become a better person and student. He always inspired me to contribute to the community while contributing to physics. I am proud and honored to be his student.

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 – Summer 2022 Recipient – Parya Siahcheshm

In the spring of 2017, I started my journey at MTU as a Ph.D. student in Chemistry. The focus of my Ph.D. research is on the design and development of carbon dots (CDs) which are fluorescent nanomaterials with great potential in sensing and bioimaging. During my Ph.D., I could successfully synthesize high quantum yield CDs for iron ions sensing with the potential to be used in the clinical diagnosis of iron-related diseases or environmental monitoring of water quality. Also, I investigated the design of near-infrared nitrogen-doped CDs that would be ideal for bioimaging applications.

It is a great honor to receive the Doctoral Finishing Fellowship, and I am grateful to the graduate school and the Graduate Dean Awards Advisory Panel for their support. Through this fellowship, I will be able to focus on writing my dissertation and publishing my work in journals. Additionally, I would like to take this opportunity to thank my advisor, Dr. Patricia Heiden, for her help and support throughout my Ph.D. journey.

Doctoral Finishing Fellowship – Summer 2022 Recipient – Sambhawana Sharma

I started my Ph.D. journey in Fall 2017 as a graduate student in the Department of Physics under Dr. Dongyan Zhang and Dr. Yoke Khin Yap. Prior to that, I completed my Master’s degree from Tribhuvan University, Nepal. 

My Ph.D. research focuses on the synthesis and application of Boron Nitride (BN) nanostructures specifically nanotubes (1D) and dots (0D). BN nanostructures have gained much attention due to their unique optoelectronic and biocompatible properties. Controlling the diameter of BN nanotubes using Catalytic Chemical Vapor Deposition (CCVD) is one of the major challenges especially getting a smaller diameter (<20nm). I was able to reduce the diameter of the BN nanotubes to 10-20nm using CCVD in contrast to >20nm from earlier research. These small diameter nanotubes can be used in electronic as well as biomedical applications. Besides nanotubes, I have developed a procedure to synthesize BN dots, zero-dimensional fluorescent materials. I have successfully used these dots for fabricating solar cells, in the future, this can be used in solar panels for clean energy generation. Further, I am currently evaluating the potential of using these self-fluorescing dots as fluorescent tags on RNA inside cells. If successful, this can be used for bio-imaging and as an RNA therapeutic for different kinds of diseases. Initial biocompatibility and cell internalization test performed in Hela cells (cervical cancer cells) are showing promising results.   

I am thankful to my advisors, Dr. Zhang and Dr. Yap, for their constant guidance throughout my Ph.D. journey. I am extremely grateful to the Graduate Dean Awards Advisory Panel for providing this finishing fellowship award at this moment. This fellowship will help me focus more on writing my dissertation and graduate on time

Doctoral Finishing Fellowship – Summer 2022 Recipient – Tong Gao

I started my Ph.D. program in the Physics Department at Michigan Tech in the fall of 2017 and joined Dr. Nakamura’s group. There I focused on studying lithium dendrite growth in electrolytes using Monte Carlo simulations and deep neural networks in machine learning methods. Motivated by our collaborator’s experiment, I discovered a new mechanism for inhibiting the dendrite growth with large organic salts, such as ionic liquids. Through my research and coursework experiences, I have solidified my confidence in various physics subjects. These include soft-matter physics, solid-state physics, computational physics, physical chemistry, and computer science. As I approach the end of my Ph.D. program, I am currently addressing the challenge of overcoming the vast computational expense of molecular dynamics simulations for salt-free and salt-doped liquids. In order to address this, I am further developing my deep neural network models.

I have enjoyed my Ph.D. life; Houghton has the most beautiful summers I have ever seen. I greatly appreciate the Graduate Dean Awards Advisory Panel and the Dean for granting me the Finishing Fellowship. I would also like to thank my supervisor, Dr. Issei Nakamura, for his enlightening guidance throughout my research, as well as the Physics Department for all their support.

Doctoral Finishing Fellowship – Summer 2022 Recipient – Priyanka Kadav

I completed my bachelor’s in science (2012) and master’s in science (2014) both in Microbiology from India.  I worked as an intern in the Department of Molecular Biology, Bhabha Atomic Research Center, one of India’s premier nuclear research institutes. There my interest in research grew stronger, and I decided to pursue doctoral research. I moved to the US in 2015 to obtain a second master’s degree in Forest Molecular Genetics and Biotechnology. I joined the Department of Chemistry in 2017 to begin my Doctoral studies in the Laboratory of Mechanistic Glycobiology under the guidance of Dr. Tarun Dam. My doctoral research focuses on a novel protein purification technique that we developed in our lab. My other research project is based on the structure-function relationship of a mutated cancer-related protein Galectin-3. Wet-bench research, scientific journal publications and presenting my work at several conferences groomed me to become a better scientist and expanded my knowledge in the field of Protein Biochemistry and Glycobiology.

I would like to extend my sincere thanks to my advisor for his guidance and having faith in me and am also thankful to the Department of Chemistry for giving me this opportunity to conduct my doctoral research. I am grateful to the Graduate School for awarding me a Finishing Fellowship, which will be immensely helpful to finish up my doctoral studies.

Doctoral Finishing Fellowship – Summer 2022 Recipient – Jared Edwards

Born and raised in the Upper Peninsula, I started my journey in Manistique, MI and since then have slowly migrated an hour and a half northwest every handful of years. The first time was after high school where I then attended undergraduate studies at NMU and discovered I enjoyed research under some wonderful professors. The second time was to come here to MTU and conduct my doctoral research under Dr. Tarun Dam in the Lab of Mechanistic Glycobiology. We perform biochemical studies on therapeutically promising plant biomolecules as well as human proteins associated with diseases. We carry out fundamental investigations into the behavior of molecules in living systems. This has led me to learn a multitude of incredible techniques and instrumentation skills, foremost being electron microscopy here on campus which is now a passion of mine. I believe we do fascinating work while striving to always put our best foot forward. I would like to thank Michigan Tech and our graduate school for awarding me with the Finishing Fellowship, it is a great assistance to myself and our lab.