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    ECE Master’s Defense: Chinmay Rajaram Kondekar

    by Electrical and Computer Engineering

    Electrical Engineering Master’s candidate Chinmay Kondekar (advisor: Aleksandr Sergeyev), will present his master’s defense at 11 a.m. Tuesday (April 13) via Zoom

    The title of his presentation is “Integration of Robotic and Electro-Pneumatic Systems Using Advanced Control and Communication Schemes.” 


    Graduate Research Colloquium 2021

    by Graduate Student Government

    This year’s Graduate Research Colloquium organized by the Graduate Student Government was hosted virtually due to COVID restrictions. There were in total 48 presentations — 17 poster presenters and 31 oral presenters.

    Poster presentations took place in a pre-recorded video style and the oral sessions were hosted live via Zoom. You can watch all the poster videos and recordings for the oral sessions here. Each presentation was scored by two judges from the same field of research.

    Participants were able to gain valuable feedback from these judges before presenting their research at an actual conference. It was stiff competition amongst all presenters. Following are the winners for each of these sessions.

    Of the many presentations were the following by two graduate students affiliated with the College of Computing.

    Simulating the Spread of Infectious Diseases
    Meara Pellar-Kosbar, Data Science

    This simulation is designed to show how a fictional viral illness could spread among people in a virtual room. Over the course of the virtual simulation, a number of automatic simulated people called subjects will move about an adjustable virtual grid. During this time, subjects will come into contact with each other and with item cells in the virtual room. Subjects will be exposed to this fictional virus via contact with other subjects, items, and via the air when within a certain distance of a contagious subject. The viral counts of each subject will be tracked and shown as the simulation runs, showing how the actions of the subjects’ affects their viral counts.

    Cultural Competence Effects of Repeated Implicit Bias Training
    Karen Colbert, Social Sciences

    Karen Colbert is a PhD student in the Computational Sciences and Engineering department.

    Abstract: Diversity training literature suggests that mandatory and recurrent sessions should maximize training efficacy, but research has primarily focused on single, brief training sessions that are often voluntary. Michigan Tech is one of few universities to implement required and repeated diversity training for all faculty who serve on search, tenure, and promotion committees. The goal of this study is to evaluate the training’s effectiveness, as well as to fill the gap in research on mandatory recurring diversity training. To do this, we anonymously surveyed faculty members on their knowledge, attitudes, and skills related to content from the Diversity Literacy program and scored responses to create a single composite score for each participant. We hypothesized that composite Cultural Competency Score (CCS) would be higher for faculty who 1) have taken more refresher trainings, and 2) completed training more recently. This study included 130 total respondents (large sample), 69 of whom provided their Diversity Literacy completion information anonymously through Human Resources (small sample). Composite CCS did not differ significantly by frequency of training, H(2)=3.78, p=.151. CCS did differ significantly by years since last training, F(2,63)=4.436, p=.016. Results from both large and small groups showed no statistical significant relationship between CCS and faculty committee service. CCS was negatively correlated with years employed at Tech in both the large (r=-0.363, p=0.002) and small (r = -0.258, p=0.01) samples. This relationship between low CCS and longer employment at Tech may additionally be related to the Diversity Literacy program’s implementation in 2010. Qualitative responses were also collected regarding training material that faculty found most memorable (N=102) and most confident to put into practice (N=93).

    View all the Research Colloquium abstracts here.


    Cyber Forum With MTU Army ROTC

    by Major Daniel F. Gwosch, Professor of Military Science

    Are you interested in a DoD career in Cyber Security after Michigan Tech? Join the Arctic Warrior Cadets and learn about DoD Cyber from a panel of subject matter experts.  The presentation will be held at 1 p.m. tomorrow (April 9).

    Presenting are:

    • Colonel Silas Calhoun (US Army, Cyber)
    • 1LT Lisa Hozey (Army Reserve, Cyber)
    •  CPT Scott Ardis (Army Reserve, Cyber)
    • Capt. Chris Jamison (USAF, Cyber)

    This event will be a virtual event and is intended to provide information on current Cyber activities being conducted by US Army Cyber and the Joint DoD community of experts


    Weihua Zhou, CC, to Present Lecture April 8

    by Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics

    The net virtual graduate Seminar Speaker will be held at 4 p.m. tomorrow (April 8) via Zoom.

    Weihua Zhou (CC) will present “Artificial intelligence for medical image analysis: our approaches. “

    Zhou, is an assistant professor of applied computing at Michigan Tech. He has been doing research on medical imaging and informatics since 2008. Attend virtually.

    View the University Events Calendar, which includes a registration link and additional information about Dr. Zhou and his research.


    Get to Know Dr. Sangyoon Han, Biomedical Engineering


    Dr. Sangyoon Han is an assistant professor in Michigan Tech’s Biomedical Engineering department, and an affiliated assistant professor in the Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics department. He is also advisor to the Korean Students Association. He has been with Michigan Tech since 2017.

    Han recently joined the Institute of Computing and Cybersystems and its Data Sciences research group. His primary research interests are in mechanobiology, cell migration, and image data modeling. His research goals include applying computer vision to microscopic images to capture meaningful information, and he’s looking for collaborators.

    “Anyone with a good machine learning background is encouraged to contact me to discuss potential research,” he says. “Also, students who learned assignment problems or particle tracking are encouraged to contact me to discuss potential tracking-related projects.”

    Teaching and Mentoring

    Han’s teaching interests include computer vision for microscopic images, fluid mechanics, cell biomechanics and mechanobiology, and soft tissue mechanics. This academic year, he instructed Computer Vision for Microscopic Images in the Fall semester, and Fluid Mechanics this Spring.

    Han enjoys teaching and interacting with students, “and feel their energy, too.” He says he makes a deliberate effort in his classes to pause from time to time so that his students can ask questions.

    Han advises two Biomedical Engineering Ph.D. students, Nikhil Mittal and Mohanish Chandurkar.

    “Nik is working on finding myosin-independent mechanosensitivity mechanism for stiffness sensing, and Mohanish works on the project finding mechano-transmission for fluid shear stress sensing by endothelial cells,” he says.

    Research Aspirations

    Han’s Mechanobiology Lab is interested in finding fundamental mechanisms governing mechanotransduction, and how cells sense mechanical forces and convert them into biochemical signals.

    “We image cells and associated forces using high-resolution live imaging, which we analyze to obtain statistically meaningful quantity of data,” Han explains. “We apply force-measuring and molecular-imaging/analysis technologies for stiffness sensing, shear flow sensing, adhesion assembly, and cancer mechanobiology.”

    Han is working to gain a thorough understanding of the mechano-chemical interaction between cancer cells and their microenvironment, and develop a an effective mechano-therapeutic strategy to stop the progression of cancer, and breast cancer in particular. Ultimately, he wants to apply that knowledge to cancer mechanobiology

    Han is principal investigator of a three-year NIH/NIGMS research project, “Nascent Adhesion-Based Mechano-transmission for Extracellular Matrix Stiffness Sensing.” The research aims to determine whether newly-born adhesions can sense tissue stiffness through the accurate measurement of the mechanical force and molecular recruitment of early adhesion proteins.

    Some Background

    In 2012, Han received his Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Washington in the areas of cell mechanics, multiphysics modeling, and bioMEMS.

    For his postdoctoral training, he joined the Computational Cell Biology lab led by Dr. Gaudenz Danuser in the Cell Biology department of Harvard Medical School. In 2014, he joined the UT Southwestern (University of Texas) Department of Cell Biology and Bioinformatics. Han received his B.S and M.S. degrees in mechanical engineering at Seoul National University, Korea, in 2002 and 2004, respectively.

    Han holds several patents and in 2015, he developed an open-source TFM (Traction Force Microscopy) Package, which is shared via his lab’s website: hanlab.biomed.mtu.edu/software.

    Beyond Research and Teaching

    Han loves science and discovering something new in his research investigations. Beyond his work as a professor and scientist, he describes himself as a husband to Sunny, and a dad to his son, Caleb.

    “I am just a normal Korean who likes singing and dancing,” he says. “Unfortunately, my voice is still recovering from surgery, but I hope to get back to it soon. I also like to listen to all kinds of music, including hip-hop, classics, and pop.”

    He appreciates a good sense of humor, but he says that being humorous in American English is something he continues to learn.

    Han says he tries to be “normal” and not too nerd-like when he’s not pursuing his research, but “there are times when I am making my own hypothesis about some phenomena I observe in my daily life.”

    Han enjoys life at Michigan Tech and in the Cooper Country. He likes getting to know his energetic students and he finds Michigan Tech faculty members very strong and collegial. He also enjoys the snow, hockey, and the mountains.

    “I really like the snow here. I am already sad that the weather is becoming too mild!” he confirms. “It’s also a safe environment to raise kids, which is a big plus.”

    And he likes his academic department. “Everyone is so nice in the Biomedical Engineering program, they have been so welcoming and appreciative my research,” Han says. “It’s a family-like environment.”


    Active Research

    1R15GM135806-01 (09/16/2019 – 08/31/2022)

    Funding Agency: NIH/NIGMS

    Nascent Adhesion-Based Mechano-transmission for Extracellular Matrix Stiffness Sensing

    Project Goals: To determine whether newly-born adhesions can sense tissue stiffness by accurate measurement of mechanical force and of molecular recruitment of early adhesion proteins using traction force microscopy and computer vision techniques.
    Role: Principal Investigator


    Additional Information

    The Mechanobiology Lab studies mechanobiology, particularly how adherent cells can sense and respond to mechanical stiffness of the extracellular matrix. To investigate this, the lab has established experimental and computational frameworks for force measurement and adhesion dynamics quantification. Researchers apply these frameworks, with cutting edge computer vision technique, on live-cell microscope images to investigate the fundamental mechanism underlying mechanosensation in normal cells, and the biomechanical signature of the diseased cells whose signaling has gone awry.

    The Institute of Computing and Cybersystems (ICC) creates and supports an arena in which faculty and students work collaboratively across organizational boundaries in an environment that mirrors contemporary technological innovation. The ICC’s 60+ members, in six research centers, represent more than 20 academic disciplines at Michigan Tech. https://www.mtu.edu/icc/

    The ICC Center for Data Sciences (DataS) focuses on the research of data sciences education, algorithms, mathematics, and applications. https://www.mtu.edu/icc/centers/data-sciences/

    The National Institutes of Health (NIH), a part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, is the nation’s medical research agency — making important discoveries that improve health and save lives. https://www.nih.gov/

    The National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS) supports basic research that increases understanding of biological processes and lays the foundation for advances in disease diagnosis, treatment, and prevention. https://www.nigms.nih.gov/


    Recent Publications

    • Han, S. J.; Azarova, E. V.; Whitewood, A. J.; Bachir, A.; Guttierrez, E.; Groisman, A.; Horwitz, A. R.; Goult, B. T.; Dean, K. M.; Danuser, G. Pre-Complexation of Talin and Vinculin without Tension Is Required for Efficient Nascent Adhesion Maturation. eLife 2021, 10, e66151. https://doi.org/10.7554/eLife.66151.
    • Schäfer, C., Ju, Y., Tak, Y., Han, S.J., Tan, E., Shay, J.W., Danuser, G., Holmqvist, M., Bubley, G. (2020) TRA-1-60-positive cells found in the peripheral blood of prostate cancer patients correlate with metastatic disease. Heliyon 6(1), e03263.
    • Isogai, T., Dean, K.M., Roudot, P., Shao, Q., Cillay, J.D., Welf, E.S., Driscoll, M.K., Royer, S.P., Mittal, N., Chang, B., Han, S.J., Fiolka, R., Danuser, G., Direct Arp2/3-vinculin binding is essential for cell spreading, but only on compliant substrates and in 3D, BioRxiv, 2019
    • Mohan, A.S., Dean, K.M., Isogai, T., Kasitinon, S.Y., Murali, V.S., Roudot, P., Groisman, A., Reed, D.K., Welf, E.S., Han, S.J., Noh, J., and Danuser, G. (2019). Enhanced Dendritic Actin Network Formation in Extended Lamellipodia Drives Proliferation in Growth-Challenged Rac1P29S Melanoma Cells. Developmental Cell, 49(3), pp.444-460.
    • Manifacier I., Milan, J., Beussman, K., Han, S.J., Sniadecki, N.J., About, I (2019) The consequence of large-scale rigidity on actin network tension. In press. Comp Meth Biomech Biomed Eng, 2019 Oct;22(13):1073-1082.
    • Costigliola, N., Ding, L., Burckhardt, C.J., Han, S.J., Gutierrez, E., Mota, A., Groisman, A., Mitchison, T.J., and Danuser, G. (2017) Vimentin directs traction stress. PNAS2017 114 (20) 5195-5200.
    • Han, S.J., Rodriguez M.L., Al-Rekabi, Z., Sniadecki, N.J. (2016) Spatial and Temporal Coordination of Traction Forces in One-Dimensional Cell Migration, Cell Adhesion & Migration. 10(5): 529-539.
    • Oudin, M.J., Barbier, L., Schäfer, C, Kosciuk, T., Miller, M.A., Han, S.J., Jonas, O., Lauffenburger, D.A., Gertler, F.B. (2016) Mena confers resistance to Paclitaxel in triple-negative breast cancer. Mol Cancer Ther.DOI: 10.1158/1535-7163. MCT-16-0413. 
    • Milan,J., Manifacier, I., Beussman, K.M., Han, S.J., Sniadecki, N.J., About, I., Chabrand, P. (2016) In silico CDM model sheds light on force transmission in cell from focal adhesions to nucleus. J Biomechanics. 49(13):2625-2634. 
    • Lomakin. A.J., Lee, K.C., Han, S.J., Bui, A., Davidson, M., Mogilner, A., Danuser G. (2015) Competition for molecular resources among two structurally distinct actin networks defines a bistable switch for cell polarization, Nature Cell Biology. 17, 1435–1445
    • Han, S.J., Oak, Y., Groisman, A., Danuser, G. (2015) Traction Microscopy to Identify Force Modulation in Sub-resolution Adhesions, Nature Methods. 12(7): 653–656

    Lode Centennial Banquet Friday

    by Michigan Tech Lode

    Join the 2020-2021 staff of the Michigan Tech Lode as we celebrate one hundred years on Michigan Tech’s campus. We would not be here today without alumni, readers, and the support of staff. While we are restricted to Zoom, this allows us to invite many more people.

    We will begin the celebration with a history of The Lode, then move on to introductions of the current staff. After this, we would like to hear about your experience with The Lode, fun memories, and any other comments you’d like to share. Those who register will be entered into a raffle to win a Lode hat.

    We will be picking two winners. All members of the past and present Michigan Tech community are encouraged to attend, especially any Lode alumni. To register, click here. To view more information, visit our website.


    National Flash Drive Day

    by Van Pelt and Opie Library

    National Flash Drive Day occurs on April 5, the day the patent application for flash drives was filed in the U.S. In many years this coincides with National Library Week. To celebrate, the Van Pelt and Opie Library is handing out one free flash drive to the first 150 lucky patrons. Each flash drive contains a file directing users to an interactive patent that explores various parts of a patent document. Check it out for yourself at the library’s Patent & Trademark guide.

    National Flash Drive Day is a great opportunity to highlight the “first to file” concept that the United States moved to in 2013. We celebrate this invention on April 5 because this is the day that the patent for the USB flash drive was filed in the United States. Since 2013, a patent’s filing date has been recognized by the USPTO as the date an invention belongs to the inventors. Though this law wasn’t in effect when the patent for the flash drive was filed in 2000, this shines a light on the fascinating complexities of intellectual property (IP) law and the importance of learning its intricacies for entrepreneurs.

    If you have IP questions, Michigan Tech’s Patent and Trademark Resource Center (PTRC) is a great first stop for finding answers. The Van Pelt and Opie Library is home to the Upper Peninsula’s only PTRC. Each of the 83+ PTRCs in the nation is part of a nationwide network of public, state, and academic libraries designated by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) to support the public with trademark and patent assistance.

    For more information or to make an appointment, email library@mtu.edu and a representative will assist you remotely.