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National Biomechanics Day Outreach with Local Schools

Student presenter stands in front of monitor inside SDC multipurpose room talking to high school studentsOn April 10, 2019, the Department of Kinesiology and Integrative Physiology (KIP) took part in the international celebration of National Biomechanics Day by inviting local high school teachers and students to engage in fun, hands-on activities focused on biomechanics.

Ben Cockfield, Kinesiology graduate student, coordinated the event and helped organize the lab activities to coincide with this year’s theme of, “Science Meets Fun on National Biomechanics Day.” Students visited three separate biomechanics labs on campus and activities were presented by teams of faculty, graduate, and undergraduate students.

Carolyn Duncan‘s biomechanics laboratory captured students’ attention with their motion analysis system by analyzing Michigan Tech basketball player, Abbie Botz’s, motion while shooting a basketball. Nehemiah McIntyre, a senior Biomedical Engineering Student, helped students measure the electrical activity of their muscles with electromyography (EMG) technology and explore how varying exercises engage different muscles.Alex Gabe, kinesiology graduate student, and undergraduate students Jana Hendrickson and Lily Hart, walked students through a real-world research study in Steven Elmer’s exercise physiology laboratory. This experiment helped students observe the efficiency of arm swinging during various gait patterns and put them to the test by rating their exertion during each type of gait.

Students also had the opportunity to visit the Central Michigan Doctor of Physical Therapy School on campus. Cam Williams, Site Coordinator for CMU DPT Program MTU Satellite, and Physical Therapy students Alicia Denherder and Colin Seidowski, demonstrated the importance of balance by engaging students to experiment with the various senses that affect balance while capturing their movement on force plates.

This year, graduate students Stephen Hook, Alex Gabe, and Thomas Bye, along with undergraduate students Jana Hendrickson and Lily Hart, visited physics, biology, and anatomy and physiology classrooms in Hancock as well as Chassell to bring National Biomechanics day to students. This team of students presented an interactive lever-arm model of the human elbow for the students to construct, providing a hands-on way to gain a better understanding of the mechanical systems that exist in the human body.

It is so rewarding when you observe them get that “ahh-ha!” light-bulb moment. It is outreach like this that is helping inspire the future generations of health professionals — Jana Hendrickson

Elmer’s outreach team also led biomechanics activities at the high schools in Marquette, Ironwood, Iron River, Crystal Falls, Florence, Wisconsin, and Eagle River, Wisconsin.

Altogether, the outreach team reached over 300 high school students across 10 schools in the Western Upper Peninsula and Northern Wisconsin. These opportunities have been a positive experience for local schools and teachers as well as faculty and students. This outreach work is supported by grants from the Michigan Space Grant Consortium and The Physiological Society.


Call for Applications: Songer Research Award for Human Health Research

2018-19 Songer Award Recipients. Pictured Left to Right: Abby Sutherland, Billiane Kenyon, Jeremy Bigalke, Rupsa Basu, Matthew Songer, and Laura Songer.

Matthew Songer, (Biological Sciences ’79) and Laura Songer (Biological Sciences ’80) have generously donated funds to the College of Sciences and Arts (CSA) to support a research project competition for undergraduate and graduate students. Remembering their own eagerness to engage in research during their undergraduate years, the Songers established these awards to stimulate and encourage opportunities for original research by current Michigan Tech students. The College is extremely grateful for the Songers’ continuing interest in, and support of, Michigan Tech’s programs in human health and medicine. This is the second year of the competition.

Students may propose an innovative medically-oriented research project in any area of human health. The best projects will demonstrate the potential to have broad impact on improving human life. This research will be pursued in consultation with faculty members within the College of Sciences and Arts. In the Spring of 2019, the Songer’s gift will support one award for undergraduate research ($4,000) and a second award for graduate research ($6,000). Matching funds from the College may allow two additional awards.

Any Michigan Tech student interested in exploring a medically related question under the guidance of faculty in the College of Sciences and Arts may apply. Students majoring in any degree program in the college, including both traditional (i.e., biological sciences, kinesiology, chemistry) and nontraditional (i.e., physics, psychology, social science, bioethics, computer science, mathematics) programs related to human health may propose research projects connected to human health. Students are encouraged to propose original, stand-alone projects with expected durations of 6 – 12 months. The committee also encourages applications from CSA students who seek to continue research projects initiated through other campus mechanisms, such as the Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF) program, Pavlis Honors College activities or the Graduate Research Forum (GRF).

Funds from a Songer Award may be used to purchase or acquire research materials and equipment needed to perform the proposed research project. Access to and research time utilizing University core research facilities, including computing, may be supported. Requests to acquire a personal computer will be scrutinized and must be fully justified. Page charges for publications also may be covered with award funds, as will travel to appropriate academic meetings. This award may not be used for salary or compensation for the student or consulting faculty.

To apply:

  • Students should prepare a research project statement (up to five pages in length) that describes the background, methods to be used, and research objectives. The statement also should provide a detailed description of the experiments planned and expected outcomes. Students must indicate where they will carry out their project and attach a separate list of references/citations to relevant scientific literature.
  • The application package also should provide a concise title and brief summary (1 page) written for lay audiences.
  • A separate budget page should indicate how funds will be used.
  • A short letter from a consulting faculty member must verify that the student defined an original project and was the primary author of the proposal. The faculty member should also confirm her/his willingness to oversee the project. This faculty letter is not intended to serve as a recommendation on behalf of the student’s project.

Submit applications as a single PDF file to the Office of the College of Sciences and Arts by 4:00 p.m. Monday, April 22. Applications may be emailed to djhemmer@mtu.edu.

The selection committee will consist of Matthew Songer, Laura Songer, Shekhar Joshi (BioSci) and Megan Frost (KIP). The committee will review undergraduate and graduate proposals separately and will seek additional comments about the proposed research on an ad-hoc basis from reviewers familiar with the topic of the research proposal. Primary review criteria will be the originality and potential impact of the proposed study, as well as its feasibility and appropriateness for Michigan Tech’s facilities.

The committee expects to announce the recipients by early May of 2019. This one-time research award will be administered by the faculty advisor of the successful student investigator. Students will be expected to secure any necessary IRB approval before funds will be released. Funds must be expended by the end of spring semester 2020; extensions will not be granted. Recipients must submit a detailed report to the selection committee, including a description of results and an accounting of finds utilized, no later than June 30, 2020.

Any questions may be directed to Megan Frost (mcfrost@mtu.edu), David Hemmer (djhemmer@mtu.edu) or Shekhar Joshi (cpjoshi@mtu.edu).


Welcome to Dreamland: Michigan Tech Sleep Research Laboratory Opens

Sleep monitor

The recently opened Michigan Tech Sleep Research Laboratory combines sleep analysis technologies to provide a window into the effects of sleep on cardiovascular health.

The two-bed sleep study facility is located in the Student Development Complex and has a core staff of two faculty researchers, a sleep physician, a registered nurse who is also a certified sleep technician, a lead doctoral student researcher, as well as other graduate students and undergraduate students.

Studies at the facility hinge on research into the effects of sleep on cardiovascular health, contributing to the broader field of sleep research—a field that is growing rapidly.

Read the full story on mtu.edu/news.


Stephanie Dietrich’s Physical Therapy Experience

Stephanie DietrichWhen I first decided to pursue a career in physical therapy (PT) I had no clue how to go about the application process or what steps were involved. Being clueless is OK. There’s a lot of people in the same boat. Start by talking to your advisor and developing a plan. Current PT students are also an excellent resource because they’ve “been there”.  In addition, Michigan Technological University provides many other resources to support students on this path (the writing center was one I highly recommend using for essays).


Graduate School Announces Fall 2018 Award Recipients

Kevin PhillipsWe are happy to announce grad student Kevin Phillips (Integrative Physiology) is among the winners for the Doctoral Finishing Fellowship Award. Congratulations!

Finishing Fellowships provide support to PhD candidates who are close to completing their degrees. These fellowships are available through the generosity of alumni and friends of the University. They are intended to recognize outstanding PhD candidates who are in need of financial support to finish their degrees and are also contributing to the attainment of goals outlined in The Michigan Tech Plan.


KIP Coordinates National Biomechanics Day Outreach with Local Schools


Slide2National Biomechanics Day is Thursday (April 6), a world-wide event for high-school teachers and students to advance the science and education of human biomechanics.

This year’s theme is, “Science Meets Fun on National Biomechanics Day.” The Kinesiology and Integrative Physiology (KIP) Department has collaborated with several departments across campus to invite local students to engage in fun, hands-on activities focused on biomechanics research.

Students will start their visit with KIP faculty, Steve Elmer and Tejin Yoon. Elmer will engage students in building a wooden apparatus that they will use to investigate the influence of rotational inertia on turning performance. To do this students will navigate a slalom course with and without the wooden apparatus. Yoon will demonstrate the many tools used to analyze and describe human motion during exercise, and students will even get a chance to test their strength compared to Michigan Tech football players.

Students will also have the opportunity to visit additional biomechanics laboratories across campus. Physical Therapist, Caroline Gwaltney, and several Central Michigan University doctorate of physical therapy students will demonstrate how foot position can alter posture.

Students will also make imprints of their foot type and analyze how different foot type impacts movement across multiple joints.

In Mo Rastgaar’s (MEEM) HIROlab, students will place EMG sensors on their arms and move a robotic arm, as well as investigate an agile robotic prosthesis as it moves on a circular treadmill.

Finally, students will wear trackable sensors to experiment with creating sound from their own movement and dance in Myounghoon “Philart” Jeon’s (CLS) Mind Music and Machine lab.

The event will begin at 9 a.m. Thursday with lab activities scheduled to begin at 9:10 a.m.


Local Students Win Portage Health Foundation Making a Difference Scholarships to Michigan Tech

1491240303Four students who are entering Michigan Tech this fall to pursue health-related careers have received $8,000 Making a Difference scholarships from the Portage Health Foundation. Another 10 entering first-year students received $1,000 awards.

 

The $8,000 scholarships went to:

  • Peter Alger, Houghton, computer engineering
  • Alexa Destrampe, Lake Linden, exercise science
  • Hannah Kariniemi, Calumet, biological sciences
  • Karmyn Polakowski, Houghton, biological sciences

Receiving $1,000 scholarships were:

  • Blake Dupuis, Lake Linden, exercise science
  • Lauren Gabe, L’Anse, biological sciences
  • Austin Goudge, Houghton, medical laboratory science
  • Bella Nutini, Hancock, exercise science
  • Celia Peterson, Calumet, biomedical engineering
  • Anna Pietila, L’Anse, biological sciences
  • Lindsay Sandell, Houghton, biomedical engineering
  • Brooke Tienhaara, Calumet, biological sciences
  • Nicholas Walli, Finlandia University, biological sciences
  • Sloane Zenner, Houghton, mechanical engineering

The students are from Houghton, Keweenaw, Baraga or Ontonagon counties.

The 14 recipients of the 2017 awards have an average GPA of 3.81. Their interests reflect a broad spectrum of majors including biological sciences, exercise science, biomedical engineering, computer engineering, medical laboratory science and mechanical engineering. The scholarship winners flip Michigan Tech’s male to female ratio of 3:1, with 10 female and 4 male recipients.

The scholarships are part of a Michigan Tech-Portage Health Foundation partnership established in 2015 to support health-related research and education, jobs and community health. The scholarships were first awarded in 2016.

“The awards reflect the high-caliber student talent we have locally, thanks to exceptional schools, outreach programming and parent support,” says Jodi Lehman, director of foundations at Michigan Tech. “We know that student talent is key in supporting the success of college peers and inspiring K-12 students to pursue health science and engineering pathways.

The Portage Health Foundation and Michigan Tech share the long-term goal of retaining or recruiting back local workforce talent — whether that be orthodontists, doctors, physical therapists, orthopedic surgeons, biomedical engineers or professionals in the field of medical informatics. Scholarships ultimately play a critical role in helping to grow our local economy while fostering healthy communities.”

At a dinner for finalists, the scholarship recipients heard from current students also supported by the Portage Health Foundation through the Undergraduate Research Internship Program (URIP). Both speakers shared their internship experiences and career goals.

Read the full story.


Stephanie Dietrich in Undergrad Research Symposium

StephanieDStephanie Dietrich’s research, Subjective and Objective Assessments of Sleep Differences in Male and Female Collegiate Athletes, was presented at Michigan Tech’s 2017 Undergraduate Research Symposium this past week.

With the assistance of Jason Carter, she hypothesized that female athletes would demonstrate improved objective, and worse subjective, assessments of sleep when compared to men.

A number of studies report that sex (i.e., male vs. female) can influence subjective and objective assessments of sleep. Specifically, women tend to report lower subjective sleep quality compared to men, yet objective assessment via actigraphy have shown a paradoxically higher sleep duration and sleep efficiency in women compared to men. The vast majority of work in this area has been limited to middle-age and older adults. Despite the importance of sleep in athletic performance, no studies to date have focused on young, healthy athletes.

The Undergraduate Research Symposium highlights the amazing cutting-edge research being conducted on Michigan Tech’s campus by some of our best and brightest undergraduate students.

The students showcasing their work today have spent a significant portion of the past year working alongside Michigan Tech faculty and graduate students to explore, discover and create new knowledge. They’ve spent long hours in the lab or out in the field designing experiments, gathering data, creating new models and testing hypotheses. They’ve applied their classroom knowledge in new and sometimes unexpected ways, and developed new skills that will propel them forward in their careers.


KIP Student Thomas Bye participates in Undergrad Research Symposium

IMG_6206Thomas Bye presented his research, The Effects of Respiratory Muscle Fatigue on Upper-Body Exercise Performance, at the 2017 Undergraduate Research Symposium.

With the assistance of Dr. Steven Elmer, Bye evaluated the effects of respiratory muscle fatigue on upper-body exercise performance. Through his research, we will have a better understanding of the respiratory system, elite sport performance, and exercise prescription for patients with COPD and asthma.

The Undergraduate Research Symposium highlights the amazing cutting-edge research being conducted on Michigan Tech’s campus by some of our best and brightest undergraduate students.

The students showcasing their work today have spent a significant portion of the past year working alongside Michigan Tech faculty and graduate students to explore, discover and create new knowledge. They’ve spent long hours in the lab or out in the field designing experiments, gathering data, creating new models and testing hypotheses. They’ve applied their classroom knowledge in new and sometimes unexpected ways, and developed new skills that will propel them forward in their careers.


KIP Student Sydney Smuck participates in Undergrad Research Symposium

unnamedSydney Smuck’s research, Smart Exercise Application with Wearable Motion Sensor: Validity & Usability, was presented at Michigan Tech’s 2017 Undergraduate Research Symposium this past week.

With the assistance of Tejin Yoon, Smuck looked to improve the commitment levels of a home-based exercise program, a smart exercise application with a wearable motion sensor.

The Undergraduate Research Symposium highlights the amazing cutting-edge research being conducted on Michigan Tech’s campus by some of our best and brightest undergraduate students.

The students showcasing their work today have spent a significant portion of the past year working alongside Michigan Tech faculty and graduate students to explore, discover and create new knowledge. They’ve spent long hours in the lab or out in the field designing experiments, gathering data, creating new models and testing hypotheses. They’ve applied their classroom knowledge in new and sometimes unexpected ways, and developed new skills that will propel them forward in their careers.