Category Archives: Research

New Funding

 

Qing-Hui Chen (KIP/HRI) is Principal Investigator on a project that has received a $459,000 research and development grant from the US Department of Health and Human Services and National Institutes of Health. The project is titled “Neural Mechanism of Sympathetic Activation in Heart Failure.” Zhiying Shan (KIP) is Co-PI of this potential three-year project.



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.


Kamm’s Research Highlighted in Unscripted

Kelly Kamm 1

Small populations in rural areas of the Upper Peninsula mean big gaps in state health care data. Kelly Kamm’s research on infant feeding seeks to bridge those gaps.

What do Beyonce, Gisele Bündchen, Mila Kunis and Blake Lively have in common? Fame and fortune, check. Breastfeeding their babies, check.

Considering these celebrities’ public endorsement of breastfeeding, it might seem like breastfeeding is popular in the United States. But that’s not the case. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), that has been trying to raise the national rate of women breastfeeding, race and socioeconomics heavily influence if a woman ever breastfeeds. The numbers are even lower for women who breastfeed for six months and longer.

Kelly Kamm, research assistant professor in the Department of Kinesiology and Integrative Physiology is unsatisfied by the CDC’s statistics. She hopes to better understand how families feed infants in the UP.

“The question ‘have you ever breastfed’ means, to some extent, did somebody try in the hospital, but it’s not really a good metric of what’s going on in the UP. We’re such a small percentage of the population, any state or national data doesn’t actually survey anybody up here, so there’s really not much known about what’s going on.”

Kelly Kamm

The full article, “How Do Upper Michigan Mothers Get Breastfeeding Support?” was featured on the Unscripted blog and written by Mariana Grohowski.


KIP Lab Featured in 2018 Michigan Tech Research Magazine

Steve Elmer Research Magazine 201712200128In Steve Elmer’s lab, researchers explore the limits of the human body in a quest to make people move—and feel—better. Elmer’s team designs cutting edge equipment and training regimes to help every body reach its highest potential, regardless of age, profession, or ability.

The benefits of strength training are many and well known: Strength training helps you maintain a healthy weight. It protects your bones and preserves your muscle mass. It helps develop better body mechanics, boosts your energy, and improves your mood. It even plays a role in disease prevention and pain management.

In fact, strength training is so beneficial that the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) recommends adults engage in a strength-training program a minimum of two non-consecutive days each week. And their recommendations don’t stop there—ACSM outlines specific types of strength-building exercises and target numbers for repetition.

So everyone should be strength training, right?

While it’s easy to say everyone should, not everyone can, at least not in a “traditional” manner.

Take, for instance, someone who uses a wheelchair or someone who has recently undergone knee surgery. Finding effective lower-body strength-training exercises that don’t overtax the heart, lungs, and joints can be a challenge. And many with old injuries run into the same problem.

Michigan Tech researchers have found a solution. Steve Elmer is an assistant professor of kinesiology and integrative physiology, an affiliated assistant professor of biological sciences, and an affiliated assistant professor of mechanical engineering. His lab is interdisciplinary, where students, participants, and researchers explore the edges of physiology.

For more on Elmer’s research, read the full story “Exercise for Every Body” published in the 2018 Michigan Tech Research Magazine.

 


Bye Receives the Horwitz/Horowitz Abstract Award

aps_masthead_logoCongrats to exercise science major, Thomas Bye, on his recent award from the American Physiological Society (APS).  Bye was one of 30 recipients of the Barbara A. Horwitz and John M. Horowitz Undergraduate Research Abstract Award for his abstract entitled “Effects of Respiratory Muscle Fatigue on Upper-Body Exercise Tolerance.”

Recipients receive $100, a 2-year membership to APS, and will present their research at the annual Experimental Biology meeting in April with an opportunity to compete for the Barbara A. Horwitz and John M. Horowitz Excellence in Undergraduate Research Award.


Jason Carter Selected for CoR Research Leader Fellowship Program

Jason Carter2017The inaugural fellowship, a highly competitive program through the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities (APLU), builds up researchers in academic leadership.

APLU’s Council on Research (CoR) brings together senior research officers working at public research universities from across the country and they have named eight individuals to its inaugural class of CoR Research Leader Fellows. One of them is Jason Carter, the chair of the Department of Kinesiology and Integrative Physiology.

As CoR puts it, the fellowship enables individuals who aspire to become vice presidents, vice provosts or vice chancellors of research to develop critical new knowledge and skills essential to research support and competitiveness.

“Shifting from thinking as an individual researcher to thinking about groups of researchers, and thinking about the institution as a whole, forces you to have a broader perspective,” Carter says. “It’s a shift to how can I help others as opposed to how can I help myself.”

Likewise, as a researcher learns to step back from the bench and see the university as a whole, they need to have a practical understanding of the processes that run research administration, development, compliance, communication and more.  Few researchers have the chance to learn about these processes within their own institution.

Carter says serving as a department chair has set him up well for the fellowship, and so far, has found the CoR program a great way to integrate that knowledge. In particular, he thinks it builds on the decision-making skills researchers develop to clarify research objectives and prioritize projects.

“As scientists, we do that all the time in our grants,” he says. “As a research administrator, you have to make those same kinds of decisions at a higher level, which requires more patience and the resolve to work with other people.”

Read the full article, published in Michigan Tech News and written by Allison Mills.


Robert Larson Receives Best Basic Science Autonomoic Research Award

A little over a year into his post-doctoral fellowship at the University of Iowa, recent Michigan Tech doctoral graduate, Robert Larson, continues to excel.  Larson was recently awarded the Best Basic Science Autonomic Research Award by the American Autonomic Society.

Larson earned his masters and doctoral degrees in Biological Sciences from Michigan Tech.  Jason Carter and Qinghui Chen from the Department of Kinesiology and Integrative Physiology served as his advisors.

AAS 2017 Rob Larson with mentor Mark
Larson with current mentor Mark Chapleau.

Students Participate in Cancer Rehabilitation Workshop

A total of 14 stCancer Rehab Workshop. croppedudents (seven exercise science, one biomedical, six physical therapy) and 15 clinicians from across the Upper Peninsula recently participated in a weekend-long cancer rehabilitation workshop.  UP Health System-Portage and the Department of Kinesiology and Integrative Physiology hosted the event in an effort to inspire future cancer rehabilitation research.

Lead by Nicole Stout DPT, CLT-LANA, FAPTA, a renowned healthcare researcher, consultant, educator, and advocate, the workshop created an excellent opportunity for students to work side-by-side with physical therapists.

Joel Kangas, a third-year graduate physical therapy student, describes the event in detail below.

UP Health System-Portage (Physical Therapy) and Michigan Tech’s Department of Kinesiology and Integrative Physiology hosted a two-day Cancer Rehabilitation Continuing Education Course. The course was led by Dr. Nicole Stout.  Stout is nationally recognized as an expert and leader in cancer rehabilitation, has given over 200 lectures, and published more than 20 peer-reviewed publications. There were over 30 individuals that participated including experienced physical therapists, graduate physical therapy students from Central Michigan University’s satellite physical therapy program, and undergraduate exercise science and biomedical engineering students from Michigan Tech. The course primarily consisted of lectures and case study breakout sessions. Additionally, student participants had the opportunity to network with physical therapists and talk with Dr. Stout. 

Dr. Stout did an incredible job of offering an exciting and interactive experience for everyone. The course has made it quite clear that physical therapy plays a crucial role in cancer rehabilitation for many forms and stages of cancer. Regardless of whether you are a physical therapist with 15+ years of experience, a graduate physical therapy student, or an undergraduate pre-physical therapy student there was much to learn from this experience.

Following the conclusion of the course, several individuals were asked to reflect on how they felt about the experience.

Colleen Toorongian, an exercise science undergraduate student commented that the course opened up her thoughts on cancer rehabilitation and “The need for rehab providers and doctors to come together and approach treatment options differently”.

Alyssa Vinckier, a second year graduate physical therapy student stated, “The course allowed me to expand on my knowledge from school and helped me realize how beneficial physical therapy can be for individuals who have cancer or have a history of cancer”.

From a patient care standpoint, Katie Temple, a physical therapist with UP Health System-Portage, had a few words to say. She emphasized how highly regarded Dr. Stout is in the physical therapy profession, “We are so lucky to have someone of her expertise and experience come up here. Dr. Stout has made some great accomplishments having received service awards from the National Institute of Health Clinical Center, the Navy Surgeon General, and the Oncology Section of the American Physical Therapy Association”. Katie expanded on the course saying “there is much more we should be doing as a physical therapy profession in cancer rehabilitation beyond addressing just lymphedema, fatigue, and soft tissue stretching”. Katie also adds, “Dr. Stout talks about the much greater risk of falls in patients who have undergone cancer treatment, and the role that we as physical therapists have in appropriate screening and prehabilitation options to reduce that risk”. 

A special thanks goes out to Dr. Stout for her time, to Physical Therapist Mark Randell from UP Health Systems-Portage, and Professor Steve Elmer from the Department of Kinsiology and Integrative Physiology for sponsoring the event. The two institutions hope this course sparks an initiative to perform future research pertaining to cancer rehabilitation.