All posts by hrpowers

Tech to Host Michigan Physiological Society Meeting and Teacher Workshop

Virginia Miller
2018 Keynote Virginia Miller, PhD Mayo Clinic

A great opportunity for Pre-Health students to connect with professionals and gain valuable insight into physiology.

The fifth annual meeting of the Michigan Physiological Society will be held on the Michigan Tech campus tomorrow and Friday (June 14-15) with some activities starting today.

The event features lectures, poster presentations and break-out sessions by and for physiology professionals from throughout the state. Friday’s teacher workshop is open to local teachers and students and is free of charge.

Things get started at 4 p.m. today with the Michigan Physiology Quiz (MiPQ). Five student teams from Alma College, Ferris State, Michigan State, Wayne State and Michigan Tech will compete. Questions will cover a range of topics—cardiovascular, neural, renal and respiratory physiology—presented in a Jeopardy-style format.

This year’s keynote speaker for both the annual meeting and the teacher workshop is Virginia Miller, professor of surgery and physiology and director of the Women’s Health Resource Center at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. Her presentation “Sex-specific Risk for Cardiovascular Disease” will take place at 3:30 p.m. tomorrow in Memorial Union Ballroom A.

On Friday the meeting includes the Life Sciences Teacher Workshop. Registration begins at 7:30 a.m. with the teacher workshop starting at 8 a.m.The workshop, which is also open to area high school students, includes lab tours and breakout sessions featuring several Michigan Tech staff.

Miller will also deliver the keynote for the teacher workshop “Sex as a biological variable—what you need to know,” at 11:30 a.m. in the Memorial Union Alumni Lounge. Following the address, high school students and teachers will join Miller for lunch in the Ballroom.

A  complete schedule of the meeting is available here.


Meditation Could Help Anxiety and Cardiovascular Health

Waves in an ocean with rocks in the foreground.In a student-led study, one hour of mindfulness meditation was shown to reduce anxiety and some cardiovascular risk markers.

It sounds like a late-night commercial: In just one hour you can reduce your anxiety levels and some heart health risk factors. But a recent study with 14 participants shows preliminary data that even a single session of meditation can have cardiovascular and psychological benefits for adults with mild to moderate anxiety.

John Durocher (Bio Sci) is presenting the work of a team of Michigan Tech researchers about mindfulness meditation and its ability to reduce anxiety at the 2018 Experimental Biology meeting this week in San Diego, which is attended by approximately 14,000 people.

Read the full story on mtu.edu/news.


Lasers Gather Better Data for Firmer Skin

Three biomedical engineering students work in a darkened Biomedical Optics Lab with laser in safety glasses.
Three biomedical engineering students work in Biomedical Optics Lab

A team from Michigan Tech has partnered with Avon to develop a laser-based technology that measures the elasticity and firmness of skin.

As people age, their skin loses its youthful bounce, which leads to wrinkles and sagging. Skin-firming serums and anti-wrinkle creams seek to boost skin elasticity, but companies like Avon currently rely on visual grading by dermatologists or subjective verbal feedback from consumer panels to assess their products.

Using technology developed by Sean Kirkpatrick, professor and chair of the Department of Biomedical Engineering, the Michigan Tech team is refining a system that could lead to handheld devices that measure the effectiveness and longevity of beauty products. The technology could help Avon create and test experimental formulas quickly and objectively.

Read the full story on mtu.edu/news.

Biomedical Engineering is one of the pathways in which pre-health professions can choose to pursue.


Hard work pays off—Taylor Archibald accepted to PA program

Taylor ArchibaldA moment that I thought about for many years had finally come.

I could not put into words the joy and excitement I felt when I saw the acceptance email from the director of the Physician Assistant (PA) Program at Central Michigan University (CMU).

My journey to becoming a PA began in high school. I was eager to obtain my certified nursing assistant (CNA) license so that I could begin to immerse myself in the medical field and learn new skills that would help prepare me to become a PA in the future. For the last four years, I have worked as a CNA in multiple health-care settings and volunteered in the community, while pursuing an undergraduate degree in biological sciences. I believe that my varying health care experiences allowed me to develop as a person, and my confidence has grown significantly.

I learned more about the day-to-day routine of a physician assistant once I began shadowing multiple PAs in different specialties. I would encourage anyone pursuing a PA career to begin shadowing as soon as possible! Shadowing is a great way to start forming relationships with mentors in the field that can help you throughout the application process, and to see what qualities are desired in the profession.

“As you prepare yourself for a career in medicine, focus on meaningful experiences that challenge you as a person and future medical professional”

Leadership is an instrumental quality PA programs look for in prospective candidates, not only within a health-care setting but in extracurricular activities. I had the opportunity to be a part of the Michigan Tech Women’s Varsity soccer team for four years. Balancing academia and athletics as an undergraduate provided me with invaluable time management and leadership skills that I take with me as I pursue graduate school and my PA career.

Take the initiative to seek out your own opportunities and begin to network with physician assistants early on. Thoroughly look into the programs that you intend to apply to. Each program emphasizes different prerequisite courses, GRE test scores, and number of health-care and shadowing hours needed. It’s important to plan ahead, but don’t get discouraged by the numbers! Be confident in yourself. Getting into a PA program is not a race; if you need to take extra time finishing up prerequisite courses or experiencing more patient care, that is OK.

Throughout the application process, I was drawn toward the emphasis the CMU PA program places on addressing the medical needs of underserved and rural populations. The program immediately felt like the perfect fit for me when I visited the campus, interacted with faculty, and talked with current students. In just a couple months, I am excited to continue my journey, joining CMU’s PA class of 2020!


Preparing Pre-health Students for Graduate School Interviews

Students being interviewedMichigan Tech students interested in medicine, veterinary medicine and other health-related professions participated in the Health Professions Interview Workshop on Monday, April 9. The workshop was designed for students preparing for health-related graduate programs and admission interviews.

Thirteen pre-health students engaged in one-on-one personal interviews, Multiple Mini Interviews (MMI) and a large, team-building earthquake simulation.

“I really enjoyed the medical school mock interviews. I think MMIs are so unique to medical school interviews that most students don’t have any exposure to that kind of interaction,” said Rachel Wall, biological sciences student.

MMI interviews are used by many medical and health professions programs as part of the admissions process. An MMI is comprised of short, structured interview stations used to assess non-cognitive qualities and how applicants handle themselves in a particular situation. Some MMI stations involve role-playing situations where the interviewee is required to play a particular role and take an ethical stance in decision-making.

Even the group activity portion is not something most people experience while being evaluated. I think those of us who participated in this will be much better prepared for our medical school interviews than our peers who haven’t had this type of exposure and practice.

The biology department has hosted similar events in the past, but on a much smaller scale. This year, the pre-health department teamed up with Career Services to host a larger workshop for students of all majors with an interest in health professions.

More than a dozen volunteer interviewers, facilitators, actors and evaluators participated in the event—including faculty, students and staff from Pre-health, Biological Sciences, Biomedical Engineering, Kinesiology and Integrative Physiology, and Career Services. Central Michigan University’s Doctor of Physical Therapy Program also provided volunteers for the workshop.

The application and interview process for Health Professions Programs can be daunting, but this workshop, “is a part of the ongoing effort to grow and improve pre-health at Michigan Tech,” according to pre-health coordinator Nicole Seigneurie who spearheaded the workshop.

Elizabeth Scaife, biological sciences major, notes, “the Health Professions Interview Workshop was a wonderful experience full of challenging ethical questions, and a fun group activity that helped me find my strengths and weaknesses for future interviews for vet schools.”