Category Archives: Research

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).




CSA Researchers Participate in first TechTalks

Screen Shot 2016-11-16 at 11.55.24 AMOn Thursday, November 10, 2016, several researchers gave two minute presentations for the inaugural TechTalks session of the Michigan Tech Research Forum. Seven of the 13 researchers presented work from CSA disciplines, including the Distinguished Lecture:

  • Steven Elmer– Department of Kinesiology and Integrative Physiology, Exercise As a Form of Medicine
  • Yang Yang – Department of Mathematical Sciences, Numerical Methods for Partial Differential Equations
  • Selin Philip – Department of Coginitive and Learning Sciences, Creating a Culture of Better Mental/Behavioral Health among the American Indians in the Keweenaw
  • Loredana Valenzano– Department of Chemistry, Molecules, Surfaces, Crystals: A Quantum Chemical Quest from Fundamentals to Applications.
  • Nabanita Saikia – Department of Physics, Emergent Frontiers in 2D Nanomaterials for Biomolecular Recongition and Self-Assembly.
  • Lynn Mazzoleni– Department of Chemistry, Introducing the New 2D-Liquid Chromatograph and High-Resolution Mass Spectrometer in the Chemical Advanced Resoulation Methods (ChARM) Core Facility at Michigan Tech.
  • Tarum Dam – Department of Chemistry, Enriching Health-Related Research Through Glycobiological Approaches.

Michigan Tech Research Forum events are presented by the Office of the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs in coordination with the Office of the Vice President of Research. Additional TechTalks sessions are coming up in Spring 2017. Interested in nominating yourself or others? Use this online form.

Browse the Twitter conversations in “TechTalks 2016: Take One,” by Allison Mills.


Distinguished Lecture –image151928-pers

Richelle Winkler gave the inaugural Michigan Tech Research Forum Distinguished Lecture on Thursday, October 13 at 4:00 p.m. in the Memorial Union Alumni Lounge. She discussed Making Research Matter: Democratizing Science and Other Lofty Goals.

Professor Hugh Gorman nominated Winkler, an associate professor of sociology and demography, for “community engaged scholarship” that extends across the Michigan Tech campus. Examples of Winkler’s projects include examining the feasibility—social and technical—of using mine water for geothermal heating systems in Calumet and examining the social, economic, and technical aspects of improving recycling in Houghton County. Both projects involve students and community members, and both have real impact in the communities. Winkler also conducts research on the changing demographics of anglers and hunters—and the implications for policy. She presented on this subject at the Department of Biological Sciences last spring.


Syd Johnson Presents on Head Trauma

L. Syd M Johnson
L. Syd M Johnson

The final KIP Faculty and Graduate Student seminar was held on Friday Dec. 4, at 3pm in the ATDC Conference Room. Dr. Syd Johnson from the Department of Humanities presented on the ethical and legal implications surrounding concussions and CTE (chronic traumatic en​cephalopathy). This is timely as there is a new movie out this month called “Concussion” (features Will Smith) which highlights Dr. Bennet Omalu’s discovery of CTE in NFL athletes and how his scientific findings were challenged by the NFL. Below are a few background links that might be of interest. This should be a great talk to wrap up the fall seminar series!

Head trauma: Key questions on CTE lack answers

From the Department of Humanities.

HOUGHTON – Decades after the first research on concussions and chronic head trauma, there’s a widespread effort to mitigate their damage. But many of the most pressing questions still don’t have answers.

Read more at the Mining Gazette, by Garrett Neese (subscription required).


Kerfoot Receives Lifetime Achievement Award

Charles Kerfoot
Charles Kerfoot

Professor Charles Kerfoot (BioSci) has received the 2015 IAGLR Lifetime Achievement Award from the International Association for Great Lakes Research. The award recognizes important and continued contributions to the field of Great Lakes research for 20 years or more. In a letter notifying Kerfoot of the award, Douglas D. Kane, president of the IAGLR, congratulated him on an “incredibly productive and significant career.”

From Tech Today.


SURF Proposal Workshop

Will Cantrell, coordinator for the Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF) program, will conduct a workshop for students on the SURF application process, including writing an effective SURF proposal. The workshop will take place on Wednesday, Dec. 3, at 6:30 p.m. in Fisher 127.

Faculty and staff are encouraged to notify students interested in applying for SURF funding to attend. For more information, see the SURF online information page.

The deadline for SURF applications is noon on Friday, Jan. 30, 2015.

From Tech Today.


Interview on “Superior” Supercomputer

Computational StructureAny university involved in compute-intensive research would love to have a supercomputer at its disposal. Michigan Technological University is one of the fortunate ones to have a super-fast machine accessible by the entire research community on campus. The computer is known as “Superior” and we sat down with Gowtham S., Director of Research Computing at the University, to hear more about it.

insideHPC: The system’s installation just had its one year anniversary. What are some of the current projects that are harnessing all of this power?

Gowtham S.: Modeling the circulation and particle transport in the Great Lakes system, multi scale modeling of advanced materials and structures, nanostructured materials for electronics, biosensing and human health implications, and unsupervised learning in Big Data and social networks are some of the on going projects that use the power of Superior. Here is the complete listing of all 30 projects.

These projects have produced nearly two dozen publications as well, and several proposals are underway for even more projects. That makes us quite happy.

Read the full interview at insideHPC.

This interview refers to seven projects within the College of Sciences and Arts, with research faculty in the Departments of Computer Science, Chemistry and Physics.

  • CS, Laura Brown, Towards a reliable method for comparing large scale machine learning algorithms
  • CS, Ali Ebnenasir, Computational synthesis of self-stabilizing protocols
  • CS, Chaoli Wang, High-performance parallel analysis and visualization of Big Data
  • Chemistry, Loredana Valenzano, Investigations in computational chemistry
  • Physics, Johana Chirinos, Investigations in ultra-high-energy cosmic ray physics
  • Physics, Ranjit Pati, Computational study of charge and spin transport in nano-scale junctions from first-principles
  • Physics, Ravindra Pandey, Computational studies of nanostructured materials for electronics, biosensing and human health implications

Sue Bagley Honored by Society for Industrial Microbiology and Biotechnology

Sue Bagley
Sue Bagley

Susan T. Bagley, professor professor emerita of environmental microbiology in the Department of Biological Sciences, has received the Charles Porter Award from the Society for Industrial Microbiology and Biotechnology (SIMB).

This award recognizes longtime members for outstanding, sustained service to the society for seven or more years. Bagley has over 35 years’ experience as an environmental microbiologist, working in academia and government on microbial-based treatment of air, waterborne and industrial organic wastes; microbial production of bio-based fuels; and mutagenicity and toxicity of environmental pollutants.

She has received research funding from a wide range of governmental, industrial and foundation sources and has coauthored more than 85 peer-reviewed articles, proceedings and reports. Most of these studies have involved multidisciplinary collaborations with faculty and students. She taught introductory courses in microbiology plus applied and industrial microbiology and microbial physiology for senior undergraduate and graduate students.

Bagley has been a SIMB member since 1997 and has served in a range of positions, including president, editor-in-chief of SIMB News, and chair of the Nominations, Planning, and Annual Meeting and Exposition Program Committees. In addition, she has been a member of the Finance, Publications, and other Annual Meeting and Exposition Program committees.

She is a senior editor and co-chair of the Presidential Committee on Diversity, working to establish a standing SIMB Diversity Committee. She has also chaired numerous Annual Meeting sessions. Outside of SIMB, she serves the American Society for Microbiology as editor-in-chief of the MicrobeLibrary, a member of the Education Board and the Committee on the Status of Women in Microbiology and as coordinator of the new Speakers’ Bureau, encouraging undergraduates to consider careers industrial microbiology and biotechnology.

From Tech Today.