Michigan Tech Research Paper Places Tops in the World

By Jennifer Donovan | Published

At the Michigan Technological University Board of Trustees’ regular meeting on December 10, 2010, Chair Marty Richardson announced that work by a Michigan Tech professor, two alumni and a member of the Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics External Advisory Board has been recognized with the prestigious Paul A. Siple Award for the best paper presented at the biennial Army Science Conference.

The Siple Award is the highest honor the Army can bestow for research. It is given to recognize the accomplishments of Army scientists and engineers. The Army Science Conference is a world-class science and engineering competition involving researchers from 25 countries.

The paper is titled Nanoscale Bioelectronics for Real-Time Target Sensing.  It describes the integration of biological materials with electronics to create a sensor that could be up to three times more optically sensitive than current technology.

Lead author on the prizewinning paper was Tech alumnus Mark Griep, who earned a PhD in mechanical engineering in 2008. Griep now works at the Army Research Laboratory at the Aberdeen Proving Grounds in Maryland.  The paper was based on research he did at Tech for his PhD and during summer research for the Army.

Griep’s advisor, Craig Friedrich, is a co-author. Friedrich is Robbins Chair Professor in Sustainable Design and Manufacturing as well as associate chair and director of graduate studies for the Department of Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics.

Other co-authors on the paper include Shashi Karna, a member of Michigan Tech’s Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics External Advisory Board and a senior scientist at the Army Research Laboratory, and Eric Winder, who earned a PhD in biological sciences at Michigan Tech in 2010 and is now a postdoctoral fellow at the Pacific Northwest Laboratory near Seattle.  Winder’s advisors were Friedrich and retired Professor John Adler.

‘It was impressive when this paper placed top in the nanotechnology division, making it one of the 18 best papers presented at this international conference, but it went on to win the highest possible award,” said Richardson. “Our major competition was institutions such as MIT, Cal Tech, the University of Michigan, Georgia Tech, Harvard and Princeton.  This certainly demonstrates that high quality of Michigan Tech education and research is being recognized at the highest levels.”

The Board of Trustees also recognized two of its members, Ruth Reck and Russ Gronevelt, for their years of service. Their terms on the Board expire Dec. 31, 2010.

“Ruth and Russ have both given generously of their time and effort on behalf of Michigan Tech,” said President Glenn D. Mroz. “Both have served as chair of the Board, as well as members of the Finance and Audit Committee and the Academic Affairs Committee. Ruth served for 20 years, and Russ served for 7. We can’t thank them enough for their contributions to the University.” 

At this semester’s Commencement, scheduled for Saturday, Dec. 11, 2010,  the Board was informed that degrees will be granted to 292 undergraduates and 109 graduate students, including 85 receiving Master’s degrees and 24 receiving PhDs.

Perry Wilson Jr., one of the mid-year graduates, will sing the national anthem.  Wilson, who is receiving a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering, sings with Praise in Effect, a campus gospel choir.  A member of Kappa Alpha Psi fraternity, Wilson is from Birmingham, Ala.  He has accepted a management training position with CSX, a railroad corporation.

Congressman Bart Stupak will be the guest speaker.  He will receive an Honorary Doctorate in Environmental and Energy Policy. Stupak is retiring in January 2011 after 18 years of service as U.S. Representative from Michigan’s 1st Congressional District, which includes Michigan Tech.

In other business, the Board

  • learned that eight Michigan Tech professors working in Tech’s Earth, Planetary and Space Sciences Institute have received a $1.3 million award from the National Science Foundation to build a special chamber to study clouds and aerosol particles in a controlled environment. The cloud chamber will be in the Great Lakes Research Center, now under construction.
  • appointed Ezra Bar-Ziv as a professor with tenure in the Department of Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics.
  • granted professor emeritus rank to two retiring faculty members: Anand Kulkarni of the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering and Ted Lockhart from the Department of Mathematical Sciences.
  • praised President Glenn Mroz after a periodic performance review, saying that he received an “excellent performance evaluation, including particularly high marks for leadership and team-building.”

Michigan Technological University is a public research university, home to more than 7,000 students from 60 countries. Founded in 1885, the University offers more than 120 undergraduate and graduate degree programs in science and technology, engineering, forestry, business and economics, health professions, humanities, mathematics, and social sciences. Our campus in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula overlooks the Keweenaw Waterway and is just a few miles from Lake Superior.