Roshan D'Souza Wins NSF Career Award

by Jennifer Donovan, public relations director

The National Science Foundation has named Roshan D'Souza the recipient of a five-year NSF CAREER Award. D'Souza, an assistant professor of mechanical engineering-engineering mechanics, heads a team of Michigan Tech researchers who are harnessing the power of graphics processing units (GPUs), the computing engine behind some of the most popular video games, to understand complex biological systems.

"This is one of those really significant early-career recognitions," said David D. Reed, vice president for research. "It's extremely competitive, and you have to be able to explain how you are going to integrate teaching with your research. The CAREER Award demonstrates NSF's concern for extending the broader impact of research funding."

D'Souza is the second person in the past year to receive an NSF CAREER award for 2009. Last spring Jeffrey Allen, also an assistant professor of mechanical engineering-engineering mechanics, received an NSF CAREER Award for his research into capillary flow--how and why liquids and gases move through tiny channels such as those found in hydrogen fuel cells.

"The NSF CAREER Award is a prestigious and highly competitive multi-year grant for untenured junior faculty," explained William W. Predebon, chair of mechanical engineering-engineering mechanics. "It is a significant recognition of the quality and creativity of the proposed research, as well as recognition of the research potential of a junior faculty member."

Predebon called D'Souza's work "breakthrough research that could help overcome the major hurdle of translating the results of bench research into clinical therapies."

D'Souza and Allen are among six ME-EM faculty members to receive the NSF award. A total of 24 Tech researchers have won CAREER Awards since 1995.

NSF CAREER Awards are designed to promote early career development in junior faculty who exemplify the integration of research and teaching and who are likely to become the academic leaders of the future. Untenured faculty in their first tenure-track appointment are eligible to apply up to three times.

A free workshop to help eligible faculty members prepare to apply for NSF CAREER Awards is scheduled for Saturday, Feb. 28, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. in Wadsworth Hall. Follow-up activities are also planned. Those who are interested but have not yet signed up for the workshop can contact Pete Larsen, or 487-2906.

Union Pacific (UP) is Up on Tech

by Dennis Walikainen, senior editor

Although new to Tech, David Connell isn't new to Tech graduates.

"We've hired four or five Michigan Tech alumni in our office in the past three years alone," said the Union Pacific (UP) vice president of engineering.

On this, his first recruiting trip to Tech, Connell was impressed by the Career Fair and identified four or five more people whom they will probably move to the next level of the interviewing process.

Representing "the largest North American railway," Connell was also impressed by the energy surrounding the railroad program at Michigan Tech. He credited Pasi Lautala's "passion" for making that happen. Lautala, a research assistant professor and director of the Rail Transportation Program, also had them "well organized and right on schedule," which is only right for a railroad man.

Lautala appreciates that the UP VP was in town recruiting and discussing future research possibilities, which are many.

"Everything from infrastructure, with automated track-monitoring systems and recycled materials in railroad ties, to more-efficient equipment and operations, there are many possibilities in railroad system research," Lautala said.

The "other UP" is based in Omaha, Nebraska, and Connell, a North Carolina State graduate, appreciated the snow, although he longed to see the statues pre-meltdown.

With another storm in the forecast, Connell was lucky to escape on the next morning's redeye. Before he left, he said, "Railroads provide the safest, most fuel-efficient and environmentally responsible mode of freight transportation. In fact, one intermodal train takes 300 trucks off America's congested highways.

"Today, the rail industry employs nearly 200,000 Americans, and private investment by the railroads in rail infrastructure is more critical than ever. In 2009, Union Pacific's capital expenditure program is $2.8 billion."

Long term, that means the railroads need civil engineers, construction management graduates and electrical engineers, just the type of people Connell was looking for at Tech. The recent economic downturn, however, "will make us slow down on the hiring in the near future," he said.

But the stimulus package will help, and future work with a passenger train project on the west coast, Amtrak, and the CREATE project in Chicago will also be good for business, Connell said, as the infrastructure of the rail system gets needed improvements.

That future should include UP architects and engineers, including those schooled in the UP of Michigan.

"We want to identify our strengths and see where we can apply them to their needs," said Lautala. He said it is a work in progress, part of railroad education in the 21st century. And, of course, he wants to continue those co-ops, internships and full-time hires.

"We value this relationship with Michigan Tech, and we hope to continue giving opportunities to students who are well prepared and more than capable of working for UP," Connell added.

Staff Council Meeting Today

Staff Council's February meeting is set for noon today, Thursday, Feb. 19, in Memorial Union 105B.

Vice President of Administration Ellen Horsch will be the guest. All staff are welcome.

For more information, contact Becky Christianson at 487-2416 or .

24-Hour Library Entrance Changed

Effective immediately, the Library entrance for 24-hour access will be moved to the west side of the building, across from the Memorial Union. The current entrance on the east side will be used only as an emergency exit.

Athletes All Dolled Up in Pink

In support of breast cancer awareness, the athletic department will participate in "PinkWave" week for the upcoming basketball games.

For the four home games on Thursday and Saturday, Michigan Tech student-athletes and coaches will don some pink attire.

The women's and men's teams will wear pink shoelaces and pink warm-up shirts for their games against Findlay on Thursday and Hillsdale on Saturday.

The coaches will also participate with pink clipboards and wristbands.

Fans are encouraged to also buy and wear pink wristbands at the games and bid on one of the autographed pink warm-up shirts from each team.

PinkWave is sponsored by the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference and the Women's Basketball Coaches Association.

Proceeds from this promotion will go to the Susan G. Komen for the Cure organization.

Have A Creative Streak? Submit Your Artwork, Films for the Tech Arts Festival

Submissions of original artwork are being accepted for the Memorial Union Board's annual Tech Arts Festival art show, which will run from Monday, Feb. 23, through Friday, Feb. 27, in the Peninsula Room of the Memorial Union.

Art in any genre, including short films, may be submitted on Thursday and Friday, Feb. 19-20, from 4 to 6 p.m. in the Memorial Union Board's office (106A).

In addition to the week-long art show, the Tech Arts Festival will feature the following activities:

Monday, Feb. 23: Learn to Knit Workshop, 5 p.m. in the Keweenaw Commons
Tuesday, Feb. 24: Pinhole Photography Workshop, 5 p.m. in the Keweenaw Commons
Wednesday, Feb. 25: Food and Wine Pairing Workshop, 5 p.m. in the Keweenaw Commons
Thursday, Feb. 26: Screening of short-film submissions, 5 p.m. in the Memorial Union Ballroom

The Tech Arts Festival is hosted by the Memorial Union Board. If you have any questions, email or stop by Memorial Union 106A.

Chemistry Seminar Friday

Jin Chen, from the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, in New York, will present a seminar, "Synthesis and Evaluation of Tumor-Targeting Anticancer Agents and Discovery of New Methods of Peptide Ligation," tomorrow, Friday, Feb. 20, at 3 p.m. in Chem Sci 101. A discussion period will follow. Refreshments will be served, and all are welcome to attend.

For more information, visit .

New Staff

Amy Jenich has joined the Dining Services staff as a food service helper. Jenich also holds positions as a deli clerk at Econo Foods and a fill-in food service employee at CLK Schools. She has three children, Rachel, Nolan and Dylan, lives in Calumet and enjoys walking, jogging and snowmobiling.

Retirement: John Lowther

John Lowther, associate professor in computer science and adjunct associate professor in cognitive and learning sciences, retired from Michigan Tech on Feb. 14. Lowther began working at Tech in fall 1974. He has served as both the assistant and acting head of the Department of Computer Science.

Lowther says he enjoyed helping build up the computer science department with his colleagues, teaching, researching and advising graduating seniors and grad students. As for extracurriculars, he enjoyed performing in the Keweenaw Symphony Orchestra, a barbershop quartet and the Concert Choir, with which he also toured. He says he also had fun watching Huskies football and basketball games.

In Print

Associate Professor Haiying Liu (Chemistry) published a chapter, "Pathogenic Bacterial Sensors Based on Carbohydrates as Sensing Elements," in the book "Handbook of Bacterial Detection: Biosensors, Recognition Receptors and Microsystems" by M. Zourob and T. Turner; Springer, ISBN 978-0-387-75112-2.

Job Postings

Staff job descriptions are available in the Human Resources Office or at . For more information regarding staff positions, call 487-2280 or email .

Faculty job descriptions can be found at . For more information regarding faculty positions, contact the academic department in which the position is posted.

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