From Lab to Marketplace

How do discoveries in university labs turn into commercially available—and potentially lifesaving—products?

This Wednesday, May 25, teams of Michigan Tech scientists and engineers will present their innovative technologies to a state funding review committee. The reviewers, officially designated an Oversight Committee, will be making decisions on grants from the Michigan Translational Research and Commercialization (MTRAC) program, a $6 million state-funded program developed and managed by the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) to help commercialize university translational research.

Five teams from Michigan Tech will make presentations to the committee, describing technologies as diverse as noise suppression for military vehicles, synthetic enzymes for medical diagnostic tools, engineered tissue to improve wound care and a more energy efficient way to process vermiculite. The Departments of Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics, Chemistry, Biomedical Engineering and Materials Science and Engineering are all represented in the proposals under consideration for support in the 2016 MTRAC cycle.

Michigan Tech's MTRAC program is focused on applied advanced materials. The Oversight Committee consists of 11 members who represent successful business leaders with technology transfer experience and venture capital fund managers.

An example of a team that will present on Wednesday afternoon is Professor Jarek Drelich (MSE) and Associate Professor Jeremy Goldman (BME). They are working on developing a metal alloy that would perform well as a biodegradable stent for heart surgery and other uses where a biodegradable material is desirable. They have been working for some time to find a material with all the necessary properties that will biodegrade harmlessly in the body over a set period of time.

Their recent work has been carried out in collaboration with the University of Michigan Medical School and a commercial partner active in the industry. Their research has identified the need for an additional processing step to enhance the mechanical characteristics of the alloy before stents are cut.

They are hoping to get MTRAC funding to prototype stent material treated with an additional process to improve the desired mechanical characteristics.

Bookstore, University Images to Close for Inventory

The Campus Bookstore in the Memorial Union Building will be closed for inventory starting Thursday, May 26 thru Tuesday, May 31.

University Images in the Student Development Complex will be closed for inventory beginning Saturday, May 28 thru Tuesday May 31.

Both stores will reopen on Wednesday, June 1.

Bestball and more at PLGC

There’s no doubt the golf season is well under way at Michigan Tech’s Portage Lake Golf Course. The first big even of the season is coming up this weekend as PLGC hosts its annual two-Person Bestball Tournament.

The tournament’s format is 18 holes Bestball qualifying Saturday, May 28 and 18 holes of flighted Championship play on Sunday May 29.

Tee times start at 8 a.m. on both days. The tournament fee includes golf, lunch both days, prizes and awards. The entry fee is $160 per team if pre-paid and $180 the day of event. Call the clubhouse at 487-2641 to register.

The PLGC is offering opportunities to improve your game in the month of June. The June Golf Clinic will be held from 5:30 to 7 p.m. on Wednesday from June 8 through 29. Class size is limited to 8 persons and the cost is $80 for the four sessions.

Ladies who are league golfers can get affordable lessons with the Ladies League Golf Sessions. The clinics run from 4 - 5 p.m. Tuesdays  June 7 through July 26. The cost is $10 per session or $75 for the whole summer and is limited to participants in Portage Lake Golf Courses Ladies League.

For information on these events or any upcoming events call the Portage Lake Golf Course at 487-2641 or visit them online.

Summer Writing Meetups for Proposal Development

Are you having trouble feeling motivated to write funding proposals? Are you wanting an accountability mechanism to get your writing done? Do you need help with a certain required section of the proposal that isn't your focus area? 

The Research Development team in conjunction with the College of Engineering, the College of Sciences and Arts, and Associate Deans Jason Carter, Adrienne Minerick and Andrew Storer are hosting a Summer Writing Meetup series to help the campus community along in proposal writing over the summer.

These informal, weekly chats can help you refine your research ideas and writing angles. You can also think of these meetups as regular accountability measures to make sure you are making progress in your proposal development. Work with the Research Development staff. Connect with colleagues from across campus. Bring drafts for instant feedback.

The Summer Writing Meetup series is open to all faculty and researchers.

The series will take place at noon every Monday on the patio of the Opie and Van Pelt Library (or in the Library cafe if there is rain). Attendees may bring their lunch.

Below are the next few Mondays and the loose topics that will lead informal discussions:

  • Monday, May 30, Memorial Day - no meet up
  • Monday, June 6, noon - Tips for responding to recent updates (April 2016) for NIH rigor and reproducibility grant application criteria (Jason Carter)

In Print

Ted Bornhorst, executive director A. E. Seaman Mineral Museum and professor, is co-author of a paper recently published by the international journal Economic Geology. The publication is a result of collaboration with Dr. Kei Ikehata of University of Tsukuba, Japan who is first author of the paper. The paper is titled "Hydrothermal Native Copper in Ocean Island Alkali Basalt from the Mineoka Belt, Boso Peninsula, Japan." Additional co-authors are K. Chida and T. Tsunogae both at University of Tsukuba.

In the News

The Newark Post published an article about the Michigan Tech Mind Trekkers' performance at The Independence School in Newark, Delaware. See the article here.


WFJM-TV, KOAM-TV, the Lansing State Journal and other news outlets reported on the upcoming SAE Foundation awards ceremony scheduled for today in Detroit. The Foundation will honor collegiate design teams from eight Michigan universities, including Michigan Tech.  


One News Page, an online news aggregator, published a TV6 story about Michigan Tech students who have created a company to make 3-D printing filament from recycled plastics. See the story here.


On the Road

Mari W. Buche, director of the Data Science Graduate Program and associate professor of Management Information Systems (SBE), attended the 11th Annual Midwest AIS conference in Milwaukee, Wisconsin May 19-20. The theme for this year’s event was “Bigger, Smarter, Safer: Game Changers for Information Systems."

Buche participated on a panel entitled “Privacy, technology and surveillance in the digital age: the Big Brother scenario." The panel focused on redefining privacy expectations and generational gaps in fundamental interpretations of information security. Reference material for this panel was Can ‘Big Brother’ watch us?

Buche also presented a research-in-progress paper entitled “The influence of Outcome-Oriented Security Policy on Security Perceptions and Intentions,” co-authored with Jeff Wall (SBE). The study investigates expected improvements when corporations enhance traditional checklist-oriented information security policies (ISPs) with an outcomes-oriented policy. Intrinsic motivation and employee commitment will be measured in an experimental design study. 

Details and more information are available at the conference website.