Research in the Department of Biological Sciences is unique and ever evolving. Our department’s collaborative environment—along with Michigan Tech’s emphasis on research—fosters a wide variety of inter-university research projects. Faculty research strengths in biochemistry and molecular biology, ecology and environmental sciences, and health provide a strong foundation for many fields in biological sciences.
Our research centers, diverse research groups, and state-of-the-art facilities in the Dow Environmental Sciences and Engineering Building and Great Lakes Research Center create an exciting research environment with exceptional opportunities for students and faculty members alike.
Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Ecology and Environmental Sciences
PhD, University of Hyderabad, India
Dr. Datta’s primary research interest lies in the application of plant biochemistry, genetics, molecular biology and microbiology in solving environmental problems,using phytoremediation, plant-microbe interactions and bioremediation. Dr. Datta’s research involves the study of interactions between plant, soil, microbial and water systems to understand the mechanisms of uptake and detoxification of specific environmental contaminants in biota . . .
In multicellular organisms, how do multiple cell types originate from one cell and one genome? A critical early cell fate decision is whether to develop as germline (reproductive) or soma (non-reproductive). My research focuses on assessing how the highly conserved DREAM transcriptional repressor complex maintains the germ vs. soma cell fate decision during embryogenesis. After a flurry of cell divisions from the . . .
PhD, Arizona State University
Our work is centered on the cell wall and associated extracellular polymers of algae. We are interested in what these algal extracellular matrices can tell us about: 1) the evolution of the land plant cell wall, 2) the unique characteristics that allow for life in aquatic habitats, 3) the interactions within complex biofilms, including the heterotropic utilization of complex macromolecules, and 4) the . . .
MS, University of California, Davis - Population Biology
Broadly speaking I am an evolutionary ecologist who studies how plants interact with their abiotic and biotic communities. My work integrates the theory and techniques from the disciplines of ecology, evolution, genetics, chemistry, and physiology. My research makes both fundamental and applied contributions and current projects include:
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PhD, Michigan State University, 1996
Research conducted by my lab group is focused on ecology and restoration in aquatic systems including lakes, streams, coastal wetlands and the riparian ecosystems that connect them. The research that my graduate students, our collaborators and I conduct tends to focus on ecological patterns and processes in systems influenced by human actions. In many cases we apply the learned scientific understanding to inform the . . .
PhD, Biochemistry, University of Poona, India
I am a plant molecular biologist who is interested in understanding of how trees make cellulose. Simply put, cellulose is a chain of glucose molecules, and a large number of such cellulose chains weave together with other polymers to form plant cell walls. Cellulose biosynthesis is also one of the most ancient and essential life processes of plants.. . .
PhD, University of Michigan
PhD, Biological Sciences, Michigan Technological University
Robert earned his Master’s and PhD in the Department of Biological Sciences at Michigan
Technological University studying neural-cardiovascular physiology. He completed his Post-
Doctoral fellowship in neurocardiology at The University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine
where he studied cardiac sensory and sympathetic nerves in hypertrophic cardiomyopathy and . . .
PhD, Utah State University
I am an ecosystem ecologist with interests in energy and biogeochemical cycles in freshwaters. My research program blends basic and applied research, and integrates across aquatic habitats including stream, river, wetland, lake littoral zones and the nearshore regions of the Great Lakes. My past and future research trajectory is governed by an interest in understanding the role of small, poorly quantified fluxes . . .
Brigitte attended Michigan Tech in 2001 where she received a Bachelor's degree in Medical Laboratory Science (MLS), as well as a certificate in Secondary Education and minors in both General Science and Spanish. Following graduation in 2006, Brigitte taught high school Biology for six years in Illinois. After receiving an MS degree in Biology from Northern Illinois University, Brigitte has returned to . . .
John Romanowski Jr
MS, Biological Sciences, Central Michigan University
PhD, Weizmann Institute of Sciences, Israel, 2001
One Fast-Track/Accelerated (One Additional Year from Campus Undergraduate) MS Graduate Student in MicroRNAs is Needed to Do Research on . . .
Xiaohu (Mark) Tang
PhD, The Weizmann Institute of Science
- The Laboratory of Cancer Metabolism and Functional Genomics is to characterize deregulation of cancer metabolism and the role of nutrients during cancer initiation and progression. In this perspective, we are aiming to understand the underlying mechanisms and pursue alternative and feasible means to apply on . . .
PhD, Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel, 2003
Diabetes is caused by either the loss of the insulin producing beta cells in the pancreas, leading to a deficiency of insulin (type 1 diabetes), or insulin resistance, reduced insulin sensitivity, and reduced insulin secretion (type 2 diabetes). In both types of diabetes, the patients develop serious secondary complications, such as microvascular complications, oxidative stress and endothelial dysfunction, cardiovascular disease, . . .
PhD, Molecular and Cell Biology, University of Maryland, Baltimore MD
I am an environmental microbiologist who studies microbial communities in diverse ecosystems. Microbes (Bacteria and Archaea) are ubiquitous in the environment and play essential roles in the cycling of elements. These environmental microbes are capable of catalyzing a wide array of chemical reactions, many of which may have industrial applications. I study how complex microbial communities can cooperate to perform functions . . .
PhD, Ecology and Environmental Sciences, Montana State University
I am a microbial ecologist who studies the reciprocal relationships between microbial communities and biogeochemical processes in aquatic ecosystems. Microorganisms are widespread in the environment and are responsible for driving key elemental transformations that control the quality of our water and influence the greenhouse gas concentrations in our atmosphere. I am interested in understanding how physical and chemical characteristics . . .
MS, Biological Sciences
Travis is a proud born and raised Yooper; he received both his B.S. and M.S. in Biological Sciences from Michigan Tech. Wanting to stay close to home, he joined his alma mater as the Department of Biological Sciences Laboratory Supervisor in 2017. Since then, he has become an Academic Advisor.
In his position, Travis helps students to understand . . .
PhD, Umea Univeristy, Sweden, 2005
Dr. Werner became interested in the question “What is life?” as a four-year old child in his parent’s garden in former East Germany. With the age of 10, he began to develop a life-long interest in the biology of butterflies and moths. He has been breeding and collecting them ever since. For his Master’s thesis, he decided to shift his focus to . . .
Chunxiu (Traci) Yu
PhD, The Weizmann Institute of Science
Traci works with brain stimulation and neurological disorders, such as Parkinson's Disease, depression and stroke. Prior to coming to Michigan Tech, she served as a research scientist working in the Department of Biomedical Engineering at Duke University.
Traci's research employs neuroengineering and neurobiology approaches to control brain circuit function and to improve the efficacy and efficiency of brain . . .