Awards and Honors

By Shannon Rinkinen

For community health, clean water, and longer-lasting batteries. To teach the researchers of tomorrow. Michigan Tech innovators share what they do and why they do it.

Jason Carter

Jason Carter

Assistant to Vice President for Research Development

Chair and Professor Kinesiology and Integrative Physiology

What I do: Participate in an 18-month fellowship to build up researchers in academic leadership

"Selection for this important national program was very competitive. Jason is a recognized leader for innovative solutions to reduce administrative burden."Dave Reed, Vice President for Research, Michigan Tech

Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities' (APLU) Council on Research (CoR) Inaugural Research Leaders Fellow


Zhaohui Wang

Zhaohui Wang

Assistant Professor Electrical and Computer Engineering

Great Lakes Research Center

What I do: Work with intelligent, eco-friendly acoustic communication and networking systems underwater

Why I do it: To remotely and wirelessly communicate with sensors in lakes and oceans, including the Great Lakes during icy months

Faculty Early Career Development Program (CAREER) Award Recipient, National Science Foundation (NSF)


Xiaohu Xia

Xiaohu Xia

Assistant Professor Chemistry

What I do: Refine tests that detect biomarkers for cancer and infectious diseases, using corrosion-resistant metals

Why I do it: To make clinical diagnostics more simple and more precise

Faculty Early Career Development Program (CAREER) Award Recipient, National Science Foundation (NSF)


Lucia Gauchia

Lucia Gauchia

Assistant Professor Electrical and Computer Engineering

Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics

What I do: Use ecological tools to better understand battery aging

Why I do it: For longer lasting battery technology, for applications ranging from electric vehicles to repurposed batteries for grid applications

Faculty Early Career Development Program (CAREER) Award Recipient, National Science Foundation (NSF)


Stephen Techtmann

Stephen Techtmann

Assistant Professor Biological Sciences

Great Lakes Research Center

What I do: Gather water samples from ports around the world, looking for unique microbes

Why I do it: For a better way of monitoring maritime provenance of small ships

Young Faculty Award Recipient, Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA)


Connecting the University with the Community

Portage Health Foundation helped fund three endowed professorships—learn how they’re improving the future of health sciences for Innovation Shore and beyond:

Qiuying Sha

Qiuying Sha

Endowed Professor of Population Health

How? Use statistical models for personalized medicine
We live in the age of big data. Using vast datasets, Sha is able to study the genetic risk for individuals and the prevalence of diseases in a given population. She has applied statistical genetic analyses to hypertension, type II diabetes, and neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s and ALS. The goal is to provide tools for more targeted and preventative interventions for overall community health in the Keweenaw.


Keat Ghee Ong

Keat Ghee Ong

Endowed Professor of Technological Innovations in Health

How? Make smarter health technologies
Ong’s biomedical engineering research gets at the universal well-being of all people. He wants everyone to have access to better technologies that can improve their recovery from surgery and injury. But he also says he is equally invested in making an impact in the Keweenaw region. Building community along with stronger bones is a key goal of his new responsibilities that goes beyond the indirect benefits of bringing in research dollars, more students, and supporting local business.


William Cooke

William Cooke

Endowed Professor of Preventative and Community Health

How? simple solutions with a big impact
Eat less, move more. Simple-sounding advice from Cooke, an exercise physiologist, who looks specifically at how nerves coordinate blood flow through the heart and brain. Cooke has worked with astronauts and world-class athletes. Now he’s helping confront the Keweenaw’s most prevalent health concerns including diabetes, heart disease, and smoking.


Michigan Technological University is a public research university, home to more than 7,000 students from 54 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.