TECH SCEnE: Technology, Science and Community Engagement in Engineering

A new summer research program connects biomedical, biological sciences and electrical engineering students to Indigenous communities, environmental health and technological solutions.

Research experiences for undergraduates (REUs) are programs sponsored by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and are paid summer research opportunities for students. TECH SCEnE, a new REU at Michigan Technological University, builds an interdisciplinary foundation in STEM and community engagement for students focused in science, technology, engineering and math areas. Each research project was designed in partnership with staff from the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community (KBIC) Natural Resources Department.

Apply to TECH SCEnE

Applications are due May 1, 2021. Learn more about the program and how it combines hands-on undergraduate research in the lab with outdoor adventure and service learning, with free housing and a stipend, too. All applicants will hear back by May 15, 2021. The program aims to recruit students from across the US and increase visibility for MTU and its research capabilities.

“Our research is directly addressing KBIC priorities,” said Valoree Gagnon, director of University-Indigenous Community Partnerships at Michigan Tech’s Great Lakes Research Center. “While KBIC guides our work throughout the REU program, we are also contributing to a broader need in research — how to build and strengthen equitable university-community partnerships."

For more, read the full story on mtu.edu/news and the Tech SCEnE website.

2021 Research Magazine is Online

From the South Pole to the Northwoods, our research reaches far and hits close to home. Read more in the latest issue of Research.

Evan Kane (CFRES), Laura Bourgeau-Chavez (MTRI) and Liza Jenkins (MTRI) look at how much carbon burns up in fires.

Val Gagnon (GLRC), Erika Vye (GLRC) and Angie Carter (SS) collaborated with local partners to explore local food sovereignty and traditions.

Chunxiu (Traci) Yu (Bio Sci) studies how to control brain circuit function with neuroengineering and neurobiology to help with Parkinson’s.

Engineer Hassan Masoud (ME) analyzes the propulsion behavior of tiny surfing robots — only several microns in size.

The Advanced Materials and Manufacturing initiative builds a front door for industry partners in biomaterials, space, automotive, defense and health.

Trista Vick-Majors (Bio Sci) takes us 800 feet below the Antarctic ice sheet to a subglacial lake.

Sexual Misconduct Training Begins Next Month

Recent changes to federal Title IX regulations make it important that all University employees are educated on how to properly respond to allegations of sexual harassment. According to the new regulations, sexual harassment includes sexual assault, dating violence, domestic violence and stalking. This includes incidents involving students and/or employees.

At this time, once a new hire completes the harassment and discrimination training course, there are not any required follow-up courses or additional training. “With no on-going or required training, employees may not feel confident in how to properly respond and report, or their information could be outdated with the changes that have occurred,” said Title IX Coordinator, Kirsti Arko.

Michigan Tech will now institute mandatory annual sexual misconduct training for all faculty and staff. In addition to receiving a copy of the University's sexual harassment policies on an annual basis, employees are now required to sign an acknowledgment that the policies have been received and reviewed. Employees will be given ample time, 60 days, to take the training, which is expected to take less than 30 minutes. The training will launch in April and will be repeated each April. This coincides with Sexual Assault Awareness Month and which does additional programming and events. 

The harassment and discrimination training joins Safety Training and IT Security Training as the only campus-wide required training. For more information on Title IX, visit their website or contact the Title IX Coordinator, Kirsti Arko.

Save the Date! Register Today for Michigan Tech’s Design Expo on Thursday, April 15

Now’s the time to register to attend Virtual Design Expo, the annual Enterprise and Senior Design project showcase at Michigan Tech.

Once again, for the second time ever in its 21-year history, Design Expo will take place virtually. We've excitedly taken lessons learned from last year’s first virtual Expo and fused it with new ways of connecting to make the 2021 Design Expo more engaging and safe to attend in real-time!

Design Expo puts our undergraduate student innovators and their corporate and community sponsors and faculty advisors front and center.

Every year, teams showcase their solutions to complex, real-world and life-changing challenges. Teams compete for thousands of dollars in cash awards—and receive priceless, well-deserved recognition. 

Guests and judges will need to register in order to attend by April 9. 

This year's event will happen in multiple segments online via Zoom and Gatherly. 

Monday, April 12

  • Noon — Remote, asynchronous viewing and judging of team videos opens on the Design Expo website, mtu.edu/expo.

Thursday, April 15

  • 11 to 11:30 a.m. — Opening remarks via live Zoom webinar
  • 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. — Synchronous event with student teams begins: take part in real-time interaction/Q&A with students using Gatherly
  • 3 to 3:30 p.m. — Presentation of Awards via Zoom live webinar
  • 3:30 p.m. — Virtual Design Expo 2021 concludes

Research Magazine: Flight of the Bumblebees

A queen bumblebee with a small transmitter attached to its abdomen on a blueberry
      blossom in Argentina outside with a blurred background of a blueberry field in early
      summer.

A foraging queen buzzes about her business—extracting pollen from a blueberry blossom—unhindered by a tiny tracking device.

Researchers rigged radio transmitters on 17 bumblebee queens, tracking them through blueberry fields in Argentina to better understand how wild pollinators support agriculture.

Affixing transmitters to bee abdomens is no job for the impatient or unsteady. Finding a quick, efficient method required three months of tests and a myriad of glue combinations with varied drying times. 

“The practice started with some unfortunate workers who, after a couple of failures and stung hands, made me change my mind,” says project lead Pablo Cavigliasso of Instituto Nacional de Tecnología Agropecuaria (INTA), Argentina’s national agricultural technology institute. “Then we designed a transparent plunger system to see how the [bee] individuals are accommodated before immobilizing them and, in the style of a surgical operation, the fabric is cut in the place where the transmitter will go and we continue being very careful not to glue the abdominal area excessively.”

Read the full story in the 2021 Research Magazine.

The Keweenaw's 2nd Annual Waste Reduction Drive

We are less than a month away from the Keweenaw's 2nd Annual Waste Reduction Drive. Have you been diverting your waste from the landfill? Last year the Keweenaw community diverted more than 46,000 items from the landfill.

Let's make this year's drive bigger and better. The drive will be held from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, April 17 in MTU Parking Lot 22 (behind the SDC). The event will be set up drive-thru style to increase efficiency and minimize contact. Guidelines will be in place to protect the health of volunteers and participants.

Please bring us the following items which cannot be recycled curbside in the Keweenaw:

  • Plastic film
  • Dental products
  • Razors
  • Plastic bottle caps & rings
  • Egg cartons
  • Foil-lined wrappers

We found a unique recycle/reuse opportunity for each of these items. Refer to the Official WRD Guidebook for more details on the drive and to learn about what each of these items will be transformed into. Not sure if your plastic film is acceptable? Watch this short video from Trex to find out.

The SDH will post important updates for the drive over the next few weeks. Stay up to date on the drive by following their FB and IG pages.

Thank you to everyone who has been putting in the extra effort to keep your waste out of the landfill! We are looking forward to seeing you on April 17.

Questions? Comments? Interested in volunteering with this year's drive? Email sdh@mtu.edu.

COVID-19 Town Hall

The next installment in the Michigan Tech COVID-19 Community Town Hall Series, takes place from 7 to 8 p.m. (EDT), tomorrow (March 25).

How is the Upper Peninsula impacted by COVID-19? An in-depth look at the many facets of the COVID-19 pandemic will be presented monthly,  through April, on the U.P. COVID-19 Town Hall Series.

Organized by the Health Research Institute at Michigan Tech, the 60-minute town hall broadcasts can be heard live at 7 p.m. on the final Thursday of each month on 97.7 The Wolf (WOLV-FM) and 99.1 (WIKB-FM) and viewed through a Zoom Webinar and Facebook Live. The Town Hall can also be viewed on ABC 10 the following Sunday at noon (EDT).

Over the course of the series, moderated by Steven Elmer and Kelly Kamm (KIP/HRI), clinicians, public health officials, researchers, and community experts will discuss a range of pandemic-related issues.

The Town Hall tomorrow will focus on "Health Disparities."

 More information along with the Town Hall Series can be found here.

Biomedical Engineering Seminar

There will be a Biomedical Engineering Seminar at 2 p.m. Wednesday, March 31 via Zoom (Passcode: 227381).

Zhengwei Li, will present "Emerging Bioinspired Systems: From Biomimetic 3D Curvy Electronics to Biohybrid Living Machines." Li is a postdoctoral fellow at the Center for Bio-Integrated Electronics, Northwestern University.

Abstract: Grand challenges facing human society in the 21st century mostly emerge at the interface between humans and machines. To efficiently tackle these challenges, the development of future real-world technologies will depend strongly on our understanding of the principles underlying living systems, and utilizing these capabilities in forward design of synthetic systems.

In this talk, Li will present recent experimental and theoretical studies on emerging bioinspired systems.

Biological Sciences Seminar Series

There will be a Biological Sciences seminar from 3 to 4 p.m. tomorrow (March 25) via Zoom.

Jiaqi Shi will present "A COMPASS to Fight Pancreatic Cancer."  Shi is an associate professor in the Department of Pathology at the University of Michigan Ann Arbor.

Abstract: Although KMT2D, also known as MLL2, is known to play an essential role in development, differentiation, and tumor suppression, its role in pancreatic cancer development is not well understood. We discovered a novel signaling axis mediated by KMT2D. Loss of KMT2D induces the expression and secretion of activin A, a member of the TGF-β superfamily, which activates a non-canonical p38 MAPK-mediated pathway to modulate cancer cell plasticity, promotes a mesenchymal phenotype, and enhance tumor invasion and metastasis in mice. We observed a decreased KMT2D expression in human primary and metastatic pancreatic cancer.

Furthermore, inhibition or knockdown of activin A reversed the pro-tumoral role of KMT2D. Additionally, loss of KMT2D and increased activin are associated with an immunosuppressive tumor microenvironment. These findings reveal a tumor-suppressive role of KMT2D and identify activin A as a potential therapeutic target in pancreatic cancer.

Biomedical Engineering Seminar

There will be a Biomedical Engineering seminar at 2 p.m. Monday (March 29) via Zoom (passcode:544785).

Yifan Yuan will present "Building a Modeling System to Study Whole Lung Vasculature." Yuan is an American Heart Association postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Anesthesiology at Yale University.

Abstract: Diseases of the lung vasculature, including primary pulmonary hypertension, capillary leak syndrome/acute respiratory distress syndrome, inhalation injury, and the novel coronavirus disease-19 (COVID19), are difficult to study in vitro due to the lack of functional ex vivo models. Typical culture systems do not recapitulate lung macro- and micro-vascular structure, and the phenotype of cultured endothelium differs dramatically from that of native. Whole organ decellularization opens a door to developing a construct that can recapitulate a complete vascular structure.

In this seminar, Yuan will present a novel pulmonary vascular platform from endothelial repopulated whole lung scaffolds. Yuan explains, "First, I will describe protocol development, bioreactor assembly, and cellular characterization using single-cell RNA-sequencing analysis, in our endothelial repopulated lung scaffolds. Second, I will describe methods to enhance endothelial cell functions in our whole lung modeling system. In the final part, I will briefly discuss my future strategies in rationally designing a native-mimicking vascular platform for disease modeling."

Chemical Engineering Seminar Series

The next Chemical Engineering Seminar takes place at 1 p.m. Friday (March 26) via Zoom (Passcode: 170628)

Pengbo Chu will present "Mineral Processing of Low Grade Rare Earth Ores." Chu is an assistant professor in Mineral Processing at the University of Nevada, Reno.

His current research interests are in mineral processing of Mountain Pass rare earth minerals and Nevada sedimentary lithium claystones. His research addresses both fundamental and applied aspects of these problems.

Reminders

Fill Out the COVID-19 Symptom Tracking Form Before Coming to Campus

If you are working on campus while the University is at Health Safety Level Three, remember that no one is permitted to come to campus with symptoms consistent with COVID-19.

Employees are required to monitor their symptoms daily before coming to campus. The Daily Symptom Tracking Form is a short form that will help you determine if you have COVID-19 symptoms.

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Biomedical Engineering Seminar Tomorrow

The next Biomedical Engineering Seminar will take place at 10 a.m. tomorrow, (March 25) via Zoom (passcode 875338). Yunki Lee will present "Engineering Precision Biomaterials for Personalized Medicine." 

Lee is a postdoctoral research fellow at the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, Georgia Institute of Technology.

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ECE Master's Defense Tomorrow

Electrical and Computer Engineering candidate Koami Soulemane Hayibo, advisor Joshua Pearce (MSE/ECE), will defend at 3 p.m. tomorrow (March 25) via Zoom. The title of his presentation is “Quantifying the Value of Foam-Based Flexible Floating Solar Photovoltaic Systems.” 

Today's Campus Events

To have your event automatically appear, please submit them to the University Events Calendar.

DENALI: Artists Respond to Music Inspired by Wilderness

Friday, Jan. 22 - Saturday, April 17. Art and music inspired by Alaska's wild places. This gallery exhibit features new musical compositions and works created in response to...

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Bra Show 2021: Display

Join us in the SIS annual bra show! This year we will be displaying the submitted bras in the J. Robert Van Pelt and John and Ruanne Opie Library Exhibit Space from March...

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Motivation 101

Motivation. Whether you're looking to strengthen yours or find it to begin with, this once a month workshop is a great place to start. Learn about what factors actually help...

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UP and Moving - Lunchtime movement high noon

Michigan Tech students in the Department of Kinesiology and Integrative Physiology are offering an "UP and Moving" initiative for campus and community members. UP and Moving...

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UP and Moving - Lunchtime movement noon thirty

Michigan Tech students in the Department of Kinesiology and Integrative Physiology are offering an "UP and Moving" initiative for campus and community members. UP and Moving...

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Study abroad in Cyprus

Attend this virtual info session to learn about studying abroad in Cyrprus at the University of Nicosia.

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World Water Day Three Minute Thesis Competition Awards

World Water Day Event As part of the 2021 Michigan Tech World Water Day celebration, a virtual Three Minute Thesis-style competition replaces the student poster presentation...

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World Water Day Panel Event: What is the value of water?

World Water Day Event Water, A Valuable Resource Diane P. Dupont Department of Economics and Environmental Sustainability Research Centre Brock University St. Catharines,...

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Youth Indoor Rock Climbing Spring Session 3

Is your child literally climbing the walls this winter? Sign up now for the OAP Youth Indoor Rock Climbing Class and let them climb our wall! We try to meet each participant...

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Zoom Background Competition

Add a personal touch to your zoom meetings by creating your own zoom background for a chance to win some awesome prizes! Backgrounds can be personal photos taken, designs made...

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Design Your Career Workshop

Design Your Career Workshop is a 3-week program that will help you way find as you contemplate your career. Students will be enrolled in a Canvas course so they can do work on...

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Get Your Erg On! Spring Session 1

Get your Erg on! Join members of the MTU Rowing Club as they guide you through the basics of rowing technique and coach you through fun and challenging workout sessions — all...

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Accelerated Masters

Are you considering going for an advanced degree? Learn how one of our 29 quality accelerated master’s programs can save you time and money as you accelerate your career path.

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Adult Huskies Group Tennis Lessons Spring Session 2

Adult Huskies Tennis Lessons are now being offered for ages 17 and up who are looking to learn more about the game of tennis! Each class will include technique and games to...

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ART NIGHT

Want to show off your creative side - or lack thereof? Stop by ART NIGHT to meet new people, make fun art, and show your support for mental health awareness. This...

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Trivia Night

Join SLI for a night of general trivia! Play for fun or play to win, either way, it's sure to be a brain-teasing time. All are welcome! Prizes are for students only and...

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OAP Kayak Safety Clinic

Are you dreaming of summer and those wonderful paddling months? We can’t get you out on the open water, but we can help you work on your skills in the pool! Sign up now for...

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DENALI: Music and Art Inspired by Wilderness

What do you get when you set nine composers loose in Denali National Park? You get nine great pieces of music! Give this music to artists as inspiration and you get eighteen...

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In-Person Preview Day

Admitted students and those helping with their college decision are invited to this special visit day! Attend information sessions designed to help you prepare to move in and...