Category Archives: University Research

MSU’s Anthony receives $500,000 NSF CAREER Award

EAST LANSING — Rebecca Anthony, an assistant professor of mechanical engineering in the Michigan State University College of Engineering, has been awarded a five-year, $500,000 NSF Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Award to research nanostructure manufacturing that will make LED lights more efficient and versatile.

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Pilot Project at Michigan Tech Leads to Federal Regulations Changes

HOUGHTON — Michigan Technological University participated in a national pilot project that helped the federal government revise its regulations to make a major reduction in the number of federal certification forms and the administrative follow-up paperwork on federal research grants.

Michigan Tech’s Board of Trustees were told about the pilot project and the regulations changes at their regular meeting Friday, March 3. Continue reading Pilot Project at Michigan Tech Leads to Federal Regulations Changes

Albert Kahn’s legacy lives on in Detroit architecture – and Lawrence Tech symposium

SOUTHFIELD, Mich. – The spaces we build to live and work in influence the basic nature of our lives and careers for as long as those buildings last.

Friday, about 70 academics, researchers, and the architecturally curious gathered at Lawrence Technological University to review the work and legacy of legendary Detroit architect Albert Kahn in a daylong research symposium.

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A Stretchable Smart Screen? MSU Says Yes

EAST LANSING — Engineering researchers at Michigan State University have developed the first stretchable integrated circuit that is made entirely using an inkjet printer, raising the possibility of inexpensive mass production of smart fabric.

Imagine: an ultrathin smart tablet that can be stretched from mini-size to extra large. Or a rubber band-like wrist monitor that measures one’s heartbeat. Or wallpaper that turns an entire wall into an electronic display.

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NASA Taps Michigan Tech Prof to Lead $15M Space Research Institute

HOUGHTON — Michigan Technological University Professor Greg Odegard will lead a new, multidisciplinary and multi-institution Space Technology Research Institute.

The institute is funded by a $15 million 5-year grant from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).

Odegard, pictured at right above, is the Richard and Elizabeth Henes Professor of Computational Mechanics at Michigan Tech and associate chair and director of undergraduate studies in the Department of Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics. He is also an adjunct professor of materials science and engineering at Tech.

Odegard’s team will include 22 faculty members from 10 universities, two companies and the U.S. Air Force Research Lab. Their STRI is called the Institute for Ultra-Strong Composites by Computational Design or US-COMP.

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Michigan Tech Boosts Engine Research For Auto Industry

HOUGHTON — The auto industry tends to be fiercely competitive.  So what would bring multiple companies together on research projects?

How about the chance to direct the nature of the research and having access to the engineers, scientists and students doing it — and the final results?

That’s what Michigan Technological University’s new Light Duty Engine Consortium is offering, and three industry leaders have been quick to jump on board.

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Tears Can Tell Your Nutrition: MTU Researcher

HOUGHTON — Would you rather give blood or tears?

A Michigan Technological University researcher is lead author of a new paper on the potential use of tears instead of blood to study people’s nutritional levels.

The paper was published in the scholarly journal Experimental Eye Research (DOI: 10.1016/j.exer.2016.12.007). The lead author is Maryam Khaksari, a research specialist at the Chemical Advanced Resolution Methods (ChARM) Laboratory at Michigan Tech.

“Our goal was to seek the viability of establishing measurable vitamin concentrations in tears for nutritional assessments,” Khaksari says. “Your body cannot manufacture vitamins, and vitamins reflect available food sources in your body. That’s what makes them good indicators of nutritional health.”

Full of Potential

The work was part of Khaksari’s dissertation in the Medical micro-Device Engineering Research Lab at Michigan Tech. The team is led by Adrienne Minerick, the dean of research and innovation in the College of Engineering as well as a professor of chemical engineering at Michigan Tech.

“This project was the first step that proved vitamins are detectable in tears, that they do correlate with blood levels,” Minerick said. “Next we want to engineer a portable, lab-on-a-chip device relying on a minimally invasive sample from tears to assess nutrition.”

With this goal in mind, Khaksari worked with a local team under Minerick’s guidance to study the connections between infant vitamin levels and their parents’ levels.

Full of Vitamins

Previously, the presence — and measurability — of tear nutrients was unclear. After all, there are no blood vessels that connect through the cornea, and blood transport nourishes most organs. Yet the old stories about carrots have some truth: eyes do need vitamin A along with other nutrients.

“We hypothesized that nutrients are transferred to the living cells of your cornea through your tears,” Khaksari said, adding that past studies have shown that people blink more when they have vitamin deficiencies, which are currently only tested for with blood samples. “We would like to translate the information we have for blood to tears. In this paper, we did show that there are correlations between vitamin concentrations in tears and blood — so it’s possible.”

The challenge is that tears are a complex mixture, which makes measuring vitamins in them difficult.

Full of ChARM

Khaksari focused on vitamins A, B and E to assess; she did so using liquid chromatography and mass spectrometry with the help of Lynn Mazzoleni, an associate professor of chemistry and co-director of the ChARM Laboratory.  Mazzoleni oversees a new mass spectrometer with the capability of measuring mass in femtograms (0.000000000000001 grams), and the new equipment will put to use as the tears characterization project moves forward.

“We absolutely need ultrahigh resolving power to see the molecules in extremely complex mixtures in order to learn more about various natural and biological systems,” Mazzoleni said.

That sensitivity is crucial when connecting it to human health. As the authors write, nutritional deficiencies are most often treated by symptoms, “however, symptom-presentation substantially lags behind the chemical level deficiency.”

Full of Health

In children the effects of nutritional deficiencies can be lifelong, which is part of the reason Khaksari collaborated with Dr. Colleen Vallad-Hix at UP Health System — Portage. They focused on babies with a 100 percent liquid diet of formula or breastmilk to understand the connection between parent nutrition and infant nutrition. Also, nutritional data gleaned from the parents help reveal the family’s access to healthy foods.

They tested tear samples and blood samples from 15 four-month-old infants and their parents. In general, water-soluble vitamins were higher in infants and fat-soluble vitamins were higher in parents — notably, mothers tended to be more deficient across the board. Generally, there is a connection between parents and babies and the team showed a correlation between vitamins E and B. Formula-fed babies were the exception, with notably higher levels of B vitamins. The work is preliminary but shows promise for laying out trends in tear vitamin levels.

Denso Opens R&D Center At UM

SOUTHFIELD — The Japan-based auto supplier Denso Corp. announced the opening of the Denso R&D Lab at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.

The company said 12 UM students were selected to help on various research projects being undertaken at the lab. The projects will begin this month and continue throughout the year.

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MSU autonomous vehicle featured at AutoMobili-D at 2017 NAIAS in Detroit

EAST LANSING — Michigan State University will display a cutting-edge autonomous concept vehicle and related technology during AutoMobili-D at Cobo Center from Jan. 8-12 — a premier feature of the 2017 North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) in Detroit.

MSU’s green-and- white vehicle is equipped with a variety of intelligent devices and sensors, such as laser radars, or lidars, that create a 3D map of the driving area as well as advanced algorithms that allow a vehicle to maneuver in its environment.

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Michigan Tech Research Grants Rising

HOUGHTON — Michigan Technological University’s environmental science, atmospheric science and oceanography research expenditures ranked No. 1 among Michigan universities, David Reed, vice president for research, told Tech’s Board of Trustees at its regular meeting on Friday, Dec. 16.

Recently released National Science Foundation rankings of universities by total research expenditures also placed mechanical engineering research 23rd in the nation, making it the highest ranked of all research fields at Michigan Tech, Reed reported.

In the NSF research expenditure rankings, which covered fiscal year 2015, ended June 30, 2015, Tech ranked 116th in the nation among public universities, Reed said.

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