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CMU Uses Technology to Pursue Advanced Research

Mount Pleasant isn’t simply at the center of Michigan; it’s also the epicenter of exciting developments in areas of advanced research. Central Michigan University (CMU) is leading the pursuit of advancements in dendrimer-based imaging technology and nuclear physics and offers its students access to leading-edge technologies for scientific research.
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In December 2006, CMU became part of a five-year U.S. Department of Energy project that seeks new insights into the physics of atomic nuclei. The collaborative project involves eight universities and six laboratories and hopes to provide more precise models on how atomic nuclei operate. High-performance computering clusters are used to perform very complex simulations, giving researchers clues on the relationship between the density of a nucleus and its energy.

CMU’s Dow Science Complex is the hub for this exciting research project. Built in 1992, the Dow Science Building houses 10 state-of-the-art research laboratories, as well as specialty labs that contain equipment for nuclear magnetic resonance, laser spectroscopy, mass spectrometry, polymer characterization and X-ray diffraction.

Mt. Pleasant SmartZone

Not far from the Dow Science Complex, Central Michigan University Research Corporation (CMU-RC) is pursuing advancements in medicine and technology. CMU-RC is a not-for-profit organization established to facilitate innovative research and development opportunities between the university and high technology companies.

CMU-RC is based in the Center for Applied Research, also known as the Mt. Pleasant SmartZone, where research and technology start-ups can grow their businesses. The Center is the result of a collaboration between CMU, the city of Mount Pleasant, Middle Michigan Development Corporation and the Michigan Economic Development Corporation.

Last October, CMU-RC received an $810,000 federal grant to develop dendrimer-based imaging technology that can better detect tumors and other ailments. The goal is to provide improved medical imaging for earlier detection of cancer tumors and other medical conditions and more precision in treatment.

Dendrimer structures represent a new class of macromolecular architecture and precise construction modules in the emerging area of nanoscale science and technology. Dendrimers are nanostructures that can be precisely designed and manufactured for a wide variety of applications. Dendrimers are the first large, man-made molecules with precise, nano-sized composition and well-defined three-dimensional shapes.

In addition, the National Dendrimer and Nanotechnology Center at CMU is using nanotechnology to conduct new dendrimer-based research on drug encapsulation, nuclear magnetic reagents, and other nanoscale structures.

Providing Students Access to Research Technologies

When conducting research, students can leverage the university’s advanced facilities to pursue knowledge in chemistry, physics, industrial engineering, geography, meteorology and other sciences.

The recently renovated Park Library maintains active subscriptions to over 4,800 journals and publications and offers access to hundreds of online research databases. The Library is connected to Merit’s high-speed network, providing students access to thousands of titles.

The Geographic Information Systems (GIS) Center provides students and researchers access to U.S. Bureau of Census TIGER line files, Digital Raster Graphics data, Landview III maps of selected EPA regulated sites, and NIMA digital maps. The Center also has spatially referenced data for central and northern Michigan.

The Center for High Performance Scientific Computing (CHiPS) hosts a Beowulf-type supercomputer cluster and was assembled by CMU’s Department of Physics. The cluster, which was acquired for close to $200,000 with funds from the National Science Foundation, connects 20 dual Alpha EV6 833, 750, and 667 MHz workstations via a very fast SCI network. The supercomputer can perform 2 billion computations a second and has been used to perform calculations for numerous projects related to nuclear physics.

More About CMU

Central Michigan University educates more than 28,000 students annually. In 2005-06 CMU had the fourth largest enrollment of Michigan’s public universities.

In 2001, CMU became a Sponsored Educational Group Participant of Internet2, providing its students access to the national high-speed education network via Merit Network.

11,000 active teachers and administrators in Michigan are CMU graduates. In 2005-06 CMU students and alumni were awarded a national Milken award (the “Oscar” of teaching, only 100 awarded), Michigan Superintendent of the Year and the Michigan Student Teacher of the year.

CMU is the only university in the nation with an undergraduate degree concentration in microscopy, offering undergraduates opportunities that are usually reserved for graduate students.