ACE Department Looking for Work Study Student

Are you approved for work study for this spring semester?  Do you have solid computing skills?  We are looking for someone to work 15-19 hours per week supporting both our department and the Health Professions Department.  Check out the job listing on the student job site here: and apply through the website or send your resume to

Electronics Technology Students Tour Research Facility

Students from the Electronics Technology program recently completed a tour of the research facilities at the UM Center for Biomolecular Structure and Dynamics.

Highlighted in the tour was the robotics equipment used in the research center. X-ray crystallographers, crystallize proteins and visualize their 3-D structure from diffraction data obtained by exposing these protein crystals to high intensity X-ray beams (Top Figure). The 3-D image of the protein enables understanding of their biological function, and also is used to design new drugs against diseases. The Crystal Gryphon, is a small & fast robot for setting up crystal plates that we use in our lab to crystallize proteins (Bottom Figure). Essentially the robot consists of two arms each capable of x, y and z axis motions. The side arm on the right delivers the protein to the plates and the middle arm dispenses the crystallization solution. The protein arm dips its needle into the protein solution, withdraws the requisite amount, often just a minute drop (in the order of 1/1000 of an ml), and then dispenses them into 96 wells on to the plate below. The second robot that has 96 dispensing needles does the same, but dispensed in one motion. The plates are then set in incubators to obtain protein crystals.

The robotic arm has three degrees of freedoms, horizontal, x,y and vertical z axis, but permits only one motional degree at a time, to ensure precision and accuracy. The arms have sensor that detect liquid levels and also floor levels so that they can draw correct amounts of liquid and not touch the plates. It is equipped with motion sensors that stop the robot if it detects human movement near the needles to ensure no accidents occur. The robot is controlled solely by a computer powered by an i7, 3.4 GHz Strong Arm processor and a 64 bit robotic control software communicates via fiber optics to the robot, ensuring very high operating baud rate. Thus the overall design of the robot accommodates of precise motions with minimal human interference and is rated to perform for at least ten years of continuous use.

Dr. Layton to Give Keynote Presentation at STEM Summit in Bellevue, WA

The second annual STEM Summit (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math):Integrating STEM into Today’s Classroom to Develop Tomorrow’s Leaders will be held on Thursday, February 9th, and Friday, February 10th, 2012 at Bellevue College in Bellevue, WA.

This two-day Summit will introduce you to K-20 best practices in education focusing on innovative teaching and learning in STEM. Attendees will be examining curriculum for incorporation of best practices in STEM teaching and learning.

Dr. Layon's keynote presentation will focus on Energy Technology Education in Efficiency To Engender Energy Independence:Science & Math Lay the Foundation for the Next Generation of Energy Technology Leaders.

 Dr. Layton is an Assistant Professor for the Department of Applied Computing and Electronics at The University of Montana College of Technology.

Dr. Layton received his Ph.D. in Biomedical Engineering from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, with concentrations in soft-tissue mechanics and the molecular structure of collagen. His dissertation topic was Remodeling of Heterogeneous Extracellular Matrices of the Diabetic Nerve: Models and Experiments. He received his Masters in Science in mechanical engineering from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor and his Bachelors in Science in mechanical engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA.

Dr. Layton now serves as the Director of Energy Technology Program at The University of Montana College of Technology. He is currently facilitating the coordination of face-to-face and online learning opportunities and innovations. Dr. Layton also has a research interest in nanoscale biomechanics and has several publications in this field. He has received research funding from The National Science Foundation, NASA, The Keck Foundation, and the United States Department of Agriculture. His current passion is educating his students and the general public about the threats of energy dependence and the opportunities available for adopting sustainable energy technologies.

In his spare time Dr. Layton enjoys bicycling and hiking with his family. As a former member of the United States National Rowing Team, he now very much appreciates the opportunities he has to kayak and actually see where he is going!

For more information on the summit, please see

REAP Application Process Open

The 2012 Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) has been announced in the Federal Register. Applications are now being accepted for the Renewable Energy Systems, Energy Efficiency Program, Feasibility Study and Energy Audit programs.  The 2008 Farm Bill created several energy-related funding programs for USDA Rural Development. The Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) and several other programs are designed to provide access to capital to incentivize the implementation of energy efficiency and renewable energy practices in rural small businesses and agricultural operations.

The MT allocations are less than last year and are as follows:
Small Grants (<$20,000) - $71,000
Large grants (>$20,000) - $72,000
REAP Guarantees - $469,644

Additional funds are available from the National Office reserve on a first come first served basis for the loan guarantee funds and on a competitive basis for the grant funds. In 2011 Montana funded $113, 414 in small grants, $158,298 in large grants, and $153,232 in Loan Guarantees. We hope to do better in 2012.

Application information can be obtained from any Rural Development Area Office or by visiting our website at: