BE Projects – Spring 2023

Dr. Dana Kirk, PE
Assoc. Professor

Biosystems &
Agricultural Engineering

Dr. Luke Reese
Assoc. Professor

Biosystems &
Agricultural Engineering

About the Program

Graduates of the MSU Biosystems Engineering (BE) undergraduate program are expected to succeed in diverse careers where they integrate and apply principles of engineering and biology to a wide variety of globally important problems. MSU Biosystems Engineering graduates are expected to attain that success by:

  • identifying and solving problems at the interface of biology and engineering, using modern engineering techniques and the systems approach,
  • analyzing, designing, and controlling components, systems, and processes that involve critical biological components,
  • demonstrating vision, adaptability, creativity, a practical mindset, effective communication skills for technical and non-technical audiences, the ability to work in diverse, cross-disciplinary teams, and a commitment to sustainability, continuing professional growth, and ethical conduct, and
  • working inclusively and equitably in diverse, cross-disciplinary environments towards sustainable solutions.

BE 485/ BE 487 Courses

Biosystems Engineering student teams, enrolled in the two-semester biosystems design capstone experience, BE 485/487, develop, evaluate, and select design alternatives in order to solve real-world problems. Projects are diverse, but each reflects systems thinking by integrating interconnected issues affecting the problem, including critical biological constraints. The engineering design process is documented in a detailed technical report. Teams present project designs to engineering faculty and a review panel of professional engineers for evaluation. Each BE 485/487 capstone design team prepares and presents a design solution in report, poster, and oral formats to industry, faculty, peers, and the public that:

  • Requires engineering design
  • Combines biology and engineering
  • Solves a real problem
  • Uses a holistic approach
  • Interprets data
  • Evaluates economic feasibility

2022/23 Projects

Full descriptions, short videos, and project posters are at:
Public presentations (April 28, 2023, 1 pm)

Optimizing ultrasonic aspirator settings to maximize viable cell extraction

Stryker (project under Non-Disclosure Agreement)
Team Stryker 1 – Christina Berels, Anna Burgess, Jordyn Gerdes, & Chloe Zaborney Kline
Faculty Advisors – Dr. Vangie Alocilja & Dr. Ilce Medina Meza

Tissue pathology viability testing after ultrasonic aspirator extraction

Stryker (project under Non-Disclosure Agreement)
Team Stryker 2 – Mary Borowski, Adam Easter, Emeline Pioch, & Jack Westerkamp
Faculty Advisors – Dr. Ilce Medina Meza & Dr. Vangie Alocilja

Whey protein concentration process evaluation and predictive modeling to control yield

Tillamook (project under Non-Disclosure Agreement)
Team Tillamook – Ben Alexander, Ava Borri, Kate Mann, & Stephanie Nomoto
Faculty Advisor – Dr. Bahar Aliakbarian

Regulatory feed sampling process and ergonomics improvement

Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development
Team MDARD –
Ryan Eberline, Marshall Humphrey, Claire Kolar, & Kate Wernicke
Faculty Advisor – Dr. Tim Harrigan

Assessment of commercial innovative technologies to reduce microbial load in wheat

Mennel Milling Company (project under Non-Disclosure Agreement)
Team Mennel Milling – Ryan Danaj, Lindsey Hassel, Rachael Lewallen, & Aaron Newberry
Faculty Advisor – Carly Gomez & Dr. Yan “Susie” Liu

Wetland restoration for improved natural function, research, and educational use

Corey Marsh Ecological Research Center
Team Corey Marsh –
Ali Ahmad, Katie Dailey, Lauren Falzarano, & Allison Smith
Faculty Advisor – Dr. Dawn Dechand

Sulfur compound removal from tail gas CO2 for methanation

Quantalux (project under Non-Disclosure Agreement)
Team Quantalux – Yangcheng Gao, John Grivins, Xiaoheng Lyu, & Gregory Rouland
Faculty Advisor – Dr. Wei Liao, PE

Baked pastry promotional process line improvement

Kellogg’s (project under Non-Disclosure Agreement)
Team Kellogg’s – Megan Baechle, Emily Hamilton, Katie Jensen, & Reema Patel
Faculty Advisor – Dr. Kirk Dolan

Integration of a visioning quality control system

Clemens Food Group (project under Non-Disclosure Agreement)
Team Clemens – Emily Gorr, Robert Gurecki, Kevin Mozel, & Jarod Williams
Faculty Advisor – Dr. Narendra Das

Maintaining natural water supply requirements for a distilled beverage

Distilled Beverage Manufacturer (project under Non-Disclosure Agreement)
Stream Team – Grant Gmitter, Megan Mancina, Chance Poulos, & Madison Pritchett
Faculty Advisor – Dr. Steve Safferman, PE

Energy audit decision support tool for MDNR facilities

Michigan Department of Natural Resources
Team MDNR –
Christina Abel, Alec Christy, Lexi Szurna, & Mitchell Wojtowicz
Faculty Advisor – Dr. Truman Surbrook & Al Go

Process line sanitation optimization for cooked meat products

EW Grobbel (project under Non-Disclosure Agreement)
Team Grobbel – Savana Bellows, Andrew Kearney, & Andres Lanzas
Faculty Advisor – Dr. Sanghyup Jeong, PE

Apple trellis post structural and economic evaluation

MSU Clarksville Research Station
Team Clarkesville –
Jake Crippes, Grace Dempsey, Hannah Gruber, & Jake Willsea
Faculty Advisor – Dr. Dan Guyer & Phil Hill

Industry Advisory Board

The purpose of the Industry Advisory Board is to facilitate the exchange of ideas between board members, faculty, and students of the BE program. Its function is to improve continuously the BE program quality by keeping it current and relevant to industry needs. Regular and adjunct board members also serve as external project evaluators.


Janelle Barnes (Chair) ~ Target
Holly Bowers ~ Consumers Energy
Jessica Bruin ~ Nestlé Nutrition
Lisa Buchholz ~ Corteva Agriscience
Matt Burtt ~ AbbVie
Shelley Crawford ~ Jiffy
Michelle Crook, PE ~ MDNR
Laura Doud, PE ~ MDARD
Cassaundra Edwards ~ Tillamook Creamery Gene Ford ~ Standard Process
Jeremy Hoeh, PE ~ EGLE
Eric Iversen, PE ~ PEA Group
Kevin Kowalk, PE ~ EA Engineering, Science, and Technology (MI) PLC
Jeffrey Mathews, PhD ~ PepsiCo
Mitch Miller ~ General Mills-Yoplait
Steve Radke ~ John Bean Technologies ( JBT) Nate Wood, PE ~ Perrigo
Rob Yoder ~ BDI, Inc.

Board (Ex-officio)

Todd Forbush ~ Techmark, Inc. (ASABE MI Section)

If you are interested in sponsoring a BE 485/487 capstone project for the 2023/24 Senior Design teams, please contact Dr. Dana Kirk at or Dr. Luke Reese at