UMBC labs share four essentials for undergraduate research success

#1: Developing scientist identity. For example, in Ruben Delgado’s lab, “Every undergraduate has a project that they can define when they first start and then fine tune it as they move along,” says Meredith Sperling ’19. “Graduate students and Ruben are great at providing guidance, pointing out possible pitfalls, etc., but at the end of the day it’s really our research and where we want to take it.” Continue reading UMBC labs share four essentials for undergraduate research success

Women wearing protective clothing works in a lab with faculty mentors blurred in the foreground.

UMBC’s Meyerhoff Scholars model heads to UC Berkeley and UCSD through a $6.9M investment from the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative

“It is truly thrilling to think about the national and global impact the Meyerhoff Scholars Program will have through partnerships like this,” says UMBC’s Michael Summers. “By working together we can help shape the future of our national Ph.D. pipeline, with inclusive excellence as a core shared value of our work.” Continue reading UMBC’s Meyerhoff Scholars model heads to UC Berkeley and UCSD through a $6.9M investment from the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative

Biology graduate students from UMBC earn national honors for unique aquatic research

Whether wading in a cold stream or in the lab, mentors who foster independent thinking balanced with guidance—for research and for life—make the difference for UMBC graduate students on the national and international stage. A close-knit graduate student community adds a level of support that helps students succeed. Continue reading Biology graduate students from UMBC earn national honors for unique aquatic research

UMBC’s Bradley Arnold develops laser-based technology to safely and quickly detect IEDs and other hazards in combat zones

You’re a U.S. soldier, motoring across the desert at 60 miles an hour in an Army truck. Suddenly, a red light flashes on your dashboard—an instrument has detected traces of explosive material on the road surface ahead. You divert around the hazard and continue safely toward your destination. “There is currently nothing available to do this at this speed,” says Bradley Arnold. But that could soon change. Continue reading UMBC’s Bradley Arnold develops laser-based technology to safely and quickly detect IEDs and other hazards in combat zones

Alex Sestok, Ph.D. student in chemistry, at GRC 2018. Photo by Marlayna Demond '11 for UMBC.

New GEARS symposium offers professional development opportunities to grad students across disciplines

“We want to provide an avenue for people to learn skills that they’re not going to get in the classroom or the lab,” says Alex Rittle, Ph.D. student in geography and environmental systems and chair of the GEARS planning committee. Continue reading New GEARS symposium offers professional development opportunities to grad students across disciplines

Letitia Dzirasa to serve as Baltimore City health commissioner

“As I’ve grown in my career, I’ve begun to understand just how blessed I was to be afforded the opportunity to attend college and pursue my dreams,” Letitia Dzirasa ’03 says. “As I was fortunate, it is my responsibility to reach back and help others, especially those most under-resourced.” Continue reading Letitia Dzirasa to serve as Baltimore City health commissioner

UMBC scientists tackle persistent hurdles in the aquaculture industry with new NOAA grant

The grant will support efforts to optimize an innovative procedure for growing fish that can’t reproduce. “Everybody has been looking for another way to develop reproductively sterile fish,” Yonathan Zohar says. Sterile fish produce higher-quality meat and can’t breed with local populations if they escape from net pens. Continue reading UMBC scientists tackle persistent hurdles in the aquaculture industry with new NOAA grant

UMBC’s Ivan Erill finds resistance to modern drug in ancient bacteria

“The drug you design ten years from now may already be obsolete,” Ivan Erill says. In a new study in Frontiers in Microbiology, Erill and colleagues describe how bacteria that existed hundreds of millions of years ago were already resistant to an antibacterial drug not invented until the 1930s. Continue reading UMBC’s Ivan Erill finds resistance to modern drug in ancient bacteria

UMBC’s Colleen Burge helps show oyster aquaculture can limit disease in wild oysters

“Oyster aquaculture is growing in Maryland,” says Colleen Burge. As long as growers employ proper management techniques, “This paper suggests this growing aquaculture industry could actually support restoration efforts and also the wild fisheries.” Continue reading UMBC’s Colleen Burge helps show oyster aquaculture can limit disease in wild oysters

Three generations, thousands of miles: Scientists unlock the mystery of a dragonfly’s migration

“We know that a lot of insects migrate, but we have full life history and full migration data for only a couple. This is the first dragonfly in the Western Hemisphere for which we know this,” says Colin Studds. “We’ve solved the first piece of a big mystery.” Continue reading Three generations, thousands of miles: Scientists unlock the mystery of a dragonfly’s migration

From lab to museum, new UMBC grads show the powerful impact of original research

Student passion guided by faculty support is part of the fabric of UMBC. Four students’ stories, from Asian studies to biological sciences, shed light on how this winning combination makes possible big breakthroughs. Continue reading From lab to museum, new UMBC grads show the powerful impact of original research

UMBC launches PROMISE Academy with USM partners, to support diverse faculty in the biomedical sciences

The PROMISE Academy will draw on the expertise of universities around the nation and evidence-based best practices to recruit and retain a diverse group of faculty members in STEM fields. “With so many top programs supporting the success of diverse students and faculty, UMBC has a strong foundation on which to build,” Renetta Tull said. Continue reading UMBC launches PROMISE Academy with USM partners, to support diverse faculty in the biomedical sciences

Student scientists take center stage at UMBC’s largest-ever Undergraduate Research Symposium

“It is so inspiring to see hundreds of undergraduate researchers from over 40 colleges and universities and nearly a dozen states coming together to present research to fellow students, mentors, and faculty judges,” shares CNMS Dean Bill LaCourse. Continue reading Student scientists take center stage at UMBC’s largest-ever Undergraduate Research Symposium

Bahama Oriole Project team awarded NSF grant to offer more UMBC undergrads international research experiences

“Being on the Bahama Oriole Project was my first hands-on glimpse at international research,” Matthew Kane ’19 says. “It was the first time I had seen scientists from two different countries collaborating on a conservation project on this scale.” Continue reading Bahama Oriole Project team awarded NSF grant to offer more UMBC undergrads international research experiences

New UMBC research suggests need to rethink goals of global reforestation efforts

Forests store carbon, clean water, prevent soil erosion, and provide habitat for a wide range of species, “but all those benefits start kicking in when forests are older,” says Matthew Fagan. Based on their new research, Fagan and colleagues argue that nations would do better to take the long view when committing to forest restoration. Continue reading New UMBC research suggests need to rethink goals of global reforestation efforts

NSF grants UMBC and community college partners $1.4M to innovate science education

At its core, this partnership and others “are about building relationships, better communication, and building a community that benefits the students, the faculty, and the institutions,” Dean Bill LaCourse says. “The idea is to make a bigger tent, and not work as two institutions, but as one.” Continue reading NSF grants UMBC and community college partners $1.4M to innovate science education

UMBC and community colleges collaborate to boost transfer student success in STEM

“I was really interested in looking at transfer from an asset-based perspective,” says UMBC’s Sarah Jewett. “Transfer students bring so many experiences and talents to this campus, just like every other student, and I think those strengths need to be recognized and tapped.” Continue reading UMBC and community colleges collaborate to boost transfer student success in STEM

Third annual UMBC GRIT-X talks highlight thought-provoking ideas, experiences, and discoveries

Artists, scientists, and social change agents from across UMBC presented the third annual GRIT-X talks on October 13, sharing their ideas and perspectives on stage in UMBC’s Dance Cube. “All our talks gave a different facet, a different beam of light, on what we do at UMBC,” said Vice President for Research Karl Steiner, who spearheaded the event. Continue reading Third annual UMBC GRIT-X talks highlight thought-provoking ideas, experiences, and discoveries

UMBC researchers develop new method to address deep-seated biases in science, starting with birds

“We’re really hoping this new method is going to address some issues with what kinds of data get published,” says Evangeline Rose, first author on a new paper. This paper “is part of an amazing drumbeat that’s building up in the scientific community,” Kevin Omland says. “There’s a broader problem with the scientific method that’s being increasingly acknowledged, and the test we’ve developed can at least play a small role, and I hope a big role, in addressing it.” Continue reading UMBC researchers develop new method to address deep-seated biases in science, starting with birds

UMBC’s Sebastian Deffner receives FQXi support for pioneering work to define laws of the universe

On the heels of a pioneering paper earlier this year, Deffner is off and running to help generate “a better, more concise understanding of the universe,” he says. He recognizes, however, that the journey will be a marathon, not a sprint. While it may take decades to complete this work, Deffner says, “Sometimes you have to take a risk and follow the dream.” Continue reading UMBC’s Sebastian Deffner receives FQXi support for pioneering work to define laws of the universe

UMBC physicist Can Ataca developing quicker, cheaper way to create novel, one-atom-thick materials

“We can predict a material’s properties before experimentalists can even synthesize it,” says Can Ataca. The new methods his lab is developing will make those predictions many times more accurate, supporting other scientists in their efforts to develop materials for applications from solar cells to gas masks. Continue reading UMBC physicist Can Ataca developing quicker, cheaper way to create novel, one-atom-thick materials

UMBC’s Rachel Brewster investigates cellular survival to improve the preservation of organs for transplant

Following clue after clue, Brewster’s lab is on a mission to enable new methods that would allow organs to last longer and travel farther to those in need. NIH has rewarded the lab’s noteworthy progress toward that end with a $400,000, two-year Exploratory Research Award to continue the work. Continue reading UMBC’s Rachel Brewster investigates cellular survival to improve the preservation of organs for transplant

South Africa to Colorado: Summer research helps UMBC STEM BUILD students chart their course

Traveling far from home for an immersive research experience can be transformational for an undergraduate. Living and working in a completely new environment, with new colleagues, can be intimidating, but it also offers powerful opportunities for growth. Five STEM BUILD students from UMBC took that plunge this summer, and all made lasting memories that will inform their paths forward. Continue reading South Africa to Colorado: Summer research helps UMBC STEM BUILD students chart their course

UMBC, NASA, and partners mount intensive Chesapeake Bay air-quality study

“My favorite part of this project is giving the students hands-on experience,” says Ruben Delgado. “They get to contribute to the process from start to finish.” Delgado is the UMBC lead on the project, in partnership with the NASA lead John Sullivan, Ph.D. ’15, atmospheric physics. Continue reading UMBC, NASA, and partners mount intensive Chesapeake Bay air-quality study

UMBC’s Matthew Baker teams up with Chesapeake Conservancy to create detailed stream maps

“If we want to understand how what we do on the landscape influences stream integrity and downstream health in places like the Chesapeake Bay,” says Matthew Baker, “then being able to map the connections between human activities on the land and the circulatory waters system that delivers their effects to the Bay is paramount.” Continue reading UMBC’s Matthew Baker teams up with Chesapeake Conservancy to create detailed stream maps

UMBC’s Summer Undergraduate Research Fest 2018 spotlights talents of emerging scientists

More than 30 faculty mentors, 120+ undergrad and high school students, and dozens more attendees celebrated the students’ achievements at the conclusion of their summer research experiences. “The experience helped us to think like scientists,” says Olufolake Majekodunmi ’21. Continue reading UMBC’s Summer Undergraduate Research Fest 2018 spotlights talents of emerging scientists

UMBC’s BUILD a Bridge to STEM internship offers students a transformative research experience

“I think the greatest thing about this experience was how we were treated as equals,” shared Zulekha Karachiwalla, a sophomore at Howard Community College. “It’s been challenging in a way that’s made us better scientists,” added Rahaf Alhabashi, also a sophomore at HCC. Continue reading UMBC’s BUILD a Bridge to STEM internship offers students a transformative research experience

UMBC astronomer Kenji Hamaguchi confirms binary star system produces cosmic rays

Producing cosmic rays, which also happens following a supernova, requires that particles be accelerated nearly to the speed of light. “We found that the accelerated particles are really energetic, which is much more than we expected from this star,” says Kenji Hamaguchi, the lead author on the study. Continue reading UMBC astronomer Kenji Hamaguchi confirms binary star system produces cosmic rays

UMBC and University of Limpopo partner to grow research and exchange opportunities

On June 12, leaders from UMBC and the University of Limpopo in South Africa formalized commitments to collaborate through joint research as well as faculty and student exchanges. UMBC has steadily grown its international partnerships with universities in Germany, Japan, Portugal, Peru, and other nations around the globe. This is the first such agreement between UMBC and a university in Africa. Continue reading UMBC and University of Limpopo partner to grow research and exchange opportunities

UMBC’s Eileen Meyer explains how big data is changing astronomy research

Recent research discovered thousands of black holes near the center of the Milky Way “by digging through old, long-archived data,” writes Eileen Meyer. “Astronomers are gathering an exponentially greater amount of data every day—so much that it will take years to uncover all the hidden signals buried in the archives.” Continue reading UMBC’s Eileen Meyer explains how big data is changing astronomy research