Team led by UMBC’s Mehdi Benna is the first to map a planet’s global wind patterns, and they weren’t Earth’s

The research was made possible by “a clever reengineering in flight of how to operate the spacecraft and the instrument,” Mehdi Benna says. “And by doing both—the spacecraft doing something it was not designed to do, and the instrument doing something it was not designed to do—we made the wind measurements possible.” Continue reading Team led by UMBC’s Mehdi Benna is the first to map a planet’s global wind patterns, and they weren’t Earth’s

UMBC’s Aaron Smith examines molecular role of iron in human health with $1.5M in new grants

“Metals open up the toolbox for the protein to be able to accomplish so much more,” Aaron Smith says. His new NSF and NIH funding will allow Smith’s lab to increase understanding of how one metal, iron, is involved in adding molecules to proteins after they are made. This process can significantly change a protein’s function and play a role in disease. By focusing at the molecular level, “We think that we fit in very nicely in this research space,” Smith says. “We’re filling a niche that remains really uncovered at this point.” Continue reading UMBC’s Aaron Smith examines molecular role of iron in human health with $1.5M in new grants

We have liftoff! UMBC-developed mini satellite launched into space to study climate, air quality

“As an engineer, I’m looking to develop technology that can make the science happen,” says Dominik Cieslak. That’s exactly what Cieslak and the rest of the team have accomplished with their cubesat, HARP. When it is released from the International Space Station in about a month, it will collect new kinds of information about clouds and tiny particles in the atmosphere to increase our understanding of climate and air quality. Continue reading We have liftoff! UMBC-developed mini satellite launched into space to study climate, air quality

UMBC expands offerings at The Universities at Shady Grove to grow Maryland’s STEM workforce

The new Biomedical Sciences and Engineering Facility at The Universities at Shady Grove is a big piece of the expansion. “This building symbolizes an opportunity to bring the disciplines together to address societal problems,” Annica Wayman says, “and to discover how they can work together to address the biggest challenges.” With state-of-the-art scientific equipment and ample opportunity for interaction among students, faculty, and biotech professionals, the facility will enhance programming at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Continue reading UMBC expands offerings at The Universities at Shady Grove to grow Maryland’s STEM workforce

UMBC spotlights the power of collaboration and community in opening of new science building, GRIT-X talks

“Already there are research teams working in this building on such complex issues as age-related disease, environmental degradation, and health disparities,” says Dean Bill LaCourse. Solutions to our most complex challenges “are found through a convergence of talent and effort,” bringing together the perspectives of people from different fields and backgrounds. This is what the new building is designed to achieve. Continue reading UMBC spotlights the power of collaboration and community in opening of new science building, GRIT-X talks

three people walking

UMBC receives $2.8M from NSF for master’s program to prepare a diverse environmental science workforce

“The primary mission of UMBC is inclusive excellence, and our program applies that mission to the environmental sciences,” says Tamra Mendelson. “Our main objectives are to bring a diversity of backgrounds to the environmental workforce and to improve the way that scientific research is applied to environmental problems.” Continue reading UMBC receives $2.8M from NSF for master’s program to prepare a diverse environmental science workforce

New UMBC study shows powerful effects of road salt and urban infrastructure on waterways

The relationship between urbanization and water chemistry was “more complex than we thought,” Matthew Baker says. Overall, though, he says, “We need to pay closer attention to the materials we’re using in and on infrastructure,” and “we definitely have to lower the amount of road salt we’ve been applying,” to keep our local ecosystems healthy. Continue reading New UMBC study shows powerful effects of road salt and urban infrastructure on waterways

Spacecraft and planet

UMBC’s Sander Goossens determines structure of Mercury’s core as part of NASA team

Sander Goossens and his team used their new analysis “to see if there was anything we could say about the planet’s deep interior that people hadn’t been able to say before.” There was: The team discovered the percentage of the planet’s core that was solid versus molten, which provides clues to the evolution process for Mercury and other planets. Continue reading UMBC’s Sander Goossens determines structure of Mercury’s core as part of NASA team

National Institute on Aging funds UMBC’s Erin Green to investigate how cells do “quality control” as we age

The project will explore the function of an enzyme called Set6, about which little is known. Erin Green hopes to “break open a broader understanding in the field of what its role is, especially in the context of protein quality control,” which could inform pharmaceutical development for treatment of diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.  Continue reading National Institute on Aging funds UMBC’s Erin Green to investigate how cells do “quality control” as we age

UMBC’s Minjoung Kyoung to help develop first 4D map of a cell’s metabolic pathways

“I’ve always been interested in how proteins are working in the real system, in real time, in real action,” Minjoung Kyoung says. She’ll get to explore those dynamics with funding from a new five-year, $1.6 million grant from the National Institutes of Health. The pathways she’s studying are relevant to some of the most pervasive diseases in the country. “My dream is to be able to predict disease before symptoms occur,” she shares. “That would be the best.” Continue reading UMBC’s Minjoung Kyoung to help develop first 4D map of a cell’s metabolic pathways

Open spaces nurture open minds in UMBC’s new Interdisciplinary Life Sciences Building

“When you share a kitchenette with a biologist, a chemist, an engineer and somebody from public policy, it’s inevitable that new things will brew,” says Greg Szeto, who is moving in to the ILSB with the new Translational Center for Age-Related Disease and Disparities. The ILSB “is a total game-changer for me,” adds Chris Hawn. With its state-of-the-art instrumentation, “There are protocols where I can get ‘level unlocked.’ It just opens things up for me and my students.” Continue reading Open spaces nurture open minds in UMBC’s new Interdisciplinary Life Sciences Building

Wind, solar, and…flutter? UMBC’s Justin Webster is using math to move this emerging tech forward

“There’s no such thing as free energy, but there are lots of situations where there’s ambient energy available,” like a flapping flag, Justin Webster says. “You just have to find an efficient mechanism for turning it into meaningful, useful energy.” That’s what Webster and colleagues from Duke and Carnegie Mellon hope to help make happen with their new grant from the NSF. Continue reading Wind, solar, and…flutter? UMBC’s Justin Webster is using math to move this emerging tech forward

NASA and DoE fund UMBC’s Zhibo Zhang to pursue ambitious atmospheric research

“You can look at the data and you see discrepancies between the climate models and the observations,” says graduate student Kylie Hoffman. “Some of it we can explain, and some of it we can’t. Identifying the discrepancies and being able to modify the climate models to be more accurate down the road is very important.” Multiple projects in Zhibo Zhang’s lab are helping labs all over the world address questions like this. Continue reading NASA and DoE fund UMBC’s Zhibo Zhang to pursue ambitious atmospheric research

UMBC’s Stephen Freeland receives Trotter Prize for pioneering origins-of-life research

Freeland’s research has always centered on how and why living things evolved a system of genetic coding, which has taken him from biology to astrobiology and has inevitably led him to grapple with one of the big questions many people ask themselves: “Where do we come from?” Continue reading UMBC’s Stephen Freeland receives Trotter Prize for pioneering origins-of-life research

UMBC’s Qianqian Song receives FINESST Fellowship from NASA for research on dust clouds and climate

“When I visited UMBC, I felt like everyone knows each other and supports each other in the physics department,” Song remembers. “That’s why I chose here.” Now, she’s rising to become a leader in the field of dust aerosols, which play a role in climate change. Continue reading UMBC’s Qianqian Song receives FINESST Fellowship from NASA for research on dust clouds and climate

UMBC’s Tom Cronin, mantis shrimp vision expert, receives international Rank Prize for Optoelectronics

The mantis shrimp visual system “is just extraordinarily strange,” says Tom Cronin. His study of this remarkable system alongside colleague and co-winner Justin Marshall over the last 30 years has led to applications such as guided breast cancer surgery and detection of otherwise camouflaged objects, among others. Continue reading UMBC’s Tom Cronin, mantis shrimp vision expert, receives international Rank Prize for Optoelectronics

Leadership Montgomery recognizes UMBC’s Annica Wayman and Sunil Dasgupta

Wayman and Dasgupta are the first members of the UMBC community to be selected since the program’s inception in 1990, an indication of UMBC’s growing presence in Montgomery County through the Universities at Shady Grove. Christopher Steele shares, “These two remarkable leaders perfectly reflect the fact that UMBC offers its very best to Montgomery County.” Continue reading Leadership Montgomery recognizes UMBC’s Annica Wayman and Sunil Dasgupta

Phage Hunters: Popular UMBC research program opens doors to biotech careers

“All the techniques we learned in Phage Hunters directly translate to the work we do in the lab on a daily basis,” says Anna Kawa ’18. “Being on the cutting edge of biotech is really exciting,” adds Viet Dang ’18. “Just being right there, potentially changing history, is really exciting.” Continue reading Phage Hunters: Popular UMBC research program opens doors to biotech careers

CNMS celebrates a year of growth in partnerships to support student success

“The college has laid the foundation, and now is really in a strong position for growth,” says Dean Bill LaCourse. “It’s all about paying attention to the people and their needs,” he explains, so faculty, staff, and students can do their best work and create a thriving community together. Continue reading CNMS celebrates a year of growth in partnerships to support student success

UMBC’s Jeff Leips receives NIH grant to explore how genes affect immune system function as we age

With this new NIH grant, Jeff Leips says, “Ideally, I want to understand the mechanisms—what goes wrong with age and immunity? Once we know that, the next question is whether we can find ways to try to ameliorate the effects of aging on those traits.” Continue reading UMBC’s Jeff Leips receives NIH grant to explore how genes affect immune system function as we age

UMBC’s Sarah Stellwagen first in world to sequence genes for spider glue

Sequencing spider glue genes is like, “picking a needle from a haystack,” says UMBC postdoc Sarah Stellwagen. She is the lead author of a new G3: Genes, Genomes, Genetics article on sequencing two spider glue genes for the first time. They’re massive — the largest has a coding sequence over 42,000 bases long. Continue reading UMBC’s Sarah Stellwagen first in world to sequence genes for spider glue

UMBC’s Glenn Wolfe develops new method to gauge atmosphere’s ability to clear methane, a potent greenhouse gas

“Hydroxyl radicals control the lifetime of nearly every reactive gas,” including methane, explains Glenn Wolfe. However, “globally, we don’t have a way to directly measure them.” His new research puts scientists on the path to changing that, and toward improving global climate models. Continue reading UMBC’s Glenn Wolfe develops new method to gauge atmosphere’s ability to clear methane, a potent greenhouse gas

University president hugs undergraduate commencement speaker in congratulations following her remarks, while colleagues clap, all in graduation attire.

UMBC Meyerhoff Scholars replications at Penn State, UNC show notable success in first four years

“These findings confirm that Meyerhoff-like programs and student outcomes can be achieved elsewhere, even at institutions very different from UMBC,” says Michael Summers. “It is my hope that this initial effort has laid the groundwork for partnership expansion with an even broader range of institutions.”   Continue reading UMBC Meyerhoff Scholars replications at Penn State, UNC show notable success in first four years

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