two men seine fishing in a stream

How the darter got its stripes: New UMBC research expands on sexual selection theory to explain complicated animal patterns

“Quantitatively describing visual patterns is a big challenge, and there’s not one easy way to do that,” Sam Hulse says. By integrating their skills in math and biology, he and colleagues figured out a method to do it for the first time. The new results pave the way for a great deal of new research. Continue reading How the darter got its stripes: New UMBC research expands on sexual selection theory to explain complicated animal patterns

UMBC’s Jianwu Wang receives NSF CAREER Award to help climate scientists make discoveries from massive, complex data sets

Jianwu Wang is the most recent UMBC faculty member to receive a prestigious CAREER Award from the National Science Foundation. It will support his work to develop more efficient and reproducible causality analytics for use in climate science. Continue reading UMBC’s Jianwu Wang receives NSF CAREER Award to help climate scientists make discoveries from massive, complex data sets

UMBC team makes breakthrough discovery in HIV research, opening path to new, better therapies

“For decades, the scientific community has known that two different structural forms of HIV RNA exist—they just didn’t know what controls that balance. So our discovery that a single nucleotide is having a huge effect is a paradigm shift in understanding how HIV works,” says Joshua Brown, Ph.D. ’18, biochemistry. Continue reading UMBC team makes breakthrough discovery in HIV research, opening path to new, better therapies

UMBC historian Anne Rubin examines food scarcity in the Confederate South through NEH fellowship

“I research people who don’t always leave letters or diaries, but can be found through a receipt for the food they were given,” says Rubin. “I want students to think of food history as another tool in the historian’s toolbox—that you can look at a recipe and you can piece together a whole social network from it.” Continue reading UMBC historian Anne Rubin examines food scarcity in the Confederate South through NEH fellowship

International team led by UMBC identifies new bird species in the South Pacific

“Even in this well-studied group of birds, that’s been a textbook example since 1942, we did not really know what the units of biodiversity were,” says Kevin Omland. He and postdoc Anna Kearns have now contributed significant new research to help answer that question, and their findings have major conservation implications. Continue reading International team led by UMBC identifies new bird species in the South Pacific

UMBC once again ranks among the top 150 universities in federal research funding

The Higher Education Research and Development (HERD) survey aggregates federal research and development expenditures for fiscal year 2018. The survey data combines total funding from all federal agencies and also provides information on research funding from non-federal and non-governmental sources.  Continue reading UMBC once again ranks among the top 150 universities in federal research funding

UMBC’s Suzanne Ostrand-Rosenberg recognized for 40-year career advancing cancer immunotherapy

After 41 years at UMBC, Suzanne Ostrand-Rosenberg, professor emerita of biological sciences, retired in August 2018 and moved to Utah to enjoy the mountains with her spouse. But she couldn’t stay away from her research and mentoring for long. “I just can’t quit it,” Rosenberg says. “I realized I really did not want to stop.” Continue reading UMBC’s Suzanne Ostrand-Rosenberg recognized for 40-year career advancing cancer immunotherapy

Sensing an opportunity to improve wind energy: Maryland Innovation Initiative and bwtech help UMBC faculty commercialize their research

Wind turbines are massive. UMBC engineer Soobum Lee thinks about their size as an enormous opportunity and also a challenge. Today, sensors used to maintain turbines need their batteries replaced every two years, a challenge when they are on blades hundreds of feet in the air. Lee came up with a novel solution and received state and university support to make it a reality. Continue reading Sensing an opportunity to improve wind energy: Maryland Innovation Initiative and bwtech help UMBC faculty commercialize their research

Baltimore Field School: The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation supports UMBC’s inclusive approach to community-based research

“We want to think differently about how public humanities work can be done by reflecting on what ethical community-university partnerships look like,” says Nicole King, associate professor of American Studies and director of the Orser Center. “This collaborative process takes a great deal of time, listening, and building trust.” Continue reading Baltimore Field School: The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation supports UMBC’s inclusive approach to community-based research

UMBC researchers find many countries will not meet ambitious forest restoration goals without support

“There’s a time to build your castles in the air, and now it’s time to put foundations under them. We’re underinvesting in the foundations, and we need to spend more international aid money on helping countries figure out how to meet these commitments,” Matt Fagan says. “I’d like to hope that this article helps generate more support for that kind of work, because I think it is possible to make this kind of change.” Continue reading UMBC researchers find many countries will not meet ambitious forest restoration goals without support

UMBC’s Pelton and Daniel are developing light-driven chips to enable super-fast computing

Physicist Matt Pelton and chemist Marie-Christine Daniel are both engaged in photonics research, which is “the idea of using light—photons—to do information processing instead of using electrons like you do in electronics,” explains Pelton. The work poses challenges, but if Daniel, Pelton, and their students succeed, they’ll be setting the stage for a revolution in computing. Continue reading UMBC’s Pelton and Daniel are developing light-driven chips to enable super-fast computing

Preparing for impact: Four new UMBC grads share what drives their research

Cindy Chelius, Miranda Marvel, Naqiya Ghulamali, and Ryan Oliver study very different things, but they are all driven to contribute to positive change through their research. They also hope to carry forward the support they found at UMBC as mentors to a future generation of researchers. Continue reading Preparing for impact: Four new UMBC grads share what drives their research

UMBC’s Lisa Kelly receives NSF grant to develop a safer, greener chemical production method

“The approach that we propose will induce chemical reactions that would otherwise need a lot of harsh reagents and organic solvents, and just a lot of nasty stuff,” Lisa Kelly says. “This is a greener route.” The technique could support efforts from drug development to synthetic materials production. Continue reading UMBC’s Lisa Kelly receives NSF grant to develop a safer, greener chemical production method

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’s newest Postdoctoral Fellows for Faculty Diversity explore who has a voice in literature, policy, and social movements

“UMBC is giving me the ultimate opportunity of time and support to think, write, and teach about what matters to me the most—conducting research about my community,” says Fernando Tormos-Aponte, political science. He shares the same enthusiasm that Emily Perez, English, and Blake Francis, philosophy, have about their new appointments as 2019-2020 Postdoctoral Fellows for Faculty Diversity. Continue reading UMBC’s newest Postdoctoral Fellows for Faculty Diversity explore who has a voice in literature, policy, and social movements

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

Students walk down stairs in front of a library, surrounded by spring plants, in the sunshine.

Times Higher Ed and Wall Street Journal again name UMBC a leading global and U.S. university

Just days after U.S. News again recognized UMBC as one of the nation’s top universities for teaching and innovation, the Times Higher Education (THE) World University Rankings have named UMBC a top global university. UMBC is listed as among the top 800 universities worldwide, and #130 among U.S. universities on the global list. UMBC performs particularly well on an important measure that reflects the visibility of UMBC faculty research on a global stage. Continue reading Times Higher Ed and Wall Street Journal again name UMBC a leading global and U.S. university

UMBC’s Erle Ellis crowdsources global archaeological research to trace the history of human impacts on Earth

“Our hope is that this is only the first achievement of what will become a new, massively collaborative scientific approach to understanding the global environmental changes caused by humans over the long term,” shares Erle Ellis, professor of geography and environmental systems. Continue reading UMBC’s Erle Ellis crowdsources global archaeological research to trace the history of human impacts on Earth

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 partners with Latino Racial Justice Circle and Maryland Humanities in community-engaged research in Baltimore

“Our goal as researchers was to use dialogue and digital stories as two ways to bring different communities together around religion, race, and immigration,” explains Felipe Filomeno, professor of political science and global studies. Continue reading UMBC partners with Latino Racial Justice Circle and Maryland Humanities in community-engaged research in Baltimore

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

Preminda Jacob focuses on building connections as new associate dean of research and community engagement

Scott Casper, dean of CAHSS, is excited about the level of expertise Jacob brings to the team. “Preminda Jacob brings a wealth of experience as a scholar, teacher, and UMBC citizen, and leader to the Dean’s Office,” says Casper. “I am delighted that she has joined our leadership team and look forward to her continued contributions to the College and the University in this new role.” Continue reading Preminda Jacob focuses on building connections as new associate dean of research and community engagement

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 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

2015-2017 Postdoctoral Fellows for Faculty Diversity

UMBC’s Mejdulene B. Shomali receives Woodrow Wilson Foundation fellowship for research on gender and sexuality in transnational Arab culture

“Most people don’t know there are twenty-two countries in the Arab league. These countries share Arabic as the primary national language. Many are Muslim-majority nations,” shares Shomali. “Many, but not all.” She notes, “There is great linguistic, cultural, ethnic, and religious diversity within the Arab world.” Continue reading UMBC’s Mejdulene B. Shomali receives Woodrow Wilson Foundation fellowship for research on gender and sexuality in transnational Arab culture

UMBC partners with five universities in the US, UK, and Japan to launch International Cybersecurity Center of Excellence

UMBC has partnered to create a global university network dedicated to securing critical systems against cyber threats: the International Cybersecurity Center of Excellence (INCS-CoE). Continue reading UMBC partners with five universities in the US, UK, and Japan to launch International Cybersecurity Center of Excellence

(L to R): Steiner, Mallinson,  Don Engel, assistant vice president for research, and Casper.

UMBC convenes research forum on immigration and mobility in higher education

“The research results showed that for each undocumented student that graduates from a four-year college, who would not have gone otherwise, the net benefits to the state were $350,000,” explains Gindling. “Providing access to higher education and financial aid to undocumented youth is a good investment for the individual, for the state, and for the government as a whole.” Continue reading UMBC convenes research forum on immigration and mobility in higher education

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