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

UMBC’s newest grads share what inspired their unique paths

When students come to UMBC, they bring with them life experiences that shape the program they choose, the mentors they find, the research questions they ask, and the communities they build on campus. Here, five UMBC students earning their degrees this month share experiences that shaped their paths. Continue reading UMBC’s newest grads share what inspired their unique paths

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 ranks #3 among U.S. universities in global social and economic impact

“The new Times Higher Education impact rankings are distinct from other university rankings in that they are a measure of the difference UMBC is making in the world,” says UMBC’s Katharine H. Cole. “It is not surprising that UMBC is ranked so highly as it is this type of societal and economic impact that is at the very core of UMBC’s mission and values.” Continue reading UMBC ranks #3 among U.S. universities in global social and economic impact

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

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

UMBC ranks among top 150 U.S. universities in federal research funding

The National Science Foundation (NSF) recently released its latest Higher Education Research and Development (HERD) survey, including UMBC among the top 150 U.S. universities in federal research and development expenditures for fiscal year 2017. Continue reading UMBC ranks among top 150 U.S. universities in federal research funding

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

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