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

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

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 education policy expert Jane Arnold Lincove helps launch national center for research on school choice

“Researching school choice is challenging because there are so many stakeholders that are for and against it. But in the end,” she says, “looking at research across the United States allows us to identify what is working and help inform policy to help schools systems create equitable, successful, and safe learning environments.” Continue reading UMBC education policy expert Jane Arnold Lincove helps launch national center for research on school choice

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

New UMBC initiative celebrates exceptional faculty dedication to teaching and scholarship

UMBC’s Office of the Provost has launched a university-wide initiative to celebrate faculty who go above and beyond as educators, scholars, and leaders on campus and in their fields. This initiative strives to highlight tenure-track junior faculty, lecturers, and adjunct, research, and clinical faculty whose work is essential to UMBC’s success. Continue reading New UMBC initiative celebrates exceptional faculty dedication to teaching and scholarship

When did humans start to transform Earth? UMBC’s Erle Ellis introduces the Anthropocene.

“We are changing Earth’s climate faster than at any time since the fall of the dinosaurs,” says Ellis. For scientists, he notes, “What’s controversial…is when did this begin? […] When did humans literally become the global shaper of the earth?” Continue reading When did humans start to transform Earth? UMBC’s Erle Ellis introduces the Anthropocene.

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

UMBC’s Songon An discovers new molecular mechanism likely involved in cancer cell metastasis

For the first time, An and his students have determined a function of a particular signaling pathway associated with metastasis. “Looking at this metabolic switch—which pathways are in use during metastasis versus when the cell is attached—may be where our research goes in the future,” says An. Continue reading UMBC’s Songon An discovers new molecular mechanism likely involved in cancer cell metastasis

UMBC launches Center for Accelerated Real Time Analytics to tackle data-intensive challenges from disease tracking to online privacy

UMBC will launch the Center for Accelerated Real Time Analytics (CARTA) through a five-year grant from the NSF Industry-University Cooperative Research Centers (IUCRC) program, receiving $150,000 in support for each of the next five years. Continue reading UMBC launches Center for Accelerated Real Time Analytics to tackle data-intensive challenges from disease tracking to online privacy

UMBC’s 40th Graduate Research Conference to focus on communication and collaboration

“GRC gives graduate students training on how to ace professional conferences in the field, and by participating, students practice how to communicate their research in an accessible way,” says Morgan Bunting, a gerontology Ph.D. student and member of the GRC planning committee. “It’s also just a wonderful way to engage the community and learn what amazing work is going on in the Graduate School.” Continue reading UMBC’s 40th Graduate Research Conference to focus on communication and collaboration

UMBC physicist Sebastian Deffner lays groundwork to better understand birth of the universe

Sebastian Deffner and co-author Anthony Bartolotta are extending thermodynamics, a fundamental pillar of physics, into uncharted territory by developing a way to describe microscopic systems with extremely high energy—just like the universe at the start of the Big Bang—for the first time. “There’s a lot we have to do next,” says Deffner. Continue reading UMBC physicist Sebastian Deffner lays groundwork to better understand birth of the universe

UMBC’s Chris Swan featured in The Atlantic for transforming vacant lots in Baltimore

While working in the city comes with challenges, Chris Swan hopes to discover a Goldilocks concoction of plants that tolerate the poor soil found in vacant lots, attract native pollinators, and reduce runoff of contaminant-laced water into the Chesapeake Bay. Continue reading UMBC’s Chris Swan featured in The Atlantic for transforming vacant lots in Baltimore

UMBC physicists develop cost-saving tech for detecting gravitational waves and other applications

Thomas Smith and Yanhua Shih are hoping their new research will bring about a sea change in the physics community, and encourage even the most traditional physicists that quantum interference applies in optics experiments using non-laser light. “It should change the whole picture,” says Shih. The work has implications for both fundamental physics and immediate applications. Continue reading UMBC physicists develop cost-saving tech for detecting gravitational waves and other applications

UMBC scientist opens a “new chapter for biochemistry” with $1.5 million NIH grant to study sugar metabolism

“I’m hoping that in the future many people will be working in this area of cellular biochemistry, studying many metabolic enzymes in living cells,” says Songon An, whose work is on the leading edge of “the next stage in biochemistry.” Continue reading UMBC scientist opens a “new chapter for biochemistry” with $1.5 million NIH grant to study sugar metabolism

UMBC space scientist further confirms Einstein’s theory through new solar research

To address such big ideas, “You need the solar system as your laboratory,” says Sander Goossens. NASA’s MESSENGER satellite collected data during its years orbiting Mercury that enabled the research team to answer questions about the Sun’s interior processes and our fundamental understanding of gravity. Continue reading UMBC space scientist further confirms Einstein’s theory through new solar research

UMBC’s Sebastian Deffner explains how the “quantum speed limit” may put brakes on quantum computers

People have pinned their hopes on quantum computers for the next leap forward in computing technology, “but my recent research has revealed that quantum computers will have limits of their own,” writes Sebastian Deffner, “and has suggested ways to figure out what those limits are.” Continue reading UMBC’s Sebastian Deffner explains how the “quantum speed limit” may put brakes on quantum computers

UMBC physicists’ finding has potential to springboard quantum computing to major advances

The new finding “is attacking the bugaboo of this whole class of possible quantum computers,” says Jason Kestner. And yet, like so much in science, the finding “is something we stumbled across almost by accident,” says Michael Wolfe ’17. Continue reading UMBC physicists’ finding has potential to springboard quantum computing to major advances

UMBC students take flight to study weather, pollution in multi-institution initiative

Handling in-flight challenges on the spot showed the students “how the science gets done in real life,” Brian Carroll says. The flight experience met the initiative’s goal to provide experiential learning opportunities to expand students’ perspectives. Continue reading UMBC students take flight to study weather, pollution in multi-institution initiative

UMBC biologists discuss human health applications of studying plants’ circadian rhythms in The Conversation

Improper circadian clock function has already been linked to illnesses from diabetes to depression in humans. Plant science could grow our understanding. “As researchers continue to untangle more about how these clocks work—including how they influence interactions between hosts and their invading pathogens and pests—new forms of specially-timed precision medicine could be on the horizon,” write Lu and Wiratan. Continue reading UMBC biologists discuss human health applications of studying plants’ circadian rhythms in The Conversation

UMBC upgrades High Performance Computing Facility through new NSF grant, expanding possibilities for data-intensive research

UMBC received an NSF award to expand its High Performance Computing Facility (HPCF). The funding will go toward upgraded hardware and increased computing speeds for the interdisciplinary core facility, which supports scientific computing and other complex, data-intensive research. Continue reading UMBC upgrades High Performance Computing Facility through new NSF grant, expanding possibilities for data-intensive research