Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program
USM’s Undergraduate Research Opportunities (UROP) Program funds undergraduate student participation in research and creative activities. In cooperation with the academic departments, the program competitively recruits eligible students as USM Student Research Associates. Each associate receives a $3,000 award, enabling him or her to take a more in-depth look at a subject and share the findings with others in group presentations. This academic year, four recipients are being funded by MEIF.
Environmental science major Amy Webb is studying the diets of juvenile river herring in the Penobscot River System under the guidance of assistant research professors Karen Wilson and Theodore Willis. Biology major Catherine Lobo is working closely with applied medical science associate professor Monroe Duboise, researching the functional characterization of soda lake bacteria and how their proteins and enzymes allow them to survive extreme conditions. Jennifer Ditano, also a biology major, is being mentored by associate professor Douglas Currie, looking at techniques to force mammalian neurons to express the sugar trehalose and its potential use in the biomedical industry as treatment for neurodegenerative diseases. Chemistry major Bailey Auspland is aiding associate professor Lucille Benedict in her study of major contaminants in street dust collected along the Long Creek Watershed that gets transferred into Long Creek via runoff after rain. The study is part of a larger project investigating the impact of pollutants in street dust in collaboration with the Cumberland County Soil & Water Conservation District.