Archive for 2009

UMaine Professor Elected Vice-President/President of Phycological Society of America

Wednesday, December 30th, 2009

Contacts: Susan Brawley, (207) 581-2973; Aimee Dolloff, (207) 581-3777
University of Maine marine sciences Professor Susan Brawley has been elected as the vice-president/president elect of the Phycological Society of America for 2010. She will serve as President of the Society in 2011.

“I am pleased and honored to serve my research field in this position because of the strength of the Society and its potential to contribute even more to important scientific discoveries and policy in the future,” says Brawley.

The Phycological Society of America was founded in 1946 to promote research and teaching in all fields of the biology of algae. The society publishes the Journal of

Phycology, which Brawley served as editor from 1996-2001, and the Phycological Newsletter.
The Journal is the highest-impact scholarly publication in the field of phycology and one of the top impact journals in all of marine and freshwater biology.

Brawley’s research interests include reproductive biology and ecology, algal genomics, and invasive marine species.

During her term as vice president, Brawley says she will begin to plan and implement the major objectives she has for when she becomes president for the society, which include bringing the best algal science and scientists to the table in federal policy related to climate change, biofuels, prevention of biological invasions, aquaculture, and pharmaceutical discovery.

She also hopes to engage members of the society in stronger public education about the algae, ranging from their importance as oxygen producers for the planet to their intrinsic beauty and interest.

UMaine Professor Named IEEE Fellow

Tuesday, December 22nd, 2009

Contact: Professor John Vetelino, (207) 581-2264; Aimee Dolloff, (207) 581-3777

ORONO, Maine – University of Maine electrical and computer engineering Professor John Vetelino has been conferred as a 2010 Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) Fellow.

Vetelino received the honor for his contributions to acoustic wave properties of piezoelectric crystals and their application in sensors.

The IEEE Grade of Fellow is conferred by the Board of Directors upon a person with an extraordinary record of accomplishments in any of the IEEE fields of interest. The total number selected in any one year does not exceed one-tenth of one percent of the total voting membership of the institute, making it a very prestigious honor.

“His IEEE award is the first for any electrical and computer engineering faculty in the state of Maine and possibly any engineer in Maine,” according to UMaine Electrical and Computer Engineering Department Chair Mohamad Musavi, who nominated Vetelino for the award.

To become an IEEE Fellow, the nominee must have accomplishments that have contributed importantly to the advancement or application of engineering, science and technology, bringing the realization of significant value to society.

“He is a devoted scientist, educator, and public servant who has made significant contributions to the area of bulk and surface acoustic waves and their applications in sensor science and technology,” Musavi wrote of Vetelino in his nomination.

At UMaine, Vetelino is one of the founding members of the Laboratory for Advanced Surface Science and Technology (LASST), an interdisciplinary research facility focusing on research of advanced materials in areas related to microelectronics, sensors, composites, paper, and biotechnology.

He received the UMaine Distinguished Maine Professor Award in 2008, and the UMaine Presidential Research and Creative Achievement Award in 1980.

In addition to advising more than 50 masters and doctoral candidates, Vetelino has received more than 100 science and education research contracts totaling more than $25 million from the National Science Foundation (NSF), the Department of Defense (DOD), government laboratories, and industrial laboratories. He also received 25 NSF science education grants for involving highly qualified undergraduates in state-of-the-art research.

The numerous research breakthroughs by Vetelino and his research groups have resulted in the incubation of several small sensor companies from Dr Vetelino’s group, namely, Mainely Sensors, Sensor Research and Development Corporation, BIODE Corporation and Microconversion Technology. He also consults with government laboratories and many industries and serves as a reviewer for several scientific journals and government funding agencies.

When asked what the award meant to him, Vetelino said he has received other recognition for his work, but that being named an IEEE is significant.

“It’s probably the highest award that an electrical engineer can ever receive,” he says. “It’s an award that requires a tremendous amount of scrutiny in terms of the nomination process, and then in how the actual award winner is chosen.”

He noted that the competition in the northeast region is particularly tough because he was up again researchers from institutions such as the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Harvard, Yale and Columbia universities.

Vetelino formally will be recognized in October 2010 as an IEEE Fellow at the IEEE Ultrasonics Symposium in San Diego, California.

UMaine Roundtable Takes Up Green Jobs for Women Dec. 11

Thursday, December 10th, 2009

News advisory – Dec. 10, 2009

Contact: Sharon Barker, 581-1508

ORONO — What is a “green” job and how do you get one?

This question and others will be up for exploration Friday, Dec. 11, from 1-4 p.m. at the UMaine Wells Conference Center, as the Women’s Resource Center sponsors a public roundtable discussion on well-paying, career-track green jobs for women.

Maine Labor Commissioner Laura Fortman will be present to offer perspectives, along with representatives from business, labor, academia, state government, advocacy groups and worker factions.

Discussions will cover:

- What are green jobs and what skill sets or degrees are needed for green employment?
- How can government, education and the private sector utilize green policies and -practices to strengthen Maine’s economy?
- Do women experience barriers or challenges when they attempt to pursue green employment?
- And why does supporting an environmental policy make good business sense?

The public is invited to attend and participate in the discussions. The event will provide a chance for people from various sectors and perspectives to become more aware of the opportunities and challenges of increasing participation of women in a critical, growing segment of the economy.

The program is offered at no cost thanks to financial support from the Women’s Bureau, U.S. Department of Labor, and in collaboration with the UMaine Bureau of Labor Education and the Maine Department of Labor.

For more information, call (207) 581-1508.

UMaine Graduate Student Collaborates with Cheese Maker on Omega-3 Fortified Cheese

Wednesday, December 9th, 2009

Contact: Brianna Hughes, 207-837-2872

ORONO – What do goats and fish have in common?  Not much until UMaine graduate student Brianna Hughes and Seal Cove Farm proprietor Barbara Brooks got together to talk about fortifying goat cheese with highly purified omega-3-rich fish oil.

The project, funded by Maine Technology Institute, blends the mission of the University of Maine and the focus of its Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition to deliver a new line of heart-healthy artisan cheese for Seal Cove Farm.

Seal Cove Farm, established in 1976, is situated in Lamoine, Maine and produces approximately 700 pounds of cheese per week in season. The farm continually offers new varieties of cheese and is expanding to anticipate consumer demands.

As one of the fastest growing trends in the food industry, omega-3 fish oil research is one of the focuses in associate professor of food science and human nutrition Denise Skonberg’s lab in Hitchner Hall. Her graduate student Brianna Hughes has been working on omega-3 fortification of cheese as part of her master’s thesis project, and when the opportunity to work with Brooks was presented by Beth Calder, food science specialist with UMaine’s Cooperative Extension, it was a perfect fit for everyone, according to Skonberg.

The cheese is made with fresh milk from Seal Cove Farm, using the farm’s proprietary recipe for a creamy goat cheese more commonly called chevre.  It is a three-day process from the time the milk is pasteurized, cultured, set and separated; it is this lengthy process that produces the celebrated Seal Cove Farm chevre.  The combination of a healthy, calcium-rich cheese, plus the addition of omega-3-rich oil is now ready for consumer feedback.

On Wednesday, Dec. 9, between 11 a.m.-2 p.m. and 4 p.m.-6 p.m., a public tasting of four of the omega-3 fortified cheeses was scheduled at the Consumer Testing Center, Room 158, Hitchner Hall. The sensory test gauges consumer interest in the fortified cheese, as well as to see how consumers like the addition of the omega-3 oil.

Maine Tree Club Planning 2010 Outings

Friday, December 4th, 2009

Contact: Amy Witt, 207-780-4205

PORTLAND, ME— Maine residents and visitors can learn more about one of the state’s greatest resources by joining the Maine Tree Club, ane ducational project designed for people of all ages to learn about trees. University of Maine Cooperative Extension, the Maine Forest Service, and the Pine Tree State Arboretum collaborate to manage the club and plan activities.

The annual registration fee for the Maine Tree Club is $20 per person, $30 per couple, $35 per family, and $65 per group of up to 15. A limited number of Maine Tree Club scholarships are available for those in need and there is no deadline for registration. Those interested may request a free informational brochure by calling University of Maine Cooperative Extension at 800-287-1471.

The Maine Tree Club is planning at least three outings around the state in 2010 to get people into the woods for hands-on learning and enjoyment. These outings, guided by experts, are planned for the mountains and coastal regions as well as other parts of Maine. Through these outings and twice-monthly fact sheets featuring different Maine tree species, club members will learn to recognize 50 different types of trees over a period of two years and gain skills that can be applied in their own yards and communities.

Participants receive additional materials including a hand lens for close-up viewing of tree parts, an attractive notebook for the tree species fact sheets, a pocket guide to Maine trees, and several practical guides related to tree growth and care.

Maine’s trees attract tourists by the thousands, support the state economy and deliver constant inspiration to area artists, poets and naturalists; they are at the root of Maine’s identity.

UMaine Extension programs are open and accessible to all in accordance with program goals.

Greater Bangor Area NAACP and UMaine to Host 2010 MLK Breakfast Celebration Jan. 18

Wednesday, December 2nd, 2009

Contact: Diane Khiel (

ORONO –  The Greater Bangor Area NAACP and the University of Maine will present the 2010 Martin Luther King, Jr. Breakfast Celebration on Monday, Jan. 18, 2010 at UMaine’s Wells Conference Center.  The event is scheduled for 8:30-10:30 a.m., with doors opening at 8 a.m.

The Destiny Worship Praise Team, a diverse group of gospel singers from the nondenominational Destiny Worship Center of Brewer, Maine, is scheduled to perform from 8:00-8:30 a.m., and the UMaine female student singing group Renaissance will close the program.

Rev. Dr. Phil Ertha, a nationally-known and highly regarded preacher, soloist, and writer, will be this year’s keynote speaker.  Rev. Ertha, a Vietnam veteran who has roots in the Bangor area, will examine the status of Dr. King’s dream in 2010.

In commenting about Rev. Ertha, civil rights legend Andrew Young once remarked, “[Rev. Ertha] is one of the most dynamic preachers I have ever heard. He captures audiences young and old, black and white.”

Tickets for the 2010 Breakfast are $20 for adults, $15 for seniors 65 and over, $10 for high school and college students with ID, and $10 for children 12 and younger. A sell-out crowd is expected, so those interested in attending are encouraged to purchase tickets early by calling (207) 581-1428.

Maple Grading School this Week in Skowhegan

Tuesday, December 1st, 2009

Contact: Kathy Hopkins at 474-9622

SKOWHEGAN — The sixth annual Maple Grading School is scheduled for Thursday Dec. 3 and Friday Dec. 4 at the University of Maine Cooperative Extension Somerset County office, 7 County Drive in Skowhegan.

Maine will host this event for the first time.  It brings together maple producers, bulk syrup buyers, state inspectors and others who might need to accurately grade maple syrup or judge maple products in a context setting.  The school will provide participants with a scientific base along with hands-on exercises.

Maple syrup production is on the rise in northeastern North America, and proper grading plays an important role in helping determine the purity and natural content of products, which affect pricing.  Consistent understanding of grading among U.S. and Canadian producers can yield significant benefits for consumers.

UMaine Extension Educator Kathy Hopkins will be available at the event on Thursday and Friday.  She works with maple syrup producers statewide, and she has conducted research on important issues facing the maple industry including studies related to food safety and consumer acceptance of maple products.

UMaine Museum of Art Announces Free Admission in 2010

Monday, November 30th, 2009

Nov. 30, 2009
Contact: George Kinghorn, 561-3354

BANGOR — As the holiday season commences, the University of Maine Museum of Art announces a wonderful gift to the community and region — another year of free admission.

Through the generosity of Machias Savings Bank the Museum of Art will continue to open its doors for all individuals and groups to enjoy the Museum in 2010 without charge. This is an extension of the bank’s gift of free admission in 2008, in memory of the late UMMA benefactor Edward “Ted” Leonard III.

“Machias Savings Bank lost a good friend three years ago, Attorney Edward “Ted” Leonard,” says Ed Hennessey, president of Machias Savings Bank. “We wanted to do something special in his memory. Knowing Ted was a big supporter of the University of Maine Museum of Art, we felt it was extremely worthwhile to make a contribution in his memory. We worked with the Museum so that our donation could be used to provide free admission for visitors as Ted wanted many people to visit the Museum. We are pleased that we are able to make our third donation in his name and continue to offer free admission to the public.”

As a result of the Machias Savings Bank’s sponsorship, the museum has seen a 56 percent increase in attendance. In addition, many are first-time visitors.

“We are so appreciative of Machias Savings Bank’s ongoing support,” says UMMA Director George Kinghorn. “Through this gift we are able to provide the community and region access to the permanent collection, changing exhibitions and an exciting array of educational programs. We would certainly not have seen such positive attendance numbers and so many new faces coming through our doors, without the support of Machias Savings Bank.”

Two UMaine Students Gain Early Admission to Tufts Medical School

Tuesday, November 24th, 2009

Contact: Kristen Andresen at (207) 581-3742

ORONO  — Applying to medical school can be a full-time job. But for two University of Maine juniors, the job has become a lot easier.

Microbiology major Jonathan Pelletier of Falmouth, Maine, and biochemistry major Aaron Perreault of Northfield, N.H., recently learned that they had received early acceptance to Tufts University School of Medicine through the Maine Track Early Assurance program. Born of a partnership between Tufts and Maine Medical Center, this new program reserves a limited number of slots per year for students from UMaine System institutions, Bowdoin, Bates and Colby.

That two this year’s slots went to UMaine students underscores the quality of UMaine’s pre-med offerings.

“It does speak to the fact that we are preparing students well for medical school,” says Robert Gundersen, chair of UMaine’s Department of Biochemistry, Microbiology and Molecular Biology. “This lets (Jonathan and Aaron) approach the next two years focusing on what they need to learn, instead of all the other things they need to focus on in order to get into medical school.”

Though they will still need to complete their course requirements, Pelletier and Perreault can skip the MCATs and the rigorous application process.

“Academically, it is an honor and I’m thrilled to have it,”says Pelletier, an Honors student and Microbiology major from Falmouth, Maine. “In terms of academic mobility, it has freed me up do some really cool things this year.”

At UMaine, Pelletier researches arsenic in relation to mast cells in Professor Julie Gosse’s lab. He is passionate about philanthropic medicine and plans to spend the summer of 2010 volunteering in an orphanage in Peru. Last summer, he received a Rezendes Global Services Scholarship from UMaine’s Honors College that allowed him to volunteer in a clinic in Pommern, Tanzania. Pelletier also will use the extra time afforded by the Maine Track program to pursue his passion for music.

Perreault, a Biochemistry major and Honors student from Northfield, N.H., works in Professor Carol Kim’s lab as part of her research to develop a zebrafish model for studying cystic fibrosis. Perreault always had an interest in medicine, but a presentation by UMaine alumnus and Nobel laureate Dr. Bernard Lown cemented his decision to become a doctor.

“When he came here, he really inspired me and showed me that this profession can be really rewarding and you can go a long way with it, as he’s done,” Perreault said.

About Tufts Maine Track:

Tufts Maine Track is a partnership between Maine Medical Center and Tufts University School of Medicine that offers clinical training experiences in Maine and exposes medical students to aspects of rural practice and training in a major tertiary medical center. More information about the Tufts Maine Track program is available at

University of Maine Museum of Art Press Conference, 11 a.m. Monday, Nov. 30

Tuesday, November 24th, 2009

Contact: Joe Carr, 581-3571; Kathryn Jovanelli, 561-3350

The University of Maine Museum of Art will hold a news conference to announce an important gift to the community in 2010 from Machias Savings Bank. The announcement will take place at 11 a.m. Monday, Nov. 30. The museum is located at 40 Harlow St. in Bangor.