The Portland Press Herald, WABI (Channel 5), Maine Public Broadcasting Network, Bangor Daily News and Mainebiz reported a $20 million National Science Foundation EPSCoR grant will establish a Sustainable Ecological Aquaculture Network (SEANET) program in Maine. Maine EPSCoR at the University of Maine will use the grant to mobilize the collective capacity of Maine’s coastal science resources to establish SEANET, a research network focused on sustainable ecological aquaculture. The public-private partnership led by UMaine, in collaboration with the University of New England and other institutions, will use the state’s 3,500-mile coastline as a living laboratory to study physical oceanography, biophysical, biogeochemical, socioeconomic and policy interactions that have local, bioregional, national and global implications. Paul Anderson, director of SEANET at UMaine, told MPBN the grant offers a good opportunity to look at how aquaculture can be part of the seafood sector by working with the commercial fishing and tourism industries.
The Associated Press, Maine Public Broadcasting Network, WLBZ (Channel 2), WABI (Channel 5) and WVII (Channel 7) reported on an event held at the MDI Biological Laboratory in Bar Harbor on Aug. 4 where Sen. Susan Collins joined leaders from colleges and research institutions across Maine as well as dozens of Maine college students to celebrate the receipt of an $18.4 million grant from the National Institutes of Health. The five-year award aims to strengthen biomedical research and hands-on workforce training in Maine through the continuation of the Maine IDeA Network of Biomedical Research Excellence (INBRE), a collaborative network of 13 Maine research institutions, universities and colleges led by the MDI Biological Laboratory. The University of Maine and UMaine’s Honors College are part of the network. Anne Campbell, who graduated from UMaine in 2012 with degrees in chemistry and biochemistry, spoke with MPBN about her experience with the program. As a member of UMaine’s Honors College, she took a weeklong course at MDI Bio Lab on functional genomics, which was paid for by Maine INBRE. Campbell said during that course she met her thesis adviser, and was able to develop a thesis project. The Portland Press Herald carried the AP report.
The Maine Edge published a report about University of Maine scientists working with agencies to improve the accuracy of forecasts of hurricanes, superstorms, blizzards and floods that endanger people and animals and destroy property. UMaine received $1.5 million of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s $5.5 million award to increase the precision of predictions of extreme weather events and coastal flooding in the northeastern United States. “This project allows us to develop rapid response capability and deploy ocean observing assets before extreme weather events, and use these targeted observations to constrain ocean models and issue timely forecasts for coastal cities and towns in the Northeast United States,” said Fei Chai, professor and director of UMaine’s School of Marine Sciences, and one of four university co-investigators taking part.
The Portland Press Herald and the Bangor Daily News interviewed Julie Gosse, an assistant professor of molecular and biomedical sciences at the University of Maine, about her research on how a synthetic antimicrobial common in soaps and deodorants inhibits cells that sometimes fight cancer. Gosse told the Press Herald the chemical triclosan is added to many over-the-counter products advertised as antibacterial, such as soaps, toothpaste, body washes and facial cleansers. The chemical also is used in fabrics and plastics to help prevent mold growth, and has become so common that it’s now in the water supply. “This is not a chemical people need to have every day,” Gosse said. The National Institutes of Health awarded Gosse more than $420,000 for the three-year project. “We’re not going to be able to resolve the public health question, but we will be one piece of the puzzle,” she added. The Maine Edge also published an article on Gosse and her research.
Jimmy Jung, vice president for enrollment management at the University of Maine, was interviewed for a Bangor Daily News article about Study Group, a company that recruits international students, and its work with two campuses in the University of Maine System. According to the article, the company signed a contract with the system with a goal of recruiting 50 students to UMaine. Jung said even though the goal hasn’t been met yet, the university has been pleased with its partnership with Study Group. “When we first signed the contract, we’d really missed that recruitment cycle already,” said Jung, adding that close to 40 is “not a bad number.” He said he expects it will take UMaine five to 10 years to establish all the contacts necessary to get a robust international student program going, the article states.
WABI (Channel 5) reported on a recent trip of Houlton High School students to the University of Maine. The students are participants in the Bridge Year Program, an educational collaborative involving UMaine that aims to increase the number of Maine students who earn a college degree by giving them access to college classes during their junior and senior years in high school. Bridge Year Program students can earn enough credits during their last two high school years to start their college careers as sophomores, according to the report. During the trip, the students learned about UMaine engineering programs.
WLBZ (Channel 2) spoke with University of Maine President Susan Hunter for a report on University of Maine System trustees approving a five-year plan aimed at closing the system’s budget deficit. “Our goal is to really make education accessible, affordable — certainly very high quality — and have it relevant and have people in Maine really want to get educated, because they see it as the best way forward,” Hunter said.
The Associated Press reported Andre Khalil, an associate professor of mathematics at the University of Maine, and Michael Mason, an associate professor of chemical and biological engineering at UMaine, were among seven researchers to receive funds from the Maine Cancer Foundation to study the origins and potential cures for cancer. The foundation awarded a total of $839,000. Khalil received nearly $180,000 to study breast cancer, and Mason was awarded nearly $220,000 to research leukemia. WABI (Channel 5), WLBZ (Channel 2) and The Republic carried the AP report. The Maine Cancer Foundation also published research profiles on Mason and Khalil.
The Bangor Daily News published an article on the Bridge Year Program, an educational collaborative involving the University of Maine that aims to increase the number of Maine students who earn a college degree by giving them access to college classes during their junior and senior years in high school. The program began in 2012 and was piloted at Hermon High School. Bangor High School was added to the program last year and six more schools will be added next year.
Phys.org published a University of Maine report about UMaine oceanographer Ivona Cetinic participating in a NASA project that brings together marine and atmospheric scientists to tackle optical issues associated with satellite observations of phytoplankton. The goal is to better understand marine ecology and phytoplankton’s major role in the global cycling of atmospheric carbon between the ocean and the atmosphere. “Teams involved in this project are working together to develop next-generation tools that will change forever how we study oceans,” says Cetinic, a research associate at UMaine’s Darling Marine Center.