The Maine Edge reported a new study by a University of Maine-led research team found a decline in renal function in early stages of kidney disease is associated with stiffening of the arteries, which is a risk for stroke and dementia. Team leader Merrill Elias, UMaine professor of psychology and cooperating professor in the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences and Engineering, determined worsening kidney function is associated with higher pulse wave velocity (PMC) values that create higher levels of arterial stiffness in the heart and brain.
Archive for the ‘Graduate School’ Category
Four creative guests will take part in this semester’s University of Maine Intermedia MFA Program’s Visiting Artist Lecture Series.
Painter Dudley Zopp will lecture at 7 p.m. Oct. 29 at the Innovative Media Research and Commercialization Center (IMRC). His installations constructed with builder’s paper, paintings and found materials transport viewers through geological and cultural history.
New York-based dance and music artist Miguel Gutierrez will perform at 7 p.m. Nov. 9 in Class of 1944 Hall. Eva Yaa Asantewaa of Dance Magazine called him “one of our most provocative and necessary artistic voices.”
Italian composer, author and musicologist Luciano Chessa will perform at 7 p.m. Nov. 11 in Minsky Recital Hall and lecture at 7 p.m. Nov. 12 at the IMRC. His research focuses on 20th century and experimental music.
Sculptor Joe Winter will lecture at 7 p.m. Dec. 5 at the IMRC. He repurposes familiar technological systems for his creations, including pianos going in circles and telephones that talk only to each other.
All events are free and open to the public. For more information or to coordinate disability accommodations, contact Bethany Engstrom at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Modest longitudinal decline in renal function in early stages of kidney disease is associated with stiffening of the arteries, which is a risk for stroke and dementia, according to a University of Maine-led research team.
Worsening of kidney function is associated with higher pulse wave velocity (PWV) values and, by inference, higher levels of arterial stiffness in the heart and brain, says team leader Merrill Elias, UMaine professor of psychology and cooperating professor in the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences and Engineering.
“[E]ven modest associations constitute unacceptable risks at a population level and become major associations in late-stage renal disease,” he says. “Effective management of multiple cardiovascular disease risk factors associated with renal disease could be a way for successful early intervention.”
PWV, which is a measure of arterial stiffness, is the velocity of a pressure wave created when blood returns to the heart from the periphery of the vascular system. A fast return indicates greater stiffness in arteries; a slower return indicates arteries are flexible. PWV is a relatively new technology; Elias calls it the gold standard measure of arterial stiffness.
A strength of this study, says Elias, is that researchers related decline in renal functioning over four to five years to PWV. The study involved 482 community-based men and women with a mean age of nearly 61 years. They had normal blood pressure and arterial hypertension and investigators were unaware of the participants’ kidney disease status during data collection. Those with diabetes, other hypertension-related risk factors or diseases detected at various stages of the study were referred to their physicians for active treatment.
The findings, which were observed with controls for demographic factors, heart rate, mean arterial pressure and other potential confounders, are the most recent in a 38-year Maine-Syracuse Longitudinal Study that examines cardiovascular risk factors in relation to cognitive performance.
Elias and Syracuse University physician David H.P. Streeten began the longitudinal study in 1975. In previous studies, researchers found mild to moderate kidney disease was related to a drop in cognitive functioning, abstract reasoning and verbal memory, and that PWV was higher in those with the lowest cognitive performance.
Thus, says Elias, early detection of mild to moderate kidney disease is an important public health concern.
Elias, a psychologist and cardiovascular epidemiologist, and Michael Robbins, a UMaine colleague and psychologist, conducted the study with support from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI). UMaine colleague Gregory Dore; as well as Adam Davey, a developmental psychologist, and Avrum Gillespie, a nephrologist, both from Temple University; and Walter Abhayaratna, a cardiologist from Australian National University, also participated in this latest study.
“Deterioration in Renal Function is Associated With Increased Arterial Stiffness” was initially published online in September in the American Journal of Hypertension.
Contact: Beth Staples, 207.581.3777
UMaine Graduate Student Awarded $15,000 Fellowship, Cited as Positive Driver of Environmental ChangeThursday, October 10th, 2013
A University of Maine graduate student is one of 22 scholars nationwide awarded a $15,000 Switzer Environmental Fellowship for driving positive change.
Caitlin Cleaver, whose master’s thesis is titled “The Maine green sea urchin fishery: Scale mismatches, trophic connectivity, and resilience,” is on target to graduate in May 2014 with dual master’s degrees in marine biology and marine policy.
For marine resource management to be effective, Cleaver says it’s important to understand how science, policy and the fishing industry intersect. She’s interested in incorporating sea urchin harvesters’ knowledge into science and management processes to better understand the collapse of sea urchin stocks and to develop effective strategies for maintaining the fishery.
Cleaver, who grew up in Kennett Square, Pa., works as a marine programs associate at the Island Institute in Rockland, Maine. In 2010, she earned a Master of Public Administration in environmental science and policy at Columbia University and in 2006, she received a bachelor’s in environmental policy at Colby College.
The Robert and Patricia Switzer Foundation, which is based in Belfast, Maine, annually awards $15,000 to at least 20 promising environmental leaders. The foundation has awarded nearly $14 million in grants over a 27-year period.
“Today’s environmental issues are increasingly complex and require an ability to translate scientific, ecological and social knowledge across disciplines and apply it in real world settings,” says Lissa Widoff, executive director of the foundation. “The 2013 Switzer Environmental Fellows are at the cutting edge of science and policy and will be supported with funding, professional coaching and a network of leaders to help them achieve results. Their problem-solving abilities and innovation will make a difference.”
Other 2013 fellows attend Yale and Stanford universities, as well as the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the University of California Los Angeles. Fellows are pursuing degrees in such areas as library and information science; veterinary medicine; urban planning, human and environmental geography; and biological engineering.
To read an interview with Cleaver, visit http://go.umaine.edu/explore-umaine/student-profiles/.
Contact: Beth Staples, 207.581.3777
The University of Maine Graduate School will host the 2013 Graduate & Professional Programs Open House from 4 to 6 p.m. Oct. 16 in Stodder Hall, Room 57. UMaine offers more than 75 master’s degrees and 30 doctoral areas of study. UMaine, the flagship campus of the University of Maine System, is the state’s only Carnegie-designated “high research activity” university. The event is free and open to the public. For more information, contact the graduate school at 207.581.3291 or email@example.com.
The University of Maine College of Education and Human Development will host the Symposium on Gender in Higher Education from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 3 in the Wells Conference Center on the UMaine campus.
The professional development conference will explore issues of gender in higher education with a focus on intersectional approaches to gender within education. Break-out sessions will be divided into research and practice tracks.
The University of Maine’s Elizabeth Allan, a professor of higher education leadership, and Dan Tillapaugh, a postdoctoral fellow in higher education, will deliver keynote speeches. Panelists will include D. Chase Catalano, director of the LGBT Resource Center at Syracuse University and doctoral candidate in the social justice education program at UMass Amherst; Susan Marine, assistant professor and program director of the Higher Education Graduate Program at Merrimack College; and Brian Reed, assistant dean for undergraduate students at Dartmouth College.
The symposium is open to UMaine students, faculty and staff, as well as off-campus professionals. For more information or to request a disability accommodation, visit UMaine’s higher education graduate programs Web page. Registration is also available online.
A graduate of the University of Maine School of Policy and International Affairs (SPIA) debuts her documentary Quinoa Soup 7 p.m. Sept. 21 in Minsky Recital Hall in the Class of 1944 Hall on the Orono campus.
The free screening is open to the public. A $10 donation is suggested to assist with film production costs. To request a disability accommodation, call David Adkins at 207.581.1781.
Kate Kirby, who earned a master’s in global policy in 2013, says she was motivated to act after reading that Bolivians could no longer afford quinoa — their staple grain — due to it being in high demand by health-conscious and gluten-free consumers in the U.S.
“I had been studying food security and sustainable community development, but was looking for a poignant way to raise awareness and inspire change around issues I had been exposed to abroad that are directly related to the decisions we make here,” she says.
A month later, Kirby borrowed two cameras and flew to Bolivia to document discoveries with fellow 2013 SPIA graduate Muna Abdullahi and childhood friend Natalia Valdivia Salinas.
For more information, visit facebook.com/QuinoaSoupDocumentary.
Professor David J. Neivandt Named Director of UMaine Graduate School of Biomedical Science and EngineeringMonday, September 9th, 2013
University of Maine Professor David J. Neivandt has been named director of the UMaine Graduate School of Biomedical Science and Engineering (GSBSE), effective Sept. 1. Neivandt was named to the post by UMaine Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost Jeffrey Hecker.
Neivandt replaces Carol Kim, who was named UMaine Vice President for Research Sept. 1.
“I am very pleased that professor Neivandt has agreed to step into this important position on short notice,” says Hecker. “He was the unanimous choice among the leadership team. David has a thorough understanding of GSBSE and is well-positioned to build on the foundation established by Carol Kim.”
“I am delighted to assume the role of director of the GSBSE,” Neivandt says. “The program is unique in its interinstitutional nature, and exists solely to educate and train graduate students in the field of biomedical sciences and engineering. These students are the future of the state of Maine, and of the nation — I am honored to serve both them, and the University of Maine.”
Neivandt has been a member of the GSBSE faculty since it was created, he is the inaugural chair of the steering committee, and has chaired the admission committee since its formation. GSBSE is a unique graduate program that includes the University of Maine as the Ph.D.-granting institution and five cooperating academic and research institutions in Maine. GSBSE students conduct research in such areas as molecular and cellular biology, biomedical engineering, bioinformatics and genomics, toxicology and neuroscience.
Neivandt, a professor of chemical engineering and bioengineering, came to the University of Maine in 2001.
From 1998–2001, Neivandt was an Oppenheimer Research Fellow in the Department of Chemistry at the University of Cambridge, where his research focused on interfacial laser spectroscopy. He received his Ph.D. in physical chemistry from the University of Melbourne in 1998.
In his research, Neivandt uses traditional and novel spectroscopic and microscopic techniques to study the surfaces of materials. He focuses on the determination of the interfacial orientation and conformation of protein and lipid species, including the study of protein transport across cell membranes, and studies the gelation, dispersion and phase separation of natural and synthetic polymeric species.
Neivandt’s pulp and paper-related research has included the creation of biodegradable grease-resistant coatings, carbon nanofibers from lignin, and retention-aid systems. His work with protein transport is shedding light on how cell membranes interact with specific proteins. Understanding the process could lead to the design of therapeutics that could control diseases such as cancer and Alzheimer’s.
In 2005, and again in 2010, Neivandt received the College of Engineering Dean’s Excellence Award. In 2006 he received the college’s Early Career Research Award.
Elizabeth Chalecki, a nonresident research fellow at the Stimson Center in Washington, D.C., will give a talk titled “Environmental Security: A Guide to the Issues,” at 4 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 11 in 140 Little Hall on the University of Maine campus.
Chalecki’s book of the same name focuses on understanding the links between international security and ecological health, such as climate change, deforestation and extreme weather events.
Her areas of research include climate change and security, international environmental policy, environmental terrorism and nontraditional security threat analysis.
The Stimson Center, where Chalecki is a research fellow, is a nonprofit, nonpartisan think tank devoted to enhancing international peace and security.
The School of Policy and International Affairs is sponsoring the free event as part of its lecture series. The talk is open to the public and no registration is required.
For more information or to request a disability accommodation, call 207.581.1835 or visit the School of Policy and International Affairs website.
Every couple of years at the University of Maine’s Darling Marine Center on the banks of the Damariscotta River estuary in Walpole, Maine, graduate students from all over the world converge at the research laboratory for four weeks of intense, hands-on ocean optics training.
The class, “Ocean Optics: Calibration and Validation for Ocean Color Remote Sensing,” allows students the opportunity to stay at the center during the summer to learn from seven optical oceanographers, including course coordinator Emmanuel Boss and course creator Mary Jane Perry, both professors in the UMaine School of Marine Sciences.
The course is sponsored by NASA and UMaine with the goal of creating a new generation of oceanographers trained in ocean optics by teaching students about light in the ocean — both practical measurement and theory.
“You can use optical measurements to learn an incredible amount about the ocean,” Perry says.
Using a combination of lectures, hands-on laboratory activities, field sampling, models and group projects in an interactive learning environment, the course provides students with the skills to accurately measure light in and above water, the knowledge to interpret satellite ocean color images, and the ability to use the information to better understand biogeochemical and ecological processes in the ocean as well as apply it to practical problems such as tracking oil spills and harmful algal blooms.
Other instructors this year included Curtis Mobley, vice president for Science at Sequoia Scientific, Inc., in Washington; Collin Roesler, chair of the Earth and Oceanographic Science Department at Bowdoin College; Ken Voss, professor of physics at the University of Miami; Jeremy Werdell, research oceanographer at the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center; and Ron Zaneveld, director of research at WET Labs in Oregon. Alison Chase, a UMaine graduate student in oceanography, was the course’s teaching assistant.
More than 65 students from 35 countries applied for this year’s one-of-a-kind course. Twenty students, including Thomas Leeuw a UMaine graduate student, were selected. Other accepted students hail from all around the United States, Brazil, Canada, Germany, Spain and Saudi Arabia.
“Such training is not available anywhere else,” Boss says. “Many leaders in the field are graduates of the course.”
Perry started the ocean optics course in 1985 at the University of Washington’s marine lab and brought the class to UMaine when she joined the faculty in 1999.
“At that time, optical oceanography was just starting to blossom,” Perry says of when she started the course. “Newly developed optical sensors were particularly well suited to study phytoplankton, and I realized that teaching a graduate-level course was a good way to jumpstart the use of these wonderful new tools.”
Phytoplankton, also known as microalgae, are similar to land plants because they contain chlorophyll and depend on sunlight. In a balanced ecosystem, phytoplankton provides food for a wide range of sea creatures, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
“Phytoplankton are key to the health of oceanic food webs, and in a simplistic way, one could say if you’re going to have fish, you have to have phytoplankton,” Perry says.
Boss first took the class in 1995 when he was a graduate student, three years later he returned as a teaching assistant, and by 2001 he was an instructor. In 2004, Perry turned the course coordination over to Boss, but remained involved. The next course will likely be held in 2015 — 30 years since Perry created the class, Boss says.
Besides optical measuring techniques, Perry and Boss say the class teaches students how to collaborate with others, make high-quality measurements, and understand the broader responsibility of sharing data.
“They have a scientific responsibility to collect high-quality data, but they also have a civic responsibility to collect and make their data widely available,” Perry says. “Very often when a scientist makes measurements, they collect data for a specific hypothesis, but other researchers can mine that data for other purposes. Since the taxpayers are paying for these studies, our goal is to help the students collect the highest quality data.”
Jing Tao, a graduate student studying oceanography at Dalhousie University in Nova Scotia, Canada, says she will use optical measurements in her Ph.D. research on sediment transport in coastal areas.
“I will use ocean optics as a tool to study sediment size, particle size and particle distribution in the water for my Ph.D. program, so it’s a good tool for me,” Tao says.
Before taking the class, Tao says she had never worked with optical measurements, but uses remote sensing for research in the Bay of Fundy. She is confident she can now convert the remote sensing data to more useful measurements for her project.
“Initially there were more biologists in the class, but now we get a very diverse group of students,” Perry says. “This course attracts a lot of students who have broad interests. They’re interested in optical technology and ocean ecology, so it’s a really nice blend.”
Ashley York, a graduate student at Clark University in Worcester, Mass., who is studying geography, is taking the class in preparation of her Ph.D. research on glacier-ocean interaction.
“I have no ocean experience,” York says. “I’ve been coming from the glacier side of things and now this is introducing me to the ocean side.”
York says the class is challenging, but she is learning a lot.
“The course is very intensive,” York says. “It’s just a lot of information to soak up, but I definitely think it was worth taking.”
She says one of the instruments she was introduced to during the class — the radiometer — is similar to an instrument she will use in the field in Greenland in March 2014 and March 2015.
Sam Wilson, a graduate student studying physical oceanography at Scripps Institution of Oceanography in San Diego, Calif., says he comes from a math and fluids background, but respects biology and wants to use more of it.
“I want to approach biology from a fluid mechanics side and apply optical techniques I’m learning with my fluid mechanics background and bring it all together,” Wilson says, adding he’s excited to take optical measurements in the future and plans to recommend the course to others.
Wilson, who has “been able to go kayaking and eat a lot of lobster,” during his first trip to Maine says he enjoys studying at the Darling Marine Center.
“It’s neat to have a facility that’s dedicated to ocean sciences as clearly as Darling is,” he says. “You may not have all the resources a large city would provide, but I think it’s good for our uses. We need uninterrupted science.”
Contact: Elyse Kahl, 207.581.3747