Archive for the ‘Research’ Category

WABI Covers Undergraduate Research and Academic Showcase

Wednesday, April 2nd, 2014

WABI (Channel 5) reported on the 5th annual Undergraduate Research and Academic Showcase sponsored by UMaine’s Center for Undergraduate Research (CUGR). Presentations from 149 students in the form of 77 posters, 21 oral presentations or performances, and nine exhibits were featured. Several presentations included multiple students. Ali Abedi, director of CUGR, told WABI the showcase gives students an opportunity to learn how to present themselves and their project, as well as write proposals. Awards were given to students in each presentation category. Ten winners of $3,000 Summer Research and Creative Academic Achievements Fellowships were also announced at the event.

2014 Undergraduate Research and Academic Showcase Winners

Wednesday, April 2nd, 2014

Student research was displayed during the 5th annual Undergraduate Research and Academic Showcase on April 1.

The event, sponsored by UMaine’s Center for Undergraduate Research (CUGR), was open to any undergraduate at the university and featured presentations from 149 students in the form of 77 posters, 21 oral presentations or performances, and nine exhibits. Several presentations included multiple students.

Following are the winning presentations:

Exhibits

  • Nicole Curtis-Bray (electrical and computer engineering), “Remote Excitation of the Resonant Transverse Shear Mode in AT-cut quartz;” adviser: John Vetelino

Oral Presentations

  • Paige Martin (molecular and biomedical sciences), “Exosome-Mediated Drug Delivery for Treatment of Brain Cancer;” adviser: Carol Kim (first place)

  • Christine Gilbert (Honors), “Sustainability Inconvenient Discourse;” adviser: Mark Haggerty (second place)

Posters

  • Samuel Hatch and Emily Blackwood (anthropology), “Native American Plant Use: Pollen Analysis of Shell Middens;” adviser: Brian Robinson (first place)

  • Chi Truong (chemical and biological engineering), “Separation of Sodium Acetate from Maine hardwood extract via Electrodialysis;” adviser: Joseph Geneco (second place)

  • Elizabeth Chenevert, Rebekah Flanders, Lindsay Thornton and Sylvia Paradis-Reynolds (nursing), “Radon Detect To Protect;” adviser: Elizabeth Bicknell (third place)

Also announced at the showcase were the 10 winners of a $3,000 Summer Research and Creative Academic Achievements Fellowship:

  • Danielle Walczak (communication and journalism), “Fresh Light: Maine’s Young Small Diversified Farmers Growing Hope in Maine;” adviser: Margaret Nagle

  • Gwendolyn Beacham (molecular and biomedical sciences), “Towards Understanding Cluster E Phage Integration and Maintenance of Lysogeny;” adviser: Sally Molloy

  • Marissa Bovie (anthropology), “Landscape Evolution and Human Agency Along Croatia’s Adriatic Coast;” adviser: Greg Zaro

  • Tyler Roy (psychology), “Activated Microglia in a Mouse Model of Chemo-Brain;” adviser: Thane Fremouw

  • Julia Sell (physics), “Platinum-Zirconium Diboride (Pt-ZrB2) Multilayer Thin Film Structures for Sensor Applications in Harsh High;” adviser: Robert Lad

  • Torey Bowser (marine sciences), “Arsenic Exposure of Zebrafish (Danio rerio) Embryos and the Potential to Affect Adult Fish Behavior;” adviser: Rebecca Van Beneden

  • Katrina Harris (molecular and biomedical sciences), “Identification of Genome and Integration Morphology of Mycobacteriophages ChipMunk and EvilGenius;” adviser: Keith Hutchison

  • Amy Fish (food and agriculture), “Evaluation of Persistence Factors in C.pseudotuberculosis;” adviser: Anne Lichtenwalner

  • Taylor Merk-Wynne (mechanical engineering), “Micromechanical Modeling of Fiber Reinforced Composites;” adviser: Senthil Vel

  • Juliana Tavora (marine sciences), “Satellite-Measured Bio-Optical Measurements of Lagoa dos Patos, Brazil;” adviser: Andrew Thomas

Phage Genetics Course for Honors Students

Wednesday, April 2nd, 2014

Phage Genomics is a two-semester course offered to 16 UMaine first-year biology, microbiology, biochemistry or molecular and cellular biology majors in the Honors College each year. Students learn techniques in DNA isolation and analysis by studying novel bacteriophages, or viruses, infecting a bacterial host.

Students work alone or in pairs to culture their own phages, document the interaction between phage and host, isolate a DNA sample from the phage and sequence its genome. In the spring semester, they use computer-based analytical tools to explore and understand the structure of the phages. The procedures used throughout the process are nearly identical to those used for studying more complex genomes, including the human genome.

The active research component is integrated with group activities and reflective assignments that encourage students to develop interpersonal skills and thinking, strategic project development, and persistence.

The curriculum is provided through an association with the Howard Hughes Medical Institute Science Education Alliance, and funded through a partnership between the Honors College and the Department of Molecular and Biomedical Sciences.

UMaine Animal Health Laboratory Researchers Studying Maine Moose

Friday, March 28th, 2014

The health of Maine’s moose is a top priority for researchers and students at the University of Maine’s Animal Health Laboratory. The lab’s director, Anne Lichtenwalner, was approached five years ago by a Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (IF&W) moose biologist who wanted to know what was causing occasional calf deaths.

In the past two years, Lichtenwalner, an assistant professor of animal science, and her students examined 150 sets of lungs from Maine moose. Many were infected with lungworms, winter ticks and lung cysts. Lungworms, which can cause pathology, pneumonia, and may even contribute to death, were found in about 24 percent, Lichtenwalner says.

Echinococcus granulosus (EG), the intermediate stage of a tapeworm, was found in the form of lung cysts. The form of EG found in moose is unlikely to affect humans, but it can still infect dogs, making it important to inform the general public, especially hunters and dog owners, about the parasite. The lab published information about EG online and informed state veterinarians to remind clients that tapeworm medication is advised for dogs that may eat infected moose meat or viscera.

The lab is also part of a two-year tracking study assessing the health of moose in Maine and New Hampshire. The lab conducts blood work and processes tissues from the 90 radio-collared Maine moose in the study to test for diseases and parasites.

UMaine operates the Animal Health Lab with support from Cooperative Extension as a service to the state’s veterinarians, livestock producers and animal owners. The lab is used to perform diagnostic services such as necropsy, microbiology, virology and pathology.

More Than 100 Students to Showcase Work During GradExpo

Wednesday, March 26th, 2014

University of Maine graduate students will showcase their research and artistic works during the Graduate Student Government’s 2014 Graduate Academic Exposition.

More than $8,000 in prizes will be awarded to participants of the GradExpo. The event will be held 8 a.m.–4 p.m. Thursday and Friday, April 3–4 in the Innovative Media Research and Commercialization (IMRC) Center on campus.

The GradExpo will feature four areas of competition — posters, oral presentations, intermedia and fine arts exhibits, and a PechaKucha, or rapid-fire slide show event. About 106 submissions are expected at this year’s event.

The poster and oral presentations will highlight the physical sciences and technology, natural sciences, humanities and social sciences. The intermedia and fine arts exhibits will include art works, projects and performances. The PechaKucha competition, open to students in all academic disciplines, invites participants to share their work in a slide show lasting under seven minutes. Unlike the other presentations, the PechaKucha talks will be judged by the audience rather than faculty reviewers.

Two new awards have been added this year, and will be presented during the awards gala, slated for 6 p.m. Friday, April 4 at the IMRC Center.

The Provost’s Innovative/Creative Teaching Award worth $500, $300 and $150 will be given to graduate students who are lead instructors of a UMaine course and use innovative and creative teaching methods. Eligible candidates will present at the expo. Jeffrey Hecker, UMaine’s executive vice president of academic affairs and provost, will designate judges to select the winners.

The UMaine Alumni Association Alum Award worth $250 will be given to a graduate student who earned their undergraduate degree at the University of Maine. Selected candidates will present their research to Alumni Association staff members who will select the winner.

Other awards will include:

  • Graduate Student Government Awards — Presented to three students in each of the four presentation divisions. Faculty judges choose winners based on academic worthiness, excellence of presentation and skill in making the work understandable to a wide audience. Prizes are worth $600, $300 and $150.

  • Graduate Student Photo Contest Awards — Presented to graduate students who submitted photos in the categories of graduate student life, graduate student research, and graduate student teaching. The awards are worth $100, $50 and $25.

  • The Graduate Dean’s Undergraduate Mentoring Award — Presented for effective undergraduate mentoring in research, with awards worth $500, $250 and $100.

  • The President’s Research Impact Award — A $2,000 award given to the graduate student and their adviser who best exemplify the UMaine mission of teaching, research and outreach.

  • Innovation Award — $100.

Details of the expo are online. For more information or to request a disability accommodation, contact Robin Arnold, Graduate Student Government vice president, at robin.arnold@umit.maine.edu or 207.581.2398.

Contact: Elyse Kahl, 207.581.3747

MPBN to Rebroadcast ‘Sustainable Maine’ Series in May

Wednesday, March 26th, 2014

In May, the Maine Public Broadcasting Network will rebroadcast episodes from the three seasons of the “Sustainable Maine” series. The show highlights the research of Maine’s Sustainability Solutions Initiative (SSI), based at UMaine’s Senator George J. Mitchell Center. SSI is helping communities solve interconnected economic problems while advancing sustainability science. SSI and Maine EPSCoR collaborated with MPBN to create the Emmy-nominated series. More information about “Sustainable Maine” is online.

The rebroadcast schedule is:

  • “Return of a River,” 1 p.m. Sunday, May 4

  • “Culvert Operations,” 1:30 p.m. Sunday, May 4

  • “Preserving Paradise,” 1 p.m. Sunday, May 11

  • “Saving our Lakes,” 1:30 p.m. Sunday, May 11

  • “Basket Trees — Saving a Tradition,” 1 p.m. Sunday, May 18

  • “Pools, Policy and People — Maine’s Vernal Pools,” 1:30 p.m. Sunday, May 18

  • “Desperate Alewives,” 1 p.m. Sunday, May 25

Three Honored With The First ADVANCE Career Recognition Awards

Monday, March 24th, 2014

Three University of Maine faculty members — Kate Beard-Tisdale, Susan Brawley and Mary Tyler — are the recipients of ADVANCE Career Recognition Awards by UMaine’s Rising Tide Center.

Beard-Tisdale is a member of the School of Computing and Information Science; Brawley is in the School of Marine Science; and Tyler is in the School of Biology and Ecology.

The Career Recognition Awards highlight the significant accomplishments of women faculty at UMaine through their teaching, research, constituent service and campus leadership. Sharing the professional successes of UMaine faculty raises the profile of women scientists and is intended to inspire colleagues at every rank.

The honor includes a travel award to support the honorees’ participation at a prestigious conference where their work will be showcased on an international stage.

On campus, the award winners will give lectures about their research and will lead a panel discussion. Tyler will speak on, “Students Are Scientists: Implementing Inquiry-Based Learning,” noon, March 27, Coe Room, Memorial Union; Beard-Tisdale will speak on, “A Passage in Space and Time,” noon, April 10, Coe Room, Union.

Brawley will speak on, “Small Is Beautiful: Marine Eggs, Spores and Bacteria,” 2 p.m., April 16, Wells Conference Center, followed by the awards ceremony and reception. The event will feature a panel discussion with the awardees and accomplished junior faculty offering perspectives on the challenges and opportunities for women in science.

All events are free and open to the public. To register or to request a disability accommodation, call or write the ADVANCE Rising Tide Center, 207.581.3439; risingtide@maine.edu. More information is available online.

UMaine’s ADVANCE Rising Tide Center, funded by a five-year grant from the National Science Foundation, seeks to develop systemic approaches to retaining and advancing women faculty in academic science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) and social-behavioral science careers.

Gabe’s Study Cited in Morning Sentinel Article on Maine Maple Sunday

Monday, March 24th, 2014

University of Maine economist Todd Gabe’s study on the maple industry’s financial impact on the state was cited in a Morning Sentinel article about Maine Maple Sunday. According to Gabe’s study, Maine has the third-largest maple syrup industry in the country, and each year, the industry directly contributes about $27.7 million in revenue, 567 full- and part-time jobs and $17.3 million in wages to Maine’s economy.

Humphrey Quoted in BDN Special Section Article on Maine’s Economy, Engineers

Friday, March 21st, 2014

University of Maine College of Engineering Dean Dana Humphrey was quoted in the BDN Maine Special Sections article “Home-grown engineers key to Maine’s economy” that appeared in the publication BDN Maine Outlook: Business & Economic Development. Humphrey said he believes the state can decrease “brain drain” by exposing youth to engineering at an early age. “If you don’t have the engineers to design it, you can’t build it, whether it be a bridge or a jet engine,” Humphrey said, adding that engineers are a force multiplier in terms of economic development. An article on research by Beth Fulton, a UMaine Ph.D. student studying food science, was also including in the publication. Fulton is researching ways to use lobster shell waste to create a pigment extract as a green alternative to synthetic versions found in fish food.

Digital Journalism Class, BDN Collaborate on Bangor 2020 Project

Monday, March 17th, 2014

The future of Bangor, Maine, is the focus of a multimedia project that pairs University of Maine journalism students with mentors at the Bangor Daily News (BDN).

UMaine professor Jennifer Moore is leading CMJ 481: Digital Journalism students in the project called Bangor 2020. The journalism juniors and seniors are conducting research, doing journalistic fieldwork and producing news packages using a variety of technologies for the online, multimedia project in partnership with the BDN.

The goal of the course is to create a discussion about the future development of the Greater Bangor Area. The class is about providing students with a learning environment both in and out of the classroom, and experience working on a project that can significantly add to their professional portfolio and make them competitive on the job market.

The theme of the project is “livable cities,” a term associated with promoting economic growth while maintaining sustainable living environments.

“Students will gain valuable, hands-on experience reporting on important issues facing Bangor,” Moore says. “We’re focusing reporting and production in a ‘digital-first’ mindset that’s so important for anyone who wants to enter the world of professional journalism.

“Working this closely with mentors at the BDN — in a collaborative learning environment — is new in CMJ curriculum, and we hope to continue this relationship in future classes.”

Anthony Ronzio, BDN director of news and audience, says the course will “challenge the students into conceptualizing, analyzing and, ultimately, storytelling an issue of great local importance, with advice and guidance from professionals along the way. The final product would be of high enough quality to publish in the BDN.”

At the end of the semester, students also will give a public presentation to showcase their work.

“This project requires curiosity and hones the information-gathering skills that you need to satiate that curiosity. It also gives you, as a student journalist, a better understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of the different ways to tell a story while sharpening the basic journalistic skills we’ve developed in our other courses,” says Jonathan Ouellette, a senior in the class.

Ronzio says UMaine’s journalism department and the BDN can learn from each other. “By working together, we can make a brighter future for UMaine journalism students and help the BDN adapt to the new journalism that must be done in the 21st century,” he says.

Contact: Margaret Nagle, 207.581.3745