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.
Posts Tagged ‘Research in the News’
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.
A WLBZ (Channel 2) report on the economic impact of Maine craft breweries on local communities cited several University of Maine studies. The report states that according to UMaine economic impact studies, Maine’s wild blueberry harvest was worth about $69 million in 2012, and the lobster catch was worth about $340 million. A study conducted by UMaine and the Maine Brewers’ Guild found the state’s craft brewing industry has an economic impact of nearly $200 million and is growing. The study looked at Maine’s 35 craft breweries in 2013. Now there are 55 breweries, with three more scheduled to open this year, according to the report.
Howard Segal, a University of Maine history professor, spoke with the Maine Public Broadcasting Network for Part 2 of its “Innovation in the Maine Economy” series. Segal spoke about what innovation in Maine looked like in the 19th century, and how the state’s economy was more complex at that time than people may think. Segal also wrote an essay on the topic, titled “Economic and Technological Innovation in Maine before the Twentieth Century: Complex, Uneven, but Pervasive and Important,” which appears in the latest Maine Policy Review.
Research by Sandra Caron, a University of Maine professor of family relations and human sexuality, was cited in the Huffington Post article “No, Millennials Aren’t Obsessed with Hooking up.” According to Caron’s research, when it comes to sex in college, Gen Y and Gen X have similar habits. “Today’s college students may think they’re unique, but the data shows that the incidence of ‘hooking up’ — or what used to be referred to as ‘casual sex’ — has remained steady,” she said. Caron added if any aspect has changed, it’s that millennials are better at practicing safe sex than the previous generation. The findings were a result of a sexuality survey Caron administered to 5,000 students over the past 20 years
The Working Waterfront and Phys.org carried a report on sea urchin research being conducted by University of Maine marine bioresources graduate student Ung Wei Kenn. His research focuses on enhancing green sea urchin egg production to aid Maine’s depressed urchin market. Ung hopes to increase the egg or roe yield of farm-raised green sea urchins through high-quality feed, a process known as bulking. “I was always interested in the vertical integration of aquaculture and seafood processing,” says Ung. “I am also passionate about seafood that is popular in Asia. This topic is a blend of all that.”
The Associated Press, The Grower, Phys.org, WVII (Channel 7) and Penobscot Bay Pilot reported on a new pepper variety developed by researchers with the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the University of Maine. The researchers — Robert Jarret from the USDA/Agricultural Research Service in Griffin, Georgia, and Jason Bolton and L. Brian Perkins from the University of Maine School of Food and Agriculture — developed the new small-fruited Capsicum annuum L. pepper to have a high capsinoid content to make it less pungent while maintaining all the natural health benefits of the fruit. Maine Public Broadcasting Network, WABI (Channel 5), Portland Press Herald and seattlepi carried the AP report.
David Handley, a University of Maine Cooperative Extension specialist of vegetables and small fruits at UMaine’s Highmoor Farm in Monmouth, and Renae Moran, a tree fruit specialist with UMaine Extension, were interviewed for a Maine Public Broadcasting Network report titled “Climate change presents Maine farmers with new challenges.” Handley spoke about testing new crops for the region, such as grapes, as the climate changes. Moran, who is currently testing several varieties of peaches, plums and cherries, warns climate change is unpredictable and more research is needed before any farmer is recommended to make a big investment in traditionally warmer weather fruits.
Mohammad Bataineh, an assistant research professor of quantitative silviculture and forest modeling at the University of Maine’s Center for Research on Sustainable Forests, was awarded $69,747 from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Forest Service for his proposal, “Incorporating spruce-budworm impacts into the Acadian Variant of the Forest Vegetation Simulator.”
Outbreaks of the native spruce budworm insect (Choristoneura fumiferana) cause tree mortality and growth reduction, which negatively affect forest productivity. Outbreaks also cause uncertainty in predicting future wood supplies and forest conditions. Sustainable management of the Northern Forest requires accounting for outbreak effects in forest management planning and wood supply forecasts, according to the proposal.
Bataineh’s five-year project aims to modify the Acadian Variant of the USDA Forest Service’s Forest Vegetation Simulator (FVS) to account for spruce budworm effects on tree and stand development.
Aaron Weiskittel, an associate professor of forest biometrics and modeling, is the project’s co-principal investigator.
The FVS is a system of forest growth simulation models that have been calibrated for specific geographic areas, or variants, of the country. The system can simulate a range of silvicultural treatments for most major forest tree species, forest types and stand conditions, according to the Forest Service’s website.
The research project also proposes to establish the Acadian Variant as the base stand growth model in the Spruce Budworm Decision Support System. The Canadian Forest Service developed the Spruce Budworm Decision Support System to assist foresters in planning and carrying out management activities that potentially reduce the damage caused by spruce budworm.
Researchers will compile a regional dataset on individual-tree growth and mortality under Maine’s most recent spruce budworm outbreak that occurred in the 1970s and ’80s.
The new capability of the Acadian Variant will provide Northern Forest managers with improved growth and yield projections and the ability to assess the potential impact of spruce budworm outbreaks on wood supply and forest level planning through the Spruce Budworm Decision Support System, according to the researchers.
Reuters and the Portland Press Herald cited information on the state’s blueberry industry from the University of Maine in articles about a lawsuit alleging labor violations during the state’s 2008 wild blueberry harvest. The Reuters article states Maine harvested nearly $70 million worth of wild blueberries in 2012, and the industry depends on migrant labor to harvest the native crop, which grows on about 60,000 acres of fields, according to UMaine. The Press Herald reported the industry’s economic impact in Maine was about $250 million in 2007. Chicago Tribune carried the Reuters report.