The Lewiston Sun Journal reported on the efforts of UMaine graduate student Jackie Bailey and others to keep milfoil and other invasive plants out of Maine’s ponds and lakes. Bailey, who is pursuing a Ph.D. in aquatic biology, is studying invasive plant species and keeping track of conditions in several Maine lakes.
UMaine bird biologist Brian Olsen contributed to a recently published paper about beak size in birds that was mentioned on the Discovery Channel website. The paper, which appeared in the journal Ecography, noted that the beak size of salt marsh sparrows in North America varied drastically depending on the average summer temperature. The study suggests beak tissue may be active in order to transfer heat and keep a bird cool in a harsh environment. The study was done by researchers at the Smithsonian. Olsen holds a research associate position with the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute.
A larval zebrafish model developed by University of Maine biomedical scientists is providing unprecedented, real-time views of the little-understood interactions between immune cells and fungal pathogens in blood vessels.
Their in vivo model that enables imaging of the immune system in action has the potential to be used for screening new drug therapies. It already led the UMaine researchers to discover evidence of an enzyme that regulates the growth of one of the most common yet lethal fungal pathogens to humans.
The researchers studied Candida albicans, a yeast that makes its home in the human body, where a healthy innate immune system keeps it in check. But in people with compromised immune systems, the fungal pathogen causes life-threatening infections. It is the fourth leading cause of infection in patients hospitalized in the United States.
To better understand the molecular nature of the interactions between Candida and innate immune cells, the researchers developed a novel candidemia infection model in zebrafish larvae. Larval zebrafish are transparent, facilitating noninvasive visualization of the interactions of pathogens with the innate immune system.
With the zebrafish model, the scientists showed that immune NADPH oxidase limits the proliferation and filamentous growth of C. albicans.
The UMaine researchers — graduate student Kimberly Brothers, undergraduate Zachary Newman, and microbiology professor Robert Wheeler — published their findings in the journal Eukaryotic Cell, where their discovery was featured in the journal’s Highlights section. It also was spotlighted in the American Society for Microbiology’s Microbe magazine.
Contact: Robert Wheeler, (207) 581-2890
The Lewiston Sun Journal featured a group of UMaine students who are sorting trash around the state this summer as part of a Maine State Planning Office-funded study to gauge Maine’s solid waste habits. Travis Blackmer, an economics student, told the newspaper the students will be able to look at recycling in each community to see what works and what doesn’t. The students were working at the Lisbon Transfer Station and have plans to travel to Belfast, Houlton and Skowhegan following previous stops in Norway, Ogunquit and Paris.
The Portland Press Herald reported about the first class of students who graduated from Cod Academy, an education program that provides classroom training and hands-on experience at a commercial fish farm that raises cod. UMaine’s Aquaculture Institute is a partner in the program.
The Lewiston Sun Journal has a story about a book written by David B. Field, a retired UMaine professor of forest resources who is also a UMaine graduate. “Images of America: Along Maine’s Appalachian Trail” illustrates the history of the trail’s mountains and forests in Maine. Field maintained six miles of the scenic trail for 54 years and served as an officer of the Maine Appalachian Trail Club and on the board of managers of the Appalachian Trail Conference.
UMaine graduate student Tawny Virgilio was interviewed Thursday by Channel 5 (WABI) for an evening news broadcast about a bio-surveillance project she’s doing under the supervision of entomology professor Eleanor Groden to determine the hunting habits of a wasp that catches beetles, including the destructive emerald ask borer. The wasp Cerceris fumipennis doesn’t sting people, and may provide entomologists and Maine forestry researchers another way to determine if the emerald ash borer beetle exists yet in Maine.
The website for Biomass Magazine has a story about an effort to study biomass in northern Maine which is being funded by UMaine’s Sustainability Solutions Initiative. UMaine-Fort Kent researcher Brian Kermath, the director of the school’s Center for Rural Sustainable Development, told the magazine his center is partnering with SSI on a project that will assess the potential to generate biomass from forest and agriculture.
An article about college tuition in the weekly Independent which covers the towns of Gray, Windham and Raymond, noted the research of UMaine economist Phillip Trostel, who has written about the importance of a well-educated work force to grow prosperity and develop high-paying jobs.