UMaine, BioME invite public to tour facilities, learn about programs encompassing biosciences

Editor’s note: Story updated March 13

From healthy foods to cutting-edge research, bioscience — applying knowledge to develop biological solutions — advances our quality of life.

The University of Maine and the Bioscience Association of Maine (BioME) invite the public to tour top-notch UMaine facilities and learn about innovative programs that encompass the biosciences 4–7 p.m. Wednesday, March 20.

Start at 4 p.m. at the Foster Center for Student Innovation, where UMaine President Joan Ferrini-Mundy will talk about the university’s statewide research reach, collaborations and impact. Then get an introduction to Innovation Engineering, wherein students are taught how to commercialize their ideas.

Get an update on bioscience-related initiatives, including UMaine Medicine and statewide doctoral training for students in the multi-institution Graduate School of Biomedical Science and Engineering (GSBSE) program led by UMaine.

Hear about commercialization successes, including Activas Diagnostics LLC, a UMaine spin-off company, established in collaboration with the psychology and engineering programs. Its SleepMove product — a fitted mattress undersheet with hybrid wireless sensors — has potential to help detect early symptoms of mild cognitive impairment and Alzheimer’s disease.

Learn from bioengineers about a nanocellulose composite orthopedic implant that promotes the growth of bone then safely dissolves, eliminating the need for costly and permanent metallic devices.

Visit the Aquaculture Research Institute, and discover how experiments there advance seafood production in the state. Tour the Advanced Structures and Composites Center, where scientists design and test innovations — from cross-laminated timber construction items to a long-lasting, rapidly deployable bridge system.

After the tour, enjoy a reception with appetizers and beverages. Talk with people who work at biotech and medical device companies, as well as scientists who work in academic bioscience laboratories. Hear more about Maine’s only research university and its programs and resources available to the state. Representatives and materials from the Emera Astronomy Center; University of Maine Cooperative Extension; Women in Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics, and Medicine (WiSTEMM); the Department of Molecular and Biomedical Sciences; the School of Marine Sciences; the School of Biology and Ecology; and others will be at the reception.

Event organizers are Agnieszka Carpenter, executive director of BioME; Kristy Townsend, assistant professor of neurobiology at UMaine and member of the BioME board of directors; and Ali Abedi, assistant vice president for research and director of the Center for Undergraduate Research (CUGR).

People are invited to register online for the UMaine Tour and Spring Networking event. Contact Townsend at, 207.581.2541 for more information or to request a reasonable accommodation.

Contact: Beth Staples, 207.581.3777