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University of Maryland Statement Against Hate and Bias

November 5, 2017
Contacts: 

 Katie Lawson, 301-405-4622

 
Statement Against Hate and Bias 
Joel Seligman, AVP for Communications and Marketing - November 5, 2017
 

UMD sincerely regrets the overwhelming misunderstanding resulting in the #UMDNotAHome social media conversation. The statements on social media connected to this hashtag do not reflect the positions of the university or our leaders' mutual commitment to diversity and inclusion on campus and across our nation.

To put it plainly, the UMD administration stands against hate and bias in all of its forms and wants every Terp to feel welcome, safe and at home at the University of Maryland. 

In recent months, there have been instances of intentional provocation by hateful, far-right groups spreading targeted messages that the administration finds despicable. These outside agitators want to divide our campus community into factions that are in conflict with one another from within UMD, rather than see our campus stand together in opposition to the broader forces of hate, white supremacy, anti-immigrant xenophobia, homophobia, transphobia and anti-semitism. 

It is understandable that some members of our community are also disturbed by remarks by university officials, even when the comments are quoted entirely out of context and in a manner that misrepresents the meaning. UMD has seen an example of one of our longtime colleagues unfairly criticized for her efforts to provide legal advice to the University Senate Campus Affairs Committee literally at the same time she is working to advance the cause of inclusion.

The administration encourages all members of our community to work together—students, faculty, staff, administrators and alumni—to increase respect, inclusiveness, and cohesiveness on our campus. A comprehensive list of efforts underway by UMD administration is available at umd.edu/umdreflects 

 

 

UMD Named a 2017 Best College by MONEY Magazine

July 12, 2017
Contacts: 

Jennifer Burroughs, 301-405-4621

COLLEGE PARK, Md.  The University of Maryland ranked No. 11 among public universities according to MONEY Magazine’s 2017 list of Best Colleges. UMD ranked No. 20 overall among U.S. institutions. 

To calculate rankings, MONEY assessed more than 700 colleges in the U.S. based on three equally-weighted categories, including educational quality, affordability and alumni success. MONEY measured 27 factors within these categories covering areas such as instructor quality, measuring the study-to-faculty ratio, affordability for low-income students and value-added earnings, which measures if the school is launching students to better paying jobs. 

Earlier this year, UMD was also ranked a Best Value College by ForbesPrinceton Review and Kiplinger’s Personal Finance

UMD Capitol Hill Forum Addresses Health Disparities Research & Action for Equity

September 23, 2016
Contacts: 

Contacts: Elise Carbonaro, 301-405-6501

COLLEGE PARK, Md. – The University of Maryland, in collaboration with Rep. John P. Sarbanes and the Big Ten Academic Alliance, recently convened more than 100 people for a Research on the Hill forum focused on strategies to achieve health equity at the Rayburn House Office Building in Washington, D.C. Moderated by Stephen B. Thomas, Ph.D., professor and director of the Maryland Center for Health Equity in the UMD School of Public Health, the panel discussion engaged experts from academia, federal health agencies and the private business sector in a candid conversation about how to eliminate racial and ethnic health disparities among vulnerable populations.

“Our exploratory research holds the solutions to many of the most challenging problems of our day,” said UMD Vice President and Chief Research Officer Patrick G. O’Shea, Ph.D. “As a university, it is our mission to create and understand knowledge to develop better ways to house and heal and fuel and feed our people in advanced societies that are just, secure, and free. Achieving health equity touches on the ‘heal’ aspect of that mission.”

The topics ranged from the progress that has been made in access to medical care as a result of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) to challenges that still remain in improving quality of care and in making the medical care system incorporate public health and address the social determinants of health that prevent people from acting health promotion and disease prevention recommendations. 

“The state of Maryland has embraced the ACA and there is clear evidence that the new incentives are indeed moving hospital systems away from a fee-for-service business model to one that rewards quality care and positive health outcomes over the volume of procedures,” said Thomas. “While the transition is not perfect, our state is a national leader for what the future of health care will look like.”

Panel members shared examples of effective and innovative community-based health interventions and public-private partnerships that are making a difference through culturally-tailored health promotion and disease prevention services, and highlighted the emergence of social determinants of health such as poverty, discrimination and residential segregation as factors that must be overcome.

 “I’m convinced that if you address racial and ethnic disparities with respect to the delivery of health care and health care coverage in this country, you will build the best health care system we can possibly have because diversity is our country’s hallmark,” said Congressman Sarbanes, who, as a member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, has been a tireless advocate for improving healthcare quality and addressing health disparities.
 
To achieve health equity, researchers, policymakers, and industry leaders must address broader issues beyond the traditional biomedical model and build trust between those who control health care delivery system and those who have lost hope in the system, said members of the panel. 

The panelists recommended that health equity be incorporated into all public policies, not just those related to health care, to reduce and ultimately eliminate health disparities. 

Panel members included:

  • Margo Edmunds, Ph.D., Vice President, Evidence Generation and Translation at Academy Health;
  • J. Nadine Gracia, M.D., M.S.C.E., Deputy Assistant Secretary for Minority Health and Director of the Office of Minority Health within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services;
  • Julia Huggins, President of Cigna Mid-Atlantic;
  • Kolawole Okuyemi, M.D., MPH, Professor of the Department of Family Medicine and Community Health, Director of the Program in Health Disparities Research and Inaugural Endowed Chair for Health Equity at the University of Minnesota; and
  • Eliseo Pérez-Stable, M.D., Director of the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities at the National Institutes of Health.

House Democratic Whip Steny H. Hoyer, who represents Maryland’s 5th Congressional District and is a distinguished UMD alumnus, also joined the event and emphasized that as an interconnected community, we should all care about health disparities.
 
“It is unacceptable that in the United States, where all are created equal in the words of our Declaration of Independence, that one’s access to healthcare may be higher or lower as a result of race, gender, or income,” said Congressman Hoyer. “Everybody being healthy is of concern to each and every one of us.”
 
He discussed how we must continue to defend the patient protections that Americans are benefiting from thanks to the ACA, such as the no-cost access to preventive services like mammograms and immunizations, as well as remind people of the dramatic increase in the number of people, particularly people of color, who now have health coverage as a result.

The event was held as part of the University of Maryland’s Research on the Hill series, which is aimed at raising awareness of research with great societal significance.

View the conversation at: https://youtu.be/HPedKr0jZLQ

UMD Study Finds Connecting Uninsured Patients to Primary Care Could Reduce ER Use

May 6, 2015
Contacts: 

Kelly Blake 301-405-9418
Hillery Tsumba 301-628-3425

Montgomery County, Md. Initiative Could Improve Health, Reduce Costs

COLLEGE PARK, Md. – An intervention to connect low-income uninsured and Medicaid patients to a reliable source of primary health care shows promise for reducing avoidable use of hospital emergency departments in Maryland. A University of Maryland School of Public Health study evaluating the results of the intervention was published this week in the May issue of the journal Health Affairs

For twenty years, use of hospital emergency departments has been on the rise in the United States, particularly among low-income patients who face barriers to accessing health care outside of hospitals, including not having an identifiable primary health care provider. Almost half of emergency room visits are considered “avoidable.” The Emergency Department-Primary Care Connect Initiative of the Primary Care Coalition, which ran from 2009 through 2011, linked low-income uninsured and Medicaid patients to safety-net health clinics. 

“Our study found that uninsured patients with chronic health issues – such as those suffering from hypertension, diabetes, asthma, COPD, congestive heart failure, depression or anxiety – relied less on the emergency department after they were linked to a local health clinic for ongoing care,” says Dr. Karoline Mortensen, assistant professor of health services administration at the University of Maryland School of Public Health and senior researcher. “Connecting patients to primary care and expanding the availability of these safety-net clinics could reduce emergency department visits and provide better continuity of care for vulnerable populations.”  

Funded by a grant from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services and the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, the initiative engaged all five of the hospitals operating in Montgomery County, Maryland at the time, and four safety-net clinics serving low-income patients. Using “patient navigators,” individuals trained to help patients find the care they need and can afford, these hospitals referred more than 10,000 low-income, uninsured and Medicaid patients who visited emergency departments to four local primary care clinics, with the goal of encouraging them to establish an ongoing relationship with the clinic and reduce their reliance on costly emergency department care. 

Two hospitals in Montgomery County who participated in the intervention continued the program after the initial grant period concluded because of the benefits they saw for patients and for reducing emergency department visits and associated costs. These hospitals are currently testing a new version of the intervention specifically deigned to link emergency department patients with behavioral health conditions to appropriate community-based services. 

While hospital administrators and health policy experts throughout the country are recognizing that access to primary care improves continuity of care for patients and reduces avoidable use of emergency departments, the implications of this project are particularly important for hospitals in Maryland, which are now operating under a unique all-payer model for hospital payments. Within this new payment structure, Maryland hospitals will have to meet ambitious spending, quality of care, and population health goals. Reducing avoidable use of emergency departments can help in reaching these goals.

The project provides promise not only for hospitals in Maryland but throughout the nation to improve health care experiences and outcomes for their patients. Shared learning systems were an integral component of the project so participants were learning from each other and sharing best practices throughout the project and that learning has now been documented and can be replicated in other communities.

“This was an incredibly rewarding project to work on,” says Barbara H. Eldridge, Manager of Quality Improvement at the Primary Care Coalition. “We created a learning system that permits us to sustain improved communication between patients and their providers, between hospital discharge planners and community based clinics, and across five hospitals operating in Montgomery County.” The initiative has proven successful in Montgomery County, Maryland and is being replicated in communities in other parts of the country. 

“Linking Uninsured Patients Treated In The Emergency Department To Primary Care Shows Some Promise In Maryland” was written by Theresa Y. Kim, Karoline Mortensen, and Barbara Eldridge and published in the journal Health Affairs

University Launches Dynamic, Interactive Information Website UMD Right Now

December 4, 2012
Contacts: 

Crystal Brown 301-405-4618 crystalb@umd.edu

College Park, Md. – Today, the University of Maryland launched a brand-new multimedia news and information portal, UMD Right Now, which provides members of the media and the public with real-time information on the university and its extended community.

UMD Right Now replaces Newsdesk, which previously served as the university’s news hub and central resource for members of the media. The new site is aimed at reaching broader audiences and allows visitors to keep up with the latest Maryland news and events, view photos and videos and connect with the university across all of its social media platforms.

“We designed UMD Right Now to be a comprehensive, vibrant site where visitors can find new and exciting things happening at Maryland,” said Linda Martin, executive director, Web and New Media Strategies. “Through social media, video, photos and news information, we hope to engage visitors and compel the community to explore all that Maryland has to offer.”

The new website, umdrightnow.umd.edu, contains up-to-date news releases and announcements, facts and figures about the university, a searchable database of faculty and staff experts, information highlighting innovation and entrepreneurship at UMD, additional resources for news media and other campus and athletics news.

“UMD RightNow is the place to go to find out all the things happening on and around campus on any given day,” said Crystal Brown, chief communications officer. “This website brings real-time news, events and information right to your fingertips.”

For more information and contact information for the Office of University Communications, please visit umdrightnow.umd.edu.

UMD Receives $3 Million Investment from Scripps Howard Foundation to Create Center for Investigative Journalism

August 7, 2018
Contacts: 

Scripps: Rebecca Cochran, 513-977-3023  
UMD: Alexander Pyles, 301-405-1321

COLLEGE PARK, Md. – The University of Maryland Philip Merrill College of Journalism will receive $3 million over three years from the Scripps Howard Foundation to establish a Howard Center for Investigative Journalism. In a move to advance high-quality enterprise journalism across the country, this will be one of two centers created from the full $6 million dollar investment, with the second at Arizona State University. 

Philip Merrill College of JournalismThe Howard Centers will be multidisciplinary, graduate-level programs focused on training the next generation of reporters through hands-on investigative journalism projects. Students will work with news organizations from across the country to report stories of national or international importance to the public.

“The Centers are envisioned as innovative educational programs,” said Battinto Batts, director of the journalism fund for the Scripps Howard Foundation. “Both Arizona State University and the University of Maryland are well-positioned to challenge their students to become ethical, entrepreneurial and courageous investigative journalists.”

After submitting competitive proposals for this investment, UMD and ASU were chosen because they both have prestigious journalism programs that feature a rigorous curriculum and hands-on training for student journalists. 

“Investigative journalists shine a light on our society’s problems and protect democracy by holding the powerful accountable,” said Lucy A. Dalglish, dean of the University of Maryland Philip Merrill College of Journalism. “The Howard Center at Merrill College will provide an unmatched opportunity for our students to learn to tell important stories in innovative ways, preparing them to become outstanding professional journalists.”

The Howard Centers will recruit graduate students and faculty of diverse academic and professional backgrounds. Students attending will be introduced to topics including new media, data mining and the history and ethics of investigative journalism.

In addition to the emphasis on multidisciplinary studies within their own curriculum, the Howard Centers also will collaborate on investigative projects to deliver high-impact content to news consumers. 

The Howard Centers will launch national searches for directors this fall and will open programming to graduate-level students in 2019.

About the University of Maryland

The University of Maryland, College Park is the state's flagship university and one of the nation's preeminent public research universities. A global leader in research, entrepreneurship and innovation, the university is home to more than 40,000 students, 10,000 faculty and staff, and 280 academic programs. As one of the nation’s top producers of Fulbright scholars, its faculty includes two Nobel laureates, three Pulitzer Prize winners and 57 members of the national academies. The institution has a $1.9 billion operating budget and secures $514 million annually in external research funding. For more information about the University of Maryland, College Park, visit www.umd.edu. 

About The Scripps Howard Foundation

The Scripps Howard Foundation supports philanthropic causes important to The E.W. Scripps Company (NASDAQ: SSP) and the communities it serves, with a special emphasis on excellence in journalism. At the crossroads of the classroom and the newsroom, the Foundation is a leader in supporting journalism education, scholarships, internships, minority recruitment and development, literacy and First Amendment causes. The Scripps Howard Awards stand as one of the industry’s top honors for outstanding journalism. The Foundation improves lives and helps build thriving communities. It partners with Scripps brands to create awareness of local issues and supports impactful organizations to drive solutions.

 

 

UMD-Led Team Receives $7.7 Million NIH Grant for First-of-its-Kind Tick-Borne Disease Research

August 2, 2018
Contacts: 

Samantha Waters 301-405-2434, Lee Tune 301-405-4679

COLLEGE PARK, Md. -- University of Maryland Professor Utpal Pal leads a multi-institution team of researchers that will receive up to $7.7 million over five years from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases for an ongoing research program to understand how the immune responses of ticks contribute to the spread of Lyme disease and other tick-borne illnesses. 

Pal, a professor of veterinary medicine who is a recognized leader in this field of research, will collaborate with researchers from the University of Maryland School of Medicine, Yale University and the University of Minnesota on research across different aspects of tick immunobiology. 

“We are very excited and honored to have received this grant award, and on the first submission,” said Pal, who has been studying Borrelia burgdorferi, the bacteria that cause Lyme disease, for 12 years; is a member of the Vaccine and Therapeutics Subcommittee of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Tick-Borne Diseases Working Group; and a member of the scientific advisory board of the Global Lyme Alliance.

UMD Professor Utpal Pal with image of a deer tick.

“The multi-project grant program is designed to give program support and a strong base of funding to accelerate research in an important area, bringing together a group of investigators across institutions to do more together and speed up scientific advancement,” Pal said. “To be the lead investigator and institution on this is a testament to our leadership in the field. ”  

Directed by Pal, UMD will be handling core administrative duties for the program and helping advise and coordinate all projects. The new program has three major research components centered around different aspects of tick immune response. Pal and his UMD research team also will lead research in one of these areas, the indirect immune response that is found in ticks that carry pathogens that cause Lyme disease and other illnesses.  Pal is the discoverer of this phenomena, which is pivotal to role of ticks as carriers of these pathogens. 

When one of these  ticks feeds on a host animal, most commonly a mouse or deer, the tick’s immune system recognizes if a pathogen is present in the host’s blood as that blood is ingested. This triggers a non-specific, or indirect, line of immune system defense by the tick that is only partly successful in killing the pathogen. 

Pal explains: “Borrelia burgdorferi, the bacteria responsible for Lyme disease, and Anaplasma phagocytophilum, another intracellular bacterial pathogen we are studying with this grant, are both persistent,” says Pal. “The tick tries to kill the bacteria, but it doesn’t get everything, which makes [the tick] a vector that can now pass that bacteria on to you or anyone it might bite in the future. That is why studying these immune responses in ticks is so important.” 

The two other major research components supported by the program are centered around tick direct immune response, and on how gut bacteria in ticks interacts with the their immune response to pathogens. 

Joao Pedra, M.D., principal investigator from the University of Maryland School of Medicine, will be examining direct immune response mechanisms of the tick. These include how the tick identifies a specific pathogen and what pathogen-specific tactics it employs to try and kill each different pathogen that it ingests. 

Erol Fikrig, M.D., the research program’s principal investigator from Yale University, will be examining how microbiota (gut bacteria) in a tick interact with the different immune responses the tick uses to try and kill pathogens living in the blood that it ingests. 

Professor Ulrike Munderloh from University of Minnesota will serve as “Technical Core Lead” for the program, providing additional technical support including protocols and tools needed to facilitate this research. 

In addition to advancing research in tick-borne illnesses and working to solve the major public health issues associated with costly and chronic diseases like Lyme disease, the program supported by this multi-project grant has a goal of training future leaders in the field. 

“With this funding, UMD will be at the center of this work and [also] in charge of training the next generation of tick biologists,” says Pal. 

Pal has been with the Department of Veterinary Medicine in the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources at UMD for 12 years, and already is widely considered a leader in tick-borne illness research. Given the growing public health importance of tick-borne diseases, the 21st Century Cures Act, enacted by Congress in December 2016, mandated the formation of a Tick-Borne Diseases Working Group comprising federal and public members from diverse backgrounds. Pal served on a subcommittee of this Tick-Borne Diseases Working Group, focusing on vaccines and treatment strategies. Pal currently holds two concurrent multi-million dollar grants from the NIH for his work. With this new multi-project grant, he will be doing so on an even larger scale. 

Read here about recent research by Professor Pal that uncovered a Lyme disease protein used to outsmart the human immune system.

Image caption: Professor Pal with background image of a deer tick, or blacklegged tick, Ixodes scapularis. Credit UMD

 

University of Maryland Names Jeff Hollingsworth Vice President and Chief Information Officer

July 31, 2018
Contacts: 

Katie Lawson, 301-405-4622

COLLEGE PARK, Md. – The University of Maryland has named Jeff Hollingsworth as Vice President and Chief Information Officer, effective today. In this role, Hollingsworth will oversee the Division of Information Technology (DIT) and provide leadership for the university’s IT strategy, infrastructure and services. Hollingsworth has served as Interim CIO at UMD since June 2017. 

Photo of Jeff Hollingsworth“The VP-CIO is critical to our success—modernizing and securing the tools we use every day and expanding our capabilities for the future,” said University of Maryland President Wallace D. Loh.“Jeff has done an outstanding job as interim vice president in translating his academic expertise into sound policy. We are in good hands.” 

Hollingsworth will be responsible for the university’s overall technology environment, including critical IT services for research and teaching; administrative applications and infrastructure; information security and integrity; and broad technical support for faculty, staff and students. He will also oversee the Mid-Atlantic Crossroads – the MAX – the regional optical connection point that serves education and government agency needs for highly advanced network interconnections and services.

“By focusing on important issues like transparency, shared governance and investment in people, we've made great strides in our IT operations and infrastructure,” said Hollingsworth. “I’m excited to continue this important work alongside my talented colleagues in the Division of IT and across campus.” 

As interim CIO, Hollingsworth oversaw the implementation of a mandatory multi-factor authentication system for faculty, staff and graduate assistants; worked with campus stakeholders and the University Senate to adopt a web accessibility policy; drove the deployment of a new phone system across campus; and arranged a move to new office space in the university’s Discovery District to consolidate the division’s operations into one building. 

Since 1994, Hollingsworth has served as a professor in the university’s Department of Computer Science with joint appointments in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering and with the University of Maryland Institute for Advanced Computer Science. He also served as associate chair of the department from 2008-2012. 

While at UMD, he has published over 100 research papers and book chapters, served as a principal investigator on more than 30 grants totaling over $17 million and supervised Ph.D. dissertations of a dozen students. He taught undergraduate and graduate classes in computer architecture, networking, operating systems, and high performance computing. During that time, he has also served as adjunct research staff at the Institute for Defense Analysis Center for Computer Science and a visiting scientist for the IBM T. J. Watson Research Center. 

Hollingsworth received his B.S. in electrical engineering and computer science from the University of California; and his M.S. and Ph.D. in computer sciences from the University of Wisconsin. 


###

About the University of Maryland

The University of Maryland, College Park is the state's flagship university and one of the nation's preeminent public research universities. A global leader in research, entrepreneurship and innovation, the university is home to more than 40,000 students, 10,000 faculty and staff, and 280 academic programs. As one of the nation’s top producers of Fulbright scholars, its faculty includes two Nobel laureates, three Pulitzer Prize winners and 57 members of the national academies. The institution has a $1.9 billion operating budget and secures $514 million annually in external research funding. For more information about the University of Maryland, College Park, visit www.umd.edu.

 

University of Maryland, Governor Hogan, Announce New Center to Advance Workforce Readiness for Youth with Disabilities

July 30, 2018
Contacts: 

Audrey Hill301-405-3468

COLLEGE PARK, MD—The University of Maryland, together with Maryland Governor Larry Hogan, today announced a new center at UMD designed to improve college and career outcomes for students and youth with disabilities. 

Group photo of Hogan, Jennifer Rice, Carol Beatty, Ellen Fabian and RIchard LueckingThe Center for Transition and Career Innovation (CTCI), housed in the University of Maryland College of Education, will foster partnerships among university faculty and local, state and national agencies and organizations to promote research, improvements in practice, and supportive governmental policies that advance workforce readiness for youth with disabilities. 

Governor Larry Hogan made the announcement at an event in Annapolis today honoring the 28th anniversary of the American Disabilities Act, organized by the Maryland Department of Disabilities (MDOD). He was joined by MDOD Secretary Carol A. Beatty, representatives of Maryland state agencies, University of Maryland College of Education Dean Jennifer King Rice, disability advocates, local business owners, and members of the community.

“The signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act 28 years ago was a critical step forward to expanding opportunities and equal access to employment, communication, transportation, and quality of life for our citizens with disabilities,” said Governor Hogan. “Under our administration, Maryland is an ‘Employment First State,’ which means that everyone – including those with significant disabilities – can join our workforce. Maryland is committed to improving the lives of people with disabilities, and this new initiative at UMD will help increase employment and promote economic self-sufficiency for young people with disabilities.”

“The launch of the UMD Center for Transition and Career Innovation is an opportunity for the state and the University of Maryland to collaborate on identifying and implementing best practices in career and education to improve the lives of youth with disabilities,” said UMD College of Education Dean Rice. “Bringing this important work together under one center provides benefits to the state, the university, the field – and most importantly, promotes meaningful work and academic opportunities for youth with disabilities.”

The center, co-directed by University of Maryland College of Education researchers Ellen S. Fabian and Richard Luecking, will house existing programs that prepare youth with disabilities for college and careers that are funded by the state of Maryland, as well as by federal agencies, and develop new initiatives to improve outcomes for people with disabilities. The major goals of CTCI include:

  • Partner with Maryland government agencies to develop a comprehensive database on transition services for students with disabilities. The database will enable high-quality research on service patterns and student outcomes, which will spur recommendations to improve post-school outcomes for students with disabilities in Maryland schools.
  • Position UMD and the state of Maryland as leaders in transition practices and policy by conducting ongoing research and evaluation to determine how, when, and under what circumstances students and youth with disabilities achieve successful careers.  
  • Through strategic partnerships with Maryland government agencies, build an infrastructure within the UMD College of Education to identify and respond to state and national needs in developing and implementing evidence-based practices for students with disabilities. In collaboration with MDOD, the Maryland State Department of Education’s Division of Rehabilitation Services and Division of Special Education and Early Intervention Services, develop recommendations for policy and system reforms that improve outcomes. 

The ongoing collaboration between the University of Maryland and the state of Maryland on projects that help youth with disabilities access career or college opportunities reflect the importance of providing services during the transition into adulthood.

“The state of Maryland is poised to serve as a national leader in implementing solutions for youth with disabilities that help them achieve a better quality of life,” Secretary Beatty said. “For students with disabilities, the transition from school to employment and adult life is a critical time period, which is why career preparation and transition services are a priority for ensuring that youth with disabilities achieve successful employment.”

 


Photo (from l to r): UMD Center for Transition and Career Innovation Co-Director Richard Luecking, UMD College of Education Dean Jennifer King Rice, Maryland Governor Larry Hogan, Maryland Department of Disabilities Secretary Carol A. Beatty, Marcella E. Franczkowski, Assistant State Superintendent for the Maryland State Department of Education Division of Special Education/Early Intervention Services

 

Advance Could Yield Safer, Longer-Range Electric Car Batteries

July 26, 2018
Contacts: 

Martha J Heil, 626-354-5613
Leon Tune, 301-405-4679

COLLEGE PARK, Md. -- A team of researchers from the University of Maryland, the Army Research Laboratory and Argonne National Laboratory (U.S. Department of Energy) has published findings on a new advanced battery technology that among its many possible applications has the potential to improve electric vehicle batteries in two key areas: driving range and battery safety.

Battery

The UMD-led team has created a reliable battery with significantly higher energy storage capacity, more efficiency and greater safety than current batteries. Their peer-reviewed paper on the research was published July 16 in the journal Nature Nanotechnology.

The driving range of an electric vehicle is directly proportional to the capacity, or energy density, of its batteries. Energy density is a battery’s energy output by unit weight. A battery technology that can safely deliver high energy density is widely seen as the Holy Grail for electric vehicle batteries.

To create their new battery, the UMD-led team started with an electrode material, Li-metal, which in theory can deliver the highest possible energy density. However, Li metal is  extremely reactive. To stabilize this potent battery material, the team used a “secret” ingredient the element fluorine to create a safe electrolyte. The electrolyte is the solution in a battery that allows electricity in the form of electrons to flow between the two battery terminals (electrodes).  

Using this safe, stabilizing electrolyte, allowed the researchers to use Li metal, coupled with other highly-reactive electrodes, to generate energy densities that far exceed that of current state-of-the-art Li-ion batteries. The researchers say the use of fluorine in the electrolyte, prevents the formation of small defects in the battery that could cause it to break down or catch fire, also makes the electrolyte completely non-flammable as well.

“We have created a fluorine-based electrolyte to enable a lithium-metal anode, which is otherwise known to be notoriously unstable, and demonstrated a battery that lasts up to a thousand cycles with high capacity,” said co-first authors Xuilin Fan and Long Chen, post-doctoral researchers at the University of Maryland.

The new batteries can thus charge and discharge many times over without losing the ability to provide a reliable and high quality stream of energy. Even after a thousand charge cycles, the fluorine enhanced electrolytes ensured 93 percent of battery capacity. This unprecedented technology could reliably power electric vehicles or be used for many other applications such as smartphones, power tools or large format batteries for grid-storage, the researchers say.

“The cycle lives [recharging ability] they achieved with the given electrode materials and operation voltage windows sound ‘unprecedented’. This work is a [sic] great progress forward in the battery field in the direction of increasing the energy density, although further tuning might be needed to meet various standards for commercialization,” said Jang Wook Choi, an independent battery expert who is an associate professor in chemical and biological engineering at Seoul National University in South Korea. Choi was not involved with this research.

UMD researchers Long Chen and Xiulin Fan

The team demonstrated the new batteries in coin-cell shape like a watch battery for testing, and is working with industry partners to use their approach for a high voltage battery.

Materials, such as Li-metal anode and high nickel and high-voltage cathode materials, used in this new battery are called “aggressive” materials because they react strongly with other material, meaning that they can hold a lot of energy but also tend to “eat up” any other elements they’re partnered with, eventually rendering them unusable.

 

Chunsheng Wang, a professor in the Chemical and Biochemical Engineering Department of the University of Maryland in College Park, has collaborated with Kang Xu at ARL and Khalil Amine at ANL on these new electrolyte materials for batteries. Since each element on the periodic table has a different arrangement of electrons, Wang studies how each permutation of chemical structure can be an advantage or disadvantage in a battery. He and Xu also head up an industry-university- government collaborative effort called the Center for Research in Extreme Batteries, which aims to unite companies that need batteries for unusual uses with the researchers who can invent them.

 

“The aim of the research was to overcome the capacity limitation that lithium-ion batteries experience. We identified that fluorine is the key ingredient that ensures these aggressive chemistries behave reversibly to yield long battery life. An additional merit of fluorine is that it makes the usually combustible electrolytes completely unable to catch on fire,” said Wang.

 

The team captured video of other battery cells catching on fire instantly, but their fluorine battery was impervious to this problem.

 

“You can find evidences from literature that either support or disapprove fluorine as good ingredient in interphases,” said Kang Xu, a laboratory fellow and team leader of the research at the Army Research Laboratory.

 

“What we learned in this work is that, in most cases it is not just what chemical ingredients you have in the interphase, but how they are arranged and distributed.” “We believe these fluorinated interphases serve as the key stabilization barriers to enable these aggressive electrode materials,” Xu said in an email.

 

This work was supported by the US Department of Energy (DOE) under award no. DEEE0008202 and DEEE0008200, and by UMD’s Maryland NanoCenter and its Advanced Imaging and Microscopy (AIM) Lab. 

 

Photo: Co-first-authors Long Chen (L) and Xiulin Fan (R) hold their newly-created rechargeable battery made with fluorine, a long-lasting and safe combination. Photo credit: University of Maryland       

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               

 

 

 

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