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Pessoa Named First Director of UMD's Maryland Neuroimaging Center

December 5, 2012

Jody Williams 301-405-2648

Prof. Luiz PessoaCOLLEGE PARK, Md - The University of Maryland has named Luiz Pessoa, Ph.D., a professor of Psychology in the College of Behavioral and Social Sciences, as the first Director for the new Maryland Neuroimaging Center (MNC).  Dr. Pessoa will provide scientific leadership and vision for brain imaging research, collaboration, and cutting-edge methodology at the MNC.  

“We are incredibly fortunate to have someone of such wide-ranging vision to lead the Center”, says John Townshend, dean of the College of Behavioral and Social Sciences.

Prior to coming to the University of Maryland, Dr. Pessoa was an Associate Professor in the Department of Psychology at Indiana University, where he also served as the Interim Director of the Imaging Research Facility.  His research focuses on cognitive-emotional/motivational interactions in the human brain as well as developing new quantitative methods of fMRI signal analysis.

Robert Dooling, the Director of the Neuroscience and Cognitive Science (NACS) Program at the University of Maryland says, “Luiz has been a great asset in bringing the MNC to fruition and in building research connections and opportunities across the Campus and beyond.”

Dr. Pessoa’s extensive imaging expertise and collaborative efforts in the field of neuroscience will lead the Center’s contributions in brain research, advancing our understanding of neurological functions and disorders.


The Maryland Neuroimaging Center is the home for neuroimaging research at the University of Maryland. The center brings together an array of state-of-the-art tools for observing the human brain in action.  The center has been designed to foster collaboration among neuroscientists, psychologists, cognitive scientists, engineers, and physicists. A special focus of the center is on understanding mechanisms of brain development and neural plasticity in typical and atypical populations, and in understanding the neural mechanisms underlying expert abilities that serve critical national priorities. The MNC is an initiative of the university's interdepartmental NACS Program, and is available to researchers from the University of Maryland and other regional centers.

UMD Future of Education Forum December 10 Looks at "Who Needs College?"

December 5, 2012

Jennifer Lynn Talhelm 301-405-4390

Who Needs College? Banner

The Maryland School of Public Policy Presents "Who Needs College?" - a discussion about the benefits - and challenges - of encouraging more students to attend college.

Monday, December 10, 2012 starting at 12:15 p.m.

School of Public Policy Atrium - Van Munching Hall, University of Maryland

What are the benefits - and challenges of college? Who should - and should not go to college? Robert J. Samuelson is a columnist for the Washington Post. In a column last May 28, he argued that "It's time to drop the college-for-all crusade." University System of Maryland Chancellor - and former University of Maryland President - William "Brit" Kirwan answered back June 7, arguing that it's "Not college for all, but college for more." The School of Public Policy at the University of Maryland have brought the two men together to talk about this increasingly important issue looking at the future of education.

Media coverage is welcome. A mult box will be provided.

Can't attend? Watch the live stream.

For more information, contact:
Jennifer Talhelm, Director of Strategic Communications
University of Maryland
School of Public Policy
2101 Van Munching Hall
College Park, MD 20742

New UMD Poll Shows Israelis Doubt Benefit from Gaza Conflict

November 30, 2012

David Ottalini - 301-405-4076

Three in Five Israelis Now View Obama Favorably

Read the Complete Report (PDF)

Sadat Chair Shibley Telhami

PIPA Director Steven Kull

COLLEGE PARK, Md. - A new University of Maryland poll shows that in the aftermath of November's round of fighting with Hamas and other groups in the Gaza Strip, only 36% of Israelis think that Israel is better off than it was before the escalation, while a majority feel Israel is either about the same (38%) or worse off (21%).

40% said Israel won the combat in the Gaza Strip. A majority said either that no side won (45%) or that Hamas won (11%).

These are some of the findings of a new poll conducted by the Anwar Sadat Chair for Peace and Development at the University of Maryland and the Program on International Policy Attitudes (PIPA). The polling project was directed by Shibley Telhami, Anwar Sadat Professor at the University of Maryland and Nonresident Senior Fellow at the Saban Center for Middle East Policy at the Brookings Institution and Steven Kull, director of PIPA.

The poll of 600 Israelis has a margin of error of +/-4.0% and was fielded on November 21 and November 24-25 by the Dahaf Institute in Israel.


There are distinct warming trends toward the United States in Israeli opinion. Sixty percent of Israelis now have a positive view of President Obama. Among Israeli Jews, positive views have risen over the past year from 54% to 62%. President Obama is identified as the most admired leader by more Israeli Jews than any other leader (15%).

More Israelis think that American public support for Israel's security needs is growing than think it is receding. Forty percent say such support has increased over the last few years, while only 21% say it has decreased (about the same: 36%).

On Iran, Israeli views that Iran will develop a nuclear weapon continue, but support for an Israeli attack on Iranian nuclear facilities is only at 38%, with 50% opposed. When asked explicitly about the factor of US support for military strikes, only one in five are willing to proceed without it. Among Israeli Jews, those ready to go ahead without US support has dropped from 22% a year ago to 18% now.

Of the 510 interviews with Israeli Jews, 156 were obtained on November 21 in the hours before the ceasefire took effect at 9 pm that evening, making possible a check for any effects from the ceasefire. While there were slight changes, with Israeli Jews becoming less positive about the escalation's outcome, these changes were not statistically significant.


Further on the subject of Iran, only a quarter of Israelis believe that an attack on Iran's nuclear facilities would delay Iran's nuclear capabilities by more than five years. However, there has been a drop over the last twelve months in the number who think Iran's capabilities would simply not be affected (from 19% down to 8%), and a rise in those who think Iran would be set back by one or two years (from 9% to 19%).

Israelis are divided on a possible UN deal whereby Iran would be allowed to enrich uranium at low levels, provided that it allows intrusive inspections to ensure that it is not developing nuclear weapons. Forty-six percent say they would approve such a deal, while 47% say they would not.

A substantial majority favors a Middle East Nuclear-Free Zone that would include Israel. Support for this plan, which was described in detail, is at 58%--both among Israelis overall and Israeli Jews, though in the latter group support is down slightly from 64% in 2011.


Regarding Syria, Israelis have mixed views about the possibility of the opposition taking power. Forty-two percent say this would be worse for Israel, while 30% say it would be better. Israelis do not see the Syrian situation as primarily a political Islamist struggle. Only 27% thought this, while 37% thought it was about ordinary Syrians seeking freedom from the regime, and another 28% saw it as primarily an ethnic conflict.

A majority of Israelis say the government should at least accept the Arab Peace Initiative as the basis for negotiations if it is offered again. Fifty-two percent either take this view (39%) or go farther and say the offer should be accepted outright (13%).

At the same time, Israeli Jews' readiness to accept the basic conditions of such a deal has declined since last year. In another question, just 33% of Israeli Jews say they are prepared for&peace with the Arabs based on the 1967 borders with agreed modifications and the establishment of a peaceful Palestinian state-down 10 points from November 2011. Thirty percent chose a statement opposing this, while another 33% chose neither statement (up 9 points from last year).

In the Israeli debate about whether Jewish identity or democracy is more important to the country's identity, Israeli Jews are closely divided, with 33% saying democracy is more important, 31% saying Jewish identity is more important, and 35% saying both are equally important.


Shibley Telhami

Steven Kull

Terps TE Furstenburg wins entrepreneurship competition (Washington Post)

Matt Furstenburg towered over his audience atop a stage at the University of Maryland business school Friday afternoon, gripping two pairs of red receiver's gloves. He placed one pair between his khaki pants and smacked the other gloves together. They stuck. The senior tight end then grabbed the other pair, waving the gloves wide then whipping the palms at each other in front of his chest. No such stick. The gloves fluttered to the ground.

Move to Big Ten a defining one for University of Maryland president Wallace Loh (Baltimore Sun)

 In his first 2 1/2 years as president at the University of Maryland, Wallace Loh oversaw sweeping changes to the leadership of his athletic department and confronted the pain of cutting teams to patch gaping budget holes. But he had never steered headlong into the kind of controversy that erupted Monday when the university broke a near-60-year relationship with the Atlantic Coast Conference in favor of the long-term television riches offered by the Big Ten.

Maryland Moving to Big Ten (Washington Post)

The University of Maryland will move to the Big Ten Conference, effectively ending 59 years within the Atlantic Coast Conference. The school's Board of Regents approved a bid to join the Big Ten this morning, and the conference has formally and unanimously accepted. Marylands move to the Big Ten will begin in the 2014-15 school year. "We just got the faxed approval letter," a Maryland official said, speaking on condition of anonymity. The school will announce the move in a 3 p.m. press conference in the Stamp Student Union, followed by a national teleconference at 4 p.m.

New Informatics and Bioimaging Center Combines Resources, Expertise from UMD, UMB

November 20, 2012

Ellen Ternes, 301-405-4621 or

Cross-disciplinary center is latest element of MPowering the State initiative between the two campuses


ADELPHI, Md. - A new center that combines advanced computing resources at the University of Maryland, College Park (UMD) with clinical data and biomedical expertise at the University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB) could soon revolutionize the efficiency and effectiveness of health care in the state of Maryland and beyond.
The Center for Health-related Informatics and Bioimaging (CHIB) announced today joins computer scientists, life scientists, engineers, physicists, biostatisticians and others at the College Park campus with imaging specialists, physicians, clinicians and additional health experts in Baltimore.
These cross-institutional teams will work on projects that apply major advances in computing power to grand challenges in genomics, health records management and in analyzing massive amounts of data available from new imaging technologies.
Ultimately, officials say, the research at CHIB will advance the concept of personalized medicine, where decisions and practices are tailored to individual patients through the use of genetic sequencing and other biomedical information.
"This is exactly the type of collaborative science, leveraging the strengths of each institution, we anticipated when launching MPowering the State last spring," says UMD President Wallace Loh.
MPowering the State is the strategic partnership between UMD and UMB intended to significantly expand research collaborations, business development and student opportunities at both institutions.
"Our cross-institutional researchers, together with our clinicians, are helping open the doors to personalized medicine," says UMB President Jay A. Perman. "CHIB is going to help us move more quickly from basic research to therapeutics to patient care. As a physician, I'm excited about what this will mean for health care in Maryland and the region."
Leadership of the joint center will be split between the two campuses: Amitabh Varshney, professor of computer science and director of the university's Institute for Advanced Computer Studies (UMIACS), will lead efforts in College Park; Owen White, associate director for bioinformatics at the Institute of Genome Sciences and professor in the School of Medicine, will direct CHIB activities in Baltimore.
"There's been a surge of new data related to genomics and proteins," says Varshney. "We believe our computing resources at UMIACS can help our colleagues in Baltimore identify specific disease markers to address serious health concerns like cancer, diabetes or autism."

The new center will take full advantage of recent discoveries in science and technology. CHIB will benefit from significant advances in computing power over the past decade, including the development of multicore systems and cloud computing, as well as new methods of organizing, visualizing and analyzing massive amounts of data derived from high-throughput laboratory systems.

Using these approaches, CHIB will play a central role in facilitating genomic research, medical information management and translational science development.

"The School of Medicine and Institute of Genome Sciences bring together multidisciplinary teams of researchers who are taking cutting-edge research and translating this knowledge into diagnostics, vaccines and therapeutics," says UMB's White

Researchers say the wealth of patient data available at Baltimore's medical school allows an unprecedented opportunity to link basic biological data and clinical concepts that can be used to improve diagnostic efforts and patient care.

The CHIB branch at College Park, housed within UMIACS, is supported by almost $1 million in seed funding from the provost's office, the Division of Research and colleges and schools whose research faculty are involved. A similar funding mechanism at UMB will support efforts in Baltimore.

"The new center strengthens our mission of using a truly multidisciplinary approach in addressing grand challenges in medicine and health care," says Jayanth Banavar, dean of UMD's College of Computer, Mathematical, and Natural Sciences, which provided part of the startup funding for the CHIB in College Park.

"It is expected that the cross-institutional CHIB teams will secure additional federal funding from the National Institutes of Health or the National Science Foundation as research efforts move forward," says Patrick O'Shea, UMD's vice president for research and chief research officer. "The federal agencies recognize, just as we do, that transformational discoveries demand a dedicated, multifaceted approach," he says.

There are also plans for researchers at CHIB to leverage the region's bioscience/biotech strengths to commercialize any new technologies they discover.

"The state of Maryland is already home to one of the largest bioscience clusters in the country, and a significant portion of the U.S. pharmaceutical industry is within a few hours of these universities," says Bruce Jarrell, senior vice president and chief academic and research officer at UMB. "By continuing to intertwine the research and clinical resources of our universities, we can provide fuel for the growth of the commercial health-care sector."

About MPowering the State
MPowering the State brings together two universities of distinction to form a new collaborative partnership. Harnessing the resources of each, the University of Maryland and the University of Maryland, Baltimore focuses the collective expertise on critical statewide issues of public health, biomedical informatics and bioengineering. This collaboration will drive an even greater impact on the state, its economy, the job market and the next generation of innovators. The joint initiatives will have a profound effect on productivity, the economy and the very fabric of higher education.
The University of Maryland Institute for Advanced Computing Studies (UMIACS) has built bridges across traditional scientific boundaries, identifying major interdisciplinary applications of computing and deploying talented research faculty and outstanding resources to provide solutions. UMIACS has a track record of fostering advances in computational linguistics, computational biology, computational sensing, computational cultural dynamics and cybersecurity.

MPower Collaborative Announces New Director of UM Ventures

November 17, 2012

Crystal Brown, 301-405-4618 or


James HughesWe are writing to inform you of the latest positive development in the University of Maryland: MPowering the State initiative between the University of Maryland, College Park (UMCP) and the University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB). Today we are pleased to announce that James L. Hughes, MBA, chief enterprise and economic development officer and vice president at UMB, has been named director of UM Ventures, the ambitious joint research commercialization effort of the two universities and a central part of MPowering the State.

In his role as director, Hughes will help combine the commercialization and entrepreneurial efforts of these two powerhouse universities that together do more than one billion dollars a year in externally sponsored research.

UM Ventures will benefit both institutions and the state as a whole by bringing innovative products to market, expanding collaborations with industry, and creating new jobs in Maryland. Under Hughes' direction, UM Ventures will create a fully coordinated innovation ecosystem across both institutions.

Technology transfer policies and procedures will be unified and streamlined. Collaboration among faculty will be enhanced and technologies will be jointly marketed to industry. As a result, we expect that licensing agreements, start-up companies, and industry-sponsored research will increase. UM Ventures is a critical element of our strategy to recruit entrepreneurial, highly collaborative faculty and students to both of our institutions.

Hughes brings many years of experience in technology commercialization to UM Ventures. He was named UMB's first chief enterprise and economic development officer in July 2011, and he will continue in this role. Hughes previously served 10 years as UMB's vice president for research and development, and he manages UMB's Office of Research and Development and the University of Maryland BioPark.

Before joining UMB, Hughes worked for the Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development as director of technology and international business, and as executive director of the World Trade Center Institute, a public-private partnership dedicated to expanding international trade and investment. He has an MBA from the Columbia Business School and a BA from Davidson College.

Please join us in congratulating Mr. Hughes on this new leadership role.


Wallace D. Loh
President, University of Maryland,
College Park

Jay A. Perman, MD
President, University of Maryland,

New UMD Report: The Cost of Government Dysfunction Could Increase Costs, Reduce Efficiency

November 16, 2012

Jennifer Lynn Talhelm -  - 301-405-4390

Analysis: Late or Failed Appropriations Increase Costs, Reduce Efficiency

COLLEGE PARK, Md. - When it comes to the federal budget process, dysfunction has become the norm. Congress has managed to pass all of its appropriations bills into law before the end of the federal government's fiscal year in just four of the last 37 years. A new report by University of Maryland School of Public Policy Professor Philip Joyce details the many challenges this dysfunction creates - from increased costs to reduced effectiveness and efficiency.

Professor Philip JoyceJoyce, a government management and finance expert who has worked at the Congressional Budget Office, says that late or failed appropriations bills cause problems ranging from delayed hiring and poor morale, to higher costs for services, continuation of ineffective programs, and expensive deferred maintenance. Delays can also do harm to the private sector and the economy as a whole.

"Contractors may face uncertainty about whether their operations in support of a given agency will be interrupted or halted altogether, Joyce writes. "Budget planning at the state and local government level is affected by the uncertainty surrounding the timing and continued receipt of federal funds. The delays can even be felt in the broader economy, not only as the budget affects contractors, but also as it affects funds flowing to individual recipients."

The report is particularly timely as Congress is deciding how to address the "fiscal cliff," the package of spending cuts and tax increases set to go into effect at the end of the year because of Congress's inability to agree on a deal to reduce the debt. Joyce's report calls attention to the increasingly unpredictable federal budget pro­cess and the many challenges it creates for efficient and effec­tive management of federal operations. It also offers several recommendations to Congress, the president and agencies on ways to ameliorate the adverse effects of continuing resolutions on agency operations.

"The Costs of Budget Uncertainty: Analyzing the Impact of Late Appropriations" was published as part of the IBM Center for the Business of Government's Improving Performance Series.

"Dr Joyce looks at the ongoing condition of continuing resolutions, and applies empirical research to develop clear-eye analysis and recommendations for government leaders," said Dan Chenok, Executive Director of the IBM Center for the Business of Government. "This report will help the government address improvements in this key part of the budget process for the future."

Philip Joyce

START Center at Maryland will Provide Terrorism Data for 2012 State Department Report

November 16, 2012

Media Contact: Jessica Rivinius, 301-405-6632 or

START to produce statistical annex for Country Reports on Terrorism
START Logo - University of MarylandCOLLEGE PARK, Md. –  The U.S. Department of State has signed a contract with the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism (START) at the University of Maryland to produce the statistical annex for the congressionally mandated report, “Country Reports on Terrorism 2012.”
Headquartered at the University of Maryland, START will systematically collect, catalogue and report statistical information on terrorist incidents occurring in 2012, including the number of terrorist attacks worldwide and the number of individuals killed, injured and/or kidnapped in terrorist attacks. START will also provide an analysis of overarching trends in international and domestic terrorism data, which could include incident location, weapon utilization, tactic and target choice, perpetrators, casualties and consequences.
START’s compilation of the statistical annex complements the existing data collection efforts undertaken for its Global Terrorism Database (GTD), the world’s largest, most comprehensive unclassified database of terrorist incidents. Currently sponsored by the Science and Technology Directorate of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the GTD contains information on more than 104,000 domestic and international terrorist attacks between 1970 and 2011 that resulted in more than 225,000 deaths and more than 299,000 injuries. These attacks are defined as the threatened or actual use of illegal force and violence by a non-state actor to attain a political, economic, religious or social goal through fear, coercion or intimidation.
“Collecting accurate, objective baseline data is absolutely essential to understanding terrorism and developing effective methods for countering terrorism,” said Gary LaFree, director of START and professor of criminology and criminal justice at the University of Maryland. “Over the past several years, START’s GTD team has developed an increasingly sophisticated system for collecting terrorism data. This contract with the State Department allows us to put this system to good use and is a great example of how the GTD can help fill a fundamental role in providing data for the government.”
Since 2005, the statistical annexes to the report had been provided by the National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC) using its Worldwide Incidents Tracking System (WITS). NCTC discontinued WITS in April 2012.
The National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism (START) is supported in part by the Science and Technology Directorate of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security through a Center of Excellence program based at the University of Maryland. START uses state‐of‐the‐art theories, methods and data from the social and behavioral sciences to improve understanding of the origins, dynamics and social and psychological impacts of terrorism. For more information, contact START at or visit


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