COLLEGE PARK, Md. – Researchers from the University of Maryland have made a new advance in developing an electrogenetic device to direct gene expression via electrodes, a step that could help shape the future of biosensors, as well as wearable – and possibly implantable – bio-hybrid devices.
Expanding on previous applications of microelectronic devices to in synthetic biology, the UMD team, led by William Bentley, UMD Distinguished University Professor and director of the university’s Robert E. Fischell Institute for Biomedical Devices, demonstrated in a recently published Nature Communications paper that small molecules offer a wide repertoire for molecular communication. The team is using redox biomolecules – tiny cellular messengers that are vital to the health of all body cells – to carry electronic information to engineered bacterial cells.
To do this, the group has developed a patent-pending electrogenetic device that uses an electrode and engineered cells to control how and when genes are expressed from a synthetic gene circuit.
“Researchers have long used microelectronic devices embedded with biological components, such as high throughput DNA sequencing technologies, to interrogate biology, but such devices have the potential to do much more – perhaps even allow scientists to control biology,” Bentley said.
Previously, Bentley’s team took a first step by developing a methodology to load and control enzymes onto microelectronic chips by modulating natural redox molecules located between the enzymes and the electrode. Building on this, the team is now modulating redox molecules in order to link electrode-actuated signals to cells specifically engineered to respond by activating gene expression. This methodology could open doors for scientists looking to drive intricate biological behaviors – such as by controlling biofilms or even producing therapeutics in microdevices.
Bentley, along with fellow Fischell Department of Bioengineering (BIOE) and UMD Institute for Bioscience and Biotechnology Research (IBBR) professor Gregory Payne and the rest of the research team, note that once scientists gain the ability to measure, disrupt, or enhance these biomolecular signals, they will be well-positioned to develop advanced technologies to study and manipulate the biological environment.
“Electronics have transformed the way we live our lives, and there have been increasing efforts to ‘connect’ devices to biology, such as with glucometers or fitness trackers that access biological information,” Payne said. “But, there are far fewer examples of electronics communicating in the other direction to provide the cues that guide biological responses. Such capabilities could offer the potential to apply devices to better fight diseases such as cancer or to guide inflammatory responses to promote wound healing.”
Applying their methodology, the team demonstrated the ability to control gene expression to induce the movement of bacteria – known as “bacterial swimming” – and to build a cellular information relay in which one group of bacteria interprets the electronic signal and passes the information to another group to change its gene expression.
The team’s circuit relies on redox signaling processes prevalent in most biological systems, including the human body. Redox processes are involved in protecting the body from oxidative damage, such as when a person is exposed to bright sunlight.
“Like our bodies, bacteria have adapted ways to escape oxidative damage,” Bentley said. “Our team has engineered bacterial cells to instead interpret the oxygen signaling processes, and we have developed a genetic circuit that relies on the associated molecular cues for actuating a programmed response.”
To guide the production of proteins that direct cell function, Bentley and his team – which includes the paper’s first author, IBBR researcher and BIOE alumna Tanya Tschirhart (Ph.D. ’15) – tap into this process by using pyocyanin (Pyo), a metabolite and molecular signal with the ability to oxidize and reduce other molecules for gene induction. To utilize Pyo in this way, Bentley’s team is working with a redox-responsive regulon in E.coli to sense and respond to oxidative stress. This enables the team to turn “on” or “off” the gene expression or, specifically, protein production of the expressed gene.
Even more, by electronically controlling the oxidation state of another redox molecule, ferricyanide, Bentley’s team has been able to amplify the specific increases or decreases in protein levels in E. coli. Their efforts have demonstrated for the first time the utility of using biologically relevant redox molecules in translating electronic signals to changes in engineered bacterial gene expression. Further, they have showed that electronically activated cells could be made to send natural, biological signal molecules to neighboring cells, to ultimately control their behavior. In this way, the group’s electrogenetic device can be “programmed” to control “remote” biological behavior.
Unlike previous synthetic biology efforts, Bentley’s group carried out minimal “rewiring” of cells to take advantage of native redox interactions and provide insights into their developing role as mediators for bioelectronic communication.
The group believes their system can be tailored to produce a variety of responses, guide various cell behaviors, and further the use of other electronic and redox-based systems to access and affect biomolecular information transfer, such as in microbial fuel cells or bioelectrosynthesis systems. Additionally, the team’s electrogenetic device could serve as a powerful addition to the “biofabrication” toolbox, furthering the utilization of biologically-inspired nanoscale processes by bridging the fabrication and communication gaps between microelectronics and biological systems.
In addition to Bentley, Payne, and Tschirhart, research team members and co-authors include: Eunkyoung Kim (IBBR), Ryan McKay (IBBR, BIOE), Hana Ueda (IBBR, UMD Department of Mathematics), Hsuan-Chen Wu (IBBR), Alex (Eli) Pottash (IBBR, BIOE), and Amin Zargar (BIOE), as well as Alejandro Negrete and Joseph Shiloach of the National Institutes of Health’s National Institutes of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases Biotechnology Core Laboratory.
This research is supported by the Defense Threat Reduction Agency and the National Science Foundation.
Full text of the Nature Communications paper, “Electronic control of gene expression and cell behavior in Escherichia coli through redox signaling,” is available online: http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/NCOMMS14030.
COLLEGE PARK, Md. – Researchers from the University of Maryland have made a new advance in developing an electrogenetic device to direct gene expression via electrodes, a step that could help shape the future of biosensors, as well as wearable – and possibly implantable – bio-hybrid devices.
COLLEGE PARK, Md. – In December 2015, the world’s nations negotiated the Paris Climate Agreement, which seeks to limit global warming to a maximum of 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial temperatures. Using a University of Maryland developed climate model, UMD scientists have conducted a new, empirical analysis that indicates there is a good chance that the world will be able to limit climate warming to 2 degrees Celsius, or less, if countries achieve the greenhouse gas reductions pledged during the Paris meeting.
The authors describe their new findings and previously published model in a just published book: Paris Climate Agreement: Beacon of Hope.
“We’ve developed an empirical model of global climate that we use to forecast future temperature out to the year 2100,” said Timothy Canty, a research professor in atmospheric and oceanic science at UMD and a co-author of the book. “This is a model that ingests massive amounts of observational data.”
Climate models that forecast global warming use of one of four numbered scenarios to describe greenhouse gases in the future atmosphere. Researchers refer to these projections as representative concentration pathway (RCP) scenarios, each of which accounts for the influence of greenhouse gases and other pollutants on climate out to year 2100. RCP 4.5, one of the more optimistic pathways, assumes that human emissions of greenhouse gases will level off soon and then decline after a few decades.
“The most important result from our modeling efforts is that the RCP 4.5 scenario is the two degree global warming pathway,” said Austin Hope, a graduate student in atmospheric and oceanic science at UMD and a co-author of the book. “If the world keeps emissions to RCP 4.5, then we will likely stay beneath 1.5 degrees of global warming and almost certainly beneath two degrees of global warming,”
To achieve emissions reductions, the Paris Agreement requires each participating country to commit to a pledge, called an intended nationally determined contribution (INDC). Most INDCs only extend to the year 2030, however.
“Our research shows that if the Paris Climate Agreement is met, it will put us on the RCP 4.5 pathway, but this can only happen if two important things occur,” said Walter Tribett, a research scientist in atmospheric and oceanic science at UMD and a co-author of the book. “One, all conditional and unconditional INDCs must be met. Two, the mitigation of greenhouse gases needed to meet the Paris goal must be propagated out to 2060.”
Each INDC is different, based on the status and needs of each country. But most recognize the importance of non-emitting, renewable sources of energy.
“To achieve RCP 4.5, half of the world’s global energy must come from renewable sources by year 2060,” said Brian Bennett, a research scientist in atmospheric and oceanic science at UMD and a co-author of the book.
This is an ambitious goal that requires a large-scale global transition to renewable energy. Researchers can track access to electricity, most of which still comes from the burning of fossil fuels, using satellite imagery of night light across the globe. Noticeable differences exist between the developed and developing world.
“Europe is lit up at night where its large population centers exist. The United States is equally lit up at night and we are seeing China emerge in the night light data,” said Ross Salawitch, a professor of chemistry as well as atmospheric and oceanic science at UMD and a co-author of the book. “But largely absent in the night light data is India, and totally absent is Africa.”
The book’s authors suggest that the developing world will have a great need for renewable energy solutions. But the developed world has a large role to play as well.
“This will require large-scale transfer of technology and capital from the developed to the developing world,” noted Salawitch, who also has an appointment with UMD’s Earth System Science Interdisciplinary Center (ESSIC). “And at the same time this is happening, the developed world must reduce its own dependence on dependence on fossil fuels—not a little bit, but massively—by 2060.”
The book, Paris Climate Agreement: Beacon of Hope, Ross Salawitch, Timothy Canty, Austin Hope, Walter Tribett and Brian Bennett, was published by Springer Climate.
This work was supported by NASA (Award No. NNX16AG34G). The content of this article does not necessarily reflect the views of that organization.
COLLEGE PARK, Md. – Rita Colwell, a Distinguished University Professor in the University of Maryland Institute for Advanced Computer Studies (UMIACS), has been named a Fellow in the National Academy of Inventors (NAI).
This is the latest of Professor Colwell’s many recognitions and awards, which also include the 2006 U.S. National Medal of Science; the 2010 Stockholm Water Prize; “The Order of the Rising Sun, Gold and Silver Star,” awarded by the Emperor of Japan; and membership in the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, Royal Society of Canada, Swedish Royal Academy of Science, Irish Royal Academy of Science, and the Bangladesh and Indian academies of Science.
The National Academy of Inventors recognizes “academic inventors who have demonstrated a prolific spirit of innovation in creating or facilitating outstanding inventions that have made a tangible impact on quality of life, economic development, and the welfare of society.” This is a well suited recognition, colleagues say, for a scientist who has uncovered new insights, bucked prevailing wisdom, applied existing technologies in innovative ways and created new technologies and initiatives to advance human knowledge and human health.
Colwell’s many achievements and firsts include:
- a dozen U.S. patents, most involving computational biology;
- founding the company CosmosID, which uses next-generation DNA sequencing to advance new discoveries in microbiome research; and
- leading numerous science organizations, including the National Science Foundation (NSF) from 1998-2004 as NSF’s first woman director.
However, Colwell, a microbiologist, is world renowned in large part for her fundamental and highly innovative work to understand the Vibrio bacteria that cause cholera and reduce the incidence and impact of this disease around the world. Cholera, an acute diarrheal infection caused by ingestion of food or water contaminated by Vibrio cholerae, is responsible for an estimated 3–5 million illnesses and more than 100,000 deaths every year, according to the World Health Organization.
As part of her cholera work, she was the first to:
- use DNA sequencing to finally prove to a doubting healthcare establishment that the Vibrio bacterium that causes cholera was, in fact, the same water-borne Vibrio bacterium found naturally in the environment;
- write a computer program that could identify this bacterium;
- show that this bacterium can lie dormant awaiting favorable conditions, and that its natural habitat, or host, is one of the tiny organisms that constitute marine plankton;
- track and predict cholera outbreaks with satellite data;
- demonstrate that warmer surface ocean temperatures stimulate the growth of cholera bacteria, and directly lead to an increase in the number of cholera cases;
- create filters made of old sari cloth that can strain plankton and its hitchhiking bacteria out of drinking water.
“Rita Colwell’s tireless dedication toward improving human health by using computational resources is an inspiration to the entire UMIACS research community. We are very proud to call her a colleague,” said Mihai Pop, professor of computer science and interim director of UMIACS.
Colwell’s discoveries led her to conclude that climate (on a macroscale) has significant impacts on certain human diseases, notably those transmitted by vectors like mosquitoes or zooplankton. In 2016 Colwell led an international study showing that over the past half century there has been a clear correlation between warming of North Atlantic waters, increasing numbers of Vibrio bacteria in those waters, and rising numbers of people along U.S. and European North Atlantic coasts who have become infected by pathogenic Vibrio bacteria.
Read a Big Ten Network Q&A with Professor Colwell about her selection to the NAI here.
Professor Colwell is the fourth University of Maryland faculty member to earn recognition from the National Academy of Inventors. Distinguished University Professor Ben Shneiderman, in the department of computer science, John S. Baras, professor and Lockheed Martin Chair in Systems Engineering, and Robert E. Fischell, a UMD alum and a professor of practice in the Fischell Department of Bioengineering, were all named NAI fellows in 2015.
Colwell will be officially honored at a ceremony and banquet on April 6, 2017 in Boston, Massachusetts. With the election of the 2016 class, there are now 757 NAI Fellows, representing 229 research universities and governmental and nonprofit research institutes.
COLLEGE PARK, Md. — Researchers from the University of Maryland utilize satellite imagery to demonstrate that forest wildlands—forests least affected by human activity—are steadily shrinking and pinpoint ways to help preserve these landscapes that are critically important to the health of the planet.
Led by Associate Professor Peter Potapov from the UMD Department of Geographical Sciences, the research team used Landsat satellite images from 2000 and 2013 to map intact forest landscapes (IFL) around the globe. Researchers defined IFLs as areas of forest and associated naturally treeless ecosystems spanning a minimum of 200 square miles with no remotely detected signs of human activity. They found that these forest wildlands decreased globally by 7.2 percent during this time period—amounting to nearly 355,000 square miles lost—primarily due to industrial logging, agricultural expansion, fire and mining/resource extraction. Their work is featured in a January 13th publication of Science Advances.
“Forest wildlands have an extremely high conservation value and are irreplaceable due to the range of ecosystem services they provide such as harboring biological diversity, stabilizing carbon storage and regulating water flow,” Potapov said. “Furthermore, the size of the wildland matters: the larger the size, the higher the conservation value. That’s why we need to be concerned about losing any portion of these precious forest landscapes.”
Not only did researchers discover an overall reduction in IFLs worldwide, they found that the rate of reduction is increasing: The loss of tropical forest wildland tripled between 2011 and 2013 when compared to the period between 2001 and 2003.
During their analysis, researchers discovered that areas of forest wildland designated as legally protected areas were less likely to suffer a reduction in size and advocate for the adoption of more national and international policies to preserve IFLs and their abundant contributions to the environment.
Co-author Matt Hansen, professor of geographical sciences at UMD, emphasized the importance of intact forests, stating “The high carbon stocks found within forest wildlands alone illustrate their potential benefit to climate change mitigation strategies. However, their stability can be compromised very rapidly. For example, increased human access through road building reduces forest intactness even without the loss of many trees. Importantly, IFLs only shrink in extent as they are defined as landscapes absent of observable human impacts.”
Along with Potapov and Hansen, the research team included Research Associate Svetlana Turubanova from the UMD Department of Geographical Sciences and partners from organizations around the world, including: Laestadius Consulting in Silver Spring, MD; Greenpeace; Global Forest Watch Canada; World Resources Institute; and NGO Transparent World in Moscow, Russia.
Related UMD research stories:
COLLEGE PARK, Md. – A UMD-led study provides new evidence of a decline in the effectiveness of genetically engineered traits widely used to protect corn crops from insects. This loss of effectiveness could damage U.S. corn production and spur increased use of potentially harmful insecticides.
Based on two decades of field experiments by University of Maryland researchers, the study concludes that damage to corn crops from a major insect pest called corn earworm is increasing. Authored by two scientists from the University of Maryland’s department of entomology and one from Benzon Research, an independent contract research facility, the study documents the growing resistance of the earworm to protective “Bt” genetic modifications widely used in corn and cotton crops.
Lead author Galen Dively, UMD professor emeritus of entomology, predicts that corn earworm resistance to the Bt technology is likely to increase, and spread. His team’s results have broad implications for profitable corn production, biotechnology regulatory policies and sustainability of the use of Bt crop protection biotechnology.
Corn crops engineered with genes from the bacterium Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) express specific proteins called Cry proteins (endotoxins) that, when ingested, kill crop pests like the earworm. The Bt proteins are very selective, generally not harming non-target insects such as bees, wasps and beetles. Thus, its use is less environmentally detrimental than that of broad spectrum insecticides. Bt modified crops are widely used and long have been effective in combating damage from agricultural insect pests. In 2015, 81 percent of all corn planted was genetically engineered with Bt. Recently however, certain states, most notably North Carolina and Georgia, have experienced increased corn ear damage, setting the stage for risk of damage to corn production across a large portion of the country.
Development of pest resistance to Bt has previously has been reported in five insect species, but all have been in response to crops that express a single Cry protein. This new paper is the first report of corn earworm resistance to multiple, or pyramided Cry proteins in genetically modified corn. The report also illuminates a need for more widespread resistance monitoring for all registered Cry proteins, including the Midwestern corn belt. Previously, resistance testing on corn earworm and other caterpillars has only taken place in southern production regions where Bt corn and cotton are prevalent.
“My team is pleased to bring this information to the forefront of the farming and biotechnology industries, but recognize there is still much work to do in understanding the evolution of how corn earworm developed resistance to Cry proteins,” says Dively. “Unfortunately, with the realization of this resistance, many sweet corn farmers in Maryland have stopped growing Bt corn and by extension are applying more insecticide to combat pest infestation. Increased insecticide use is a time-consuming and hazardous long term approach, which provides strong motivation to find a comparable solution to Bt biotechnology."
Dively’s report, “Field-evolved Resistance in Corn Earworm to Cry Proteins Expressed by Transgenic Sweet Corn”, was recently accepted and published by PLOS ONE, a comprehensive academic journal featuring reports of original research from all scientific disciplines. It can be accessed here.
Lee Tune 301405-4679
COLLEGE PARK, Md. – University of Maryland alums Adam Behrens, Evan Lutz, Akshay Goyal, Mackenzie Burnett and Dan Gillespie are among the “leading young change-makers and innovators in the U.S.” who were selected for the 2017 Forbes 30 Under 30 list.
According to Forbes, the list, now in its sixth year, highlights “30 game changers in 20 industries all under 30 years old -- 600 in total -- who are challenging the conventional wisdom and rewriting the rules for the next generation of entrepreneurs, entertainers, educators and more. . . . Their goal is nothing short of breaking the status quo and transforming the world.” The 2017 selectees join a power-packed group that includes such previous 30 Under 30 honorees as billionaires Mark Zuckerberg and Evan Spiegel, Oculus VR’s Palmer Lucky, Global Citizen cofounder Hugh Evans, and theSkimm’s Danielle Weisberg and Carly Zakin.
The publication notes that competition for the 2017 list was more intense than ever with 15,000+ nominations for the 600 spots: an acceptance rate under 4 percent.
A. James Clark School of Engineering alumnus Adam Behrens (Ph.D. Bioengineering; B.S. Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering) was named to the 2017 Healthcare list in recognition of his recent efforts to advance the development of vaccines and diagnostic testing. Currently a postdoctoral fellow at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the lab of serial biotech entrepreneur Robert Langer, Behrens is taking on germs in the developing world with two projects: an effort to make vaccines that don't require refrigeration, and a push to develop diagnostic tests that can detect infectious diseases at patient's bedsides. During his UMD undergraduate and graduate years of study Behrens worked under the guidance of Fischell Department of Bioengineering Professor and Associate Dean Peter Kofinas on the development of blood-clotting gel designed to quickly stop bleeding, and a low-cost alternative to sutures for use in a surgery.
Mackenzie Burnett (B.A. Government and Politics, B.A. International Relations) and Dan Gillespie (B.S. Geographical Information Systems), were selected in the Enterprise Technology category, cofounded Redspread, a collaborative software deployment tool startup, at UMD in 2015. A graduate of seed funding accelerator Y Combinator, Redspread was acquired in October 2016 by San Francisco, Calif.-based CoreOS, a platform for simplifying container management. At CoreOS, Burnett is head of product and Gillespie leads upstream Kubernetes development. Burnett is also executive director of Interact ATX, a nonprofit that helps connect young technologists and thinkers. While at UMD, Burnett and Gillespie helped cofound the UMD student hackathon Bitcamp. Burnett also served as executive director of Startup Shell, a student created and run incubator for UMD student startups.
Akshay Goyal, a 2010 graduate of the University of Maryland’s Robert H. Smith School of Business, made the cut in the Forbes 30 Under 30 Finance category. Goyal, who is a vice president in the private investment firm Starwood Capital Group, made his mark at UMD in many ways. He participated in the QUEST (Quality Enhancement Systems and Teams) and Gemstone honors programs, and served as an equity analyst in a Smith School class that manages the Lemma Senbet Fund. Goyal, who focuses on hotel acquisitions for Starwood, was the youngest vice president in the firms’s history when he was promoted to VP at age 26.
Evan Lutz, a 2014 alumnus of the Smith School, was recognized on Forbes’ Social Entrepreneur list as CEO and Co-Founder of Hungry Harvest, which buys "ugly" and surplus produce from farms in the Mid-Atlantic region of the U.S. and delivers boxes of fruits and vegetables via a subscription based model to customers in and around Baltimore, Philadelphia and Washington D.C. Hungry Harvest was created to simultaneously address two problems: (1) 20 percent of U.S. produce goes to waste, while (2) 50 million people in the country are food insecure. To date, they've recovered 1.1 million pounds of fresh produce and donated over 300,000 pounds of it. For every box of produce they deliver they donate 1 pound and sell 3 pounds at a lower cost to help families in need. In January of 2016, Evan Lutz was the 2015 Social Entrepreneur of the Year" for UMD’s Dingman Center for Entrepreneurship; and in January of 2016 he appeared on Shark Tank and received a $100,000 investment from Robert Herjavec for a 10 percent stake in Hungry Harvest.
COLLEGE PARK, Md. – A team of researchers from institutions around the world, including the University of Maryland, reveal that by 2030 expanding urban areas world-wide will swallow up fertile cropland equal to nearly twice the size of Florida, adding pressure to an already strained global food system.
Researchers estimate the area of land that stands to be lost through urbanization— more than 186,000 square miles or nearly 300,000 square kilometers—could produce enough food to provide 300 million people with 2,500 calories a day for an entire year.
Associate Professor Giovanni Baiocchi from the University of Maryland’s Department of Geographical Sciences contributed to the study led by the Mercator Research Institute on Global Commons and Climate Change (MCC) located in Berlin.
“We are witnessing an unprecedented transition from predominantly rural to urban lifestyles,” Baiocchi said. “Rapid and unplanned urban growth is further threatening sustainable development. As rapidly urbanizing regions of the Global South are increasing their dependence on food imports, millions of people in poverty are becoming more vulnerable to world food market volatility potentially exacerbating the problem of global income inequality.”
Results from the study entitled “Future urban land expansion and implications for global croplands” were recently published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences [USA]. According to the study, global urbanization will take place on agricultural land that is almost twice as fertile as the world average and the effects will be particularly severe in parts of Asia and Africa.
The scientists used spatially explicit urban area expansion projections developed by Yale University to conduct their research. They then combined these with land-use data from the University of Minnesota and the University of British Columbia on global croplands and crop yields. The MCC study examined the total loss of croplands worldwide. To determine the productivity of that land, the researchers used the aggregated production of the 16 most important food crops, including maize, rice, soybeans, and wheat.
Researchers estimate China alone will have to bear one-fourth of total global cropland loss, amounting to nearly 80,000 km2. Meanwhile, the challenge to African countries already greatly impacted by hunger and food shortages—such as Nigeria, Burundi and Rwanda—is compounded by two factors: the distinct vulnerability of many African countries to the effects of climate change, and the comparatively greater difficulties encountered by the unemployed rural population to gain a foothold in the urban labor markets. The study finds that urbanization in Egypt is also particularly pronounced and that by 2030, the country could lose about one third of its cropland.
“Policy-makers at the municipal level are now called on to take action. Their time has come, since urban planning is now part and parcel of world policy,” said Felix Creutzig, one of the study’s lead authors and head of the MCC Working Group on Land Use, Infrastructure and Transport. “Urban planners can contribute to preventing small farmers from losing their livelihoods. Spatially efficient urbanization could help to retain the existing agricultural system while continuing to provide small farmers with access to the urban food market.”
COLLEGE PARK, Md. — A team of researchers at the University of Maryland Energy Research Center and A. James Clark School of Engineering have announced a transformative development in the race to produce batteries that are at once safe, powerful, and affordable.
The researchers are developing game-changing solid-state battery technology, and have made a key advance by inserting a layer of ultra-thin aluminum oxide between lithium electrodes and a solid non-flammable ceramic electrolyte known as garnet. Prior to this advance, there had been little success in developing high-performance, garnet-based solid-state batteries, because the high impedance, more commonly called resistance, between the garnet electrolyte and electrode materials limited the flow of energy or current, dramatically decreasing the battery's ability to charge and discharge.
The University of Maryland team has solved the problem of high impedance between the garnet electrolyte and electrode materials with the layer of ultrathin aluminum oxide, which decreases the impedance 300 fold. This virtually eliminates the barrier to electricity flow within the battery, allowing for efficient charging and discharging of the stored energy.
A new paper describing the research was published online December 19 in the peer-reviewed journal Nature Materials.
“This is a revolutionary advancement in the field of solid-state batteries—particularly in light of recent battery fires, from Boeing 787s to hoverboards to Samsung smartphones,” said Liangbing Hu, associate professor of materials science and engineering and one of the corresponding authors of the paper. “Our garnet-based solid-state battery is a triple threat, solving the typical problems that trouble existing lithium-ion batteries: safety, performance, and cost.”
Lithium-ion batteries typically contain a liquid organic electrolyte that can catch fire, as shown by numerous consumer electronic battery fires and even the temporary grounding of the Boeing 787 fleet for a series of battery fires. This fire risk is eliminated by the UMD team’s use of the non-flammable garnet-based solid-state electrolyte.
"The work by [the University of Maryland research team] effectively solves the lithium metal–solid electrolyte interface resistance problem, which has been a major barrier to the development of a robust solid-state battery technology," said Bruce Dunn, UCLA materials science and engineering professor. Dunn, a leading expert in energy storage materials, was not involved in this research.
In addition, the high stability of these garnet electrolytes enable the team to use metallic lithium anodes, which contain the greatest possible theoretical energy density and are considered the ‘holy grail’ of batteries. Combined with high-capacity sulfur cathodes, this all solid-state battery technology offers a potentially unmatched energy density that far outperforms any lithium-ion battery currently on the market.
“This technology is on the verge of changing the landscape of energy storage. The broad deployment of batteries is critical to increase the flexibility of how and when energy is used, and these solid-state batteries will both increase the safety and decrease size, weight, and cost of batteries,” said Eric Wachsman, professor and director of the University of Maryland Energy Research Center and the other corresponding author of the paper.
“This [finding] is of considerable interest to those working to replace the flammable liquid electrolyte of the lithium-ion rechargeable battery with a solid electrolyte from which a lithium anode can be plated dendrite-free when a cell is being charged,” said acclaimed lithium-ion battery pioneer John B. Goodenough, Virginia H. Cockrell Centennial Chair in Engineering at the University of Texas, who was unaffiliated with the study. Read Goodenough’s full commentary on the Maryland team’s battery advance here.
The paper, “Negating Interfacial Impedance in Garnet-Based Solid-State Li-Metal Batteries,” Xiaogang Han, Yunhui Gong, Kun Fu, Xingfeng He, et al., was published online December 19 in the journal Nature Materials.
This work was supported by the U.S. Department of Energy ARPA-E RANGE (entitled “Safe, Low-Cost, High-Energy-Density, Solid-State Li-Ion Batteries”) and EERE (entitled “Overcoming Interfacial Impedance in Solid-State Batteries”).
Alana Carchedi Coyle 301-405-0235
COLLEGE PARK, Md. – The University of Maryland’s winter 2016 graduates will celebrate the culmination of their UMD experience at the university’s main commencement ceremony on Dec. 20, 2016. The commencement address will be delivered by David M. Baggett, a UMD alumnus and founder and president of Arcode Corporation. He will be joined by this year’s student speaker, Jacob Lowenstein, who is graduating with degrees in accounting and finance.
- University of Maryland President Wallace D. Loh
- Commencement Speaker David M. Baggett, UMD alumnus and founder and president of Arcode Corporation
- Student Commencement Speaker Jacob Lowenstein
- December Class of 2016 University of Maryland Graduates
Tuesday, December 20, 2016
- Processional – 5:40 p.m.
- Ceremony – 6:00 p.m.
*Media should arrive prior to the processional*
Xfinity Center, University of Maryland, College Park
Xfinity Center is located on Paint Branch Dr. near the intersection of Paint Branch Dr. and Route 193 (University Blvd.) Click here for directions.
Media must park in lot 9B and enter the Xfinity Center through Gate C, located on the ground level, to the right of the main entrance steps. Media must show their credentials to be admitted into the building without a ticket.
LIVE VIDEO STREAM:
The ceremony will be streamed live on the University of Maryland’s YouTube channel here.
Follow the conversation on social media and join in using #UMDGrad.
For more information, visit www.commencement.umd.edu
Katie Lawson, 301-405-4622
American Talent Initiative brings together 30 of nation’s most respected colleges and universities, launches national effort to attract, enroll and graduate more high-achieving, lower-income students
COLLEGE PARK, Md. -- The University of Maryland is one of 30 of the nation’s most respected colleges and universities that have joined forces today on a new initiative to substantially expand the number of talented low- and moderate-income students at America’s top-performing undergraduate institutions with the highest graduation rates.
The American Talent Initiative (ATI), supported by Bloomberg Philanthropies, brings together a diverse set of public and private institutions united in this common goal. They are enhancing their own efforts to recruit and support lower-income students, learn from each other, and contribute to research that will help other colleges and universities expand opportunity.
"As a land-grant flagship at a time when many people feel left behind, our mission of social mobility and educational opportunity is more critical than ever,” said University of Maryland President Wallace D. Loh. “Our vigorous efforts to recruit the most talented, highest achievers, regardless of socioeconomic background, will contribute to this collaboration. Participating is an honor, a challenge, and a duty.”
Aiming to welcome more of the 270 institutions with graduation rates of 70 percent or higher over the next few years, the members of the American Talent Initiative have set a goal to attract, enroll, and graduate 50,000 additional high-achieving, lower-income students at those 270 colleges and universities by 2025. Based on the most recent federal data available, there are around 430,000 lower-income students enrolled at these 270 institutions. In other words, ATI’s goal is to increase and sustain the total number of lower-income students attending these top-performing colleges to 480,000 by 2025.
“If we're serious about promoting social mobility in America, we need to ensure that every qualified high school student in the U.S. has an opportunity to attend college. I'm so glad that so many great colleges and universities have stepped up today and committed themselves towards that goal. This is a vital first step towards creating a more meritocratic society," said Michael R. Bloomberg, founder of Bloomberg Philanthropies and three-term Mayor of New York City.
Colleges and universities participating in the American Talent Initiative aim to further the national goal of developing more talent from every American neighborhood by:
• Recruiting students from diverse socio-economic backgrounds through robust outreach;
• Ensuring that admitted lower-income students enroll and are retained through practices that have been shown to be effective;
• Prioritizing need-based financial aid; and
• Minimizing or eliminating gaps in progression and graduation rates between and among students from low-, moderate- and high-income families.
Members will share lessons learned as well as institutional data, annually publishing their progress toward meeting the national goal of 50,000 additional lower- income students by 2025. The Aspen Institute’s College Excellence Program and Ithaka S+R, the two not-for-profit organizations coordinating the initiative, will study the practices that lead to measureable progress and disseminate knowledge to the field through regular publications.
Catharine Bond Hill, Ithaka S+R managing director and former Vassar president, noted that “this Initiative speaks to fairness and equal opportunity for thousands of students who currently can’t claim either, and to the enormous societal benefit that comes from nurturing all of our most talented young people. Recent research suggests that at least 12,500 high school seniors per year have SAT scores in the top 10 percent with 3.7 grade point averages or higher – and still do not attend the top 270 colleges. If each of these institutions commits to do its share, an additional 50,000 talented students–12,500 in each grade level–will benefit from the incredible opportunity these colleges and universities offer and that these students have earned.”
Member institutions of the American Talent Initiative are committing substantial resources to attract, enroll, and graduate students at their individual campuses. This initiative is co-managed by the Aspen Institute’s College Excellence Program (www.aspeninstitute.org/college-excellence) and Ithaka S+R (www.sr.ithaka.org) and funded with an initial $1.7 million, multi-year grant from Bloomberg Philanthropies. Grant funding will be used for best-practice research and dissemination, convenings of college presidents and staff, and data analysis and reporting.
To learn more about the American Talent Initiative, including a list of the participating institutions, visit http://www.americantalentinitiative.org.
- Professor Linda Schmidt is Teaching the Next Generation of Engineers the Foundations of Engineering Design
- ANA PATRICIA RODRÍGUEZ ELECTED PRESIDENT OF LATINO/A STUDIES ASSOCIATION
- SURVEILLANCE AND PRIVACY, A DECADE AFTER "DAS LEBEN DER ANDEREN"
- Physics' William Dorland Comments on International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor - The New York Times
- University of Maryland to Offer Graduate Programs in the Fast-Growing Area of Additive Manufacturing
- Papamanthou Receives NSF CAREER Award to Improve Security in Cloud Computing