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State, University Officials Celebrate Launch of Newly Formed, Cross-Discipline Transportation Institute

April 3, 2018
Contacts: 

Anjanette Riley, 301-405-2057 

ANNAPOLIS, Md. – State and University of Maryland leaders gathered in Annapolis, Maryland today for the launch of a research and education institute that unites engineering, planning, social sciences, computer sciences, business, public policy, and public health experts. The Maryland Transportation Institute (MTI) will coordinate more than $20 million in annual research expenditures to spur innovation in the transportation sector.

Provost Rankin Addresses attendees

“Through its important research, this institute will help us remain one of the most innovative transportation departments in the country,” said Maryland Department of Transportation Secretary Pete K. Rahn, who spoke at the event.

Led by the A. James Clark School of Engineering’s Herbert Rabin Distinguished Professor Lei Zhang, MTI was approved by UMD’s Office of the Provost last fall. The institute will focus on transportation big data, connected and automated transportation, congestion mitigation, freight and logistics, infrastructure planning and policy, transportation safety and security, smart cities and communities, and future mobility systems. 

“MTI harnesses the expertise of transportation researchers across the university to generate timely, practical solutions to some of the most complex challenges of the 21st century,” said Senior Vice President and Provost MaryAnn Rankin. “The University of Maryland has a long and rich history of advancing knowledge in areas of critical importance to the state, the nation, and the world.”

The institute leverages the largest transportation data and data analytics center in the nation and a U.S. Department of Transportation-designated National University Transportation Center. MTI also encompasses leading centers in smart growth, cybersecurity, GIS, logistics, sustainability, computer sciences, behavioral sciences, and public health. 

Maryland Transportation Institute Celebration Group Photo

“Transportation issues pervade every area of our lives and the lives of our communities,” said Zhang. “MTI will work with our government, nonprofit, and industry partners toward zero traffic fatalities, infrastructure construction and maintenance cost reduction, immediately deployable congestion mitigation technologies, and advanced transportation technologies to improve quality of life and economic development in our state and beyond.” 

The April 3 event featured a number of transportation technology solutions, including a mobile app that helps combat congestion by providing personalized travel incentives. The Center for Advanced Transportation Technology introduced attendees to a suite of decision-making tools backed by big data analytics, while undergraduate students from UMD Loop presented their design for the SpaceX Hyperloop Competition. Collaborators from Morgan State University’s Urban Mobility & Equity Center and the Department of Engineering and Aviation Sciences at the University of Maryland Eastern Shore also shared a cutting-edge driving simulator that helps reduce traffic accidents and a workforce development program for the aviation industry, respectively.

MTI was formed through support from 10 UMD colleges and schools: School of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation; School of Arts and Humanities; College of Behavioral and Social Sciences; Robert H. Smith School of Business; College of Computer, Mathematical and Natural Sciences; A. James Clark School of Engineering; Philip Merrill College of Journalism; College of Information Studies; School of Public Health; and School of Public Policy.

 

 

 

Al Gore to Speak at University of Maryland’s 2018 Spring Commencement

April 2, 2018
Contacts: 

Katie Lawson, 301-405-4622

COLLEGE PARK, Md. -- The University of Maryland announces today that former Vice President Al Gore will deliver the university’s commencement address on Sunday, May 20, 2018. Gore will address thousands of graduates, family and friends during the ceremony at the XFINITY Center, and will also receive an honorary doctorate of public service from the university.

"Vice President Gore’s ability to ‘look over the horizon’ while mastering the intricacies of action has earned him a Nobel Prize and a profound record of public service,” said University of Maryland President Wallace D. Loh. “We are honored and excited to have him as our commencement speaker.”

Al Gore Lecturing

Gore is the cofounder and chairman of Generation Investment Management, and the founder and chairman of The Climate Reality Project, a nonprofit devoted to solving the climate crisis. He is also a senior partner at Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers and a member of Apple Inc.’s board of directors.

Gore was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1976, 1978, 1980, and 1982 and to the U.S. Senate in 1984 and 1990. He was inaugurated as the 45th vice president of the United States on January 20, 1993, and served eight years.

He is the author of the #1 New York Times best-sellers "An Inconvenient Truth" and "The Assault on Reason," and the best-sellers “Earth in the Balance,” "Our Choice: A Plan To Solve the Climate Crisis," "The Future: Six Drivers of Global Change," and most recently, The New York Times best-seller "An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power.”

He is the subject of the documentary movie “An Inconvenient Truth,” which won two Oscars in 2006 -- and a second documentary in 2017, “An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power.” In 2007, Gore was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, along with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, for “informing the world of the dangers posed by climate change.”

 

WeWork to Open First Maryland Location on University of Maryland Campus

March 30, 2018
Contacts: 

Katie Lawson, 301-405-4622
Mary Jennings, 501-920-6844

 WeWork Office RenderingWeWork Office Rendering

COLLEGE PARK, Md. - Adding to the growing momentum in Prince George’s County, WeWork, a global leader in coworking with more than 200 locations in 21 countries around the world, has selected College Park for its first location in the State of Maryland. As part of a new partnership model, this will be the first WeWork on a college campus, located in the University of Maryland’s Discovery District.  

“WeWork is excited to be partnering with Chesapeake Realty Partners along with the University of Maryland for our first-ever college campus location,” said Nicole Mozeliak, WeWork’s General Manager for the Mid-Atlantic. “The vibrancy of the UMD campus, access to an amazing talent pipeline, and being part of their innovative ecosystem makes College Park the optimal choice for WeWork’s first location in the State of Maryland.” 

WeWork will be located adjacent to The Hotel at the University of Maryland in a repurposed building—just steps away from the center of campus—and across the street from Diamondback Garage, which will house university entrepreneurship resources and private sector companies, including Capital One’s Innovation Lab, and cybersecurity firms BlueVoyant and Immuta. 

“College Park is thriving and the Discovery District is proving to be a destination for startups and established companies alike to grow their businesses,” said Ken Ulman, UMD’s chief strategy officer for economic development. “We are proud that WeWork recognizes the University of Maryland is an economic engine helping to fuel the State’s innovation economy.”

The Discovery District is part of UMD’s Greater College Park initiative, a $2 billion public-private investment to rapidly revitalize the Baltimore Avenue corridor and academic campus, which includes dynamic academic spaces, a public-private research hub and vibrant downtown community. 

WeWork University of Maryland will offer coworking and office space, including more than 300 desks, conference rooms and communal areas . The space will include standard WeWork offerings, such as private offices, dedicated desks and hot desks. Hot desks give you unlimited access to any available workspace in the location of your choice, while dedicated desks give you unlimited access to your own workstation.

WeWork has been characterized as a leader and transformative in the coworking space, focusing on creating a culture of collaboration, flexibility and creativity. 

Baltimore-area based Chesapeake Realty Partners, a leader in adaptive reuse and land development, will be leading the design and construction. "Chesapeake Realty Partners is delighted to, once again, partner with WeWork to create an incredible coworking space -- this time located in the heart of the Discovery District within the University of Maryland," said Lawrence M. Macks, Co-Chairman and CEO. "UMD has proved to be a great partner for both WeWork and Chesapeake Partners, and we are proud to be involved with this transformational project." 

"Maryland is the most innovative state in the country, so it's the ideal place for WeWork to launch its first campus location," said Maryland Commerce Secretary Mike Gill. "College Park is a hub for both entrepreneurship and cutting-edge research, and the vast pool of talent connected to the university will benefit from the array of workspaces WeWork has to offer." 

“Under the leadership of Dr. Wallace Loh, the University of Maryland, along with the City of College Park and Prince George’s County, have worked to transform College Park into a vibrant college town comparable with any in the nation,” said Prince George’s County Executive Rushern L. Baker, III. “WeWork’s decision to locate its first college campus location in the nation in College Park is a testament to the progress made in achieving that goal. WeWork will be an exciting resource for the entrepreneurs, innovators and researchers that we want to see fuel the economic growth in the University of Maryland’s Discovery District.”

The news of WeWork’s location in College Park has local entrepreneurs eager to move in.

“WeWork will help bridge the gap between dorm room and laboratory startup to the next phase, providing students and faculty a world class co-working and office environment to incubate their nascent businesses,” said UMD Entrepreneur-in-Residence Harry Geller.

"There is so much great talent and work coming out of UMD, and projects like the new WeWork reaffirm that College Park is ready to support our entrepreneurs as they move into the next phases of their ventures," said Matthew Fan, co-director of the Startup Shell, a student-run incubator at UMD. 

WeWork University of Maryland is expected to open in fall 2018. 

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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. Its faculty includes two Nobel laureates, three Pulitzer Prize winners, 60 members of the national academies and scores of Fulbright scholars. 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​ ​WeWork
WeWork is the platform for creators. We provide beautiful workspace, an inspiring community, and meaningful business services to more than 200,000 members around the world. From startups and freelancers to small businesses and large corporations, our community is united by a desire for our members to create meaningful work and lead meaningful lives—to be a part of something greater than ourselves. Co-founded by Adam Neumann and Miguel McKelvey in New York City in 2010, WeWork is a privately held company with more than 3,000 employees.

About Chesapeake Realty Partners
Chesapeake Realty Partners builds on more than 70-years of success in the Mid-Atlantic real estate market. CRP has been actively engaged in all aspects of real estate development –  land acquisition, land planning and land development; construction of for-sale housing; construction and operation of residential rental communities; and construction and operation of commercial properties. The wide range of activities within our organization has been a singular advantage and source of financial strength and stability. In the '80’s leadership passed from founder Morton J. Macks to his son, Lawrence Macks, and his son-in-law, Josh Fidler. The business then evolved into its present form as a diversified builder-developer of large scale residential communities; multi-family communities, as well as commercial, retail and mixed use projects.

 

Multi-Institutional Team of Scientists Mix the Unmixable to Create ‘Shocking’ Nanoparticles

March 29, 2018
Contacts: 

Melissa L. Andreychek, 301-405-0292

COLLEGE PARK, Md. -- Making a giant leap in the ‘tiny’ field of nanoscience, a multi-institutional team of researchers is the first to create nanoscale particles composed of up to eight distinct elements generally known to be immiscible, or incapable of being mixed or blended together. Their blending of multiple, unmixable elements into a unified, homogenous nanostructure, called a high entropy alloy nanoparticle, greatly expands the landscape of nanomaterials—and what we can do with them.

Science Magazine Cover Story - Nanoparticles

This research makes a significant advance on previous efforts that have typically produced nanoparticles limited to three different elements. This is because it is extremely difficult to squeeze and blend different elements into individual particles at the nanoscale. The team of researchers from the University of Maryland, College Park (UMD), the University of Illinois at Chicago, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and the Johns Hopkins University published a peer-reviewed paper on their research that is featured on the cover of  March 30 edition of the journal Science.

“Imagine the elements that combine to make nanoparticles as Lego building blocks. If you have only one to three colors and sizes, then you are limited by what combinations you can use and what structures you can assemble,” explained Liangbing Hu, associate professor of materials science and engineering at UMD and one of the corresponding authors of the paper. “What our team has done is essentially enlarged the toy chest in nanoparticle synthesis; now, we are able to build nanomaterials with nearly all metallic and semiconductor elements.”

The researchers say this advance in nanoscience opens vast opportunities for a wide range of applications that includes catalysis (the acceleration of a chemical reaction by a catalyst), energy storage (batteries or supercapacitors), and bio/plasmonic imaging, among others.

To create the high entropy alloy nanoparticles, the researchers employed a two-step method of flash heating followed by flash cooling. Metallic elements such as platinum, nickel, iron, cobalt, gold, copper, and others were exposed to a rapid thermal shock of approximately 3,000 degrees Fahrenheit, or about half the temperature of the sun, for 0.055 seconds. The extremely high temperature resulted in uniform mixtures of the multiple elements. The subsequent rapid cooling (more than 100,000 degrees Fahrenheit per second) stabilized the newly mixed elements into the uniform nanomaterial.

“Our method is simple, but one that nobody else has applied to the creation of nanoparticles. By using a physical science approach, rather than a traditional chemistry approach, we have achieved something unprecedented,” said Yonggang Yao, a Ph.D. student at UMD and one of the lead authors of the paper.

To demonstrate one potential use of the nanoparticles, the research team used them as advanced catalysts for ammonia oxidation, which is a key step in the production of nitric acid (a liquid acid that is used in the production of ammonium nitrate for fertilizers, making plastics, and in the manufacturing of dyes). They were able to achieve 100 percent oxidation of ammonia and 99 percent selectivity toward desired products with the high entropy alloy nanoparticles, proving their ability as highly efficient catalysts.

Elemental maps of high entropy alloy nanoparticles composed of eight dissimilar elements. Image courtesy Yao et al.

Yao said another potential use of the nanoparticles as catalysts could be the generation of chemicals or fuels from carbon dioxide.

“The potential applications for high entropy alloy nanoparticles are not limited to the field of catalysis. With cross-discipline curiosity, the demonstrated applications of these particles will become even more widespread,” said Steven D. Lacey, a Ph.D. student at UMD and also one of the lead authors of the paper.

This research was performed through a multi-institutional collaboration of Professor Liangbing Hu’s group and Professor Michael Zachariah’s group at the University of Maryland, College Park; Professor Reza Shahbazian-Yassar’s group at University of Illinois at Chicago; Professor Ju Li’s group at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology; and Professor Chao Wang’s group at the Johns Hopkins University.

What outside experts are saying about this research:

“This is quite amazing; Dr. Hu creatively came up with this powerful technique, carbo-thermal shock synthesis, to produce high entropy alloys of up to eight different elements in a single nanoparticle,” said Peidong Yang, the S.K. and Angela Chan Distinguished Professor of Energy and professor of chemistry at the University of California, Berkeley and member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. “This is indeed unthinkable for bulk materials synthesis. This is yet another beautiful example of nanoscience!,” said Yang, who is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and a 2015 recipient of a MacArthur “genius” Fellowship. Yang was not involved in this research.

“This discovery opens many new directions, said George Crabtree, Argonne Distinguished Fellow and director of the Joint Center for Energy Storage Research at Argonne National Laboratory.  “There are simulation opportunities to understand the electronic structure of the various compositions and phases that are important for the next generation of catalyst design. Also, finding correlations among synthesis routes, composition, and phase structure and performance enables a paradigm shift toward guided synthesis.”  

 

 

The Sahara Desert is Expanding, According to New UMD Study

March 29, 2018
Contacts: 

Matthew Wright, 301-405-9267

COLLEGE PARK, Md-- The Sahara Desert has expanded by about 10 percent since 1920, according to a new study by University of Maryland scientists. The research is the first to assess century-scale changes to the boundaries of the world’s largest desert and suggests that other deserts could be expanding as well. The study was published online March 29, 2018, in the Journal of Climate.

image shows the 3 regions in North Africa: the Sahara, the Sahel, and the SudanDeserts are typically defined by low average annual rainfall—usually 100 millimeters (less than 4 inches) of rain per year or less. The researchers analyzed rainfall data recorded throughout Africa from 1920 to 2013 and found that the Sahara, which occupies much of the northern part of the continent, expanded by 10 percent during this period when looking at annual trends. 

When the authors looked at seasonal trends over the same time period, the most notable expansion of the Sahara occurred in summer, resulting in a nearly 16 percent increase in the desert’s average seasonal area over the 93-year span covered by the study.

“Our results are specific to the Sahara, but they likely have implications for the world’s other deserts,” said Sumant Nigam, a professor of atmospheric and oceanic science at UMD and the senior author of the study. Nigam also has a joint appointment in UMD’s Earth System Science Interdisciplinary Center (ESSIC).

The study results suggest that human-caused climate change, as well as natural climate cycles such as the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation (AMO), caused the desert’s expansion. The geographical pattern of expansion varied from season to season, with the most notable differences occurring along the Sahara’s northern and southern boundaries. 

“Deserts generally form in the subtropics because of the Hadley circulation, through which air rises at the equator and descends in the subtropics,” Nigam said. “Climate change is likely to widen the Hadley circulation, causing northward advance of the subtropical deserts. The southward creep of the Sahara however suggests that additional mechanisms are at work as well, including climate cycles such as the AMO.”

The Sahara is the world’s largest warm-weather desert, roughly equal in size to the contiguous United States. (The Arctic basin and the Antarctic continent—which are each about twice as large as the Sahara—also qualify as deserts due to their low rates of precipitation.) Like all deserts, the boundaries of the Sahara fluctuate with the seasons, expanding in the dry winter and contracting during the wetter summer. 

outside the town of Diakhao, Senegal in March of 2018, illustrates the conditions of the Sahel during the dry seasonThe southern border of the Sahara adjoins the Sahel, the semi-arid transition zone that lies between the Sahara and the fertile savannas further south. The Sahara expands as the Sahel retreats, disrupting the region’s fragile grassland ecosystems and human societies. Lake Chad, which sits in the center of this climatologically conflicted transition zone, serves as a bellwether for changing conditions in the Sahel. 

“The Chad Basin falls in the region where the Sahara has crept southward. And the lake is drying out,” Nigam explained. “It’s a very visible footprint of reduced rainfall not just locally, but across the whole region. It’s an integrator of declining water arrivals in the expansive Chad Basin.”

A number of well-known climate cycles can affect rainfall in the Sahara and the Sahel. The AMO, in which temperatures over a large swath of the northern Atlantic Ocean fluctuate between warm and cold phases on a 50- to 70-year cycle, is one example. Warm phases of the AMO are linked to increased rainfall in the Sahel, while the opposite is true for the cold phase. For example, the notable drying of the Sahel from the 1950s to the 1980s has been attributed to one such cold phase. The Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO), marked by temperature fluctuations in the northern Pacific Ocean on a scale of 40 to 60 years, also plays a role.

To single out the effects of human-caused climate change, the researchers used statistical methods to remove the effects of the AMO and PDO on rainfall variability during the period from 1920 to 2013. The researchers concluded that these natural climate cycles accounted for about two-thirds of the total observed expansion of the Sahara. The remaining one-third can be attributed to climate change, but the authors note that longer climate records that extend across several climate cycles are needed to reach more definitive conclusions. 

“Many previous studies have documented trends in rainfall in the Sahara and Sahel. But our paper is unique, in that we use these trends to infer changes in the desert expanse on the century timescale,” said Natalie Thomas, a graduate student in atmospheric and oceanic science at UMD and lead author of the research paper. 

The study’s results have far-reaching implications for the future of the Sahara, as well as other subtropical deserts around the world. As the world’s population continues to grow, a reduction in arable land with adequate rainfall to support crops could have devastating consequences.

“The trends in Africa of hot summers getting hotter and rainy seasons drying out are linked with factors that include increasing greenhouse gases and aerosols in the atmosphere,” said Ming Cai, a program director in the National Science Foundation's Division of Atmospheric and Geospace Sciences, which funded the research. "These trends also have a devastating effect on the lives of African people, who depend on agriculture-based economies."

Thomas and Nigam are focused on learning more about the drivers behind desert expansion in the Sahara and beyond.

“With this study, our priority was to document the long-term trends in rainfall and temperature in the Sahara. Our next step will be to look at what is driving these trends, for the Sahara and elsewhere,” Thomas explained. “We have already started looking at seasonal temperature trends over North America, for example. Here, winters are getting warmer but summers are about the same. In Africa, it’s the opposite—winters are holding steady but summers are getting warmer. So the stresses in Africa are already more severe.”

This work was supported by the U.S. Department of Defense’s National Defense Science & Engineering Graduate Fellowship Program and the U.S. National Science Foundation (Award No. AGS 1439940). The content of this article does not necessarily reflect the views of these organizations.

Photo 1: This satellite-derived  image shows the three regions in North Africa: the Sahara, the Sahel, and the Sudan. The Saharan desert covers the northern, top part of the continent,. The Sahel, a semi-arid belt of barren, sandy and rock-strewn land, stretches across the African continent between the Sahara and the Sudan, which is the greener, more fertile southern portion in this image. Credit: NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center Scientific Visualization Studio. 

Photo 2: Taken outside the town of Diakhao, Senegal in March of 2018, the photo illustrates the conditions of the Sahel during the dry season. Credit: Mamadou Faye/courtesy Wassila Thiaw, NOAA CPC.

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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. Its faculty includes two Nobel laureates, three Pulitzer Prize winners, 60 members of the national academies and scores of Fulbright scholars. 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. 

 

 

 

UMD Graduate Programs Receive High Marks in 2019 U.S. News and World Report Rankings

March 22, 2018
Contacts: 

Natifia Mullings, 301-405-4076

COLLEGE PARK, Md.-- Several University of Maryland colleges and programs were recently recognized in the U.S. News and World Report’s 2019 graduate school rankings. UMD had two No.1-ranked graduate programs: criminology (College of Behavioral and Social Sciences) and counseling/personnel services (College of Education), with 37 additional schools, colleges, and programs featured in the rankings.

This year’s highlights include:

  • Four programs in the College of Education were ranked among the top 25: educational psychology (9), higher education administration (10), special education (14) and secondary teacher education (15).
  • The School of Public Policy had two programs and specialties ranked in the top 25: homeland/national security (6) and the public finance and budgeting program (10).
  • The A. James Clark School of Engineering ranked No. 22 overall, with four programs ranked in the top 25: aerospace engineering (12), mechanical engineering (16), electrical engineering (18), and materials engineering (24).
  • The Robert H. Smith School of Business had three programs and specialties ranked in the top 25: information systems (9), part-time MBA (15), and supply chain/logistics (24).
  • The College of Computer, Mathematical, and Natural Sciences had three programs and nine specialties ranked in the top 25:
    -- Physics (14): quantum (6), atomic/molecular/optical (6), condensed matter (11), and elementary particles/field/string theory (13).
    --Computer Science (16): artificial intelligence (16), systems (16), theory (16), and programming language (17).
    --Mathematics (22): applied math (13).

The U.S. News 2019 Best Graduate Schools evaluates graduate programs across six major disciplines in business, education, engineering, law, medicine, and nursing, including specialties in each area. The rankings are based on two types of data: expert opinions about program excellence and statistical indicators that measure the quality of a school’s faculty, research output and student achievement. According to U.S. News, the data for the rankings in all six disciplines came from statistical surveys of more than 2,012 programs and from reputation surveys sent to more than 20,500 academics and professionals, conducted in fall 2017 and early 2018.

When last ranked in 2017, 30 UMD programs and specialties were placed on the list.

 

The University of Maryland, College Park will open late at 10 am, Thursday, March 22, 2018, due to inclement weather.

March 21, 2018

The University of Maryland, College Park will open late at 10 am, Thursday, March 22, 2018, due to inclement weather.

UMD’s Division of Information Technology Moving to Growing Discovery District

March 7, 2018
Contacts: 

Jessica Jennings, 301-405-4618

COLLEGE PARK, Md. - The University of Maryland announces today its Division of Information Technology will be moving to the Discovery District, an epicenter of academic, research and economic development for UMD and the region. 

The Division of IT’s new space will include 60,000 square feet located at 5801 University Research Court in a three-story, 71,000 square foot building owned by Corporate Office Properties Trust (NYSE: OFC). Moving into this new space will consolidate the vast majority of the Division’s current operations, which are currently spread across four buildings. In the new, state-of-the-art space, the Division of IT will be able to streamline processes, build greater teamwork and better share information and best practices. 

“We are thrilled to be joining the Discovery District and to be part of the growing innovation ecosystem,” said Jeffrey Hollingsworth, UMD’s interim chief information officer. “The incredible new facilities will allow us to collaborate within the Division and with campus partners like never before, allowing our information technology operations to thrive.” 

The Discovery District is part of UMD’s Greater College Park initiative, a $2 billion public-private investment to rapidly revitalize the Baltimore Avenue corridor and academic campus, which includes dynamic academic spaces, a public-private research hub and vibrant downtown community. 

The Division of IT’s move to the new space frees up existing space in the center of campus, which will begin long-term renovation plans that allow the university to better serve its core academic mission. 

The Division of IT plans to move to the new location in summer 2018. 

 

New Technology for Use in Military Vehicles May Protect Warfighters from Blast-induced Brain Injury

March 6, 2018
Contacts: 

UMD: Melissa Andreychek, 301-405-0292
UMSOM: Alex Likowski, 410-706-3801

COLLEGE PARK, Md.-- Researchers from the University of Maryland (UMD) and the University of Maryland School of Medicine (UMSOM) have developed a new military vehicle shock absorbing device that may protect warfighters against traumatic brain injury (TBI) due to exposure to blasts caused by land mines. During Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom, more than 250,000 warfighters were victims of such injuries.

Prior to this study, most research on blast-induced TBI focused on the effects of rapid changes in barometric pressure, also known as overpressure, on unmounted warfighters. “This is the only research to date to model the effects of under-vehicle blasts on the occupants,” explains Gary Fiskum, Ph.D., M. Jane Matjasko professor for research and vice-chair, Department of Anesthesiology at UMSOM. “We have produced new and detailed insights into the causes of TBI experienced by vehicle occupants, even in the absence of significant ambient pressure changes.” The research has also resulted in the development of materials and vehicle frame design that greatly reduce injury caused by under-vehicle explosions.

Fiskum and William Fourney, Ph.D., associate dean, University of Maryland's A. James Clark School of Engineering, keystone professor of aerospace and mechanical engineering and director of the Dynamic Effects Laboratory were the first to demonstrate how the enormous acceleration (G-force) that occupants of vehicles experience during under-vehicle blasts can cause mild to moderate TBI even under conditions where other vital organs remained unscathed.

“Intense acceleration can destroy synapses, damage nerve fibers, stimulate neuroinflammation, and damage the brain’s blood vessels,” explains Fiskum. Researchers also elucidated the molecular mechanisms responsible for this specific form of TBI.

These findings are described in articles published in the Journal of Trauma and Acute Care Surgery, with Julie Proctor, M.S., UMSOM lab manager, as primary author, Experimental Neurology, with Flaubert Tchantchou, Ph.D., UMSOM research associate as primary author, and in the Journal of Neurotrauma, with Rao Gullapalli, Ph.D., professor of diagnostic radiology, UMSOM, as senior author.

Mitigating G-force experienced by vehicle occupants

Fourney, Ulrich Leiste, Ph.D., assistant research engineer in the Clark School’s Department of Aerospace Engineering, and doctoral researcher Jarrod Bonsmann, Ph.D., developed highly advanced shock absorber designs that incorporate polyurea-coated tubes and other structures to reduce the blast acceleration experienced by vehicle occupants by up to 80 percent.

“Essentially, it spreads out the application of force,” Fourney explains. “Polyurea is compressible and rebounds following compression, resulting in an excellent ability to decrease the acceleration,” he says. A test of the technology can be viewed at https://go.umd.edu/UnderVehicleBlastSimulation

Reducing blast-induced TBI

These results were combined with those of Tchantchou, who demonstrated that mitigation of g-force by the elastic frame designs virtually eliminates the behavioral alterations in lab rats and loss of neuronal connections observed using small scale vehicles with fixed frames, as published in the Journal of Neurotrauma. Peter Rock, M.D., MBA, Martin Helrich chair of the Department of Anesthesiology, noted that “the research team has addressed an important clinical problem by identifying a novel mechanism to explain TBI, engineered a solution to the problem, and convincingly demonstrated improvements in morphology and behavior.  This work has important implications for improving outcomes in military blast-induced TBI and might be applicable to causes of civilian TBI, such as car crashes.”

Looking forward

Continued collaboration between the labs of Fiskum and Fourney will hopefully lead to the next generation of armor-protected military vehicles that will further protect warfighters from both injury and death.  An important next step will be testing a larger scale model.  “If the data holds up for those, it will hold true for full scale,” Fourney says.

 

This research is supported by the University of Maryland Strategic Partnership: MPowering the State, a collaboration between the University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB) and the University of Maryland, College Park (UMCP). Initial funding was provided by a 2009 UMB - UMCP collaborative seed grant awarded to Drs. Fiskum and Fourney. In 2013, the two were awarded a $1.5 million contract by the US Department of Defense Joint Program Committee 6/Combat Casualty Care Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury Program to support their research using small-scale models of under-vehicle explosions. An additional grant of $2.6 million was awarded by the US Air Force, demonstrating that increasing the cabin pressure in airplanes during air-evacuation of trauma patients to a level greater than what is currently used improves outcomes following exposure of rats to TBI caused by under-vehicle explosions, as published in the Journal of Trauma and Acute Care Surgery.  

 

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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. Its faculty includes two Nobel laureates, three Pulitzer Prize winners, 60 members of the national academies and scores of Fulbright scholars. 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 University of Maryland, Baltimore
Founded in 1807, the University of Maryland, Baltimore is Maryland’s only public health, law, and human services university, dedicated to excellence in education, research, clinical care, and public service. UMB enrolls 6,500 students in six nationally ranked professional schools — medicine, law, dentistry, pharmacy, nursing, and social work — and an interdisciplinary Graduate School. The university provides more than $40 million each year in uncompensated care to Maryland citizens, and receives more than $500 million in extramural research funding annually. For more information about the University of Maryland, Baltimore, visit www.umaryland.edu.

About University of Maryland Strategic Partnership: MPowering the State 
The University of Maryland Strategic Partnership: MPowering the State brings together two universities of distinction to form a new collaborative partnership.  Harnessing the resources of each, the University of Maryland, College Park and the University of Maryland, Baltimore will focus 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.

 

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June 22
Collaboration will develop the capital region’s talent pool and strengthen technology leadership. Read
June 15
The UMD Center for Art and Knowledge at The Phillips Collection announces Dr. Ashley Lazevnick as the 2018–19... Read
June 13
University of Maryland Executive Athletic Director Damon Evans shared a letter today with the Maryland community...