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UMD Awarded $1.4 Million to Design New Treatment for PCBs, Heavy Metals in Stormwater

February 19, 2018
Contacts: 

Anjanette Riley, 301-405-2057

COLLEGE PARK, Md. – Environmental engineers at the University of Maryland (UMD) were recently awarded a $1.4 million grant from the Strategic Environmental Research and Development Program (SERDP) to design a modular stormwater treatment system for Department of Defense (DoD) sites. Conducted over three years, the research will target for the removal of three environmental contaminants: polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), and copper.

DoD has for years worked to remove or cap contaminated sediment in waterways that receive stormwater runoff from their sites, including the Puget Sound and tributaries of the Chesapeake Bay. But the grant to UMD is among the first efforts taken by SERDP, a partnership between the Environmental Protection Agency, Department of Energy, and DoD, to remove harmful chemicals before the runoff leaves a DoD site.

The project is led by Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering Assistant Professor Birthe Kjellerup. Together with co-investigator Allen P. Davis, UMD postdoctoral scholar Devrim Kaya, and several undergraduate students, along with collaborators from the University of Washington-Tacoma, Morgan State University, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and the Baltimore-based planning and design company Biohabitats, Kjellerup will design a treatment system ready for future field testing.

The final design could be applicable at industry sites and in communities across the country.

PAHs are created during the combustion of carbon-based materials—everything from wood to gasoline to meat—and exist in high concentrations in the coal tar sealcoat used to protect parking lots and driveways. Like PCBs, which were commonly used in electrical equipment, plastics, dyes and other industrial materials prior to being banned by Congress in 1979, this group of chemicals has been shown to cause cancer and disrupt hormone and reproductive systems in animals. Fish and other aquatic animals can also suffer neurological, reproductive, and sensory challenges when exposed to higher levels of copper.

The research team will identify wood chips, compost, and other natural media that trap these contaminants and can be layered to obtain the highest removal rates. Each layer will be chosen based on its ability to effectively treat high flows of water with minimal maintenance. DoD site managers will be able to mix and match the layers to create the optimal “treatment train” for a location’s contaminants and climate.

To boost the effectiveness and sustainability of the system, the researchers will explore ways to seed the media with microbial communities capable of immobilizing copper and biodegrading PCBs and PAHs into harmless byproducts. The team will also develop a passive sampling strategy to monitor reduction levels.

“The challenge will be creating stable biofilms for regions with different rainfall patterns so the bacterial community isn’t washed away,” said Kjellerup, adding that the project is among the first to examine how the accumulation of potentially toxic metals in a treatment system affects microbial activity.

“PCBs especially are incredibly long lasting and difficult to degrade,” said Davis. “If we are able to design a system that reliably degrades PCBs, that would increase its sustainability and extend the value of the project.”

The team will design their system using flow data and stormwater samples collected at naval installations in Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania and Washington, D.C. and at the Joint Base Lewis-McChord near Tacoma, Washington. As a first step, they will measure PCB, PAH, and copper concentrations and map the relationship between contaminant loads and the sizes of particulate matter.

Throughout the testing and design process, researchers will work closely with engineers at Biohabitats, who have successfully implemented large-scale, nature-based treatment systems throughout the country, to ground-test findings and ensure that the final design is cost effective and aligns with industry best practices.

“We hope this project can be a seed that grows into future collaborations with the University of Maryland,” said Christopher Streb, an ecological engineer and bioworks practice leader at Biohabitats. “Stream restoration, living shoreline work, or any other landscape modifications for ecological services would benefit from a closer relationship between academia and practitioners.”

 

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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.

 

 

 

Two UMD Science Majors Win Prestigious Churchill Scholarships

February 13, 2018
Contacts: 

Abby Robinson, 301-405-5845

COLLEGE PARK, Md. -- Two seniors at the University of Maryland have been awarded 2018 Winston Churchill Scholarships, which offers full funding to pursue one-year master’s degrees at the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom. 

The scholarship—valued at $50,000 to $60,000—covers all educational fees and provides living and travel allowances. Nationally, 15 students in the sciences, engineering or mathematics receive Churchill Scholarships annually. Since its inception in 1963, only two UMD students previously received the award, and this is the first time two were selected in the same year. Both UMD students are enrolled in the university’s College of Computer, Mathematical, and Natural Sciences (CMNS). 

Photo of Christopher Bambic

Christopher Bambic—a physics and astronomy dual-degree student, who is a Stamps Banneker/Key Scholar and a member of the University Honors program within the Honors College—will pursue a Master of Philosophy degree in astronomy. He plans to study the connection between microscale plasma physics and macroscale astrophysical phenomena.

 

 

 

Photo of Yousuf Khan

Yousuf Khan—a biological sciences major specializing in cell biology and genetics, who is a Banneker/Key Scholar and a member of the Integrated Life Sciences program within the Honors College—will pursue a Master of Philosophy degree in pathology. He plans to study programmed ribosomal frameshifting in eukaryotic organisms. This mechanism allows organisms to pack a larger amount of genetic information into a relatively short sequence of RNA.

 

 

Following their time in Cambridge, both Bambic and Khan plan to pursue doctoral degrees in the United States and ultimately pursue academic careers.

“We are extremely proud of Christopher and Yousuf, who have both managed to combine excellent academic records with outstanding research achievements,” said Gerald Wilkinson, interim dean of CMNS. “They are superb representatives of the college. Their success in such a prestigious competition is testimony to their abilities and the education they have received at the University of Maryland.”

For more information on Bambic and Khan, please visit https://go.umd.edu/fhu

 


Photo credit: Faye Levine

 

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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 Researchers Find Gene that May Greatly Increase Strawberry Production

February 13, 2018
Contacts: 

Samantha Watters, 301-405-2434

COLLEGE PARK, MD. – Researchers at the University of Maryland have identified and isolated a gene that is directly involved in the way strawberry plants grow, spread and produce fruit. 

With the ability to turn this gene on and off to produce runners (a long horizontal stem ideal for producing young strawberry plants for sale) or flowers (ideal to produce fruit) and a greater understanding of how to control this process, this work has the potential to greatly increase strawberry productivity.

Strawberries are a $3 billion per year agricultural industry in the United States alone. However, the demand has only been growing over the years. There is infinite potential to enhance this industry further by understanding the mechanisms behind breeding and production of strawberry plants. Julie Caruana, a postdoctoral researcher, under the direction of Zhongchi Liu, affiliate professor with the department of Plant Science and Landscape Architecture and professor in the department of Cell Biology and Molecular Genetics, has come significantly closer to this level of understanding by finding this gene and honing the ability to produce runners. “We know at least one gene that is definitely involved, and going forward, we can determine what other genes are involved and how they interact,” said Caruana.

There are many environmental factors that affect flowering and runnering behavior. These include temperature and day length, which is why strawberries typically produce runners in the summer months and flower in the fall, winter, and spring months. Controlling this trait and understanding the process, genetically and environmentally, is very important to the strawberry industry. “When you are trying to fruit strawberry plants, turning off runner production would really help the growers,” explains Mike Newell, Senior Faculty Specialist and Horticultural Crops Program Manager at the Wye Research and Education Center, who works with strawberry growers. “Depending  on the strawberry production system used, runner production may or may not be desirable, and they may have to be manually removed. Nurseries on the other hand would love runners so they can sell more tips to growers. Controlling this would certainly help growers and nurseries from different sides.”

This work not only has the potential to improve strawberry production with currently popular varieties and growing methods, but could increase yields even more with the popularization of different varieties that are less viable at the moment due to runner behavior. “Most strawberry plants in use today are known as June bearers, or plants that only produce berries once per year,” explained Dr. Liu. “Since strawberry plants are only kept for two years due to significant production drop off with age, farmers only get two harvests from a typical June bearer. Ever-bearers on the other hand can produce multiple harvests each year, increasing overall strawberry yield. But they are relatively unpopular at the moment for farmers and at nurseries because they are poor runner makers - it is difficult to propagate ever bearers. If we can find a way to induce runner production in ever-bearers, the market for these strawberry plants could open up, increasing strawberry yield and having major impacts on production.”

The discovery was published in Molecular Plant.

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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 Receives Grant to Develop Cultural Literacy Curriculum

February 13, 2018
Contacts: 

K. Lorraine Graham, 301-405-6127

COLLEGE PARK, Md-- The University of Maryland recently received a $750,000 grant from the National Security Education Program and the Institute of International Education to develop the Flagship Cultural Initiative (FCI). Cultural awareness is a critical part of learning a language, living abroad and working in an increasingly global economy, yet no clear methods for teaching and evaluating it exist. Through the Flagship Cultural Initiative, a team of flagship program directors and scholars will develop publicly available, online materials to foster cultural literacy. Staff will develop materials for students who are studying Arabic, Chinese and Russian, as well as a separate set of materials in English for students in any discipline. 

“The faculty and staff in SLLC and the Language Flagship programs in Arabic and Persian are recognized for their expertise and creativity in providing immersive learning programs,” said ARHU Dean Bonnie Thornton Dill. “This grant will allow them to use that expertise to help students, regardless of their home institution, develop linguistic and cultural literacy.”

Initially, the materials will be geared towards flagship language students at UMD and at other institutions. Because these materials will be hosted on an open-source platform, they will ultimately be available for any student in the United States and beyond. 

“Developing cultural knowledge is an essential part of preparing students to be sophisticated global professionals,” said Valerie Anishchenkova, principal investigator and associate professor of Arabic studies. “This initiative will develop materials to help students be successful in not only the classroom and study abroad, but also in complex, multicultural professional environments.” 

Anishchenkova, an expert in Arabic studies, is currently exploring the relationships between identity, ideology and new media. Her research is directly relevant to concerns of the project. 

“Our goal is to develop a curriculum that will help students identify and analyze cultural assumptions,” she said. “The ability to recognize personal bias is an important skill for all of us, regardless of field or profession, and needs to be addressed separately from learning a language or studying the history of a culture.”

UMD is the sole institution to receive this award, which was open to all 21 universities with domestic undergraduate flagship programs. The FCI is an interdisciplinary collaboration involving institutional partners and experts in Arabic, Russian and Chinese studies. These partners include the University of Wisconsin, Indiana University, University of Hawaii, Portland State University, the American Councils for International Education and overseas flagship centers in Morocco, Kazakhstan, Beijing and Nanjing.

 

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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 Researchers Develop Breakthrough Technique to Combat Cancer Drug Resistance

February 8, 2018
Contacts: 

Alyssa Wolice, (301) 405-3936

 

COLLEGE PARK, Md. – The ability for cancer cells to develop resistance to chemotherapy drugs – known as multidrug resistance – remains a leading cause for tumor recurrence and cancer metastasis, but recent findings offer hope that oncologists could one day direct cancer cells to “turn off” their resistance capabilities.

New findings put forth by University of Maryland Fischell Department of Bioengineering professor Xiaoming “Shawn” He and researchers from five other academic institutions point to a technique that uses specially designed nanoparticles and near infrared laser treatment to cause cancer cells to lose their multidrug resistance capabilities for days at a time. This creates a therapeutic window for chemotherapy to combat even the most drug-resistant cells left behind after surgery or earlier treatment. The group’s findings were published today in Nature Communications.

“By administering chemotherapy within this ‘therapeutic window,’ oncologists could apply a lower dose of chemotherapy drugs to patients, with the potential for an improved treatment outcome – all while minimizing drug toxicity to healthy organs,” He said.

One of the primary reasons cancer cells develop resistance is the overexpression of what are known as efflux pumps – proteins that protect a cell by pumping out unwanted toxic substances before they can reach their intended target. In the same way that efflux pumps work hard to protect against toxins, they also expel virtually all clinically relevant chemotherapy drugs.

Fortunately, efflux pumps require a source of chemical energy to perform their function. As such, by cutting off the energy supply to the efflux pumps, oncologists could lower – or even eliminate – a cell’s resistance to drugs, such as those administered for chemotherapy. Recognizing this, He and his research team developed a way to reduce the amount of chemical energy – adenosine triphosphate (ATP) – available to the efflux pumps in cancer cells.

The team – which also included researchers from The Ohio State University, University of Virginia, University of Missouri School of Medicine, Shanghai University of Traditional Chinese Medicine and Indiana University School of Medicine – targeted a specially designed nanoparticle to the mitochondrion, the cell's power generator wherein the cell converts oxygen and nutrients into ATP. Once the nanoparticles reach the cancer cells’ mitochondria, the researchers apply near infrared laser treatment to trigger a chemical reaction that reduces the amount of ATP available to the pumps and, thus, cuts off their power supply. Such treatment both reduces the expression of the efflux pumps and decreases their distribution on the cell plasma membrane.

The research team’s findings demonstrate that the drug-laden nanoparticles – in combination with near infrared laser treatment – can effectively inhibit the growth of multidrug-resistant tumors with no evident systemic toxicity.

While researchers have long worked with nanoparticles for drug delivery, the findings put forth by He and his team represent a crucial breakthrough in addressing multidrug resistance in cancer cells.

“For years, researchers have focused on delivering more chemotherapy drugs into cancer cells using nanoparticles, without targeting the root of drug resistance,” He said. “This meant that the cancer cells maintained their ability to expel the chemotherapy drugs, which limited any enhancement of the cancer therapy. To address this challenge, our research group is using nanoparticles not only to deliver more chemotherapy drugs to the target site within cancer cells, but also to compromise the function of the efflux pumps and thereby significantly improve safety and efficacy of cancer therapy.”

Authors for the paper are:  Xiaoming “Shawn” He, University of Maryland (UMD) & The Ohio State University (OSU); Hai Wang, OSU, Zan Gao, University of Virginia (UVA); Xuanyou Liu, University of Missouri (MU), Pranay Agarwal, OSU; Shuting Zhao; OSU; Daniel W. Conroy, OSU; Guang Ji, Shanghai University of Traditional Chinese Medicine (SHUTCM); Jianhua Yu, OSU; Christopher P. Jaroniec, SHUTCM; Zhenguo Liu, MU; Xiongbin Lu, Indiana University (IU); and Xiaodong Li, UVA.

This work was partially supported by grants from the American Cancer Society, the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation, and the National Natural Science Foundation of China.

 

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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 Researchers Create Super Wood Stronger Than Most Metals

February 8, 2018
Contacts: 

Martha Heil, 301-405-0876
Lee Tune, 301-405-4679

COLLEGE PARK, Md. -- Engineers at the University of Maryland have found a way to make wood more than ten times times stronger and tougher than before, creating a natural substance that is stronger than many titanium alloys.

UMD professors Liangbing Hu and Teng Li each holding a block of wood“This new way to treat wood makes it twelve times stronger than natural wood and ten times tougher,” said Liangbing Hu, the leader of the team that did the research, published in the journal Nature. “This could be a competitor to steel or even titanium alloys, it is so strong and durable. It’s also comparable to carbon fiber, but much less expensive.” Hu is an associate professor of materials science and engineering and a member of the Maryland Energy Innovation Institute.

“It is both strong and tough, which is a combination not usually found in nature,” said Teng Li, the co-leader of the team and the Samuel P. Langley Professor of mechanical engineering at the University of Maryland. His team measured the dense wood’s mechanical properties.  “It is as strong as steel, but six times lighter. It takes 10 times more energy to fracture than natural wood. It can even be bent and molded at the beginning of the process.”

The team’s process begins by removing the wood’s lignin, the part of the wood that makes it both rigid and brown in color. Then it is compressed under mild heat, at about 150 F. This causes the cellulose fibers to become very tightly packed. Any defects like holes or knots are crushed together.  The treatment process was extended a little further with a coat of paint.

The scientists found that the wood’s fibers are pressed together so tightly that they can form strong hydrogen bonds, like a crowd of people who can’t budge – who are also holding hands. The compression makes the wood five times thinner than its original size.

magnified image of untreated wood

magnified image of treated wood

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The team tested their new wood material and natural wood by shooting bullet-like projectiles at it. The projectile blew straight through the natural wood. The fully treated wood stopped the projectile partway through.

“Soft woods like pine or balsa, which grow fast and are more environmentally friendly, could replace slower-growing but denser woods like teak, in furniture or buildings,” Hu said.

“The paper provides a highly promising route to the design of light weight high performance structural materials, with tremendous potential for a broad range of applications where high strength, large toughness and superior ballistic resistance are desired, “ said Dr. Huajian Gao, a professor at Brown University, who was not involved in the study. “It is particularly exciting to note that the method is versatile for various species of wood and fairly easy to implement.”

“This kind of wood could be used in cars, airplanes, buildings – any application where steel is used,” Hu said.

“The two-step process reported in this paper achieves exceptionally high strength, much beyond what [is] reported in the literature,” said Dr. Zhigang Suo, a professor of mechanics and materials at Harvard University, also not involved with the study. “Given the abundance of wood, as well as other cellulose-rich plants, this paper inspires imagination.”

“The most outstanding observation, in my view, is the existence of a limiting concentration of lignin, the glue between wood cells, to maximize the mechanical performance of the densified wood. Too little or too much removal lower the strength compared to a maximum value achieved at intermediate or partial lignin removal. This reveals the subtle balance between hydrogen bonding and the adhesion imparted by such polyphenolic compound. Moreover, of outstanding interest, is the fact that that wood densification leads to both, increased strength and toughness, two properties that usually offset each other,” said Orlando J. Rojas, a professor at Aalto University in Finland.

Hu’s research has explored the capacities of wood’s natural nanotechnology. They previously made a range of emerging technologies out of nanocellulose related materials: (1) super clear paper for replacing plastic; (2) photonic paper for improving solar cell efficiency by 30%; (3) a battery and a supercapacitor out of wood; (4) a battery from a leaf; (5) transparent wood for energy efficient buildings; (6) solar water desalination for drinking and specifically filtering out toxic dyes. These wood-based emerging technologies are being commercialized through a UMD spinoff company, Inventwood LLC. 

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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.


Image: Liangbing Hu (left) holds a block of wood transformed by a new process to become stronger than rivals titanium & tougher than steel. Teng Li (right) holds an untreated block of the same wood. Image Credit: University of Maryland.

Image: Magnified images of (1) untreated wood and (2) the same wood treated by a new process invented by engineers at the University of Maryland that compresses the natural structures of wood into a new material five times thinner. Image Credit: University of Maryland.

 

UMD VP of Student Affairs to Receive National Award from NASPA

February 7, 2018
Contacts: 

UMD: Katie Lawson, 301-405-4622

NASPA: Stephanie Rizk, 202-719-1185

COLLEGE PARK, Md. — The national organization for student affairs administrators in higher education, NASPA, recognized Linda Clement, University of Maryland vice president for student affairs, as the recipient of the 2018 Scott Goodnight Award for Outstanding Performance as a Dean.

Photo of Linda Clement in bookstore with students

Named for NASPA’s founding chair of the Board of Directors (1919-1920) and former dean of men at the University of Wisconsin, the award is presented to a dean or senior student affairs officer who has demonstrated sustained professional achievement in student affairs work, innovative response in meeting students' varied and emerging needs, effectiveness in developing staff, and leadership in community and college or university affairs. 

"I am thrilled and deeply honored to receive this award,”  said Clement. “I am truly humbled to join a list of student affairs professionals who have been recognized for their passion, enthusiasm, and ability to engage and mentor students.”

Clement joined UMD in 1974 as a staff member in the departments of Resident Life and Orientation. She also held positions in Undergraduate Admissions and Academic Affairs, and served as the President’s chief of staff before assuming her current position in the Division of Student Affairs in 2001. In her role, Clement oversees 14 departments, 2,000 employees, 48 percent of the campus land and space and a $200 million budget. She is also an affiliate associate professor in the Department of Counseling, Higher Education and Special Education, where she has taught and advises masters and doctoral students.  

NASPA will honor Clement in March at their annual conference in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  

The Scott Goodnight Award is one of numerous recognitions Clement has earned during her professional career at UMD. Other awards include Outstanding Woman of the Year, Greek Advisor of the Year, Black Faculty and Staff Association Award for Student Diversity Initiatives, and the Thomas Magoon Distinguished Alumni Award from the Counseling and Personnel Services Department in College of Education.  

Clement earned her B.A. from the State University of New York-Oswego, her M.A. from Michigan State University, and her Ph.D. from the University of Maryland.  

 

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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 NASPA 

NASPA is the leading association for the advancement, health, and sustainability of the student affairs profession. Our work provides high-quality professional development, advocacy, and research for 15,000 members in all 50 states, 25 countries, and 8 U.S. territories.

UMD Joins Top Research Universities to Form International Coalition to Accelerate Local Climate Action

February 6, 2018
Contacts: 

Natifia Mullings, 301-405-4076

COLLEGE PARK, Md-- The University of Maryland today announced it has joined 12 other research universities across North America in the University Climate Change Coalition, UC3, a group committed to leveraging their research and resources to help communities accelerate climate action. 

Launched on February 6 at the 2018 Second Nature Higher Education Climate Leadership Summit in Tempe, Arizona, UC3 members from across the U.S., Canada and Mexico have committed to mobilize their resources and expertise to help businesses, cities and states achieve their climate goals through various activities, including: 

  • Cross-sector forums: Every UC3 institution will convene a climate change forum in 2018 to bring together community and business leaders, elected officials and other local stakeholders. Meetings will be tailored to meet local and regional objectives shared across sectors and will aim to speed the implementation of research-driven climate policies and solutions. 
  • Coalition climate mitigation and adaptation report: A coalition-wide report, to be released in late 2018, will synthesize the best practices, policies and recommendations from all UC3 forums into a framework for continued progress on climate change goals across the nation and the world. 

“As consumers, grassroots organizations, communities, businesses and states all have the power and responsibility to make a difference on climate change,” said University of Maryland President Wallace D. Loh. “We and other research universities are increasing sustainability on our campuses, and using scientific and policy expertise to assist communities. UC3 will extend this impact.”

All UC3 members have already pledged to reduce their institutional carbon footprints, with commitments ranging from making more climate-friendly investments to becoming operationally carbon neutral. 

UMD is working to achieve a 50 percent reduction in carbon emissions (from 2005 levels) by 2020 and a 60 percent reduction by 2025. The university is dedicated to achieving carbon neutrality for all scopes of emissions by 2050 and will make major updates to its Climate Action Plan at least every five years to include strategies that are based on the best knowledge and technology available at that time.

In addition to UMD, other coalition members are Arizona State University, California Institute of Technology, Instituto Tecnológico y de Estudios Superiores de Monterrey, Ohio State University, the State University of New York (SUNY) system, La Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, University of British Columbia, the University of California system, University of Colorado, Boulder, University of New Mexico, University of Toronto, and University of Washington.

UC3 members will operate in close partnership with Second Nature’s Climate Leadership Network, a group of hundreds of colleges and universities that have committed to taking action on climate. 

In 2016, the U.S.-based members of the UC3 coalition together performed about one-quarter of the environmental science research conducted by all U.S. institutions, according to data collected by the National Science Foundation. From 2012 to 2017, researchers at UC3 member institutions were responsible for 48,518 publications on climate science-related topics, including environmental science, agricultural and biological sciences, energy, engineering, earth and planetary sciences, and more.

“Research universities play an important role in creating new knowledge, convening thought leadership, and serving as long-term community members. By applying these strengths to locally relevant climate challenges, we see transformative potential for accelerating climate solutions in these locations in a way that couldn’t happen if the institutions and sectors continued to act on their own,” said Timothy Carter, president of Second Nature.

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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 Second Nature

Second Nature is committed to accelerating climate action in, and through, higher education. We do this by mobilizing a diverse array of higher education institutions to act on bold climate commitments, to scale campus climate initiatives, and to create innovative climate solutions. We align, amplify, and bridge the sector’s efforts with other global leaders to advance urgent climate priorities. 

 

UMD Welcomes Global Cybersecurity Firm BlueVoyant to Discovery District

February 2, 2018
Contacts: 

Jessica Jennings, 301-405-4618

COLLEGE PARK, Md. – BlueVoyant, a global cybersecurity firm, today announced plans to establish a Global Cyber Analytics Center in the University of Maryland’s Discovery District in early 2018. Currently operating out of a temporary site in College Park, the company will employ 25 highly-skilled analysts and data scientists and plans to add more team members with the move to the new facility. 

The center’s permanent location will be in the StartupUMD@Diamondback Garage, behind The Hotel at the University of Maryland, which includes dedicated space for private sector companies as well as UMD entrepreneurial programs. BlueVoyant is the second company to be announced as locating in the StartupUMD@Diamondback Garage, joining Capital One. 

“The Hotel at UMD is an important mixed-use development that serves as an anchor to the university’s Discovery District,” said Ken Ulman, chief strategy officer for the University of Maryland. “Companies like BlueVoyant serve as a catalyst in strengthening our innovation ecosystem and surrounding Greater College Park community.”

“We are very pleased that BlueVoyant chose to bring its Global Cyber Analytics Center to Maryland,” said Governor Larry Hogan. “We lead the nation in cyber innovation, and here BlueVoyant will find the talent, the resources, the quality of life, and the business-friendly environment to help them succeed here in our great state.”

The new center will analyze internet traffic data as well as insights on dark web activity to help defend companies against external cybersecurity threats. BlueVoyant’s tools and capabilities enable companies to predict, detect, and respond to known and emerging cybersecurity threats well outside of their own systems. The company expects to launch its new generation of commercial products this year.

“We chose this location for the center because of its proximity to the University of Maryland and its talent base of students and individuals with government and private-sector experience, as well as the chance to be a part of the College Park growth plan,” said Dan Ennis, head of threat intelligence and operations for BlueVoyant. “The University of Maryland has made a conscious effort to develop cybersecurity talent, and we’re excited to partner with them on talent development, cybersecurity, and large-scale data analysis.”

What People are Saying About BlueVoyant’s Move to the Discovery District

“Opening the Global Cyber Analytics Center is an important step to enable BlueVoyant to provide uniquely comprehensive threat intelligence to our customers,” said BlueVoyant CEO Jim Rosenthal. 

“BlueVoyant’s decision to open its Global Cyber Analytics Center in Maryland is another great example of the environment we’ve created over the past three years,” said Maryland Commerce Secretary Mike Gill. “In Maryland, innovative companies can grow, thrive, and create the jobs of tomorrow. BlueVoyant joins our state’s vibrant cyber sector, leading the nation’s efforts to protect the digital network.”

“We welcome BlueVoyant and its employees to one of the most vibrant economic centers in the entire United States – Prince George’s County, Maryland,” said County Executive Rushern L. Baker III. “The use of our $50 Million EDI Fund to support a UMD-connected cybersecurity startup represents the precise model that was put in place to propel Prince George’s County to its current position as the #1 county in Maryland and one of the top 25 counties in the nation for job growth.”

“From our homeownership program, participation in the RISE zone, and continued collaboration with the University, I am proud to see the City of College Park engaged in efforts that attract new businesses, new residents, and strengthen our surrounding neighborhoods,” said Mayor Patrick Wojahn. “We are thrilled to welcome BlueVoyant to College Park.” 

 

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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 BlueVoyant
Founded by CEO Jim Rosenthal, former COO at Morgan Stanley, and Executive Chairman Tom Glocer, former CEO at Thomson Reuters, BlueVoyant is a provider of Advanced Threat Intelligence, Managed Security Services, and Cyber Investigations and Response services with offices in New York, the Washington D.C. area, London, and Tel Aviv. More information on BlueVoyant can be found online at www.bluevoyant.com.

 

UMD Announces Partnership with The Haven at College

February 2, 2018
Contacts: 

Natifia Mullings, 301-405-4076

COLLEGE PARK, Md.— The University of Maryland has announced a partnership with The Haven at College to design and implement additional programs to support students in recovery from addiction. UMD and The Haven, a national provider of on-campus addiction treatment and recovery support services, will work together to launch designated housing for students in recovery and an outpatient center that offers a supportive residential environment with specialized programming.

The self-sustaining recovery house and center will be located off-campus, and will provide students with services to help them achieve and maintain sobriety while pursuing their degrees. This includes individual counseling, group therapy, accountability programs, mentoring and monitoring programs, and community peer-support meetings and events. In addition, the outpatient center will offer evidence-based recovery treatment and services to address substance abuse in a safe and relatable space, helping students maintain an active academic and social life.

The recovery house is still in its early planning stages, with an anticipated opening date of fall 2018.  

“I’m happy that we’ve been able to develop this partnership with The Haven at College,” said David McBride, director, University of Maryland Health Center. “In speaking with other universities who have partnered with them, we were made aware of their strong track record in helping college students in recovery. A visit to the center in Philadelphia last year was eye opening, and I feel great about the collaborative process that we’ve used to arrive at this relationship.”

The Haven at College is committed to creating peer-led, clinically supervised residential communities “where students help each other navigate early sobriety, identifying with each other’s challenges and sharing successes.” The organization has experience in establishing and operating recovery residences and outpatient centers, with haven residencies at five universities across the country. Through their partnerships, The Haven leases the property, hires staff, and rents directly to students interested in recovery housing.

"The Haven is delighted to partner with the University of Maryland to provide support for students in and seeking recovery from substance use issues," said Holly Sherman, co-founder of The Haven at College. "We are excited about collaborating with students and administrators to support the "Terps for Recovery" community, provide outpatient treatment to those who need it, and cultivate a network of peer mentors who lead by example as we smash the stigma of addiction and encourage more students and families to reach out if they need help." 

The collaboration between UMD and The Haven began in September 2016 when the Division of Student Affairs at UMD, prompted by outreach from students struggling with addiction and their families, engaged Recovery Grads, LLC, to provide recommendations about opportunities to improve its services to students in recovery.

"We are committed to the health and safety of our students," said Mary Hummel, assistant vice president, Student Affairs at UMD. "We value the input of our community, as we continue to develop and implement services and resources that meet the needs of our students, and support health lifestyles and decision making."

Establishing a recovery house at UMD will involve close collaboration with the University Health Center, Counseling Center, Department of Resident Life, Office of Parent and Family Affairs, and the Office of the Vice President for Student Affairs, as well current students and their parents.  

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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.

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