17th Annual Undergraduate Research Symposium in the Chemical and Biological Sciences (Abstract Due 9/25)

This Symposium seeks to display the diverse array of student-committed endeavors and foster the communication of their relevant novel results and concepts. The event exclusively features undergraduate research in all areas of chemistry, biology and biochemistry with the understanding that progress at the chemical and biological interface requires cross-fertilization from the broadest possible spectrum of these disciplines.

The Symposium invites mentor-approved contributions from undergraduates investigating any aspect of chemistry, biology, and biochemistry. These advances will be disseminated in a daylong event that typically offers nearly 200 student contributions and gathers more than 400 beginning scientists, mentors, and other guests. The event will feature two poster sessions with posters judged by panels of participating mentors and other qualified attendees. Judges will rank first and second place posters in each category with non-financial awards presented at the event’s end.

The event is free, but registration is required. Light-fare refreshments and lunch will be provided. Faculty mentors and qualified attendees are encouraged to support this exceptional undergraduate experience by volunteering to serve as poster session judges.

Abstract Submission Deadline: Midnight EST, Thursday, September 25, 2014

Advanced Registration Deadline: Midnight EST, Wednesday, October 22, 2014

CNMS Welcomes Jacinta D. Kelly as Assistant Dean of Financial Management

The College of Natural and Mathematical Sciences is pleased to announce the appointment of Jacinta D. Kelly as Assistant Dean of Financial Management effective July 28, 2014. Kelly comes from the National Labor College (Silver Spring, MD), where she served as the Director of Finance. Previously, she held the positions of Senior Budget Analyst at The George Washington University and Associate Fiscal Officer at the National Academy of Sciences.

In addition to her financial management expertise and experience, Kelly has a Master of Public Administration (Southeastern University), Master of Forensic Sciences (The George Washington University), and a Bachelor of Arts, Biology (Hood College).

As an Assistant Dean in the College of Natural and Mathematical Sciences, Kelly will support the Dean in the financial management of the college, its departments, and affiliated units. Also, she will direct and oversee the formation and implementation of CNMS Business Central.

CNMS Hosts 17th Annual SURF

SURF2014-9148The College of Natural and Mathematical Sciences hosted the 17th annual Summer Undergraduate Research Fest (SURF) on Wednesday, August 6.

Over 200 students gave oral and poster presentations, explaining the results of their summer research projects. Many of the students participated in specialized programs to complete their research, including with the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI), High Performance Computing (HPC) Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) Site at UMBC, Summer Biomedical Training Program, and MARC U*STAR program. SURF also featured a workshop to help more undergraduates gain interest in pursuing research opportunities.

SURF concluded by recognizing the commitment of the faculty, staff and graduate student mentors who supported the undergraduate research projects.

Meyerhoff Expansion Program: Nature Jobs

Virginia Gewin writes in Nature, about diversity in science and the problems facing minorities in science. Gewin writes that, Neil deGrasse Tyson has suggested that the low numbers of minorities and women in the US science workforce are due in large part to a lack of equal access to opportunities for entering that workforce.

“To solve that problem, universities are now looking to the example of the Meyerhoff Scholars Program at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC). It has crafted a formula for mentoring students from minority groups underrepresented in the sciences and helping to guide them into science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) careers. And that formula seems to work — African American Meyerhoff scholars are five times more likely than their counterparts at other US universities to pursue STEM PhDs (K. I. Maton et alMt Sinai J. Med. 79, 610–623; 2012).”

“Now, with US$7.75 million in funding from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI), Pennsylvania State University (Penn State) in University Park and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC) are trying to replicate the programme, which for two and a half decades has led the nation in the number of its minority graduates who go on to earn STEM PhDs.”

Read the article

Yonathan Zohar, NPR’s Morning Edition, Father of Bluefin Tuna

Yonathan Zohar, professor of marine biotechnology, was recently featured on NPR’s Morning Edition for his success in keeping, as Dan Charles of NPR says, “the tiger of the ocean,” bluefin tuna larvae alive for 10 days.

“It’s amazing. We cannot stop looking at them! We are here around the clock and we are looking at them, because it is so beautiful,” says Yonathan Zohar.

Charles says, “The fish can grow to 1,000 pounds. They can swim up to 45 miles per hour and cross entire oceans.”

To learn more about this remarkable research:

Listen to the story

Visual Ecology, Tom Cronin

A new book written by Tom Cronin and colleagues — the publisher’s note says:

“Visual ecology is the study of how animals use visual systems to meet their ecological needs, how these systems have evolved, and how they are specialized for particular visual tasks. Visual Ecology provides the first up-to-date synthesis of the field to appear in more than three decades. Featuring some 225 illustrations, including more than 140 in color, spread throughout the text, this comprehensive and accessible book begins by discussing the basic properties of light and the optical environment. It then looks at how photoreceptors intercept light and convert it to usable biological signals, how the pigments and cells of vision vary among animals, and how the properties of these components affect a given receptor’s sensitivity to light. The book goes on to examine how eyes and photoreceptors become specialized for an array of visual tasks, such as navigation, evading prey, mate choice, and communication.”

LA Times: Mantis shrimp wear tinted shades to see UV light, Tom Cronin and Michael Bok

“When you look at a mantis shrimp, you see a vivid lobster-like crustacean whose forearms can strike with the force of a .22-caliber bullet. But when a mantis shrimp looks at you, we have no idea what it sees. That’s because the mantis shrimp possesses one of the most complex eyeballs on the planet, an organ that allows it to perceive a rainbow of colors in both the visible and ultraviolet spectrum without the massive brainpower required for human vision,” so writes Julia Rosen of the Los Angeles Times.

Rosen’s story, Mantis shrimp wear tinted shades to see UV light, tells of Tom Cronin and Michael Bok’s paper. Cronin is a professor of biology and Bok a graduate student who has now moved on to a post doc at Lund University.

The paper, which was recently published in the journal, Current Biology, reported that, “that that mantis shrimp use a set of filters to separate ultraviolet light into discrete colors that get picked up by the animals’ photoreceptors.”