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.

Research Compliance Education Sessions

Want to learn more about UMBC’s research compliance program? Have a burning question about regulations? Need an “experienced” eye to review an application before submitted, for example, to the IRB? Unsure if your investigation requires review for conflicts of interest or use of controlled materials or data?

Come join your Office of Research Protections and Compliance (ORPC) colleagues on Wednesdays during this semester over in bwTech North (the Research Park) to discuss and answer your questions. A complete schedule of topic, days and times, registration and directions can be found here.

Questions? Please contact the ORPC at 5-2737 or

Safety Workshop for Researchers Traveling Abroad (8/26)

Do you take your personal or UMBC issued electronics (laptops, telephones, tablets) when traveling? Have you been invited to lecture or collaborate with a university outside the US? What protections should you follow?

Come meet and listen to an expert from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) to discuss general awareness and travel precautions to take when traveling abroad to protect you and your research. The workshop will be held on August 26, 2014 from 11 A.M.- 12.30 P.M. in bwtech@UMBC North, Suite 310. Registration ends August 20, 2014.

Click here to register and learn more.

UMBC Technology Catalyst Fund Request For Proposals

Need support to advance an idea?

The UMBC Office of Technology Development (OTD), under the Office of the Vice President for Research, is happy to announce a new initiative, the UMBC Technology Catalyst Fund, which is designed to advance innovations originating from UMBC research to more commercially viable technologies.

UMBC plans to make several awards up to $25,000. Awards will be for a six- to twelve- month period. No overhead will apply.

All UMBC members with Principal Investigator status are eligible to apply as long as the technology to be developed has been previously disclosed to OTD.

The final deadline for proposal submissions is Tuesday, September 30, 2014. Please be advised that several preliminary steps must be completed prior to final submission and applicants are advised to contact OTD at least 3 weeks in advance of the deadline.

Interested applicants should contact Wendy Martin, Director, OTD at

UMBC Co-Hosts NIH Regional Seminar

UMBC Research Poster at NIH June 2014 - 2

Tina Stanger, Deborah Waters, Dean Drake, and Tim Sparklin

UMBC joined the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and Towson University in co-hosting the 2014 Regional Seminar on Program Funding and Grants Administration on June 25-27, 2014.

The seminar is intended to demystify the NIH application and review process, clarify federal regulations and policies, and highlight current areas of special interest for research administrators, graduate students and new investigators. Over 800 participants from across the nation and from a variety of research institutes attended the seminar.

“We are delighted that UMBC was invited to co-host this Regional NIH Seminar,” says Karl Steiner, Vice President for Research at UMBC. “The exposure of our colleagues to the latest information directly from NIH is invaluable, and it gave our campus a chance to share with other participants the exciting research activities underway at UMBC.”

Tom Cronin, Biology, in WIRED

What’s the Absurd Creature of the Week in WIRED science? Why it’s none other than one of biologist Tom Cronin’s favorite sea critters, the mantis shrimp. And the eyes of these creatures are Cronin’s specialty and that’s where he comes into the article.

“As with bees or flies or crabs, they are compound eyes, but unlike those creatures, mantis shrimp “have a very unusual adaptation in that multiple parts of the same eye view the same point in space,” said biologist Tom Cronin of the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, “which is sort of like having multiple eyes in one, in a way.” Whereas we use two eyes to judge distance, mantis shrimp can do that with a single eye.”

“On top of that, some mantis shrimp can see a variety of colors in ultraviolet, so “they’re seeing colors that no other animal can see, in a sense,” said Cronin. “Basically color is a property of the nervous system so it’s not really present in the real world, but they can see aspects of the ultraviolet that nothing else can see.”

There are some neat photos with the article and some videos. Well worth a read.

Stuart Schwartz, CUERE, on the Marc Steiner Show

On December 17, Stuart Schwartz, a senior research scientist at the Center for Urban Environmental Research and Education (CUERE) was a guest on the Marc Steiner Show.

Schwartz discussed his latest research which uses a kind of Asian radish

“This radish can grow to the size of something between a fat carrot and an egg plant,” says Schwartz to Steiner.

“It’s able to penetrate pretty compacted soils,” adds Schwartz.

And says Schwartz, “We’ve been looking at compacted soils in Baltimore because that creates a lot of runoff.”

Planting these radishes on vacant lots, says Schwartz, is a natural low cost way to address run off problem without having to bring in bulldozers to de-compact the soil.

Find out how the radishes help control run off.


Gymama Slaughter, CSEE, Receives NSF CAREER Award

The National Science Foundation (NSF) announced on December 11, 2013 that Gymama Slaughter, an assistant professor of computer science and electrical engineering (CSEE), received an NSF CAREER Award.

NSF notes, “The Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Program is a Foundation-wide activity that offers the National Science Foundation’s most prestigious awards in support of junior faculty who exemplify the role of teacher-scholars through outstanding research, excellent education and the integration of education and research within the context of the mission of their organizations.”

“We are delighted about this NSF CAREER Award to Dr. Slaughter,” says Dr. Karl Steiner, Vice President for Research at UMBC. “This prestigious award recognizes Dr. Slaughter’s rapidly growing reputation as a productive and promising researcher and teacher and it also reflects well on UMBC’s ability to attract and nurture top faculty talent as embodied by Dr. Slaughter.”

Slaughter will use the $400,000 award to “fabricate and characterize a self-powered biosensing microsystem that simultaneously generates bioelectricity and monitors glucose.”

Read more about Gymama Slaughter.


Amy Hurst, Information Systems, Collaborates on $3.7 million project

Amy Hurst, Collaborates on Multi-University Project To Improve Web and Cloud Computing Accessibility

Will Help People With Disabilities Take Full Advantage of Online Resources

“The researchers are working on methods for easily modifying software to meet the needs of people with disabilities. Researchers will develop ways to make it easier for people with disabilities to log on to the Web, make user interfaces more accessible, and change the presentation of information on the Web to streamline experiences for people with disabilities, caregivers and service providers. The researchers also will look for ways to leverage help from other people on the Web — crowdsourcing — to increase accessibility for all.

“Authentication or logging into a service is an integral yet mundane part of peoples’ Internet experience,” said Yang Wang, assistant professor at the School of Information Studies at Syracuse. “However, most existing authentication schemes tend to be difficult to use for people with disabilities. We’re very excited about this opportunity to explore new authentication schemes that can provide a much better experience for people with disability.”

The team also will explore ways to dynamically change pointing and clicking actions on Web pages. “For example, if an individual is having difficulty smoothly controlling a mouse, we could detect this and smooth their input,” said Amy Hurst, assistant professor of human-centered computing in the Information Systems Department at UMBC.”

Read the full article 


CUERE Spring 2013 Seminar Series

The Center for Urban Environmental Research and Education’s (CUERE) weekly seminar series begins Friday, March 8.

All seminars will take place on Fridays at 2 pm in the Technology Research Center, room 206, and continue through May 10. All lectures are free and open to the public. View the entire schedule of speakers at the CUERE website: