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: http://www.umbc.edu/cuere/seminarSeries.html

Center for Aging Studies Researchers Present at GSA Conference

UMBC’s Center for Aging Studies (CAS) research team attended the Gerontological Society of America 65th Annual Scientific Meeting in San Diego, November 14-18. They joined 4,000 scholars from around the world to present symposia, papers and posters under the theme “Charting New Frontiers in Aging.”

CAS participants included Robert Rubinstein, Ann Christine Frankowski , Leslie Morgan, John Schumacher, Christine Mair, Angelica Herrera, Michael Brazda, Colleen Bennett, Laura Girling, Susan Hannum, Amanda Peeples, Mary Nemec, Amanda Mosby and Gina Hrybyk. Continue reading

UMBC Hosts Life Science Symposium (4/18)

UMBC presents the 15th annual Life Science Symposium on April 18 from 3:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.

William LaCourse, Interim Dean, College of Natural and Mathematical Sciences at
UMBC, will kick off the event which will feature UMBC faculty research posters and two guest speakers.

Charles Bieberich, professor of biological sciences at UMBC, will speak on Modeling Prostate Disease to Understand Mechanisms and Develop Therapeutics.

Martin Chalfie, Nobel Laureate and William R. Kenan, Jr. Professor of Biological Sciences at Columbia University, will speak on GFP: Lighting Up Life.

There will be a networking reception at 6:15 p.m. to wrap up the symposium.

C. Allen Bush, Chemistry and Biochemistry, in Science Studio

In Science Studio:

“Carbohydrates – Keith & Russ talk to C. Allen Bush, Professor of Biochemistry, University of Maryland, Baltimore County. Bush studies carbohydrates, and in this program he’ll explain how carbohydrates are crucial in cell interaction, and how they can be helpful in developing polysaccharide vaccines for bacterial diseases.”

Listen to the audio