Vanderlei Martins on the Value of Cube Satellites

CubeSatVanderlei Martins, a professor of physics and researcher with the Joint Center for Earth Systems Technology (JCET) joined Sheilah Kast on Maryland Morning to discuss his cube satellite or CubeSat project. Martins is working with students, other professors and NASA scientists to build the backpack-sized satellite. Martins plans to use his tiny satellite to study the role of aerosols, particles in the atmosphere, in cloud formation. Aerosols, he says, are essential for forming clouds. If there weren’t any aerosols there wouldn’t be any clouds.

Listen to the program


Biology and Batteries

In the quest to make a better battery Evgenia Barannikova, a graduate student at UMBC in the department of chemistry and biochemistry, has isolated a peptide, a small sequence of amino acids, which binds to lithium manganese nickel oxide (LMNO), a material that can be used to make high performance batteries.


“Biology provides several tools for us to solve important problems,” said Evgenia Barannikova, a graduate student at UMBC. Barannikova works in the lab of Mark Allen and studies how biological molecules in general can improve the properties of  in batteries. “By mimicking biological processes we can find the better solution,” she told

Read more at: 
Scientific American

U.S. Secretary of Energy, Ernest Moniz, Visits UMBC

Last week the U.S. Secretary of Energy, Ernest Moniz, visited UMBC to meet with President Hrabowski, faculty and students.

WBAL’s Tim Tooten covered the visit. Tooten reported that Moniz explained that there was a growing need for underrepresented minorities to help fill the energy-related jobs of the future.

Sec_Energy_Visit14-4127Moniz first met with a group of students from UMBC’s prestigious Meyerhoff Scholars program. Students said that Moniz’s remarks made a big impact on them.

“I think I am going to go and look more into what energy can do and what I can do in research for energy,” Aida Berhane ’17, chemical engineering, told Tooten.

“To see the amount of funding available for the future of energy and to see someone like him kind of taking charge, not supporting one particular project, but a variety of different energy-related fields, it was nice to see,”Stephen Vicchio ’15, chemical engineering.

But the visit was not just limited to students. Faculty and administrators met with the Secretary as well.

“The Secretary provided an insightful picture of the breadth and scope of the Department of Energy and its impact on scientific research, development, and technology. His inspirational approach highlighted many of the opportunities afforded by the DOE that will indeed benefit our students and faculty at UMBC,” said William LaCourse, Dean of the College and Natural Mathematical Sciences.

“It was a very successful conversation,” added Karl Steiner, Vice President for Research. “It allowed us to share with the Secretary the breadth of our expertise in energy research.”

Faculty included in the visit were: Belay Demoz, Director for the Joint Center for Earth Systems Technology (JCET); Ruben Delgado, Assistant Research Scientist, JCET; Andrei Draganescu, Associate Professor, Mathematics and Statistics; Tinoosh Mohsenin, Assistant Professor, Computer Science and Electrical Engineering; Jeffrey Gardner, Assistant Professor, Biological Sciences; and Mark Allen, Assistant Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry.

UMBC Undergraduate Research Conference a Success

UMBC held its 17th annual undergraduate research symposium on October 25.
This event was open to students from outside UMBC, with participants coming from Maryland universities and colleges, as well as participants coming from as far away as Massachusetts and Alabama.
The conference was by all accounts a tremendous success with 500 participants from 16 states.

17th Annual Undergraduate Research Symposium in the Chemical and Biological Sciences (Register by 10/22)

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.