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October 23, 2014

Ph.D. Dissertation Defense Announcement - Swarnalatha Balasubramanian - Oct. 30


Date: Thursday, October 30, 2014
Time: 1:00pm - 2:00pm
Location: TRC 206

Light refreshments will be served at 12:45 am


Dissertation title: Astrocyte Response to 3D Microenvironments


Abstract:

Nerve injuries can be catastrophic as neurons in the adult human do not divide; therefore, neurons lost due to injury cannot be replaced by innate healing processes. Current therapeutic treatments to repair traumatic brain injury consist of rehabilitative, cellular and molecular therapies. However, these approaches target only some aspects of the injury and are not completely restorative. We propose a change in direction: to induce nerve regeneration, we focus on astrocytes, support cells in the central nervous system (CNS). We aim to harness immature astrocytes to recapitulate cues that were present in the developing brain but disrupted or lost in the adult brain injury environment.

We characterized newborn mouse astrocytes in two conditions, traditional two-dimensional glass coverslips and three-dimensional (3D) hydrogels. We present quantitative data supporting that 3D culture is critical for sustaining the heterogeneity of astrocytes. We also report that fibroblast growth factor induced astrocytes encapsulated in 3D hydrogels can recapitulate developmental cues and modify the hydrogel into an environment essential for neurite outgrowth and guidance. This work is a major step towards understanding key parameters that guide astrocyte development and nerve regeneration and provides a foundation to design improved strategies for CNS injury and neurodegenerative disorders.

Grad student Adil Zuber featured on The Helix

Congratulations to PhD student Adil Zuber, who is featured on myUMBC blog The Helix. Zuber is involved in therapeutic protein research in the Frey lab at TRC. He is working on a “factory-in-a-shoebox” device that could revolutionize access to protein-based medications in remote or war-torn locales.

His feature can be found here: http://my.umbc.edu/groups/helix/news/47510

October 14, 2014

Nov. 13: AEESP Distinguished Lecture Series, co-hosted by UMBC

2014 AEESP Distinguished Lecture Series with Dr. Bruce E. Logan , Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Penn State University, PA, USA.

Date: Thursday, November 13, 2014
Time: 12pm
Location: Howard University (tbd)


Lecture 1: Microbial Fuel Technologies for Renewable Power and Biofuels Production From Waste Biomass

The ability of certain microorganisms to transfer electrons outside the cell has created opportunities for new methods of renewable energy generation based on microbial fuel cells (MFCs) that can be used to produce electrical power, microbial electrolysis cells (MECs) for transforming biologically generated electrical current into transportable fuels such as hydrogen and methane gases, as well as other devices to desalinate water or capture phosphorus. In this presentation, Dr. Logan will summarize key findings in the electromicrobiological studies of the exoelectrogenic microorganisms and communities that produce electrical current, and the electrotrophic and methanogenic communities that are used to produce hydrogen and methane gases. Recent advances will be highlighted on materials and architectures that are being developed to make these different types of METs more cost efficient, which are leading to them becoming commercially viable technologies.


Bruce Logan Professor Bruce E Logan is an Evan Pugh Professor, the Stan & Flora Kappe Professor of Environmental Engineering, and Director of the Engineering Energy & Environmental Institute at Penn State University. His current research efforts are in bioenergy production and the development of an energy sustainable water infrastructure. Dr. Logan has mentored over 110 graduate students and post docs, and is the author or co-author of over 380 refereed publications (h-index = 91) and several books. He is the founding Deputy Editor of the new ACS journal Environmental Science & Technology Letters, and a member of the US National Academy of Engineering (NAE), and a fellow of AAAS, the International Water Association (IWA), the Water Environment Federation (WEF), and the Association of Environmental Engineering & Science Professors (AEESP). Dr. Logan is a visiting professor at several universities including Newcastle University (England) and Tsinghua University (China), with ties to several other universities in Saudi Arabia, Belgium and China. He received his Ph.D. in 1986 from the University of California, Berkeley. Prior to joining the faculty at Penn State in 1997, he was on the faculty at the University of Arizona.


Website

For further information, please contact Kimberly Jones, kljones@howard.edu


October 10, 2014

Undergrad Kristina Higgins featured on UMBC Giving blog

Congratulations to Kristina Higgens, a chemical engineering major, whose Q&A with UMBC Giving was recently published on their blog. Kristina is a recipient of the Alumni Association Legacy Scholarship, and was asked to share her UMBC experience with donors and alumni. Her feature can be found here: http://bit.ly/1nfLUcF

September 30, 2014

CBEE students compete in national design competition


Congratulations to Elvis Andino, Trevor Needham, Eli Patmont, and James Sanders, who competed in the national student design competition at the Water Environment Federation Technical Exhibition and Conference (WEFTEC) in New Orleans, LA on September 28th. After winning the regional competition hosted by the Chesapeake Water Environment Association, the team was awarded a cash prize and travel scholarships to WEFTEC.

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September 25, 2014

Seminar: Dr. Corey Wilson (Yale University)

CBEE Seminar with Dr. Corey Wilson (Yale University), Assistant Professor of Chemical & Environmental Engineering, Biomedical Engineering & Molecular Biophysics & Biochemistry

Date: Monday, September 29
Time: 12pm
Location: ITE 104

Title: Investigating Protein Structure-Function Relationships via Rational Design

Abstract: The overarching goal of the research conducted in the Wilson Research Group is to establish an integrated experimental and computational framework to translate our understanding of the fundamental principles of biophysics and biochemistry (i.e., the physicochemical properties that confer function) into useful processes, devices, therapies, and diagnostics that will benefit society. To accomplish this the Wilson Research Group focuses on two Protein Engineering approaches: (i) computational protein design and (ii) optimized strategies in protein evolution. This research program is an integrated multidisciplinary initiative that includes applied mathematics, computer science, physical chemistry, experimental protein chemistry, biochemistry, cell biology, and molecular biophysics. In turn, our ability to engineer biological materials is a rigorous test of our understanding of the structure-function relationship—on multiple time and length scales. Accordingly, this research platform holds the promise of expanding our general knowledge with regard to protein folding, molecular interactions, signal transduction and enzyme-catalyzed reactions.

September 9, 2014

Miguel A. Acosta featured in North Carolina State University News

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Congratulations to Dr. Miguel A. Acosta, a graduate from our department's Ph.D. program, for being featured today within North Carolina State University’s newsletter. The showcase comes in a move to feature the university’s minority scientists in STEM fields and to motivate minority students to embark in scientific careers through the success of their peers. The article is available at the following link: http://news.ncsu.edu/2014/09/science-looks-like-miguel-acosta/

August 19, 2014

Lee Blaney wins MIPS research award

Lee Blaney, in partnership with Triea Systems, LLC, received a $250,000 research award from the Maryland Industrial Partnerships program and the Maryland Department of Natural Resources. With this award, Blaney’s team will optimize the recovery of phosphorus from animal manure produced in Maryland. The collaboration with Triea Systems will lead to development of a pilot-scale system to be used on Maryland farms. A press-release on the award is available at the following link: http://www.trieasystems.com/blog/triea-systems-and-umbc-receive-250k-grant-from-maryland-department-of-natural-resources-and-maryland-industrial-partnerships

Zachary Hopkins successfully defends MS

Congratulations to Zachary Hopkins (Blaney Lab) on the successful defense of his MS thesis, Transformation of UV-filters by ozone: Reaction kinetics and removal of UV absorbance. This fall, Zack will start a PhD program in Environmental Engineering at North Carolina State University.

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Ke He wins Best Poster Award at ACS

Congratulations to Ke He from the Blaney Lab for winning the Best Poster Award in the “Analytical Methods for Detecting and Prioritizing Contaminants of Concern” symposium at the fall 2014 American Chemical Society meeting in San Francisco, CA. His poster was titled, Determination of fluoroquinolone antibiotics in wastewater by solid-phase extraction high performance liquid chromatography with fluorescence detection.

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