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NASA Awards $36 Million to UMD for Earth Systems Study

December 14, 2012
Contacts: 

Ellen Ternes, 301-318-4208

 

Hurricane Sandy COLLEGE PARK, Md. – NASA has awarded a $36 million cooperative funding agreement to the University of Maryland to continue collaborative research in the field of earth systems science.

 

The five-year agreement funds an already established partnership between NASA’s Earth Sciences Division, located at the Goddard Space Flight Center (GFSC), and the university’s Earth System Science Interdisciplinary Center (ESSIC) to study and forecast impacts of the Earth’s connected systems on global and regional environment, weather and climate.

 

“With NASA’s space-based observations and the university’s research expertise in earth systems science, we can look at how the atmosphere, oceans, land surface and frozen regions interact and make predictions about future impacts,” says Tony Busalacchi, director of ESSIC and professor in the university’s Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Science.

 

The agreement will continue to give GFSC’s Earth Sciences Division access to ESSIC’s academic and research faculty, students  and its collaboration with NOAA, including ESSIC’s partnership with NOAA’s National Center for Weather and Climate Prediction in the University of Maryland M Square Research Park and the Cooperative Institute for Climate and Satellites (CICS).

 

Research to be funded by the agreement includes study of aerosols and human-generated pollutants that travel long distances through the atmosphere and oceans; how models and observations are being used together to investigate how the Chesapeake Bay breeze affects surface air pollution levels and deposits over the Chesapeake Bay watershed;  ways to improve drought monitoring; and real time analysis to detect falling snow on a variety of surfaces.

 

Other projects include an on-going activity to make a global flood and landslide technique available for decision-making to reduce disaster around the globe; and determining how satellite observations can better diagnose ground level air pollution.

 

“The interdisciplinary research embodied by this new cooperative agreement demonstrates how the NASA/Goddard-ESSIC-University of Maryland partnership is focused on delivering science in support of society,” says Busalacchi.

 

Over the past 15 years, the university has built on its long tradition of excellence in atmospheric, climate, biological and earth science to develop major partnerships with NASA, NOAA and other federal agencies in the areas of earth science, remote imaging, climate change and energy research, including the Joint Global Change Research Institute, a partnership between the university and the Department of Energy and the collaborative UMD initiative Climate Information: Responding to User Needs (CIRUN).

 




 

Arts and Humanities Dean Thornton Dill’s Term Extended

December 13, 2012
Contacts: 

Crystal Brown, 301-405-4618 or crystalb@umd.edu

Dean Thornton DillCOLLEGE PARK, Md. – Arts and Humanities Dean Bonnie Thornton Dill, who heads one of the University of Maryland’s largest colleges, will serve an additional three year term.  Originally appointed to serve through this June, her term will now extend through June 30, 2016.

“Dr. Thornton Dill has proven to be a strong and effective advocate for the arts and humanities, while at the same time, bringing an entrepreneurial and creative spirit to her college,” says University of Maryland Senior Vice President and Provost Mary Ann Rankin. “Bonnie has actively pursued new interdisciplinary research partnerships and grants, intensified innovative approaches to global engagement, stressed excellence through diversity, and expanded opportunities for students to apply their skills and knowledge to the solution of real-world problems.”

During their recent transition, Rankin and her predecessor, Ann Wylie, offered to extend the Dean’s two-year appointment to a full five-year term.

In her first full year leading Arts and Humanities, Dean Thornton Dill has shepherded 18 candidates through tenure and promotion, hired 20 new faculty members, presided over far-reaching leadership transitions, and worked to improve communication and cohesion.

“The skills we teach are the skills employers seek in the 21st century,” says Dean Thornton Dill, stressing the vital importance of the arts and humanities. “I like to remind people that a distinctive strength of the U.S. system of higher education has been the practice of educating all students broadly – teaching the ‘whole person.’”

 Thornton Dill is internationally recognized for her scholarship on race and gender, Black and Latina women in higher education, as well as issues such as work, family, and poverty. She led Women's Studies at Maryland to national prominence.  It is, for example, one of a select few universities in the United States to offer a doctoral degree in the field and serves as the base for the National Women's Studies Association and editorial home of the pioneering journal, Feminist Studies.

UMD's Chincoteague Hall Renovation Project Wins Gold LEED Certification

December 12, 2012
Contacts: 

Dave Ottalini 301-405-4076

By Eveyln Rabil

Video by Louie Dane

COLLEGE PARK, Md. - The Chincoteague Hall Renovation project at the University of Maryland has earned LEED Gold Certification through the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design program. Developed by the U.S. Green Building Council, the program is an internationally recognized green building certification system.

"This is a great example of renewing an aging building in a very sustainable and energy efficient way," says Associate Vice President for Facilities Management Carlo Colella. "We replaced old building systems, connected the facility to a district chilling and heating plant, improved ADA accessibility and updated building finishes."

Chincoteague Hall is the first LEED Gold Certified Renovation project on the College Park campus.  Formerly the home of the Philip Merrill College of Journalism, the 22,648 square foot  building is now home to a number of departments within the College of Behavioral and Social Sciences (BSOS) including the Sadat Chair for Peace and Development, Baha'i Chair for World Peace, the Center for International Development and Conflict Management, as well as faculty and graduate student offices.

"I am delighted by the certification at the gold level. I want to give congratulations to all those concerned with facilities in the college and university who contributed to this wonderful achievement," says BSOS Dean John Townshend.

"The accomplishment of earning LEED Gold Certification for the Chincoteague project is another milestone for the university as it learns how to best design, build and renovate buildings to strict environmental standards," says Scott Lupin, director of the university's Office of Sustainability.

Lupin says the rating system - once considered novel - has now become the standard for major building projects undertaken on campus.
"Facilities Management and other project stakeholders should be proud of this new addition to our growing list of green buildings," he says.

ABOUT LEED CERTIFICATION

LEED Certification provides building owners and operators with a framework for identifying and implementing practical and measurable green building design, construction, operations and maintenance solutions. LEED-certified buildings are designed to lower operating costs and increase asset value, reduce waste sent to landfills, conserve energy and water, be healthier and safer for occupants, reduce harmful greenhouse gas emissions and help organizations qualify for tax rebates, zoning allowances and other incentives.

Facilities Management staff involved in the Chincoteague Hall Renovation project included Mar Ossi, Paul McDonald, Greg Restivo and Skip Dean along with other members of the UMD Capital Projects team.

Innovative Drug Delivery System Wins Venture Fair at UMD Bioscience Research Day

December 11, 2012
Contacts: 

Ted Knight 301-405-3596

Researchers Silvia Muro, Rasa Ghaffarian Recognized for Innovative Technology

COLLEGE PARK, Md. - A pair of researchers were honored at the University of Maryland's annual Bioscience Research & Technology Review Day for their presentation of a novel drug delivery strategy that uses targeted carriers capable of crossing the gastrointestinal (GI) tract into the circulation. Dr. Silvia Muro (left),  Clark School of Engineering associate professor in the Fischell Department of Bioengineering (BioE) and Institute for Bioscience and Biotechnology Research, and her advisee, BioE graduate student Rasa Ghaffarian (right), won first place in the Professor Venture Fair at the 2012 Bioscience Research & Technology Review Day. (Photo by Loretta Kuo.)

Hosted by the Maryland Technology Enterprise Institute (Mtech), the university's Office of Technology Commercialization, and the College of Computer, Mathematical, and Natural Sciences, the annual Professor Venture Fair gives faculty inventors the opportunity to pitch their new technologies to a team of regional venture capitalists and entrepreneurs. The competition encourages scientists to consider the commercial viability of their work and challenges them to translate their ideas into a presentation for a general, non-technical audience.

Muro’s innovation uses the GI tract's built-in transportation system, the transepithelial pathway, to move orally administered therapeutic or diagnostic molecules into the bloodstream. The delivery process, which takes advantage of the natural behavior of the intestines' epithelial cells, is safe, fast, and efficient.

Oral administration of drugs and therapeutics is usually preferred due to its simplicity, low cost, and higher level of patient comfort and compliance. However, in many cases, only a fraction of the dose swallowed ever reaches its target due to the harsh environment of the digestive system. This is particularly true for biological treatments, such as vaccines or antitoxins, which cannot currently be administered orally. Muro’s group has been able to overcome this obstacle by strategically and effectively targeting biologicals to the GI epithelial cells to provide safe and speedy transport with no negative effect on GI permeability.

"We are proud to have this invention recognized in such a prestigious forum," says Muro. "It's a culmination of years of effort in what we believe to be a very important therapeutic intervention. There is no doubt that…this discovery will be able to enhance oral biological therapies as well as the safe targeting of drug delivery carriers.”

The technique, she adds, holds great potential as a general platform for gastrointestinal delivery into the circulation and for the treatment of gastrointestinal epithelial cells involved in infections, inflammatory conditions, and cancer. The delivery system also holds promise for other applications, including the oral delivery of therapeutics for lysosomal storage disorders and for Alzheimer’s disease, small molecular drugs for the treatment of genetic conditions, and treatments against inflammation, thrombosis and oxidative stress.

For more information, visit the following publication:
Rasa Ghaffarian, Tridib Bhowmick, and Silvia Muro. "Transport of nanocarriers across gastrointestinal epithelial cells by a new transcellular route induced by targeting ICAM-1," Journal of Controlled Release, 163(1):25-33 10 October 2012.

President Loh Announces Commission for UMD, Big Ten/CIC Integration

December 11, 2012
Contacts: 

Crystal Brown 301-405-4618 crystalb@umd.edu

College Park, Md. -- University of Maryland President Wallace D. Loh today announced the formation of the “President’s Commission on UMD and Big Ten/CIC Integration,” which will provide analysis and advise President Loh on the upcoming institution-wide integration with the Committee for Institutional Cooperation (CIC) and the Big Ten Conference. The announcement was made in advance of the university’s move to the Big Ten in 2013 and membership in the CIC, the nation’s premier higher education consortium of top-tier research institutions.

“Through the commission, my objective is to generate strategic insight into maximizing CIC and Big Ten membership across the campus – including advancing the university’s excellence in education, research and innovation; athletics; finance and business administration; and communications, fundraising and marketing,” said President Loh.  

The president’s announcement comes on the heels of UMD’s decision to accept an invitation to join the CIC, which includes Big Ten Conference members and the University of Chicago. Senior Vice President and Provost Mary Ann Rankin said that membership in the CIC marks a major leap forward for UMD’s students, faculty, researchers and staff and that “joining the CIC will provide significant opportunities for wide-ranging collaboration and will produce benefits for the entire campus.”

Examples of CIC opportunities include: shared library resources and digitization of library holdings; study abroad programs; summer research opportunities; traveling scholar programs for graduate students; leadership programs for faculty and professional staff; collaborative research projects; a high-speed network among CIC institutions; and group purchases of goods and services to reduce costs.

The commission will be guided by the commitment of the University and Intercollegiate Athletics (ICA) to the success of the university’s student-athletes, including ensuring that they are well supported to succeed in their studies and careers after graduation and that every sponsored team has the resources to compete successfully in the Big Ten and nationally.  

The work of the president’s commission will include a review of the operations and finances of ICA, which is a self-supporting enterprise. It will also review the teams eliminated last year due to budget deficits and recommend possible reinstatements and a potential timeline. A plan for ensuring the financial health of Maryland athletics for at least the next two decades will also be developed.

The commission also plans to examine the current ICA fundraising organization and recommend ways to elevate ICA development efforts to better support student-athletes. The commission will consider how the University of Maryland can use the Big Ten Network to tell the university’s story, in academics and athletics, to more than 70 million households in the U.S. and abroad.

The commission will submit its final recommendations to President Loh by June 30, 2013. 

UMD School of Public Policy Expert Talks Legalized Marijuana's Impact

December 11, 2012
Contacts: 

Jennifer Talhelm 301-405-4390

1st True Legalization in the World will Cause Prices to Drop, Use to Increase, Reuter says
 
MSPP logoCOLLEGE PARK, Md. – By approving referenda legalizing possession of small amounts of marijuana for recreation use and allowing the production and distribution of the drug, voters in Colorado and Washington state have changed the landscape for laws governing marijuana, says Peter Reuter, a professor at the School of Public Policy and the Department of Criminology at the University of Maryland, and a senior economist at RAND Corporation. 
 
A leading expert on illegal markets and alternative approaches to controlling drug problems, Reuter says the new laws in Colorado and Washington are “the first true legalization of the drug anywhere in the world. “ He adds, “No matter what method each state uses to distribute the drug the price will drop sharply and use will go up.  Whether that just brings marijuana use back up to the levels of the early 1980s or to levels never before seen is impossible to forecast.”
 
More from Professor Reuter: 
 
“Colorado and Washington voters have approved a completely new set of rules for marijuana, the first true legalization of the drug anywhere in the world.  No matter what method each state uses to distribute the drug the price will drop sharply and use will go up.  Whether that just brings marijuana use back up to the levels of the early 1980s or to levels never before seen is impossible to forecast.  The states will have to struggle with control of smuggling to the rest of the country, which would drive down prices for illegal marijuana in much of the nation.  Given how aggressively the US has pushed international bodies to prevent other nations experimenting with less restrictive systems of drug control, the moves in Colorado and Washington send an important signal to Latin America in particular, where there are questions about why police should be at risk of dying in order to prevent the importation of a drug that is legal in part of the United States.”
 
Professor Reuter is available for interviews.  Please contact Jennifer Talhelm, director of strategic communication for the UMD School of Public Policy at (301) 405-4390 or jtalhelm@umd.edu.
 
Peter Reuter
Office: 301.405.6367
Cell: 240.988.6605
Bio: http://www.publicpolicy.umd.edu/peter-reuter
 
 

New Seigel Learning Center at UMD Takes Distance Learning to New Heights

December 7, 2012
Contacts: 

Marty Ronning - 301-405-4899

Seigel Learning Center ClassroomEdited by Evelyn Rabil

COLLEGE PARK, Md. - Engineering students and faculty now have access to cutting-edge technology and the best practices in online learning at the new Arnold E. Seigel Learning Center, inaugurated in October by the University of Maryland’s Clark School of Engineering.

The learning center adds six studio classrooms, ranging from 17 to 122 seats, to the J.M. Patterson Building. Equipped with state-of-the-art lighting, acoustics, high-definition cameras, and sophisticated lecture-capture software that can record and live-stream classrooms in session, the suite enables high quality, blended education both face-to-face and at a distance. Each spacious instructor workstation includes a computer, overhead document camera, touch-screen room controls, and an electronic tablet for drawing and annotating.


“The [dedication ceremony] attendees were impressed by the level of detail in the space,” says Marty Ronning, Assistant Director of Distance Education Technology and Services. “We strive to give the remote students as identical of an experience as the in-class students get.”

Learning Center Vision

Seigel Learning Center - Control RoomThe vision for the Arnold E. Seigel Learning Center began in the 1970s when Dr. Arnold Seigel, then a part-time engineering teacher, was convinced that distance education for engineering students could be as authentic and rich as face-to-face education. He began the Instructional Television unit (ITV), which commenced operations in the fall of 1980 as a two-channel black-and-white television system, broadcasting from a 40-foot tower atop the Centerville Hall dormitory. Over the next two decades, ITV operations expanded to include various locations around the state such as Hagerstown, Annapolis, and Baltimore. ITV has since shifted away from television toward a digital delivery mode, evolving into Distance Education Technology and Services (DETS). Today, DETS offers more than 500 students worldwide per semester the opportunity to earn advanced degrees in subjects such as Sustainable Energy Engineering and Project Management.

“The start of this service was in support of Dr. Seigel’s vision, when the Internet wasn’t being dreamt of yet,” Ronning says. “This vision is about delivering education to students wherever they are, and over the years we have evolved to do that on a global scale.”

Dedication Ceremony


The October 12, 2012 dedication ceremony, held in one of the studio classrooms in 3201 J.M. Patterson, featured remarks by Jim Zahniser, Executive Director of Engineering Information Technology, Marty Ronning, Assistant Director of DETS, faculty member John Cable, Director of Project Management Center for Excellence, and Dean Darryl Pines of the A. James Clark School of Engineering. Notable attendees included former University of Maryland President, University System of Maryland Chancellor - and one-time ITV instructor -William ‘Brit’ Kirwan and previous Clark School Deans Herb Rabin and George Dieter.



Pessoa Named First Director of UMD's Maryland Neuroimaging Center

December 5, 2012
Contacts: 

Jody Williams 301-405-2648

Prof. Luiz PessoaCOLLEGE PARK, Md - The University of Maryland has named Luiz Pessoa, Ph.D., a professor of Psychology in the College of Behavioral and Social Sciences, as the first Director for the new Maryland Neuroimaging Center (MNC).  Dr. Pessoa will provide scientific leadership and vision for brain imaging research, collaboration, and cutting-edge methodology at the MNC.  

“We are incredibly fortunate to have someone of such wide-ranging vision to lead the Center”, says John Townshend, dean of the College of Behavioral and Social Sciences.

Prior to coming to the University of Maryland, Dr. Pessoa was an Associate Professor in the Department of Psychology at Indiana University, where he also served as the Interim Director of the Imaging Research Facility.  His research focuses on cognitive-emotional/motivational interactions in the human brain as well as developing new quantitative methods of fMRI signal analysis.

Robert Dooling, the Director of the Neuroscience and Cognitive Science (NACS) Program at the University of Maryland says, “Luiz has been a great asset in bringing the MNC to fruition and in building research connections and opportunities across the Campus and beyond.”

Dr. Pessoa’s extensive imaging expertise and collaborative efforts in the field of neuroscience will lead the Center’s contributions in brain research, advancing our understanding of neurological functions and disorders.

ABOUT THE MARYLAND NEUROIMAGING CENTER

The Maryland Neuroimaging Center is the home for neuroimaging research at the University of Maryland. The center brings together an array of state-of-the-art tools for observing the human brain in action.  The center has been designed to foster collaboration among neuroscientists, psychologists, cognitive scientists, engineers, and physicists. A special focus of the center is on understanding mechanisms of brain development and neural plasticity in typical and atypical populations, and in understanding the neural mechanisms underlying expert abilities that serve critical national priorities. The MNC is an initiative of the university's interdepartmental NACS Program, and is available to researchers from the University of Maryland and other regional centers.

UMD Future of Education Forum December 10 Looks at "Who Needs College?"

December 5, 2012
Contacts: 

Jennifer Lynn Talhelm 301-405-4390

Who Needs College? Banner

WHAT:
The Maryland School of Public Policy Presents "Who Needs College?" - a discussion about the benefits - and challenges - of encouraging more students to attend college.

WHEN:
Monday, December 10, 2012 starting at 12:15 p.m.

WHERE:
School of Public Policy Atrium - Van Munching Hall, University of Maryland

BACKGROUND:
What are the benefits - and challenges of college? Who should - and should not go to college? Robert J. Samuelson is a columnist for the Washington Post. In a column last May 28, he argued that "It's time to drop the college-for-all crusade." University System of Maryland Chancellor - and former University of Maryland President - William "Brit" Kirwan answered back June 7, arguing that it's "Not college for all, but college for more." The School of Public Policy at the University of Maryland have brought the two men together to talk about this increasingly important issue looking at the future of education.

MEDIA:
Media coverage is welcome. A mult box will be provided.

LIVE STREAM:
Can't attend? Watch the live stream.

CONTACT:
For more information, contact:
Jennifer Talhelm, Director of Strategic Communications
University of Maryland
School of Public Policy
2101 Van Munching Hall
College Park, MD 20742
301-405-4390

New UMD Poll Shows Israelis Doubt Benefit from Gaza Conflict

November 30, 2012
Contacts: 

David Ottalini - 301-405-4076

Three in Five Israelis Now View Obama Favorably

Read the Complete Report (PDF)

Sadat Chair Shibley Telhami

PIPA Director Steven Kull

COLLEGE PARK, Md. - A new University of Maryland poll shows that in the aftermath of November's round of fighting with Hamas and other groups in the Gaza Strip, only 36% of Israelis think that Israel is better off than it was before the escalation, while a majority feel Israel is either about the same (38%) or worse off (21%).

40% said Israel won the combat in the Gaza Strip. A majority said either that no side won (45%) or that Hamas won (11%).

These are some of the findings of a new poll conducted by the Anwar Sadat Chair for Peace and Development at the University of Maryland and the Program on International Policy Attitudes (PIPA). The polling project was directed by Shibley Telhami, Anwar Sadat Professor at the University of Maryland and Nonresident Senior Fellow at the Saban Center for Middle East Policy at the Brookings Institution and Steven Kull, director of PIPA.

The poll of 600 Israelis has a margin of error of +/-4.0% and was fielded on November 21 and November 24-25 by the Dahaf Institute in Israel.

WARMING TRENDS

There are distinct warming trends toward the United States in Israeli opinion. Sixty percent of Israelis now have a positive view of President Obama. Among Israeli Jews, positive views have risen over the past year from 54% to 62%. President Obama is identified as the most admired leader by more Israeli Jews than any other leader (15%).

More Israelis think that American public support for Israel's security needs is growing than think it is receding. Forty percent say such support has increased over the last few years, while only 21% say it has decreased (about the same: 36%).

On Iran, Israeli views that Iran will develop a nuclear weapon continue, but support for an Israeli attack on Iranian nuclear facilities is only at 38%, with 50% opposed. When asked explicitly about the factor of US support for military strikes, only one in five are willing to proceed without it. Among Israeli Jews, those ready to go ahead without US support has dropped from 22% a year ago to 18% now.

Of the 510 interviews with Israeli Jews, 156 were obtained on November 21 in the hours before the ceasefire took effect at 9 pm that evening, making possible a check for any effects from the ceasefire. While there were slight changes, with Israeli Jews becoming less positive about the escalation's outcome, these changes were not statistically significant.

ATTITUDES TOWARD IRAN AND THE NUCLEAR THREAT

Further on the subject of Iran, only a quarter of Israelis believe that an attack on Iran's nuclear facilities would delay Iran's nuclear capabilities by more than five years. However, there has been a drop over the last twelve months in the number who think Iran's capabilities would simply not be affected (from 19% down to 8%), and a rise in those who think Iran would be set back by one or two years (from 9% to 19%).

Israelis are divided on a possible UN deal whereby Iran would be allowed to enrich uranium at low levels, provided that it allows intrusive inspections to ensure that it is not developing nuclear weapons. Forty-six percent say they would approve such a deal, while 47% say they would not.

A substantial majority favors a Middle East Nuclear-Free Zone that would include Israel. Support for this plan, which was described in detail, is at 58%--both among Israelis overall and Israeli Jews, though in the latter group support is down slightly from 64% in 2011.

MIXED VIEWS ON SYRIA

Regarding Syria, Israelis have mixed views about the possibility of the opposition taking power. Forty-two percent say this would be worse for Israel, while 30% say it would be better. Israelis do not see the Syrian situation as primarily a political Islamist struggle. Only 27% thought this, while 37% thought it was about ordinary Syrians seeking freedom from the regime, and another 28% saw it as primarily an ethnic conflict.

A majority of Israelis say the government should at least accept the Arab Peace Initiative as the basis for negotiations if it is offered again. Fifty-two percent either take this view (39%) or go farther and say the offer should be accepted outright (13%).

At the same time, Israeli Jews' readiness to accept the basic conditions of such a deal has declined since last year. In another question, just 33% of Israeli Jews say they are prepared for&peace with the Arabs based on the 1967 borders with agreed modifications and the establishment of a peaceful Palestinian state-down 10 points from November 2011. Thirty percent chose a statement opposing this, while another 33% chose neither statement (up 9 points from last year).

In the Israeli debate about whether Jewish identity or democracy is more important to the country's identity, Israeli Jews are closely divided, with 33% saying democracy is more important, 31% saying Jewish identity is more important, and 35% saying both are equally important.

MEDIA CONTACTS:

Shibley Telhami
301-405-6734

Steven Kull
202-232-7500

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