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University of Maryland Named a Top Producer of Minority Graduates

August 27, 2018
Contacts: 

Jennifer Burroughs, 301-405-4621

COLLEGE PARK, Md. -- The University of Maryland has been named a Top 100 Minority Degree Producer by Diverse: Issues in Higher Education. UMD is listed as No. 1 in the state for conferring bachelor degrees to minority students. 

In the only national reporting of its kind, UMD ranked in the top 25 for Asian American bachelor's (19), African American bachelor's (21) and total minority professional doctoral degrees (24) in all disciplines. 

Specific program areas UMD ranked in the top 5 include:

    • Total minority students with Doctoral degrees in Mathematics and Statistics (1)
    • African American students with Bachelor's degrees in Social Sciences (2)
    • Asian American students with Doctoral degrees in Mathematics and Statistics (2)
    • Total minority students with Master's degrees in Multi/interdisciplinary studies (3) 
    • African American students with Bachelor's degrees in Foreign Languages, Literatures, and Linguistics (4)
    • African American students with Bachelor's degrees in Agriculture and Agriculture Operations (4)
    • African American students with Master's degrees in Engineering (4)
    • Asian American students with Master's degrees in Multi/interdisciplinary studies (4)
    • African American students with Bachelor's degrees in Natural Resources and Conservation (5)

Diverse reports the number of combined bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral-level degrees awarded increased across the country by more than 58,000 degrees since last year. 

For more information and complete Diverse rankings, visit http://diverseeducation.com/top100/

 

 

University Statement on Jacksonville Shooting

August 27, 2018
Contacts: 

Katie Lawson, 301-405-4621

The alleged shooter in the August 26, 2018 Jacksonville, FL, shooting was previously a University of Maryland student enrolled beginning in September 2014. David Katz was not registered for classes as of 8/26/2018 and did not live on campus. His major was Environmental Science and Technology.

 

University of Maryland President Wallace D. Loh said today: 

“Our community grieves for the families of those who lost their lives in yesterday’s horrific shooting in Jacksonville. When our community was directly impacted by the shooting in Annapolis this summer, I said that more than silent reflection is needed to end the epidemic of gun violence in our country, and I will say that again today. The alleged shooter was previously enrolled here and was not registered for classes this semester. I encourage anyone at our university with relevant information to reach out to law enforcement to aid in the investigation happening in Florida.” 

 

 

University of Maryland Statement - August 23, 2018

August 23, 2018

Statement from the University of Maryland: 

On August 29, 2017, university administration first learned that the then-Athletic Director directed the hiring of an attorney, who had been representing two student-athletes in a sexual misconduct case for approximately two months. The attorney had been promised funds controlled by the Athletic Department to represent the accused. 

This was brought to the attention of the President’s Office immediately by the then-Executive Athletic Director after first learning of the arrangement when the lawyer submitted an invoice to the department. The President's Office, the Office of General Counsel, the Athletic Compliance Office and the then-Executive Athletic Director were not involved in or consulted on the original decision made to hire and pay the lawyer. Protocols requiring General Counsel to retain outside counsel had not been followed in the hiring. 

In response, the President’s Office immediately directed the then-Athletic Director to cut ties with the attorney. 

NCAA bylaws allow member institutions to pay for legal counsel for proceedings that might affect a student-athlete’s eligibility to participate in intercollegiate athletics. However, the decision to hire this lawyer showed a serious lack of judgement in a sexual misconduct case, given the university’s commitment to a fair and impartial handling of all such matters.

On September 27, it came to the attention of the President’s Office that its previous instruction to cut ties with the attorney had not been followed. The President’s Office directed the Office of General Counsel to immediately launch an internal investigation to determine why this had happened.  

This sexual misconduct case was handled by our Office of Civil Rights and Sexual Misconduct and the Office of Student Conduct independently, impartially, and without favoritism. Legal representation is common in proceedings related to sexual misconduct, and while lawyers can advocate for the rights of the accused, they do not determine the outcome or verdict. That is the job of our independent Standing Review Committee.

Federal privacy laws prevent releasing the outcomes of individual sexual misconduct cases. There were six expulsions for sexual misconduct in the last fiscal year (July 1, 2016 and June 30, 2017). 

The President briefed the Board of Regents last fall to update them on this matter. 

University of Maryland Recognized as a Best College in the Nation, No. 1 in Maryland

August 21, 2018
Contacts: 

Jennifer Burroughs, jenburr@umd.edu, 301-405-4621

COLLEGE PARK, Md. -- The University of Maryland been named one of America’s best colleges by Money magazine, a leading source for personal finance news and advice. UMD’s value was ranked No. 1 in Maryland, in the top 20 among public colleges and top 30 among all 727 schools considered. 

In an annual ranking to help students and parents assess the costs and payoffs when making college decisions, Money pooled the nation’s top experts in education quality, financing and value to assess each institution on graduation rates, tuition charges, family borrowing, alumni earnings, and 22 other data points. UMD’s 87 percent graduation rate, low average student debt and high early career earnings were key factors in the university’s ranking. 

The full Money magazine list of the Best Colleges in America is here: http://time.com/money/best-colleges/  

 

UMD Scientist Helps Harvest Wheat’s Giant Genetic Code

August 17, 2018
Contacts: 

Samantha Watters 301-405-2434, Lee Tune 301-405-4679

Wheat field in Nebraska. Credit USDA.

 

COLLEGE PARK, Md. – The University of Maryland, as part of the International Wheat Genome Sequencing Consortium, has helped accomplish a feat once considered impossible, sequencing the full genome of wheat, the world’s most widely cultivated crop.

Experts say that the long-awaited mapping of wheat’s vast genetic territory opens up opportunities for creating new and better strains of wheat by improving complex traits such as crop yield, grain quality, resistance to diseases or pests, tolerance to heat and drought, and even characteristics like protein content or types and amounts of allergy causing compounds. 

“The wheat genome gives us a complete picture that will be the key to unlocking genes controlling important traits for crop improvement,” said UMD consortium researcher Vijay Tiwari, who leads the Small Grain Breeding and Genetics program in the department of plant science & landscape architecture.  “When this discovery was made for rice and maize, rapid advances were made in those crops almost immediately after,” he said.

Wheat’s incredibly large and duplicative genome is not actually a single genome, but three overlapping and similar ones, the result of natural hybridisation of different grasses over thousands of years. The consortium research that has opened up its full genetic complexity was authored by Tiwari and more than 200 other scientists from a total of 73 research institutions in 20 countries. UMD is one of only seven US institutions involved as consortium partners. A paper about their work was published on August 17 in the journal Science.

“This was very much collaborative science at its best,” said Tiwari. “Without the consortium, this couldn’t have been accomplished in this amount of time.”

Wheat is the staple food of more than a third of the world’s people and accounts for almost 20 percent of the total calories and protein consumed by humans, more than any other single food source. It also serves as an important source of vitamins and minerals. 

According to the International Wheat Genome Sequencing Consortium, which began in 2005 as an initiative by Kansas farmers, meeting future demands of a projected world population of 9.6 billion by 2050, will require wheat production to increase by more than 50 percent (1.6 percent each year). In order to preserve biodiversity, water, and nutrient resources, the majority of this increase has to be achieved through crop and trait improvement on land currently cultivated, the consortium said in a release.

The impact of their wheat sequencing findings has already been significant because the now published wheat reference sequence was made available to the scientific community in January 2017. More than 100 publications referencing the sequence have already been published. And a new publication in this same issue of Science features work using this resource done by UMD’s Tiwari as part of a collaborative team of researchers led by Professor Cristobal Uauy at the John Innes Centre in the United Kingdom. This team used the new genome sequence to study the expression in wheat of genes affecting resistance to heat, drought, and disease. Work they hope will pave the way for the production of wheat varieties better adapted to climate challenges, with higher yields, enhanced nutritional quality, and improved sustainability.

Numerous studies have shown the susceptibility of wheat to climate changes. For example, a 2011 study in Science showed that rising temperatures are already causing declines in wheat production. And a more recent Nature research article suggested that this trend will only get worse, with a 5 percent decline in wheat yields for every one degree (Fahrenheit) temperature increase.

Taken together, the two new publications in Science provide results that will give a major boost to wheat breeding and genetic research, said Tiwari.  “Now researchers will have direct access to all the genes in the genome and information about their expression patterns, and it will allow them to unravel the genetic basis of important agronomic traits,” he said.

In previous work at the John Innes Centre, Tiwari and his fellow researchers fine-tuned a technique called speed breeding, which uses glasshouses to shorten breeding cycles. They say that earlier work combined with the new genome resources provided in these two papers, will significantly shorten the time needed to test genetic markers for traits like drought, heat, and disease resistance, getting new varieties of wheat to the growers faster.

“We are in a better position than ever to increase yield, breed plants with higher nutritional quality, and create varieties that are adapted to climate changes thanks to the research we and the international community are publishing,” said Uauy, project leader in crop genetics at the John Innes Centre.

 “It has been a bad year for wheat yields in Maryland, so we are excited to give growers and researchers this good news and bright hope. These landmark results and resources will allow us to address the imminent challenges of global food security in changing climatic conditions,” said Tiwari.

UMD to Host Press Conference with President and Athletic Director

August 14, 2018
Contacts: 

University of Maryland, 301-257-0073

WHAT:

The University of Maryland will host a press conference Tuesday afternoon with University of Maryland President Wallace D. Loh and Director of Athletics Damon Evans.

WHO:

  • University of Maryland President Wallace D. Loh
  • University of Maryland Athletic Director Damon Evans

WHEN:

Tuesday, August 14 at 2:00 p.m.

MEDIA RSVP AND LOGISTICS

 

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About the University of Maryland

The University of Maryland, College Park is the state's flagship university and one of the nation's preeminent public research universities. A global leader in research, entrepreneurship and innovation, the university is home to more than 40,000 students, 10,000 faculty and staff, and 280 academic programs. As one of the nation’s top producers of Fulbright scholars, its faculty includes two Nobel laureates, three Pulitzer Prize winners and 57 members of the national academies. The institution has a $1.9 billion operating budget and secures $514 million annually in external research funding. For more information about the University of Maryland, College Park, visit www.umd.edu.

 

Inherited Brain Pathway Underlies Risk for Anxiety Disorders

August 10, 2018
Contacts: 

Sara Gavin, 301-405-1733

COLLEGE PARK, Md.—Scientists from the University of Maryland, working with colleagues at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the California National Primate Research Center, have discovered a brain circuit that appears to play an important role in the transmission of extreme anxiety from parents to their offspring. 

Although anxiety disorders are consistently ranked among the top 10 causes of global disability and sickness by the World Health Organization, existing treatments are inconsistently effective or, in some cases, associated with significant side effects. Like other mental illnesses, anxiety disorders are heritable: Parents who are anxious are more likely to have children who suffer from extreme shyness, inhibition and anxiety. Yet the brain circuits underlying the intergenerational transmission of extreme anxiety have remained mysterious.

Leveraging recent advances in genetics and brain imaging, the new study, published in the Journal of Neuroscience, marks the first demonstration that connectivity within the central extended amygdala plays a role in the genetic transmission of extreme anxiety. 

“We took advantage of earlier work that had painstakingly measured anxious temperament, individual by individual, in an extended family of nearly 2,000 individual monkeys,” said Alex Shackman, Ph.D.,  a professor in the Department of Psychology and Neuroscience and Cognitive Science (NACS) program at UMD, and a co-author of the study. “The large sample greatly increases our confidence in the replicability and robustness of these effects.” 

Researchers used brain imaging techniques also used in human studies to look at the brains of young rhesus monkeys, who express anxiety in similar ways to human children. “This work provides invaluable new clues about the brain circuits to focus on in human patients, especially youth, and promises to accelerate the development of new treatments for early life anxiety,” Shackman said. Shackman leads several other ongoing brain imaging studies at the University of Maryland aimed at understanding the role of this circuitry in mood and anxiety disorders in adolescents and young adults.

The study was funded by the California National Primate Research Center, National Institutes of Health, University of California, and University of Maryland.

 

UMD Receives $3 Million Investment from Scripps Howard Foundation to Create Center for Investigative Journalism

August 7, 2018
Contacts: 

Scripps: Rebecca Cochran, 513-977-3023  
UMD: Alexander Pyles, 301-405-1321

COLLEGE PARK, Md. – The University of Maryland Philip Merrill College of Journalism will receive $3 million over three years from the Scripps Howard Foundation to establish a Howard Center for Investigative Journalism. In a move to advance high-quality enterprise journalism across the country, this will be one of two centers created from the full $6 million dollar investment, with the second at Arizona State University. 

Philip Merrill College of JournalismThe Howard Centers will be multidisciplinary, graduate-level programs focused on training the next generation of reporters through hands-on investigative journalism projects. Students will work with news organizations from across the country to report stories of national or international importance to the public.

“The Centers are envisioned as innovative educational programs,” said Battinto Batts, director of the journalism fund for the Scripps Howard Foundation. “Both Arizona State University and the University of Maryland are well-positioned to challenge their students to become ethical, entrepreneurial and courageous investigative journalists.”

After submitting competitive proposals for this investment, UMD and ASU were chosen because they both have prestigious journalism programs that feature a rigorous curriculum and hands-on training for student journalists. 

“Investigative journalists shine a light on our society’s problems and protect democracy by holding the powerful accountable,” said Lucy A. Dalglish, dean of the University of Maryland Philip Merrill College of Journalism. “The Howard Center at Merrill College will provide an unmatched opportunity for our students to learn to tell important stories in innovative ways, preparing them to become outstanding professional journalists.”

The Howard Centers will recruit graduate students and faculty of diverse academic and professional backgrounds. Students attending will be introduced to topics including new media, data mining and the history and ethics of investigative journalism.

In addition to the emphasis on multidisciplinary studies within their own curriculum, the Howard Centers also will collaborate on investigative projects to deliver high-impact content to news consumers. 

The Howard Centers will launch national searches for directors this fall and will open programming to graduate-level students in 2019.

About the University of Maryland

The University of Maryland, College Park is the state's flagship university and one of the nation's preeminent public research universities. A global leader in research, entrepreneurship and innovation, the university is home to more than 40,000 students, 10,000 faculty and staff, and 280 academic programs. As one of the nation’s top producers of Fulbright scholars, its faculty includes two Nobel laureates, three Pulitzer Prize winners and 57 members of the national academies. The institution has a $1.9 billion operating budget and secures $514 million annually in external research funding. For more information about the University of Maryland, College Park, visit www.umd.edu. 

About The Scripps Howard Foundation

The Scripps Howard Foundation supports philanthropic causes important to The E.W. Scripps Company (NASDAQ: SSP) and the communities it serves, with a special emphasis on excellence in journalism. At the crossroads of the classroom and the newsroom, the Foundation is a leader in supporting journalism education, scholarships, internships, minority recruitment and development, literacy and First Amendment causes. The Scripps Howard Awards stand as one of the industry’s top honors for outstanding journalism. The Foundation improves lives and helps build thriving communities. It partners with Scripps brands to create awareness of local issues and supports impactful organizations to drive solutions.

 

 

UMD-Led Team Receives $7.7 Million NIH Grant for First-of-its-Kind Tick-Borne Disease Research

August 2, 2018
Contacts: 

Samantha Waters 301-405-2434, Lee Tune 301-405-4679

COLLEGE PARK, Md. -- University of Maryland Professor Utpal Pal leads a multi-institution team of researchers that will receive up to $7.7 million over five years from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases for an ongoing research program to understand how the immune responses of ticks contribute to the spread of Lyme disease and other tick-borne illnesses. 

Pal, a professor of veterinary medicine who is a recognized leader in this field of research, will collaborate with researchers from the University of Maryland School of Medicine, Yale University and the University of Minnesota on research across different aspects of tick immunobiology. 

“We are very excited and honored to have received this grant award, and on the first submission,” said Pal, who has been studying Borrelia burgdorferi, the bacteria that cause Lyme disease, for 12 years; is a member of the Vaccine and Therapeutics Subcommittee of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Tick-Borne Diseases Working Group; and a member of the scientific advisory board of the Global Lyme Alliance.

UMD Professor Utpal Pal with image of a deer tick.

“The multi-project grant program is designed to give program support and a strong base of funding to accelerate research in an important area, bringing together a group of investigators across institutions to do more together and speed up scientific advancement,” Pal said. “To be the lead investigator and institution on this is a testament to our leadership in the field. ”  

Directed by Pal, UMD will be handling core administrative duties for the program and helping advise and coordinate all projects. The new program has three major research components centered around different aspects of tick immune response. Pal and his UMD research team also will lead research in one of these areas, the indirect immune response that is found in ticks that carry pathogens that cause Lyme disease and other illnesses.  Pal is the discoverer of this phenomena, which is pivotal to role of ticks as carriers of these pathogens. 

When one of these  ticks feeds on a host animal, most commonly a mouse or deer, the tick’s immune system recognizes if a pathogen is present in the host’s blood as that blood is ingested. This triggers a non-specific, or indirect, line of immune system defense by the tick that is only partly successful in killing the pathogen. 

Pal explains: “Borrelia burgdorferi, the bacteria responsible for Lyme disease, and Anaplasma phagocytophilum, another intracellular bacterial pathogen we are studying with this grant, are both persistent,” says Pal. “The tick tries to kill the bacteria, but it doesn’t get everything, which makes [the tick] a vector that can now pass that bacteria on to you or anyone it might bite in the future. That is why studying these immune responses in ticks is so important.” 

The two other major research components supported by the program are centered around tick direct immune response, and on how gut bacteria in ticks interacts with the their immune response to pathogens. 

Joao Pedra, M.D., principal investigator from the University of Maryland School of Medicine, will be examining direct immune response mechanisms of the tick. These include how the tick identifies a specific pathogen and what pathogen-specific tactics it employs to try and kill each different pathogen that it ingests. 

Erol Fikrig, M.D., the research program’s principal investigator from Yale University, will be examining how microbiota (gut bacteria) in a tick interact with the different immune responses the tick uses to try and kill pathogens living in the blood that it ingests. 

Professor Ulrike Munderloh from University of Minnesota will serve as “Technical Core Lead” for the program, providing additional technical support including protocols and tools needed to facilitate this research. 

In addition to advancing research in tick-borne illnesses and working to solve the major public health issues associated with costly and chronic diseases like Lyme disease, the program supported by this multi-project grant has a goal of training future leaders in the field. 

“With this funding, UMD will be at the center of this work and [also] in charge of training the next generation of tick biologists,” says Pal. 

Pal has been with the Department of Veterinary Medicine in the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources at UMD for 12 years, and already is widely considered a leader in tick-borne illness research. Given the growing public health importance of tick-borne diseases, the 21st Century Cures Act, enacted by Congress in December 2016, mandated the formation of a Tick-Borne Diseases Working Group comprising federal and public members from diverse backgrounds. Pal served on a subcommittee of this Tick-Borne Diseases Working Group, focusing on vaccines and treatment strategies. Pal currently holds two concurrent multi-million dollar grants from the NIH for his work. With this new multi-project grant, he will be doing so on an even larger scale. 

Read here about recent research by Professor Pal that uncovered a Lyme disease protein used to outsmart the human immune system.

Image caption: Professor Pal with background image of a deer tick, or blacklegged tick, Ixodes scapularis. Credit UMD

 

University of Maryland Names Jeff Hollingsworth Vice President and Chief Information Officer

July 31, 2018
Contacts: 

Katie Lawson, 301-405-4622

COLLEGE PARK, Md. – The University of Maryland has named Jeff Hollingsworth as Vice President and Chief Information Officer, effective today. In this role, Hollingsworth will oversee the Division of Information Technology (DIT) and provide leadership for the university’s IT strategy, infrastructure and services. Hollingsworth has served as Interim CIO at UMD since June 2017. 

Photo of Jeff Hollingsworth“The VP-CIO is critical to our success—modernizing and securing the tools we use every day and expanding our capabilities for the future,” said University of Maryland President Wallace D. Loh.“Jeff has done an outstanding job as interim vice president in translating his academic expertise into sound policy. We are in good hands.” 

Hollingsworth will be responsible for the university’s overall technology environment, including critical IT services for research and teaching; administrative applications and infrastructure; information security and integrity; and broad technical support for faculty, staff and students. He will also oversee the Mid-Atlantic Crossroads – the MAX – the regional optical connection point that serves education and government agency needs for highly advanced network interconnections and services.

“By focusing on important issues like transparency, shared governance and investment in people, we've made great strides in our IT operations and infrastructure,” said Hollingsworth. “I’m excited to continue this important work alongside my talented colleagues in the Division of IT and across campus.” 

As interim CIO, Hollingsworth oversaw the implementation of a mandatory multi-factor authentication system for faculty, staff and graduate assistants; worked with campus stakeholders and the University Senate to adopt a web accessibility policy; drove the deployment of a new phone system across campus; and arranged a move to new office space in the university’s Discovery District to consolidate the division’s operations into one building. 

Since 1994, Hollingsworth has served as a professor in the university’s Department of Computer Science with joint appointments in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering and with the University of Maryland Institute for Advanced Computer Science. He also served as associate chair of the department from 2008-2012. 

While at UMD, he has published over 100 research papers and book chapters, served as a principal investigator on more than 30 grants totaling over $17 million and supervised Ph.D. dissertations of a dozen students. He taught undergraduate and graduate classes in computer architecture, networking, operating systems, and high performance computing. During that time, he has also served as adjunct research staff at the Institute for Defense Analysis Center for Computer Science and a visiting scientist for the IBM T. J. Watson Research Center. 

Hollingsworth received his B.S. in electrical engineering and computer science from the University of California; and his M.S. and Ph.D. in computer sciences from the University of Wisconsin. 


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About the University of Maryland

The University of Maryland, College Park is the state's flagship university and one of the nation's preeminent public research universities. A global leader in research, entrepreneurship and innovation, the university is home to more than 40,000 students, 10,000 faculty and staff, and 280 academic programs. As one of the nation’s top producers of Fulbright scholars, its faculty includes two Nobel laureates, three Pulitzer Prize winners and 57 members of the national academies. The institution has a $1.9 billion operating budget and secures $514 million annually in external research funding. For more information about the University of Maryland, College Park, visit www.umd.edu.

 

Pages

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November 1
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October 31
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