Here’s a recap of what’s in the news in and around the UMBC campus, originally brought to you by UMBC News.
This news recap is brought to you by UMBC’s Division of Professional Studies, offering a broad array of professionally-focused master’s degrees and certificate programs that address industry needs while anticipating future opportunities.
HHMI Launches $1.5 Billion Freeman Hrabowski Scholars program to support diversity & innovation in biomedical research
The Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI), one of America’s largest biomedical research institutions, will be naming a new grant after UMBC president Freeman Hrabowski to honor his decades of work towards diversity in higher education. With a budget of $1.5 billion dollars and plans to continue for 20 years, the program is one of the largest and most ambitious of its kind. The grant will sponsor up to 150 early career faculty as they begin their careers in STEM, focusing on demographics who are currently underrepresented in the field. Each grantee can expect to receive $4.3 million dollars in support over the grant’s five year duration, with funds going towards salary, benefits, and scientific equipment.
Simons Foundation provides $2.5M to support UMBC Meyerhoff Scholars
UMBC has recently partnered with the Simons Foundation – an institute dedicated to the advancement of mathematics – to fund the Meyerhoff Scholars program and provide further opportunities to its participants. The program sponsors students who intend to pursue a doctoral level degree in STEM and are committed to the advancement of minorities in the sciences. With this partnership, the program’s gain isn’t strictly financial; qualifying students will also be invited to apply to the Simons Foundation’s Transition to Independence awards, a program which supports young Ph.D./M.D. scientists as they complete training positions. Finally, UMBC and the Simons Foundation will collaborate in an attempt to replicate the Meyerhoff Scholars program within the State University of New York (SUNY) system.
As global travel expands, UMBC faculty and staff earn Fulbright awards for research & collaboration abroad
Four UMBC faculty members have received Fulbright awards for the 2022-23 cycle: Shimei Pan, Corrie Parks, Tiffany Thames Copeland, and Nancy Young. This is no small feat; the Fulbright Program is extremely competitive, giving out only 900 faculty awards worldwide. The program facilitates international research and cross-cultural exchange by sending awardees to teach or conduct research abroad. Three UMBC professors – Pan, Parks, and Thames Copeland – have received Fulbright U.S. Scholar Awards for their research, focusing on AI language processing, public art installation, and the African Diaspora respectively. From UMBC’s administrative faculty, vice president of student affairs Nancy Young has received a Fulbright International Education Administrators Award. She will attend a two-week program in France, where grantees make connections and gain first-hand experience on international education systems.
Creating New Antiviral Drugs: Katherine Seely-Radtke’s innovative “fleximer” research to receive $3.5M from NIH
Katherine Seely-Radtke, a professor in UMBC’s chemistry and biochemistry departments, and her research team at the University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill have received a $65M grant from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, $3.5M of which will be given directly to UMBC. The group is one of nine consortia that has received such funding, with the goal to create Antiviral Drug Discovery Centers for Pathogens of Pandemic Concern (AviDD) across the country. The grant sponsors innovative work in antiviral research, an increasingly high-profile field in the wake of COVID-19. Seely-Radtke is no stranger to virus-fighting technologies; in 2000, she invented fleximers, compounds that have the potential to fight multiple different viruses. Now, she and other project members are setting their sights on viruses like COVID-19 and Ebola.