Steps forward in STEM | UMBC Campus News

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.

UMBC’s Jeffrey Gardner receives $1.3M from NIH to discover new treatments for fungal disease

Jeffrey Gardner, an associate professor in UMBC’s Biological Sciences department, has recently received a 4 year, $1.3 million dollar grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH). This grant will support his research towards developing drugs that effectively target disease-causing fungi. Gardner’s research, taking place here at UMBC, expands on pre-existing drug technology with an innovative twist. Instead of blocking the fungus from building its cell wall – scientists’ typical method of attack – Gardner’s team is going on the offense, attacking the wall from the outside. Gardner says that this external method will make it harder for the fungi to develop resistance to the drug.

UMBC’s Leamon defines “solar clock” that can precisely predict solar cycle events years in advance

In 2021, UMBC received $10 million dollars from NASA as part of the Partnership for Heliophysics and Space Environment Research (PhaSER), a collaborative research effort between UMBC, NASA, and four other universities. Now, a team led by UMBC’s Robert Leamon is revolutionizing the way scientists predict the solar cycle. Previously, researchers have kept tabs on the solar cycle through the observation of sunspots. However, Leamon’s research suggests that it’s the sun’s magnetic field that should take their focus. Through observing changes in the field, the team can predict solar flares, changes in weather, and increased UV emissions years in advance.

NSF Awards $10M to UMBC to expand successful initiative developing underrepresented postdocs in STEM

With new funding from the National Science Foundation (NSF), UMBC is continuing its efforts towards increasing diversity in STEM. In 2018, the University of Maryland system established the Alliances for Graduate Education and the Professoriate (AGEP) program, an initiative to support underrepresented minorities seeking faculty positions in U.S. universities. Now, UMBC and NSF are expanding AGEP to the national level through the RISE UPP alliance, an innovative partnership including the University of Texas, Texas A&M University, and University of North Carolina systems. The aim of the program is to help universities recruit postdoctoral STEM candidates from underrepresented backgrounds, setting them up for eventual tenure-track positions. Through these efforts, the program hopes to not only promote diversity in STEM fields, but to inspire other institutions to do the same.

UMBC-led team generates first global map of cargo ship pollution, revealing effects of fuel regulations

Tianle Yuan, an Assistant Research Scientist at UMBC’s Joint Center for Earth Systems Technology, is leading a new study investigating the effects of fuel regulations on cargo ship emissions. His research not only covers the effects of these regulations, but the impact of cargo ship pollutants on overall global temperatures. Interestingly, Yuan’s team was able to track the paths of cargo ships by observing the amount of pollution in nearby clouds. These “ship tracks” can help estimate pollution levels in certain areas, and are found through satellite data, meaning they don’t require researchers to take measurements onsite. In the future, Yuan hopes to continue his research into the ways clouds affect climate.

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