Combined News

BDN Reports on Wasilewski’s Leadership Award

University of Maine News - Fri, 06/06/2014 - 11:25

The Bangor Daily News ran a story about former University of Maine quarterback Marcus Wasilewski winning the Colonial Athletic Association’s Chuck Boone Leadership Award.

The award is presented to the league player embodying the highest standards of leadership, integrity, teamwork and sportsmanship in academic and athletic achievements. Wasilewski graduated cum laude in December with a degree in kinesiology and physical education. The Dean’s List student and four-time Academic All-Conference selection received the “M” Club Dean Smith Award presented to UMaine’s top male and female student-athlete. Wasilewski also was named the CAA Student-Athlete of the Year; he earned a 3.4 grade point average. In 2013, he was made the all-CAA first team and set numerous UMaine records while leading the Black Bears to a league-best 10–2 regular-season mark.

Categories: Combined News, News

MPBN Interviews Wheeler About $500,000 Grant to Study Pathogen

University of Maine News - Thu, 06/05/2014 - 09:05

The Maine Public Broadcasting Network spoke with Robert Wheeler, an assistant professor of microbiology at the University of Maine, who was awarded a five-year, $500,000 fellowship from the Burroughs Wellcome Fund (BWF) to study a pathogen. Wheeler will study how and why Candida albicans — the most common human fungal pathogen — transforms from an innocuous yeast in the digestive tract of a person with a healthy immune system to a potentially fatal fungus in vital organs of a person whose immune system has been compromised. Wheeler said Candida albicans is the fourth most common bloodstream disease in hospitalized patients and one in three patients with impaired immune systems who contract the fungal infection while in the hospital will die from it. “A combination of better diagnosis and better drug treatment regimes could make a really big impact in the lethality associated with fungal infection,” Wheeler said. He called the fellowship a new high point in his career and a major boost for microbiology at UMaine. The Associated Press and WABI (Channel 5) also reported the research award.

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UMaine Researchers Study Climate Change in Movies, Science Codex Reports

University of Maine News - Thu, 06/05/2014 - 09:03

Science Codex reported findings published by University of Maine researchers Bridie McGreavy and Laura Lindenfeld of the Department of Communication and Journalism suggest films that feature climate change can affect public understanding. The researchers analyzed three films that feature global warming prominently and wrote about their findings in the International Journal of Sustainable Development. They found the films often include problematic and limiting identity politics, which commonly reiterate racial, gender and sexual stereotypes. “It is not just about rational, fact-based reasoning but about making and using films to challenge dominant stereotypes, change social institutions, and empower citizens more broadly,” McGreavy said. Press-News.org also carried the report.

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Maine Government Summer Internship Program Underway

University of Maine News - Thu, 06/05/2014 - 09:02

Twenty-nine college students are participating in the 2014 Maine Government Summer Internship Program administered by the Margaret Chase Smith Policy Center at the University of Maine.

The full-time, 12-week paid work experience program offers a unique opportunity for talented college students to work within Maine state government. The program provides valuable assistance to state agencies and affords students the chance to gain practical skills in their fields of study. This year, the program expanded to include internships in Maine municipal government.

In 1967, the 103rd Maine Legislature established the Maine Government Summer Internship Program to attract and select college students with ambition and talent for temporary internships within Maine state government. A total of 1,685 students have participated since its inception. This year, 107 students applied for 29 agency positions. Undergraduate and graduate students who reside in Maine or attend a Maine school are eligible.

The 2014 interns are:

  • Robert Figora of West Gardiner, Maine, a student at the University of Maine at Augusta, is assistant to city manager at the City Manager’s Office in Ellsworth;

  • Sean McCarthy of Winslow, Maine, a student at the University of Maine at Augusta, is an engineering plans archiving assistant with the Property Management Division of the Bureau of General Services at the Maine Department of Administrative and Financial Services;

  • Amanda Findlay of Manchester, Maine, a student at Colby College, is a juvenile justice advisory group assistant with the Juvenile Justice Advisory Group at the Maine Department of Corrections;

  • Casey Weed of Gorham, Maine, a student at the University of Maine, is a public relations assistant with the Maine Department of Defense, Veterans and Emergency Management, at the Maine Emergency Management Agency;

  • Tyler Oversmith of Hampden, Maine, a student at Maine Maritime Academy, is an energy and real property data management intern with the Military Bureau at the Maine Department of Defense, Veterans and Emergency Management;

  • Chelsea Dean of Seabrook, New Hampshire, a student at the University of Maine, is a civil engineering intern with the Dam Safety Program in the Maine Emergency Management Agency Operations and Response Division at the Maine Department of Defense, Veterans and Emergency Management;

  • Mary Taylor of Readfield, Maine, a student a Saint Michael’s College, is a digital learning content intern with Learning through Technology at the Maine Department of Education;

  • Chris Jones of Litchfield, Maine, a student at Wentworth Institute of Technology, is a digital learning content intern with Learning through Technology at the Maine Department of Education;

  • Grace Kiffney of Portland, Maine, a student at the University of Maine, is a migrant education field and office assistant with the Migrant Education Office at the Maine Department of Education;  

  • Courtney Burne of Topsham, Maine, a student at the University of Maine, is a migrant education field and office assistant with the Migrant Education Office at the Maine Department of Education;   

  • Hannah Caswell, of Manchester, Maine, a student at Villanova University, is a stream watershed assessment technician with the Land and Water Environmental Assessment/Watershed Management Unit at the Maine Department of Environmental Protection;

  • Benjamin McCall of Falmouth, Maine, a student at the University of Maine School of Law, is a legal intern with the Office of the Public Advocate at the Maine Executive Department;

  • Caroline Bowne of Falmouth, Maine, a student at Skidmore College, is a technical writer with the Bureau of Unemployment Compensation, Division of Employer Services at the Maine Department of Labor;

  • Michael Bailey of Waterville, Maine, a student at the University of Maine, is a labor historian with the Bureau of Labor Standards at the Maine Department of Labor;

  • Nancy Bergerson of Plymouth, Maine, a student at the University of Maine, is an intern with the Bureau of Rehabilitation Services-Division of Vocational Rehabilitation Central Office at the Maine Department of Labor;

  • MacKenzie Riley of Waterville, Maine, a student at St. Thomas University, is a communication assistant with the Office of the Commissioner at the Maine Department of Labor;

  • Jonathan Whittemore of Limestone, Maine, a student at Husson University, is a technical field writer with the Bureau of Unemployment Compensation, Division of Employer Services at the Maine Department of Labor;

  • Abigail Pratico of Falmouth, Maine, a student at the University of Maine, is an assistant to the principal examiner with the Bureau of Consumer Credit Protection at the Maine Department of Professional & Financial Regulation;

  • Christopher Goodwin of Farmington, Maine, a student at the University of Maine at Farmington, is an actuarial assistant with the Bureau of Insurance at the Maine Department of Professional & Financial Regulation;

  • Sara Poirier of Winslow, Maine, a student at St. Joseph’s College of Maine, is a special projects coordinator with the Board of Licensure in Medicine at the Maine Department of Professional & Financial Regulation;

  • Brady Frautten of Winthrop, Maine, a student at the University of Tampa, is a Maine Information and Analysis Center intern with the Maine State Police at the Maine Department of Public Safety;

  • John Horton of Falmouth, Maine, a student at Bowdoin College, is a Maine Information and Analysis Center intern with the Maine State Police at the Maine Department of Public Safety;

  • Andrea Cashon, of Milford, Maine, a student at Cornell University, is an environment-natural resource field and data assistant with the Environmental Office-Field Services at the Maine Department of Transportation;

  • Nicholas Abbott of Gardiner, Maine, a student at the University of Maine at Augusta, is a bridge assistant with the Bureau of Maintenance and Operations/Bridges and Structures at the Maine Department of Transportation;

  • Hannah Ober of Brunswick, Maine, a student at the University of Southern Maine, is a hydrology-water resources intern with the Environmental Office at the Maine Department of Transportation;

  • Adam Cotton of Biddeford, Maine, a student at the University of Maine, is a field assistant with the Bureau of Maintenance and Operations at the Maine Department of Transportation;

  • Emily Maynard of Portland, Maine, a student at the University of Southern Maine, is a transportation planning intern with the Maine Department of Transportation;

  • Natalie Edmiston of Gray, Maine, a student at the University of Southern Maine, is an assistant with the Office of Employee Development at the Maine Department of Transportation; and

  • Cynthia Hunter of Portland, Maine, a student at the University of Maine School of Law, is a legal assistant with the Advocate Division of the Portland Regional Office of the Maine Workers’ Compensation Board.

More information is available online or by contacting Peggy McKee at margaret.mckee@maine.edu, or Charles Morris at 207.581.4135 or morris@maine.edu.

Categories: Combined News, News

Maine 4-H Days Participants to Pack Meals for Food Bank

University of Maine News - Thu, 06/05/2014 - 08:49

Maine 4-H Days begin at 7:30 p.m. Friday, June 20, at Windsor Fairgrounds, 82 Ridge Road, Windsor, with volunteers packing 16,000 meals to be donated to Good Shepherd Food Bank.

At least 100 volunteers registered for Maine 4-H Days are needed to pack the meals, which will be distributed to youth from Kittery to Fort Kent. Outreach Northeast is coordinating the volunteer opportunity.

Maine 4-H Days, an annual event sponsored by University of Maine Cooperative Extension and the Maine 4-H Foundation, runs through Sunday, June 22. Enrichment workshops include archery, chess, country line dancing, yoga, Lego robotics and numerous animal topics. An ice cream social and a law enforcement K-9 demonstration also will be held.

Weekend registration is $7 per person, $20 per family. For information about the food-packaging event, contact Sarah Sparks, 207.353.5550 or sarah.sparks@maine.edu. For information about Maine 4-H Days, to register or to request a disability accommodation, contact Jessy Brainerd at 207.581.3877, 800.287.0274 (in Maine) or jessica.brainerd@maine.edu. Registration materials and more information are available online.

Categories: Combined News, News

Grew Aids in Designation of Stornes Peninsula as Antarctic Specially Protected Area

University of Maine News - Thu, 06/05/2014 - 08:48

Ed Grew, a research professor of geological sciences at the University of Maine, was acknowledged by Geoscience Australia for his role in getting Antarctica’s Stornes Peninsula designated as an Antarctic Specially Protected Area by the Antarctic Treaty signatories.

The action taken during the May 2014 Antarctic Treaty Consultative Meeting strengthens international environmental protection for the area in Antarctica where Grew discovered minerals during fieldwork in 2003–04 on the Australian Antarctic Expedition.

The designation formally recognizes the peninsula’s outstanding geological significance and gives it the highest level of environmental protection under the Antarctic Treaty’s Protocol on Environmental Protection.

More information is online.

Categories: Combined News, News

UMaine Student-Athlete Named America East Man of the Year, Media Report

University of Maine News - Wed, 06/04/2014 - 09:48

The Bangor Daily News and WVII (Channel 7) reported University of Maine senior track and field student-athlete Kelton Cullenberg was named the inaugural America East Man of the Year at the conference’s annual meeting. The distance runner from Chesterville, Maine, was honored for his athletic and academic achievements with the recognition, which coincides with the America East Woman of the Year award that has been given out since 2006. “It shows that my school and my conference recognize how hard I have worked, not just in athletics, but academics, the community, and through leadership positions,” Cullenberg said of winning the award.

Categories: Combined News, News

Brawley Writes Op-Ed on Rockweed Harvesting for BDN

University of Maine News - Wed, 06/04/2014 - 09:45

Susan Brawley, a professor of plant biology at the University of Maine, wrote an opinion piece published by the Bangor Daily News, titled “Look at the science. Maine harvesting of rockweed is sustainable.” Brawley wrote, “a certain amount of harvesting can be performed without jeopardizing the overall health of the ecosystem.”

Categories: Combined News, News

WABI Advances Cooperative Extension Weed Identification Walk

University of Maine News - Wed, 06/04/2014 - 09:44

WABI (Channel 5) reported the University of Maine Cooperative Extension will offer a free weed identification walk Thursday, June 12, at Stutzman’s Farm in Sangerville. Donna Coffin, an Extension educator, will lead the walk that will focus on common weeds that invade vegetable, fruit and other cultivated crops. Participants are encouraged to bring a photo of problematic weeds found in their gardens.

Categories: Combined News, News

Socolow Writes Slate Article on Erroneous D-Day Media Reports

University of Maine News - Wed, 06/04/2014 - 09:44

Slate published an opinion piece by Michael Socolow, an associate professor in the Department of Communication and Journalism at the University of Maine, titled “The day we didn’t invade Normandy.” The article focuses on the erroneous media reports that were made on June 3, 1944 announcing that D-Day had begun. Millions of people likely heard the report on as many as 500 stations nationwide. The false report sprang from a preplanned news flash that was accidentally released by a young typist in the AP’s London bureau who pressed the wrong button on her teletype transmitter, the article states. “Though far more Americans heard the false D-Day report than tuned in to Orson Welles’ ‘War of the Worlds’ broadcast, the erroneous news flash, and the public’s reaction to it, is now largely forgotten. Actual coverage of D-Day, starting three days later, wiped it from historical memory,” Socolow wrote.

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Ten Marine Science Students Receive Maine Sea Grant Scholarships

University of Maine News - Wed, 06/04/2014 - 09:42

Three University of Maine students are among 10 who will receive a $1,000 Maine Sea Grant Undergraduate Scholarship in Marine Sciences for the 2014–15 academic year.

The scholarship to Tyler Carrier, a fourth-year student of Barre, Vermont, will complement his multiple experiences in scientific research. Carrier has researched oyster disease in the laboratory of Paul Rawson, and his senior Honors thesis focuses on transport of the dinoflagellate Alexandrium fundyense, the organism responsible for harmful algal blooms known as “red tide.”

Mackenzie Mazur of Douglas, Massachusetts, is a fourth-year marine biology major. Mazur plans to attend graduate school and work in the field of marine conservation.

Benjamin Reed of Milford, Maine, is a third-year student with a double major in marine biology and aquaculture. He has an associate degree in marine technology from Washington County Community College and has worked in Maine’s boat-building industry.

In 2014, Sea Grant expanded the scholarship program beyond UMaine. Additional recipients this year include: Jordan Desousa from University of New England; Kristina Kelley and Jillian Perron at Maine Maritime Academy; Roshni Sharon Mangar, Madeline Motley and Eliza Oldach at College of the Atlantic; and Zachary Vetack from University of Maine at Machias.

The awards are made possible through a matching program in which each $500 award from Maine Sea Grant is matched with a $500 award from the student’s home institution. Students may use the funds for academic and/or research-related expenses. Scholarship recipients become part of Maine Sea Grant’s statewide network of researchers, Extension professionals, and undergraduate and graduate student scholars doing exemplary work in marine science. Awardees have the opportunity to participate in Sea Grant-sponsored workshops, conferences and other events related to marine and coastal policy, resource management, community outreach, and education.

The application deadline for the 2015–16 academic year is Friday, April 17, 2015.

The Maine Sea Grant College Program at the University of Maine is supported by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the State of Maine.

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Man of the Year

University of Maine News - Wed, 06/04/2014 - 08:58

A University of Maine 2014 graduate has been named the first America East Man of the Year.

Kelton Cullenberg, a kinesiology/exercise science major from Chesterville, Maine, edged out finalists Jeff Turner of the University of New Hampshire and Luke Apfeld of the University of Vermont to claim the prestigious award that recognizes the male senior student-athlete at his respective school who best exemplifies a commitment to service, leadership, athletics and academics during his collegiate career.

“It is an incredible honor,” says Cullenberg, who graduated from Mt. Blue High School in Farmington, Maine. “The other competitors represent the best their school has to offer. I never would have dreamed of getting this award.”

To qualify for the award, student-athletes had to maintain a 2.5 cumulative grade-point average, receive their undergraduate degree prior to the summer 2014 term and complete intercollegiate eligibility in their primary sport by the end of the 2014 spring season.

A cross country/track and field athlete, Cullenberg achieved a 3.92 GPA. The senior distance runner captained three teams, earned all-conference honors six times and won the 2014 M Club Dean Smith Award.

He earned distinction by earning spots on the America East All-Academic Team, the Commissioner’s Honors Roll and Dean’s List. He also was a Presidential Scholar and garnered a 4.0 GPA four times during his undergraduate career.

In 2013, Cullenberg received the College of Education Dean’s Award and was inducted into the Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society. At the 2014 Scholar-Athlete Award recognition, he was presented a gold medallion as a three-time scholar-athlete.

Cullenberg was named University of Maine Athlete of the Week and America East Athlete of the Week multiple times during his career. He was also selected to All-Conference teams in cross country, indoor and outdoor track and field.

He placed second at the 2013 America East Cross Country Championships. At the 2013 Northeast Region meet, he was selected to the All-Region team and qualified for the NCAA Championships.

Cullenberg was the first UMaine male runner since 1979 to compete in the NCAA Cross Country Championship. His personal best in the 3,000-meters is 8:24 and he is second on the university’s all-time list, running the 5,000-meters in 14:25. He finished second at the 2014 America East Indoor Track and Field Championships in the 5,000-meter run.

Originally an engineering major, Cullenberg decided to attend UMaine because it offered a Division I sports program and it was close to home.

“A lot of my friends were leaning me toward engineering, but after the first few weeks I realized it wasn’t what I wanted to do,” he says. “The kinesiology classes were much more geared toward my interests.”

A runner since youth, Cullenberg cites his parents as major motivators in his academic and extracurricular pursuits.

“My parents influenced me because they were runners, too. They were also teachers at my high school, so academics were always a big deal,” he says. “They didn’t push [running] on me, it was just something I grew to love.”

Cullenberg was not present at the awards ceremony at Bretton Woods in Carroll, New Hampshire. Instead, he was traveling to the Hypo2 High Performance Sport Center in Flagstaff, Arizona, to start an eight-week internship working and training with a variety of athletes.

“It [the award] is a nice icing on the cake,” Cullenberg says. “It is all a very humbling experience.”

A business administration minor, Cullenberg hopes to operate his own performance center that offers physical therapy and exercise training. He says this long-time dream was cultivated during his time at UMaine.

“UMaine was a good fit for me,” he says. “I was taking a couple business classes, then figured I might as well turn it into a minor. [Academically], the school was at a level where I knew I could do well, not only in sports, but in the classroom.”

Contact: Margaret Nagle, 207.581.374

Categories: Combined News, News

Frances Foehrenbach: Engineering Positive Impacts

University of Maine News - Tue, 06/03/2014 - 15:23

Click here to view more student profiles

Every year the Society of Automotive Engineers sponsors the Clean Snowmobile Challenge — an intercollegiate design competition that encourages students to reduce emissions and noise by modifying snowmobiles to run on ethanol. Inspired by the competition, University of Maine mechanical engineering student Frances Foehrenbach of Saco, Maine, and her 11 teammates converted a snowmobile to run on compressed natural gas.

In April, the team displayed the snowmobile at the 2014 Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) World Congress in Detroit, Michigan, where many of the automotive industry’s top companies gathered. There, in competition with 11 other engineering universities, the UMaine team took third place for its snowmobile design.

The team’s snowmobile was also shown at the New Hampshire SnoDeo, one of the Northeast’s premier snowmobile events held to bring snowmobilers together near the season’s end to test new sleds.

Foehrenbach and another teammate were in charge of the team’s technical report writing. She also was the team’s sole Web designer — a task she had never done before the project.

In May 2011, Foehrenbach began working at the Bangor-based engineering consulting firm Woodard & Curran. Since graduating in May 2014, she has begun a full-time job with the company in the food and beverage service line, where she works on process piping to integrate new systems as well as adding equipment to existing systems.

Foehrenbach is a Tau Beta Pi engineering honors society and Pi Tau Sigma mechanical engineering honors society member. She was named one of two outstanding seniors in the Mechanical Engineering Department.

More information about Foehrenbach and her team’s project is online.

Why is engineering important to you?
Engineering is important for me because I have always had a desire to learn about the world around me, and I feel that my education in engineering will allow me to make a positive impact on the world.

What have you learned about yourself while doing this project? What has the project taught you about engineering?
Since I am the secretary for the team as well as the Web designer, I have discovered my strength of organization. Additionally, I have developed some Web designing tools and have found that I enjoy the aspect of creating and maintaining Web pages.

How does the project relate to your job with Woodard & Curran?
My job has certainly helped with this project. Having worked at Woodard & Curran since my freshman year of college, my experience in the consulting industry has helped me better understand how to go about the designing aspects of this project.

Why did you choose to work at Woodard & Curran after graduation?
I enjoy how the consulting industry has a variety of projects, which allows for continued learning in many aspects of engineering. Additionally, Woodard & Curran has a great atmosphere and truly values the well-being of its employees.

What excites you most about entering the workforce?
Entering the engineering workforce as a full-time engineer instead of an intern is exciting because it allows me to have more ownership over the projects I work on, and I will also have the opportunity to see a project through from design to completion.

Have you worked closely with a mentor, professor or role model who has made your UMaine experience better, if so how?
I have worked closely with a few professors, but my senior project adviser, Mick Peterson, has been a great asset for our team. He clearly cares about the senior capstone projects and wants his students to get the most of their experience at UMaine. He has also hired me to do extra work for him, which has allowed me to make some extra living money.

What is the most interesting, engaging or helpful class you’ve taken at UMaine? Why?
I took controls with professor Senthil Vel, which was an engaging class as it taught us how control systems work and incorporated feedback loops. The most valuable part of this course was the Arduino Micro boards that we were able to use along with fans and LEDs in order to learn how to program our own feedback loops.

What advice do you have for incoming students?
Make your time here worthwhile. Get involved in as many different clubs and activities as you can. It is incredibly important to get an internship as early as possible, so start applying freshman year.

Have you had an experience at UMaine that has shaped the way you see the world?
Attending UMaine has showed me that everything I love can be found in my own backyard: the outdoors, mountains, lakes, friendly people, great adventures, etc. As someone who grew up in Maine, I had lost sight of all Maine has to offer, and attending UMaine has brought back my love for this great state.

Categories: Combined News, News

Albers & Heirs

University of Maine News - Tue, 06/03/2014 - 13:50

The University of Maine Department of Art will present the work of artist, educator and color theorist Josef Albers and two of his students, globally recognized artists Neil Welliver and Jane Davis Doggett, in an exhibit that will run June 16 to July 18 in the Lord Hall Gallery on campus.

The “Albers & Heirs” exhibit will offer an in-depth look at the importance of Albers’ contribution as an art educator and the work of his students — Welliver and Doggett — who mastered his discipline of color interaction and made it an essential aspect of their work.

The public is invited to an opening reception and gallery tour 5–7 p.m. Monday, June 16. During the event, exhibit curator Osvaldo Monzon will give a gallery talk, titled “To Make Eyes Open,” and Doggett will speak about her time at Yale where she worked with and was influenced by art faculty members Albers and Welliver.

Welliver, who died in 2005, is known for large-scale paintings of the Maine woods that featured bold colors with an illusion of depth.

Doggett of Corea, Maine, is an internationally acclaimed graphic designer and artist who pioneered the field of environmental design. She has created more than 40 projects for international airports — more than any other designer, her website states.

“Whereas Albers comes to color to explore, and Welliver to conquer, Doggett uses color as an open invitation,” her official biography reads.

Albers (1888–1976) attended and then taught at the Bauhaus, the art school in Germany that transformed modern design and emphasized the connection between artists, architects and craftspeople. He came to the United States in 1933 to teach at the innovative Black Mountain College in North Carolina, and was chairman of the Department of Design at the Yale University School of Art from 1950 to 1958, according to the Joesf & Anni Albers Foundation.

“The exhibit marks a significant occasion for the university in underscoring the importance of the Bauhaus school via Black Mountain College to current arts education here at UMaine and across North America,” says Michael Grillo, chair of the UMaine Department of Art.

The exhibit will include participation by artist Jane Lincoln of Cape Cod, Massachusetts, and is sponsored by Clement and Linda McGillicuddy. The opening reception is sponsored by Whitney and Tony Oppersdorf; Taylor Mudge; Shelia Geoffrion and Robert Lawson; and Wickham Skinner.

Lord Hall Gallery is open 9 a.m.–4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. For more information or to request a disability accommodation, contact Grillo at 581.3246 or michael.grillo@umit.maine.edu.

Contact: Elyse Kahl, 207.581.3747

Categories: Combined News, News

Who Attempts to Drive Less?

University of Maine News - Tue, 06/03/2014 - 13:49

Multiple factors, including structural, social and psychological motivators, contribute to whether a person attempts to drive less, and policy efforts to alter travel choices should address all factors, according to University of Maine researchers.

Caroline Noblet, an assistant professor of economics at UMaine, worked with John Thøgersen, a professor in the Department of Business Administration at Aarhus University in Denmark, and Mario Teisl, director of the UMaine School of Economics and professor of resource economics and policy, to investigate how structural constraints and psychological motivators interact in determining the travel choice of those living in the northeastern United States. The researchers also looked at how the factors can be used to create effective policy interventions that encourage cutting back on personal car use in an attempt to improve environmental, personal and societal conditions.

“Our study indicates that people are moved to different travel behaviors by different factors,” Noblet says. “What makes me drive less doesn’t necessarily make me want to bike more; a one-size-fits-all policy may not be efficient in changing travel behaviors.”

In 2009, the researchers surveyed 1,340 residents from New England states — Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut and Rhode Island — as well as New York. Residents were asked about their use of alternative travel modes, attempts to drive less and potential psychological and structural aspects.

The researchers found external infrastructure constraints, including price and availability of local options, as well as household and personal characteristics, combine with an individual’s problem awareness, attitudes and perceived norms, when it comes to deciding whether one should seek carpooling, walking/bicycling or public transportation over driving a personal vehicle.

“An individual’s travel choices have extensive impact on our global environment, personal/societal health, and infrastructure by influencing carbon dioxide emissions and other air pollutants, traffic congestion and the spread of a sedentary lifestyle,” the researchers wrote in an article documenting their findings.

The article, titled “Who attempts to drive less in New England?,” appeared in the March 2014 journal “Transportation Research Part F: Traffic Psychology and Behaviour,” which is supported by the International Association of Applied Psychology and published by Elsevier.

The results showed differences across the states, indicating policy interventions should be tailored for each region.

Finding no difference between Maine and New Hampshire drivers, the researchers used results from those states as a base model, comparing drivers from other states to those in Maine and New Hampshire, Noblet says.

Massachusetts residents were found the least likely to attempt to decrease how much they drive, but use public transportation more than residents of other New England states. New York residents were found to use all three alternative modes of transportation (carpooling, biking/walking and public transportation) more than other residents. Vermont residents were found to walk or bike to work the most, while those in Rhode Island and Connecticut walk or bike the least.

The researchers found the attempt of New Englanders to reduce driving time primarily depends on each individual’s attitude toward driving less. People who think they have limited control over how much they drive are less likely to cut back, and the more a person drives in an average week, the more likely they are to make an attempt to decrease drive time.

Perceptions regarding the behavior of others also appeared to have a positive, but smaller influence, the researchers say.

The results showed specific psychological factors affect one’s decision to use each mode of alternative transportation. Deciding whether to carpool depends on how often someone’s acquaintances do; walking or biking depends on the person’s perceived ease or difficulty; and the use of public transportation depends on the person’s attitude about driving less.

Knowing that the decision to seek out alternative modes of transportation is based on specific contributing components offers additional policy development information.

For example, the researchers say, efforts focused on changing perceived social norms, such as the belief that others drive less, would likely be more effective in decreasing personal car use than campaigns aimed at changing one’s environmental concern.

Contact: Elyse Kahl, 207.581.3747

Categories: Combined News, News

Spawning Sea Lampreys Amplify Streambed Diversity, Say UMaine Scientists

University of Maine News - Tue, 06/03/2014 - 13:48

Sea lampreys impact rivers for months, perhaps years, due to their disturbance of streambeds when they spawn, say University of Maine researchers.

Robert Hogg, a master’s graduate who participated in the study, writes in a journal article that sea lampreys (Petromyzon marinus) are ecosystem engineers.

The physical disturbance caused by their “nest-building activity was significant and persistent” and increased “habitat heterogeneity” and favored “pollution-sensitive benthic invertebrates and, possibly, drift-feeding fish,” according to the researchers.

Sea lampreys increase the complexity of a streambed by “creating and juxtaposing shallow, swift, rocky habitat patches with deep, slow, sandy habitat patches,” says the article. The effects are “similar to those of Pacific salmon.”

As an adult, sea lampreys are parasitic fish that resemble eels. They use their circular mouths filled with circular rows of teeth to latch onto other fish and feed on their blood.

Hogg and the research team examined spawning sea lampreys in Sedgeunkedunk Stream, a tributary of the Penobscot River, in 2010 and 2011. The team says it conducted the study during “a modest run” of sea lampreys, since access to Sedgeunkedunk Stream had only recently been restored due to dam removal.

“The scale of this reported influence, therefore, is a fraction of the potential ecological impact that larger populations of sea lampreys may formerly have delivered to habitats throughout their native range,” the scientists say.

The research team also included UMaine Associate Professor of Freshwater Fisheries Ecology Stephen Coghlan Jr., Joseph Zydlewski with the U.S. Geological Survey, Maine Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit, and Kevin Simon of the University of Auckland in New Zealand.

The team’s research results are included in “Anadromous sea lampreys (Petromyzon marinus) are ecosystem engineers in a spawning tributary,” which will be published in the June edition of Freshwater Biology.

Contact: Margaret Nagle, 207.581.3745

Categories: Combined News, News

Breaking Barriers

University of Maine News - Tue, 06/03/2014 - 13:47

How does a normally peaceful agent break through a previously impenetrable barrier and become a potential killer?

Robert Wheeler has just received a five-year, $500,000 fellowship from the Burroughs Wellcome Fund (BWF) to figure that out.

The University of Maine Assistant Professor of Microbiology will study how and why Candida albicans — the most common human fungal pathogen — transforms from an innocuous yeast in the digestive tract of a person with a healthy immune system to a potentially fatal fungus in vital organs of a person whose immune system has been compromised.

“This award marks a new high point in my research career,” says Wheeler, one of 12 scientists nationwide to receive the 2014 Investigators in the Pathogenesis of Infectious Disease Award. After internal competitions at colleges and universities, each institution may nominate two investigators; this year, 144 scientists were put forward.

“This provides substantial funding that we can use to pursue high-risk projects with the potential to change our perspective on how dangerous infections begin.”

The goal, he says, is to improve diagnosis and therapy of fungal infection due to better understanding of the interactions between host and pathogen cells.

Wheeler’s lab will explore the host-fungal dialogue at mucosal surfaces where C. albicans — the leading cause of hospital-acquired infection that annually kills several thousand patients in the U.S. — is normally kept in check. “We expect that this will allow us to understand how the healthy immune system normally inhibits infection and how C. albicans invades past the epithelial wall,” he wrote in his application.

What happens at the earliest stages of active infection is one of the biggest mysteries about opportunistic pathogens, he says. And solving that mystery is imperative as infections complicate treatment of diseases, including leukemia, that require suppressing the immune system.

Wheeler’s lab will use zebrafish models of candidiasis at multiple levels — holistic, cellular and molecular genetic — to investigate the interaction between fungal cells and host cells during the earliest stages of infection. The integrated approach will utilize a new set of tools to address questions that have previously been inaccessible, he says.

His lab already has conducted pioneering studies with transparent zebrafish, which model infections caused by bacterial and fungal pathogens of humans. The resulting findings, he says, “opened the door to a deeper understanding of host and pathogen activity at the beginning stage of infection.”

Wheeler credits the previous scientific breakthroughs, and the work on the grant, to the talented, highly motivated and hard-working students and post-doctoral fellows in the laboratory. “The award is based on the pioneering work that they have done to change our perspective on fungal infection over the last five years,” he says.

With this fellowship, Wheeler says his lab will seek to exploit “that opening to discover the mechanistic underpinnings of the dialog between C. albicans and innate immunity at the epithelial barrier.”

On a personal level, Wheeler says he’s humbled to join the creative group of scientists that have previously held or currently hold BWF grants. “It pushes me to further excel and tackle the most important problems in infectious disease,” he says.

Wheeler’s peers lauded both his prior research and his potential.

Aaron Mitchell, professor in the Department of Biological Sciences at Carnegie Mellon University, says Wheeler has “been an insightful innovator for his entire scientific career.”

This award, Mitchell says, will allow Wheeler to build upon his initial findings “to look at the way that the host manipulates the pathogen, and how the pathogen manipulates the host. The remarkable zebrafish toolbox will allow Rob to look for key features of host defense that we can strengthen to thwart the pathogen before it gets a foothold.”

Joseph Heitman, chair of the Department of Molecular Genetics and Microbiology at Duke University Medical Center, says Wheeler’s research on how “Candida albicans … shields its immunogenic cell surface from immune surveillance in a variety of ways, which can in part be circumvented by drugs that unveil immunogenic signals” has blazed trails.

Heitman says the award will allow Wheeler, a “highly creative and innovative” investigator, to continue to be a leader in the field.

Gerald Fink, the Herman and Margaret Sokol Professor at the Whitehead Institute/Massachusetts Institute of Technology, says the award “recognizes [Wheeler’s] preeminence as a leader in the battle to combat Candida, a feared human fungal pathogen … for which we have no satisfactory protection.”

Fink anticipates Wheeler’s research will “provide critical insights into our natural immunity from Candida infections, which is the first step towards developing antifungal agents.”

And Deborah Hogan, associate professor in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology in the Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth College, says, “Ultimately, this work is likely to provide important insight into better ways to prevent and fight these often dangerous infections” in babies, in people undergoing chemotherapy and in those with suppressed immune systems.

The first installment of the award will be sent to UMaine on July 15, according to BWF, an independent private foundation based in North Carolina that supports research to advance biomedical sciences.

Victoria McGovern, senior program officer at BWF, says Wheeler’s selection was “based on the scientific excellence and innovation” of his proposal, as well as the strength of the scholarship at UMaine and Wheeler’s accomplishments as a researcher.

Wheeler says he’s pleased the award showcases UMaine and the laboratory to the national research community and he’s excited for opportunities to be in “contact with a number of the best and brightest infectious disease investigators in the U.S., through yearly meetings and a number of networking opportunities at national conferences.”

“The University of Maine is very proud of Dr. Wheeler’s achievement,” says Carol Kim, UMaine vice president for research.

“The BWF is a very prestigious award and identifies Rob as a leader in his field.”

Contact: Beth Staples, 207.581.3777

Categories: Combined News, News

Sea Urchin Dive Study Mentioned in Press Herald Article

University of Maine News - Tue, 06/03/2014 - 10:35

The Department of Marine Resources’ annual spring sea urchin dive survey was mentioned in the Portland Press Herald article “Food & Wine declares urchin roe ‘the new bacon.’” The University of Maine and the Sea Urchin Zone Council work with the DMR on the eight-week survey traveling to more than 140 areas of possible sea urchin habitat to collect data to asses how much the fishery has rebounded.

Categories: Combined News, News

Vollmers Talks to BDN, Press Herald About Possible Grad Business Program Merger

University of Maine News - Tue, 06/03/2014 - 10:34

Gloria Vollmers, an accounting professor at the University of Maine, spoke with the Portland Press Herald and the Bangor Daily News about a possible merger of graduate business programs at UMaine and the University of Southern Maine. Vollmers said a joint program would have benefits, such as allowing faculty to offer more electives. “We would end up with a more robust MBA and possibly could offer a specialty MBA (in health care, for example). Also, exposing students to more faculty is always good,” she wrote in an email to the Press Herald.

Categories: Combined News, News

Cooperative Extension to Give Away Tomato Plants

University of Maine News - Tue, 06/03/2014 - 10:33

University of Maine Cooperative Extension in Piscataquis County will give away 300 cherry tomato plants as part of the One Tomato Project to increase the number of people growing food.

The One Tomato Project, which originated in Ontario, Canada, encourages people to plant, grow and eat more vegetables, and to give extra to food banks. The mission: “To grow healthier communities, one tomato at a time.”

Extension personnel will distribute tomato plants to county food cupboards June 13 and 20. And plants will be given away, while supplies last, the week of June 23, at the Cooperative Extension office, 165 East Main St., Dover-Foxcroft. Extension staff will provide information about container gardens and sign up those interested in receiving the Piscataquis & Penobscot Garden Newsletter.

More information is available online or by calling 207.564.3301, 800.287.1491 (in Maine).

Categories: Combined News, News
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