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Updated: 50 min 58 sec ago

Tajvidi Talks to WABI About Development of Eco-Friendly Particleboard

Fri, 10/03/2014 - 14:41

Mehdi Tajvidi, an assistant professor of renewable nanomaterials at the University of Maine, spoke with WABI (Channel 5) about research he is involved in to develop eco-friendly particleboard panels with adhesive made of cellulose nanofibrils (CNF). Tajvidi is working with several other UMaine researchers — William Gramlich, Doug Bousfield, Doug Gardner and Mike Bilodeau — as well as John Hunt from the USDA Forest Service to make strong, stiff and fully recyclable particleboard panels that can be used in countertops, door cores and furniture. “The materials that we are working with are just coming from mother nature. We don’t synthesize them, we just extract them from wood,” Tajvidi said. “And so this is basically biomaterial and has a very good potential because it has very exciting properties such as very high stiffness and strength, and a very wide range of applications for that.”

Categories: Combined News, News

UMaine Mentioned in BDN Article on Economic Boost to Ashland Region

Fri, 10/03/2014 - 14:40

The University of Maine was mentioned in a Presque Isle Star-Herald article published in the Bangor Daily News about officials celebrating job creation at four forestry-based businesses in Ashland. One of the businesses — shingle manufacturer Ecoshel — worked with UMaine’s Advanced Manufacturing Center (AMC) to produce cedar shingle panels. Brian Kirkey, CEO of Ecoshel, gave a tour of the facility and explained how the company worked with UMaine to create state-of-the-art equipment that will reduce waste and improve production, according to the article.

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VEMI Lab Featured on WVII

Fri, 10/03/2014 - 14:36

WVII (Channel 7) covered the second annual open house of the Virtual Environment and Multimodal Interaction (VEMI) Laboratory at the University of Maine. The lab, located in Carnegie Hall, is part of the spatial informatics program in the School of Computing and Information Science and houses Maine’s only research facility that combines a fully immersive virtual reality installation with augmented reality technologies in an integrated research and development environment. Nicholas Giudice, a professor in the School of Computing and Information Science, and Richard Corey, the lab’s director of operations, spoke about some of the lab’s technology, as well as the latest research projects. “Our argument is, if you can provide the same information through accessible means, nonvisual means, you can learn it in the same exact way and activate the same parts of the brain,” Giudice said.

Categories: Combined News, News

Star 97.7 FM Interviews Breece About Closing of Bucksport Mill

Fri, 10/03/2014 - 14:35

James Breece, an economics professor at the University of Maine, spoke with Star 97.7 FM about the closing of the Verso Paper mill in Bucksport. Breece said the ripple effect from the closure could be devastating and that laying off nearly 600 people will have a multiplier effect. He said some towns do recuperate from similar losses, but it can be a long and painful process.

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WABI Covers Mitchell Lecture on Sustainability

Fri, 10/03/2014 - 14:34

WABI (Channel 5) reported on the 7th annual Mitchell Lecture on Sustainability, hosted by the Senator George J. Mitchell Center for Sustainability Solutions at the University of Maine. This year’s talk featured Harvard University’s William Clark who spoke about “Mobilizing knowledge to shape a sustainable future.” Mitchell, who also spoke at the event, talked about the importance of finding a long-term solution to climate change in order to create opportunity for Maine’s future. “The real issue is, if we wait much longer the effects will be irreversible,” Mitchell said.

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Maginnis Quoted in Press Herald Article on Enterovirus

Fri, 10/03/2014 - 14:33

Melissa Maginnis, a microbiology professor at the University of Maine, was quoted in a Portland Press Herald about the first confirmed case of enterovirus D68 by Maine health officials. Maginnis said people should be concerned about the virus because it has quickly spread across the U.S. this year, and was not contained to a region. “It’s really hard to predict what’s going to happen. This is a very serious virus, and there is potential for it to continue to spread,” she said, adding the virus has the potential to become more widespread than West Nile virus.

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BDN Covers Butler’s Survey on Poverty

Fri, 10/03/2014 - 14:33

A survey designed and analyzed by Sandra Butler, professor in the University of Maine School of Social Work, was referenced in the Bangor Daily News story “Study reveals most Mainers agree poverty caused by outside forces, not personal decisions.” The report from the 2014 survey is titled “Maine People Agree Opportunity is the Bridge to a Better Future.” Three of four Mainers polled indicated the primary cause of poverty is “that the economy is failing to produce enough jobs that pay decent wages.”

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Get the Scoop on Poultry Coop Contest

Fri, 10/03/2014 - 14:32

Got a great design idea for a poultry coop? The University of Maine Cooperative Extension and Maine Poultry Growers Association (MPGA) are accepting entries for the 2015 Maine Poultry Coop Contest until Saturday, Nov. 1.

The contest is to recognize poultry keepers — hobbyists and farmers from Maine — who have valuable and creative ideas for coop use and design. Entries may be designed and used with any species of poultry. As many as three photos may accompany each entry, which may be submitted online.

The first-place winner will be awarded $150; second place will win $100; and third place will earn $50. Fourth- and fifth-place finishers will receive one-year subscriptions to Backyard Poultry Magazine. All entrants will get free 2015 memberships in MPGA, which is providing all the awards. Winners will be announced Jan. 14, 2015 at the State of Maine Agricultural Trades Show in Augusta. For more information, contact Lynne Hazelton at 207.781.6099 or

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Markowsky to Deliver Cybersecurity Talk

Fri, 10/03/2014 - 14:31

University of Maine professor George Markowsky will present a talk about cybersecurity at 11:30 a.m. Tuesday, Oct. 28, at the Margaret Chase Smith Library.

The talk is the library’s Ada E. Leeke Lecture on International Affairs. Markowsky is a professor of computer science and cooperating professor in the School of Policy and International Affairs.

The library, at 56 Norridgewock Ave., Skowhegan, is owned by the Margaret Chase Smith Foundation and operated under its auspices by the University of Maine.

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Nature Profiles Rademaker’s Pioneering Research in Peruvian Andes

Thu, 10/02/2014 - 11:59

The research of Kurt Rademaker, a University of Maine visiting assistant professor in anthropology and alumnus (Ph.D. 2012), is profiled in the Oct. 1 issue of the international weekly journal Nature. The story’s author, Barbara Fraser, accompanied Rademaker and his research team on a recent expedition high in the Peruvian Andes.

In recent years, Rademaker’s research has made international science headlines for his findings of the earliest evidence of extreme high-altitude occupation anywhere in the world. The “Nature” story traces Rademaker’s work in the Andes to understand when colonization began and what the hunter-gatherers did to survive, beginning with his research with UMaine anthropologist Daniel Sandweiss and, later, UMaine geologist Gordon Bromley.

The story is online.

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Boston Globe Covers Effort to Preserve Island Where 4-H Camp Held

Thu, 10/02/2014 - 11:59

The Boston Globe article “To preserve access to Maine island, they may have to buy it,” details the campaign to raise money so Maine Coast Heritage Trust can purchase High Island, the site of Blueberry Cove, University of Maine Cooperative Extension’s 4-H summer camp.

The land trust would preserve the 22-acre island off the coast of St. George, keeping it open to the public and summer campers, just as the island’s owners have done for the last 40 years. About half of the needed $700,000 has been raised, according to the article.

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MTM promotes Maine Poultry Coop Contest

Thu, 10/02/2014 - 11:58

The Kennebec Journal and Morning Sentinel carried the announcement about the University of Maine Cooperative Extension Maine’s Poultry Coop Contest. Nov. 1 is the deadline for entries for the contest, which seeks to recognize poultry keepers who have creative ideas for coop use and design.

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Kennebec Journal Quotes Dill On Question 2

Thu, 10/02/2014 - 08:43

James Dill, a pest management specialist at University of Maine Cooperative Extension, was quoted in a Kennebec Journal story about Question 2 on the Nov. 4 ballot.

Question 2 asks voters: “Do you favor an $8 million bond to support Maine agriculture, facilitate economic growth in natural resource based industries, and monitor human health threats related to ticks, mosquitoes, and bedbugs through the creation of an Animal and Plant Disease and Insect Control laboratory administered by the University of Maine Cooperative Extension?”

Cooperative Extension’s current laboratory is not biosecure and Dill said having a biosecure laboratory would allow Cooperative Extension to test for communicable diseases, including Lyme. Farmers, veterinarians and sportsmen said that new animal, plant and insect laboratory would facilitate Cooperative Extension working more closely to promote productive, safe food and livestock as well as the health of pets and game species.

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Aquaculture Topic of Interview with Camire

Thu, 10/02/2014 - 08:43

Mary Ellen Camire, president of the Institute of Food Technologists and professor of food science and human nutrition at the University of Maine, spoke about sustainable aquaculture research during an interview with

Camire says food science is a blended field with many disciplines, and that it will take a team approach to figure out how to feed approximately 9 billion people on the planet in 2050. Land-based aquaculture is a promising field, she says, as it’s local and safe. She’s working with researchers at the University of Maine Center for Cooperative Aquaculture Research in Franklin, Maine. They’ll soon be asking consumers to taste test uni, the edible part of sea urchins farmed at CCAR.

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Mitchell Writes Op-Ed for BDN

Thu, 10/02/2014 - 08:41

The Bangor Daily News published the opinion piece, “A promise to grow jobs, shrink government that no Maine politician is making” by Alison Mitchell, a research assistant at the University of Maine Center on Aging. Mitchell also is a member of the Maine Regional Network, part of the Scholars Strategy Network, which brings together scholars across the country to address public challenges and their policy implications. Members’ columns appear in the BDN every other week.

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PPH Column Credits Engineering Students

Thu, 10/02/2014 - 08:40

University of Maine engineering students received a nod in the Portland Press Herald column “Soup to Nuts: Maine’s own needhams have history — and potatoes — on their side.”

Linda Lenberg of Norway, who makes and sells 2,000 needhams, bought an old Italian packing machine from a whoopie pie baker at a trade show. When she first hit the on switch, she says it “was like a baseball pitching machine.”

So Lenberg enlisted the expertise of UMaine engineering students, who adjusted the machine for her. It now wraps a week’s worth of coconut, potato and chocolate treats in a couple hours.

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Learn About Pasture Management

Thu, 10/02/2014 - 08:38

University of Maine Cooperative Extension is offering a two-part workshop on pasture and forage management 4:30–6:30 p.m., Oct. 15, at Aldermere Farm, 70 Russell Ave., Rockport, and 5:30–7:30 p.m., Oct. 22, at the UMaine Extension office, 377 Manktown Road, Waldoboro.

Cost is $20 for the workshop, which is for people who manage forage or pasture for equine or cattle. To register or to request a disability accommodation, call Jeanne Pipicello, 207.832.0343. For more information, call Caragh Fitzgerald, 207.622.7546 or Mark Hutchinson, 207.832.0343.

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UMaine Extension Offers School Gardening Class

Thu, 10/02/2014 - 08:38

University of Maine Cooperative Extension will offer a course designed for educators and others interested in creating and maintaining school gardens. The class meets 4:30–7 p.m. Oct. 21, Oct. 28, Nov. 4, Nov. 18, Nov. 25 and Dec. 2, at South Berwick Central School, 197 Main St., South Berwick.

Each class will focus on a garden subject, including planning, soils, seedlings, composting, pest management and season extension. Participants will build an understanding of basic gardening principles, as well as connect the principles to school activities and curricula, and support the creation or enhancement of school gardens with ideas and planning time.

Course fee is $60; CEU credits are available. To maximize benefits and experience, educators, cooks, parents and librarians from the same school communities are encouraged to enroll. Register online by Oct. 17. For more information, contact Becky Gowdy, 207.324.2814, 800.287.1535 (in Maine); To request a disability accommodation, call Frank Wertheim, 207.324.2814 or 800.287.1535 (in Maine).

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Have a blast at ‘Rockets to the Rescue’

Thu, 10/02/2014 - 08:35

“Rockets to the Rescue!” is the theme of the 4-H Science Saturday workshop from 10 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., Oct. 25, at the University of Maine Foster Center for Student Innovation and Emera Astronomy Center.

In light of recent disasters such as Typhoon Haiyan, participants will be challenged to design and build an aerodynamic food transportation device to deliver a payload of food to victims. Youth in grades 6–8 will utilize engineering concepts, develop math skills, learn about nutrition and help solve a relevant, global issue. Lunch will be followed by a presentation of the STARS show at the new Emera Astronomy Center.

The $15 registration fee includes lunch. Maximum enrollment is 25 for this 2014 National 4-H Youth Science Day Experiment. Registration is available online. For more information or to request a disability accommodation, contact Jessica Brainerd, 207.581.3877.

Categories: Combined News, News

Flu Fighting

Tue, 09/30/2014 - 14:58

In the ongoing struggle to prevent and manage seasonal flu outbreaks, animal models of influenza infection are essential to gaining better understanding of innate immune response and screening for new drugs. A research team led by University of Maine scientists has shown that two strains of human influenza A virus (IAV) can infect live zebrafish embryos, and that treatment with an anti-influenza compound reduces mortality.

It is the first study establishing the zebrafish as a model for investigating IAV infection.

“A zebrafish model of IAV infection will provide a powerful new tool in the search for new ways to prevent and treat influenza,” according to the researchers, who published their findings in the journal Disease Models & Mechanisms.

The research team is led by professor Carol Kim and graduate student Kristin Gabor of UMaine’s Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences and Engineering, and includes four other UMaine researchers and one from Ghent University.

Most studies of viral pathogens that can infect zebrafish have been limited to fish-specific viruses. However, in recent years, four human viral illnesses have been reported to be modeled in zebrafish — herpes simplex, hepatitis C and chikungunya and now influenza A.

For studies of flu virus infection, the researchers focused on specific sialic acids and cytokines comparable in zebrafish embryos and humans. For these studies the zebrafish embryos also were kept in a temperature range comparable to the human respiratory tract (77 to 91.4 degrees F).

“The transparent zebrafish embryo allows researchers to visualize, track and image fluorescently labeled components of the immune response system in vivo, making it ideal for immunological research,” said Kim, a UMaine microbiologist and vice president for research and graduate school dean, writing earlier this year in the journal Developmental and Comparative Immunology.

In this study, visualization of a fluorescent reporter strain of IAV in vivo demonstrated that IAV infects cell lining surfaces of the zebrafish swimbladder, as it does in the human lungs.

In addition, the antiviral drug Zanamivir, known for being effective in treating influenza A and B in humans, was tested in vivo and was found to reduce IAV infection.

The researchers note that studies of IAV infection in adult zebrafish have the potential to provide valuable insights into infectious disease processes, particularly in understanding adaptive immune response and vaccine efficacy. This is critically important in light of the rapidly developing resistance of the influenza virus to drug therapies.

“This zebrafish embryo model of IAV infection will be an important resource for dissecting molecular mechanisms of host-pathogen interactions in vivo, as well as for identifying new antiviral therapies,” write the researchers.

Contact: Margaret Nagle, 207.581.3745

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