Archive for the ‘At a Glance’ Category

College of Natural Sciences, Forestry, and Agriculture Announces Edith Patch Award Recipient

Thursday, March 26th, 2015

Nadir Yildirim, a doctoral student in the Wood Science and Technology Program in the School of Forest Resources, was named the 2015 recipient of the College of Natural Sciences, Forestry, and Agriculture’s recently renamed Edith Patch Award.

Yildirim of Mugla, Turkey studies the production and evaluation of super-light nanocellular structures, nanocomposites, aerogels and eco-friendly foams under the supervision of Stephen Shaler, professor of wood sciences and technology and director of the UMaine School of Forest Resources.

After completing the graduate certificate in Innovation Engineering through the Foster Center for Student Innovation, Yildirim started Revolution Research, Inc. (RRI) based in Orono. RRI focuses on the development and commercialization of eco-friendly replacements of petroleum-based thermal insulation products.

Through his Ph.D. studies, supported by the USDA McIntire-Stennis program, a Maine Technology Institute Phase 0 KickStarter grant and the MTI Technical Assistance Program, Yildirim recently submitted a Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) grant to the National Science Foundation for research into corn starch and cellulose nanofibrils (CNFs).

Nadir’s development and testing at the Advanced Structures and Composites Center lead to the creation of an innovative foam board system made of CNFs, which is the focus of the grant application. RRI’s goal is to produce the first eco-friendly, recyclable and reusable thermal insulation foam board, which can be used within wall sheathing systems, on floors and in roof systems of residential or commercial buildings.

In recognition of UMaine’s Women in Leadership Week, the college renamed the Outstanding Ph.D. Student Award to honor Edith Patch, a pioneering entomologist and UMaine faculty member.

The Edith Patch Award recognizes graduate students at the Ph.D. level who have distinguished themselves in multiple ways. Recipients are selected based on research and scholarly activity, teaching, professional activity, university and public service, and academic performance; areas in which Patch distinguished herself during her UMaine career.

Patch was a major figure in entomology at UMaine from 1904–37. She was the first female president of the Entomological Society of America, was the head of the Entomology Department at UMaine and published several works including “Food Plant Catalogue of the Aphids of the World.”

Psychological Research Paper Among the Top 10 Most-Read in Clinical Case Studies

Monday, March 23rd, 2015

A research paper by University of Maine psychologists continues to be in the top 10 most-read articles in the journal Clinical Case Studies. The research focused on the effectiveness of two years of multicomponent treatment of severe body dysmorphic disorder (BDD) in a 14-year-old girl. As defined by the American Psychiatric Association, BDD is a psychiatric disorder characterized by obsessive thoughts about perceived physical defects. A person with BDD can develop compensatory behaviors, depression and social withdrawal. Treatment at UMaine’s Psychological Services Center involved counseling two times per week and periodic home visits focused on exposure with response prevention (ERP) in conjunction with medication, case management, and crisis intervention. The two-year treatment resulted in partial remission of BDD, with significant reductions in obsessive-compulsive behavior and depression, and increased school attendance.

The journal article, “ERP, Medication, and Brief Hospitalization in the Treatment of an Adolescent With Severe BDD,” was authored by Rachel D. Burrows, a former UMaine graduate student who is now a clinical psychologist at Maine General Medical Center; graduate student Janine Slavec; Douglas W. Nangle, professor of psychology; and April C. O’Grady, director of the UMaine Psychological Services Center. It was published in February 2013.

For more about Clinical Case Studies most-read articles: ccs.sagepub.com/reports/most-read.

Partnerships in Aquaculture Innovation: Sea & Reef and UMaine

Monday, March 23rd, 2015

Sea & Reef Aquaculture LLC in Franklin, Maine, is one of the largest marine ornamental fish hatcheries in the world. It is based in an aquaculture incubator that was established with support from the Maine Technology Asset Fund (MTAF) and located at the University of Maine Center for Cooperative Aquaculture Research (CCAR).

Sea & Reef Aquaculture CEO and founder Soren Hansen, who received a Ph.D. in marine biology from UMaine, grew his business that now employs eight with technical support from the university. Sea & Reef specializes in captive breeding of marine ornamental fish for the saltwater aquarium hobby, selling to retail pet stores and wholesale distributors in the U.S and to overseas markets. The company, incorporated in 2003 while Hansen was conducting his Ph.D. research, is committed to conservation and the need to develop marine ornamental aquacultures to reduce fishing pressure on the world’s coral reefs, where fish are often obtained in ways that are destructive to both the organisms and surrounding environment.

In 2008, Sea & Reef successfully cultured about 1,000 clownfish per month belonging to 10 different species, and needed a place to expand. MTAF funding was secured for the project and the CCAR business incubator underwent renovation. In early 2011, Sea & Reef Aquaculture relocated from a modest lab space facility at the University of Maine’s Aquaculture Research Center to the newly renovated 12,000-square-foot CCAR business incubator.

With the help of funding from a Maine Technology Institute Development Loan and technical assistance from CCAR personnel, Sea & Reef installed modern aquaculture production systems by adapting culture technology developed in Maine for intensive food fish culture to marine ornamental fish aquaculture. As a result, Sea & Reef has increased production to commercial levels in the past four years at the CCAR business incubator and is now culturing more than 50 different species and color morphs, including Sea & Reef’s signature “designer clownfish” variations with a retail value of up to $300 per fish.

Sea & Reef’s eight full-time staff include University of Maine marine science graduates.

Yarborough Awarded Funds to Improve Integrated Pest Management for Blueberry Farmers

Tuesday, March 17th, 2015

David Yarborough, a blueberry specialist with the University of Maine Cooperative Extension and professor in the School of Food and Agriculture, was awarded funds to improve integrated pest management practices for Maine’s wild blueberry growers.

The Wild Blueberry Commission of Maine awarded Yarborough and fellow researchers Francis Drummond and Seanna Annis $116,268 from the Maine Department of Agriculture for the yearlong study.

The Wild Blueberry Commission of Maine proposes to develop and implement an integrated pest management (IPM) program on weeds, diseases and insects for Maine’s 510 wild blueberry growers.

The study aims to address important crop management needs to ensure wild blueberry production isn’t threatened by developing IPM programs. If IPM practices are not developed to address the challenges, Maine’s wild blueberry crop and $250 million in annual economic impact are at significant risk, according to the researchers.

The integrated proposal contains three focus areas:

  • To develop effective weed resistance strategies and educate growers on weed resistance management.
  • To provide growers with disease forecasts to reduce crop loss and fungicide use while developing new IPM disease and insect management enhancements.
  • To develop an IPM program for the blueberry tip midge and determine the impact of wild blueberry damage from sap-feeding insects resulting from current fertility and disease management practice.

Zaro to Lead Second Archaeological Excavation in Croatia

Tuesday, March 17th, 2015

National Geographic Society is funding an archaeological project this summer along the Adriatic Sea in Croatia, led by Gregory Zaro, University of Maine associate professor and chair of the Department of Anthropology. Zaro will be joined by colleagues from the University of Zadar, Croatia, and students from both the University of Zadar and UMaine. The excavation is the next phase in building a long-term program of study concerning human society, environment and climate in the eastern Adriatic region. The initiative to study urban transformation and landscape change at the Nadin archaeological site in Croatia grew out of Zaro’s Fulbright experience at the University of Zadar in 2013.

Cities are a dominant factor in global environmental change today, but as a long-term process, urbanization has played a significant role in shaping our planet’s landscapes and environments for millennia, effectively creating anthropogenic landscapes. Recognition of this point opens the door for archaeological research to make significant contributions to contemporary urban/ecological issues, while also generating cross-cultural knowledge about urbanism in the ancient, historic and modern worlds.

Zaro’s project is a field program of archaeological excavation and analysis at the Nadin archaeological site, a moderately sized center in Croatia’s Ravni Kotari region along the Adriatic Sea. The site is situated near the 3,000-year-old city of Zadar, an important social and economic center in the region today, but one that faces significant urban/ecological challenges over the coming century.
With a nearly 2,500-year record of (possibly intermittent) occupational history, Nadin affords the opportunity to investigate the relationship between phases of urban growth and decline, and broader changes in landscape and environment — processes that persist around Zadar today.

The project work will generate archaeological data related to urban form, spatial organization, economy, subsistence and environment from the site’s inception in the Iron Age. The project will also work to more precisely delineate the site’s chronology, an essential prerequisite to articulating changes in urban form with broader changes in landscape and environment. The results will help build a range of knowledge on human-environmental interactions in the Zadar region, offering deep-time perspectives on contemporary issues.

Latest UMaine Invention: Nontoxic Fiberboard

Wednesday, March 11th, 2015

A new type of fiberboard invented by University of Maine researchers is made with nontoxic, biobased additives and is 25 percent stronger than conventional products.

Most particleboard contains a formaldehyde-based binder that releases toxins into living spaces, causing health concerns. The UMaine fiberboard uses a safe, nontoxic binder of nanocellulose, a gel composed of small particles of cellulose. Cellulose is an important structural component of plants and the most abundant natural polymer on Earth. In this invention, the nanocellulose is made using a low-energy grinding process.

The fiberboard, patent-pending in the United States and Canada, was developed by UMaine researchers Doug Bousfield and Mike Bilodeau.

More information is online.

Partnerships in Engineering Innovation: RollEase and AMC

Tuesday, March 10th, 2015

RollEase Innovation Center in Brunswick, Maine, opened in 2014 and began taking advantage of the research and development capabilities of the University of Maine’s Advanced Manufacturing Center (AMC). The innovation center has collaborated with AMC in numerous projects — from testing products and new materials to doing new component design and running software programs to validate designs and calculations.

RollEase Inc., headquartered in Stamford, Connecticut, is the leading designer and largest manufacturer of clutch-based window covering operating systems worldwide and the third largest distributor of roller shade fabric in the U.S.

“One of the primary reasons we decided to make a multimillion dollar investment to locate our new innovation center here was to be within close proximity of the University of Maine and be in a position to work with their advanced manufacturing program,” said Greg Farr, senior vice president and chief innovation officer for RollEase in written testimony to the legislative committees of appropriations and financial affairs, and education and cultural affairs.

“Our company is very fortunate to have access to the world-class people and facilities of the Advanced Manufacturing Center, for we would never have made the kind of progress we’ve made to date on our own,” said Farr, writing on behalf of the requested appropriation for the University of Maine System from the Maine Economic Improvement Fund (MEIF).

The Advanced Manufacturing Center is an engineering support and service center that is dedicated to promoting manufacturing economic development in Maine.

Brady Awarded Funds to Improve Water-Quality Model

Tuesday, March 10th, 2015

Damian Brady, assistant research professor in the School of Marine Sciences, has been awarded $25,294 to improve a sediment model of the Chester River in Maryland in order to enhance the Chesapeake Bay Environmental Modeling Package that is utilized to clean the bay. Water-quality models provide information about how much pollution — in the form of nutrients from wastewater treatment plants and inorganic fertilizers — it takes to create dead, or hypoxic, zones, in Chesapeake Bay. Brady says models are proficient at determining the relationship between pollution and ecosystem damage, but they’re less proficient at predicting the impact of nutrient pollution on shallow water connected with sediment underneath. The University of Maryland is administering the funds from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The project began in June 2014 and continues through May 2016.

AHI Awarded $657,000 to Develop Land-Based Aquafarm

Monday, March 9th, 2015

The National Science Foundation awarded $657,000 to Acadia Harvest Inc. (AHI), which is working to achieve a commercial-scale, land-based, indoor Maine seafood farm with low to zero waste. AHI, which formed in 2011, has conducted collaborative research at the University of Maine Center for Cooperative Aquaculture Research (CCAR) in Franklin, to advance the technology of recirculating aquaculture systems (RAS) used to raise fish, including California yellowtail and black sea bass. The grant will enable AHI to increase the scale of its research project and to add new species for studies in an integrated saltwater system. The goal, says AHI officials, is to deliver fresh seafood from Maine to people throughout the U.S., perhaps by 2017–2018.

UMaine Athletic Training Student to Represent New England in National Competition

Monday, March 9th, 2015

University of Maine student Alicia Valente of New Gloucester, Maine will represent the New England Region at the National Athletic Trainers’ Association Quiz Bowl in St. Louis, Missouri on June 25.

Valente will compete against nine other teams of two, each representing a district of the National Athletic Trainers’ Association. New England makes up District 1.

Valente earned her spot in the national competition after participating in a regional contest during the 2015 Eastern Athletic Trainers’ Association Convention. She competed against undergraduate and entry-level graduate students from several institutions including Springfield College and the University of Vermont. Valente came in second place in the regional contest, which secured her seat on the NATA Quiz Bowl District 1 team.