Lab News and Project Updates


Graduate Student Returns From Internship

Graduate Student, Janice Duy, was selected as a Mickey Leland Energy Fellowship intern for the summer of 2012.  The award, sponsored by the Department of Energy, gave 20 students from all over the country the opportunity to work at a DOE facility on different fossil fuel-related projects.  Janice worked at the National Energy Technology Laboratory in Pittsburgh, PA, under the supervision of Paul R. Ohodnicki, Jr., PhD, and Michael Buric, PhD, in the Advanced Sensors Development Laboratory.  This group focuses on the design and testing of optical sensors for the quantitative analysis of gas mixtures at high temperature corrosive environments.  During her 10-week stay, Janice worked on modeling the responses of novel thin-film sensor materials and geometries to evaluate their suitability for this application.  The results of this work were published in a conference proceedings paper for SPIE, the international society for optics and photonics.

It's that time of year…

It’s time to ship cargo to Antarctica for the 2012 season! Dr. Connell writes about this process at our blog:

 Check it out to learn more about the process of preparing to venture to Antarctica!


UPWARD BOUND 2012 Projects Completed

Upward Bound students, Heidi Ortiz and Chhayheng Chhoeu, submit their final posters for their research conducted here in the Connell Lab.

Heidi Ortiz with her poster. Her project, "Adaptation of Yeast" focused on testing the stability of yeast against a full light spectrum. Read more about Heidi's project on our Upward Bound page.

Chhayheng Chhoeu with his poster. His project "Examining RNA Levels of Alexandrium Using Different Methods of Preservation" focused on testing different preservation methods of RNA from the harmful algae, Alexandrium fundyense. Read more about Chhay's project on our Upward Bound page.


New Grad Student Joins the Connell Lab

Andrew Walter recently joined the Connell Laboratory as a new graduate student. He is a recent graduate of the University of Maine 2012 School of Marine Sciences and is looking forward to developing the scope of his research project. Welcome, Andrew! 

Undergrad Documents Yeast Growth

Ben Segee, an undergraduate at the Connell Lab,  documents a timelapse of the yeast, Cry havoc, growing over a 48 hour time period. Watch yeast grow before your eyes!

UPWARD BOUND 2012 Students Join the Connell Lab

Upward Bound Students, Heidi Ortiz and Chhayheng Chhoeu, join the Connell Lab for the summer 2012

Heidi Ortiz is a senior from Oxford Hills Comprehensive High School. Upon finishing high school, she plans on going to the University of Miami to major in Marine Biology. She is currently doing an experiment on the effects of prolonged light exposure on Antarctic Fungi. 

Chhayheng Chhoeu is a Senior from Lowell High School. Upon finishing high school, Chhayheng plans on going to college to major in Biology or Premed. Chhayheng is currently helping Amber out with her study of the Red Tide algae.

Graduate Student Travels to Ireland

June 9, 2010

As part of an international research partnership award, graduate student Amber Bratcher recently traveled to Belfast in Northern Ireland.

While there, she will be conducting red tide detection research with collaborator, Dr. Chris Elliot at the Institute of Agri-Food and Land Use at Queen's University.

While at Queens, she will be making comparisons using different surface plasmon resonance (SPR) platforms and comparing different assay chemistries for developing a more efficient biosensor to detect the harmful marine dinoflagellete Alexandrium

Learn more about the BEACONS (Biosafety for EnvironmentAl COntaminants using Novel Sensors) project.

DMC hosts 3rd International BEACONS workshop

Sept 2010

A group of 15 researchers gathered for 2 days in September to attend the 3rd international workshop for the detection of harmful algal blooms BEACONS working group. BEACONS is a unique collaboration between the United States, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. The BEACONS project aims to develop novel strategies for the isolation and detection of harmful microbes from both seawater (Alexandrium) and freshwater (Microcystis) as well as their associated toxins. It harnesses the substantial complementary expertise of the international partners and their Institutions to address a problem that has world-wide implications for human health and aquatic related industries. In Maine, the alga Alexandrium is commonly called red tide and is responsible for extensive closures of shellfish harvests. Paralytic shellfish poisoning (PSP) caused by consumption of shellfish that have fed on the toxic alga Alexandrium remains a major health concern throughout North American coastal areas. As increasing numbers of people live in immediate proximity to the ocean, the risk of exposure to this natural hazard also grows. Microcystis contains toxins that are increasingly found reservoirs and lakes used for drinking water. The consortium of partners assembled as a result of the U.S.-Ireland Partnership initiative, has complementary expertise in sample handling, marine and fresh water environmental research, assay development using antibodies, peptide nucleic acids and receptors/channels, microfluidics, sensor assay generation and associated applications. Lectures and discussion groups were held to update current sensor development work in progress, as well as to establish new relationships and develop future collaborations. Dr. Laurie Connell from the School of Marine Sciences acted as host for the group.

Volcanoes, deserts and permanently frozen lakes...Oh My!

Nov 2010

Once again, Dr. Laurie Connell (Univ of Maine - School of Marine Science) has flown South for the winter in search of fungi. She will spend the next month in Antarctica - sampling some of the most exteme of environments including marine, volcanic, polar deserts and permanently frozen lake sites. Visit our project page and the G-439 page to learn more and for periodic field reports and updates. 


May 4-5, 2011

The semi-annual BEACONS International Research Meeting was held in County Fermanagh, Northern Ireland. During the meeting, all participants of the international collaboration gave a presentation of their latest research in the BEACONS project. After the presentations there were discussions regarding the overall progress achieved thus far and the future directions for the collaboration. This provided a forum for the researchers to interact in person, fostering a more successful research international collaboration.

The BEACONS project is made up of scientists from the U.S., Ireland, and Northern Ireland and is focused on developing novel detection methods for harmful algae and algal toxins. Participants are pictured below at Marble Arch Caves.

©  2012, Laurie Connell - University of Maine - A Member of the University of Maine System