St. Mary’s College of Maryland student Danielle Spaulding ’20 was awarded a research grant from the Sigma Xi Grants-in-Aid of Research Program for her research titled “Can Glyphosate and Polyethoxylated Tallowamine Inhibit Cytochrome P450 Enzymes?” Spaulding, who is a double major in biology and chemistry, is pursuing this research question for her St. Mary’s Project (SMP) under the guidance of Shanen M. Sherrer, assistant professor of biochemistry. Her work, which stems from summer research conducted in 2019 with a St. Mary’s Undergraduate Research Fellowship, is investigating the biochemical consequences of glyphosate, an active ingredient of herbicides such as Roundup®. The enzyme studied is important for drug metabolism. Results from Spaulding’s SMP can help provide new insights on negative health outcomes after herbicide exposure.
Jackie Villadsen, assistant professor of physics, has been awarded a $13,000 grant from the National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO). The funds will provide stipends, conference travel support, and access to astronomical datasets for students participating in research with Villadsen.
Their research will be tied to two sets of radio telescope observations, competitively awarded to Villadsen, on the Karl G. Jansky Very Large Array (VLA). These observations include a search for the radio signature of star-planet interaction, and a radio follow-up of close-in exoplanetary systems discovered during the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) mission.
Solar energy startup company SolarCube LLC has won a $100,000 technology product development grant through the Maryland Industrial Partnerships Program (MIPS). The funding will directly support the research and development work led by Troy Townsend, assistant professor of chemistry at St. Mary’s College of Maryland (SMCM), who is the principle inventor for technology that uses nanomaterials to allow photovoltaic solar modules to be manufactured using an affordable, inkjet-like printing process.
MIPS, a program of the Maryland Technology Enterprise Institute (Mtech) in the A. James Clark School of Engineering at the University of Maryland, supports research projects at University System of Maryland universities (plus Morgan State University and St. Mary’s College), to help Maryland companies develop technology-based products. MIPS funds are matched by participating companies to pay for the university research.
Solar Cube’s MIPS project is also supported by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Innovative Technology Fund, a partnership between DNR, the University of Maryland and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, with the goal of accelerating Chesapeake Bay restoration through the development of new technologies. DNR provided funding to MIPS for the project.
Townsend developed the base technology at the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory in 2014 and has proven the process with a working nanocrystal prototype. In June 2018, SolarCube LLC and the Naval Research Laboratory signed the license agreement for the lab’s patented “spray deposition method for inorganic nanocrystal solar cells” technology. TechLink, the Department of Defense’s national partnership intermediary, assisted SolarCube with development of the required commercialization plan and patent license application.
“Of all the renewable energy options, solar is the only one with enough potential to exceed even our future global power demand,” Townsend said. “Solar power is a really nice financial benefit for homeowners. But not for everyone else. In order to make it more accessible, we need to drive the price way down and seamlessly integrate it into our everyday life.”
Townsend’s work on printed electronics involves undergraduate research at St. Mary’s College. Student Bradley Moore ’20, who works on printing the nanocrystal inks said, “If we do the layers correctly, it will make a solar panel that would be 40 times thinner than a human hair.” Moore injects inks made of semiconducting and metallic nanocrystals into cartridges to print out 2D patterns onto arbitrary substrates to build electronics.
Moore works with fellow student Megan Waters ’20, who is synthesizing the inks using air-free conditions. Waters, who has been synthesizing silver nanowires said, “Trying to figure out just the right concentrations and times of injection were definitely the most challenging and interesting parts of the synthesis.”
Townsend said, “Undergraduate research is our pride and joy here at St. Mary’s College. These projects would not be possible without our talented students. In the meantime, they are working on graduate level projects and publishing their work in journals and presenting at national conferences.” Townsend was also co-director of the 2019 St. Mary’s Undergraduate Research Fellowship, which provided opportunities for students to work on mentored projects over the summer.
Townsend’s research group will continue to work with SolarCube LLC to develop printed solar cells. SolarCube LLC is located at the TechPort incubator in California, Maryland. Townsend plans to print a prototype solar module using the support of the MIPS award and work with SolarCube LLC on ways to adapt the lab-scale process into industrial-scale printing-press manufacturing.
Townsend said, “Just like the printing press revolutionized the written word, rapid roll-to-roll printing of electronics is the next step.”
For more information about the project, please visit TEDx Leornardtown video. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ivV1w2GFcmE&feature=youtu.be
The American Association of University Women (AAUW) awarded its 2019–20 American Fellowship to Jessica Malisch, assistant professor of biology at St. Mary’s College of Maryland. AAUW is one of the world’s leading supporters of graduate women’s education: Over the past 130 years, it has provided more than $115 million in fellowships, grants, and awards to 13,000 women from more than 145 countries.
“I am honored to be selected as an AAUW American Fellow,” said Malisch. “A major career goal of mine is to write a competitive proposal to the National Science Foundation. This fellowship will provide me the time and resources necessary to develop an excellent proposal.”
Malisch plans to use the fellowship to investigate the fitness consequences of the vertebrate stress response in white-crowned sparrows, to develop a new biochemical lab technique, and to apply for additional funding to maintain an active undergraduate driven research laboratory.
“The support of AAUW is giving me a major career boost that will help me accomplish my academic goals and my career aspirations,” said Malisch.
Nicholas (Nick) D’Antona ’19 and Peter Orban ’20 were recently awarded fellowships from the National Institutes of Standards & Technology (NIST) Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF). NIST is one of the nation’s premiere research institutions for the physical and engineering sciences. The two SMCM students will work at labs in Gaithersburg, MD during the summer of 2019.
This will be the second consecutive NIST SURF fellowship for Peter, who will work in the Physical Measurement Laboratory in the Fluid Metrology Group. Peter is majoring in both mathematics and physics, with a materials science minor. After graduating from SMCM he plans to go into a PhD program in applied physics. Peter’s project title is: “Improving Stack Flow Measurements by making them faster and more accurate”.
Nick will work with Dr. Lee Richter in the Materials Measurement Lab on a project titled: “Wide bandgap metal oxide films as electron transport layers in scalably-printed quantum dot solar cells”. Nick is pursuing a double major in physics and chemistry and plans to attend graduate school to study chemistry or materials science in pursuit of a PhD after graduating from SMCM.
Lindsay Jamieson, associate professor of computer science; Alan Jamieson, associate professor of computer science; and Angela Johnson, professor of educational studies and director of teacher education, received a $19,049 grant from the Maryland Center for Computing Education to develop a preservice teacher education program in computer science.
The three will develop a course that will work with two existing courses and, as a sequence, prepare students to take the computer science Praxis exam to be certified to teach computer science at the high school level. Additionally, they will have a limited number of scholarships available for community members who may be interested in adding a certification in computer science to their current knowledge.
The Maryland Center for Computing Education, housed at the University System of Maryland, is designed to expand access to high-quality pre-kindergarten through year 12 computing education by strengthening educator skills and increasing the number of computer science teachers in elementary and secondary education.
Over the next five years, the College’s Title IX Office will receive a total of $50,000 from the Maryland Department of Health’s Rape and Sexual Assault Prevention Program at the Center for Injury and Sexual Assault Prevention. The focus of the grant is “Preventing Campus Sexual Assault through Social Norms Change” and on implementing strategies to mobilize men and boys as allies to prevent sexual violence. This is the College’s third, and most significant, award from the Maryland Department of Health in the past three years.
The College will use these funds to continue developing a relationship with A Call to Men, a national violence prevention organization first brought to campus in 2017. A Call to Men is known for its important work with professional sports leagues, the U.S. military, and many other institutions.
For the next five years, trainers from A Call to Men will come to campus each semester to engage in ongoing programming and development with the general campus community as well as specific male populations, such as men’s sports teams and residential communities. The College will also use grant funds to support student professional fellows and upperclass students working on St. Mary’s Projects on related topics.
Michael Dunn, SMCM’s Director of Title IX Compliance and Training/Title IX Coordinator is “very excited about the opportunity to develop impactful, sustained prevention work with influential campus communities, and to weave together academic and pre-professional opportunities”. Dunn appreciates the support of campus partners, including Student Affairs, Athletics, and Academic Affairs, in helping pull the pieces of the grant proposal and planned programming together.
St. Mary’s College of Maryland (SMCM) student Brandon Poppell ’19 recently received the prestigious Simpson Scholarship in Egyptology. The Simpson Scholarships in Egyptology are available to students who wish to focus their studies on the history and culture of Ancient Egypt.
When asked about the scholarship and his current research Poppell stated “I am a Classics-trained student meaning I have taken ancient history classes at SMCM through the lens of the Ancient Greek and Roman worlds, and my main research interest is Ptolemaic Egypt, which was a Macedonian Dynasty”. In order to gain further background in Egyptology and to understand the way Ptolemaic Egypt functioned, Poppell aspired to study at the American University in Cario (AUC). At AUC, Poppell will pursue courses ranging from archaeology, to history, to art and architecture under Salima Ikram, one of the leading scholars in the field.
Poppell is currently awaiting responses from graduate schools but plans to continue his research on Ptolemaic Egypt for the rest of his academic career. In the meantime, during the 2019 summer he will be working on an archaeological site on Crete which is a Minoan site (1700-1430 BC), while also possibly working at a Greco-Roman site (4th century BC- 4thcentury AD circa) later in December. Poppell would like to thank Dr. Sarah Malena, Dr. Michael Taber, Dr. Linda Jones Hall, and Dr. Julia King for being extremely supportive in his academic endeavors while at SMCM. Poppell “would not be where I am without them”.
This article was written by St.Mary’s College of Maryland student and Office of Research and Sponsored Programs Fellow Mackenzie Brooks ’21.
St. Mary’s College of Maryland (SMCM) student Brooke Steinhoff ’19, was selected to receive a research grant by Beta Beta Beta to support her SMP in Psychology under the mentorship of Dr. Aileen Bailey. Beta Beta Beta (TriBeta) is an honor society for undergraduates dedicated to enhancing and improving not only the understanding but the appreciation of biological study through experimental research.
Steinhoff’s study aims to evaluate the effects of direct infusions of L-655,708 into the medial prefrontal cortex utilizing an animal model of depression. The study animals will be given various behavioral tests including the sucrose preference test, social interaction test, open field test, and novelty suppressed feeding test. Steinhoff believes that L-655,708 will have an antidepressant-like effect when infused directly into the medial prefrontal cortex. All research involving vertebrate animals must be approved by the St. Mary’s Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee.
Steinhoff is a biology major and neuroscience minor, and is conducting this study jointly with biochemistry major and neuroscience minor, Katie Robey ’19. More information about this collaborative research can be found on the Current Sponsored Research tab of the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs webpage.
This article was written by St. Mary’s College of Maryland student and Office of Research and Sponsored Programs Fellow Mackenzie Brooks ’21.
St. Mary’s College of Maryland (SMCM) student Katie Robey was selected to receive a research grant for her SMP by Sigma Xi, the Scientific Research Honor Society. Sigma Xi’s mission is to help foster the next generation of researchers and that is what they have done for Katie. With her SMP titled “Antidepressant Efficacy of L-655,708 Following Infusion into the Medial Prefrontal Cortex”, she hopes to uncover more about the neural circuitry that is responsible for the etiology of depression.
Katie’s project measures baseline depressive-like behavior by the novelty-suppressed feeding test, social interaction test, sucrose preference test, and open field test in a rodent model of depression. Robey will surgically implant treatment animals with guide cannulas and they will receive direct infusions into the medial prefrontal cortex of either the L-655,708 antidepressant or the drug vehicle. The drug vehicle is the solvent used to transport the drug into the system and when delivered on its own, serves as an experimental control. Robey hypothesizes that rats receiving L-655,708 will show significantly reduced depressive behavior when compared to the control group. All research involving vertebrate animals must be approved by the St. Mary’s Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee.
Robey, a biochemistry major and neuroscience minor, is working with fellow student Brooke Steinhoff ’19 under the guidance of Professor of Psychology Aileen Bailey. When asked about her research Robey stated: “I have been doing research with the same fast-acting antidepressant (L-655,708) for a couple of years and have studied its effect on several brain regions including the hippocampus and nucleus accumbens”. However, she wanted to extend the investigation by also looking into the medial prefrontal cortex since that region of the brain also plays a role in reward processing. Ultimately, the goal of Robey and collaborators’ research is to identify a safe, fast-acting antidepressant without the negative side effects of other alternatives.
Robey hopes that after she graduates from SMCM, additional future SMP students will continue working with L-655,708 in order to help further expand our understanding of its efficacy as a fast-acting antidepressant.
This article was written by St. Mary’s College of Maryland student and Office of Research and Sponsored Programs Fellow Mackenzie Brooks ’21.