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.
St. Mary’s College of Maryland held the second annual Research Excellence Workshop (REW) on January 11th 2019 in Daugherty-Palmer-Commons and the Blackistone Room in Anne Arundel Hall. The REW provides broad professional development opportunities (beyond grants), institutional support for and recognition of faculty research, scholarship and creative activities. The specific goals of the 2019 REW workshop were to: present funding and research opportunities to arts, social science and humanities faculty, discuss faculty workload and research integration into scaffolded undergraduate curricula, formally recognize the efforts of faculty and staff in seeking external funding to support their endeavors, and provide a forum for networking with external guests and colleagues across campus.
The day’s events included:
- Funding and research opportunities in the arts, social sciences and humanities (e.g., Smithsonian, Social Science Research Council, MD State Arts Council, NEH, MD Humanities, Library of Congress, Folgers Shakespeare Library, ACLS, external foundations). Presented by: Lauren Sampson, SMCM Director of Corporate and Foundation Relations, Dr. Sabine Dillingham, SMCM Director of Research and Sponsored Programs, and Marilyn Hatza, Program Officer Grants & Strategic Partnerships, MD Humanities. The scheduled NEH visit by John D. Cox, Deputy Director, NEH Division of Education Programs had to be cancelled due to the partial federal government shutdown but might be re-scheduled for later in the spring semester.
- Lunch, inaugural Sponsored Research Awards, and ‘Meet & Greet’ with external stakeholders. In celebration of outstanding efforts and achievements, Dr. Julie King, Professor of Anthropology, was recognized as Most Successful Grant Seeker; Dr. Angela Johnson, Professor of Educational Studies, and Dr. Cassie Gurbisz, Assistant Professor of Environmental Studies, were recognized as First-time Awardees. We also held a drawing where the number of free raffle tickets for faculty and staff was equal to the number of proposals they submitted for external funding in FY18. Dr. Samantha Elliott’s ticket was selected from the random drawing, earning her a note of congratulations and $25 gift card to the campus bookstore. External networking guests included Ms. Hatza from MD Humanities, researchers from Chesapeake Biological Laboratory (Drs. Tom Miller, Dave Secor, Carys Mitchelmore, Hali Kilbourne, and Johan Schijf), Morgan State’s PEARL (Dr. Tom Ihde, Dr. Ming Liu, Richard Lacouture, and Amber DeMarr), and Dr. Jeff Osborn, TCNJ Dean of the School of Science, AAAS and CUR Fellow.
- Presentation by Dr. Osborn, introducing the CUR Transformations Project with emphasis on creating a more research-rich, connected, and scaffolded curriculum, and an overview of faculty workload models that work well for primarily undergraduate institutions such as SMCM. The SMCM CUR-Transformations teams also provided brief overviews of their goals and progress.
- Panel discussion on faculty workload solutions and research integration into scaffolded undergraduate curricula facilitated by Dr. Katherine Gantz. Panelists included: Dr. Osborn, Provost Michael Wick, Dr. Joe Lucchesi, Dr. Aileen Bailey, Dr. Pamela Mertz, and Dr. Christine Wooley.
Sincere thanks to all the attendees and congratulations again to our inaugural sponsored research awardees! The Office of Research and Sponsored Programs plans to hold annual research-focused workshops in support of faculty and staff scholarship. If you have ideas about future topics of interest or networking partners, please contact Sabine Dillingham at x4192, email@example.com.
Two SMCM students were recently awarded Beta Beta Beta (TriBeta) Undergraduate Research Grants to help fund their St. Mary’s Projects. Brooke Steinhoff was awarded $500 for her SMP titled: “Evaluating the efficacy of L-655, 708 direct injection into the medial prefrontal cortex”. Steinhoff is working in Professor of Psychology Aileen Bailey’s lab.
Livia’s Schuller was also awarded $500 from TriBeta to help fund her SMP: “Effect of migration distance on body condition and response to physiological stressors in White-throated Sparrows”. Schuller is working with Assistant Professor of Biology Jessica Malisch.
St. Mary’s College of Maryland (SMCM) was well represented and very well received at the second annual meeting of the Council on Undergraduate Research Transformations Project (CUR-T), funded by the National Science Foundation (Award no. 1625354). The inter-disciplinary SMCM team attending the conference included Drs. Mertz, Neiles, Bowers, Dillingham, Wooley, Koenig, and Foster.
The CUR Transformations Project aims to understand and incorporate successful strategies to integrate high-quality undergraduate research (UGR) throughout four-year undergraduate STEM curricula. SMCM’s contribution to this ambitious nation-wide endeavor focuses on undergraduate research integration in the disciplines of psychology and chemistry & biochemistry, and we have a committed team of 16 faculty and administrators working toward this goal.
The 2018 annual meeting allowed all 12 institutions participating in the CUR-T project to highlight their progress toward achieving project goals, and by all accounts our SMCM psychology and chemistry/biochemistry teams excelled and impressed. Congratulations to all of them, and please feel free to ask them about their CUR-T-related progress and insights. Each team works to create a more research-rich, connected, and scaffolded curriculum, and contributes to two major research questions: 1) What effect do student characteristics (e.g., preexisting academic preparation) have on scaffolded integration of UGR into the curriculum and student learning outcomes? 2) How do different STEM disciplines/departments effectively integrate the components and outcomes of high-quality UGR to reach more students? The CUR-T principal investigators received NSF funding to answer these pertinent questions in order to advance the academy’s understanding of effective teaching and learning and the disciplinary and cultural factors necessary for curricular integration and transformation. Collectively, we are at the cutting edge of STEM curricular transformations.
St. Mary’s College Assistant Professor of Environmental Studies Cassie Gurbisz’s research on Chesapeake Bay grasses is featured in an article in today’s Baltimore Sun. The article discusses the impact of flooding on oysters and grasses as another surge of stormwater and pollution flows through Conowingo Dam. Gurbisz is pictured on the front page and included in the video accompanying the story.
Gurbisz’s research project is being funded through an award from the Maryland Sea Grant program, a part of the University System of Maryland. Maryland Sea Grant works to develop scientifically sound ideas and practices that enhance the Chesapeake Bay’s ecology along with the businesses and jobs that depend on it. Gurbisz’s project is titled: Quantifying Nutrient Sequestration in Chesapeake Bay Submersed Aquatic Vegetation Beds.