Biology

Microscope image. Black background; neon green, tightly packed cylindrical-looking cells at the top, with more sparse layers of red, blue, purple, and green cells below.

Vision beyond sight: UMBC’s Phyllis Robinson to advance study of critical eye protein with $2.5M NIH grant

An eye protein called melanopsin can affect everything from our mood, to our sleeping and eating patterns, to our ability to adapt to time zone and seasonal changes. Robinson’s new work will focus on how certain modifications to melanopsin affect its function. “We’re looking at this cool molecule that affects our light-dependent behaviors in ways we’re not conscious of,” Robinson says. “It’s really exciting stuff within our field.” Continue Reading Vision beyond sight: UMBC’s Phyllis Robinson to advance study of critical eye protein with $2.5M NIH grant

10 people in professional clothing pose, smiling at camera in front of GRIT-X 2022 backdrop.

GRIT-X 2022 brings to life the “essence” of UMBC research and creative achievement

Amid a bustling day filled with Homecoming excitement, GRIT-X returned to UMBC this month for its sixth year, delivering a wide-ranging lineup of Retriever excellence in action. Held in the Fine Arts Recital Hall, this year’s GRIT-X was the first for new UMBC President Valerie Sheares Ashby. Enjoying one engaging talk after another, she deemed the event “the essence of UMBC.” Continue Reading GRIT-X 2022 brings to life the “essence” of UMBC research and creative achievement

portrait of Ivan Erill

New UMBC research finds that viruses may have “eyes and ears” on us

A virus’s ability to sense its environment, including elements produced by its host, adds “another layer of complexity to the viral-host interaction,” says Ivan Erill. Right now, viruses are exploiting that ability to their benefit. But in the future, he says, “we could exploit it to their detriment.” Continue Reading New UMBC research finds that viruses may have “eyes and ears” on us

Darryl Acker-Carter speaking on a dock, with the floating oyster aquaculture setup behind him, to a group of teachers

Students in UMBC’s ICARE program connect scientific research with community

Bats as biomonitors, community connections to the zero-waste movement, and oyster aquaculture are just a few of the topics that students in UMBC’s Interdisciplinary Consortium for Applied Research in the Environment (ICARE) master’s program are exploring through Baltimore-centered community-engaged research. As the first cohort in the program heads into their second and final year, they are excited about their work and looking ahead to becoming the next generation of environmental science leaders. Continue Reading Students in UMBC’s ICARE program connect scientific research with community

red robot-shaped viruses on the surface of a purple-blue cell, artist's rendering

Viruses may be ‘watching’ you – some microbes lie in wait until their hosts unknowingly give them the signal to start multiplying and kill them

There’s more to virus biology than meets the eye. Viruses that infect bacteria can listen for key cellular signals to help them make decisions. Even worse, they can use the cell’s own “ears” to do the listening for them. Continue Reading Viruses may be ‘watching’ you – some microbes lie in wait until their hosts unknowingly give them the signal to start multiplying and kill them

Portrait of Jeffrey Gardner outdoors

UMBC’s Jeffrey Gardner receives $1.3M from NIH to discover new treatments for fungal disease

Drug resistance is a growing problem in treating fungal disease. Jeffrey Gardner is searching for a new way to treat these infections with bacterial enzymes. It’s a new area of research for him, but “if you can find an interesting bug, with some interesting physiology,” he says, “the types of questions can really span major different areas.” Continue Reading UMBC’s Jeffrey Gardner receives $1.3M from NIH to discover new treatments for fungal disease

Five adults stand outside next to each other on a pathway. Fulbright.

UMBC’s 2022 Fulbright student scholars will travel the world to explore difficult questions

Nine recent UMBC graduates and alumni will soon travel to the UK, El Salvador, Kuwait, France, Colombia, Taiwan, South Korea, and Germany as 2022 Fulbright U.S. Student scholars. They include emerging leaders in education, astrophysics, cybersecurity, human rights, and more, and they are excited to explore difficult questions through fresh perspectives. Continue Reading UMBC’s 2022 Fulbright student scholars will travel the world to explore difficult questions

UMBC’s student innovation competition winners share tips for aspiring entrepreneurs

Student teams recently gathered at Betamore, a Baltimore-based entrepreneurship and coworking space, to battle in the final round of UMBC’s annual Cangialosi Business Innovation Competition. This year’s competition included two distinct tracks: technology and innovation, and social impact. The top three ideas in each track received funding to help move their ventures forward. Continue Reading UMBC’s student innovation competition winners share tips for aspiring entrepreneurs

Scholar-athlete shines a light on mental health

Courtney Coppersmith, ‘22, biochemistry and molecular biology, experienced UMBC as a welcoming community on her first visit, and she has devoted her time on campus to paying that spirit forward. She is one of the top softball pitchers in the nation. And she has supported fellow UMBC student-athletes and the broader UMBC community through mental health and food security initiatives. Continue Reading Scholar-athlete shines a light on mental health

Student smiling for headshot

Future dentist values her U.S. college experience

As a child in Iran, Nastaran Azar ’22, biological science, was afraid when she saw her grandmother take out her dentures, but her brother’s explanation of what had happened to her grandmother’s original teeth gave Azar a life goal. “Teeth play a really important role in our lives,” she says. She plans to help others take care of theirs when she eventually becomes a dentist.  Continue Reading Future dentist values her U.S. college experience

Bridging environmental research and activism

At UMBC, Aiman Raza has conducted research under Kevin Omland, professor of biological sciences, and at the Institute of Marine and Environmental Technology, located in Baltimore’s Inner Harbor. She also completed a virtual summer internship with the Smithsonian, where she studied fish and crustacean communities on oyster reefs in the Chesapeake Bay. Continue Reading Bridging environmental research and activism

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