Biology

a woman works on repairing a colorful mural representing different biology motifs

Alumna brings biology mural back to life

Walking down Academic Row, the ground floor windows of the Biological Sciences Building reflect the flow of student traffic, and colorful renditions of animals and microbes, silhouettes of researchers, and other elements of biology seem to pop off the wall and join the campus milieu.  For many, the images on the mural blend into the background of campus—just another wall in just another building. But the artist remembers the blank wall 10 years ago, covered sparsely in inspirational posters and placards.  “It was a huge wall, and visible from the outside,” says Anna Vikhlyayeva ’15, visual arts. In addition to… Continue Reading Alumna brings biology mural back to life

A collage with an illustration of a yellow butterfly with white flowers, and photographs featuring people studying, talking, and celebrating together. Blue, green, yellow, and red shapes decorate the collage.

Living in vivid color—Kate Feller, Ph.D., is pushing boundaries in biology research and teaching

The shower was full of mantis shrimp. Bubblers burbled and the cranky crustaceans skulked in their tanks, looking for things to punch with their famously fast strikes. Complicated electronics for measuring brain activity stood sentinel beside the bed in the next room. And out on the balcony, Kathryn Feller, Ph.D. ’14, biological sciences, was wearing a respirator and gloves, working with nasty chemicals.  In other words, it was another day of fieldwork as a behavioral neuroscientist—a career Feller has embraced after a journey of self-exploration that took her to surgical operating theaters, drama summer camps, and a range of research… Continue Reading Living in vivid color—Kate Feller, Ph.D., is pushing boundaries in biology research and teaching

Fever dream, a band, practices in a lecture hall

Biology department members create an experiment of note—a band called Fever Dream

Before you let your imagination run wild, we’re going to go ahead and temper whatever expectations you may have upon hearing the phrase “biology band.” Nobody is banging on a centrifuge in lieu of drums. Test tubes aren’t lined up as a makeshift xylophone. The final rock flourish is not a shattering of beakers. In fact, when the band members of Fever Dream get together, they leave biology in the lab and concentrate on what matters—the music.  “We are incredibly lucky to be able to do important research on the topics that we are interested in while at the same… Continue Reading Biology department members create an experiment of note—a band called Fever Dream

A volleyball game at UMBC

Meet a Retriever—Aysia Miller ’24, volleyball player and biology major

Meet Aysia Miller, a senior on the America East championship women’s volleyball team at UMBC. Originally from Mililani, Hawaii, Aysia is majoring in biology and minoring in bioinformatics. As a student-athlete and scholarship recipient, Aysia says she’s found a community at UMBC that lets her dive deep into the STEM fields that interest her while supporting her on and off the volleyball court. Q: What’s the one thing you’d want someone who hasn’t joined the UMBC community to know about the support you find here?  A: UMBC has people that can fit you perfectly. There will always be someone that… Continue Reading Meet a Retriever—Aysia Miller ’24, volleyball player and biology major

a gray ball with a long, skinny, light gray tail; a smaller purple ball is attached where the ball and tail join.

Vampire viruses prey on other viruses to replicate themselves − and may hold the key to new antiviral therapies

Ivan Erill and colleagues discovered a new kind of relationship between viruses, where a satellite virus that needs its “helper” virus to replicate attaches to the helper’s neck to make sure they enter the host cell at the same time. Continue Reading Vampire viruses prey on other viruses to replicate themselves − and may hold the key to new antiviral therapies

A microscope image of the helper virus and satellite virus attached together. The helper is a large blue ball with a long light blue tail. The satellite is a small purple ball with a tiny purple loop wrapped around the light blue tail, right next to the blue ball. Tan background.

UMBC team makes first-ever observation of a virus attaching to another virus

Pairs of viruses where one needs the other to reproduce are well documented, but no one has ever see one virus directly attached to another. “I can’t believe this,” Tagide deCarvalho remembers thinking when she first saw it under the microscope. The work opens up the possibility of finding more examples of this kind of interaction. Continue Reading UMBC team makes first-ever observation of a virus attaching to another virus

Set of modern buildings surrounded by green space, mountains in the background

Ph.D. candidate Jessica Novak to study biofuels at National Renewable Energy Laboratory

With a Department of Energy fellowship, Jessica Novak will pursue better understanding of Cellvibrio japonicus, a bacterium with biofuels potential. Novak’s time at NREL “will also train me in some of the biochemical analyses that I’m going to do back at UMBC,” she says. “I think the results we’re going to get from this fellowship will spark new ideas.” Continue Reading Ph.D. candidate Jessica Novak to study biofuels at National Renewable Energy Laboratory

a glass vial with fruit flies inside and about a dozen eppendorf flasks on a black countertop; many more vials in a red plastic holder in the background, and more eppendorf flasks in a teal container.

First Roth Research Award recipient broadens horizons after summer research experience

Inioluwa Oluseyi has wanted to be a neurosurgeon as long as she can remember. She didn’t anticipate how much fly husbandry would play a role in her reaching her goal. Summer research with Fernando Vonhoff, funded by a new scholarship, has given her opportunities to excel. Continue Reading First Roth Research Award recipient broadens horizons after summer research experience

a sandy landscape, with a deep ditch down the middle

UMBC’s Steve Freeland co-leads $1.8 million research grant to predict the biochemical foundations of life beyond Earth

Every living thing on Earth uses the same set of 20 amino acids to build all of its proteins. But why that particular set of 20? And how might we recognize life beyond Earth based on different molecules? Now Stephen Freeland and colleagues are taking this work from theory to the laboratory for the first time. “Nobody knows what will happen,” Freeland says. “This is a first.” Continue Reading UMBC’s Steve Freeland co-leads $1.8 million research grant to predict the biochemical foundations of life beyond Earth

a large ballroom full of people and rows of research posters

STEM BUILD interns shine at UMBC’s Summer Undergraduate Research Fest

Summer Undergraduate Research Fest gives students early in their research careers a chance to feel like part of a scholarly community. In mentoring students completing summer research, “Our main goal is to help them see and feel that they belong in science and that they can be future leaders in this field,” Maria Cambraia says. Continue Reading STEM BUILD interns shine at UMBC’s Summer Undergraduate Research Fest

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