NEWS

February 2017

Congratulations to senior Steve Chen, who participated in the TEDxUMD Think Big Conference at the Hoff Theater on February 18th.  Steve is a volunteer with the Buddhist Tzu Chi Foundation, an international nonprofit aimed at reducing global suffering and empowering individuals and communities. His speech, It’s Time to Start Eating Ethically, was about the benefits of vegetarianism and why he continues with this diet.

November 2016

Congratulations to senior Aaron Solomon, who has been named a 2017 Marshall Scholar!  The Marshall Scholarship, which allows American students to pursue graduate study at any university in the United Kingdom, is considered one of the most prestigious academic awards available to college graduates.  Solomon—who is majoring in biological sciences, with a specialization in cell biology and genetics, and minoring in computer science—plans to use the scholarship toward a Master of Science degree in genomic medicine at Imperial College London followed by a Master of Philosophy degree in bioscience enterprise at the University of Cambridge. His long-term plans include earning his Ph.D. and pursuing a career in computational genomics.

“This is the opportunity of a lifetime,” said Solomon.  “The Marshall Scholarship will enable me to study cutting-edge biomedical science on a global scale and collaborate internationally to enhance human health. Throughout my years in the United Kingdom, I hope to prepare myself to tackle future challenges at the nexus of science and society.” UMD’s fifth Marshall Scholar, Solomon has extensive community service and research experience, including projects focused on drastically reducing greenhouse gas pollutants in agricultural fertilizers using nanoscience techniques, genetically engineering fungi to attack mosquitos carrying malaria and developing bioinformatic tools to better understand breast cancer patient data. 

You can read more about Aaron's Marshall plans here.

October 2016

J Simon 1.jpg

Congratulations to ILS faculty member, Dr. Jonathan Simon, whose recent research was widely circulated by British journalists in the United Kingdom.  Media outlets that published pieces on his work included The Times and BBC Radio, which has a global  audience of several million listeners.  Dr. Simon's research studies the difficulties a listener encounters when surrounded by a cacophony of competing voices.  

 

August 2016

ILS is thrilled to recognize the placement of recent graduate Avan Antia with the Clinton Fellowship America India Foundation (AIF).  She will be working with an NGO in India for 10 months, beginning in September.  The Clinton Fellowship for Service in India pairs young professionals with leading NGOs and social enterprises to accelerate impact and create effective projects that are replicable, scalable, and sustainable.  Together, Fellows and development sector leaders form dynamic partnerships to exchange knowledge and skills while sharing their passion to present new ways of looking at the world - ultimately transforming both the individual and the organization.  Avan will be working at the Madras Crocodile Bank Trust and Center for Herpatology.  Congrats Avan!

 

May 2016

Congratulations to Iowis Zhu for being selected as the 2016 University of Maryland University Medal recipient!  This is the highest award that the University of Maryland offers to its most noteworthy graduating senior at Campus Commencement.  The medal recognizes overall academic excellence, plus outstanding research and scholarly accomplishments, dedicated service to on-campus and off-campus organizations, significant leadership, and personal values.  Iowis was chosen for his research excellence, which includes his leadership of a UMD student team that was awarded a gold medal at International Genetically Engineered Machine (iGEM) Grand Jamboree for Synthetic Biology.  After graduation, Iowis will be entering the Stanford School of Medicine to pursue his M.D. degree.  Congratulations Iowis!

Congrats to Senior Shane Falcinelli for being awarded the Dorfman Prize for Undergraduate Research for 2016!  Shane was recognized for his thesis research working with Dr. Volker Briken for the past four years.   His research focused on studying drug delivery by acyclic cucurbit[n]uril-type molecular containers.  Shane's work was also recognized with the Winston Family Honors Best Student Paper Award, please see below.  Tremendous job Shane!

Shane Falcinelli, Dr. Todd Cooke, and Justin Buck at the Winston Family Honors Best Student Paper Awards at the Riggs Alumni Center.

We are excited to recognize two ILSers, senior Shane Falcinelli and first-year Justin Buck, for their recent Winston Family Honors Best Student Paper Awards.  Shane was one of three recipients for Best Honors Thesis for his work titled, Toxicology and Drug Delivery Applications of Acyclic Curcurbit[n]uril-Type Molecular Genetics under the guidance of faculty mentor Dr. Volker Briken.  Justin was one of two recipients for Best Honors Essay Thinking Outside the Cell:  Rehabilitating American's Youth.  Justin's essay was nominated by his faculty mentor Dr. Peter E. Leone in the course HONOR248H From Willowbrook to Attica:  Disability in the Context of Disability Education.  You can read more about Shane, Justin, and the others recognized by the Winston Family here.  Congratulations to our winners!

Congratulations to ILS Director Dr. Todd Cooke for being recognized with the Donna B. Hamilton Teaching Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Education.  This is a student-nominated award that asks for faculty members who have made a difference in how their students view the world, influenced their career direction, improved their understanding of challenging material, or been a mentor or role model.  The Office of Undergraduate Studies deliberates on all of the nominees and recognizes one faculty member in Undergraduate Studies.  

This means that ILS staff members Dr. Cooke, Dr. Quimby, and Graduate Assistant Hannah Jardine are all being recognized for their exceptional work this year.  Congratulations to Dr. Cooke and the rest of the ILS team!

April 2016

Hannah Jardine

Congratulations to ILS Graduate Assistant Hannah Jardine, who has just been given the Graduate Student Staff Recognition Award from the Department of Undergraduate Studies.  As an embedded researcher, Hannah has conducted a longitudinal study of all aspects of the ILS program from Welcome Weekend to Citation Ceremony.  In the last two years, she created permeability among multiple facets of the program including courses, faculty and staff, living environment, and student expectations.  Additionally, Hannah contributed significantly in extenuating circumstances when she increased her time commitment and responsibilities to bridge the gap between the outgoing and incoming Assistant Directors.  She coordinated numerous aspects of HLSC100 including curriculum review, Section Leader preparation, and service partner logistics.  Hannah presented at three professional conferences this spring, proactively pursuing opportunities to contribute to her field and maximize her research.  After graduating in May with her Master's in Curriculum and Instruction, Hannah will begin her doctoral program at the University of Maryland in Teaching Learning Policy and Leadership with a concentration in Math and Science Education.  Thank you Hannah!

Dr. Boots Quimby accepting her Creative Educator Award from Associate Dean of Biology Dr. Bob Infantino.

Dr. B. Booth "Boots" Quimby, the ILS Associate Director, has just received the Creative Educator Award for 2016 from the Board of Visitors of the College of Computer, Mathematical, and Natural Sciences.  Dr. Quimby was recognized in part for her outstanding and innovative teaching contributions, including a scholarship-in-practice class and a flipped cell biology class.  

She was also recognized for her creation of an Alternative Spring Break experience called Terps Helping Turtles at the Karen Beasley Sea Turtle Rescue and Rehabilitation Hospital on Topsail Island, North Carolina.  Terps Helping Turtles just completed its fourth year, and plans to partner with the hospital for many years to come. Additionally, Dr. Quimby supervised award-winning undergraduate student teams in the International Genetically Engineered Machine (iGEM) Grand Jamboree in Synthetic Biology.  Among her other awards, Dr. Quimby was named Outstanding Honors Faculty in Fall 2015 by the University of Maryland Honors College.  Congratulations Dr. Quimby!

Iowis Zhu, left, and Adip Bhargav, right, in front of McKeldin Mall at the University of Maryland.  Both men are finalists for the University Medal in recognition for their outstanding contributions to the university community.  Photo credit:  Jonathan Hsu

The University Medal is the highest award that the University of Maryland offers to its most noteworthy graduating senior at Campus Commencement.  The medal is awarded for overall academic excellence, plus outstanding research and scholarly accomplishments, dedicated service to on-campus and off-campus organizations, significant leadership, and personal values.  

ILS is proud to announce that two ILS seniors, Iowis Zhu and Adip Bhargav, are among the five graduating seniors named this year as finalists for this award.  Among his notable accomplishments, Iowis is being recognized for his research excellence, which includes his leadership of a UMD student team that was awarded a gold medal at International Genetically Engineered Machine (iGEM) Grand Jamboree for Synthetic Biology.  After graduation, Iowis will be entering the Stanford School of Medicine to pursue his M.D. degree.  Among his notable accomplishments, Adip is being recognized for his dedicated community service, which includes his leadership of the Advocates for Improving Medicine (AIM) and provides support services to local healthcare agencies.  After graduation, Adip will be entering Mayo Clinic Medical School to pursue his M.D. degree.  Congratulations to both these outstanding graduates!

 

Jessica MacGregor

We are so excited to congratulate sophomore Jessica MacGregor as one of this year's Ernest F. Hollings Scholarship recipients!  Awarded by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Office of Education, the Hollings Scholarship Program provides a financial award of up to $9,500 annually for two years beginning in September 2016.  The Hollings Award also includes a full-time, 10-week, paid summer research internship at a NOAA facility the summer following junior year.   This internship provides the Scholars with practical, hands-on training in NOAA-related research, science, technology, education activities, and management.  

Jessica is an Environmental Science and Policy major, concentrating in Biodiversity and Conservation Biology.  She also minors in Spanish Language and Culture.  She completed a summer internship working as a field technician for the US Geological Survey, and currently works in Dr. Bill Fagan's Spatial Ecology Lab on campus.  Jessica is one of four University of Maryland students to be awarded this prestigious honor, which ties Maryland for third in the nation with the most recipients.  Congratulations Jessica!

Yousuf Khan

Congratulations to sophomore Yousuf Khan for being recognized as a 2016 Goldwater Scholar!  For the second consecutive year, four University of Maryland students have been awarded scholarships by the Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Foundation, which encourages students to pursue advanced study and careers in the sciences, engineering and mathematics. UMD is one of only five institutions with their four nominees all named scholars. The other schools are Cornell University, Stanford University, the University of North Texas and the University of Wisconsin-Madison.  This is the first repeat of all four nominees selected as scholars in Maryland's history.

Khan was among the 252 Barry Goldwater Scholars selected from 1,150 students nominated nationally this year. A biological sciences major specializing in cell biology and genetics, who is also a Banneker/Key Scholar, is interested in understanding how non-coding RNAs control gene expression.  Since May 2014, he has been conducting research in the laboratory of Jonathan Dinman, chair of the UMD Department of Cell Biology and Molecular Genetics. In the lab, Khan’s first task involved cloning sequences suspected of being able to reprogram the genetic code.  You can read the full story and learn about UMD's other Goldwater recipients here.

March 2016

Amira Collison

Amira Collison

Congratulations to Amira Collison, a senior majoring in neurobiology and physiology and minoring in Spanish, who has been awarded a Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship to Spain for the 2016-17 academic year!  In addition to being a member of the ILS Honors College program, Ms. Collison has served as the chief student coordinator for a high school tutoring program, Foundations in Science and Health, as well as site leader for SHARE, a student-run organization that collects and donates medical supplies to developing countries.  Since 2012, Ms. Collison has been a full Banneker Key Scholar and is a member of Phi Kappa Phi.  While teaching English in Spain, Ms. Collison plans to volunteer at a local health clinic, building on her volunteer work at Silver Spring Community Clinic.  After completing her Fulbright year in Spain, Ms. Collison plans to attend medical school.  As a physician, she hopes to improve the quality and access of health care for minorities in underserved areas.

November 2015

 

ILS Associate Director, Dr. Boots Quimby, receives the Honors College outstanding faculty awards from Honors College Director, Dr. Bill Dorland, at the honors college citation ceremony.

Avan Antia

Avan Antia

 

Congratulations to ILS senior, Avan Antia, who won the award for Best Undergraduate Poster at the Rustbelt RNA Conference!  Avan's findings uncover new targets for therapies directed at controlling stress at the cellular level. Specifically, she verified the presence of signals, located in the messenger RNAs of genes that are turned on in response to cellular stress, which recode the cellular protein synthetic machinery to downregulate the expression of these genes.

 

October 2015

UMaryland iGEM’ers win gold again!!! Student researchers from around the world gather yearly for the International Genetically Engineered Machine competition (iGEM). This high-intensity event engages student-led teams from major universities worldwide to design, work on, and present novel synthetic biology projects that address real-world problems. The University of Maryland iGEM team, which is composed of 16 multidisciplinary students, including 13 ILS students, and 2 faculty advisors, traveled to the iGEM Jamboree in Boston from September 24-28, 2015, competing and collaborating with 250 teams from around the world.  Building on last year’s success, UMaryland iGEM was awarded another gold medal, for approaches to accelerate the construction of new biodesigns.  The team’s new method for plasmid maintenance without the use of antibiotics and the construction of an inexpensive thermocycler using parts from a hairdryer also earned one of five nominations for best new application.  The team developed the projects, performed laboratory research over the summer, conducted an extensive study of human practices related to the project, developed a Wiki page that described the project, raised $25,500 for lab supplies and travel costs, and presented a poster and an oral presentation at the competition.  The team is currently recruiting team members for the 2016 iGEM competition.  Go Terps!!!

UMaryland iGEM’ers win gold again!!! Student researchers from around the world gather yearly for the International Genetically Engineered Machine competition (iGEM). This high-intensity event engages student-led teams from major universities worldwide to design, work on, and present novel synthetic biology projects that address real-world problems. The University of Maryland iGEM team, which is composed of 16 multidisciplinary students, including 13 ILS students, and 2 faculty advisors, traveled to the iGEM Jamboree in Boston from September 24-28, 2015, competing and collaborating with 250 teams from around the world.  Building on last year’s success, UMaryland iGEM was awarded another gold medal, for approaches to accelerate the construction of new biodesigns.  The team’s new method for plasmid maintenance without the use of antibiotics and the construction of an inexpensive thermocycler using parts from a hairdryer also earned one of five nominations for best new application.  The team developed the projects, performed laboratory research over the summer, conducted an extensive study of human practices related to the project, developed a Wiki page that described the project, raised $25,500 for lab supplies and travel costs, and presented a poster and an oral presentation at the competition.  The team is currently recruiting team members for the 2016 iGEM competition.  Go Terps!!!

September 2015

Congratulations to ILS faculty fellow, Dr. Raymond St. Leger, on his receiving the Kirwin Faculty Research and Scholarship Award.  This annual prize recognizes a faculty member for a highly significant work of research, scholarship, or artistic creativity.  The prize can be awarded for a publication, an invention, a performance, or any other activity within the faculty member's academic discipline.

May 2015

Congratulations to ILS Student Avan Antia, who received a Critical Language Scholarship from the U.S. Department of State. She is spending the summer in India learning Hindi. Avan will be a senior this fall majoring in biological sciences and minoring in Spanish. Read the Q&A with Avan on the CMNS website.

 

ILS graduates its first class.  On May 22, 2015, after four years in the ILS program, the inaugural cohort of ILS students graduated from the University of Maryland. Congratulations to all of the young men and women who were willing to take a risk and participate in, as well as, shape the Integrated Life Sciences Honors College program.  Your hearts and souls have left an indelible imprint on the program that will serve the ILS program for many many years to come and we thank you! 

April 2015

ILS  juniors Shane Falcinelli and Iowis Zhu are 2 out of 4 UMD students selected as Barry Goldwater Scholars for the upcoming year. Shane is a biology major interested in pathogen research and Iowis is a double major in biochemistry and biological sciences and is interested in developing new drug delivery methods that improve accuracy and precision. The Goldwater Scholarship program was created in 1986 to identify students of outstanding ability and promise in science, engineering and mathematics, and to encourage their pursuit of advanced study and research careers. Goldwater scholars receive one- or two-year scholarships that cover the cost of tuition, fees, books, and room and board up to $7,500 per year. These scholarships are a stepping-stone to future support for their research careers.  You can read the full story here

ILS senior Evguenia “Eva” Morgun has been awarded a 2015-16 German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) Study Scholarship to conduct research in Germany.  Eva will work with Stefan Kochanek at the University of Ulm’s Department of Gene Therapy to develop a gene therapy approach for the treatment of Nienmann-Pick disease type C, a rare and fatal neurodegenerative disorder. Kochanek's laboratory specializes in gene therapy vector research. Read more here.

March 2015

 ILS students Shannon Kirby (General Biology) and Aaron Solomon (Cellular Biology & Genetics, minor in Computing Science) were among 4 UMD students selected to receive the Cory Undergraduate Scholarship award for the Spring 2015 semester. The scholarship was established by friends and family of Ernest N. Cory, who served as head of the Department of Entomology and Zoology from 1914-1956. The Cory Scholarship fund provides up to $1,000 towards tuition remission for two undergraduate students each semester who have creatively contributed to department research and/or extension efforts. The scholarship was established by friends and family of Ernest N. Cory, who served as head of the Department of Entomology and Zoology from 1914-1956.

November 2014

ILS Senior Fang Cao was named a Rhodes Scholar. Fang plans to use the scholarship to pursue a master's degree in medical anthropology at the University of Oxford in England. His long-term plans include a career in medicine and public health policy.  Fang is the first Rhodes Scholar from the University of Maryland in nearly 40 years, congratulations Fang!  Read more about the scholarship and Fang's plans here.

The University of Maryland earned a gold medal in the International Genetically Engineered Machine competition (iGEM) held in Boston from Oct. 30 to Nov. 3, 2014. The competition engages student-led teams from universities across the globe to present novel synthetic biology projects that address real-world problems. Five of the team members are students in ILS. Read the article here .

 

 

April 2014

ILS Freshmen Aaron Solomon (BSCI) received an award from the Tribeca Film Festival for creating an engaging video portrait of a young medical researcher who works in a lab funded by the National Institutes of Health for LabTV. Read more and see his award winning short film here. 

Third year ILS student Fang Cao (BSCI) has been awarded a Truman Scholarship, the nation's most selective and prestigious award for underclassmen who demonstrate exceptional leadership potential and a commitment to careers in government, the nonprofit or advocacy sectors, education or elsewhere in the public service. Read the full story here

Third year ILS student Julie Etheridge (BIOE) presented at the 9th Annual ACC Meeting of the Minds 2014 Conference. At this conference outstanding undergraduate researchers and faculty mentors from each Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) institution gather to present their original research. Julie presnted about research she has been conducting in Dr. John Fisher's Tissue Engineering and Biomaterials laboratory at UMD.  

July 2013

Three ILS students, David Jiang, Eva Morgun, Fang Cao, were recently awarded Undergraduate Research Fellowships from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute through the Undergraduate Science Education Program.  These fellowships support independent research projects conducted by the students as they work under the supervision of a faculty mentor.  The fellowship provide students with stipends throughout the summer and school semester to work on their research along with funding for research supplies. 

June 2013

Congratulations to ILS Faculty Fellow Dr. Ray St. Leger, who was awarded the title of Distinguished University Professor for his outstanding scholarship on the genetics of fungi and exemplary achievements as a teacher and mentor. This official title is the highest academic honor that the university confers upon a faculty member and is reserved for a small number of exceptionally distinguished scholars.  

March 2013  

ILS Sophomore Fang Cao (BSCI) has been awarded the Barry M. Goldwater Scholarshipwhich encourages students to pursue advanced study and careers in the sciences, engineering and mathematics. Fang is one of three UMD students among the 271 scholars selected from 1,107 students nominated this year. After graduation Fang plans to pursue a Ph.D. in Neuroscience. 

ILS Sophomore Katie Geck (BSCI) has been accepted to a summer fellowship with the Work Immersion Study Program in Baden-Württemberg, Germany. As part of this immersion program Katie will spend the month of June in an intensive German language program and then spend July and August interning in a biology lab. For the entirety of the internship she is expected to communicate exclusively in German. Katie felt that this was an ideal program for her as she is will have the opportunity to improve her German language skills but also gain valuable research experience.  

November 2012

ILS Faculty Fellow, Raymond St. Leger (Entomology), and nine other faculty members from the College of Computer, Mathematical, and Natural Sciences (CMNS) are among the 702 new Fellows named by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), the world's largest general federation of scientists and the publisher of the journal Science. Election as a Fellow of AAAS is an honor bestowed upon members by their peers because of their scientifically or socially distinguished efforts to advance science or its applications. New Fellows will be honored on Saturday, 16 February, at the AAAS Fellows Forum during the 2013 AAAS Annual Meeting in Boston, Mass. 

Dr. St. Leger was recognized for his distinguished contributions to the fields of mycology, pathology and microbial control, particularly for studies unraveling the mechanisms by which fungi and insects interact. 

September 2012

ILS student Julie Etheridge (BIOE) will be presenting at the Biomedical Engineering Society's Annual Meeting in Atlanta Georgia, October 24-27.  Her abstract is entitled "Evaluating the Cytotoxicity of Poly(propylene fumarate) per ISO Standard 10993-5." 

The study aimed to examine whether Poly(propylene fumarate) (PPF), a synthetic, linear polymer whose degradation products include fumaric acidand propylene glycol would be suitable for use in future in vivo tissue engineering applications per ISO Standard 10993-5. The cytotoxic effects of PPF were examined to see if the degradation products of PPF would hinder the natural assimilation that takes place between a polymer and tissue within the body. 

June 2012

ILS Faculty Fellow Jonathan Simon has been selected to attend the 10th Annual National Academies Keck Futures Initiative (NAKFI) conference, "The Informed Brain in a Digital World" this November.

Participants are selected through a competitive application process. At the conference they present posters on their latest research and participate in interdisciplinary research teams that develop a possible scientific plan to solve an outstanding challenge. The goals of the research teams are to spur new thinking, have people from different disciplines interact, and forge new scientific contacts across disciplines.

These NAKFI conferences are a 15-year effort of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicineto catalyze interdisciplinary inquiry and enhance communication among researchers, funding organizations, universities, and the general public. The objective is to support the climate for conducting interdisciplinary research, and to break down related institutional and systemic barriers.

April 2012

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ILS Director, Dr. Todd J. Cooke (Cell Biology and Molecular Genetics) was awarded the Creative Educator Award by the College of Computer, Mathematics and Natural Sciences Board of Visitors.  The Award is designed to encourage and recognize significant creative and innovative contributions to the educational experience of undergraduate students. The Board particularly looks for examples of cross-disciplinary education, collaboration with corporations and institutions outside the university, innovative approaches to education, enrichment of students' educational experience outside the classroom, and the embedding of entrepreneurship as an integral part of students' academic experience.