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CMNS e-News August 2011

Vol. 1, No. 9
Please submit items to the editor, Mary Kearney.


Honors and Awards

Norma Allewell (Cell Biology and Molecular Genetics) has been awarded a 2011-2012 Jefferson Science Fellowship from the U.S. State Department. Fellows spend one year at the U.S. Department of State in Washington, D.C. in either a regional or functional bureau. Following the fellowship year, Jefferson Science Fellows return to their academic career, but remains available to the U.S. government as an experienced consultant for short-term projects.

Hiroko Kato Beaudoing (ESSIC) was honored by the NASA-Goddard Space Flight Center’s Hydrospheric and Biospheric Sciences (HOBI) Laboratory with an Annual Award for her implementation of an automated, end-to-end process for generating drought indicators based on NASA data and disseminating them to the U.S. Drought Monitor community.

James Farquhar (Geology) has been awarded a 2012 Gledden Visiting Senior Fellowship with the Centre for Microscopy Characterisation and Analysis at the University of Western Australia, Crawley (near Perth), Western Australia for his distinguished research record.

Bill McDonough (Geology) has been selected as the recipient of the Sul Ross State University and the Sul Ross Alumni Association’s 2011 Distinguished Alumni Award in recognition of his personal and professional achievements. McDonough, who received his M.S. in Geochemistry in 1983 from Sul Ross, will accept the award on October 29, 2011 at the Homecoming Banquet.

Frank Olver (Mathematics and IPST) has been selected to receive the U.S. Department of Commerce Gold Medal, the highest honorary award granted by the Secretary, for his work on the Digital Library of Mathematical Functions. The Gold Medal is defined as “distinguished performance characterized by extraordinary, notable, or prestigious contributions that impact the mission of the Department and/or one of more operating units, which reflects favorably on the Department.” Olver is the Editor-in-Chief and Mathematics Editor of the NIST Handbook of Mathematical Functions, and also of the NIST Digital Library of Mathematical Functions, both of which were published in 2010.

Roberta Rudnick (Geology) has been appointed the fourth Oliver Visiting Professor, Institute for the Study of the Continents (INSTOC), Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, Cornell University. Rudnick will be the keynote speaker at the 2011 Kaufman INSTOC Symposium, September 26th.

Raman Sundrum (Physics) has been selected, for a second time, as the recipient of the Wilson H. Elkins Professorship. The Professorship was established in 1978 as the first permanently endowed, university-wide professorship at the University of Maryland and perpetuates the name and contributions of Wilson H. Elkins, a former Rhodes Scholar, who led the University of Maryland as its president from 1954 to 1978.


Heven Sze, Senthilkumar Padmanaban and June Kwak (all Cell Biology and Molecular Genetics), "Guard Cell-specific Tool for Molecular Manipulation of Drought Avoidance/Water Loss in Plants."


Bob Adler (ESSIC), NOAA, $413,512, "The Global Precipitation Climatology Project Data Products – Transfer to Operations at NCDC."

Bob Adler (ESSIC), NASA-Goddard Space Flight Center, $264,656, "Uncertainties in Global and Regional Precipitation Using the GPCP and TMPA Data Sets."

Rama Chellappa (UMIACS and ECE), Army Research Office, $337,000, "Instrumentation for Opportunistic Sensing: DURIP."

Leila Defloriani (Computer Science and UMIACS), NSF, $491,951, "CGV: Small: Modeling and Analysis of Multidimensional Shapes."

Russ Dickerson (AOSC and ESSIC), NASA-Goddard Space Flight Center, $211,858, "Air Pollution Over the Eastern U.S.: Integration of AURA/OMI NO2 and SO2, Aircraft and Ground-based Observations with Numerical Models."

Bill Dorland (Physics and IREAP), DOE-Washington, $597,000, "Maryland Fusion Theory Research Program."

Michael Doyle (Chemistry and Biochemistry), NIH-National Institute of General Medical Sciences, $294,030 additional funding for extending the period of performance, "Chircal Catalysts for Enantioselective Synthesis" bringing the total award to $1,175,475.

H. Dennis Drew (Physics), NSF, $175,000, "THz Magneto-Optical Study of Topological Invariants in Dirac Materials and the GaAs 2DEG."

Bryan Eichhorn (Chemistry and Biochemistry), Office of Naval Research, $125,000 additional funding, "In Situ Optical Diagnostics for Probing Solid Oxide Fuel Cell Chemistry," bringing the total award to $250,000.

Najib El-Sayed (Cell Biology and Molecular Genetics and UMIACS), NIH-National institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, $634,000, "Profiling the Leishmania-macrophage Host-pathogen Infectome."

Brian Hunt (Mathematics and IPST), NSF, $959,700, "University of Maryland Noyce Scholars Program." A further $238,551 was granted for participant support costs, bringing the total award to $1,198,251.

Eugenia Kalnay (AOSC, ESSIC and IPST), NASA-Goddard Space Flight Center, $278,450, "Mars Data Assimilation and Reanalysis."

Jonathan Katz (Computer Science and UMIACS), NSF, $168,195, "TC: Large: Collaborative Research: Practical Secure Two-party Computation: Techniques, Tool and Applications."

Cheng Lee (Chemistry and Biochemistry), NIH-National Center for Research Resources, $187,500, "Development of Nanoproteomic Technologies."

Xin-Zhong Liang (AOSC and ESSIC), NOAA, $104,236, "Optimal Ensemble Mesoscale Downscaling Prediction of USA Seasonal-interannual Climate."

Edward Redish (Physics), NSF, $519,250, "Collaborative Research: Constructing a Common Thermodynamics."

James Reggia (Computer Science and UMIACS), Central Intelligence Agency, $238,430, "Inferring Plausible Interpretations for Data Based on Weak Causal Relations."

Janice Reutt-Robey (Chemistry and Biochemistry), U.S. Department of Education $175,900, "Chemistry GAANN Fellowships" for time and money, bringing the total award to $525,128.

V.S. Subrahmanian (Computer Science and UMIACS), Army Research Office, $500,000, "Data-driven Game Theory."

Yudong Tian (ESSIC), NASA-Goddard Space Flight Center, $226,993, "Measurement Uncertainty and Error Propagation of Satellite-based Precipitation Sensors."

Konstantina Trivisa (Mathematics), NSF, $140,000, "On the Dynamics of Certain Nonlinear Systems in Applied Sciences: Transport, Motion and Mixing."

Kai Yang (AOSC), NASA-Goddard Space Flight Center), $151,163, "Advanced Retrieval of Ozone, Sulfur Dioxide, and Volcanic Ash from NASA A-Train Satellite Instruments."

Augustin Vintzileos (ESSIC), NOAA, $107,564, "Real-time Monitoring and Forecast Support for DYNAMO."

James Yorke (Mathematics, Physics and IPST), NIH-National institutes of Health, $288,125, "Continued Improvement of Assemblies and Assembly Techniques for Next Generation Sequencing Data."

What's New

UNDERGRADUATES: Scientific Terrapin, the University of Maryland undergraduate research journal, is now accepting submissions of students’ research findings. The journal is accepting articles in the fields of life sciences, social sciences, and natural and applied sciences. Submissions will be accepted for priority consideration on September 15, 2011.

The Joint Space Science Institute (JSI), which consists of astrophysicists and physicists from the University of Maryland and NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, is hosting a cross-cutting conference in Annapolis, MD, November 29-December 1, 2011 on "Near Field Cosmology as a Probe of Early Universe, Dark Matter and Gravity." The goal of this workshop is to bring together a diverse group of scientists to discuss the prospects of using near field astronomical observations to learn about the early universe and the nature of dark matter and to test the law of gravitation on cosmological scales. For more information or to register, see the workshop webpage.

Hugo Berbery (AOSC and ESSIC) has accepted the position of Associate Director for CICS-MD, the UMD component of the Cooperative Institute for Climate and Satellites. Berbery, a Fellow of the American Meteorological Society, has a long record of productive research on a number of topics, including regional hydroclimate variability, monsoon systems and land surface-atmosphere interactions, and is currently Co-chair of the International CLIVAR’s Variability of the American Monsoon Systems (VAMOS) Panel.

Rita Colwell (Cell Biology & Molecular Genetics and UMIACS) is a keynote speaker at the Water Environment Federation’s 84th Annual Technical Exhibition and Conference, Los Angeles, October 15-19. Colwell will address the delegates during the Opening General Session.

Sinead Farrell (ESSIC) was acknowledged for participation on the IceBridge Science Team when NASA presented the 2011 Group Achievement Award to the Team for exceptional achievement in support of NASA's IceBridge campaign. IceBridge, a six-year NASA mission, is the largest airborne survey of Earth's polar ice ever flown. It will yield an unprecedented three-dimensional view of Arctic and Antarctic ice sheets, ice shelves and sea ice. These flights will provide a yearly, multi-instrument look at the behavior of the rapidly changing features of the Greenland and Antarctic ice.

Catherine Fenselau (Chemistry and Biochemistry) presented an invited lecture at the American Chemical Society National meeting in Denver, August 31. Fenselau spoke on high throughput protein analysis by mass spectrometry in a symposium honoring the 2011 recipient of the ACS award for contribution in mass spectrometry. Fenselau received the award in 2008.

Michael Fisher (Physics and IPST), gave an invited talk in the special session “Thirty-five Years with Strongly Coupled Coulomb Systems” at the Strongly Coupled Coulomb Systems conference, Budapest, Hungary on July 25. Fisher’s talk was entitled “Only Twenty Years with SCCS: So What's New for Debye, Bjerrum, and Landau?”

William Goldman (Mathematics) will give a plenary talk at the 7th William Rowan Hamilton Geometry and Topology workshop, September 1-3, at the Hamilton Institute, Trinity College, Dublin, Ireland. Goldman is also a Distinguished Lecturer at the 4th Miniencuentro in Differential Geometry, Centro de Investigacion en Matematicas, A.C. (CIMAT), Guanajuato, Mexico, November 3-5. Alumni Todd Drumm (1990 Ph.D. Mathematics), Associate Professor at Howard University, Washington D.C. and Virginie Charette (2000 Ph.D. Mathematics), Associate Professor University of Sherbrooke, Quebec, Canada will also be Lecturers. Drumm and Charette were advised by Goldman.

Mohammad Hafezi (JQI) and Jacob Taylor (JQI and NIST) with Eugene Demler and Mikhail Lukin, Harvard University, published an article in Nature Physics, August 21, online early edition, showing how exploiting topological properties of optical systems can be used to improve photonic devices, and demonstrated how quantum spin Hall Hamiltonians can be created with linear optical elements using a network of coupled resonator optical waveguides in two dimensions. Media coverage included Photonics, Nanowerk and RedOrbit.

Eric Hughes (ESSIC) and Wilfrid Schroeder (ESSIC) et al. developed the project “Real-time Automatic Estimation of Volcanic Ash Cloud Heights” which has been unanimously approved for implementation by The NESDIS Satellite Products and Services Review Board (SPSRB). The project employs an iterative technique that compares satellite observations of volcanic SO2 and Aerosol Index from the Ozone Monitoring Instrument (used as a proxy for volcanic ash) with numerical modeling computations from the volcanic ash dispersion model PUFF, to derive volcanic ash heights and vertical profiles. This product is scheduled to be delivered by the end of September, becoming an official tool of the Volcanic Ash Advisory Center at Washington D.C.

Raghu Murtugudde (AOSC and ESSIC) was the Institute Colloquium Speaker at the Indian Institute of Technology-Bombay, August 3, where he spoke on Predictions to Solutions: Role of S&T in Facing Climate Challenges. Murtugudde also gave the Professor Karunakaran Endowment Lecture at the Center for Earth Science Studies in Kerala entitled Big History: Earth, Life, and History. A mango sapling was planted with his name to commemorate his lecture.

Raj Roy (Physics, IPST and IREAP) is a plenary speaker at the 2011 Dynamic Days Europe international conference being held in Oldenburg, Germany, September 12-16. As a main theme of the conference, hosted by The Carl von Ossietzky University-Oldenburg, there will be discussions on the role of nonlinearities in environmental science including climate dynamics and extreme events.

Jan Sengers (IPST) is an invited speaker at a symposium in honor of Dick Bedeaux’s 70th birthday, Oegstgeest, the Netherlands, September 17, where he will give a talk on “Thermal Fluctuations in Non-Equilibrium Thermodynamics.” Sengers is also an invited speaker at the International Conference on Dynamics of Phase Transformations, Bangalore, India, November 28-30 funded by the Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research (JNCASR) and the International Centre for Materials Science (ICMS).

In The News

Ashok Agrawala (Computer Science and UMIACS) was interviewed on WAMU 88.5, August 16 on a new application for smartphones that can connect a student to campus police with a push of the button. He was also quoted in the Gazette, August 9, in an article on a joint effort between Agrawala’s Maryland Information and Network Dynamics (MIND) Lab and TeleCommunication Systems Inc. to harness technology innovation and academic expertise to build new public safety applications. Media coverage included the Baltimore Sun, MarketWire,, Campus Technology,, WUSA9 and the Chronicle of Higher Education. On August 25 he was interviewed by CNN on the Federal Communications Commission looking into the failures of cell phone service that occurred after the East Coast earthquake.

Research performed by Christopher Varney, Kai Sun, Victor Galitski (all Physics and JQI) with Marcos Rigol, Georgetown University, and published in Physical Review Letters, August 12, was the subject of articles in R&D Magazine, Science Codex and PhysOrg, August 15. Their research shows that a simple quantum spin model on a honeycomb lattice hosts the long sought for Bose metal with a clearly identifiable Bose surface.

Shiladitya DasSarma (MEES) was quoted in Press TV, August 6, in an article on Observations from NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter revealing possible flowing water during the warmest months on Mars.

Dan Gruner (Entomology) was interviewed for an article in the Sacramento Bee, August 2, on research conducted by Thomas Schoener (UCLA-Davis) et al. on major ecological consequences to the removal of “top consumers” such as sea otters, mountain lions, wolves and big herbivores like elephants. Gruner received an NSF grant in September 2010, for Interactive Effects of Predation and Ecosystem Size on Arthropod Food Webs in Hawaiian Forests Fragmented by Lava Flows.

A research team led by Doug Hamilton (Astronomy) and Mark Showalter (SETI Institute) has discovered, using the Hubble Space Telescope, a new moon orbiting the planet Pluto. The moon, named S/2011 (134340)1 by the International Astronomical Union (nicknamed P4), orbits Pluto every 32 days at a distance of about 37,000 miles. Media coverage included The Examiner (New Orleans) on August 12, Sky and Telescope, PBS, National Geographic, Voice of America, ScienceDaily, MSNBC and

Tom Holtz (Geology) will appear in a documentary series by Discovery Channel, “Dinosaur Revolution,” airing on September 4 (parts I and II) and September 11 (parts III and IV). The series, for which Holtz was a consultant, script advisor and on-camera participant, includes several species of dinosaurs with many of the ideas and concepts based on either direct fossil evidence or reasonable speculation.

Kui Jin, Nicholas Butch, Johnpierre Paglione, Richard Greene (all Physics) and Kevin Kirshenbaum (Physics Graduate student) published an article in Nature, August 4, on their new experimental results which find the strongest evidence yet that the cause of high-temperature superconductivity involves the pairing of electrons by magnetic excitations (spin fluctuations). These results are a significant step for solving the 25 year old mystery of high-temperature superconductivity in copper oxide materials and provide guidance towards the ultimate goal of finding superconductors that operate at room temperature.

Patrick Kanold, Cheng-Hang Liu, Hey-Kyoung Lee (all Biology), alumni Caitlin Dietsche (2009 B.S. Biological Studies) and Mariam Khan (2009 B.S. Biological Science), with Friso Postma and David Paul, Harvard Medical School, published an article in the PNAS on their research on the mammalian brain. Their research shows that elimination of electrical synapses formed by connexin36 altered inhibitory efficacy and caused frequency facilitation of inhibition consistent with a decreased GABA release in the inhibitory network. The altered inhibitory efficacy was paralleled by a failure of theta-burst long-term potentiation induction and by impaired ocular dominance plasticity in the visual cortex. Together, these data suggest a unique mechanism for regulating plasticity in the visual cortex involving synchronization of inhibitory networks via electrical synapses.

Dan Lathrop (Physics, Geology, IREAP and IPST) was quoted in a BBC article, August 30, on experiments, conducted by scientists within their own laboratories, to recreate the Earth’s core. The article is associated with the BBC program “Horizon: The Core.” 

Vincent Lee (Cell Biology and Molecular Genetics), Herman Sintim (Chemistry and Biochemistry), Graduate Students Kevin Roelofs (Cell Biology and Molecular Genetics ) and Jingxin Wang (Chemistry) published a paper in PNAS, August 29 (early edition) on their development of a rapid, precise, and high-throughput method for quantitatively measuring protein-ligand interactions without the need to purify the protein when performed in cells with low background activity. This method, differential radial capillary action of ligand assay (DRaCALA), is based on the ability of dry nitrocellulose to separate the free ligand from bound protein-ligand complexes.

Margaret Palmer and David Hawthorne (both Entomology) were interviewed by Miller-McCune magazine, August 16, about the newly funded Socio-environmental Synthesis Center (SeSynC). The Center, which was launched on August 2, will identify and develop policy solutions for today's most pressing environmental challenges. Media coverage included the Washington Post, Baltimore Sun, Washington and Baltimore Business Journals, PhysOrg and the Annapolis Capital.

James Purtilo (Computer Science) was quoted in The Chronicle of Higher Education, August 8, in an article on the carrying concealed weapons on college campuses.

Michael Raupp (Entomology) was quoted in (NBC Tri-Cities), August 17, in an article on the Emerald Ash Borer making its way to Maryland.

Wen-Lu Zhu (Geology) was interviewed on CCTV-13 (Chinese National TV), August 29, on the Mineral, VA earthquake on August 23.

Alumni News

College Alumni Association Chapter
The mission of the College Alumni Association Chapter is to promote and support the college, encourage academic and professional excellence, facilitate career development for both current students and graduates, while fostering and strengthening a lasting relationship between the college and its alumni. Contact Stephan Silipigni, Associate Director for Development and Alumni Relations, for more information.

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Nick Caloyianis (1973 B.S. Zoology), an award winning underwater videographer, was the subject of an article in the Baltimore Sun, July 29, with subsequent media coverage in August including Nature Film Network and WYPR. The article described Caloyianis’ assignment for Discovery Channel’s Shark Week “Jaws Comes Home,” and particularly an experience whereby an 18 foot long great white shark became entangled in lines attached to the underwater cage, resulting in the cage door springing open. “Jaws Comes Home” was aired on Sunday, July 31.

Arthur Feldman (1974 Ph.D. Zoology) has been appointed the Executive Dean, Temple University School and Chief Academic Officer, Temple University Health System, Philadelphia, PA. Prior to accepting the position, Feldman was chair of the Department of Medicine at Jefferson Medical College.

Jennifer Steinberg Holland (1998 M.S. Conservation) was featured on CNN’s American Morning, August 12, discussing her book “Unlikely Friendships” which documents friendships between animal species. The book hit number 3 on the New York Times Best Seller List. Holland is a senior writer at the National Geographic magazine, specializing in science and natural history.

David Ng (2001 B.S. Environmental Science and Policy, with a concentration in biodiversity and conservation biology) was the subject of an article in the Baltimore Sun, August 8. Ng is a supervisory agricultural inspector with the U.S. Customs and Border Protection and regularly inspects ships at the Baltimore Seagirt Marine Terminal for harmful invasive species.

Daniel Ra (2003 B.S. Computer Science) is Co-founder and Chief Executive Officer at Red Alpha, located in Hanover, MD. Red Alpha provides software development, systems engineering and systems administration to their clients.

Arnold Rheingold (1970 Ph.D. Chemistry, advisor J. Michael Bellama) has been awarded the 2012 American Chemical Society (ACS) National Award for Distinguished Service to Inorganic Chemistry. The award recognizes individuals who advanced inorganic chemistry by significant service in addition to performance of outstanding research. Rheingold, who was elected a Fellow of the ACS earlier this year, is the Distinguished Professor-In-Residence, University of California-San Diego, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry.

Ben Roca (1990 B.S. Computer Science) has been invited to join the Board of Directors as an Officer at the National Electronics Museum where he will also serve as their General Counsel. Roca, who has been a member of the College’s Board of Visitors for many years, is Senior Counsel at Northrop Grumman.

Morgan Rosenberg (1997 M.S. Physics) has just published his book “Dark Buddhism: Integrating Zen Buddhism and Objectivism” in which he unites Objectivism and Zen Buddhism by taking a logical look at both philosophies to create a healthy spiritual practice for readers that fosters self worth and personal growth.

David Stork (1979 M.S. and 1984 Ph.D. Physics, advisor David Falk) has been appointed by Rambus Inc. to spearhead the development of their computational sensing and imaging initiative. Prior to accepting the appointment Stork was Chief Scientist at Ricoh Innovations.