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CMNS e-News July 2012

Vol. 2, No. 8
Please submit items to the editor, Mary Kearney.


In Memoriam

Emeritus Professor Roger Bell passed away on July 1. He was a professor in the Department of Astronomy for his entire career following his Ph.D. in 1961 from the Australian National University and a one year stint as a lecturer in Australia. He served as Director of the Astronomy Program from 1987-1991 playing a major role in elevating the astronomy program into a separate, full-fledged department of astronomy. Bell specialized in the discovery of physical properties and compositions of stars, and was one of the first astronomers to recognize the importance of curious chemical signatures among our galaxy’s oldest star clusters. Prior to his retirement in 1998, he supervised 18 Maryland Ph.D. dissertations, including 11 in the 10 years following 1970. His most recent PhDs were Mike Briley (1990; UNC-Appalachian State); Paul Butler (1992; DTM); and Rob Cavallo (1998; Lawrence Livermore Labs). A memorial service will be held on August 19, West Chapel, 3:00pm.


Hugo Berbery (ESSIC and AOSC). After a year as Associate Director, Berbery replaced Phil Arkin as Director of the Maryland component of the Cooperative Institute for Climate and Satellites (CICS-MD), July 1. Arkin will continue to oversee the whole functioning of CICS as Executive Director. 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.

Larry Davis (Computer Science and UMIACS) has been appointed Director of the Center for Automation Research (CFAR) beginning August 1, 2012. Davis, an outstanding scholar in the field of computer vision, has made several foundational contributions in a number of areas in vision, image processing, and robotics, including modeling and tracking of people and their activities in videos, understanding of human facial expressions, gait analysis, texture analysis, and robotic path planning. Davis is a Fellow of IEEE and IAPR and served as the Director of UMIACS from 1985 to 1994 and as the Chair of the Computer Science Department from 1999 to 2012.

Sridhar Hannenhalli (Computer Science and UMIACS) has been appointed Interim Director of the Center for Bioinformatics and Computational Biology for the coming year. Hannenhalli is a prominent computational biologist with extensive experience in the computational biology industry (Glaxo Smith-Kline and Celera Genomics) and academia (University of Southern California, Penn State and the University of Pennsylvania.

Honors and Awards

Ashok Agrawala (Computer Science and UMIACS) received a 2012 Wireless Foundation’s VITA Samaritan Award, July 23, at their 18th Annual Achievement Awards Dinner in Washington, DC. Agrawala was congratulated by Maryland Senator Ben Cardin on his award in recognition of his work using wireless technology to keep college students safe. Agrawala was also selected as the recipient of this year’s Technology Champion of the Year Award by the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives. The award, which is presented to an individual who is a strong advocate of technology that benefits law enforcement and public safety, was presented at the 36th Annual Training Conference and Exhibition in Little Rock, AR, July 24. Both awards were for the development of the Escort-M program - a mobile phone app that will link public safety personnel to real-time video and audio from a student’s phone. Media coverage included IT News Online and Digital Journal.

Rama Chellappa (UMIACS, ECE and Computer Science) has been selected as the recipient of the 2012 King-Sun Fu Prize in recognition of an outstanding contribution to the field. The award will be presented during the opening ceremony of the International Conference on Pattern Recognition (ICPR) 2012 in Tsukuba Science City, Japan, November 11-15. The Prize is awarded in memory of Professor Fu by the International Association for Pattern Recognition. Only a dozen or so outstanding researchers in the field of pattern recognition have been honored with this award since its inception in 1988, including Azriel Rosenfeld (1988, Computer Science), R.L. Kashyap (1990 and Chellappa’s Ph.D. advisor) and Laveen Kanal (1992, Computer Science). Professor Fu served on Chellappa’s M.S. and Ph.D. committees.

Michael Fuhrer (Physics) has been awarded a 2012 ARC Fellowship, the most prestigious fellowship offered by the Australian Research Council. Up to 17 fellowships, worth $3.2M over 5 years, are awarded each year across all of science and engineering, and this is the fourth year that the fellowship competition has been held. Fuhrer is one of only six foreign nationals ever to win this fellowship, and one of nine physicists/astronomers.

Karen Lips (Biology) is the recipient of the IUCN SSC Amphibian Specialist Group’s 2012 Sabin Award for Amphibian Conservation, administered by Conservation International, in recognition of the significant contributions she has made in advancing our understanding of the regional impact and broader implications of the amphibian chytrid fungus, which poses one of the most pressing threats to the survival of amphibians worldwide. Lips will receive the award at a ceremony, August 2, in New York.


Ashok Agrawala (Computer Science and UMIACS), Amitabh Varshney (Computer Science and UMIACS) and Christian Almazan (2005 M.S., 2010 Ph.D. Computer Science, advisor Ashok Agrawala), “System and Method for Adaptive Context Aware Interaction of User with Entity of Interest.”

Frederick Khachik (Chemistry and Biochemistry), with An-Ni Chang (2008 Ph.D. Chemistry, advisors Frederick Khachik and Philip DeShong), “Process or Synthesis of (3S)- and (3R)-3-Hydroxy-Beta-Ionone, and Their Transformation to Zeaxanthin and Beta-Cryptoxanthin.”


Steven Anlage (Physics), NSF, $474,999, “Dynamically Tunable Low-loss Active Metamaterials for Wireless Applications.”

Ian Appelbaum (Physics), NSF, $360,000, “Scalable Digital Spin Logic Devices.”

Maria Cameron (Mathematics), NSF, $287,174, “Computational Methods for the Study of Rare Events.”

Jeffery Davis (Chemistry and Biochemistry), DOE-Chicago, $310,000, “Self-assembled Ionophores and Membrane Active Transporters.”

Theodore Dayie (Chemistry and Biochemistry), NSF, $100,000, “New Chemical Probes for RNA Structure and Dynamics.”

Michael Doyle (Chemistry and Biochemistry), NSF, $471,000, “Exceptional Selectivities of Dirhodium Catalysts.”

Christopher Hain (ESSIC), NASA-GSFC, $112,096, “Development of a Multi-Scale Remote-Sensing Based Framework for Mapping Drought Over North America.”

Saswata Hier-Majumder (Geology), NSF, $284,153, “Three Dimensional Modeling of Dynamic Microstructure.”

Lan Jian (Astronomy), NSF, $205,443, “Systematic Evaluation of Coronal and Heliospheric Models Installed at CCMC.”

Christopher Jarzynski (Chemistry and Biochemistry), NSF, $215,000, “Nonequilibrium Statistical Mechanics of Nanoscale Systems.”

Galina Korotova (IPST), NASA-GSFC, $121,307, “Multipoint Observations of Compressional Pulsations: Testing Possible Generation Mechanisms.”

Amy Mullin (Chemistry and Biochemistry), NSF, $150,000 increase in funding bringing the total to $421,900, “Spinning Molecules into Reactive States with an Optical Centrifuge.”

Ho Jung Paik (Physics), NASA-GSFC, $172,000, “Superconducing Gravity Gradiometer for an Advanced Gravity Mission.”

Steven Rokita (Chemistry and Biochemistry), NIH-National Institute of Diabetes & Digestive & Kidney Diseases, $312,084, additional funding bringing the total award to over $1,278,858, “Reductive Dehalogenation in Mammals by Iodotyrosine Deiodinase.”

Gerald Share (Astronomy), NASA-GSFC, $306,432, “Integrated Studies of Gamma-ray Flares.”

Wenxia Song (Cell Biology and Molecular Genetics), The Maryland Stem Cell Research Fund, $230,000, “In Vitro Differentiation of Human iPSC Into B cells for Modeling Human Diseases.”

Edo Waks (JQI, IREAP and ECE), Office of Naval Research, $378,570, “Terahertz Electromagnetic Source and Measurement System for Advanced Spectroscopy, Communications, and Sensing."

Da-Lin Zhang (AOSC and ESSIC), NASA-GSFC, $149,576, “On the Multiple Intensity Changes of Hurricane Earl (2010) and HS3 Storms.”

What's New

The Tenth International Congress of Neuroethology will take place on August 5-10, Stamp Student Union, College Park. This meeting is attracting over 650 investigators from around the world for sessions that focus on the neural basis of behavior. Research to be presented includes the neural bases for animals sensing and navigating through their environments, the neural basis for complex behavior such as social behavior, and the evolution of nervous systems. Animal subjects include a wide variety of taxa including mammals and other vertebrates and several invertebrate phyla. The local organizing committee is chaired by Dr. Arthur Popper (Biology), working closely with Drs. Catherine Carr (Biology), Robert Dooling (Psychology), and Cynthia Moss (Psychology).

The Maryland Cybersecurity Center (MC2) announced a new partnership with Sourcefire, July 11. The partnership will promote cybersecurity education, research and student engagement. MC2 is forging alliances and partnerships between academia, industry and government to deliver advanced educational programs designed to prepare the cybersecurity workforce of today and tomorrow. The Center now has 14 corporate partnerships.

Antonio Busalacchi (AOSC and ESSIC) delivered the initial plenary lecture at the Joint China-World Climate Research Programme (WCRP) Symposium, July 16, Beijing, China. The Symposium, which precedes the 33rd Session of the WCRP Joint Scientific Committee, was organized with the aim to explore the synergistic activities between the Chinese science community and the WCRP’s goals and objections. Busalacchi also directed the final discussions.

William Higgins (Biology) served as one of 5 panelists at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) Summer Internship Program’s “Career Opportunities in the Biomedical Sciences,” June 17. The interns had the opportunity to ask questions on everything from degree programs to mentorships, with Higgins advising students “No matter what you choose to do for a living, take the time to learn to read, write, and speak effectively. So many of our students today don’t spend enough time developing these simplest of skills, and they’re absolutely vital to success in any field, public health included.” Higgins was also the Commencement Speaker, Northwest High School, June 4.

Dan Lathrop (Physics, Geology, IPST and IREAP) gave the plenary talk at the International Union of Theoretical and Applied Mechanics (IUTAM) Symposium on “Understanding Common Aspects of Extreme Events in Fluids,” July 2, Dublin, Ireland.

Raghu Murtugudde (AOSC and ESSIC) was an invited speaker at NASA-JPL, July 30, on Regional Downscaling-Optimal Physics and Applications. He was also an invited speaker, July 31, at CalTech with a topic of “From Big Bang to the Co-Operative Species.”

Raman Sundrum (Physics) was part of a 4-physicist panel, July 8, at the International Conference of High Energy Physics, Melbourne, Australia, explaining the discovery of the Higgs boson to the public. Sundrum, a highly cited particle theorist, is the Wilson H. Elkins Professor (Physics) and a Distinguished University Professor. You can find the discussion on youtube.

Stephanie Schollaert Uz (ESSIC) and Argyro Kavvada (Graduate student, AOSC) have been working with the Maryland Science Center in Baltimore to implement weather and climate topics currently in the news into its Science-on-a-Sphere - a large visualization system that uses computers and video projectors to display animated data onto the outside of a sphere. This work is part of a multi-institution NOAA-funded project entitled EarthNow which produces a blog to assist museum docents with incorporating real-time imagery annotated with scientific highlights into their presentations. This interactive project is designed to train museum docents in using this Earth Science resource as well as to get their feedback to make EarthNow more useful to museums with Science-on-a-Sphere and to the public they serve.

V.S. Subramanian (Computer Science and UMIACS) is an invited speaker at the fifth Sentiment Analysis Symposium, October 30, San Francisco, CA. Subramanian will speak on "Sentiment and Signals," providing a researcher's view on the use of sentiment and semantic analysis and data mining for government, industry, and intelligence.

In The News

The cover story of Chemical & Engineering News, July 16, highlighted the contributions made by the university and the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry to the 44th International Chemistry Olympiad (IChO), held at College Park, July 21-30. Department faculty, Michael Doyle and Andrei Vedernikov were co-chairs of the IChO Scientific Committee that worked for more than 2 years to draft test questions for both the theoretical and practical exams. University of Maryland President Wallace Loh welcomed the Olympiad participants at the opening ceremonies and Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley delivered the keynote presentation.

Drew Baden (Physics) was interviewed by NPR, July 2 on the eagerly anticipated announcement by CERN on the results of the ATLAS and CMS experiments. Two days later, at the International Conference of High Energy Physics, Melbourne, Australia, a scientist from the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at CERN announced new results in the search for the Higgs boson, ”…We observe in our data clear signs of a new particle, at the level of 5 sigma, in the mass region around 126 GeV.” Several Physics faculty are members of the CMS (Compact Muon Solenoid) collaboration, one of two large experiments at the LHC. They have made, and continue to make, significant contributions to nearly every aspect of the CMS from the construction and operation of the detector to physics analysis. Learn more about their participation.

Gerald Borgia (Biology) and Graduate Student Brian Coyle, with colleague Jason Keagy of Michigan State University, published a Technical Comment, Science, July 20 on a paper published in the January 20 edition of Science by Laura Kelley and John Endler. Kelley and Endler claimed that male great bowerbirds construct a visual illusion using display object gradients that affects mating success. Borgia et al. argued that the authors had provided inadequate statistical support for their hypothesis.

Antonio Busalacchi and Phil Arkin (both AOSC and ESSIC) were quoted in the Gazette, July 13, in an article on Maryland’s efforts and measures being undertaken to deal with climate change, heat waves and storms.

Media coverage continues for the recent study by an international team of scientists led by Rita Colwell (Center for Bioinformatics and Computational Biology and UMIACS) on finding that two distinct strains of cholera bacteria may have contributed to the 2010 Haitian cholera outbreak. Coverage included CBS News, Kansas City Star, New Zealand Herald and the Manilla Bulletin.

Sankar Das Sarma (Physics) and Jay Sau (Harvard University) published an article in Nature Communications, July 17, showing that Majorana fermions that are protected by a disorder robust topological gap can occur at the ends of a chain of gate-tunable quantum dots connected by s-wave superconductors. Their proposed system provides a practical and easily realizable experimental platform for the observation of non-Abelian Majorana modes.

Research conducted by two teams of researchers and colleagues at NIST, led by Sankar Das Sarma (Physics) and Michael Fuhrer (Physics) was featured in PhysOrg, July 12. The article referred to Das Sarma’s article, with S. Adam (NIST) and Euy Heon Hwang (Physics and JQI), on two-dimensional transport and screening in topological insular surface states in Physical Review B, June 6 and Fuhrer’s article, with Johnpierre Paglione and colleagues (Physics) and S. Adam (NIST), Nature Physics, April 15 on surface conduction of topological Dirac electrons in bulk insulating Bi2Se3.

Drake Deming (Astronomy) wrote a commentary in Nature, News & Views, July 26, on a paper by Roberto Sanchis-Ojeda (MIT) et al. concerning a system of Kepler planets that are demonstrated to lie very closely in the plane of their star's rotational equator - a close parallel to our own Solar System. Media coverage included Daily Mail, Science Now, Popular Mechanics, ABC Science and Discovery News.

Michael Fisher (Physics and IPST) was quoted in The Calcutta Telegraph, July 5, in a story on Peter Higgs. Fisher, who has known Higgs since studying together at King’s College, London, was interviewed by BBC Radio 4 for a profile on Professor Peter Higgs, which aired on Saturday, December 17, 2011.

John Fourkas (Chemistry and Biochemistry and IPST) with his research team, Farah Dawood, Sijia Qin, Linjie Li and Emily Lin, published an article in Chemical Science, August edition. Fourkas and his team have created materials that allow the simultaneous 3D manipulation of microscopic objects using optical tweezers and a unique point-by-point method for lithography (the process of using light in etching silicon or other substrates to create chips and other electronic components). As they report in the article, the combination of these techniques allows them to assemble complex 3D structures from multiple microscopic components. Media coverage included Science Daily, Science Codex, Medgadget, PhysOrg and AZoNano.

Bill Goldman (Mathematics), alumni Sean Lawton (2000 B.S. and 2006 Ph.D. Mathematics, advisor Bill Goldman) and Anton Lukyanenko (2007 B.S. and 2008 M.A. Mathematics) were interviewed by Scientific American, July 15, for a story describing new educational models for math, particularly the Experimental Geometry Lab which was co-founded by Goldman in 2000. The Lab promotes research and education by developing software tools that allow students to explore and illustrate concepts in hyperbolic geometry. Lawton created the Experimental Algebra and Geometry Lab at the University of Texas-Pan America and Lukyanenko went on to found the Illinois Geometry Lab at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.

Research on native pollinators on Martha’s Vineyard by The Trustees of Reservations (TTOR) and led by Paul Goldstein (Entomology) was the feature of an article in The Martha’s Vineyard Times, July 11. The study reports the highest documented concentration of bees yet recorded from an Atlantic coast offshore island.

A letter by Jordan Goodman (Physics) on the Washington Post coverage of the Higgs boson particle discovery was published by the newspaper on July 13. In his letter Goodman explained the role of the High Energy Physics group in building the CMS detector and in analyzing the data that produced the result.

Physics graduate student Aaron Hagerstrom, Thomas Murphy (IREAP and ECE) and Rajarshi Roy (IPST, IREAP and Physics) with colleagues from the group of Professor Eckehard Schoell of the Technical University-Berlin, published an article in Nature Physics (online), July 15, showing that chimeras, the subject of intense theoretical investigation, can be realized in experiments using a liquid-crystal spatial light modulator to achieve optical nonlinearity in a spatially extended iterated map system. Chimera states may be interesting in a neuroscience context, and could be relevant for understanding the dynamics of neuronal networks. The research team developed a powerful experimental technique to observe the parallel evolution of the dynamics of arrays of coupled maps numbering up to thousands, or more, depending on the goals of the experiment.

Research conducted by David Inouye and Amy McKinney (both Biology) with colleagues, were featured in the National Science Foundation’s “Discovery,” July 11. Their research, published-ahead of print in the Proceedings of the Royal Society of London-Biological Series, July 11,combined a continuous 38 year field survey with quantitative genetic field experiments to assess adaptation in the context of climate change, focusing on Drummond’s rockcress (Boechera stricta). The team found that the rockcress flowered 13 days earlier in 2011 than in 1973 and predicted that adaptation will likely be necessary for long-term in situ persistence in the context of climate change.

Nathan Kraft (Biology) was quoted in two articles in Science, July 20, on the Madidi Project (Madidi National Park, Bolivia), which charts the changes in tree communities growing along an elevation gradient that drops from above 6,000 meters to 180 meters above sea level.

Physics Graduate Student Dibyendu Mandal and Christopher Jarzynski (Chemistry and Biochemistry and IPST) published an article in PNAS, early edition, July 2, describing a minimal model of an autonomous Maxwell demon, a device that delivers work by rectifying thermal fluctuations while simultaneously writing information to a memory register. They found that their device can also act as a “Landauer eraser,” using externally supplied work to remove information from the memory register. By exposing an explicit, transparent mechanism of operation, their model offers a simple paradigm for investigating the thermodynamics of information processing by small systems.

Raghu Murtugudde (AOSC and ESSIC) was a guest on the Diane Rehm show, WAMU (88.5), July 18, where he and fellow guests discussed the extensive drought that covers nearly two-thirds of the continental US. He was interviewed on July 9 by WYPR (88.1FM), Midday Science program, where he discussed extreme weather events, the June 29 derecho, and his recently published research (Nature Climate Change, June 24) on El Nino, weather prediction and climate change.

Jogesh Pati (Physics) was mentioned in the IDS Comment, Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses (New Delhi, India) on the discovery of the Higgs boson. Pati received the 2000 Dirac Medal and Prize for his pioneering contributions to the quest for a unified theory of quarks and leptons and of the strong, weak, and electromagnetic interactions.

Arthur Popper (Biology) with his postdoc Brandon Casper, former Postdoc Michele Halvorsen and colleague Tom Carlson (Pacific Northwest National Laboratory) published two papers in PLoS ONE in late June resulting from their studies of the effects of in-water pile driving on fish. These studies are the first to quantify effects of exposure to immensely loud - far louder than a jet engine close up - impulsive sounds on fish. Such sounds are produced during construction of bridges, off-shore wind farms, LGN ports, etc., and there is increasing international concern about the environmental effects of such construction sounds. Heretofore, there was little science-based work to use in developing exposure criteria for endangered species, e.g. sturgeon, to impact sounds, and the work from Popper’s lab is being used in reevaluation of current limited criteria being used world-wide.

Govardhan Reddy (IPST) and David Thirumalai (Chemistry and Biochemistry and IPST), with colleague Zhenxing Liu (Beijing Normal University), published an article (online before print) in PNAS, July 9 on their research using molecular simulations using a coarse-grained model to map the folding landscape of Green Fluorescent Protein (GFP) which is extensively used as a marker in cell biology and biotechnology. Detailed analysis of the folding trajectories showed that both equilibrium and several kinetic intermediates, including misfolded structures, are sampled during folding. The paper is scheduled to appear in a Special Edition on protein folding in PNAS.

Scott Rudlosky (ESSIC) and his blog “It’s Severe,” which focuses on severe weather events such as floods, wildfires and lightning, were featured in a Capital Weather Gang article on the Washington Post’s website July 2. The article, entitled “Lightning gone wild during Washington D.C.’s derecho,” focused on lightning as the “second most striking feature” of the storm, behind high winds. Lightning data from the Washington, D.C. Lightning Mapping Array (DCLMA), which Rudlosky works with, was featured in the article – including still photos and an animation of the data.

Wilfred Schroeder (ESSIC) was quoted in an article in PhysOrg, July 16, about the use of images from the Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) on the Suomi National Polar-orbiting Partnership satellite of the High Park Fire, Colorado and the Little Bear Fire, New Mexico. An image by Schroeder, who is part of the VIIRS Active Fires team, was featured. The two image comparisons showed how the fires grew over 24 hours, providing active fire data as emergency response teams continued to fight the fires.

Daphne Soares (Biology) was featured in Science, News Focus, July 27, about her research of a blind 7-centimeter-long catfish, Astroblepus pholeter, in a cave in Ecuador. The catfish relies on teeth that stick out of its body to sense the water flow around it. Media coverage included and Con Neustro Peru.

Raymond St. Leger (Entomology) was quoted in ScienceNews, July, 14, in an article called "Mosquitoes remade." The article discussed recent progress using genetic engineering to fight mosquitoes and the diseases they spread.

V.S. Subramanian (Computer Science and UMIACS) was quoted in Mother Jones, July 30, in an article on predictive modeling.

Jessica Sunshine (Astronomy) was quoted in Nature, July 11, in an article on the three final-round proposals submitted to NASA’s Discovery Program. Sunshine’s proposal, Comet Hopper, would extensively explore a comet for the first time, providing the first ever 4D look at the activity of comets, which hold keys to better understanding the creation of our solar system and may have played a role in the development of life on earth.

Barbara Thorne (Entomology) was quoted in New Scientist, July 26, on research undertaken by Jan Sobotnik (Academy of Science, Czech Republic) and Thomas Bourguignon (Free University of Brussels) on a termite species, Neocapritermes taracua, which, as it ages, grows a sack of toxic liquid that explodes onto their enemies and thereby commits suicide.

Sylvain Veilleux (Astronomy) was quoted in Boston, July 22, in an article on the “First Light Gala” of the Discovery Channel Telescope at the Lowell Observatory, July 21, Flagstaff, AZ. Veilleux plans to use the new telescope, which has a 4.3 meter mirror – the fifth largest in the continental US - to study galaxies and their black holes. In partnership with NASA, the university is building a $3m instrument for the telescope to research gamma ray burst, which Veilleux says will allow a quick response by astronomers in observing the explosions that fade away within a few minutes. Media coverage included San Francisco Gate, SpaceRef, TriValley Central, Examiner, GoErie, Toledo Blade, MSNBC and Sky and Telescope.

Richard Walker (Geology) and James Day (Geology and Scripps Institution of Oceanography) with colleagues, published an article in Nature Geoscience (advance online publication), July 22, presenting petrological and geochemical analyses of diogenite meteorites that represent mantle and crustal materials from 2 or more differentiated asteroids. The team found that diogenites show highly siderophile elements (HSEs) abundances that are consistent with metal-silicate equilibration, followed by minor continued accretion. Isotope chronometry supports diogenite crystallization ages within 2-3 million years of Solar System formation, indicating that late accretion occurred earlier than postulated for Earth, the Moon and Mars. Media coverage included Astrobiology Magazine, Space Ref, Eurasia Review, Red Orbit, Examiner, Zee News, The Guardian (Nigeria) and the Daily Mail.

Aleksey Zimin (IPST) and Jim Yorke (Mathematics and IPST), as members of The Heliconius Genome Consortium, published an article in Nature, July 5, on the butterfly genome revealing promiscuous exchange of mimicry adaptations among species, implying that hybridization has an important role in adaptive radiation.

Alumni News

Date and Time: September 22, 4:00-7:00pm
The College of Computer, Mathematical, and Natural Sciences and The Southern Maryland Alumni Club invite you to A TASTE OF SOUTHERN MARYLAND. Join us at one of southern Maryland’s favorites, The Calvert Marine Museum to learn about how the University of Maryland supports and sustains the bounty of the Chesapeake. The proceeds from this event support scholarships at Maryland, both undergraduate science majors in College Park and graduate students conducting research at Maryland's Chesapeake Bay Lab at Solomons Island. RSVP by September 15

Gary Brager (1966 M.A., 1968 Ph.D. Education and Mathematics) is beginning his 46th year in the Office of Research, Baltimore County Public Schools, Maryland. The office is responsible for providing research and statistical analysis services, designing and implementing program evaluations and research activities and providing data analysis to support performance goals. Brager, who as adjunct faculty taught at Stevenson for 25 years, also taught statistics, research methods, and educational testing at Towson University and Johns Hopkins University for over 20 years.

Massimo Bollasina (2010 Ph.D. AOSC, advisor Sumant Nigam) has received the Norbert Gerbier-MUMM International Award for 2013 from the World Meteorological Organization. The award recognizes an original scientific paper on the influence of meteorology in a particular field of the physical, natural or human sciences, or on the influence of one of these sciences on meteorology. Bollasina, of Princeton University, with Drs. Yi Ming and V. Ramaswamy (NOAA's Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory), received the prestigious award for their paper, published in Science, September 2011, that examined the prominent role of human-made aerosols in shaping regional climate change over South Asia.

Ian Kaplan (2007 Ph.D. Entomology, advisor Robert Denno) has been selected as a recipient of a Presidential Early Career Awards for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE), the highest honor bestowed by the United States Government on science and engineering professionals in the early stages of their independent research careers. Awardees are selected for their pursuit of innovative research at the frontiers of science and technology and their commitment to community service as demonstrated through scientific leadership, public education, or community outreach. Kaplan is an Assistant Professor, Department of Entomology, Purdue University.

Alumni Sergey Koren (2002 B.S., 2012 Ph.D. Computer Science, advisor Mihai Pop), Michael Schatz (2008 M.S., 2010 Ph.D. Computer Science, advisor Steven Salzberg) and Adam Phillippy (2008 M.S., 2010 Ph.D. Computer Science, advisor Steven Salzberg) with colleagues, published an algorithm for correction and assembly of PacBio RS sequences, Nature Biotechnology, July 1. The algorithm improves the accuracy, from roughly 83% to as high as 99.9%, using short reads from second-generation instruments to correct errors in long single-molecule reads, and significantly improves genome assembly. The algorithm was also applied to a previously unsequenced genome of a parrot (Melopsittacus undulatus), assembling for the first time regulatory regions of genes involved in vocal learning circuits. The hybrid reads represent the most complete assembled bird genome now available. Vipin Kumar (1982 Ph.D. Computer Science, advisor Laveen Kanal) was the winner of the 2012 ACM SIGKDD Innovation Award in recognition of “….his technical contributions to foundational research in data mining as well as its applications to mining scientific data.” The award, the highest for technical excellence in the field of Knowledge Discovery and Data Mining (KDD), is conferred on one individual, or one group of collaborators, whose outstanding technical innovations in the KDD field have had a lasting impact in advancing the theory and practice of the field. The award will be presented at the Opening Plenary Session, 18th ACM SIGKDD International Conference on Knowledge Discovery and Data Mining, August 12, Beijing, China. Kumar is the William Norris Professor and Head, Department of Computer Science and Engineering, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN.

Seung-Jae Lee (2010 Ph.D. AOSC, advisor Ernesto Hugo Berbery), has translated Eugenia Kalnay’s book “Atmospheric Modeling, Data Assimilation and Predictability“ published in 2003 by Cambridge University Press, into Korean with an expected publication date of July 2012. Alumni Ji-Sun Kang (2009 Ph.D. AOSC, advisors Eugenia Kalnay and Ning Zeng) and Hye-Lim Yoo (2012 Ph.D. AOSC, advisor Zhanqing Li) participated in the translation project.

Sergey Brin (1993 B.S. Computer Science and Mathematics) was one of 10 business icons listed in Minyanville, July 2 “who have lived the American Dream.”

Camilla Olson (1975 B.S. Microbiology), fashion designer and entrepreneur, will debut her fashions at the Congressional Country Club, Bethesda, MD on September 8. Olson has been issued two patents and founded several companies as a venture capitalist and founding entrepreneur. In 2011 she was the recipient of the Department of Cell Biology and Molecular Genetics’ Distinguished Alumna Award.

D.J. Patil (1999 M.A., 2001 Ph.D. Applied Mathematics, advisor James Yorke) has just released his 2nd minibook “Data Jujitsu - The Art of Turning Data into Product.” The minibook can be found here, and will be available on Amazon shortly. The first minibook “Building Data Science Teams” can be found at Amazon. Patil is committed to keeping the series free and short, and you should feel free to share it with anyone that might find it helpful. Feedback can be posted directly to the Amazon site.

Krist Wongsuphasawat (2009 M.S. and 2012 Ph.D. Computer Science, advisors Ben Shneiderman and Catherine Plaisant) was featured in an article in The Nation (Thailand) on July 10. Wongsuphasawat will be joining Twitter as Data Visualization Scientist in Fall, 2012.