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January 2022 Edition of the Official Newsletter of the
School of Agricultural and Natural Sciences
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Message from the SANS Dean
Research aims to reduce ammonia emissions in poultry houses 
VIDEO: WMDT interviews UMES and USDA-ARS on national award
UMES physicist recognized for student-involved research
VIDEO: Dr. Kausik Das provides an overview of his lab's research
UMES REU is key producer of next generation of marine scientists
MEES grad student is UMES' first Boren fellow
UMES vested in developing global food security as Ctr. of Excellence
Researcher leads study of antifouling biofilms while training students
VIDEO: WMDT interviews Dr. Victoria Volkis on $1M Navy MSI grant 
VIDEO: WRDE talks to Volkis on U.S. Navy grant and fellowship
VIDEO: UMES Industrial Hemp Pilot Program 
UMES research activities support MD industrial hemp industry
VIDEO: Delmarva Now visits UMES hemp field trial
UMES lends expertise to issues surrounding climate change
VIDEO: WMDT speaks to Chigbu on MD Climate Change appointment 
Creating sustainable IPM practices key to protecting Chesapeake Bay
Ag Showcase avails farmers to training and information for success
VIDEO: DelmarvaLife visits UMES Ag Showcase
VIDEO: UMES video overview of Ag Showcase 
NOAA LMRCSC plays vital role in training a diverse STEM workforce
VIDEO: UMES receives NOAA grant to expand diversity in STEM
UMES enlisted to assist BIPOC ag community capitalize on fed grants
VIDEO: Dr. Virginie Zoumenou talks to WMDT about the USDA AMS grant
Edible insects research gets national attention
VIDEO: PBS NOAA talks to Ebony Jenkins about edible insects
VIDEO: WMDT talks to UMES Small Farm Conference keynote speaker
VIDEO: WMDT talks to Black SFC farmer about keeping ag traditions alive
Read more in Delmarva Farmer, Lancaster Farming, photo gallery
UMES trains/graduates PhDs as institution with high research activity
Special Issue:  The Year in Review
We would like to take this opportunity to highlight some of the most impactful stories featuring our students, faculty and researchers covered in the SANS Digest throughout 2021.  


Dear SANS Stakeholders,

2022 has already gotten off to a strong start!

Our winter semester has come to an end and we are looking at the start of the spring semester next week. While the weather has been extremely variable over the past month, we are delighted to welcome students back to campus for the start of classes. Now as always, it will be critical for everybody to adhere to the guidelines to ensure everybody is safe from COVID-19.

This installment of the SANS Digest celebrates a few activities from the past year which epitomize our broader mission components of teaching, research and extension.
With very best wishes for 2022.  Please stay safe!
Moses T. Kairo
SANS Professor and Dean

January 2021
UMES researcher uses federal technology to reduce ammonia emissions in poultry houses
Congratulations to Dr. Fawzy Hashem, a research associate professor in UMES' Department of Agriculture, Food and Resource Sciences, and his colleagues at the USDA, Agricultural Research, Southeast Area Coastal Plains Soil, Water and Plant Research Center Service for receiving the 2021 Excellence in Technology Transfer National Award from the Federal Laboratory Consortium for Technology Transfer for their work "Recovery of Ammonia from Waste Using Gas-permeable Membranes." 
VIDEO:  Click image above for 47 abc's interview with a UMES researcher and team member Dr. Patricia Millner, USDA-ARS, who received a national award for transfer of new federal technology aimed at reducing ammonia emissions in poultry houses.  
March 2021
USM Regents' Faculty Award recognizes UMES physicist's student-involved research activities
Dr. Kausik Das, an associate professor of physics in UMES’ Department of Natural Sciences, is among an elite group of faculty members within the University System of Maryland recognized for their contributions to their individual institutions.  The 2021 USM Regents’ Faculty Awards include Das and Dr. Hoai-Truong, a professor in the Department of Pharmacy Practice and Administration at UMES, along with 16 peers across the state.  The announcement was made March 9.
Das was chosen in the category of scholarship, research or creative activity.  A faculty member for seven years, he is known for his research leading to 1.4 million in extramural funding.  His work includes studies in nano fluidics, creating on-chip graphene-based nano-inductors and work on light-activated resistive switches.  .
Among Das' collaborations is one with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he and UMES undergraduates built a payload that flew a zero-gravity parabolic flight to collect data that will be valuable in future space missions.
VIDEO:  Click above image for an overview of Dr. Kausik Das'  USM Regents' Faculty Award and the research his lab and students are engaged in.
March 2021
UMES REU is key producer of 
next generation of marine scientists
Undergraduates primarily from schools with limited research opportunities or those who are from under-represented groups will continue to be involved in marine and estuarine sciences research at the University of Maryland Eastern Shore thanks to a three-year renewal of a $323,985 National Science Foundation award.

“UMES’ Research Experience for Undergraduates in Marine and Estuarine Science is slated to train eight students, especially rising sophomores and juniors, for 10 weeks during the summers of 2021-23,” said Dr. Paulinus Chigbu, associate dean for research, development and graduate education; director of the NOAA Living Marine Resources Cooperative Science Center; and principal investigator for the program at UMES.  “They will learn how research is conducted and many will have the opportunity to present the results of their work at scientific conferences.”

The REU program operated through the university’s NOAA LMRCSC and the NSF Center for the Integrated Study of Coastal Ecosystem Processes and Dynamics has helped prepare 123 students interested in a career in the field over the past 12 years.  They represent more than 60 institutions in the marine and estuarine sciences, Chigbu said.

April 2021  
MEES grad student is UMES' first Boren fellow

Nylah McClain, a first-year student in UMES' Marine-Estuarine-Environmental Sciences graduate program, will spend a year in Japan starting in the fall (2021) representing her alma mater as the university's first Boren Award fellow. 

McClain, who in May 2020 completed her undergraduate studies by earning a Bachelor of Science degree with honors in environmental studies, will spend the 2021-22 academic year in an immersion program learning Japanese. 

The David L. Boren Scholarships and Fellowships are sponsored by the National Security Education Program, a federal initiative designed to build "a broader and more qualified pool of U.S. citizens with foreign language and international skills."

Read More>

May 2021  
USDA establishes UMES as Center of Excellence vested in developing global food security
The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture made an announcement May 12 that UMES is one of four 1890 land-grant institutions set to receive funding from its total investment of $5.76 million reserved for 1890 Centers of Excellence grants.

“The 1890 Centers of Excellence awards are an effort to increase rural prosperity and economic sustainability of food systems in underserved farming communities,” said NIFA director Dr. Carrie Castille. “These grants will support projects that address critical needs for developing global food security and defense; enhancing academic and career activities for students pursuing careers in food and agricultural sciences; and addressing vital needs in nutrition and health to improve the quality of life of underserved populations.”             

UMES will develop the 1890 Universities Center of Excellence for Global Food Security and Defense to foster international partnerships that strengthen agricultural development in developing countries and engage international researchers in addressing new and emerging animal and plant diseases, and agricultural disaster recovery.    

         Read More>

June 2021  
UMES researcher leads study of natural plants as antifouling biofilms while training students
A UMES researcher and students from underrepresented minorities in STEM who are majoring in natural sciences will be tackling one of the U.S. Navy’s most costly problems –biofilm formation, or fouling.  Biofilms, which lead to attachment of barnacles, cause millions of dollars of damage to naval ships and platforms each year and contribute to ecological changes with the potential to cause fish mortality and algal blooms.

The U.S. Navy has awarded Dr. Victoria Volkis, a professor of chemistry and director of UMES’ Master of Science Program, $1 million to study the use of natural plants for antifouling protection, under the “Sea platform environmental quality, corrosion control and advanced naval materials” field of interest.  Not only will she serve as the principal investigator of a U.S. Navy Minority Serving Institution Program grant, she will also devote all of her academic time to the project as the recipient of a Distinguished Faculty Fellow award for the next three years.
VIDEO:  Click image above as UMES chemistry professor and U.S. Navy Distinguished Fellow Victoria Volkis and students in her lab talk to 47 ABC's Hannah Cechini about a $1 million Minority Serving Institution grant from the navy to find solutions in nature to prevent damage to its ships and platforms while protecting the marine environment.  (Pictured above: Grad student Riham Alhag.)
WRDE Coast TV interviews Volkis on $1M U.S. Navy MSI grant
July 2021  
UMES research activities support
Maryland's industrial hemp industry
VIDEO:  Dr. Sadanand Dhekney, an associate professor of genetics and plant breeding, talks about the UMES Industrial Hemp Program.   
Click here for more information.
UMES' Industrial Hemp Program is in full-swing for the 2021 season with more than 500 plants growing lushly in a one acre research plot on campus to provide growers and potential growers with information on what varieties are suited for the Eastern Shore’s macroclimate.

Planted in mid-May, the field trial includes 50 varieties, said Dr. Sadanand Dhekney, an associate professor and director of the program. 
Extension activities, such as field tours on July 30, August 27 and September 30, are designed to disseminate information in a hands-on environment.  Industrial hemp producers and stakeholders can view the plant in its vegetative stage of development, flowering stage and observe harvesting.  Other topics covered include insects that are pests, diseases and nutritional requirements for successful cultivation.  The tours are free.  There were approximately 50 participants for the first tour. 

Farmers also benefit from research in the lab.  Exit surveys from last year’s trial, showed that producers saw a significant number of viruses and disease in hemp plants.  To combat this, Dhekney said, students in the lab are being trained in plant tissue culture and micropropagation that allows them to take plant tissues and isolate the meristem (growing part of the plant).

“Because of plant tissue culture, we are able to supply the producers with model stock plants that are free of diseases,” Dhekney said.  “It is clean material for farmers to plant with the potential for more successful hemp cultivation.”
Hemp could be Eastern Shore's next cash crop
if growers can beat heat and pests

VIDEO:  Click on the image above to watch as Salisbury Daily Times' Lauren Roberts visits the UMES Industrial Hemp tour on July 30. 

 Full story by Kristian Jaime HERE
July 2021  
UMES lends expertise to issues
surrounding climate change
NOAA LMRCSC director appointed to MD Commission on Climate Change
Ben Grumbles, Maryland's Secretary of the Environment, recently announced that the University of Maryland Eastern Shore's director of the NOAA Living Marine Resources Cooperative Science Center, Dr. Paulinus Chigbu, has been appointed to the Maryland Commission on Climate Change.  Chigbu will serve on one of its working groups, the Science and Technology Working Group.

In the appointment letter, Grumbles wrote that Chigbu's "long history of running the LMRCSC program, impressive education and experiences in fisheries and zooplankton ecology and climatic factors in water quality" make him instrumental to the commission as they "analyze possible solutions to complicated issues surrounding climate change."
VIDEO:  Click on the image above to watch WMDT 47 abc's interview with Dr. Paulinus Chigbu's on his recent appointment to the Maryland Commission on Climate Change by Maryland Secretary of the Environment Ben Grumbles.
August 2021  
UMES creates sustainable IPM practices
key to protecting the Chesapeake Bay
Agriculture is Maryland’s largest industry, employing 350,000 people and contributing $8 billion annually to its economy, according to a Maryland State Archives report.  The Chesapeake Bay is the second most important economic resource, which makes creating eco-friendly Integrated Pest Management programs essential to the state. 

“To protect the bay, farmers must continue to improve upon responsive IPM practices that will allow them to farm sustainably,” said Dr. Simon Zebelo, an entomologist at the University of Maryland Eastern Shore.  Zebelo is the director for a research and extension project that recently received a $630,000 Crop Protection and Pest Management Grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture.

“Funding from its Extension Implementation Program will support the university’s efforts to carry out extension activities that address critical needs of farmers while protecting vulnerable habitats and accelerating the adoption of practices that support the National Roadmap for Integrated Pest Management,” Zebelo said.
August 2021  
Ag Showcase avails farmers to training and information to help with their success
UMES Extension in partnership with Atlantic Tractor LLC in Queen Anne, Maryland hosted the inaugural Ag Showcase August 18, at the UMES Research and Education Farm just south of campus.  It was a hot one, but 125 Eastern Shore farmers participated in the free, full-day event aimed at helping them be successful in their farm operations.

“The event drew a diverse mix of producers, beginning farmers, service providers and agricultural enthusiasts from as far south as Northampton County, Virginia and as far north as parts of Delaware. Overall, the event was a success and we’re already in discussions with local and regional partners on how we can make next year’s event even better,” said Berran Rogers, coordinator of UMES’ Small Farm Program.
VIDEO:  Click on the image above to watch DelmarvaLife's Travels with Charlie (Paparella) as he visits the UMES Research and Education Farm for the inaugural Ag Showcase hosted by UMES Extension in partnership with Atlantic Tractor LLC in Queen Anne.
Check out this YouTube video!  UMES Extension in partnership with Atlantic Tractor LLC in Queen Anne, Maryland, hosted the inaugural Ag Showcase in August at the UMES Research and Education Farm on Stewart Neck Road in Princess Anne.
October 2021 
UMES' NOAA LMRCSC plays vital role in
training a diverse future STEM workforce
Pictured, (Top left), Teemer Barry is a UMES senior and NOAA scholar studying environmental science.  (Top right), Detbra Rosales is a 2020 MEES doctoral grad who is currently a post-doctoral fellow in the National Science Foundation CREST-CISCEP at UMES.
NOAA announced recently that it will continue its two-decade commitment to support the next generation of marine scientists and researchers at the University of Maryland Eastern Shore.  The agency, through its Educational Partnership Program with Minority Serving Institutions, renewed an agreement that will provide $30 million in grants over five years to support the Living Marine Resources Cooperative Science Center at UMES.

“These grants will strengthen the federal workforce by promoting and advancing diversity, equity, inclusion and accessibility,” said Dr. Rick Spinrad, NOAA administrator. “This funding will directly benefit students at minority serving institutions who we hope will join the future NOAA workforce and who will contribute to U.S. global economic competitiveness.”

“We are excited about this new center award and are deeply grateful to NOAA for its continued confidence in this endeavor,” said Dr. Heidi M. Anderson, UMES President. “This investment will be invaluable in enabling the University of Maryland Eastern Shore together with its partner institutions to build on its excellent record of training and graduating a diverse future STEM workforce, particularly in marine and fisheries science."

VIDEO-Click on the image above for 47 abc's interview with Dr. Paulinus Chigbu, director of the NOAA Living Marine Resources Cooperative Science Center at UMES, and Teemer Barry, a UMES senior and NOAA Scholar studying environmental science.
October  2021
UMES enlisted to assist BIPOC agricultural community capitalize on USDA AMS grants
The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Marketing Service has enlisted the help of the University of Maryland Eastern Shore and Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University to help Black, indigenous and people of color, rural and other underserved communities apply for, successfully compete for and implement its grants.  The two institutions will split an award totaling $2.7 million ($1,350,000 each) in a coordinated effort that will enable UMES to conduct activities in the Northern states, FAMU to conduct activities in the Southern states.

Grant programs funded through USDA AMS are “designed to support the economic development for communities and commodities by funding projects that enhance the marketability and competitiveness of U.S. agricultural products.” To achieve this goal, all agricultural producers in the nation, regardless of race and ethnicity, need to have knowledge of, access to and a desire to take advantage of federal grants that are available to them.
VIDEO:  Click the image above as 47 abc learns about a cooperative research agreement allowing the USDA Agricultural Marketing Service to work with UMES and FAMU to attract more minority farmers to apply for its grants and resources to support their businesses.
October  2021
Edible insects research gets national attention
What tastes like shrimp or seafood?  It might have a “citrusy flavor” or be “oily and salty like popcorn.”  Could be crunchy like a “Frito or chip” or “smushy like pudding.”  They come in all shapes and sizes and if you guessed edible insects, a world food protein source on the rise, you guessed correctly.

“Five years ago I was deathly afraid of insects, so I went from running from them, to chasing them, to eating them—now that’s revenge!,” said Ebony Jenkins (above), a food and agricultural sciences doctoral student at UMES.

Jenkins is a budding entomophagist.  No, it’s not misspelled.  The field is not entomology, more commonly known, it’s entomophagy—the study of rearing insects for human consumption, feed and biological controls.  She and her research advisor and mentor, Dr. Simon Zebelo, an associate professor of entomology and plant biology, tout cicadas, crickets and mealworms among others as a safe, economical and nutritious source of protein. 

Their thoughts and research have gained national attention.  The Public Broadcasting System’s premiere science series, NOVA, featured Jenkins on its Season 48, Episode 14 “Edible Insects,” which aired for the first time on Wednesday, October 20.

“I didn’t know it was showing, I just ran across it,” Jenkins said.  “I couldn’t believe it! I have watched it 10 times since airing.  I’m still in shock and grateful for the opportunity. They could have chosen anyone, but they choose me.”

Jenkins weighed in on the documentary on her work focusing on improving insects as a source of nutrition and modifying what they eat.
Take a tasty look at insect foods that could benefit our health and our warming planet!
VIDEO-Check out this Maryland Public Television NOVA segment on edible insects from its Premier Science Series with input from UMES food and agricultural sciences doctoral student Ebony Jenkins.  
November 2021
Small Farm Conference connects agricultural stakeholders to resources and information
VIDEO:  Click on the image above for 47 abc's interview with Dr. Dewayne Goldmon, the USDA Senior Advisor for Racial Equity and keynote speaker for UMES Extension's Small Farm Conference.
VIDEO:  Click the image above as 47 abc's Jordie Clark talks to Newell Quinton about keeping agricultural traditions, such as fall scrapple making, alive in the Black farming community of San Domingo.
Read more HERE in Delmarva Farmer
Read more HERE in Lancaster Farming
Visit the photo gallery HERE
December 2021 
UMES trains and graduates PhDs as
institution with high research activity
SANS is doing its part in continuing University of Maryland Eastern Shore's coveted designation as an R2 Carnegie Classified Institution of Higher Education. A recent 2021 update, confirmed UMES as a doctoral university with "high research activity"- one of only 10 HBCUs to hold the classification.

Did you know that the School of Agricultural and Natural Sciences (including UMES Extension) currently brings in approximately 84% of all external funds at UMES.

Enjoy some of the faces of SANS research above:
Top left, Dr. Salina Parveen, Professor in the Department of Agriculture, Food and Resource Sciences, works with students and faculty on a study of how weather and environmental conditions affect aquaculture and pathogens. Photo by Todd Dudek.

Top right, Destiny Parker, a senior majoring in biology in UMES' Department of Natural Sciences, and Dr. Sadanand Dhekney, associate professor, inspect model stock plants created from plant tissue cultures and micropropagation that are free from disease. Photo by Todd Dudek.

Above left, UMES and visiting student scholars take part in summer research opportunities. Photo by Todd Dudek.

Above right, Wilmilie Cruz, native of Puerto Rico, earned her doctorate in UMES' Marine-Estuarine-Environmental Science Program. She participated in three NOAA internships during her studies at UMES.  Photo submitted by NOAA LMRCSC.
Read more HERE
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Previous Editions . . .

The SANS Monthly Digest-December 2021
The SANS Monthly Digest-November 2021
The SANS Monthly Digest-October 2021
The SANS Monthly Digest-September 2021
The SANS Monthly Digest-August 2021
The SANS Monthly Digest-July 2021
The SANS Monthly Digest-June 2021
The SANS Monthly Digest-May 2021
The SANS Monthly Digest-April 2021
The SANS Monthly Digest-March 2021
The SANS Monthly Digest-February 2021
The SANS Monthly Digest-January 2021

The SANS Monthly Digest-December 2020
The SANS Monthly Digest-November 2020
The SANS Monthly Digest-October 2020
The SANS Monthly Digest-September 2020
The SANS Monthly Digest- August 2020
The SANS Monthly Digest - June 2020
The SANS Monthly Digest- May 2020
The SANS Monthly Digest - April 2020
The SANS Monthly Digest- March 2020
The SANS Monthly Digest - February 2020
The SANS Monthly Digest - January 2020

The SANS Monthly Digest - December 2019
The SANS Monthly Digest - November 2019
The SANS Monthly Digest - October 2019
The SANS Monthly Digest - September 2019
The SANS Monthly Digest - August 2019
The SANS Monthly Digest - July 2019
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