No Images? View In Browser
July 2021 Edition of the Official Newsletter of the
School of Agricultural and Natural Sciences
Share Share
Tweet Tweet
Forward Forward
Click on links below for shortcut to the full story
or scroll down to enjoy the entire newsletter

Ag Showcase slated for late August-FREE!
UMES' Industrial Hemp Program holds hemp variety field trial tours
Chigbu appointed to MD Commission on Climate Change
Video WMDT: UMES research team receives $1M grant from US Navy
Video WRDE: US. Navy awards $1M to UMES researcher
UMES researcher uses CRISPR to combat fungal diseases in grapes
Message from the SANS Dean
COVID-19-UMES Updates & CDC Fact Sheet

UMES Extension "Taste of Jamaica" at Washington Inn & Tavern
Video DelmarvaLife:  Dr. Nadine Burton's "Taste of Jamaica" 
Rogers will sit on the new MD Food System Resiliency Council
Zebelo receives 2021 FMC New Investigator Award
DNS hosts international visitor (Israel) for July seminar
Fitzpatrick elected MANRRS national officer
UMES Land-grant Scholarship Program
Subscribe to Extension's Connections newsletter
New! Spring 2021-The Living Sea-LMRCSC newsletter
Ag Showcase slated for late August-FREE!
UMES Extension, in partnership with Atlantic Tractor LLC, is hosting an Ag Showcase at the UMES Research and Education Farm on Stewart Neck Road on Wednesday, August 18, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. The showcase is the inaugural event between the two organizations, both interested in the success of the Eastern Shore farmer.

Participants can expect informational sessions involving a 90-acre soybean demonstration plot, alternative and specialty crop demonstration plots, a John Deere Operations Center classroom training and farm equipment for small- and large-scale farm operations. Exhibitors and Ag vendors will man interactive booths and lunch will be provided. The primary goal of the event is to present each participant with agriculture diversification opportunities fit for their particular operation.
Register here
For more information
UMES' industrial hemp field trials provide farmers with knowledge for successful cultivation
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 (above from left), 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.  Registration is still open for the remaining tours.

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.”
Register for free hemp tours
Click for UMES' Industrial Hemp Program
Chigbu 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: UMES research team dives into biofilm study with funding from the U.S. Navy
UMES chemistry professor and U.S. Navy Distinguished Fellow Victoria Volkis and students in her lab talked 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.)

Click image above for story and video.
Video: U.S. Navy awards $1M to UMES researcher, minority students in STEM to tackle biofilm issue
Volkis, students in her research lab and Chair of the Department of Natural Sciences Dr. Jonathan Cumming spoke to WRDE/Telemondo's Daniela Prizont-Cado about the $1 million U.S. Navy MSI grant.  

Click image above for story and video.
UMES researcher uses CRISPR to combat fungal diseases in grapevines
Grapes are among the most valuable fruit crops in the U.S. with 6.8 million tons produced annually on one million acres.  In Maryland, 1,000 acres are dispersed between 89 licensed wineries.  Grapes are also among the most heavily sprayed agricultural crops to combat diseases that account for more than 30% of the production costs and pose a challenge to growers along the Eastern Seaboard, including Maryland. 

Dr. Sadanand Dhekney, an associate professor of plant breeding and biotechnology at UMES, will lead a project supported by a recent $500,000 United States Department of Agriculture, capacity building grant to improve powdery mildew resistance in grapevine cultivars using genome editing technology. The three-year grant will allow Dhekney to develop the advanced crop technique widely used in field crops for applications in fruit crops.

“Grape production is affected worldwide by powdery mildew, one of the most costly diseases to control in the crop,” Dhekney said.  “Therefore, the development of mildew resistant grape cultivars have the potential to decrease grape production costs, while also helping to mitigate adverse human health and environmental effects.”


Dear SANS Stakeholders,

Our summer activities are quickly drawing to a close, but it has been extremely delightful to see the various summer programs focused on student development. One of the highlights for me was to see students back on campus. Last year, all the summer programs were necessarily virtual, and it is not quite the same.
The last decade has seen tremendous advancements in the relatively new field of gene editing. The development of easily accessible tools to facilitate this work has allowed for the rapid development of technologies and solutions to problems affecting both plants and animals, including humans. Without a doubt, the approach will play a critical role for the coming decades, and I am delighted to see SANS faculty become engaged in the work. Only through research and the generation of new knowledge will we be able to truly determine the full extent and potential of this new approach to solve problems. With this said, I am delighted to congratulate Dr. Sadanand Dhekney on receiving a grant from USDA NIFA to explore the use of CRISPR, a gene-editing tool, to combat fungal diseases in grapevines.
As a land-grant university, a central part of our mission is to serve the citizens of Maryland. I was therefore delighted to note the appointment of Dr. Paulinus Chigbu to serve on the Science and Technology Working Group on the Maryland Commission on Climate Change. Dr. Chigbu is also the lead for an interdisciplinary initiative focused on climate change at UMES. Let me also congratulate Mr. Berran Rogers, who coordinates UMES’ Small Farm Program, on his appointment to the Maryland Food System Resiliency Council, which is focused on the important issue of food security. Likewise, I congratulate Dr. Simon Zebelo, who was announced the winner of the New Investigator award by the FMC Corporation on July 8. For me, it is a great honor to have the opportunity to work with these and all the other illustrious faculty within SANS.
As we approach the start of the fall semester, we are ready and looking forward to welcoming students back on campus.
With very best wishes.
Moses T. Kairo

SANS Professor and Dean

The health and well-being of our campus and the community is our highest priority. The University's Task Force is working diligently to stay informed of changing dynamics in the coronavirus outbreak. 
UMES Updates
CDC Guidelines
UMES Extension and Washington Inn and Tavern present "Taste of Jamaica" culinary event Aug. 6 
A restaurateur, chef, extension specialist and farmer come together to celebrate cultural diversity and sourcing local foods
UMES Extension’s Dr. Nadine Burton (pictured above at center)  is sharing her knowledge of ethnic specialty crops and recipes native to her home country of Jamaica with the chef at the Washington Inn and Tavern in Princess Anne for a special culinary experience, “Taste of Jamaica.”  Chef Russell Robbins (above at left) hosts the event on Jamaican Independence Day, August 6, from 6-8 p.m. at the Inn where he will present a three-course meal featuring locally grown ingredients common to Jamaica.

Burton researches and grows specialty crops like callaloo, scotch bonnet peppers and hibiscus among other crops on UMES’ Research and Education Farm on Stewart Neck Road.  Through extension activities, she works with local producers like Mike Edwards (above at right) and his wife, Kelly, of Wood Duck Landing Farm demonstrating how to cultivate and market them under growing conditions on Delmarva.   

Reservations are recommended through Open Table by visiting or by calling 443-399-3353.  The evening is limited to 40 diners and costs $50.  For more information about UMES Extension and specialty crops, visit, or contact Burton at, or by calling 410-651-8353.
Watch as WBOC DelmarvaLife's host Jimmy Hoppa talks to UMES Extension's alternative crop specialist Dr. Nadine Burton and The Washington Inn and Tavern's chef Russell Robbins as they prepare a recipe from the menu for the August 6,  "Taste of Jamaica" culinary event. Make your reservation today! 
Rogers will take UMES Extension's seat on the new Maryland Food System Resiliency Council

Berran Rogers, coordinator of UMES Extension’s Small Farm Program, will sit on the new Maryland Food System Resiliency Council.  The council was formed through emergency legislation passed April 12 in the Maryland General Assembly.  Senate Bill 723/House Bill 831 establishes the council, which will be housed under the Maryland Emergency Management Agency. 

The council will address “food insecurity in the state resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic and resulting economic crisis.”  It will develop policy recommendations to “increase the long-term resiliency of the food system and develop a strategic plan to increase the production and procurement of Maryland certified food.”

“The establishment of the Maryland Food System Resiliency Council demonstrates the state’s commitment to helping constituents and farmers in times of crisis,” Rogers said.  “Our program is honored to be included in this important undertaking.”

The council is tasked to coordinate state and local level food insecurity services to support residents; track and analyze data to create a comprehensive map of food insecurity across the state and identify gaps in service; leverage federal and private sector grants and other resources in order to address food insecurity needs; advise the state on how best to allocate resources and increase efficiency; and explore the role of and potential for the Federal Community Eligibility provision to ensure all students in the state are fed.      

Zebelo receives 2021 FMC New Investigator Award.
Dr. Simon Zebelo, an associate professor of entomology and plant biology and director of UMES’ Center for Integrated Pest Management, is one of four recipients of the 2021 New Investigator Award by the FMC Corporation, an agricultural sciences company headquartered in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  The researchers joining Zebelo in the honor this year represent the University of Houston, Purdue University and Cornell University.

The awards highlight outstanding early career professors who are within the first six years of their independent academic research careers in disciplines aligned with FMC science. Recipients receive an unrestricted, two-year, $25,000-per-year research grant.                                Read More>
Department of Natural Sciences hosts international visitor for July seminar
Professor Moris Eisen traveled to UMES from the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology in Haifa, Israel for a July 27 seminar.  SANS students, faculty and staff attended the 2 p.m. presentation, “Tailoring the Chemical Properties of Molecules; From Catalysis to Polymers and Membranes for Water Purification,” in the Carver Hall auditorium. He was the guest of his former PhD mentee Dr. Victoria Volkis who hosted Eisen for a three-day visit to the Eastern Shore.

In his talk, Eisen described how the chemical properties of various organometallic compounds are tailored to allow them to be used as catalysts.  Without the correct design, he said, the compounds are totally inactive.  He presented his case using very oxophilic complexes and then disclosed the use of them in synthesis of biocompatible polymers.  Eisen finished the presentation by showing how to design organic polymers for the synthesis of water filtration membranes and in the desalination of waters.

Fitzpatrick elected MANRRS national officer for upcoming academic year
A UMES graduate student pursuing a doctorate in organizational leadership will serve as the graduate student president for the 2021-22 academic year for a national leadership organization geared toward students in agricultural and natural sciences and related majors.

Stephon Fitzpatrick will represent some 8,000 members of the Minorities in Agriculture, Natural Resources and Related Sciences among 55 collegiate chapters throughout 38 states and Puerto Rico.  

Fitzpatrick has served as the coordinator for recruitment, retention and experiential learning for the School of Agricultural and Natural Sciences at UMES since 2018.   On September 3, he will be relocating to Philadelphia to begin a new post as the executive director of the Pennsylvania Commission for Agriculture Education, an appointment by the Pennsylvania Secretary of Agriculture.

“The work we have done these last three years here at UMES has been groundbreaking.  I’ve traveled the world with amazing students…and watch them become leaders in their own right,” Fitzpatrick said.  “Love always to my Hawk Family!  I say goodbye, but the network will always remain open.”

UMES Extension launched its e-newsletter Connections in November last year! 

Subscribers will be privy to opportunities available to the public as well as those only available to our subscribers.

To get your copy, subscribe today!
The NOAA Living Marine Resources Cooperative Science Center (LMRCSC) trains and graduates students from underrepresented communities in marine science for careers in research, management, and public policy that support the sustainable harvest and conservation of our nation's living marine resources. With its partner institutions, the LMRCSC conducts research on marine and estuarine systems congruent with the interests of NOAA Fisheries. The Center is supported by the NOAA Education Partnership Program with Minority-Serving Institutions (EPP/MSI). Click on the image to read its latest newsletter.
Upcoming Events
"Taste of Jamaica" August 6, 6 p.m.,
The Washington Inn and Tavern
11784 Somerset Ave., Princess Anne, MD, 21853

UMES Extension alternative crop specialist Dr. Nadine Burton teams up with The Washington Inn and Tavern's Chef Russell Robbins and Mike Edwards of Wood Duck Landing Farm to offer a three-course "Taste of Jamaica" in celebration of Jamaican Independence Day. 
Make a reservation on Open Table!

FREE! Ag Showcase August 18, 8 a.m.-4 p.m., 
UMES Research and Education Farm 
10789 Stewart Neck Road, Princess Anne, MD 21853

SAVE THE DATE-August 18 as UMES Extension and Atlantic Tractor team up to host a fun-filled and informative day, including a 90-acre soybean test plot, John Deere Operations Center classroom training,  alternative and specialty crop demonstrations, interactive booths, exhibitors and agriculture vendors, farm and agriculture equipment for large and small farm operations, and agriculture diversification opportunities.
Click here to register on Eventbrite.

SANS in the News

Having a Field Day Talking about Hemp for Biofuel in Maryland
Advanced Biofuels USA, August, 4, 2021

Ag Showcase Aug. 18
Crisfield-Somset County Times, August 4, 2021

Dr. Nadine Burton & Chef Russell Robbins Make us Authentic Jamaican Dishes
WBOC DelmarvaLife, (Video) August 3, 2021

U.S. Navy Awards $1M to UMES Researcher, Minority Students in STEM to Tackle Biofilm Issue
WRDRE/Telemondo (Video), August 3, 2021

UMES enjoying fruits of its labors
The Delmarva Farmer, July 30, 2021

Somerset inn to help celebrate Jamaican Independence Day
BaytoBay News-Somerset, July 31, 2021

$50,000 grant by apparel consortium benefits UMES
Crisfield-Somerset County Times, July 21, 2021

UMES research team dives into biofilm study with funding from the U.S. Navy
WMDT 47 abc, (Video) July 20, 2021

$1 million grant to UMES will study ways to prevent biofilms from clinging to ships and submerged surfaces
BaytoBay News-Somerset, July 7, 2021


New Research Publications

Silva, L.V.D., Ossai, S., Chigbu P., and Parveen, S. 2021. Antimicrobial and genetic profiles of Vibrio vulnificus and Vibrio parahaemolyticus isolated from the Maryland Coastal Bays, US.  Frontier in  Microbiology. 12:676249. doi: 10.3389/fmicb.2021.676249.

Anderson-Coughlin, B., Craighead, S., Kelly, A., Gartley, S., Vanore, A., Johnson, G., Jiang, C., Haymaker, J., White, C., Foust, D., Duncan, R., East, C., Handy, E., Bradshaw, R., Murray, R., Kulkarni, P., Callahan, M., Solaiman, S., Betancourt, W., Gerba, C., Allard, S., Parveen, S., Hashem, F., Micallef, S., Sapkota, A., Sapkota, A., Sharma, M., and Kniel, K. 2021. Applied and Environmental Microbiology. doi: 10.1128/AEM.00211-21

Almuhaideb. E., Chintapenta,L.K., Abbott, A., Parveen, S., Ozbay, G. 2020. Assessment of. Vibrio parahaemolyticus levels in oysters (Crassostrea virginica) and seawater in Delaware  Bay in relation to environmental conditions and the prevalence of molecular markers to identify pathogenic Vibrio parahaemolyticus strains. PLoS ONE 15(12):e0242229 .

Previous Editions . . .

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
Copyright © 2021 University of Maryland Eastern Shore, All rights reserved.

Want to change how you receive these emails?
You can update your preferences or unsubscribe from this list.

Designed by: Ascent |Agency

Email Marketing Powered by Mailchimp