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Pharmaceutical Sciences Takes Center Stage for University’s CURE Scholars

Local middle school students gain hands-on experience conducting fun-filled science experiments under supervision of faculty at the School of Pharmacy.

Students from the University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB) CURE Scholars Program visited the University of Maryland School of Pharmacy throughout the month of July to gain hands-on experience conducting research in the field of pharmaceutical sciences. The visits were organized by Lisa Jones, PhD, assistant professor in the Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences (PSC) at the School of Pharmacy, as part of her $1.1 million CAREER Award from the National Science Foundation, which supports her ongoing work to develop a new method to study the structure of cell membrane proteins in the cellular environment.

“One of the key components of the CAREER Award is that the awardee not only conducts his or her own research, but also creates an education plan aimed at fostering the development of young researchers,” says Jones. “I was thrilled to have an opportunity to collaborate with the UMB CURE Scholars Program for my education plan, and offer local middle school students a chance to conduct hands-on research in a laboratory setting at the School. I hope their time with us helped them uncover a love of science as well as a desire to pursue a career in science, technology, engineering, or math (STEM).”

Training the Next Generation of STEM Leaders

Established in 2015, the UMB CURE Scholars Program prepares middle and high school students in Baltimore for competitive, lucrative, and rewarding research and health care careers at UMB and other health institutions in the region. The program is a partnership with three public schools in West Baltimore – Franklin Square Elementary and Middle School, Green Street Academy, and Southwest Baltimore Charter School – that provides career navigation, workforce training, and mentorship to underrepresented scholars at all stages or academic and career development.

More than 20 middle school students participating in the UMB CURE Scholars Programs visited the School of Pharmacy on July 6-7 and July 13-14, where they attended brief lectures and participated in hands-on experiments related to the lecture topics in one of the School’s state-of-the-art laboratories. Topics covered during the lectures included the role of DNA in cancer, the incidence of obesity in the United States, recombinant DNA technology, and protein-based drugs. In the lab, students had an opportunity to extract DNA from strawberries and kiwis, test calories in foods such as marshmallows and popcorn, and express and purify a protein in E. coli.

“Studies have indicated that middle school is the best time to capture students’ interest in STEM,” says Jones. “However, you will be hard-pressed to capture much interest by sitting students at a desk all day. The hands-on experiments that students conducted in our lab not only reinforced lessons from our lectures, but were also fun and gave them opportunities to engage with the material and learn from each other – opportunities that they might not have in a typical middle school science classroom.”

Bringing Lessons Learned Home

Students visiting the School on July 7 also had a chance to participate in a special activity hosted by Sarah Michel, PhD, professor in PSC. Inspired by the water crisis in Flint, Mich., Michel asked students to bring a sample of tap water from their homes to test for metal ions using inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP-MS) – the same method used by researchers who tested the water in Flint – in the School’s Mass Spectrometry Center. With assistance from a postdoctoral fellow and two summer interns in Michel’s laboratory, the students tested and analyzed the levels of toxic metals such as lead and cadmium, as well as non-toxic metals such as iron, zinc, and copper, in their water samples.

“Most individuals likely assume that drinking water in the U.S. is safe regardless of where one lives,” says Michel. “The Flint water crisis was an eye-opening experience for many of us, but I hope that it can serve as an example to these students of how science can help solve real life problems. The scientists who brought to light the drinking water crisis in Flint used their expertise in analytical chemistry to help uncover the lead contamination in the water and, as a result, the city, state, and country took notice. Scientists helped solve this big problem, and I want to inspire the CURE scholars to pursue science and solve other big problems.”

After speaking with students in the program, it appears that both Jones and Michel’s messages are resonating.

“Before I joined the UMB CURE Scholars Program, I thought science was mostly about reading books,” says Tyler McKinsey, a soon-to-be eighth grader at Green Street Academy. “Now, I understand that there are a lot of opportunities for me in science. I like working with my partners on the different projects and knowing that, if my ideas aren’t working, they will have other ideas that we can test, since we’re all contributing to the same project. I’m also looking forward to becoming a surgeon.”

  
Malissa Carroll Community Service, Education, UMB NewsJuly 28, 20170 comments
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June President's Message

June President’s Message

Check out the June issue of The President’s Message. It includes Dr. Perman’s column on his State of the University Address, a story on Police Chief Tony Williams’ retirement, a look back at Commencement, a story on Matt Hourihan’s federal research budget forecast, part of the President’s Panel on Politics and Policy, a primer on why philanthropic investment in UMB is so important, a look back at year 2 of the UMB CURE Scholars Program, an invitation to Dr. Perman’s Q&A on June 19, which will include a discussion of the campus climate survey, and a roundup of student, faculty, and staff achievements.

  
Chris Zang ABAE, Bulletin Board, Clinical Care, Collaboration, Community Service, Contests, Education, People, Research, Technology, UMB News, University Life, USGAJune 8, 20170 comments
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May President's Message

May President’s Message

Check out the May issue of The President’s Message. It includes Dr. Perman’s column on changing our logo from “The Founding Campus” to “Baltimore,” a story on Malinda Hughes, who gave her $1,500 Employee of the Year prize to the UMB CURE Scholars Program, an invitation to Dr. Perman’s State of the University Address on May 10 and commencement on May 19, a National Mental Health Awareness Month reminder about UMB’s Employee Assistance Program, a safety tip on the UMB Police Force escort service, and a roundup of student, faculty, and staff achievements, including a special section on global health interprofessional projects.

  
Chris Zang Clinical Care, Community Service, Contests, Education, People, Research, Technology, UMB News, University Life, USGAMay 8, 20170 comments
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CURE-Scholars

January CURE Corner: Festive Fall Finish

CURE Corner is an occasional feature with noteworthy updates from UMB’s CURE Scholars Program, a pipeline initiative that prepares West Baltimore children for health and research careers through hands-on workshops, lab experiences, and mentorship. UMB’s CURE scholars are the youngest ever to participate in the National Cancer Institute’s Continuing Umbrella of Research Experiences (CURE) national program.

The UMB CURE Scholars Program wrapped up the fall semester with a Winter Wonderland Celebration on Saturday, Dec. 10. The day was full of holiday stores, parent workshops, guest speakers, and awards for the scholars.

Scholars began the day at the University of Maryland BioPark and the UMB Community Engagement Center to use merits that they’ve earned with good behavior to purchase gifts for their families and other scholars. Parents were treated to a parent workshop facilitated by the Community Engagement Center during this time as well.

The scholars then participated in an awards ceremony through the School of Pharmacy’s student organization A Bridge to Academic Excellence (ABAE). ABAE treated the UMB CURE scholars to raffle prizes, awards for all of the scholars, and a delicious lunch!

The afternoon was full of special guest speakers and awards given from the UMB CURE Scholars Program. UMB President Jay A. Perman, MD, welcomed the scholars and their families and congratulated the scholars on an awesome first semester. Alison Lin, PhD, a program director for the Diversity Training Branch of the Center to Reduce Cancer Health Disparities of the National Cancer Institute, emphasized to the CURE scholars that they can be anything they want to be and that they are all on the track to being scientists. The scholars were then treated to a presentation by Renetta Tull, PhD, associate vice provost for graduate student development at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County and a global speaker for STEM equity, diversity, and inclusion.

The UMB CURE leadership team (with the help of the Baltimore Orioles mascot) presented awards to the UMB CURE community, including Scholar of the Month, Mentor of the Month, and Scholar Perfect Attendance awards. Fully admitted scholars (with no demerits for poor behavior and only one unexcused absence) received a certificate from the Baltimore City Council recognizing their achievements. Lastly, each scholar received a Mathlete Award for completing math problems during Saturday tutoring throughout the semester. A special shout out goes to Mariah Beatty, a sixth-grade scholar at Green Street Academy, for completing over 1,700 math problems since Oct. 15 and being the UMB CURE Mathlete MVP for the fall semester.

After a wonderful fall semester, the UMB CURE community is looking forward to the Science Olympiad projects that the scholars will begin in January. Stay tuned to hear about the accomplishments of the UMB CURE scholars during the Science Olympiad competition on March 4.

  
Emily Rencsok Community Service, Education, UMB NewsJanuary 17, 20170 comments
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Innovation Space

Success Stories From HS/HSL’s Innovation Space

The HS/HSL Innovation Space, which opened in April 2015, is one of the first pioneering makerspaces created at an academic health sciences library to support health sciences education and research. The goal of the Innovation Space is to promote and facilitate innovative and collaborative hands-on learning, teaching, and research activities centered around new maker technologies such as 3-D printing and 3-D scanning.

Almost a year and a half later, we are happy to report that all of these activities are now taking place. We see UMB graduate students and researchers creating custom lab equipment, such as 3-D scaffolds for bone tissue engineering and chronic restraint stress tubes and stoppers for mice. Teaching faculty have printed 3-D anatomical models, including a pelvis, skull, dentures, and stackable models from CT scan data, to improve students’ learning process.

Students are often seen designing and printing custom 3-D medical devices ranging from a prosthetic hand to a finger splint. Prototyping activities, such as designing a custom well plate or a 3-D model for the prosthetic nose, are happening at the HS/HSL Innovation Space. Clinicians have created a model of a wound, which they used not only to guide the surgery process but also to cover and protect the wound until the surgery was performed.

The HS/HSL Innovation Space also provides invaluable support and resources for coursework on campus. UMB students enrolled in the DPTE 528 course visited the Innovation Space and took a workshop about the applications of 3-D printing and 3-D scanning to physical therapy. Additionally, Imaging Informatics Fellows of the UMMC Department of Diagnostic Radiology and Nuclear Medicine used the Innovation Space to complete an assignment.

Since its opening, more than 120 reservations have been made for the use of the HS/HSL Innovation Space. More than 90 3-D models have been successfully printed, and over 200 faculty, students, and staff have taken the workshops on 3-D printing and 3-D modeling.

Through the Innovation Space, the HS/HSL also provides educational outreach events for youth, as shown in visits by the UMB CURE Scholars Program and the BCCC Refugee Youth Project this summer. We are excited to see the interest and excitement around the HS/HSL Innovation Space as it grows. If you would like to stay informed of the activities at the HS/HSL Innovation Space, please subscribe to our Innovation Space newsletter.

  
Everly Brown Clinical Care, Collaboration, Community Service, Education, People, Research, TechnologyOctober 3, 20160 comments
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President's Message September

September President’s Message

Check out the September issue of The President’s Message. It includes Dr. Perman discussing the first anniversary of the UMB CURE Scholars Program; seeing the framework for the 2017-2021 strategic plan; an introduction to the chief development officer; looking ahead to the launch of the Diversity Advisory Council Speaker Series, and more.

  
Chris Zang ABAE, Clinical Care, Collaboration, Contests, Education, People, Research, Technology, UMB News, University Life, USGASeptember 7, 20160 comments
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UMB CURE Scholars Program: Become a Mentor Today!

The UMB CURE Scholars Program officially concluded its pilot year on July 31, culminating with a six-week summer component. The rising seventh-grade scholars participated in activities that included trips to the B&O Railroad Museum, the Koshland Science Museum, the National Institutes of Health labs in Bethesda, Bon Secours Hospital, and Broad Creek Memorial Scout Reservation in Whiteford. They also enjoyed lessons taught by Michelle Giglio, PhD, associate professor at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, and researchers at the Maryland Proton Treatment Center. The scholars demonstrated proficiency this summer by creating thoughtful poster presentations, building dynamic robots and rockets, and giving oral presentations.

Major Outcomes

Major outcomes for year one in the UMB CURE Scholars Program include a 92.7 percent scholar retention rate, a 98.2 percent mentor retention rate, an average increase in school attendance, an average increase in performance and growth on standardized assessments, and overwhelming support from family and community members. In large part, the success of CURE is due to its mentors from all across the UMB campus who have supported students academically, socially, and emotionally.

The second cohort of CURE scholars will be admitted on Oct. 1 and the program is in need of mentors from the UMB community and elsewhere in the city. Mentors serve as a vital component to continue our work with underserved children. Learn more by attending an informational Lunch and Learn session on Sept. 13 at noon in the SMC Campus Center, Room 349, or Sept. 29 at 11:15 a.m. in the Saratoga Building, 14th floor boardroom. Register at www.umaryland.edu/cure-scholars/, where donations also can be made and mentor applications can be processed.

  
Lauren Kareem Community Service, EducationAugust 25, 20160 comments
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UMB CURE Scholars Program

The UMB CURE Scholars Program is a groundbreaking program that prepares sixth- to 12th-grade students in Baltimore for competitive, lucrative, and rewarding research and health care careers at UMB and other health institutions in the region.

Support from individuals and companies will enable the program to touch more lives and change the trajectory of children growing up in poverty and in vulnerable situations.

  
Riham Keryakos ABAE, Bulletin Board, Collaboration, Community Service, Education, For B'more, Global & Community Engagement, People, UMB NewsMay 2, 20160 comments
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President's Message

April President’s Message

The April issue of The President’s Message is available. It includes Dr. Perman’s column on UMB’s diversity personnel analysis, a look back at the mayor’s Women’s History Month speech and Dr. Perman’s quarterly Q&A, former Chancellor Brit Kirwan’s core values speech on knowledge, the CURE Corner, an update on the UMB police escort service, and the well-attended forum on the Strategic Partnership Act.

  
Chris ZangClinical Care, Community Service, Education, People, Research, Technology, UMB News, University LifeApril 12, 20160 comments
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UMB CURE Scholars Town Hall Meeting

Please join us as we introduce the UMB CURE Scholars unprecedented mentoring program to the Franklin Square Community.

Save the Date

This meeting will be an information session to answer questions about what the program offers to students, families, and the community, and how it can impact West Baltimore.

Tuesday, July 14 | 6 to 8:30 p.m. | Bon Secours Community Work
26 N. Fulton St. | Baltimore, MD 21223

  
Lise Tonle MafodongABAE, Bulletin Board, Collaboration, Education, For B'more, Global & Community Engagement, UMB News, University Life, USGAJuly 7, 20150 comments
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