June 2020
News from the Institute of Marine and Environmental Technology
A Note From the Executive Director
We have faced many challenges since we last wrote to you in March. However, I am proud of the IMET community for approaching these challenges with open minds and open hearts. We thank the essential employees who have kept our fish healthy and our building in good shape. We have stayed connected with one another through events like our virtual seminar series and our virtual open house and have been flexible with our colleagues adapting to these changing conditions. We have also renewed our commitment to countering institutional racism and will support our partner institutions in all their efforts to diversify science and create more inclusive environments. 

Throughout this uncertain time, we have also seen many accomplishments. Among others shared below, the U.S. Department of Energy has awarded a $3M grant to IMET scientists led by Dr. Yantao Li for research focused on harnessing photosynthetic microalgae to remove carbon dioxide from power plant flue gases. This project will develop technology aimed at having a major impact in combating climate change. This success builds on over a decade of research on microalgae by IMET investigators.

This year has been declared the Year of the Woman in Maryland, marking 100 years since the 19th Amendment, which expanded voting rights to women. Below, we feature some of the accomplishments of our women scientists and students. We will also be launching a seminar series featuring women in the sciences. 

Russell Hill, Ph.D.
Raising Shrimp at IMET
Dr. Sook Chung has been one of our essential workers, helping the shrimp you see above grow rapidly throughout the last few months. This is part of a collaborative project, funded by Maryland Industrial Partnerships, with Dr. Suzan Shahrestani, who is an alum of UMCES' Chesapeake Biological Laboratory and IMET's REEF program. You can read more about her growth form PhD to CEO here and visit her company Minnowtech's website . You can also learn about Dr. Chung's work on the Blue Crab Genome Initiative and find similar educational videos of crabs here .
Two plates of algae
IMET Scientists Awarded $3M to Study Algal GHG Sequestration
The U.S. Department of Energy has awarded a $3M grant to IMET scientists Dr. Yantao Li (PI), Dr. Feng Chen, and Dr. Russell Hill. The research focuses on harnessing photosynthetic microalgae to sequester carbon dioxide from power plant flue gases. 
Summer Internship Provides Virtual Research Opportunities
Since 2001, Dr. Rose Jagus has led an internship program for undergraduate students from backgrounds that are underrepresented in the sciences. This summer looks very different from others, with students working from their homes, but there's still some great science happening. Follow their progress this summer on our blog!
REEF students stand on steps at IMET with instructor Nina Lamba
REEF Program Trains Scientists as Entrepreneurs
"REEF truly changed my life," said Lauren Jonas, who won the award for Most Viable Product in this year's final pitch. She and 5 other students presented excellent business ideas after a year of training in entrepreneurship skills. This program is led by Dr. Nina Lamba.
man wears face shield with plastic visor
REEF Alum Helps Keep Marylanders Safe
Manta Biofuel, led by Dr. Ryan Powell, IMET and REEF alum, typically conducts research and development for algal biofuels, but these days, a small team is churning out 6,500 face shields each week. As the enormity of this pandemic set in, he said, “We thought what can we do to help? What can we do to try to bring some money through the front door?”
Inspiring Everyone to Study Science
Dr. Jeanette Davis studied sea slugs in the Hill lab at IMET is now an Ocean Policy Advisor at NOAA and a published author of the book, "Science is Everywhere: Science is for Everyone." This is the first in a series that she hopes will encourage kids from all backgrounds to kindle a love of science.
The Threat of The Oyster Herpes Virus
Marine viruses threaten the oyster industry. UMBC-IMET Assistant Professor Colleen Burge and her student Tori Agnew were recently co-authors on a paper examining the effects of oyster herpes variants on multiple species of oysters. Watch this video abstract to learn what they found.
Colleen Burge in her lab with two other scientists
Women in Science Seminar Series
In this seminar series, we'll have speakers share their scientific work and address the challenges and rewards of pursuing a scientific career. Our first seminar in this series is on July 15 with Dr. Colleen Burge, IMET Assistant Professor, and her Ph.D. advisor, Dr. Carolyn Friedman, Professor at the University of Washington. You can find the details of this seminar and others at the link.
rendering of art piece, with images projected on windows of IMET building
CIRCA-IMET Artist-in-Residence Plans for Exhibit
For two years, through a partnership with UMBC's Center for Innovation, Research, and Creativity in the Arts, IMET has hosted an artist-in-residence. Lynn Cazabon, this year's resident, has been capturing the daily work of caring for fish and equipment in the Aquaculture Research Center at IMET.
Sabeena Nazar stands with Al Place and Ernest Williams in front of equipment in the BAS Lab
BAS Lab Pushes Research Forward
DNA is the building block of life and the Bioanalytical Services (BAS) Laboratory is a major building block of research at IMET. Sabeena Nazar has run this lab along with Dr. Allen Place for the past 16 years. She has helped countless scientists advance their research.
child's drawing of oysters, fish, and seagrass
Virtual Open House Engages Kids Near and Far
In May, we held a Virtual Open House with science activities for kids featuring some of the science that happens at IMET. We sent out prizes to 15 participants! As a service to our community, these activities will remain available on our website to provide resources for kids at home this summer!
screenshot of Zoom screen - UMCES Graduation
Congratulations, Drs. Ammar Hanif and Ryan McDonald!
Ammar Hanif completed his Ph.D. in the lab of Dr. Rose Jagus and intends to work as a molecular ecologist and promote environmental justice. Ryan McDonald completed his Ph.D. in the lab of Dr. Harold Schreier and is now a postdoc for the Blue Crab Genome Initiative at IMET.
Dive Deeper: Other News From IMET
  • Lynn Cazabon was featured on the Maryland STEM Festival Podcast. Listen here.
  • Eric Schott was also featured on the Maryland STEM Festival Podcast. Listen here.
Institute of Marine and Environmental Technology
701 E Pratt Street, Baltimore, MD 21202