News Article | May 18, 2017
COLLEGE PARK, MD--(Marketwired - May 18, 2017) - The City of College Park, the University of Maryland and Zagster, Inc., today announced the expansion of the popular mBike bike share program. In response to high ridership and strong demand, the system has expanded to now feature 163 bikes at 19 stations, including new stations in neighboring University Park. All told, the program -- which offers a convenient, affordable and healthy way for people to get on, off and around campus and the city -- has grown by 30% since its debut. Launched in May 2016, the mBike program was intended to provide easy access to biking and its many benefits; to fill gaps in the local transportation system; and to give people an easy way to get to and from the Metro, as well as around campus, all without increasing cars on the roads. The community response has been tremendous: The program crossed the 24,000 ride mark less than a year after launching. This is now the second expansion since the initial launch -- and further expansion is on the horizon to broaden mBike's scope, and to increase its positive impact for the community and its utility to riders. "We are very excited about the growth and success of the system," said University of Maryland Campus Bicycle Coordinator, Aaron Goldbeck. "We have had inquiries about mBike from transportation officials in Portland, Oregon, at the National Institute of Health, and an in person visit from officials from the New York City Department of Transportation -- all interested in how we integrate adaptive bikes to our bikeshare network." Representatives from the City of College Park, the University of Maryland, University Park and Zagster will unveil the expansion at a ceremony at University Park Town Hall on Friday, May 19th at 10 a.m. The event will include a ceremonial ribbon-cutting and an inaugural bike ride and will coincide with Maryland's Bike to Work Day. Notable participants will include University Park Mayor Len Carey, College Park Mayor Pro Tem Monroe Dennis and University of Maryland Bicycle Coordinator Aaron Goldbeck. "Becoming a part of the mBike bike share program and having two stations in town means our residents will have additional access to local transit options and businesses around us, helping to make a positive impact on the environment by putting fewer cars on the road," said University Park Town Treasurer Dan Baden. "Bike share will be a great asset to our community." The mBike program is operated by Zagster, the nationwide leader in campus bike sharing. Unlike other programs in which riders must drop off bikes at designated stations for every stop, one of the most popular and distinguishing features about Zagster programs is that the built-in lock on every bike gives users the freedom to ride as long as they want, wherever they want. This hybrid model, which blends dockless locking for mid-trip stops with fixed station locations for beginning and ending rides, allows users to plan their trips around their destinations -- and not around station locations. Riding mBike is easy. Bikes can be found via the free Zagster Mobile App -- available for iPhone and Android -- or online at zagster.com/mbike. "The significant expansion of bikes and locations is a reflection of the strong utilization of the existing program and of the demand for an even larger one," said Timothy Ericson, Zagster's CEO. "We've really just scratched the surface of this program's potential to benefit the community and riders." About College Park Situated just minutes from the nation's capital, the City of College Park is home to the University of Maryland and a wide variety of shops, restaurants, attractions and recreational opportunities. The City is comprised of over 30,000 residents that reside in diverse settings from quaint neighborhoods to luxury student housing complexes. With abundant transit options, beautiful parks and historic homes, College Park is certainly "A Smart Place to Live." About the University of Maryland The University of Maryland is the flagship campus of the state's higher educational system and a top-ranked public research institution. We are a diverse community of 38,000 students, 9,000 faculty and staff, and 352,000 alumni, all dedicated to the pursuit of Fearless Ideas. Located just outside Washington, D.C., we discover and share new knowledge every day through our renowned research enterprise and programs in academics, the arts and athletics. We are committed to social entrepreneurship as the nation's first "Do Good" campus. About University Park University Park is a beautiful, tree-lined community of 915 single family homes and 2300 residents in northern Prince George's County, adjacent to the University of Maryland. Having its own municipal government, University Park provides a traditional "small town" atmosphere with urban convenience and amenities. The Town values community involvement, fiscal sustainability, and environmental stewardship. About Zagster Founded in 2007 and headquartered in Cambridge, Mass., Zagster is the largest and fastest-growing bike share provider in the United States. Zagster works directly with over 130 communities across North America to make scalable bike-sharing programs available in areas where traditional bike share providers can't reach. The company's goal: To make the bike the most loved form of transportation. More information about Zagster and its programs can be found at www.zagster.com.
News Article | June 5, 2017
UMD study shows people receiving HUD subsidized housing assistance were more likely to have medical insurance and less likely to have unmet medical need than those on HUD waitlist College Park, Md. - A new study examining the impact that access to affordable housing has on health showed that people receiving subsidized housing assistance were more likely to have medical insurance and less likely to have unmet medical need than other low income people who were on a US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) wait list for the housing assistance benefit. Approximately 31 percent of the recipients of housing assistance were uninsured, as compared to about 37 percent of the future recipients. Led by University of Maryland School of Public Health researcher Dr. Andrew Fenelon, the study analyzed data on adults ages 18-64 from the National Health Interview Survey that were linked to HUD data for the eight years from 2004-2012. The findings are published in Health Affairs, June 2017. "We found that the benefits of giving people subsidized housing go beyond simply having access to affordable housing. Housing is good in and of itself, but even better is that with improved access to housing, you get improvements in access to health care, and ultimately better health outcomes," said Dr. Fenelon, who is an assistant professor in the UMD SPH Department of Health Services Administration. He conducted the study in collaboration with researchers from HUD, the US Department of Health and Human Services, and the National Center for Health Statistics. Housing assistance programs funded by HUD provide low-income people with access to safe and affordable housing. People receiving public housing subsidies are often in poor health, with increased need for mental health and chronic disease care. Access to health care has been shown to improve health, and housing instability is correlated with poor access to health care. Still, there are few studies that have explored whether housing assistance programs may lead to improvements in health. The results of this study are particularly relevant given the Trump administration's proposed $6 billion cut to the Department of Housing and Urban Development budget for 2018. The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, a nonpartisan research organization, estimates that the Trump proposal would result in the elimination of 250,000 rental vouchers. The center also warns that proposals in the budget would "significantly raise assisted tenants' rents and cut voucher subsidies in various ways." Even with current funding levels, qualified individuals may wait many years to receive assistance in the form of housing choice vouchers, which may be used towards any housing arrangement. "There are many reasons why having access to housing may enable people to obtain health insurance and access needed care," said Dr. Fenelon. "With the increased stability that comes from having a home and reduced financial burdens, and being introduced into the social service system and the access to other support services it provides, people receiving housing assistance are getting improved access to primary care health services. This is a clear demonstration that housing is one of the so-called 'social determinants' of health. The value of this program should be carefully considered in light of the far-reaching benefits it may have beyond its face value."
News Article | June 5, 2017
COLLEGE PARK, Md. - Scientists at the University of Maryland and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) have identified for the first time a signaling system by which organs within an animal can communicate their need for heme, an iron-containing ring required for oxygen transport and many other essential biological processes. It is the latest of several major findings by University of Maryland Professor of Animal and Avian Sciences Iqbal Hamza and his group that fill in key pieces in the puzzle of how animals prioritize and allocate their need for heme and safely move it within the body. By enclosing otherwise toxic iron in a protective molecular cage, heme makes it possible for organisms to use iron's life-enabling ability to bind to oxygen and other gases. Heme is best known as a key component of hemoglobin, the protein in oxygen-carrying red blood cells. However, heme in the form of other hemoproteins, also is involved in other crucial biological processes such as energy transfer within cells, muscle formation, and immune system and circadian (internal) clock functions. Thus maintenance of homeostatic heme levels is extremely important in humans and other animals. In a new paper published in Nature Cell Biology, Hamza, and UMD and NIH coauthors, show how organs in the roundworm (C. elegans) communicate their heme status using a previously unknown system that has two components. The team identified the first component as HRG-7, an enzyme secreted from the worm intestine that communicates the heme levels in the intestine to the other tissues. They found that the HRG-7 heme signaling is reciprocally regulated by a second component found in the nervous system, a signaling substance called BMP-5, that "handshakes" with the HRG-7 protein to allow two-way transmission of information about heme levels between the intestine and the other tissues. "A long-held paradigm has been that cells within an animal live and die with their heme load and don't transport heme between cells and organs," said Hamza, a professor in UMD's College of Agriculture and Natural Resources. According to this paradigm, tissues meet their heme requirements exclusively by making it within individual cells. "These cells use iron -- taken in from the environment or derived from breakdown of hemoglobin or other hemoproteins -- to build new heme molecules from scratch through a complex eight step synthesis process." However, Hamza and his team say their new findings of inter-tissue communication of heme levels in the simple roundworm - taken together with recent findings from other researchers demonstrating that heme itself can act as a signaling molecule to determine the fate of certain cell types - suggest that animals maintain optimal tissue levels of heme by tissue cross-talk and by re-appropriating heme between them. In effect, organs maintain heme homeostasis using both in-cell synthesis and the transport of environmental heme from neighboring cells and tissues. The researchers note in their paper that for each of the components of this newly uncovered HRG-7-mediated signaling pathway there is evidence that homologous components exist in humans and other vertebrates. "It is conceivable that an analogous... signaling pathway may exist in humans to regulate iron and heme metabolism," they say. This latest finding builds on a number of previous studies led by Hamza. This includes research that found roundworms use HRG-1 proteins for the process of transporting into their intestines heme obtained from bacteria ingested by the worms from the soil where they live. And a 2013 paper showed that this same HRG1 transporter protein permits humans to recycle over 5 million red blood cells per second in the spleen and liver. In a 2011 paper in Cell, Hamza and colleagues revealed that roundworms have an HRG-3 protein used as an intercellular heme chaperone in transporting heme from the mother to her embryos. Hamza first started trying to uncover the secrets of heme transport in 2003. After briefly and unsuccessfully studying the question of heme-carrying proteins in traditional yeast and mice models, Hamza switched to C. elegans, an animal that doesn't make heme, but needs it to survive, that doesn't even have blood, but shares a number of genes essential for blood formation in humans. According to Hamza and his colleagues, these "bloodless worms" have multiple benefits for studying heme communication and transport. These include the ability to control heme ingestion, to manipulate both intracellular heme levels and gene expression of transporter and signaling proteins. And, because the skin of C. elegans is transparent, use of fluorescent tracers and microscopes allows researchers to monitor heme levels, heme transport and heme signaling throughout an entire live animal. Inter-organ signaling by HRG-7 promotes systemic heme homeostasis, Nature Cell Biology, (date, volume, etc.): Jason Sinclair, Katherine Pinter, Tamika Samuel, Simon Beardsley, Xiaojing Yuan, Jianbing Zhang, Kevin Meng, Sijung Yun* , Michael Krause* and Iqbal Hamza. This work was supported by funding from the National Institutes of Health grant R01DK074797 and by the Intramural Program of the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. The C. elegans genome-wide RNAi screen was funded by the Roche Foundation for Anemia Research.
News Article | June 13, 2017
COLLEGE PARK, MD. (June 13, 2017) -- Researchers in the University of Maryland (UMD) Fischell Department of Bioengineering (BIOE) Jewell Laboratory are using quantum dots - tiny semiconductor particles commonly used in nanotechnology - to decipher the features needed to design specific and effective therapies for multiple sclerosis (MS) and other autoimmune diseases. Their findings were published this week as the cover story of Advanced Functional Materials. "Engineering technologies aimed at autoimmune disease could pave the way for new treatment options," said principal investigator and BIOE assistant professor Christopher Jewell. "However, in order to develop next-generation therapies, bioengineers need basic insight into the specific features that are critical to therapy design. Generally, because the human body is so complex, discoveries in medicine have relied on trial-and-error. But, by using rational design approaches - understanding what each piece of a potential therapeutic controls - we have the potential to transform how disease is tackled. Toward this goal, our team used quantum dots to dissect some of the important design features for new nanotherapeutics aimed at MS." In MS, the immune system incorrectly recognizes components of the central nervous system, causing inflammation and destruction of myelin, the fatty substance that surrounds and protects nerve fibers. When this happens, nerve fibers and cells are damaged, leading to loss of motor function and other complications. The National Multiple Sclerosis Society estimates that MS affects more than 2.3 million people worldwide. "Symptoms can vary greatly from patient to patient, but can produce extreme fatigue, muscle weakness, and spasticity, and significant pain, "said Krystina Hess, BIOE graduate student and lead author of the Advanced Functional Materials paper. "There is currently no cure for MS, and traditional therapies broadly decrease the activity of the immune system at a cost that leaves MS patients vulnerable to infection." One promising strategy to overcome these hurdles is generation of what are known as regulatory T cells (TREGS), the type of white blood cells responsible for turning off immune responses in the body. These cells are capable of restraining the inflammatory response against myelin that occurs in MS, while keeping healthy functions of the immune system intact. In the human body, the immune system uses antigens - molecules that are present on all cells and vary according to the type of cell - to distinguish self-cells from foreign cells. Because the immune system recognizes specific types of antigens as those displayed by human cells, it can quickly activate an immune response once it detects foreign substance, such as bacteria, toxins, or a virus. Recent studies focused on specific MS treatments have revealed that the development of inflammation or tolerance against self-molecules is influenced by the concentration and form of antigens reaching the tissues that coordinate immune function - namely, lymph nodes and the spleen. Even more, new studies reveal that changing the way myelin is processed and presented to the immune system can drive tolerance instead of inflammation. Knowing this, Jewell teamed up with Dr. Igor Medintz and his colleagues at the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory to develop a precision system that uses quantum dots to control how many self-antigens are displayed on each dot. One reason Jewell and his team looked to quantum dots is because they are uniform and very small, allowing efficient draining through lymphatic vessels and accumulation in the lymph nodes. Quantum dots are also fluorescent, which allows real-time tracking in cells and animals. The team hypothesized that, by using quantum dots displaying defined densities of myelin peptides, they could reveal how the number or density of peptides alters the processing and trafficking of the peptide and, in turn, promotes TREGS that control the disease. "One of our exciting findings is that tolerance and elimination of paralysis in a pre-clinical mouse model was much better when myelin peptides were displayed on many quantum dots at a low density of 25 per dot, instead of fewer quantum dots displaying the same number of peptides but at a high density of 65 per dot," Jewell said. "Developing specific knowledge or design guidelines such as these might enable more selective - and effective - therapies to treat MS and other diseases." Additional authors on the work are Lisa Tostanoski, James Andorko from the Jewell Lab, and Eunkeu Oh, Kimihiro Susumu, and Jeffrey Deschamps of the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory. This research is funded in part by the Naval Research Laboratory's Nanoscience Institute, National Multiple Sclerosis Society, the National Science Foundation, and the U.S. Department of Defense SMART Graduate Fellowship Program. Full text of the Advanced Functional Materials paper, "Engineering Immunological Tolerance Using Quantum Dots to Tune the Density of Self-Antigen Display," is available online. The University of Maryland, the state's flagship institution of higher education, is one of the nation's preeminent public universities. A global leader in research, entrepreneurship and innovation, UMD is home to nearly 38,000 students, 10,000 faculty and staff, and 250 academic programs, and counts more than 344,000 alumni. Its faculty includes three Nobel laureates, three Pulitzer Prize winners, 51 members of the national academies and scores of Fulbright scholars. The institution has a $1.86 billion operating budget and secures $500 million annually in external research funding. For more information about the University of Maryland, visit http://www. .
Ding N.,College Park |
Simon J.Z.,College Park |
Simon J.Z.,University of Maryland University College
Journal of Neurophysiology | Year: 2012
The cortical representation of the acoustic features of continuous speech is the foundation of speech perception. In this study, noninvasive mag-netoencephalography (MEG) recordings are obtained from human subjects actively listening to spoken narratives, in both simple and cocktail party-like auditory scenes. By modeling how acoustic features of speech are encoded in ongoing MEG activity as a spectro-temporal response function, we demonstrate that the slow temporal modulations of speech in a broad spectral region are represented bilaterally in auditory cortex by a phase-locked temporal code. For speech presented monaurally to either ear, this phase-locked response is always more faithful in the right hemisphere, but with a shorter latency in the hemisphere contralateral to the stimulated ear. When different spoken narratives are presented to each ear simultaneously (dichotic listening), the resulting cortical neural activity precisely encodes the acoustic features of both of the spoken narratives, but slightly weakened and delayed compared with the monaural response. Critically, the early sensory response to the attended speech is considerably stronger than that to the unattended speech, demonstrating top-down attentional gain control. This attentional gain is substantial even during the subjects' very first exposure to the speech mixture and therefore largely independent of knowledge of the speech content. Together, these findings characterize how the spectrotemporal features of speech are encoded in human auditory cortex and establish a single-trial-based paradigm to study the neural basis underlying the cocktail party phenomenon. © 2012 the American Physiological Society.
Feng P.C.H.,College Park |
Reddy S.,U.S. Department of Agriculture
Applied and Environmental Microbiology | Year: 2013
Shiga-toxigenic Escherichia coli (STEC) strains were isolated from a variety of fresh produce, but mostly from spinach, with an estimated prevalence rate of 0.5%. A panel of 132 produce STEC strains were characterized for the presence of virulence and putative virulence factor genes and for Shiga toxin subtypes. About 9% of the isolates were found to have the eae gene, which encodes the intimin binding protein, and most of these belonged to known pathogenic STEC serotypes, such as O157:H7 and O26: H11, or to serotypes that reportedly have caused human illness. Among the eae-negative strains, there were three O113:H21 strains and one O91:H21 strain, which historically have been implicated in illness and therefore may be of concern as well. The ehxA gene, which encodes enterohemolysin, was found in ~60% of the isolates, and the saa and subAB genes, which encode STEC agglutinating adhesin and subtilase cytotoxin, respectively, were found in ~30% of the isolates. However, the precise roles of these three putative virulence factors in STEC pathogenesis have not yet been fully established. The stx1a and stx2a subtypes were present in 22% and 56%, respectively, of the strains overall and were the most common subtypes among produce STEC strains. The stx2d subtype was the second most common subtype (28% overall), followed by stx2c (7.5%), and only 2 to 3%of the produce STEC strains had the stx2e and stx2g subtypes. Almost half of the produce STEC strains had only partial serotypes or were untyped, and most of those that were identified belonged to unremarkable serotypes. Considering the uncertainties of some of these Stx subtypes and putative virulence factors in causing human illness, it is difficult to determine the health risk of many of these produce STEC strains. © 2013, American Society for Microbiology.
Soykal O.,College Park |
Ruskov R.,College Park |
Tahan C.,College Park
Physical Review Letters | Year: 2011
A quantum mechanical superposition of a long-lived, localized phonon and a matter excitation is described. We identify a realization in strained silicon: a low-lying donor transition (P or Li) driven solely by acoustic phonons at wavelengths where high-Q phonon cavities can be built. This phonon-matter resonance is shown to enter the strongly coupled regime where the "vacuum" Rabi frequency exceeds the spontaneous phonon emission into noncavity modes, phonon leakage from the cavity, and phonon anharmonicity and scattering. We introduce a micropillar distributed Bragg reflector Si/Ge cavity, where Q 105-106 and mode volumes V 25λ3 are reachable. These results indicate that single or many-body devices based on these systems are experimentally realizable. © 2011 American Physical Society.
Gaitan F.,College Park |
Clark L.,Southern Illinois University Carbondale
Physical Review Letters | Year: 2012
The graph-theoretic Ramsey numbers are notoriously difficult to calculate. In fact, for the two-color Ramsey numbers R(m,n) with m, n≥3, only nine are currently known. We present a quantum algorithm for the computation of the Ramsey numbers R(m,n). We show how the computation of R(m,n) can be mapped to a combinatorial optimization problem whose solution can be found using adiabatic quantum evolution. We numerically simulate this adiabatic quantum algorithm and show that it correctly determines the Ramsey numbers R(3,3) and R(2,s) for 5≤s≤7. We then discuss the algorithm's experimental implementation, and close by showing that Ramsey number computation belongs to the quantum complexity class quantum Merlin Arthur. © 2012 American Physical Society.
Lands B.,College Park
Progress in Lipid Research | Year: 2014
Current public advice from the Food and Nutrition Board (FNB) about essential fatty acids (EFA) has limited quantitative details about three processes: (1) similar dynamics for n-3 linolenic and n-6 linoleic polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) in maintaining 20- and 22-carbon n-3 and n-6 highly unsaturated fatty acids (HUFA) in tissues; (2) different dynamics for tissue n-3 and n-6 HUFA during formation and action of hormone-like eicosanoids; (3) simultaneous formation of non-esterified fatty acids (NEFA) and low density lipoprotein (LDL) from very low density lipoprotein (VLDL) formed from excess food energy and secreted by the liver. This report reviews evidence that public health may benefit from advice to eat less n-6 nutrients, more n-3 nutrients and fewer calories per meal. Explicit data for linoleic acid fit an Estimated Average Requirement (EAR) near 0.1 percent of daily food energy (en%) meeting needs of half the individuals in a group, a Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) near 0.5 en% meeting needs of 97-98 percent of individuals, and a Tolerable Upper Intake Level (UL) near 2 en% having no likely risk of adverse health effects. Quantitative tools help design and monitor explicit interventions that could beneficially replace imprecise advice on "healthy foods" with explicit preventive nutrition. © 2014 Elsevier Ltd. Published by Elsevier Ltd.
Lands B.,College Park
Nutrients | Year: 2012
Essential fatty acids (EFA) are nutrients that form an amazingly large array of bioactive mediators that act on a large family of selective receptors. Nearly every cell and tissue in the human body expresses at least one of these receptors, allowing EFA-based signaling to influence nearly every aspect of human physiology. In this way, the health consequences of specific gene-environment interactions with these nutrients are more extensive than often recognized. The metabolic transformations have similar competitive dynamics for the n-3 and n-6 homologs when converting dietary EFA from the external environment of foods into the highly unsaturated fatty acid (HUFA) esters that accumulate in the internal environment of cells and tissues. In contrast, the formation and action of bioactive mediators during tissue responses to stimuli tend to selectively create more intense consequences for n-6 than n-3 homologs. Both n-3 and n-6 nutrients have beneficial actions, but many common health disorders are undesired consequences of excessive actions of tissue n-6 HUFA which are preventable. This review considers the possibility of preventing imbalances in dietary n-3 and n-6 nutrients with informed voluntary food choices. That action may prevent the unintended consequences that come from eating imbalanced diets which support excessive chronic actions of n-6 mediators that harm human health. The consequences from preventing n-3 and n-6 nutrient imbalances on a nationwide scale may be very large, and they need careful evaluation and implementation to avoid further harmful consequences for the national economy. © 2012 by the authors; licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.