Los Alamos National Security LLC and University of Maine, France | Date: 2016-09-05
The invention relates to transgenic plants exhibiting dramatically enhanced growth rates, greater seed and fruit/pod yields, earlier and more productive flowering, more efficient nitrogen utilization, increased tolerance to high salt conditions, and increased biomass yields. In one embodiment, transgenic plants engineered to over-express both glutamine phenylpyruvate transaminase (GPT) and glutamine synthetase (GS) are provided. The GPT+GS double-transgenic plants of the invention consistently exhibit enhanced growth characteristics, with T0 generation lines showing an increase in biomass over wild type counterparts of between 50% and 300%. Generations that result from sexual crosses and/or selfing typically perform even better, with some of the double-transgenic plants achieving an astounding four-fold biomass increase over wild type plants.
University of Maine, France | Date: 2016-09-08
Strong, light-weight composite laminates are made by impregnating layers of paper with a cellulose nanofiber (CNF) slurry, laying the coated papers up in a plurality of layers or stack, and subjecting the stack to pressure and heat for a period of time sufficient to cause the CNF to impregnate, reinforce, and bond the paper layers into a composite. The resulting composite has impressive mechanical strength and exhibits a substantially homogeneous composition throughout its depth. The composite should have good strength to weight properties, and be recyclable or compostable.
University of Maine, France | Date: 2016-07-14
A hybrid composite panel suitable for forming a container includes a wood layer and a fiber-reinforced polymer composite layer having a sensor system embedded therein. The wood layer is laminated plywood that includes at least one of hard and soft wood, solid-sawn tongue-and-groove hardwood planks, and partially laminated solid-sawn hardwood.
University of Maine, France | Date: 2016-12-14
An adjustable lighting apparatus for illuminating a specimen while facilitating access to the specimen includes an elongated post defining a first axis, a hub movably attached to the post, and a pair of pivotable curved plate jaws, each jaw connected to the hub and configured for independent movement relative to the hub. The hub is configured for movement parallel to the first axis of the post. Each jaw of the pair of pivotable curved plate jaws has a concave interior surface and has one or more light sources positioned within or against the interior surface between a proximate jaw end and a distal jaw end for illuminating a specimen located within the expandable boundary.
University of Maine, France | Date: 2016-11-08
A wind turbine platform configured to float in a body of water and support a wind turbine thereon includes a buoyant hull platform. A wind turbine tower is centrally mounted on the hull platform and a wind turbine is mounted to the wind turbine tower. An anchor is connected to the hull platform and to the seabed, and a weight-adjustable mass is suspended from the hull platform.
Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: CSA | Phase: MSCA-NIGHT-2016 | Award Amount: 1.11M | Year: 2016
We are proposing ERNs for 2016 and 2017 in 12 French cities. Our consortium of 11 partners will organise afternoons for schoolchildren, events in the cities and, above all, evenings where 1000 researchers will meet up to 30,000 people a year. The general public will be able to meet a number of researchers directly and experience something memorable with them. Since 2006, we have acquired a solid knowhow in the art of interaction. In 2014-2015, we went one step further by including the public in the actual research experiments, thereby creating scientist-citizen cooperation. We will renew these experiences and go even further: we are encouraging the public and researchers to experience creative moments together! Several creative interactions will be set up, around the Ideas theme in 2016 and the Impossible? theme in 2017, to allow researchers and the public to interact. The evenings will be full of ideas, challenges, and encounters with diverse individuals. In this way, we will rally European researchers to get involved in each city. Specific strategies will be used (such as public radio recordings) to allow them to share their European experience. These moments of cooperation will without a doubt reinforce the mutual appreciation between researchers and citizens. Our communication strategy (attracting specific audiences through networking, web, partnerships with youth-oriented press, etc.) will be based on the slogan: General Creativity. This slogan denotes the interactive nature of the evening and gives us a chance to talk about the richness of European research. To this effect, and for the first time, Cdric Villani, an inspiring and renowned researcher, has accepted to be the ERNs patron. Lastly, we plan to renew the Great Participatory Experiment in 2017. In each city (and perhaps even Italy), the public will contribute to the same playful scientific experiment chosen in 2016 after a challenge involving all our research institutions.
Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: MSCA-RISE | Phase: MSCA-RISE-2016 | Award Amount: 1.60M | Year: 2017
The GHaNA project aims to explore and characterize a new marine bioresource, for blue biotechnology applications in aquaculture, cosmetics and possibly food and health industry. The project will determine the biological and chemical diversity of Haslea diatoms to develop mass-scale production for viable industrial applications by maximising biomass production and associated high-value compound production, including terpenoids, marennine-like pigments, lipids and silica skeletons. The genus Haslea species type H. ostrearia, produces marennine, a water-soluble blue pigment used for greening oysters in Western France, which is also a bioactive molecule. Haslea diatoms have thus a high potential for use in (1) existing oyster farming, (2) production of pigments and bioactive compounds with natural antibacterial properties, (3) application as a colouring agent within industry, and (4) use of silica skeletons as inorganic biocharges in the formulation of new elastomeric materials. This will be achieved through fundamental and applied-oriented research to isolate fast- growing strains of Haslea, optimising their growth environment to increase marennine and other high-value compound productivity; to develop blue biotechnology specifically applied to benthic microalgae (biorefinery approach, processes); and to develop industrial exploitation of colouring and bioactive compounds through commercial activities of aquaculture, food, cosmetics and health.
Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: NSF INCLUDES | Award Amount: 299.45K | Year: 2017
Lack of diversity in science and engineering education has contributed to significant inequality in a workforce that is responsible for addressing todays grand challenges. Broadening participation in these fields will promote the progress of science and advance national health, prosperity and welfare, as well as secure the national defense; however, students from underrepresented groups, including women, report different experiences than the majority of students, even within the same fields. These distinctions are not caused by the students ability, but rather by insufficient aspiration, confidence, mentorship, instructional methods, and connection and relevance to their cultural identity. The long-term vision of this project is to amplify the impact of a successful broadening participation model at the University of Maine, the Stormwater Research Management Team (SMART). This program trains students and mentors in using science and engineering skills and technology to research water quality in their local watershed. Students engage in numerous science and technology fields: engineering design, data acquisition, analysis and visualization, chemistry, environmental science, biology, and information technology. Students also connect with a diversity of professionals in water and engineering in government, private firms and non-profits. SMART has augmented the traditional science and engineering classroom by engaging students in guided mentored apprenticeships that address community problems.
This pilot project will form a collaborative and define a strategic plan for scale-up to a national alliance to increase the long-term success rate of underrepresented minority students in science, engineering, and related fields. The collaborative of multiple and varied organizations will align to collectively contribute time and resources to a pre-college educational pathway. There are countless isolated programs that offer short-term interventions for underrepresented and minority students; however, there is lack of organizational coordination for aligning current program offerings, sharing best practices, research results or program outcomes along the education to workforce pathway. The collaborative activities will focus on the transition grades (e.g., 4-5, 8, and high school) and emphasize relationships among skills, confidence, culture and future careers. Collaborative partners will establish a centralized infrastructure in each location to coordinate recruiting of invested community leaders, educators, and parents, around a common agenda by designing, deploying and continually assessing a stormwater-themed project that addresses their location and demographic specific needs. This collaborative community will consist of higher education faculty and students, K-12 students, their caregivers, mentors, educators, stormwater districts, state and national environmental protection agencies, departments of education, and other for-profit and non-profit organizations. The collaborative will address the need for research on mechanisms for change, collaboration, and negotiation regarding the greater participation of under-represented groups in the science and technology workforce.
Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: ITEST | Award Amount: 2.00M | Year: 2016
This project will advance efforts of the Innovative Technology Experiences for Students and Teachers (ITEST) program to better understand and promote practices that increase students motivations and capacities to pursue careers in fields of science, technology, engineering, or mathematics (STEM) by developing and studying an educational intervention for rural youth to engage with computer science and math concepts through a popular videogame. This project uses the software environment Minecraft, which has already attracted over 100 million users, as a platform for teaching middle schoolers about math and computing concepts. Curriculum and assessment badges will be developed to motivate and teach youth. Research will study how implementing the curriculum in in-school settings, and in afterschool settings through 4-H, influences youngsters knowledge of math and programming, their attitudes and inclination to STEM careers, and their standardized test scores.
This project proposes to use LearnToMod for Minecraft to engage rural middle school learners (5th to 8th grades) in programming, spatial reasoning, and problem-solving skills. LearnToMod will be piloted with approximately 80 4-H Extension participants and 80 in-school participants, and then a larger implementation will be launched to involve a total of approximately 1000 students in urban and rural areas through five more iterations of curricular refinement. Outcomes will be examined using case studies, participation logs, teacher and student surveys, the badges and embedded assessments developed by the project, and standardized test data from the Maine Department of Educations State Longitudinal Data System. The project will use multi-level mixture modeling to identify specific school characteristics that are associated with different usage and engagement patterns by both students and teachers. Similar analyses will use school-level variables and characteristics, such as poverty, access to resources, existing STEM programs/activities, etc., as predictors of implementation and change in reported teacher attitudes and behavior, such as incorporation of computer science into STEM areas. These analyses will focus on the cross-level interaction/moderator relationships between behaviors of participating students and teachers and school-level characteristics or demographics (e.g., what types of computer programming activities or skills are associated with the greatest change specifically in low-versus-high income schools?).The partnership consists of education and computer science researchers at the University of Maine, the nonprofit ThoughtSTEM, UMaine Cooperative Extension (4-H), the Network Maine state cyberinfrastructure project and the Maine Department of Educations Learning Technology Initiative (MLTI), plus K-12 partners. K-12 partners include the Western Foothills Regional School Unit, Eastern Maine AOS, Bangor School Department, Southern Maine SAD Cumberland and North Yarmouth, and the Maine Virtual Academy. Formal evaluation will be conducted by TERC, an independent research organization.
Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: ROBERT NOYCE SCHOLARSHIP PGM | Award Amount: 1.95M | Year: 2016
This Noyce Teaching Fellows project will provide teacher certification for 22 recent STEM degree recipients and STEM professionals. The project will implement and test a model for recruitment, preparation, and support for new mathematics and science teachers in high-needs, rural districts and create a strong community of new and experienced teachers. In their first two years, fellows will receive individual mentoring and classroom coaching along with community-based professional development opportunities. In the last two years of the fellowship, they will begin to develop leadership skills by working with teachers in their schools and assisting in pre-service teacher preparation. A unique feature of the project is the opportunity that fellows will have to observe university faculty and then advise them on teaching strategies through the NSF-supported University Course Observation Program. This partnership between the University of Maine and school districts across that state, was established through a Noyce capacity Building award.
This project will address the mathematics and science teacher crisis faced by remote, high-needs schools in the state of Maine by training and developing new teachers through a rigorous course of study and extending some of the project activities to include mentors and content area coaches, chosen among teacher-leaders who have been recognized for their expertise. Throughout the project mentor teachers from high-needs schools will collaborate with, advise, and support the fellows. The coaches will partner with the fellows to develop strategies for teaching in the discipline and deliver professional development workshops to propagate exemplary instructional practices across the state. By the end of the induction period, the teaching fellows will have the training and experience to take on the roles of mentors and coaches themselves. Formative and summative evaluation will focus on interviews that will examine the fellows perceptions and experiences related to their engagement with teacher-leaders and their development as such. Findings from this work will be presented broadly at conferences of the American Association of Colleges of Teacher Education, American Educational Research Association, and the National Association of Rural Education. Manuscripts will be prepared for the Journal of Chemical Education, the Journal of Science Education and Technology, CBE-Life Science Education and other STEM education publications.