Catalyst Magazine
Photo by Mark Teske
In a medical breakthrough, an unmanned aircraft lands on the Shock Trauma roof carrying a donor kidney.

Three-Mendous: UMB’s Schools Name 3 Recent Accomplishments

e asked UMB’s seven schools to describe three accomplishments they were most proud of from the recent past. At least one contributor equated the task with choosing which child is your favorite. So with apologies to the many worthy children, er, items that landed on the cutting-room floor, enjoy our “best of” list!


Robert K. Ernst, PhD, vice chair of the Department of Microbial Pathogenesis, was awarded a five-year, $6.4 million contract in December from the National Institutes of Health’s (NIH) National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) to develop and test new adjuvants for use in future vaccines. 

Nearly 200 UMSOD students provided free oral health treatment to more than 600 community members at the 2019 Baltimore Mission of Mercy last spring, organized by the school and United Way of Central Maryland. The students were joined by supervising faculty members as well as dozens of staff and volunteers.

ProfessorHuakun Xu, PhD, MS, received the International Association for Dental Research Distinguished Scientist Isaac Schour Memorial Award for his work in therapeutic dental materials and stem cell constructs for tissue regeneration.


A coal ash landfill in Prince George’s County will not be allowed to reopen, thanks to the Environmental Law Clinic. A student in the clinic successfully argued that the landfill was not entitled to a special exemption, earning praise from both the judge and opposing counsel. The decision protects nearby residents from the health and environmental impacts the landfill operations were having without reducing jobs.

In recognition of his distinguished career of promoting civil rights and social justice, professor Larry Gibson, LLB, earned UMB’s Diversity Recognition Award as Outstanding UMB Faculty. 

For the first time in 22 years, UMB will have a student on the University System of Maryland Board of Regents. The Carey School of Law’s own Drew Needham, JD ’21, will represent the 176,000 students in the system.


The Graduate School is one of the few institutions across the country to receive new AGEP PROMISE Academy grantfunding from the National Science Foundation for a specialized program to support faculty diversity in the biomedical sciences. 

International teams of UMB researchers and clinicians convened in Baltimore at the end of May to share their work and plan for the future at UMB’s inaugural Global Health Summit, hosted by the Graduate School and sponsored by UMB’s Center for Global Education Initiatives. Read more on page 30.

The school will soon be home to the UMB Academy of Lifelong Learning, a forum for continuing education that presents an opportunity to collaborate for the benefit of lifelong learners at any stage of their careers. In addition to presenting webcasts and online lectures and courses, the academy will showcase UMB’s world-leading interprofessional scholarship.


In a first-ever advance in human medicine and transplantation, an unmanned aircraft delivered a donor kidneyto surgeons for successful transplantation in a patient with kidney failure. Transplant physicians at the school and Medical Center joined aviation and engineering experts at the A. James Clark School of Engineering in College Park to complete this landmark 2.8-mile, 9.52-minute flight on April 19. Joseph Scalea, MD,assistant professor at the medical school, was the project leader.

School addictionexperts have forged new paths for treating opioid disorders with a telemedicine program administered by Eric Weintraub, MD, medical director of UMSOM’s Methadone Clinic, and Christopher Welsh, MD, medical director of the UMMC Substance Abuse Consultation Service.In Aprilthey teamed up with the Caroline County Health Department, Maryland Department of Health, and the Maryland Opioid Operational Command Centerto launch the Eastern Shore Mobile Care Collaborative.

Man E. Charurat, PhD, MHS, director of the Division of Epidemiology and Prevention at the Institute of Human Virology, was the principal investigator for one of the largest population-based HIV/AIDS household surveys ever conducted. Nigerian households were surveyed in conjunction with the Government of Nigeria, the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, and the Centers for Disease Prevention and Control. The survey showed a smaller HIV epidemic than expected.


Bill and Joanne Conway made a gift of $10 millionto the school through their Bedford Falls Foundation, the largest in UMSON’s history; the 2018 gift has already begun to provide what will be 476 full scholarships to students pursuing undergraduate and graduate degrees, aiding in addressing the state’s nursing workforce needs. 

Addressing a workforce need for more baccalaureate-prepared nurses, the school has signed agreements of dual admission with 13 of the 15 community colleges in Maryland that offer Associate Degree in Nursing programs as of February 2019. 

The school established the Maryland Nursing Workforce Center at UMB to aid in planning for future workforce needs and measure the success of programs. Funding for the center was awarded toRebecca Wiseman, PhD ’93, RN,chair of UMSON at the Universities at Shady Grove, through a grant funded by the Maryland Health Services Cost Review Commission. 


The school launched a Master of Science in Pharmaceutical Sciences to provide students with the advanced education and cutting-edge training needed to obtain high-level research and leadership positions. The 16-month, full-time program is based at the Universities at Shady Grove, and was developed with AstraZeneca, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Army Research Laboratories, and U.S. Pharmacopeia.

Researchers at the school have been awarded a three-year, $500,000 grant from the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America Foundation to establish a Center of Excellence for Patient-Driven Value Assessment. Led by professor Susan dosReis, PhD,the center will promote the inclusion of diverse patient voices in research.

Professor Bethany DiPaula, PharmD,received a grant from the Maryland Department of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to support a new project that explores the barriers and stigma surrounding the management of patients with opioid use disorder, and educate community pharmacists about naloxone and harm reduction strategies.

Photo by Alex Likowski
B’more for Healthy Babies is one of the successful programs in the School of Social Work’s Promise Heights initiative.


Jody Olsen, PhD, MSW ’72, a former visiting professor at the school, was confirmed by the U.S. Senate to be director of the Peace Corps in March 2018. Olsen, who taught at UMB from 2010 to 2018 and was head of its Center for Global Education Initiatives, was deputy and acting director of the Peace Corps from 2001 to 2009. She began her work at the agency in the late 1960s.

The U.S. Department of Education awarded Promise Heights, an initiative led by the school, a five-year, $30 million grant to continue its efforts to improve the lives of children and families in the West Baltimore neighborhood of Upton/Druid Heights. This is one of 24 Promise Neighborhood Implementation awards announced since 2011, the only one in Maryland, and the only one hosted by a school of social work.

The school has been awarded a supplemental grant from the Health Resources Services Administration to expand the Behavioral Health Workforce Integration Service and Education (BHWISE) Program to include training in federally qualified health centers (FQHC). FQHCs provide treatment for substance use disorders, including medication assisted treatment. C

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Chris Zang

Chris Zang is a freelance writer and editor who formerly was director of editorial services at the University of Maryland, Baltimore.

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