July 1, 2021 Newsletter

UMaine School of Nursing receives $1.7M grant to help diversify Maine workforce

June 9, 2021 

Increasing the diversity of Maine’s workforce in nursing is the focus of a more than $1.7 million grant from the federal Health Resources and Services Administration to the University of Maine School of Nursing, in partnership with Northern Light Health and Morgan State University.

The four-year award by HRSA, an agency of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, will address the need to increase nursing education opportunities for individuals from financially disadvantaged and underrepresented ethnic and racial minorities in Maine and, ultimately, help address the state’s shortage of nurses.

A priority of the initiative, Promoting Diversity in Nursing Education, is to capitalize on the social, cultural, and ethnic resources for in-state student diversity, says Kelley Strout, director of the School of Nursing and principal investigator on the initiative that will include first-generation college students.


Upcoming events

Center for Undergraduate Research talk
Ever wonder what CUGR does at UMaine/UMM?
CUGR invites you to learn more about their programs.
Wednesday, July 14th @ 10:00 am online
Register here 

Stem Cells and Aging Workshop
This workshop will present new research on Aging and Stem cells and build bridges between these two disciplines. 
July 23 @ MDIBL online

Participants Needed for a Research Study on Biomechanics of Walking, University of Maine Biorobotics and Biomechanics Lab

Expanding COVID-19 Vaccine Access for People with Disabilities and Support Staff

June 24, 2021  CCIDS News

The University of Maine Center for Community Inclusion and Disability Studies (CCIDS), Maine’s University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities (UCEDD), has been awarded funding from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to help increase COVID-19 vaccinations among people with disabilities and the people who support them.

Funding for the 18-month project, Expanding Disability Network’s (UCEDDs) Access to COVID-19 Vaccines, made possible through a partnership between the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Administration for Community Living (ACL). These grants to the disability networks in every U.S. state and territory will help provide critical services to overcome barriers that are preventing millions of those most at risk for serious illness and death from COVID-19 from receiving vaccines.

Dr. Alan B. Cobo-Lewis, CCIDS (ME UCEDD) director and associate professor of psychology, is the principal investigator for the project.


UMaine researchers secure $1.48M to train future behavioral health workers for rural area

June 16, 2021

University of Maine researchers will train future behavioral health workers specialized in serving rural areas in the state with a new program funded by a four-year, $1.48 million grant by the federal Health Resources and Services Administration.

The Rural Integrated Behavioral Health in Primary Care (RIBHPC) training program seeks to address the shortage of workers in mental health, addiction treatment, social work and other behavioral health fields in rural Maine. Ten out of 16 Maine counties, seven of which are nonmetropolitan, have areas with insufficient mental health care coverage, according to the Rural Health Information Hub (RHIhub). UMaine researchers say only about half of Maine adults and children who need mental health services receive them. 

Sandra Butler, director of the School of Social Work, will lead the development and implementation of the RIBHPC program alongside Emily Haigh, director of clinical training for the clinical psychology doctoral program at UMaine.


UMaine announces new Portland Gateway, names Alice Veazey director

June 7, 2021

Portland, Maine — A new Portland Gateway for the University of Maine has been established to provide a one-stop connection and point of access to the vast array of innovative research, education and outreach resources, programs and services at the state’s research university in Orono and its facilities statewide. The Portland Gateway offers opportunities for tailored partnerships to advance specific business or corporate needs, outreach and community engagement opportunities, and professional careers in connection with the UMaine Research enterprise.

Dr. Alice “Pips” Veazey is the inaugural director of the Portland Gateway. She joins UMaine from the University of Alaska Fairbanks, where she was the principal investigator and project director of the Alaska National Science Foundation Established Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (NSF EPSCoR).


Other research news

June 9, 2021 

News Medical reports on Howell efforts to reduce catheter-associated infection shared a University of Maine news release highlighting a study by Caitlin Howell focused on reducing infections with novel liquid catheter coatings. Howell, an assistant professor of biomedical engineering at UMaine, is a co-principal investigator on the study, which is funded by the National Institutes of Health.

Center on Aging Event - Mark your Calendar

2021 University of Maine Clinical Geriatrics Virtual Colloquium

Advancing Anti-Racism, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in Older Adult Health Care

Monday, October 25, 2021 • 9:00 am – 3:30 pm
  • The pandemic’s impact on the physical and mental health of older Black, Asian, and Hispanic individuals
  • Growing healthy, diverse, and inclusive health care workplaces
  • Best practices with LGBTQ+ patients
  • Reframing how we communicate with older clients and patients
  • Racism and bias in medicine: Health providers role and responsibility
  • The lingering health disparities of American Indians and Alaska Natives
Click here for a full flyer

Funding opportunities and upcoming webinars at the NIH

These funding opportunities, part of the High-Risk, High-Reward Research Program (HRHR) at the NIH, seek outside-the-box research ideas that if successful would have a large impact in an area of research relevant to the broad mission of NIH. Though this program is a time-tested approach for sparking innovation, we are not fully tapping into the scientific potential of the nation in terms of the diversity of applicants, institutions, or scientific topics.

Thus, to help fund the best possible science, we encourage applications from researchers of diverse backgrounds including those from underrepresented racial and ethnic groups, persons with disabilities, and women. Since outstanding research is conducted at a broad spectrum of institutions, it benefits the national scientific enterprise to support exceptionally innovative and impactful science that represents this breadth. We encourage applications from the full range of eligible institutions, including those serving primarily underrepresented groups, those that may be less research-intensive, and from all domestic geographic locations. Applications are welcome in all research areas broadly relevant to the mission of NIH. These areas include, but are not limited to, the behavioral, medical, natural, social, applied, and computational sciences. Research may be basic, translational, or clinical. The primary requirements are that the research be highly innovative and have the potential for unusually broad impact.

There are four initiatives within the HRHR program:

The Pioneer Award Program: for investigators at any career stage who have a record of unusually innovative research and who propose pioneering ideas going forward. (Application receipt date of September 10, 2021.)

The New Innovator Award:: for Early Stage Investigators (those within ten years of receipt of their terminal research degree or completion of their clinical training) who propose unusually innovative and impactful research. (Application receipt date of August 20, 2021.)

The Transformative Research Awards: for individuals (single Principal Investigator) or teams (multiple Principal Investigators) who propose unconventional, potentially groundbreaking research projects with flexible budgets. (Application receipt date of September 1, 2021.)

The Early Independence Awards: for exceptional junior scientists who wish to “skip the post-doc” to launch independent research careers (only up to two applications per institution are allowed). (Application receipt date of September 3, 2021.)

None of these programs requires preliminary data or a detailed experimental plan. What is required is a great idea and compelling logic of how it might be achieved. These are all quite competitive programs, but the chance of being funded is zero if one does not apply! Extensive information, including posted webinars for prospective applicants (hosted the last week of June), is available on our website.

 High-Risk, High-Reward Research Program (HRHR) 

Student Highlight - the pre-med experience at UMaine 

Why attend UMaine when considering medical school? Christian Crane, MS student in Biomedical Engineering, answers a few questions about his experience at UMaine, the resources available on campus, the faculty members and others who guided him through the pre-med curriculum and the research he conducted in Biomedical Engineering.
  • What led you to UMaine? I grew up in Linneus, Maine a small town outside of Houlton. As a high school student, I always enjoyed science, math, and social interactions that led me toward engineering and medicine being two of many potential career paths. I started at UMaine in fall 2015 as an undeclared engineering student quickly stepping into chemical engineering as my major. I added pre-medical studies as a minor my junior year due to many experiences in my life at the time both family oriented and work/shadowing. I decided to pursue medicine largely after working at Eastern Maine Medical Center for two years as an anesthesia technician.
Interdisciplinary groups receive grants from the UMS System Research Reinvestment Fund

This spring, the University of Maine System Research Reinvestment Fund (RRF) Advisory Board announced its awards for internal grants focusing on one-year projects in the areas of COVID-19 Rapid Response Grants; Interdisciplinary Undergraduate Research Collaboratives (IURCs); and UMS Research Collaboration Networks.

Among the successful awardees in the Interdisciplinary Undergraduate Research Collaboratives category were UMA Assistant Professors Katherine Weatherford Darling and Valerie Rubinsky, who were part of two projects receiving grant funding. Drs. Darling and Rubinsky developed these collaborative research projects with support from a UMA Strategic Development grant focused on building UMA’s institutional capacity for community-driven rural health research.

The first project is “Building a Community Health Worker Workforce to Address Systemic Rural Health Inequities.” The project team also includes Jennifer Crittenden, UMaine, and Erika Ziller, USM. Community partners in this initiative are Maine Public Health Association, Partnership for Children’s Oral Health, New Mainers Public Health Initiative, and Community Health Worker Initiative Stakeholder Group.

Job Opening:  Assistant Director Research Training - MDIBL

The MDI Biological Laboratory seeks an Assistant Director of Research Training and Outreach. The primary responsibility will be coordination of the lab’s Science Education Partnership Award (SEPA) program. The successful candidate will also provide support to other research training programs such as academic year and summer research internships for undergraduates and high school students and the growing graduate student program at the lab.

The Assistant Director of Research Training and Outreach will be expected to support grant submissions by providing contributing data and review of draft submissions. The successful candidate will also partner with the Director to develop data tracking strategies to support grant writing, year-end reporting and publications.
Contact for more information: Jane Disney –
PO Box 35 / Salisbury Cove, Maine 04672
207-730-9411 cell
Job Opening:  Postdoctoral Researcher in Haller Lab at MDIBL

MDIBL is currently accepting applications for a Post-doctoral research fellow in the Haller laboratory (email with an anticipated start date in September, 2021. Our research focuses on understanding microvascular disease and endothelial cell function in the kidney. We investigate mechanisms of renal regeneration and vascularization. We use the zebrafish as a model organism and renal IPS-cell derived organoids to study the molecular and cellular mechanisms of retinal and olfactory neurons regeneration. Recently, we have started to work with turquoise African killifish ATK to understand the microvasculature and endothelial cell differentiation during aging.
Kristine Reaman
Program Manager
MDI Biological Laboratory
PO Box 35 / Salisbury Cove, Maine 04672
207-730-9411 cell

PO Box 35 / Salisbury Cove, Maine 04672
207-730-9411 cell

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