UMD & Smithsonian 2014 Seed Grant Program

Alternate Approaches to Produce Pluripotent Stem Cells for Conservation Biology Applications
Carol Keefer (UMD-Animal & Avian Sciences) and Pierre Comizzoli (SI National Zoological Park)

Stem cell technologies offer exciting prospects in regenerative and reproductive medicine for humans and animals. Despite multiple attempts in domestic and wild animal species, the majority of studies report numerous obstacles that still need to be overcome before producing efficient stem cells. We will explore the potential of novel approaches including protein and cell extract treatments which do not involve genetic modifications. This research will lead to safe and reliable ways to obtain and use stem cells for veterinary and conservation applications such as therapeutic treatments, drug and toxicant testing, and fertility preservation.

Asian-Latino Education Lab: Piloting Innovative Curricular Tools to Enable Intersectional, Cross-Community Learning and Cultural Competencies for Minority Communities
Janelle Wong (UMD-Asian American Studies) and Adriel Luis (SI Asian Pacific American Center)

The UMD Asian American Studies Program and the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center will pilot Smithsonian digital assets as innovative classroom learning tools specifically focusing on cross-cultural connections and collisions. This collaboration will bring resources from the Smithsonian’s existing Asian-Latino Project into University of Maryland classrooms. The two units will collaborate to begin compiling and building the foundations of the Asian-Latino Education Lab, soliciting written, visual, audio, and video materials from leading artists, filmmakers, writers, and scholars, then working together to shape these materials into a cohesive and focused learning experience.  The Lab will be introduced to UMD students during the Fall 2014 academic semester, then evaluated, refined, and further developed over winter 2014 for re-deployment in the classroom in the Spring 2015 academic term. This Smithsonian-University of Maryland collaboration is a vital step toward the ultimate goal of launching the Lab on a national scale. 

Nutrient Composition and Immunoglobulins in Anthropoid Primate Milks: A Key to Conservation and the Evolution of Human Milk?
Kasey Moyes (UMD Department of Animal & Avian Sciences) and Michael Power (SI National Zoological Park)

At present, zoo nutritionists/veterinarians have limited useful information regarding the nutrient and immuno-protective (i.e. immunoglobulins) content of milks from different anthropoid primate species. These milk constituents are critical for proper development of the neonate, and their characterization will provide information regarding the evolution of milk within anthropoid primates, including human milk.  Our specific aims are to identify the nutrient and immunoglobulin profiles in milk from gorillas and orangutans throughout lactation and to compare to human milk to assess evolutionary changes.  Results from this study will assist the professionals charged with care in captivity to develop improved hand-rearing protocols and provide new data regarding the patterns of evolutionary change in human milk since the last common ancestor with the great apes.

Reframing the Teaching and Learning of Migration/Immigration in U.S. History
Kate Keane (UMD Department of History), Ira Berlin (UMD Department of History), Carrie Kotcho (SI National Museum of American History) and Magdalena Mieri (SI National Museum of American History)

The study of migration and immigration is a matter of great intellectual weight and major contemporary societal concern. Migration is a fundamental human experience and the study of immigration addresses the experience of most men and women who ever walked the earth, as well as the related subjects of the movement of diseases, cultures, commodities, capital, and technology. The Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History and the Center for the History of the New America at the University of Maryland will assess the state of field regarding the teaching and learning of immigration and migration history in schools across the United States (primarily focusing on K-12 settings). The data and analysis generated by the team’s research will serve as the basis for the creation of recommendations for integrating the story of migration and immigration more fully into the teaching of American history.

Between Land and Water: Archaeological Exploration of Changing Human Relations in Chesapeake Ecology
Mark Leone (UMD Department of Anthropology) and Anson Hines (SI Environmental Research Center)

European planters and mariners, indentured servants and day-laborers, enslaved Africans and African American tenant farmers, and Native Americans transformed the landforms and environments of what is now the 2,650-acre campus of the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center (SERC) over several thousand years. The researchers, students, and volunteer citizen scientists from the University of Maryland Department of Anthropology and SERC will collaborate with descendant communities to explore these transformations and what those changes meant to the people who caused them and to their progeny.


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