Dr. Mariella Passarelli was trained as a synthetic organic chemist designing candidates, developing synthetic methods, and making promising molecules for use in the pharmaceutical industry. After her doctorate, Passarelli did postdoctoral work in toxicology where her synthetic skills were used to adduct DNA with carcinogens. This work catapulted Passarelli into the realm of biochemistry and now she uses enzymatic methods in synthetic work alongside organic chemistry methods. Her teaching responsibilities include both organic chemistry and biochemistry courses. Because she teaches science majors and non-majors, Passarelli has also contributed new ideas to the teaching of science. Her courses blend content, learning/teaching methodologies, and student research.
Dan Buckley is an ecologist whose research interests are centered on freshwater ecosystems. His current research efforts include the long term temperature monitoring of over 25 Maine lakes and the effect of changing temperature regimes on lake water quality. Each summer for the past 12 yers he has employed student interns, the "UMF aquatic research team", to work with local/regional lake organizations to study water quality of local lakes as influenced by shoreline development, location and the physical dimensions of lakes. Students use high definition global positioning systems (GPS) in conjunction with sonar and geographic information systems (GIS) to develop accurate bathymetric maps of Maine lakes. This same equipment is also used to map the extent of invasive plant species as lakes were surveyed for aquatic plants. At UMF Dr. Buckley teaches aquatic biology, non-majors ecology, evolution and environmental impact analysis.
Dr. Julia Daly is a geomorphologist at the University of Maine at Farmington. She teaches from an earth systems perspective, including courses focused on landscape processes and evolution, and climate change. Her research interests are currently centered on better understanding the dynamics of subalpine and alpine lake systems at high elevation lakes in western and central Maine. UMF undergraduates have worked on this project with Dr. Daly since 2007, helping to deploy and maintain high-resolution data loggers from these remote sites located along the Appalachian Trail. Dr. Daly is an enthusiastic advocate of engaging students in field-based projects at all levels and incorporates as much outdoors, place-based learning into her courses and research as possible.
Chris Magri is an astronomer whose research involves radar studies of asteroids. He uses the world's most powerful radar facility, the Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico, to transmit million-watt microwave beams at asteroids and then measure the faint echoes. These data are used to determine the target's orbit, size, shape, rotation state, surface topography, and material composition. Recently he and his collaborators around the country have also begun studying the thermal properties of asteroids, using an infrared telescope atop Mauna Kea in Hawaii to measure emitted heat radiation. Computer analysis of these emissions can reveal whether an asteroid's surface is loose material or else solid bedrock. At UMF Dr. Magri teaches introductory physics and astronomy, typically as general education courses for nonscientists; he also offers first-year seminars, most recently on the topic of astrobiology, the search for life beyond Earth.
In the laboratory, we are currently working on the trace voltammetric speciation of arsenic in the groundwater of the Farmington area, hoping to study/understand any seasonal variations.