June 2018
IMET's Second Annual Open House
IMET hosted its second annual open house on May 5. Visitors enjoyed making their own construction paper coral reefs, learning to use pipettes, and touring the Aquaculture Research Center. IMET hosts its open house on the first Saturday in may each year.

IMET Annual Report

"We accomplished a great deal, making major contributions to the fields of sustainable aquaculture, animal and human health, energy and climate change, and innovation and entrepreneurship. These contributions come directly through the important research done by our faculty members and through their efforts in training the next generation of scientists."

-Dr. Russell Hill, IMET Director and Professor

New IMET Student Fellowship
We are happy to announce the establishment of a new IMET Student Fellowship, which will fund one graduate student during the first year at IMET. The first recipient of this fellowship is Sakura Tanaka, who will join Dr. Yonathan Zohar’s lab next fall. 

Dr. Zohar is excited to be able to support Sakura’s studies, noting, “Funding graduate students has increasingly become a challenge and the IMET fellowship allows us to jumpstart a graduate student in their first year ... Our mission is economic development and education; we want to train good graduate students.”

This fellowship was greatly helped by the support of Dr. James Albrecht, as well as by Michael and Patricia Davis, Donald and Catherine MacMurray, Thomas Lingan, Dr. Haifeng Geng, Bert and Deborah Winchester, James and Christine Wright, and members of the IMET faculty and staff.
Faculty Feature: From Camels to Sharks
Dr. Helen Dooley joined the IMET team in November 2016 and studies the evolution of the immune system. Much of her work focuses on understanding the immune responses of sharks, and their close cousins the skates, rays, and chimera.
How did you get interested in sharks? It’s quite a crazy story really. For my Ph.D. project I was supposed to be studying immune responses in camels. When I started our partner on the project took blood samples from a couple of his camel herd out in Brunei and then immunized them for me. I did all the preliminary work but when the time came for us to take another blood sample, so I could test how the immunized camels had responded, they were nowhere to be found - someone had stolen my camels! So, I was a year into my PhD and I didn’t have the samples I needed to finish my project. Luckily, as I was trying to figure out what on earth I was going to do I came across a great scientific report about the immune system of sharks and immediately thought, "this is what I want to do." While I don’t usually condone stealing, working on sharks is way cooler than working on camels so I guess I owe those camel thieves a big thank you!
What are you studying and why is it important? We want to understand when the different components of the immune system emerged and how they became integrated into the very complex protective network we find in humans. Sharks are the most ancient animals to have a "human-like" immune system so they provide a good starting point to understand the origins of the system. The analogy I like to use are the Harry Potter books - if we focus all our efforts on studying the immune system in humans it’s much like reading book 7 alone; you know the final outcome of the story but don’t appreciate how each character has developed and what forces drove them to that place. In our work we start at book one (i.e. with the sharks, skates and rays) and try to map the full story for each immune system component. We hope this information will help us better understand the human immune system and why it goes wrong, for example in autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis.
What made you decide to come to IMET? The nature of our work means we need to immunize our sharks (just like getting a flu shot) then take a series of small blood samples which we use to map their immune responses over time. There aren’t many places in the world that have the space and expertise to maintain a colony of sharks but the aquarium facilities and support team here at IMET are amazing! The breadth of work being conducted at IMET also means there are also lots of opportunities to collaborate on exciting and diverse projects. Honestly, it was a pretty easy decision to move back to Baltimore and join IMET.
Upcoming Events
  • July 11, 3pm - Seminar: Angela Haren and Alice Volpitta (Blue Water Baltimore), "Blue Water Baltimore: Tracking and Reporting the Health of Baltimore's Waterways"
  • July 24, 1pm - Dissertation Defense Seminar: Saddef Haq (UMCES-IMET)
  • August 1, 1pm - Masters Thesis Defense: Sarah Avery (UMBC-IMET)
  • August 29, 3pm - Seminar: Dr. Vance Trudeau (University of Ottawa)

Stay tuned for our upcoming Fall Lecture Series!

Dive Deeper: Articles, Videos, and an IMET Podcast Episode
  • Watch Helen Dooley's full public lecture and read a story about her work in Science Magazine
  • Read about IMET's partnership with the United Way and McCormick to raise fish for food kitchens in the Baltimore Sun and find out even more on our website
  • Read about Shiladhitya Dassarma's research in Astrobiology Magazine: "How Stratospheric Life is Teaching us about the Possibility of Extreme Life on Other Worlds"
  • Listen to this podcast featuring women grad students at IMET
Did you know that Greenland Sharks can live up to 500 years? That means that some Greenland Sharks are older than the United States!
Institute of Marine and Environmental Technology
701 E Pratt Street, Baltimore, MD 21202