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UMaine Today Magazine

Student Focus

Research and rounds

Adam Burgoyne
Adam Burgoyne

Carmen Cherry
Carmen Cherry

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Adam Burgoyne started thinking about a career in medicine when, in high school, he lost two grandparents to cancer. He found his love of molecular biology research as a college freshman in a University of Maine laboratory.

When he graduates this May, he plans to pursue a career in oncology in order to work with cancer patients and to conduct cancer research. To do that, he is entering an M.D.-Ph.D. program. He's been accepted at Case Western Reserve University and the University of California in Los Angeles, but hasn't decided where he's headed in the fall.

"Research for me is an indirect way of helping society, and when working with patients, I'll have direct impact," says Burgoyne, a native of Enfield, Maine.

Burgoyne is graduating with three bachelor's degrees in the fields of molecular biology, biochemistry and French. He spent his undergraduate years, including summers, conducting research with Dan Distel, associate professor of biochemistry, microbiology and molecular biology.

In the lab, Burgoyne's focus was on shipworms, an elongated clam that burrows into wood, damaging marine piers and ships. In his research, Burgoyne studied the enzymes responsible for degradation.

His research was the subject of a poster he presented at the American Society for Microbiology last May, as well as his honors thesis.

Burgoyne spent a summer as a MERITS (Maine Research Internships for Teachers and Students) intern, and most recently, was one of 300 students nationwide to receive a 2003 Goldwater Scholarship.

"I've had a great experience at UMaine because the department is small and the university is not gigantic," says Burgoyne, whose parents are alumni. "I credit the faculty and staff with getting me where I'm going."

Better building products

In 1995, Carmen Cherry left Tenants Harbor, Maine, with her sights set on an engineering career. Now, after graduating from Stanford and receiving a master's from Columbia University in 2000, she has returned to her home state to get a Ph.D., doing research in the University of Maine's Advanced Engineered Wood Composites (AEWC) Center.

Her first project is to develop a new wood composite product for the residential construction industry.

Before coming to Orono last summer, she worked for a New York engineering firm developing specifications for the renovation of Penn Station. She also swung her hammer on the framing crew of a house building contractor.

Today, she is working with Habib Dagher, AEWC director; Assistant Professor Bill Davids; and John Crowley, owner of New England Classic and NetForms Inc., of Falmouth, Maine, to develop a better insulated structural building panel. Their goal is a product that enables builders to reduce construction costs and increase building resistance to stresses, such as high winds and earthquakes.

The basis for her project is a patented panel designed by Crowley and a team of researchers while he was an associate professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology as part of their Innovative Building Products Program. It is essentially a sandwich. Thin plywood-like sheets known as oriented strand board (OSB) are on the outside, and fiberglass insulation is on the inside.

To find out if Crowley's panel has market potential, Cherry wrote a successful application for a $10,000 seed grant from the Maine Technology Institute. She and her colleagues are surveying home builders about their desire for and willingness to use an insulated panel product. They also are focusing on panel design, paying particular attention to connections between the panels.

"We've narrowed our project to creating a panel that will resist lateral loads, be internally ventilated, use less expensive glass insulation and use OSB as all of its structural components," Cherry says.


UMaine Today Magazine
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