G. Lab News

Dr. Kristy Townsend interviewed by NEWS CENTER Maine about the safety and efficacy of alternative stem cell therapies

Link to video: 

https://www.newscentermaine.com/article/news/local/i-didnt-think-it-was-going-to-work-maine-mom-says-stem-cells-changed-her-sons-life/97-586455600

Link to additional resources on various stem cell therapies:

  1. http://www.sciencemag.org/news/2017/08/rise-unproven-stem-cell-therapies-turned-obscure-scientist-industry-watchdog
  2. https://stemcells.nih.gov/info/basics/1.htm
  3. https://www.omicsonline.org/stemcell-transplantation-types-risks-and-benefits-2157-7633.1000114.php?aid=3123

 Dr. Kristy Townsend was interviewed for UMaine Today about her efforts in increasing access to biomedical research opportunities for those in community colleges and underrepresented groups

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Graduate School of Biomedical Science and Engineering (GSBSE) recognizes two Townsend Lab members at annual meeting

At the 12thannual Graduate School of Biomedical Science and Engineering (GSBSE) on Friday, September 21, graduate students Gabe Jensen and Magda Blaszkiewicz were recognized. Gabe received first place for his poster presentation and Magda was awarded the Student Service Award.

Dr. Kristy Townsend spoke at the Double Z Fifth Annual Farm-to-Table Dinner

This year at the Double Z Farm’s Farm-to-Table Dinner, while guests enjoyed a 6-course culinary dinner of produce from the ranch, Dr. Kristy Townsend and Dr. Robert Bernheim shared their research and perspectives on the food!


NSF CAREER awards recognize UMaine early-career faculty

Dr. Kristy Townsend and Dr. Jacquelyn Gill were both awarded NSF CAREER grants because of their dedication and passion to be academic role models and advance their research. 

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Link: https://umaine.edu/research/2018/08/31/nsf-career-awards-recognize-umaine-early-career-faculty/


Dr. Kristy Townsend was recently awarded a $1 million CAREER grant from the National Science Foundation

The NSF awarded the $1 million grant for the project, “Novel Mechanisms of Adult Neurogenesis.” Townsend’s goal is to expand a capstone course for seniors to conduct biomedical research, and to contribute to the development of an outreach program and summer fellowship with community colleges and other underrepresented groups in Maine while furthering our understanding of the creation of new nerve cells in adult brains.

Other Links:

http://bangordailynews.com/2018/08/05/education/umaine-researcher-earns-1m-grant-to-study-the-adult-brain/

https://umaine.edu/news/blog/2018/08/06/ap-reports-townsend-awarded-1m-grant-adult-brain-research/


Dr. Kristy Townsend was awarded an NIH grant to study communication between the brain and fat tissue

The National Institutes of Health has awarded Kristy Townsend nearly $713,000 for her research investigating brain-adipose communication and how peripheral nerves in fat tissue function.


Dr. Kristy Townsend is receiving a $750K grant from the American Heart Association to Study Aging Fat Tissue

The grant will be used to study the effect of aging fat tissue on cardiovascular and metabolic conditions. The goal of the study is to help identify treatments that could potentially stop or reverse conditions including diabetes and obesity.

Links: 

US News & World Report

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2018 CUGR Summer Fellowship Winners Announced!!!

The University of Maine’s Center for Undergraduate Research (CUGR) has announced the 2018 CUGR Summer Fellowship winners. Out of the 45 student submissions, 17 proposals will be awarded $3,000 each during the summer semester, including four members of the Townsend Lab: Ashleigh Beaulieu, Cameron Fudge, Emma Garner, and Joshua Passarelli.


First five MIRTA teams showcase their discoveries

Five Discoveries, including a medical device for early detection and diagnosis of peripheral neuropathy, developed by the team of Dr. Kristy Townsend, Rosemary Smith, and Magdalena Blaszkiewicz, were showcased by University of Maine faculty-led teams from the Maine Innovation, Research and Technology Accelerator (MIRTA) on May 30, 2018 at the Foster Center for Student Innovation on Campus.

https://www.newscentermaine.com/article/news/education/umaine-innovations-look-to-help-state-business/97-560069301


BioME welcomes two new Board Members: Kristy Townsend and Fran Harrison

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The Jackson Laboratory hosts open house for students

Over 100 students from over 40 high schools in Maine attend the Jackson Laboratory’s first open house at their Bar Harbor location. The event provided a unique opportunity for kids to learn about what the Laboratory does and about biomedical research in general.


Symposium: Brown Adipose Tissue and Cardiovascular Function: Insulin Resistance, Vascular Tone, and Cardioprotective Effects

Kristy Townsend will be speaking about neuro-vascular interactions in adipose tissue on Monday, April 23, 2018, along with Silvia Corvera, University of Massachusetts Medical School, and Kristin Stanford, Ohio State University.


Winter 2017-2018 

You’re the Expert Podcast released:

Kristy Townsend’s episode ‘The Mysteries of Fat” can be heard at this Soundcloud link

MDI Biological Laboratory discovery could lead to new therapies for diabetics

Sandra Rieger, Ph.D., working in collaboration with the Townsend Laboratory, has found that an enzyme she previously identified as playing a role in peripheral neuropathy induced by cancer chemotherapy, also plays a role in peripheral neuropathy cause by diabetes. Read more about this on Science Daily, as well.


Students Conduct Scientific Research at MDIBL

Twelve students from Southern Maine Community College (SMCC) spent a week over winter break working at MDI Biological Laboratory as part of an intensive course conducting real-world biomedical laboratory research which was part of an INBRE-supported course created by Prof. Kristy Townsend.  This outreach is one aspect of Dr. Townsend’s NSF-CAREER Broader Impacts.


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Humanity Needs Dreamers: A Visit with Marie Curie

Kristy Townsend participated in a discussion following the showing of a special film about the scientist who is most famous for the discovery of radioactivity, “Humanity Needs Dreamers: A Visit with Marie Curie.”

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Fall 2017

2017 Maine Science Festival: You’re the Expert

Kristy Townsend was the “Mystery Scientist” for the 2017 Maine Science Festival headliner event, You’re the Expert. Afterwards, she explained a little about her background, her research, and what it was like to be the Expert on the show!


BNORC Small Grant Recipient

The Townsend lab received a BNORC Small Grant for the investigation of the neural innervation of adipose depots project.


Henry, Townsend, and collaborators receive an NSF MRI grant

The University of Maine was awarded $497,000 by the National Science Foundation Major Research Instrumentation Program to acquire a Leica TCS SP8 Digital LightSheet microscope. The PIs are Clarissa Henry, Rob Wheeler, Kristy Townsend, Leif Oxburgh, and Andre Khalil. LightSheet microscope is superior for imaging living organisms because the low light illumination and high-speed image acquisition facilitate long-term live imaging. LightSheet microscopy also illuminates specimens from both sides which allows visualization and rendering of larger samples. This Leica TCS SP8 also includes a White Light Laser with a nuning range of 470-670nm at 1nm increments and allows for 8 excitation wavelengths to be used simultaneously. This microscope will be used to study neuromusculoskeletal development and disease, kidney development and disease, mechanisms of host-pathogen interactions in vivo, and adipose tissue innervation.


Collaboration on COBRE Project

Kristy Townsend collaborated on Dr. Katie Motyl’s project: Neural and metabolic mechanisms of atypical antipsychotic drug-induced bone loss. This project investigated the mechanisms by which antipsychotics cause bone loss, including the role that brown adipose tissue plays in bone loss.


Summer 2017 

O’Brien Medical Supports Diabetes Research at UMaine

The Townsend Lab received an unrestricted gift from O’Brien Medical due to the impressive contributions made the research done in lab that could play an important role in the development of clinical treatments for diabetes and its complications such as neuropathy.


University of Maine Students Conduct Biomedical Research During Summer Program

Five University of Maine undergraduate students participated in the MDI Biological Laboratory 2017 Summer Fellowship Program, including lab member Callie Greco, giving students hands on research training in an advanced laboratory setting.


Presentation by Honors student Callie Greco at the Maine Summer INBRE Student Symposium at MDI Biological Laboratory:

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Nerdy tattoos by Tattly at our summer lab lunch – we are proudly GEEKS (at least temporarily…!):

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Members of the Townsend Lab (Lila Lyons and Taylor Delp, pictured) volunteer with Maine’s Partners for World Health, a medical mission group that delivers medical supplies to developing countries, supplies that otherwise would have become waste in the US.  While there, doctors and nurses provide medical care and training to local hospitals.  To donate or volunteer, visit: http://www.partnersforworldhealth.com.  Taylor Delp can be reached for more information on UMaine’s Partners for World Health student chapter.

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Learn more about UMaine’s new group: Women in Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics, and Medicine (WiSTEMM, pronounced wiss-tem), an affiliate of the national Association for Women in Science (AWIS), and supported by UMaine’s Rising Tide Center.  Find out more at the links below:

https://tinyurl.com/WiSTEMM           https://www.facebook.com/UMWiSTEMM

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Townsend Lab receives an unrestricted research gift from Todd O’Brien at O’Brien Medical, for our work on diabetic neuropathy.

Link: https://www.obimed.com/blog/2017/07/13/obrien-medical-supports-diabetes-research-umaine/


Supporting Future Women of STEM at the Bangor, ME Challenger Center

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Spring 2017 – Townsend Lab members receive prestigious awards including:

Sigrid Koizar: School of Biology and Ecology Academic Achievement Award, and College of Natural Sciences, Forestry and Agriculture Outstanding International Student Award

Callie Greco: SBE Academic Award (highest GPA in a major within the school, Juniors), Frank H. Lathrop Scholarship

Undergraduate summer fellowship awardees:

  • Lila Lyons – Maine Space Grant
  • Trevor Morin – Center for Undergraduate Research (CUGR) summer fellowship
  • Callie Greco – INBRE Honors Summer Fellowship

March 2017 

Kristy was the featured scientist at the 2017 Maine Science Festival’s live taping of You’re the Expert, a public radio show and podcast where host Chris Duffy leads a panel of 3 comedians to guess what a scientist does all day! The comedians were Roy Wood Jr, Michelle Buteau, and Charlie Hankin.  Get involved with the Maine Science Festival! (photo credits: Maine Science Festival photographers)

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Summer 2016 

Noelle Leon-Palmer, a recent graduate of the Honors College, is interviewed about her collaboration with the Townsend lab in accomplishing her Honors Thesis: an exploration on “physiology, neurobiology, and endocrinology of love.” 


April 2016

 Lab member, Magda Blaszkiewicz presents at iBANGS!

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Spring Semester 2016  Townsend lab members continue to receive very prestigious awards.

Highest GPA in a major within the School

Callie Greco, Elizabeth Wood, Erik Holmsen

Frank H. Lathrop Scholarship

Awarded to high-achieving juniors and continuing seniors who are Maine residents majoring in Biological Sciences

Cordell Beaton

Frank B. and Charles S. Bickford Prize

Awarded to an outstanding graduating senior in the College of Natural Sciences, Food, and Agriculture

Elizabeth E. Wood


Fall Semester 2015  Townsend lab members have received very prestigious awards.

Liz Wood– The Carolyn Reed Fellowship 2015

Carrie Curtis– INBRE Honors Fellowship 2015

Victoria Hernandez – ADA Minority Fellowship 2016


October 19, 2015 – Walking Tour About UMaine Women! “The goal is to highlight some of the amazing UMaine women and the contributions and accomplishments they have made, and continue to make, in shaping the state’s largest public university. From the early days of the university to today, women have been contributing in such areas as politics, education, science, athletics and the arts. This tour highlights some of those women alumni, faculty, students, staff and administrators.” The tour is also available online:

Link: umaine.edu/walkingtourwomen.


Winter 2015  The Townsend Lab was featured in a UMaine video about biomedical research!

Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iEJOzMCAvow&feature=youtu.be


Fall/ Winter 2015  The Townsend lab was featured in UMaine Today! Check out the article through the link below.

Link: http://umainetoday.umaine.edu/archives/fallwinter-2015/brain-power/


November 2015 – Our undergraduate student Carrie has been awarded the INBRE fellowship, and our undergraduate student Liz Wood has received the pre-med fellowship — both very prestigious!


November 2015 – This is a feature on Liz Wood as a student athlete, including her work in our lab.

Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8b1kU1XpnsM&feature=youtu.be


August 2015 – “Body Worlds” Exhibit coming to Maine- MPBN article – interviewed Dr. Townsend

Link: http://news.mpbn.net/post/peering-inside-human-body-portland-museum-host-body-worlds-exhibit


June 2015 – Congratulations to this year’s UMaine award winners from Townsend Lab!

Link: http://sbe.umaine.edu/2015/04/2015-sbe-awards-ceremony/


March 2015 – Brain Awareness Week at UMaine- news article release

Link: https://sbe.umaine.edu/2015/03/2015-brain-awareness-week/


March 2015 – Brain Awareness Week at UMaine

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2015 – Review article by Dr. Kristy Townsend chosen as a Top Ten article of 2014 for

Trends in Endocrinology & Metabolism.

Link: http://www.cell.com/trends/endocrinology-metabolism/home


March 2015 – Maine Science Festival and Maine State Science Fair:

Links:http://mainesciencefestival.org/
http://education.jax.org/science-fair/index.html


2015 – American Diabetes Association Kennebunks Tour de Cure Kickoff Event

Dr. Kristy Townsend- panelist / designed Diabetes Research Info Sheet

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Link:http://voyager.umeres.maine.edu/Login/FOV18-001F5607/FAFDFF30-3B9ACA00-627D9E90.1/ADA%20Tour%20de%20Cure%202015%20Research%20info%20sheet%20KT.pdf


2015 American Diabetes Association Kennebunks Tour de Cure Kickoff Event

Dr. Kristy Townsend- panelist / designed Diabetes Research Info Sheet


November 2014 – School of Biology and Ecology News, University of Maine:

New SBE Assistant Professor of Neurobiology: Dr. Kristy Townsend

The School of Biology & Ecology is pleased to welcome Dr. Kristy Townsend, Assistant Professor of Neurobiology.  Townsend arrived at the University of Maine at the beginning of November, but will not be teaching until the beginning of the 2015-2016 academic year.  She will be spending the rest of this year setting up her laboratory and planning her future curriculum. She will be teaching Intro to Neurobiology in the fall of 2015, and Cellular Biology in the spring of 2016.

Townsend recently moved to Bangor with her family, but this isn’t her first experience with Maine’s beautiful landscapes.  She attended high school in Orono, and received her undergraduate degree in biochemistry from the University of Maine.  During her time at UMaine, she did her honors thesis with Alan Rosenwasser, professor of psychology, studying the effects of chronic alcohol intake on circadian rhythms and serotonin signaling in the brain.

“I’ve always wanted this type of position,” said Townsend. “My previous position was purely research, but at night I taught for the Harvard extension school.  I wasn’t required to do that, but I did it because I enjoy teaching.  I’ve always wanted a job that I could do both.”

Townsend received her Ph.D. in neuroscience from Boston University in 2007. During her time at Boston University, she began her research on energy balance, body weight regulation, and obesity, working with bat and mice models.  The main focus of her research was comparing and contrasting how the brains of these animals change during the process of body weight regulation.  She also looked at the role leptin, a hormone secreted from fat tissue, plays on the brain of mice when they are fed a high fat diet. After receiving her Ph.D., she spent two years at King’s College in London, performing post-doctoral research. This research opportunity exposed her to working more with cell culture, using mouse models that had immune-deficiencies in order to see how immunity is involved with metabolism.

For the past five years, Townsend has been working at Harvard Medical School in the Joslin Diabetes Center.  She worked as a postdoctoral researcher and a junior faculty member, working on a variety of projects focusing on how the brain communicates with peripheral tissues to control energy balance within the body.  A major aspect of her research explored the role of brown adipose cells, looking at how they develop and are activated, what effect they have on the brain, and how growth factors act to increase metabolism.

She will be continuing some of her research projects from previous institutions, but is excited to start some new ones.  Her research will be looking at how specific growth factors affect appetite and how the brain talks to adipose tissues.  Some of her new research projects will be looking at changes in neurogenesis and neuropathy.

Townsend said she is thrilled to be in charge of what she wants to research.  “It’s a lot of responsibility to make sure everything is running smoothly. I want to be able to decide what I think is interesting, and study that. To me that is the most exciting part. There are endless possibilities to what research questions I can ask.”

Link: http://sbe.umaine.edu/2014/11/new-sbe-assistant-professor-of-neuribiology-dr-kristy-townsend


November 2014 – Boston Nutrition Obesity Research Center. Project Funding News:

Link: http://bnorc.org/pnf/pnf_investigators.html


2014 – Boston Area Diabetes Endocrinology Research Center. Project Funding News:

Link: http://www.baderc.org/feasibility/2014grants.html


November 2014 – Graduate School of Biomedical Science and Engineering, University of Maine. Faculty profile,  Dr. Kristy Townsend:

Link: http://gsbse.umaine.edu/people/profile/kristy_toensend


November 2014 – Graduate School of Biomedical Science and Engineering, University of Maine. New faculty welcome, Dr. Kristy Townsend:

Link: http://gsbse.umaine.edu/news/latest/article/2014/11/04/welcome_new_faculty_member_dr_kristy_townsend


November 2001 – Bangor Daily News, Dr. Kristy Townsend Graduate Work: