Scrolling Headlines:

UMass women’s basketball suffers disappointing loss to St. Bonaventure at Mullins Center Thursday -

January 19, 2017

REPORT: Tom Masella out as defensive coordinator for UMass football -

January 19, 2017

Zach Lewis, bench carry UMass men’s basketball in win over St. Joe’s -

January 19, 2017

UMass women’s basketball handles Duquesne at home -

January 16, 2017

UMass men’s basketball’s late comeback falls short after blowing 15-point first-half lead -

January 15, 2017

UMass hockey outlasted at home against No. 6 UMass Lowell -

January 14, 2017

Hailey Leidel hits second buzzer beater of the season to give UMass women’s basketball win over Davidson -

January 13, 2017

UMass football hosts Maine at Fenway Park in 2017 -

January 12, 2017

UMass men’s basketball snaps losing streak and upsets Dayton Wednesday night at Mullins Center -

January 11, 2017

UMass women’s track and field takes second at Dartmouth Relays -

January 10, 2017

UMass hockey falls to No. 5 Boston University at Frozen Fenway -

January 8, 2017

UMass professor to make third appearance on ‘Jeopardy!’ -

January 8, 2017

UMass women’s basketball suffers brutal loss on road against Saint Joseph’s -

January 7, 2017

UMass men’s basketball drops thirds straight, falls to VCU 81-64 -

January 7, 2017

UMass men’s basketball drops tightly-contested conference matchup against George Mason Wednesday night -

January 4, 2017

Late-game defense preserves UMass women’s basketball’s win against rival Rhode Island -

January 4, 2017

AIC shuts out UMass hockey 3-0 at Mullins Center -

January 4, 2017

UMass professor to appear as contestant on ‘Jeopardy!’ Thursday night -

January 4, 2017

Penalties plague UMass hockey in Mariucci Classic championship game -

January 2, 2017

UMass men’s basketball falls in A-10 opener to St. Bonaventure and its veteran backcourt -

December 30, 2016

Time recognizes UM professor’s invention as one of the year’s best

University of Massachusetts professor of microbiology Derek Lovley was featured in a Time Magazine article published on Nov. 12 for creating one of the top 50 inventions of 2009 – A more effective way to get electricity out of microorganisms.

Lovley, a Ph.D. graduate from Michigan State University who came to UMass in 1995, said it was “not [his] first time with Time.” Previously, Lovley said he had been featured in the magazine back in 2004 as an environmentalist and has been covered by the press for over 20 years.

The potential for this electricity producing organism is enormous, according to Lovley.

The invention that won acclaim this year began with a discover Lovley made in 1987 when he found a new class of bacteria called Geobacter. The anaerobic bacteria can create electricity by using small hair-like filaments called microbial nanowires to extract energy from surrounding mud and water.

Lovley explained that the bacteria uses electrodes like we use oxygen, as a way to get electrons out of the cell.

Lovley added that his team’s explorations into the use of the microbe for power generation started in 2002 with underwater sea experiments funded by the U.S. Navy trying to extract power from the mud.

“Now kids can do it for science fair projects,” Lovley said. “If you connect graphite in the mud to outside graphite you get a [power] flow.”

Lovley said this year he and his team came up with a strategy for increasing power output and manipulated the Geobacter to make it eight times more effective.

“[The improvement] greatly expands practical applications,” he added.

According to Lovley, a key proponent of his research team is UMass graduate and research assistant professor Dr. Kelly Nevin, who grew the stronger electrode that allowed for the invention.

Lovley added that his lab focuses on more than just the Geobacter. The lab, which has 50 to 60 researchers and staff, is environmentally focused with working heavily on groundwater purification and, as Lovley put it, “things one would normally think of as fuel, such as trash.”

According to Lovley, he has had some research funded by Toyota for a long-term fuel source, though he added that is quite a few years away. Other potential future applications include small electronics batteries and wastewater treatment.

For now, Lovley and his team have a paper ready to be published on the effectiveness of Geobacter in the Boston Harbor. The research, according to Lovley, has expedited the clean-up process and can possibly be applied to other polluted waterways.

Sam Hayes can be reached at sdhayes@student.umass.edu.

Comments
One Response to “Time recognizes UM professor’s invention as one of the year’s best”
  1. Robert Collins says:

    Great article! Clear, Comprehensive and Challenging.

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