Alumni and Faculty in the News – January ’22


Stefan Lukianov, UMaine Honors alumni ‘06, was recently selected as a contributing interviewer to Volume III of the MIT Science Policy Review. Graduating from the University of Maine with a B.S. in Biochemistry and in Molecular and Cellular Biology, his Honor’s thesis was titled “Cloning and Expression of a Putative Palmitoyltransferase in Dictyostelium discoideum”. Lukianov went on to achieve a MS in Tumor Virology from University of Pittsburgh ‘13 and a MA in Biological Chemistry and Molecular Pharmacology at Harvard ‘19, and is now studying Biotechnology Enterprise and Entrepreneurship at Johns Hopkins University. Since his time at Harvard, he has held a position as an Associate Editor with Harvard Medical Student Review and also manages various roles as a part-time educator with TutorMe and with EnCorps LA STEM teaching programs. Lukianov is also the founder of Salvé Technologies, discovering novel viral drug candidates using a high-performance computing powered bioengineering platform (VirCAD) to design, model and test novel viral-mediated gene therapies. He shares that “The University of Maine Honors Program motivated me to pursue excellence by opening my mind to the Great Books of history,” now using that motivation in his professional editing and writing opportunities.


Thomas Schwartz, UMaine Honors alumni ‘10, was selected for the prestigious National Science Foundation (NSF) CAREER Award. This outstanding award recognizes the exceptional potential of the faculty and supports their research and enduring success in scholarship, teaching, and public service. Schwartz is an associate professor of chemical engineering at the University of Maine, conducting molecular-level research on the Lebedev process. His work builds on the previous studies with his UMaine Catalysis Group, focusing on the role of catalysts in the production of synthetic rubber, biobased chemicals, and fuels from renewable resources. Read more about Schwartz and the NSF Award here.


Joshua Passarelli, UMaine Honors alumni ‘21, recently received the Carolyn Reed Scholarship, given to students from UMaine Honors going to medical school. Graduating with majors in both Biochemistry and in Molecular and Cellular Biology, he received a level of Highest Honors after defending his Honor’s thesis, titled Studying Adult Neurogenesis with Telomerase Reverse Transcriptase (TERT), a Putative Adult Stem Cell Marker.” As President of the University of Maine Chapter of Partners for World Health club, volunteer for Operation HEARTS, and research assistant in the ​​Townsend Lab, Passerelli stayed busy during his time at UMaine. Passarelli now goes on to study at Tufts University School of Medicine in the Maine Track Program, with goals, “to keep service an important component of his education and career.” 

He shares that his undergraduate experience, “has set the foundation for a long and fulfilling career.”