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UMFK professor Borges awarded tenure by U-Maine System Trustees

March 31, 2006


University of Maine at Fort Kent assistant professor Kim Borges has been awarded tenure by the University of Maine System Board of Trustees.

Borges, assistant professor of environmental studies joined UMFK's faculty in 2000.

She specializes in courses in the areas of water quality, aquatic ecology, and environmental chemistry. Borges teaches several core courses related to environmental science. She also teaches genetics and biochemistry for biology majors.

"I was delighted to propose Dr. Borges for tenure to the University Trustees based upon the recommendations of the UMFK Peer Review Committee and the Vice President for Academic Affairs," said President Richard Cost. "Dr. Borges is a marvelous teacher and scholar with a real passion for her discipline. She is an excellent example of the qualities a tenure candidate should bring to the process."

"Environmental Studies is one of the three central pillars of our mission as an institution, and we are extremely fortunate to have the faculty members that we do supporting that major. All are wonderful teachers, researchers and scholars. They provide an extraordinary experience for students who want to get outside and experience our natural environment as they study it. Congratulations to Dr. Borges on this important step in her career," said Cost.

Prior to coming to UMFK, Borges taught chemistry and physics at the University of Maine at Presque Isle in 1999.

She taught graduate level fundamentals of microbiology and microbial physiology at the University of Connecticut in Storrs, Connecticut from 1995 to 1996.

Borges also held a position as assistant professor in the biology department at Hamilton College in Clinton, New York from 1994 to 1995.

She received her bachelor of science in biology from Rochester Institute of Technology in New York 1984 and earned her PhD in biochemistry from Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire 1989.

Much of Borges's research postdoctoral work focused on isolation and characterization of microbes from extreme environments, in particular the hyperthermophilic bacteria and Archaea. These microbes live in hot springs and hydrothermal vents at temperatures near the boiling point of water. She also focused on the molecular genetics and microbial ecology of these unusual organisms.

Lately her research interests have shifted to another area of microbiology called Bacterial Source Tracking (BST). BST is used to identify the sources of fecal contamination in waterways. Most BST methods involve cultivation of fecal bacteria from the lake or stream of interest, followed by genetic or biochemical fingerprinting methods to determine whether the bacterial contamination originated in human, domestic animal, or wildlife hosts. Determining the source of the bacterial contamination can be useful in developing effective strategies to clean up the waterway.

Borges lead the effort to create an environmental studies program lecture series that began in 2002 which brings environmental professionals to the UMFK campus for the benefit of students and the general public.

She was awarded the "Outstanding Faculty Award" by the UMFK graduating class of 2003.

Borges received the UMFK Campus Trustee Professorship from 2004 to 2005, which enabled her to do water quality research in the Perley Brook area of Fort Kent.

This year Borges and Stephen Hansen, UMFK assistant professor of biology and environmental studies, received a grant funding from the John Sage Foundation of Knox, Maine to complete water quality studies with their classes on Cross Lake.