News & Announcements

Pilsner Awarded $2.7 Million to Expand Study of Phthalates, Reproduction 

photo of Rick Pilsner

Richard Pilsner, associate professor of environmental health sciences in the School of Public Health and Health Sciences, has received a five-year, $2.7 million National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences award to support his further research on fathers’ preconception exposure to phthalates and potential effects on reproductive health through methylation of sperm DNA. This award for work in humans complements his five-year, $2.3 million award received last year from the same agency. Read more

Special IDGP Workshop for Graduate Students and Post-Docs: Hands-on workshop aimed to help students get creative about ways they can market their skills and knowledge

Katherine Onk

Plant Biology Graduate Student Samantha Glaze-Corcoran will host Katherine Onk from LinkedIn, who will lead a workshop targeted towards IDGP Graduate Students and Post-Docs.  
French Hall, Room 209
Tuesday, Sept. 18, 2018 at 10am

UMass Amherst Researchers Receive $953,300 NSF Grant for Technology that Records, Analyzes Complex Brain Activity

A team of scientists based at the University of Massachusetts Amherst has been awarded a four-year, $953,300 grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to develop miniature, implantable hardware that can record complex brain activity in animals and analyze it in real time. This new technical capability will allow the researchers to trace the origin of complex brain activity down to cellular levels, they say. The UMass Amherst team includes Guangyu Xu in electrical and computer engineering, David Moorman in psychological and brain sciences, and Geng-Lin Li in biology. They work collaboratively with Ethan Meyers in statistics, from Hampshire College. Read more

Fritz-Laylin Receives National Genomics Award to Study Fungi Causing Global Decline in Frogs, Salamanders

photo of Lillian Fritz-Laylin

The National Science Foundation announced today that University of Massachusetts Amherst biologist Lillian Fritz-Laylin has been named one of 11 scientists in the nation who will share a total $10 million for developing and disseminating genomic tools in diverse species, allowing biologists to address mechanistic questions about how genes affect an organism’s physical and functional characteristics. Read more

A Splashy Welcome for Incoming Graduate Students

Incoming students in the interdisciplinary graduate programs in the life sciences (MCB, NSB, OEB and PB) enjoyed a day of whitewater rafting on the Deerfield River. Several faculty, staff and current students joined the group. The rafting adventure was a great way to get to know one another and have a ton of fun at the same time.

Outreach Highlight:  Sallie Smith Schneider's Summer Internship Program for High School Students

photo of Biomedical Internship - Near Peer Mentors

Sallie Smith Schneider (Director, Biospecimen Resource and Molecular Analysis Facility, Baystate Medical Center) led a summer internship program for seven high school students from various programs such as the Baystate Springfield Educational Partnership and Girls Inc. The students participated in a 6 week summer internship in biomedical science focusing on the effect of environmental exposures to benzophenone 3 and propyl paraben on changes in breast epithelial cells. The high school students partnered with near peer mentors to address a question and work on their own project. The undergraduate and graduate student mentors came from assorted schools (Smith College, WPI, Colorado State University, Boston University, UMASS and Princeton), and were trained for a month to prepare them to help mentor and train the high school students. Dr. Kelly Gregory held lectures on the theory behind the experimental techniques and Dr. Smith Schneider led panel discussions on topics such as college application process/1st year of college, traditional and nontraditional scientific career options, and how to read and use scientific manuscripts to further research.

Chen, Colleagues Discover New Channel-Gating Mechanism 

photo of Jianhan Chen

Computational biophysicists are not used to making discoveries, says Jianhan Chen at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, so when he and colleagues cracked the secret of how cells regulate Big Potassium (BK) channels, they thought it must be a computational artifact. But after many simulations and tests, they convinced themselves that they have identified the BK gating mechanism that had eluded science for many years. Their work is reported in the journal Nature Communications. Read more

IDGP Student and Faculty BBQ August 28, 2018

New IDGP Student Outing

Please join us for an all student and faculty BBQ mixer to welcome the incoming Fall 2018 cohort!

IDGP New Student Reception BBQ
Date: August 28, 2018
Time: 5:00pm start time
Location: Durfee Lawn (the lawn just north of French Hall, near the pink pillars and Durfee greenhouse)
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Please RSVP by August 20

Hope to see you there! The BBQ will include vegetarian food options and a cash bar will be available.

UMass Amherst Biophysicist, Cell Biologist Team Up to Explore Mechanics of Cell Division

photo of Mitotic Spindle

When humans construct a building, it’s intended to stand for many years, but in biological systems, cells routinely build structures and take them apart, re-using the pieces in different places and dissolving them again in an intricate process that scientists are just beginning to explore at a deep physical level, say cell biologist Patricia Wadsworth and biophysicist Jennifer Ross at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Ross and Wadsworth recently received a four-year, $1.1 million grant from the National Science Foundation to investigate the biological and physical underpinnings of cell division from this perspective. Read more

UMass Amherst’s Yubing Sun Part of Research Team Exploring How Mechanical Signals Help Develop the Human Nervous System

photo of research

A team of researchers including Yubing Sun of the University of Massachusetts Amherst has demonstrated that human pluripotent stem cells can be guided to become the precursors of the central nervous system and that mechanical signals play a key role in this process. Sun and his colleagues outlined their findings in a recent paper published in the journal Nature Materials. Read more

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