News & Announcements

Zoeller speaks about risks posed by flame retardants

Thomas Zoeller, Biology, was interviewed by the Baltimore Sun about efforts to ban toxic fire-resistant chemicals in children’s products such as furniture, mattresses, and household electronics, noting that the chemicals interfere with hormones during early brain development. Read more

Heidi Hu PhD Dissertation Defense

photo of Heidi Hu

Wednesday, October 18, 2017
2:30 PM
Life Sciences Laboratories, Room N610
Dissertation Title:  The Role of the Metallochaperone HypA in the Acid Survival and the Activities of Nickel Enzymes in Helicobacter pylori
Advisor:  Michael J. Maroney

Dominique Alfandari, Hélène Cousin and colleagues report in eLIFE that they have uncovered unexpected regulation of transcription factors critical to development

photo of Hélène Cousin and Dominique Alfandari

Dominique Alfandari and a team of researchers at UMass and MIT report in a new paper that they have for the first time described how two transcription factors that are “absolutely essential for human development” are regulated by a cell surface metalloprotease known as ADAM13. ADAM13 belongs to a group of proteins called proteases that cut other proteins to change their function. Alfandari says, “Five years ago we discovered that ADAM metalloproteases control gene expression in a cell; no one had done that before. In this new paper, we describe the details of the mechanism by which the ADAM13 protein on the cell surface can affect gene expression in the nucleus, which is remarkable.” The discovery adds to knowledge of how cells migrate in vertebrate embryos, how stem cells differentiate and how cancer cells metastasize. Read more

Mike Maroney received an Award for Outstanding Accomplishments in Research and Creative Activity at the annual Faculty Convocation

photo of Mike Maroney

Professor Maroney was one of eight nationally acclaimed faculty members honored for exceptional research and creativity at the annual Faculty Convocation held Oct. 11. Each was nominated by a faculty colleague, department head or chair, or their dean, and a selection committee then chose the honorees with consideration of who had, in recent years, received national or international awards, been elected to prestigious societies or academies, or been awarded significant external funding. A pioneer in the understanding of nickel biochemistry, Michael Maroney is an ongoing, prolific contributor to his field, with a total of 198 publications as of this writing. He is the principal investigator of numerous grant-funded research projects, commanding a broad array of expertise in spectroscopy, synthetic inorganic chemistry, mechanistic studies, and biochemical methods. Read more

Petersen Named Senior Graduate Diversity Advisor for Graduate School

photo of Sandra Petersen

Sandra Petersen, a nationally recognized leader in developing recruitment and mentorship programs for underrepresented graduate students from the sciences, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), has been named senior graduate diversity advisor by Barbara Krauthamer, dean of the Graduate School. A professor of veterinary and animal sciences, Petersen currently serves as director of the STEM Diversity Institute (SDI), which has dramatically increased minority student enrollment and retention in campus science and engineering doctoral programs over the past 15 years. Read more

Published: MCB student Yili Zhu publishes findings that microtubule-associated protein She1 is required for the maintenance of the metaphase spindle stability.

Yili Zhu research image

MCB student Yili Zhu and colleagues published a paper titled “Microtubule cross-linking activity of She1 ensures spindle stability for spindle positioning” in The Journal of Cell Biology. Using function-separating alleles, live-cell spindle assays and in vitro biochemical analyses, they show that She1 is required for the maintenance of metaphase spindle stability. Their data reveal how She1 ensures spindle integrity during spindle movement across the bud neck and suggest a potential link between regulation of spindle integrity and dynein pathway activity. Read more

Nathan Kuhlmann awarded traineeship through UMass Biotech Training Program

photo of Nathan Kuhlmann

MCB student Nathan Kuhlmann (Chien Group) received a prestigous, two-year traineeship from the NIH funded Biotech Training Program at UMass. Nathan's research is geared toward understanding more about antibiotic resistance, and utilizes a novel system that governs the cell cycle progression of Caulobacter Crescentus to uncover the structural details of adaptor hierarchy mediated protein degradation. Read more

Dom Alfandari awarded NIH grant to study the production and characterization of monoclonal antibodies to Xenopus proteins

Study Suggests Expectant Father’s Environmental Exposure Affects Reproductive Success

photo of Richard Pilsner

Early results from a larger, ongoing study led by environmental health scientist Richard Pilsner suggest that phthalate levels in expectant fathers have an effect on couples’ reproductive success via epigenetic modifications of sperm DNA. Details appear in the current issue of Human Reproduction, a monthly journal of the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology published by Oxford Journals. Read more

Dhankher comments on use of poplars to clean up contaminants

photo of Om Parkash Dhankher

Om Parkash Dhankher, Stockbridge School of Agriculture, was interviewed in Chemical & Engineering News about a new study from the University of Washington that looked at planting poplar trees that harbor microbes that could help clean up sites contaminated with the carcinogen trichloroethylene. He praised the method, saying, “This is a very cheap and green, clean technology.” Read more