News & Announcements

Rare and Diverse Giant Viruses Unexpectedly Found in a Forest Soil Ecosystem

photo of Jeff Blanchard and colleagues

Until recently, scientists thought of viruses as mostly small infectious agents, tiny compared to typical bacteria and human cells. But biologist Jeff Blanchard and Ph.D. student Lauren Alteio with others at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Joint Genome Institute have discovered giant viruses – relatively speaking the size of Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade balloons – in soil at Harvard Forest in Petersham. Read more

Study Demonstrates ‘Tunability’ of Molecular Chaperone

photo of Lila Gierasch

For decades, molecular biologists studying a class of molecular chaperones known as heat shock proteins (Hsp70s) have relied on the Hsp70s found in bacteria as the model system. Now, Lila Gierasch, one of the world’s experts on the molecule and her team report that their investigation into whether Hsps from mammalian cells behave like those in bacteria reveals “key evolutionary variations” between them. Read more

Clark Elected Fellow of Entomological Society of America

photo of John Clark

John Clark, professor of veterinary and animal sciences, has been elected by the governing board of the Entomological Society of America as a research fellow and was recognized during the society’s joint annual meeting of the Entomological Societies of America, Canada and British Columbia, on Nov. 11-14, in Vancouver, British Columbia. Read more

Rotello Delivers Keynote at Science Teachers’ Conference

photo of Vince Rotello

Vincent Rotello, Distinguished Professor of chemistry, delivered the Nov. 2 keynote, “Multidisciplinary Thinking Outside the Box: Fighting Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria using Nanomaterials,” at the annual conference of the Massachusetts Association of Science Teachers in Boxborough. Read more

MCB Alumna, Yadilette Rivera-Colon, featured InFocus: STEM education programs

photo of Yadilette Rivera-Colon

Yadilette Rivera-Colon, currently a member of the Girls Inc. Board of Directors and an Assistant Professor of Biology and Undergraduate Research Program Coordinator at Bay Path University, was interviewed on 22News InFocus for a discussion about some of the many STEM educational programs available in western Massachusetts. They spoke with people involved with creating those programs and the STEM educators who work with students every day. Yadilette also recently returned to UMass to participate in a panel discussion about Teaching at Smaller Institutions organized by the Office of Professional Development. Full interview (~32:15)

Research Team Aims to Improve Accuracy in Sequencing Large Genomes 

photo of M. Muthukumar

Theoretical physicist Murugappan Muthukumarat has a four-year, $1.39 million grant from the National Institutes of Health’s National Human Genome Research Institute to overcome known hurdles that are hindering work to sequence mammalian-sized genomes. Read more

Researcher Finds GRE Scores Not Predictive of STEM Doctoral Degree Completion 

photo of Sandra Petersen

Researchers led by Sandra L. Petersen, professor of neuroendocrine studies, have found convincing evidence that Graduate Record Exam (GRE) scores are not predictive of STEM doctoral degree completion, and that relying on scores from the quantitative section (GRE Q) of the exam is likely to exclude talented students who score below arbitrarily defined “acceptable” scores, but who have other characteristics that are likely better predictors of success. Read more

2018 MCB Retreat at Stratton Mountain

8th Annual Life Sciences Graduate Research Symposium

UMass Amherst Chemists Publish ‘Breakthrough’ Article on RNA Sequencing

photo of Craig Martin

Chemist Craig Martin and colleagues including first author and doctoral student Yasaman Gholamalipour report they have solved the longstanding mystery of what’s happening to cause RNA sequences to replicate inaccurately in high-yield situations. Details of the work supported by the National Science Foundation appear in Nucleic Acids Research, where journal editors tagged the paper as a “breakthrough article” that presents “high-impact studies answering long-standing questions in the field of nucleic acids research and/or opening up new areas and mechanistic hypotheses for investigation,” and representing “the very best papers published at NAR.” Read more