News & Announcements

David Sela and colleagues featured in Applied and Environmental Microbiology for study on the benefits of cranberries for gut microbiome

photo of David Sela

Many scientists are paying new attention to prebiotics, that is, molecules we eat but cannot digest, because some may promote the growth and health of beneficial microorganisms in our intestines, says nutritional microbiologist David Sela at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. In a new study, he and colleagues report the first evidence that certain beneficial gut bacteria are able to grow when fed a carbohydrate found in cranberries and further, that they exhibit a special nontypical metabolism. Read more

Trustees Approve Tenure Awards, Appointments with Tenure

photo of Jianhan Chen Jianhan Chen was appointed professor with tenure in Chemistry
photo of Paul Katz Paul Katz was appointed associate professor with tenure in Biology

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Peyton Named to NIH Grant Review Panel

photo of Shelly Peyton

Shelly Peyton, associate professor of chemical engineering, has been named to the Bioengineering, Technology, and Surgical Sciences Study Section of the Center for Scientific Review in the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Members are selected on the basis of their demonstrated competence and achievement in their scientific discipline as evidenced by the quality of research accomplishments, publications in scientific journals, and other significant scientific activities, achievements and honors, according to Richard D. Nakamura, director of the Center for Scientific Review. Service on a study section also requires mature judgment and objectivity as well as the ability to work effectively in a group, qualities Peyton will bring to the task, he said. Read more

Sam Hazen and Neil Forbes recognized with Valley Venture Mentors Regional Startup Awards

The Valley Venture Mentors (VVM) program of Springfield recently awarded prize money to 12 startup companies, including:

  • Genoverde Biosciences Inc., based in part on research by Sam Hazen, biology, received the top prize of $25,000 for its proposal, “Engineering trees with increased carbon dioxide (CO2) capture capabilities to combat global climate change.”
  • Ernest Pharmaceuticals Inc., based on research by Neil Forbes, chemical engineering, received $12,500 for its proposal, “Programmed bacteria to treat metastatic breast cancer.”

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Chien Lab Finds Protease Adaptors Regulate Own Destruction

photo of Peter Chien

MCB researchers Peter Chien and Kamal Joshi were in the Inside UMass news for their finding that adaptors could be degraded by proteases, but only when the adaptors weren’t already busy delivering substrates. Their work was recently published in the Journal of Biological Chemistry. Read more

Jing Liu PhD Dissertation Defense

photo of Jing Liu

Monday, June 26, 2017
9:00 AM
Life Sciences Laboratories Building, Room N410
Dissertation title:  Regulated proteolysis of DnaA coordinates cell growth with stress signals in Caulobacter crescentus
Advisor:  Peter Chien

Two MCB students receive CBI traineeships

photo of Samar Mahmoud and Noelle Dziedzic

MCB students Samar Mahmoud (Chien Group) and Noelle Dziedzic (Stratton Group) have received traineeships through the NIH funded Chemistry Biology Interface Program at UMass. Selection is highly competitive for these two year awards. Current CBI trainees also include Ben Adams (Hebert Group), Derrick Deming (Garman Group), Yingying Geng (Rotello Group), Ana Torres Ocampo (Stratton Group) and Rilee Zeinert (Chien Group).

John Clark’s study about super lice resistance featured in Scientific American

photo of John Clark

John Marshall Clark’s study showing that two-thirds to three-quarters of lice are immune to the effects of many insecticide treatments due to overexposure was recently featured in Scientific American. Read more

Thai receives a UMass President’s Science & Technology Initiatives Fund grant

photo of S. Thai Thayumanavan

S. “Thai” Thayumanavan’s Center for Autonomous Chemistry, an initiative with UMass Lowell and the Medical School, has received $140,000 from the UMass President’s Science & Technology Initiatives Fund toward a project developing the molecular design fundamentals for autonomous chemical systems, inspired by the immune system. The project is one of nine in the five-campus system to receive this grant. Read more

Li Awarded $1.6 Million NIH Grant to Study Inner Ear Signal Processing

Geng-Lin Li, biology, recently was awarded a five-year, $1.6 million grant by the National Institutes of Health to study auditory signal processing in the inner ear. His findings will expand basic understanding of hearing and could lead to better hearing protection. He says, “Our inner ear can process sensory signals with remarkable precision, but it comes with the cost of vulnerability, making it very easily damaged by noise and by aging. As we advance our basic understanding of hearing and satisfy our curiosity, new approaches could arise, allowing us to design better protection for people who work in a noisy environment.” (Read more...)