News & Announcements

A New, Social Science-based Approach to Improve Weed Management

photo of a corn field in Colombia that has been overgrown by a morning-glory-type weed

In the early days of New England, many towns and villages set aside a fenced field, the common, where residents could safely pasture their sheep, cows or other livestock for the day. But the arrangement came with a dilemma that became known as “the tragedy of the commons” – it turned out to be unsustainable. Individuals acting in their own self-interest eventually threatened the resource by over-use, depleting and spoiling it for everyone. This concept is at the heart of a new approach to the global problem of weeds – whether ecological or agricultural invaders – recently advocated by an unusual international collaboration of plant scientists and social scientists that included evolutionary biologist Ana Caicedo, biology. In their recent publication in “Nature Plants,” they propose that a new, nuanced approach can be helpful in protecting shared-resource plant systems around the world. Read more

Food Scientist in the Spotlight

photo of Matt Moore

Food scientist Matthew Moore is featured in the “Beyond the Bio” section of the current issue of “Food Protection Trends,” the publication of the International Association for Food Protection (IAFP). In the magazine profile, Moore, an assistant professor who joined the university in 2018, discusses his lifelong journey that led him to a position at the one of the top academic food science programs in the world. Read more

Congratulations to the 2019 CNS Outstanding Achievement Award winners!

photo of Ana Torres Ocampo

MCB award winners include:

Excellence in Diversity & Inclusion

   Ana Torres Ocampo, PhD Student of Molecular and Cell Biology, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

Outstanding Research

    Richard Vachet, Professor, Chemistry

    Luke Remage-Healey, Associate Professor, Psychological and Brian Sciences (Early-career Award)

Congratulations to all of the 2019 CNS Outstanding Achievement Award winners!

Trisha Zintel receives NSF Doctoral Dissertation Research Improvement (DDRI) Grant

photo of Trisha Zintel

Congratulations to Trisha Zintel, recipient of a 2019 NSF Biological Anthropology Program Doctoral Dissertation Research Improvement Grant! Trisha works in the Babbitt group, and received the DDRI grant for her work on "Investigating astrocyte-mediated adaptive changes in primate brain metabolism." The Biological Anthropology Program supports multifaceted research to advance scientific knowledge of human biology and ecology, including understanding of our evolutionary history and mechanisms that have shaped human and nonhuman primate biological diversity. These awards are intended to enhance and improve the conduct of dissertation research by doctoral students who are pursuing research in biological anthropology that enhances basic scientific knowledge. Read more

S. ‘Thai’ Thayumanavan, professor of chemistry, is awarded the Mahoney Life Sciences Prize for his paper:  “Shrink-wrapped Proteins as Next Generation Biologics.”

photo of S. "Thai" Thayumanavan

Thayumanavan’s work addresses major challenges in delivering protein-based drugs and devices across a cell membrane while keeping the protein stable and avoiding unwanted immune system responses. The award-winning study presents a “robust and sustainable” strategy which overcomes those challenges: the protein itself serves as a template, and polymers self-assemble to form a sheath around it. The technology has exciting potential applications in therapeutics. Congratulations to Thayumanavan, and to the eight additional featured scientists—showcased on the Mahoney Life Sciences Prize site—creating an additional bridge to further application of their groundbreaking work. Thayumanavan will receive the prize and present his research findings as part of a Celebration of Innovation and Entrepreneurship at UMass Amherst April 29. Read more

Natural Science Lecturers Receive Professional Development Awards

photo of Liudmila Tyler

The College of Natural Sciences (CNS) has announced the five recipients of the spring 2019 Lecturers’ Professional Development Fund awards. The awards offer support for technology assistance, conference and research travel, and other activities with the goal of helping recipients become more effective teachers and mentors. Ludmila Tyler, biochemistry and molecular biology, received an award to attend the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory’s Statistical Methods for Functional Genomics short course. Read more

Research Team Studies How Chemotherapy Can Cause Cancer Cells to Become Active

photo of Jungwoo Lee

Researchers have received a five-year, $1.76 million grant from the National Cancer Institute to study how, in some people, cancer cells in the human body that have left the original site of the cancer change from dormant to active due to chemotherapy. They are developing implantable tissue-engineered microenvironments where it is possible to see in detail what causes that change in a living system. The research team is headed by Jungwoo Lee, assistant professor of chemical engineering. Read more

Ana Caicedo Awarded Mutual Mentoring Grant for 2019-20

photo of Ana Caicedo

Eight teams and eight individual faculty have been selected for mutual mentoring team and micro-grants by the Office for Faculty Development. The Mutual Mentoring Team and Micro Grants encourage faculty to develop robust professional networks that support their growth as researchers, teachers and leaders in their fields. The Mutual Mentoring Micro Grants provide up to $1,500 for one year to individual faculty. Micro Grants are intended to encourage faculty to identify desirable areas for professional growth and to develop the necessary mentoring relationships to make such opportunities possible. Read more

Mine Canakci PhD dissertation defense

photo of Mine Canakci

Monday, April 8, 2019
9:00 AM
Life Sciences Laboratory, Room S330
Dissertation Title:  “Engineering of an Antibody-Conjugated Nanogel Platform for Targeted Drug Delivery to T Lymphocytes"
Advisors:  Barbara Osborne and S. Thayumanavan

UMass Amherst Graduate Programs Receive National Recognition in U.S. News & World Report Rankings

image of U.S. News and World Report logo

Graduate programs in several science and social science disciplines at the University of Massachusetts Amherst rank among the best in the nation in fresh rankings featured in the 2020 edition of U.S. News & World Report’s Best Graduate Schools, which was released this month. According to this list, UMass Amherst ranks 54th of Graduate Programs in Biological Sciences. Read more