News & Announcements

New UMass Amherst, Stanford Research Identifies Plant Cell Wall Sensing Mechanism

Professor Alice Cheung

An international collaboration of plant researchers this week reports yet another newly discovered role for the versatile receptor kinase, FERONIA, in the model plant Arabidopsis. The researchers say it acts as a sensor in the plant cell wall to help maintain its integrity and protect the plant from environmental assaults. 

How cells sense their physical state and compensate for cell wall damage is poorly understood, say authors led by Alice Cheung at the University of Massachusetts Amherst and collaborator José Dinneny from the Carnegie Institute for Science and Stanford University. But their new analysis of plants exposed to salt stress offers the first experimental evidence and molecular mechanisms showing how FERONIA is essential for the cellular responses that ensure survival under high salinity.

Details are online now and will be in the March 5 issue of Current Biology.   Read more

That's Life [Science] grad student blog publishes their 150th post

That's Life Science 150th blog post photo

Graduate students in the UMass IDGP programs created That's Life [Science], an interdisciplinary outreach blog, in 2016. Since then, the group has published 150 articles covering interesting topics across life science fields for the general public. "A Day in the Life of a Bird Nerd" is their 150th article!

Researchers Link Fungicides, Bumblebee Decline

Professor Lynn Adler, Biology Department

Several bumblebee species have seen their ranges contract and some may face extinction due to several combined stressors, say ecologists Lynn Adler, Professor of Biology, and her former Postdoctoral Fellow Scott McArt, with others. Their recently published research analysis in Proceedings of the Royal Society B. explores the relative importance of multiple factors, and found unexpectedly that greater use of fungicides was the strongest predictor of range contraction in declining bumblebee species. Read More

Susan Han Named Outstanding Teacher of the College of Natural Sciences 

Susan Han, Stockbridge School of Agriculture UMass Amherst

Susan Han, Stockbridge School of Agriculture, has been awared the 2016-2017 Outstanding Teacher of the College of Natural Sciences. More Information

Soil Researchers Quantify an Important, Underappreciated Factor in Carbon Release to the Atmosphere

Marco Keiluweit

Soil plays a critical role in global carbon cycling, in part because soil organic matter stores three times more carbon than the atmosphere. Now biogeochemist Marco Keiluweit at the University of Massachusetts Amherst and colleagues elsewhere for the first time provide evidence that anaerobic microsites play a much larger role in stabilizing carbon in soils than previously thought. Read More