News & Announcements

Life Sciences Graduate Research Symposium

The 6th annual UMass Life Sciences Graduate Research Symposium will be held on Friday, December 2. The event brings together graduate students from all areas of life sciences research at UMass to present their work in both talks (9:00 am-5:00 pm, Life Sciences Laboratories Building, Room S340) and a poster session/reception (5:00-6:00 pm). This event is open to everyone who wants to learn about the fantastic life sciences work going on at UMass! The schedule for presentations is available on the LSGRC website.

Four Plant Biology students attend international ASA-CSSA-SSSA meeting in Phoenix, AZ

The American Society of Agronomy, Crop Science Society of America, and Soil Science Society of America (ASA-CSSA-SSSA) hosted over 4,000 scientists, educators, and students at the 2016 International Annual Meeting on Nov. 6-9, 2016, in Phoenix, AZ. The theme for the meeting was “Resilience Emerging from Scarcity and Abundance”, focused on optimizing agricultural and ecosystem resilience across local and global scales. The meeting featured over 3,000 technical presentations related to application of plant and soil sciences for production of food, feed, fuel, fiber, and pharmaceutical crops.

We had four PB students attend the conference, including Elisha Allan-Perkins (Jung lab), Rachael Bernstein (DaCosta lab), Samantha Glaze-Corcoran (Hashemi lab), and Caroline Wise (Hashemi lab).Elisha and Rachael participated in the graduate student competitions, and were awarded for their talks in different Crop Science divisions.

Elisha received first place in the Turfgrass and Breeding Genetics Section for her talk titled “Should the Thatch be the Target of Microbial Studies in Turfgrass?”.

Rachael received second place in the Crop Physiology and Metabolism section for her talk titled “Changes in Gene Expression in Relation to Freezing Tolerance of Perennial Ryegrass”.

PB MS student Kelly Allen receives $15K SARE award

Kelly Allen, PB MS Student

Kelly S. Allen, a PB MS student working with Dr. Rob Wick, was recently awarded a Northeast Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) Graduate Student Grant for $15,000 for her proposal titled “Improving Basil Downy Mildew Control with Cultural and Biological Methods”. Sweet basil is one of the most commonly-grown herbs worldwide, and crops are highly susceptible to becoming diseased with basil downy mildew, caused by the pathogen Peronospora belbahrii. This pathogen results in devastating crop losses and economic losses totaling in the tens of millions of dollars in the US. Basil growers are also spending an estimated 10 million dollars each year to manage the disease. Basil downy mildew is not effectively controlled with organic fungicide spray programs, and conventional fungicides are limited and can risk increased pathogen resistance. This research aims to improve cultural control methods for greenhouse propagation of sweet basil, and will investigate the efficacy of a filamentous yeast as biological control agent.

Bhowmik Honored at International Weed Science Congress

Dr. Prasanta Bhowmik

Stockbridge School of Agriculture professor Prasanta Bhowmik was honored with a 2016 Outstanding International Achievement Award at the International Weed Science Society 7th International Weed Science Congress in June in Prague. Bhowmik offered a presentation on the invasive giant hogweed during the congress, which was attended by more than 800 participants from 57 countries. Read more.

BMB Faculty, Dong Wang and Li-Jun Ma, Recognized for Research at International Meeting 

Dr. Dong Wang

Faculty Dong Wang and Li-Jun Ma from the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology were recognized for their research at the 17th International Congress of the International Society for Molecular Plant-Microbe Interactions held July 17-21 in Portland, Ore. Wang received the inaugural MPMI Young Investigator Award and Ma presented a plenary talk at the meeting. Read more.