News & Announcements

Christina Stonoha to present at Symbiotic Nitrogen Fixation conference in December.

PB PhD graduate student Christina Stonoha

PB PhD graduate student Christina Stonoha has been chosen to give a talk at the 23rd North American Conference on Symbiotic Nitrogen Fixation (NACSNF), December 6-10, 2015 in Ixtapa, Mexico.  Her advisor, Dong Wang, will also be presenting at the event. 

Li-Jun Ma named a Burroughs Wellcome Fund Investigator

Li-Jun Ma, a University of Massachusetts Amherst biochemist and genomics expert, has received a coveted five-year, $500,000 Burroughs Wellcome Fund Investigator in the Pathogenesis of Infectious Disease award to develop new treatment options for opportunistic fungal infections.  The Ma lab studies the genetic mechanisms that underlie the aggressive pathogenicity and genome evolution at the fungus-human interface in the model fungus Fusarium oxysporum.  Ma and her colleagues will combine experimental and computational approaches to investigate pathogen virulence and host defense at the same time. Because of the huge amounts of data involved, she says, this project will use the advanced computing capabilities at the Massachusetts Green High Performance Computing Center in Holyoke.  Read the full UMass News article here.

Muvari Tjiurutue receives 2nd year of funding from the "Faculty for the Future" award, Schlumberger Foundation

Muvari Tjiurutue, PB PhD graduate student

Muvari Tjiurutue's Faculty for the Future award was recently renewed for a second year.  The generous fellowship from the Schlumberger Foundation, is providing full funding for Muvari's research in the Adler Lab as well as funds for travel. This summer, Muvari went to Kunming, China to present her work at the 13th World Congress on Parasitic Plants (WCPP) conference. She presented her work on how gypsy moth (Lymantria dispar, L.) damage on cranberry hosts (Vaccinium macrocarporn) affected future dodder (Cuscuta spp.) parasitism on the same cranberry hosts. She found that gypsy moth damage delayed dodder parasitism and also delayed future dodder attachment possibly due to changes in phenolic acid defenses. She noted it was very exciting to present her work with professionals who share her passion for parasitic plants and she felt privileged to rub shoulders with some of the pioneers in the field. Muvari also presented her research at the Ecological Society of America (ESA) conference in Baltimore, MD in August.

Hazen and Harrington receive two grants to develop crop biotechnology venture

Plant growth is in part determined by a network of genes that influence total biomass yield. By studying the regulatory mechanisms of how plants build themselves, the Hazen Laboratory has identified ways to potentially boost energy crop yield. Professor Samuel Hazen and Postdoctoral Fellow Michael J. Harrington have been awarded grants from the National Science Foundation and the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center (MassCEC). The NSF Innovation Corp program award of $50,000 is designed to extend the basic laboratory research to entrepreneurial ventures. By participating in this program they will explore product opportunities and a business development plan. The MassCEC provided a $40,000 catalyst award to test what they have learned in their laboratory model, the small grass Brachypodium distachyon, in energy crop species.

Hazen selected as 2015 Whiting Fellow

Samuel Hazen, Biology, has received a grant from the Marion and Jasper Whiting Foundation. The award will support sabbatical research in France next year, on using phenomics as a teaching and research tool to understand how energy crops grow.