News & Announcements

Sandra Romero-Gamboa receives scholarship to attend NSF Plant Transformation Workshop at URI

PB PhD graduate student Sandra Romero Gamboa

PB PhD graduate student Sandra Romero-Gamboa, from the Hazen Lab, will attend a Plant Transformation Workshop from July 25-29 at the University of Rhode Island Plant Biotechnology Laboratory on full scholarship.  The five-day advanced training workshop is focused on rice, maize and sorghum transformation.  Plant transformation and regeneration has enabled fundamental insights into plant biology and has revolutionized commercial agriculture but for most crops, it still remains a significant bottleneck. The scholarship will cover all workshop materials and supplies, as well as full room and board.    

Rob Wick travels to Nepal to train farmers to combat clubroot disease

Sidhuwa Nepal

Rob Wick, PB faculty member in the Stockbridge School of Agriculture, was invited by USAID/Winrock to help farmers curb clubroot disease of brassica crops in Nepal. Rob was a “Trainer to train Trainers” at the Sidhuwa Multipurpose Cooperative in the district of Dhankuta located in the eastern hills of Nepal, from June 1- June 20, 2016. The farming cooperative, at around 7000 feet elevation, has about 1,200 households participating on approximately 4,000 acres of terraced hill gardens. Losses due to clubroot have been rising since the disease was first reported in 1993. Millions of dollars are lost each year to the disease. Cabbage and cauliflower are lucrative cash crops for Nepal, mostly grown for export to India. Clubroot is caused by Plasmodiophora brassicae, a devastating plant pathogen of the cabbage family.  The disease is named for the large clubby galls, some as large as a tennis ball, that form on the roots and restrict the uptake of water and nutrients. A single gall can release billions of resting spores into the soil which can survive a decade or more; thus contaminated soils cannot support brassica crops without crop rotations of 6 to 10 years. 

Harry Klein selected for summer course at Harvard's Arnold Arboretum

Harry Klein, PB PhD student

PB graduate student, Harry Klein, was accepted to and will be attending a summer course (June 13-24) at the Arnold Arboretum in Boston that covers vegetative and floral morphology. The course is co-sponsored by microMORPH (an NSF-sponsored Research Coordination Network) and the Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University and is free for accepted participants. The course will be taught by experts from around the world as an intense, two-week lecture, laboratory, and living collections experience. Harry is a 2nd year PhD student in the Bartlett Lab

Jarrett Man receives Helmsley Scholarship for CSHL summer course

Jarrett Man, PB PhD graduate student

Jarrett Man, PB PhD graduate student from the Bartlett Lab, has been awarded a Helmsley Scholarship towards the cost of attending the 2016 Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (CSHL) three-week course "Frontiers & Techniques in Plant Science".  The course will run from July 1 to July 21 and provides an intensive overview of topics in plant genetics, physiology, biochemistry, development, and evolution and hands-on experiences in molecular, analytical, computational and high throughput approaches to understanding plant biology. It emphasizes recent results from model organisms including Arabidopsis, maize and tomato as well as a variety of other plants and provides an introduction to current methods used in basic and applied plant biology, both theoretically and practically.  Jarrett received additional funding from the PB Program for the course.

Jenny Olins from the Hazen Lab awarded the 2016 R.E. Torrey Scholarship

Jenny Olins, UMass Amherst Torrey scholarship receipient

Jenny Olins, a rising senior Biology major here at UMass Amherst, has been awarded this year's Ray Ethan Torrey Scholarship by the PB Program Graduate Operations Committee.  She has been working in the Hazen Lab since freshman year studying transcriptional regulation of secondary cell wall biosynthesis. She is currently studying abroad in Valparaíso, Chile.  The Torrey award will allow Jenny to work full-time on her research project this summer studying the natural variation of cell wall traits in Arabidopsis. Specifically, she’ll be investigating the effects of discrete differences in genotype (a single base pair) on global changes in phenotype of cellulose composition. Jenny was also one of five undergraduates named as a Rising Researcher here at UMass.

Zhongyun Huang Selected for Summer Internship with Dow AgroSciences

PB graduate student Zhongyun Huang

PB graduate student Zhongyun Huang, from the Caicedo Lab, is one of 40 interns who will be spending 12 weeks this summer with Dow AgroSciences.  The paid internship at Dow Agrosciences is a full-time position in the Research and Development Department at their global headquarters in Indianapolis, IN.  Students will have the opportunity to work on a research project with an experienced supervisor and interns from more than 20 universities will be in the program.  

Four UMass Amherst researchers, including PB faculty Li-Jun Ma and Sergey Savinov, receive the 2016 Armstrong Fund for Science Award

Armstrong team 2016

A team of four University of Massachusetts Amherst researchers are the Armstrong Fund for Science winners for 2016, which is granting $40,000 over two years to encourage transformative research on campus that introduces new ways of thinking about pressing scientific or technical challenges. The winning team included Yasu Morita, Li-Jun Ma, Michele Klingbeil and Sergey Savinov.  They were recognized at the UMass Amherst Honors Dinner on April 13. Read more

Scott Lee PhD Dissertation Defense

Scott Lee, Hazen Lab
12 noon
Monday, May 9, 2016
Life Sciences Laboratory N410
Dissertation title: Uncovering the Genetic Basis for Biofuel-related Traits in Brachypodium distachyon
Advisor: Sam Hazen

UMass Amherst Undergrad in the Wang Lab, Johanna L'Heureux, awarded ASPB Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF) 

UMass undergrad Johanna L'Heureux

Johanna L'Heureux has been awarded one of fifteen Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowships (SURF) from the American Society of Plant Biologists (ASPB) to work in the lab of PB faculty member Dong Wang for ten weeks this summer.  Her project involves the bacterium Sinorhizobium meliloti that forms a mutualistic relationship with its legume host, and allows the plant to acquire fixed nitrogen.  Johanna looks forward to spending the summer in Dr. Wang's laboratory working on this project and is very thankful to the American Society of Plant Biologists for the award. 

 

How Plants Interact with Beneficial Microbes in the Soil

Bacteroids in the soil

UMass Amherst researchers in the lab of Dong Wang add fundamental new molecular-level knowledge on how legumes recognize nitrogen-fixing bacteria. Read more (Photo credit: Minsoo Kim)

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