News & Announcements

Dr. Huairong Pan receives awards to attend career development conference in the U.K.

Dr. Huairong Pan, a Post-Doctoral Fellow working in the Wang Lab, received two awards to attend a career development conference in the United Kingdom.  The awards were sponsored by the University of Massachusetts Amherst and by the conference organizers.

Samantha Glaze-Corcoran awarded Annie’s Sustainable Agriculture Scholarship

Samantha Glaze-Corcoran

Stockbridge student, Samantha Glaze-Corcoran, a Ph.D. candidate in the Plant Biology Graduate Program (Hashemi Lab), recently received Annie’s Sustainable Agriculture Scholarship, which awards $10,000 to undergraduate and graduate students studying sustainable agriculture. Sam received the scholarship based on her academic achievement, her community and university service, and her research and outreach work that fulfill Annie’s mission to “cultivate a healthier and happier world by spreading goodness through nourishing foods.”

The Valley Venture Mentors Program Awards Money to Top Achieving Startup Companies 

The Valley Venture Mentors (VVM) program in Springfield, MA. awarded prize money to 12 startup companies. These 12 startup companies were top achievers among 36 that successfully completed the VVM four-month accelerator program. Three start-up companies were affiliated with the Institute for Applied Life Sciences (IALS) on campus at UMass Amherst. Genoverde Biosciences Inc., based in part on research by Sam Hazen, Associate Professor Biology, received the top prize of $25,000 for its proposal, “Engineering trees with increased carbon dioxide (CO2) capture capabilities to combat global climate change.”  Read More

Becoming Weeds

Ana Caicedo is an author on a new paper about a new resequencing analysis of weedy rice (Oryza sativa L.) biotypes illuminates distinct evolutionary paths and outcomes of de-domestication and ferality. This largest effort to date in weedy plant genomics gives a better understanding of weediness while also providing a promising source of alleles for rice breeding.  Read More

We are pleased to announce the following PB thesis defense

Tuesday, April 4, 2017
1:15 PM
202 Paige
Thesis Title: The Hidden Ecosystem on Golf Courses: Investigations into the Turf Phtyobiome
Advisor: Geunhwa Jung

Evolutionary approach to investigating stem cells’ role in fruit yields using a CRISPR/Cas9 multiplex knockout strategy

Madelaine Bartlett

Plant genome scientist and evolutionary biologist, Madelaine Bartlett, in collaboration with researchers at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, N.Y. and the University of North Carolina, is looking at ways to better understand evolutionary genetics of plants.  The National Science Foundation has awarded a four-year $4 million grant ($812,000 to Bartlett) for the team to study genetic regulation of plant stem cells and their role in higher fruit yields.  Read more

Plant Biology researchers utilize UMass Amherst’s library of plant cell cultures to facilitate new collaborations with biotech industry

Plant cell culture sample

Molecular biologists are making new discoveries with applications in biotech, pharmaceutical and agricultural areas of research using new technology.  In collaboration with a South Korean biotechnology company, PCL, UMass researchers are utilizing new tools to detect and identify plant molecules from the campus’ plant cell culture library (PCCL).  Read more

Sam Hazen awarded NSF grant to study gene regulation of cell wall growth in Brachypodium in collaboration with local biotechnology group

The grass species Brachypodium is a model for the Hazen lab to better understand the transcription networks regulating secondary cell wall biosynthesis.  The research grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) is part of a Small Business Innovation Research program, and the three-year $713,000 award will fund research aimed at demonstrating how higher yields of renewable biomass can be provided by adapting the processes of secondary cell wall gene regulation that take place in grasses. Read More

Life Sciences Graduate Research Symposium

LSGRC logo

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”.