News & Announcements

Chen, Colleagues Discover New Channel-Gating Mechanism 

photo of Jianhan Chen

Computational biophysicists are not used to making discoveries, says Jianhan Chen at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, so when he and colleagues cracked the secret of how cells regulate Big Potassium (BK) channels, they thought it must be a computational artifact. But after many simulations and tests, they convinced themselves that they have identified the BK gating mechanism that had eluded science for many years. Their work is reported in the journal Nature Communications. Read more

IDGP Student and Faculty BBQ August 28, 2018

New IDGP Student Outing

Please join us for an all student and faculty BBQ mixer to welcome the incoming Fall 2018 cohort!

IDGP New Student Reception BBQ
Date: August 28, 2018
Time: 5:00pm start time
Location: Durfee Lawn (the lawn just north of French Hall, near the pink pillars and Durfee greenhouse)
Please RSVP by August 20

Hope to see you there! The BBQ will include vegetarian food options and a cash bar will be available.

UMass Amherst Biophysicist, Cell Biologist Team Up to Explore Mechanics of Cell Division

photo of Mitotic Spindle

When humans construct a building, it’s intended to stand for many years, but in biological systems, cells routinely build structures and take them apart, re-using the pieces in different places and dissolving them again in an intricate process that scientists are just beginning to explore at a deep physical level, say cell biologist Patricia Wadsworth and biophysicist Jennifer Ross at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Ross and Wadsworth recently received a four-year, $1.1 million grant from the National Science Foundation to investigate the biological and physical underpinnings of cell division from this perspective. Read more

UMass Amherst’s Yubing Sun Part of Research Team Exploring How Mechanical Signals Help Develop the Human Nervous System

photo of research

A team of researchers including Yubing Sun of the University of Massachusetts Amherst has demonstrated that human pluripotent stem cells can be guided to become the precursors of the central nervous system and that mechanical signals play a key role in this process. Sun and his colleagues outlined their findings in a recent paper published in the journal Nature Materials. Read more

Computational Biophysicist Receives Grant to Study ‘Floppy’ Proteins 

Computational biophysicist Jianhan Chen recently received a four-year, $600,000 grant from the National Science Foundation to study a newly recognized class of proteins with highly flexible three-dimensional structural properties, in particular some extra-floppy ones called intrinsically disordered proteins. Read more

Safia Omer PhD dissertation defense

photo of Safia Omer

Monday, August 27, 2018
10:30 AM
Life Sciences Laboratory, Room N210
Dissertation Title:  “Studies of dynein anchoring protein in budding yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae”
Advisors:  Wei-lih Lee and Patricia Wadsworth

'Ray of Hope' breast cancer registry reaches milestone

UMass Amherst Veterinary and Animal Sciences Professor and Rays of Hope Center for Breast Cancer Research (link is external) co-director, D. Joseph Jerry, has reached a milestone. The project—building a tissue sample registry of patients linked to breast cancer diagnosis and treatment—now includes some 1,000 participants. Read more

Chelsea Marcho PhD dissertation defense

photo of Chelsea Marcho

Wednesday, July 18, 2018
2:30 PM
Integrated Sciences Building, Room 221
Dissertation Title:  Characterizing dynamic epigenetic phenomena during early mammalian development
Advisor:  Jesse Mager

Sid Advani PhD dissertation defense

photo of Sid Advani

Thursday, August 2, 2018
2:00 PM
Life Sciences Laboratory, Room S330
Dissertation Title:  Targeted localization of Microtubule-Severing Enzymes to create new, local microtubule-disruption tools to study cell division
Advisor:  Jenny Ross


Fritz-Laylin to Develop Genetic Tools to Probe Workings of Deadly Pathogen

photo of Lillian Fritz-Laylin

The brain-eating amoeba Naegleria fowleri is an emerging and deadly protist pathogen whose natural range appears to be rapidly expanding, says Lillian Fritz-Laylin, biology, but it has been “largely unstudied” because it is so dangerous and scientists lack adequate tools for gene manipulation. Read more. Recent article.