News Highlights

IDGP Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Statement

The Interdepartmental Graduate Programs in Life Sciences (IDGPs) believe that a diverse, equitable and inclusive environment is critical to all that we do.  We recognize that systemic racism exists in our society and we pledge to educate ourselves so that we can change our ingrained habits and beliefs. We are committed to make our programs accessible to all and to increase the success of all our members. We dedicate our time, effort and financial resources to these activities. We work with Institutional leaders, faculty, staff and students to achieve these goals. We are providing this pdf link so that you are able to view a working document of our activities. 

We are proud of our amazing students and post docs who have worked tirelessly for the betterment of our community. Our students have fostered a tight-knit, progressive community and their recent efforts have resulted in this petition for systematic change.  We stand with them in recognizing that change is required in order to make progress toward a more equitable, just, diverse and inclusive environment. 

The University has established an Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion and their website provides links to many resources. We encourage you to make use of these tools, including links to videos, books and podcasts as well as programing, as we embark together on our journey to improve our community for all our members.  

MCB Alumna Ana Torres-Ocampo Featured in UMass Magazine

photo of Ana Torres-Ocampo

In a recent UMass Magazine article, "The One Constant: Change," MCB Alumna (PhD '21) Ana Torres-Ocampo describes what initially drew her to research and explains how she feels about it now. She became interested in research and began volunteering when a friend mentioned lab. Ana completed her PhD in 2021, and her enthusiasm for research has not changed. “I get giddy like a little kid. It’s amazing to me that I get to do this.” Read more

Jessica McGory, Kevin Guay and Jun-Goo Kwak win proposal competition

Congratulations to Jun-Goo Kwak, Jessica McGory and Kevin Guay on receiving the internal awards for the MCB proposal competition! MCB students write an NSF-style fellowship proposal as they enter their second year as part of our program curriculum. The proposals are reviewed internally, and prizes are awarded based on the strongest applications. The prizes for the 2020 submissions went to:

Kevin Guay, "Investigating the Mechanism of Lysosomal Sequestration by Toxoplasma Gondii During Chronic Toxoplasmosis"
Jun-Goo Kwak, "Decoupling the Roles of Matrix Proteins and Niche Cells on the Regulation of Bone Marrow Hematopoiesis"
Jessica McGory, "Elucidating the Role of Aurora B in the Mitotic DNA Damage Response Pathway and its Involvement in Tumorigenesis"

Congratulations to the award winners!

NSB graduate students publication expected to lead to a more precise understanding of the neuronal activity underlying patterns of drinking behavior which may play a role in the detrimental effects on mental health that differ by sex.

NSB Graduate Students,  Annabelle Bonilla Flores and Andy Silva-Gotay, members of the Richardson Lab have a recent publication in Biology of Sex Differences. To learn more about this research, see Annabelle Flores-Bonilla’s Student Spotlight featured in The Initiative on Neurosciences (IONs) and Flores-Bonilla A, De Oliveria B, Silva-Gotay, A, Lucier KW, Richardson HN (2021). Shortening time for access to alcohol drives up front-loading behavior, bringing consumption in male rats to the level of females. Biology of Sex Differences.

UMass, Amherst, NSB Graduate Program Research Pinpoints Role of Dopamine in Songbird's Brain Plasticity

zebra finches

New Research from NSB Alumn Matheus Macedo-Lima and senior researcher, Luke Remage-Healey published in Journal of Neuroscience. The finding that dopamine drives plasticity in the auditory pallium of zebra finches lays new groundwork for advancing the understanding of the functions of this neurotransmitter in an area of the brain that encodes complex stimuli. Read More

Congratulations to the MCB Byron Prize Winners!

Nils Pilotte, Archit Rastogi and Rilee Zeinert have been selected as the 2021 Byron Prize winners! The Byron Prize was established in 1994 in honor of Dr. Fred Byron, Vice Chancellor for Research at UMass Amherst. Dissertation advisors may nominate students who received PhD degrees in the previous year for this competitive award, and selection criteria include:  originality and creativity of the research, impact, scope of the project and techniques, quality of writing and contributions to the MCB program. Award winners present talks at the MCB Retreat and receive cash prizes. Hearty congrats to our alumni on this achievement!

Nils Pilotte (Williams Lab)
Assistant Professor of Biology, Quinnipiac University
Archit Rastogi (Timme-Laragy Lab)
Toxicologist, Gradient Corporation
Rilee Zeinert (Chien Lab)
Postdoctoral Associate, Storz Lab, NIH

 

MCB Alumnae Yadilette Rivera-Colón receives Women of Color STEM Achievement Award

photo of Yadilette Rivera-Colón

Yadilette Rivera-Colón (PhD 2013) has been selected to be the recipient of the 2021 Women of COLOR STEM Achievement Award in the category of Excellence in STEM Education. The award recognizes an educator who exemplifies inclusion and innovation in their teaching strategy to create positive student learning outcomes. Dr. Rivera-Colón is currently Assistant Professor of Biology and Undergraduate Science Program Research Coordinator at Bay Path University. She teaches biochemistry and biotechnology courses in the Residential College undergraduate program. She strongly believes in teaching the importance of the scientific basis within the context of everyday problems, and taking into consideration both its historical importance and future application. Just as she has done with her previous students, Dr. Rivera-Colón is teaching in a way that incorporates different elements such audio-visual activities as well as hands-on activities. Also, by knowing the identity and the background of the students, she tailors every class to their needs and interests.

The inaugural WOC STEM Achievement Awards will be presented by COLOR and judged by a panel of STEM leaders at MIT Lincoln Lab on Friday, May 21st. The WOC STEM Achievement Awards recognize and celebrate diverse women achieving new heights in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics. Congratulations to Dr. Rivera-Colón and to all of the award winners! Read more

Kevin Guay receives honorable mention for NSF GRFP

photo of Kevin Guay

Kevin Guay (Hebert group) received honorable mention for his NSF GRFP proposal on "Understanding the Selectivity of a Key Quality Control Sensor within the Secretory Pathway of the Endoplasmic Reticulum." The NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program recognizes and supports outstanding graduate students in NSF-supported science, technology, engineering, and mathematics disciplines who are pursuing research-based Master's and doctoral degrees at accredited United States institutions. Congratulations, Kevin! Read more

Ford Foundation Dissertation Fellowship Awarded to NSB doctoral student, Mélise Edwards

Congratulations to Mélise Edwards for being awarded a Ford Foundation Fellowship. Mélise is 2nd year PhD student in the Hormones & Cognition lab at UMass Amherst and the founder of MUSE Mentorship. She interested in age-related cognitive decline and the role of hormones like estrogen in cognition and cell signaling.

Madeline Tompach named finalist in Three Minute Thesis (3MT) competition

photo of Madeline Tompach

Madeline Tompach (2nd year MCB, Timme-Laragy Lab) has been named a finalist in the Graduate School’s Three Minute Thesis (3MT) competition.

Of the 35 preliminary round participants, 10 were selected as Finalists. These Finalists will compete for a $1,000 first place prize at the Campus Final, with the runner up receiving $500. Additionally, a People’s Choice award ($500) will be selected by audience vote at the virtual final. 

The virtual 3MT Final will be held on Thursday, March 18, 4-5:30pm via this link. Mark your calendars so we can all show our support for Madeline in the finals!

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