News & Announcements

Graduate Students Organize the UMass Amherst SACNAS Fall 2021 Kick-off Event

UMass Amherst SACNAS Fall 2021 Kick-off Event

The SACNAS (Society for Advancement of Chicanos/Hispanics and Native Americans in Science) chapter at UMASS Amherst held their first kick-off event of the fall! Chapter officers were excited to share the group's goals and meet with interested students of all years, staff, and faculty. The event was organized by Miriam Hernandez-Romero (PB), Estefany Argueta (OEB), Natasha de la Rosa-Rivera (NSB), Leah Travis-Taylor (GeoSci), and Nadia Fernandez (ECO). 

If you want to be in the loop about how to support BIPOC students on campus and get info on future events, connect with us here:

Interested in learning more about SACNAS?

Follow us on twitter : @SACNAS_UMass

Visit our blog: https://blogs.umass.edu/sacnas-umass/

Visit our Campus pulse page: https://umassamherst.campuslabs.com/engage/organization/sacnasumassamherst 

Join our Slack channel: https://join.slack.com/t/umass-amherst-sacnas/shared_invite/zt-jbipjxdy-xf2Ck6d6IHfo4So2B7WrTA 

Learn about the national society: https://www.sacnas.org/

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

Nicole (Nikki) Lee PhD Dissertation Defense

Nicole Lee PhD

Friday, June 4, 2021
10:00 AM
Zoom Link: Please contact to be included on the email list for this announcement
Dissertation Title: "The role of reward in prairie vole (Microtus ochrogaster) peer relationships"
Abstract: Relationships between same-sex peers are central to life in social groups. Prairie voles (Microtus ochrogaster) are widely studied for their reproductive pair bonds, but individuals also demonstrate selective preferences for familiar same-sex peers. The mechanisms underlying reproductive pair bonds in this species may differ from those underlying peer relationships, as reproductive partnerships and parental behaviors are highly motivated but peer relationships appear to be behaviorally less rewarding. Differences in the role of dopamine signaling in the formation and maintenance of same-sex and opposite-sex social preferences suggest that reproductive bonds are mediated differently from non-reproductive ones, and thus that peer relationships need to be investigated separately from pair bonds to fully elucidate mechanisms of social behavior.

Advisor: Annaliese Beery

Jessica Caballero-Feliciano PhD Public Dissertation Defense

Jessica Caballero-Feliciano

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.

Len Jacob PhD Dissertation Defense

Len Jacob NSB PhD Defense

Monday, March 1, 2021
9:30 AM
Zoom link:  Please contact to be included on the email list for this announcement
Dissertation Title:  "The Two Sides of Neural Habituation in Visual Processing: Enhanced Novelty Detection Versus Repetition Deficits"
Advisor:  David Huber

Dan Vahaba as a recent UMass NSB alum!

NSB alumnus, Daniel Vahaba, has been featured in the UMass Initiative on Neurosciences (IONs) newsletter highlighting recent publications. Dr. Vahaba published research in collaboration members of the Healey Lab in the Nature of Scientific Reports. Read more

UMass Amherst Life Sciences Junior Fellows Seminar with Dr. Jeffrey Karp

The Junior Fellows program has invited Dr. Jeffrey Karp to give a talk on Thursday, November 12, 2020. 

Title: Towards Accelerated Medical Innovation.
Time: 5-6PM

To register to attend, please click HERE

UMass NSB Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Website

Visit the NSB Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion website to 1) celebrate the contributions of Black scientists, 2) find resources to support BIPOC  students, faculty and postdocs, and 3) support antiracism self-education and action.

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.