News & Announcements

OEB Students Recognized with Grants and Awards Over the Summer

Congratulations to OEB students on some awesome grants and awards this past summer! Please keep the good news coming. Here are the ones we’ve heard about so far, listed alphabetically by first name:

Alison Fowler has been awarded a 3-year NSF GRFP, and a $15,000 NE SARE Graduate Student Grant to study bumble bee gut microbiomes.

Josh Moyer was awarded Best Poster at the American Elasmobranch Society meeting in Snowbird, Utah over the summer! His poster about sand tiger teeth was the unanimous winner of the competition and according to one conference attendee, “impressed everybody who saw his poster.”

Kadambari Devarajan was a finalist for the Robert May Prize 2018 instituted by the British Ecological Society for her jointly first-authored paper on ViXeN, The Prize is awarded to an early career researcher (<5 years from PhD) who published a paper as first author in Methods in Ecology and Evolution. For more information on ViXeN, you can read her blog post in the journal’s blog: http://methodsblog.com/2019/05/14/vixen/

Luis Aguirre received a NSF GROW fellowship to spend this year collaborating with Dr. Robert Junker in Austria and Germany.

Michelle Jackson was awarded a $2,900 grant this summer from the New England Botanical Club to support her dissertation work.

Congratulations to OEB students on some awesome grants and awards this summer! Please keep the good news coming. Here are the ones we’ve heard about so far, listed alphabetically by first name:

Alison Fowler has been awarded a 3-year NSF GRFP, and a $15,000 NE SARE Graduate Student Grant to study bumble bee gut microbiomes.

Josh Moyer was awarded Best Poster at the American Elasmobranch Society meeting in Snowbird, Utah over the summer! His poster about sand tiger teeth was the unanimous winner of the competition and according to one conference attendee, “impressed everybody who saw his poster.”

Kadambari Devarajan was a finalist for the Robert May Prize 2018 instituted by the British Ecological Society for her jointly first-authored paper on ViXeN, The Prize is awarded to an early career researcher (<5 years from PhD) who published a paper as first author in Methods in Ecology and Evolution. For more information on ViXeN, you can read her blog post in the journal’s blog: http://methodsblog.com/2019/05/14/vixen/

Luis Aguirre received a NSF GROW fellowship to spend this year collaborating with Dr. Robert Junker in Austria and Germany.

Michelle Jackson was awarded a $2,900 grant this summer from the New England Botanical Club to support her dissertation work.

Environment Plays a Role in the Physical Toll on Migrating Birds

A Swainson’s thrush in the wind tunnel at the Advanced Facility for Avian Research at Western University in London, Ontario. Photo courtesy of University of Western Ontario/Brock Fenton.

Ornithology researchers Alexander Gerson and his postdoctoral research associate Derrick Groom at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, with others, compared the short-term effects of resting vs. long duration flight on the rate of lean body mass loss in birds. They found that the total quantity and rate of protein loss was not different in the two conditions, but both were affected by ambient humidity. Read More

OEB Welcomes New Students and Darwin Fellow at Annual BBQ

The OEB Fall Barbeque was held on September 6, hosted by GPD Paige Warren at her home. The OEB community enthusiastically welcomed 8 new students (Kim, Chris, Seanne, Gates, Margaret, Aly, Patrick, and Alex) and our new Darwin Fellow, John Rowan, with good food, good cheer, and the traditional OEB cake. Many thanks to our host and to our student organizers!

Brittany Laginhas wins OEB Teaching Assistant Award

Brittany  Laginhas

Congratulations, Brittany, on receiving the 2018-2019 OEB Teaching Assistant Award!   A significant goal of OEB is to train graduate students to excel in teaching. The annual OEB Teaching Assistant Award was instituted in 1999 at the suggestion of students to recognize excellence in teaching. 

Ana Caicedo and Jacob Barnett's Tomato Research Featured in: Vegetable Growers News

Dr. Ana Caicedo

Professor Ana Caicedo and OEB PhD student Jacob Barnett are studying the evolution of wild tomatoes in an effort to create plants that are disease and pest resistant and also have good flavor and appearance. Their research is being featured in a story published in the "Vegetable Growers News."  Read more

Announcing the Inauguration of the On-Ramp Summer Pre-graduate Program

IDGP On Ramp Students 2019

The Interdepartmental Graduate Programs in the Life Sciences (IDGPs) launched a brand-new On-Ramp program for entering students on August 1st, with 18 soon-to-be PhD students participating. The month-long On-Ramp program is designed to facilitate the transition to graduate school by providing mentoring and professional development opportunities prior to the start of fall classes. Participants have the opportunity to work closely with a faculty member and current graduate students in a laboratory or in the field on research. In addition to hands-on training experience, On-Ramp students participate in lab meetings, journal clubs, and professional development workshops. On-Ramp students are paired with a graduate student peer mentor and join current students for social and programmatic events. There has been enthusiastic support for On-Ramp from all four IDGP graduate programs (MCB, NSB, OEB, and PB). We hope the On-Ramp Summer Research Program becomes a permanent part of the IDGP graduate experience at UMass.
Molecular and Cellular Biology Program
Neuroscience and Behavior Program
Organismic and Evolutionary Biology Program
Plant Biology Program

Three OEB Students Awarded NSF Graduate Research Fellowships

Congratulations to Eve Beaury, Alison Fowler, and Rachel Bell, who were among nine UMass students to win the 2019 competition for NSF Graduate Research Fellowships. Barbara Krauthamer, dean of the Graduate School, says these are some of the most prestigious and competitive awards available to students. (Read more...)

Marine Protected Reserves Do More Than Restore Fish
News on the need to protect and restore biodiversity in our oceans

Scalloped hammerhead shark (Sphyrna lewin) aggregation near Darwin Island in the Galapagos Marine Reserve. Photo courtesy of UMass Amherst/Brian Cheng.

Analyzing field experiments from across the globe, Brian Cheng and collaborators at the Smithsonian Institution and the University of Florida say their findings reveal that marine reserves increase predation rates by protecting predators that were once heavily fished by humans, allowing their numbers to thrive. Their study appears online in the current issue of Ecology, the flagship journal of the Ecological Society of America. Read More

Mariamar Gutierrez Ramirez wins Ford Foundation Fellowship
4 OEB students awarded grants from the Natural History Collections

Congratulations to Mariamar Gutierrez Ramirez on being awarded the highly competitive and prestigious Ford Foundation Fellowship. Woohoo! Way to go, Mariamar! In addition, 4 students were awarded grants this year from the Natural History Collections: Rachel Bell, Kadambari Devarajan, Chaise Gilbert, and Carolina Muñoz-Agudelo. We are excited to celebrate all these successes - be sure to share yours with us!

Three Minutes of Genius: UMass Amherst grad students present their high-caliber research in an exciting timed competition

Organized by the Graduate School’s Office of Professional Development, the annual three-week-long contest tests the research communication skills of 40 doctoral and master’s students by challenging them to explain the significance of their academic projects in accessible and compelling presentations of three minutes or less. Ten students advanced to the 2019 final. OEB student Lian Guo was a finalist in the competition.  Read More

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