News & Announcements

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.  

Hernandez-Romero Selected as the Inaugural Gilgut Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Fellow

Miriam Hernandez-Romero

The PB DEI committee is delighted to announce the selection of Miriam Hernandez-Romero as the Gilgut DEI Fellow for Spring 2021. Ms. Hernandez-Romero was selected from an excellent pool of applicants, standing out as a leader in working to build an environment where all plant biologists can thrive. Ms. Hernandez-Romero will serve as the co-chair of the PB DEI committee as we work towards our goals in Spring 2021, and will work with CNS leadership to establish a SACNAS chapter on the UMass campus.

Three UMass Amherst Researchers Named 2020 Fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science

Dr. Alice Cheung

Three University of Massachusetts Amherst researchers have been named Fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), an honor bestowed upon members by their peers to recognize their scientifically or socially distinguished efforts to advance science or its applications. The three are: Professors Alice Cheung, Triantafillos Mountziaris, and James V. Staros.

Alice Y. Cheung, Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, “for contributions to understanding the molecular and cellular biology of fertilization and polarized cell growth in plants.” Her research interests include understanding the signaling of pollen tube growth in plant sexual reproduction. Her lab works to identify female signal molecules, their receptors on the pollen surface and signalling molecules that regulate the pollen cellular machinery for growth. Another major area of research interest for the Cheung lab is to understand the signaling of plant growth regulators. Read more

We are pleased to announce the following PB PhD thesis defense

Jarrett Man

Jarrett Man
Wednesday, November 18, 2020
1:30 PM
Zoom Web Link: TBA
Thesis Title: Dynamic evolution in the Leucine-Rich Repeat Receptor-Like Kinase (LRR-RLK) family of receptors

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 Amherst Scholar in the Plant Biology Graduate Program Among AAUW Fellowships and Grants Recipients

Jedaidah Chilufya

Jedaidah Chilufya, who is pursuing her Ph.D. in sustainable agriculture through the Plant Biology Gradaute Program at UMass Amherst, has received a 2020-21 International Fellowship from the American Association of University Women (AAUW). Read more

UMass Amherst Cranberry Research Center to Receive $5.75 Million in State Support for Laboratory Improvements

UMass Amherst Cranberry Station Sign

The University of Massachusetts Amherst Cranberry Station in East Wareham, Mass., will receive $5.75 million in state support to fund laboratory improvements to its lab facilities.

The funding, which includes $5 million in capital spending authorized in the 2018 Environmental Bond Bill and a $750,000 grant from the Division of Capital Asset Management and Maintenance (DCAMM), will be used by the Cranberry Station to modernize and expand its research facilities, improve the environmental profile of the facility, and provide the research tools needed to support vigorous research programs in cranberry water, pest, and nutrient management. In addition, in 2018 UMass Amherst also committed $2 million for necessary deferred maintenance projects on the Cranberry Station, bringing the total cost of the project to approximately $7.75 million. Read More

Professor Ana Caicedo Receives an Alexander von Humboldt Research Award

Dr. Ana Caicedo

Evolutionary biologist Ana Caicedo, associate professor of biology, has received an Alexander von Humboldt Research Award to support her collaboration with Detlef Weigel, head of the molecular biology department and executive director of the Max Plank Institute for Developmental Biology in Tübingen, Germany. Caicedo spent the recent spring semester there as a guest researcher while on sabbatical.

She studies how plants adapt to new environments such as those created by agriculture. Her research focuses on the domestication of crops – a recent study traced the evolution of tomatoes – and the evolution of agricultural weeds, such as weedy rice. Read More

Ahmet Bakirbas Selected as an ASPB Student Ambassador

Ahmet Bakirbas, Graduate Student

Plant Biology Graduate Student, Ahmet Bakirbas, has been selected as an ASPB Student Ambassador. ASPB Ambassadors are early career scientists (students and postdocs) and industry employees enlisted to communicate the mission and vision of the Society to other plant biologists and to the general public, to help ensure the ongoing vitality of the Society.  These young leaders engage their campus communities in outreach activities, represent ASPB at section conferences, and contribute articles to the ASPB News.  They also provide a voice for early career members in the Society, often lending input on key issues. Read more

Professors Lila Gierasch, Li-Jun Ma, and Megan West receive CNS Outstanding Achievement Awards. 

Professor Li-Jun Ma

2020 Outstanding Achievement Awards from the College of Natural Sciences (CNS) were received by Distinguished Professor Lila Gierasch and Associate Professor Li-Jun Ma were both recognized for their research, while Director of Administration and Outreach Megan West was celebrated for her commitment to diversity and inclusion. The CNS Outstanding Achievement Awards recognize faculty, staff, and students who have made important contributions to their discipline, department, college and university. Read more

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