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.  

UMass Amherst Holds Construction Celebration for $7.75 Million Expansion and Modernization Project at Cranberry Station in East Wareham

UMass Amherst Cranberry Station

EAST WAREHAM, Mass. – A $7.75 million project to expand and modernize the UMass Amherst Cranberry Station, an important research facility for the commonwealth’s cranberry industry, was celebrated today with a construction celebration event at the station in East Wareham, Mass. While the coronavirus pandemic delayed the start of construction, work is now under way on the facility with a targeted completion date of August 2022. Read more

Distinguished Faculty Lecture Series Presented by Dr. Kristen M. DeAngelis 

Dr. Kristen DeAngelis

Dr. DeAngelis has been selected to present the Distinguished Faculty Lecture "Healthy Soils: Our Hope for a Warming World" on December 8, 2021 at 4:00 PM

Established in 1974, the annual Distinguished Faculty Lecture is dedicated to acknowledging the work of our most esteemed and accomplished faculty members. The lecture series not only honors individual faculty members and their achievements, but also celebrates the values of academic excellence that we share as a community. Each honoree is presented with the Chancellor’s Medal, the highest recognition bestowed upon faculty by the campus. Read more

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:

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Erin Patterson Wins Highly Competitive Botanical Society of America 2021 Kaplan Award in Comparative Morphology

Erin Patterson

Plant Biology graduate student, Erin Patterson, has been awarded the highly prestigious and competitive Botanical Society of America 2021 Kaplan Award in Comparative Morphology. As part of the award, Erin will present and submit a peer-reviewed paper resulting from research supported by the award for publication in the American Journal of Botany (AJB). The peer-reviewed paper will appear as the "Donald and Dorothy Kaplan Dissertation Award Special Paper" to recognize the support of the Kaplan family. Read more

We are pleased to announce the following PB PhD thesis defense

Rachael Bernstein

Rachael Bernstein
Thursday, May 20, 2021
1:00 PM
Thesis Title: Mechanisms Associated with Winter Survival in Perennial Ryegrass

Kelly Allen Invited to Deliver a Departmental Seminar at Dominican College

Kelly Allen, Graduate Student

Plant Biology PhD Graduate Student, Kelly Allen, has been invited to deliver a departmental seminar at Dominican College.  

Seminar Details:

Plant diseases caused by biotic pathogens significantly impact cultivated and non-cultivated plant life, resulting in devastating losses of agricultural crop yields, forest habitats, horticultural specimen, and more. Scientists are still unraveling the complex interactions between plant hosts and their pathogenic foe. How can we examine these interactions and use this knowledge combat pathogens and grow healthier plants from the start? Plant pathologist and Ph.D. Candidate Kelly S. Allen will discuss her research on basil downy mildew, a disease challenging basil growers around the world. This seminar will dive into the process of investigating plant diseases and focus on how plant scientists collaborate to approach real-world challenges from the lab to the field. Read more


We are pleased to announce the following PB PhD thesis defense

Adam Trautwig

Adam Trautwig
Tuesday, April 27, 2021
1:00 PM
Thesis Title: The Effect of Disturbance and Invasion on Fungal and Plant Communities Over an Elevational Gradient

VIDEO: UMass Cranberry Research Station to Receive $5.75 Million 

UMass Amherst Cranberry Station Sign

The UMass Amherst Cranberry Station in East Wareham, Mass., will receive $5.75 million in state support to fund improvements to its lab facilities. VIDEO LINK

Hazen Named to Dr. Constantine J. Gilgut Professorship in Plant Biology Professorship

photo of Sam Hazen

Samuel P. Hazen, biology, was awarded the Dr. Constantine J. Gilgut Professorship in Plant Biology for a term of three years following approval by the Board of Trustees at its Thursday, Dec. 10 meeting.

The conditions of the Gilgut Professorship specify that the recipient will be a full professor in the biology department and act as the director of the plant biology program. The incumbent of the Gilgut Professorship will be an outstanding, active scholar in the field who can lead by the example of his or her teaching as well as scholarship and administrative skills.

Hazen’s area of research is the thickening of the secondary cell wall and the regulation of this process in the grass Brachypodium distachyon and a variety of other plants. He has received substantial external funding to support his research from the National Science Foundation and the Department of Energy. He also received several awards to support small business innovation and community science projects. Hazen has published 47 articles in peer-reviewed journals, and his work has been cited over 5,200 times according to Google Scholar. Read more