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.  

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 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

We are pleased to announce the following PB PhD thesis defense

Harry Klein, Graduate Student

Harry Klein
Thursday, July 16, 2020
10:00 AM
Zoom Web Link TBA
Thesis Title: A DORMANCY PROGRAM REGULATES CARPEL SUPPRESSION IN Zea mays (maize)

Professor Lynn Adler's Research Featured in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences

Professor Lynn Adler

A new study reported this week by evolutionary ecologist Lynn Adler at the University of Massachusetts Amherst and Rebecca Irwin of North Carolina State University, with others, suggests that flower strips – rows of pollinator-friendly flowers planted with crops – offer benefits for common Eastern bumblebee (Bombus impatiens) colony reproduction, but some plants do increase pathogen infection risk.

As Adler and colleagues point out, pollinator declines affect food security, and pollinators are threatened by such stressors as pathogens and inadequate food. Bumblebees feed on pollen and nectar they gather from such plants as sunflower and milkweed. But bumblebees are also likely to acquire a gut disease pathogen, Crithia bombi, from some of these plant species more than others, the authors note. Until now, the effect of plant species composition on bee disease was unknown, they add. Read more

Alice Cheung Receives Coveted Plant Biology Excellence Award  

Professor Alice Cheung

The American Society of Plant Biologists (ASPB) recently announced that Alice Cheung, professor of biochemistry and molecular biology, will receive the 2020 Lawrence Bogorad Award for Excellence in Plant Biology Research, made every other year to “a plant scientist whose work both illuminates the present and suggests paths to enlighten the future.” Read more

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