News & Announcements

UMass Amherst Study Looks at Drought and Virus Impact on Plant Roots and Soil Carbon

Professor Marco Keiluweit

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) recently awarded biogeochemist Marco Keiluweit, assistant professor of soils and the environment in the Stockbridge School of Agriculture at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, and his collaborators elsewhere, two grants to study how climate change affects the capacity of soils to remove carbon from the atmosphere and retain enough nutrients for food production.

In particular, the teams will investigate climate change-related effects of drought and virus infection in plants, and their interaction with soils. Keiluweit and colleagues received $200,000 and $300,000 exploratory research awards from DOE’s Biological and Environmental Research program, which supports “high-risk, high-reward” research, the soil chemistry expert says. Read more

Research Team Led by Jungwoo Lee Studies Dormant Cancer Cells in the Body And What Type of Environment Causes them to Reawaken

Professor Jungwoo Lee

Researchers at the University of Massachusetts Amherst are developing microenvironments that allow them to study how cancer cells that move around in the human body change from dormant to active and what causes or prevents that change. Understanding this process, the researchers say, could lead to new treatments that prevent cancer from metastasizing throughout the body. Read more

9 Plant Biology Graduate Students Awarded Lotta M. Crabtree Fellowships for Spring 2019 

Plant Biology Graduate students Kelly Allen, Rebecca Brennan, Jedy Chilufya, Stavroula Fili, Harry Klein, Ian McCahill, Jarrett Man, Christina Stonoha, and Xiang Li have been awarded Lotta M. Crabtree Fellowships to support their work in the Spring 2019 semester.  The Lotta M. Crabtree Fellowships are awarded on a competitive basis.  

Li-Jun Ma,  Anne Gershenson, and Robert Wick Featured for: Science Scene: ‘Studying basil diseases to help U.S. producers’

Basil

Researchers combine techniques to protect sweet basil from pathogens. What’s the big idea? Basil is the most important commercially grown herb crop in the United States; its essential oils are used in applications from medicine to skin care products and soft drinks. Currently basil production in the U.S. is threatened by the recently introduced plant pathogens Peronospora belbahrii, which causes downy mildew, and Fusarium oxysporum, which causes Fusarium wilt.  Read more

Ragweed may follow climate change northward

Professor Kristina Stinson

A new predictive model suggests that climate change may allow common ragweed to extend its growing range northward and into major northeast metro areas, worsening conditions for millions of people with hay fever and asthma. 

Plant ecologist Kristina Stinson, Environmental Conservation, who leads a research team that has been studying this plant for over a decade – particularly how it responds to elevated CO2 levels – worked with climate modeler and corresponding author Michael Case at University of Washington on this project. Details appear online in the journal PLOS One, and were also featured in The Daily Hampshire Gazette, as well as University of Washington News. Read more

8th Annual Life Sciences Graduate Research Symposium

Smarty Plants
UMass Amherst scientists work to crack a code that might help nourish the world

Smarty Plants: Maize

Iron deficiency anemia is a huge global problem. It affects 2 billion people, particularly in low-income countries where many rely on grain as a staple. Yet so far, plants have managed to outwit our efforts to convince them to carry more iron. University of Massachusetts Amherst molecular biologist Elsbeth Walker has received a three-year $870,000 grant from the National Science Foundation to discover exactly how plants regulate the amount of iron they take up through their roots. Read More

Jedaidah Chilufya Awarded Travel Grants by Wild and Tamed Phytobiomes and SACNAS

Jedaidah Chilufya, Graduate Student

Jedaidah Chilufya has been awarded a travel grant by the "Wild and Tamed Phytobiomes" to attend and present a short talk and a poster during the '21st Penn State Plant Biology Symposium' at Penn State in State College, PA.  (June 19th to 22nd, 2018). 

In addition, she also was awarded a travel scholarship by the Society for the Advancement of Chicanos/Hispanics and Native Americans in Science (SACNAS) to attend and present a poster at this years's 'National Diversity in STEM Conference in San Antonio, Texas (October 2018).

Bees’ Medicine Chest Should Include Sunflower Pollen, UMass Amherst Study Suggests

A new study by Jonathan Giacomini and his former advisor, evolutionary ecologist Lynn Adler at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, with others, found that eating sunflower pollen dramatically and consistently reduced a protozoan pathogen infection in bumble bees and reduced a microsporidian pathogen of the European honey bee, raising the possibility that sunflowers may provide a simple solution to improve the health of economically and ecologically important pollinators. Read more

Elizabeth Vierling Featured in CNS' "Science Scene: ‘How does nitric oxide regulate plant growth?'"

Professor Elizabeth Vierling

Elizabeth Vierling receives a four-year, $800,000 grant from the National Science Foundation for her work on nitric oxide effects in plants. The project will determine how nitric oxide (NO) modulates important aspects of plant growth, development and seed yield, processes critical to food security and plant biomass production. Read more

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