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.  

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

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

Jedaidah Chilufya Awarded American Association of University Women International Fellowship 

Jedaidah Chilufya, Graduate Student

Jedaidah Chilufya has been awarded a competitive American Association of University Women International Fellowship award for 2020-2021. AAUW was founded in 1888 with the mission, “to advance gender equity for women and girls through research, education, and advocacy.” 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

Plant Biology Daily Coffee Meeting

Professor Li-Jun Ma and Jedaidah Chilufya will co-host the Daily Plant Biology coffee zoom meeting for Plant Biology students.
The meeting will be daily starting at 9:30am starting Monday, March 30, 2020. 
Zoom Link: https://umass-amherst.zoom.us/j/659134217 

We are pleased to announce the following PB PhD thesis defense

Josh Coomey, Graduate Student

Josh Coomey
Tuesday, March 24, 2020
12:00 PM
Zoom Web Link: https://umass-amherst.zoom.us/j/991379769
Thesis Title: Investigating the transcriptional regulation of secondary cell wall synthesis and thigmomorphogenesis in the model grass Brachypodium distachyon

We are pleased to announce the following PB MS thesis defense

Rebecca Brennan, Graduate Student

Rebecca Brennan
Monday, March 23, 2020
1:00 PM
Zoom Web Link: https://umass-amherst.zoom.us/j/255135837 
Thesis Title: Processes, Patterns, and Predictions of Soil Moisture Variation in Upland and Peatland Cranberry Farms in Massachusetts.

We are pleased to announce the following PB PhD thesis defense

Christina Arther

Christina Arther 
Friday, March 20, 2020
2:00 PM
Zoom Web Link: https://umass-amherst.zoom.us/j/186474510 
Thesis Title: Origin of gene specificity in the nitrogen-fixing symbiosis

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