News & Announcements

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:

Interested in learning more about SACNAS?

Follow us on twitter : @SACNAS_UMass

Visit our blog:

Visit our Campus pulse page: 

Join our Slack channel: 

Learn about the national society:

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

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