News & Announcements

Professor Mafu Receives Award for Research

Assistant Prof. Sibongile Mafu is a recipient of the RICHARD AND SUSAN SMITH FAMILY FOUNDATION Award for Excellence in Biomedical Research, and she is using the award to help fund her work discovering new plant-derived enzymes to combat antimicrobial resistance and build more resilient plants.

DeAngelis recieves $2.5M in DoE grants to investigate soil microbes' role in carbon cycle

Hands holding dirt sample

Kristen DeAngelis, Microbiology, was recently was awarded two grants totaling about $2.5 million from the U.S. Department of Energy to advance understanding of the role of soil microbes in feeding carbon into the atmosphere and contributing to global warming. Soils are the largest repository of organic carbon in the terrestrial biosphere and represent an important source of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere, DeAngelis says. "Our results could lead to new ideas for curbing the effects of climate change, and one of the implications of this research could be remediating soil to improve its ability to store carbon.” 

Madelaine Bartlett won the prestigious Marcus Rhoades early career award from the Maize Genetics Community

Madelaine Bartlett

She was recognized for her research in plant genetics and the evolution of plant development. Bartlett’s lab studies the genes that control development in maize and Brachypodium distachyon. They are working to determine which genes are important in grass flower development, how they work, and how the evolution of these genes impacts the evolution of floral form.

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). 

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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