News & Announcements

Jenny Olins from the Hazen Lab awarded the 2016 R.E. Torrey Scholarship

Jenny Olins, UMass Amherst Torrey scholarship receipient

Jenny Olins, a rising senior Biology major here at UMass Amherst, has been awarded this year's Ray Ethan Torrey Scholarship by the PB Program Graduate Operations Committee.  She has been working in the Hazen Lab since freshman year studying transcriptional regulation of secondary cell wall biosynthesis. She is currently studying abroad in Valparaíso, Chile.  The Torrey award will allow Jenny to work full-time on her research project this summer studying the natural variation of cell wall traits in Arabidopsis. Specifically, she’ll be investigating the effects of discrete differences in genotype (a single base pair) on global changes in phenotype of cellulose composition. Jenny was also one of five undergraduates named as a Rising Researcher here at UMass.

Zhongyun Huang Selected for Summer Internship with Dow AgroSciences

PB graduate student Zhongyun Huang

PB graduate student Zhongyun Huang, from the Caicedo Lab, is one of 40 interns who will be spending 12 weeks this summer with Dow AgroSciences.  The paid internship at Dow Agrosciences is a full-time position in the Research and Development Department at their global headquarters in Indianapolis, IN.  Students will have the opportunity to work on a research project with an experienced supervisor and interns from more than 20 universities will be in the program.  

Four UMass Amherst researchers, including PB faculty Li-Jun Ma and Sergey Savinov, receive the 2016 Armstrong Fund for Science Award

Armstrong team 2016

A team of four University of Massachusetts Amherst researchers are the Armstrong Fund for Science winners for 2016, which is granting $40,000 over two years to encourage transformative research on campus that introduces new ways of thinking about pressing scientific or technical challenges. The winning team included Yasu Morita, Li-Jun Ma, Michele Klingbeil and Sergey Savinov.  They were recognized at the UMass Amherst Honors Dinner on April 13. Read more

Scott Lee PhD Dissertation Defense

Scott Lee, Hazen Lab
12 noon
Monday, May 9, 2016
Life Sciences Laboratory N410
Dissertation title: Uncovering the Genetic Basis for Biofuel-related Traits in Brachypodium distachyon
Advisor: Sam Hazen

UMass Amherst Undergrad in the Wang Lab, Johanna L'Heureux, awarded ASPB Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF) 

UMass undergrad Johanna L'Heureux

Johanna L'Heureux has been awarded one of fifteen Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowships (SURF) from the American Society of Plant Biologists (ASPB) to work in the lab of PB faculty member Dong Wang for ten weeks this summer.  Her project involves the bacterium Sinorhizobium meliloti that forms a mutualistic relationship with its legume host, and allows the plant to acquire fixed nitrogen.  Johanna looks forward to spending the summer in Dr. Wang's laboratory working on this project and is very thankful to the American Society of Plant Biologists for the award. 


How Plants Interact with Beneficial Microbes in the Soil

Bacteroids in the soil

UMass Amherst researchers in the lab of Dong Wang add fundamental new molecular-level knowledge on how legumes recognize nitrogen-fixing bacteria. Read more (Photo credit: Minsoo Kim)

Muvari Tjiurutue PhD Dissertation Defense

Plant sample- M. Tjiurutue research

12 noon
Friday, March 25, 2016
Life Sciences Laboratory N610
Dissertation title: Chemically Mediated Interactions between Parasitic Plants, Hosts and Insect Herbivores
Advisor: Lynn Adler

Peter van Gisbergen PhD Dissertation Defense

10:00 am
Thursday, March 10, 2016
209 French Hall
Dissertation title: The Role of the Formin Protein Family in Membrane Dynamics
Advisor: Magdalena Bezanilla

Maple syrup jars

As maple sugaring season approaches, plant ecologist Kristina Stinson recently received a two-year, $149,800 grant to study the impact of climate change on the quantity and quality of sugar maple sap, including its chemical composition, and of sap from red maples, a species less sensitive to climate change.

UMass students visit Cuban farms and markets with PB faculty member Frank Mangan during winter session. 

Ox power has yet to be replaced by fossil fuels in most of Cuba

Just one of the surprises for five UMass students who visited Cuba with Dr. Frank Mangan in January for a winter session course on food systems was learning that 80 percent of farm and agricultural work handled by tractors and other motorized equipment in the United States is done by teams of oxen in Cuba. Read more