News & Announcements

We are pleased to announce the following PB PhD thesis defense

Sam Glaze-Corcoran
Monday, November 25, 2019
9:00 AM
Location: 107 Fernald Hall
Thesis Title: Developing alternative forage production strategies for environmental and economic resiliency on New England dairy farms

We are pleased to announce the following PB PhD thesis defense

Rakesh Kumar
Friday, November 15, 2019
12:00 PM
Location: LSL N610
Thesis Title: Tracking a long distance iron deficiency signal

Biology and Art: The UMCA launches a collaboration with the Natural History Collections in October


One of the exciting happenings on the UMass Amherst campus this fall is a seed of something huge to come: an innovative collaboration between the University Museum of Contemporary Art (UMCA) and the Natural History Collections. The pilot project for this partnership, ongoing through 2020/21, is Fielding, a show by guest artist Emily Tareila ’19G (MFA), mounted in pop-up fashion in Morrill Science Center. In a time of global environmental shifts, the methodical catalog of species that natural history collections furnish is a particularly valuable resource. “The collections are the foundation of a lot of biological research, documenting and recording life on earth, for scientists to study in terms of what has happened, and what’s coming,” says Assistant Professor of Biology, Madelaine Bartlett. “We have a legacy of herbarium records that can now be used to track the impact of climate change.” Read more

Ana Caicedo and Jacob Barnett's Tomato Research Featured in: Vegetable Growers News

Dr. Ana Caicedo

Professor Ana Caicedo and OEB PhD student Jacob Barnett are studying the evolution of wild tomatoes in an effort to create plants that are disease and pest resistant and also have good flavor and appearance. Their research is being featured in a story published in the "Vegetable Growers News."  Read more

We are pleased to announce the following PB PhD thesis defense

Mingqin Chang
Tuesday, August 13, 2019
10:00 AM
Location: Morrill Science Center II, Room 222
Thesis Title: Isoform Specialization Among the Sec23 Gene Family Has Significant Consequences For Growth

Announcing the Inauguration of the On-Ramp Summer Pre-graduate Program

IDGP On Ramp Students 2019

The Interdepartmental Graduate Programs in the Life Sciences (IDGPs) launched a brand-new On-Ramp program for entering students on August 1st, with 18 soon-to-be PhD students participating. The month-long On-Ramp program is designed to facilitate the transition to graduate school by providing mentoring and professional development opportunities prior to the start of fall classes. Participants have the opportunity to work closely with a faculty member and current graduate students in a laboratory or in the field on research. In addition to hands-on training experience, On-Ramp students participate in lab meetings, journal clubs, and professional development workshops. On-Ramp students are paired with a graduate student peer mentor and join current students for social and programmatic events. There has been enthusiastic support for On-Ramp from all four IDGP graduate programs (MCB, NSB, OEB, and PB). We hope the On-Ramp Summer Research Program becomes a permanent part of the IDGP graduate experience at UMass.
Molecular and Cellular Biology Program
Neuroscience and Behavior Program
Organismic and Evolutionary Biology Program
Plant Biology Program

We are pleased to announce the following PB MS thesis defense

Kathryn Vescio
Friday, July 12, 2019
1:30 PM
Location: LSL N610
Thesis Title: Characterizing the interaction between non-pathogenic Fusarium oxysporum and Arabidopsis thaliana to determine beneficial effects conferred to the model host plant
Thesis Advisor: Li-Jun Ma

Christina Arther Awarded Lotta M. Crabtree Fellowship for Fall 2019

Christina Arther

Plant Biology Graduate student Crhistina Arther has been awarded a Lotta M. Crabtree Fellowships to support her work in the fall 2019 semester.  The Lotta M. Crabtree Fellowship is awarded on a competitive basis.  

Titan arum to Bloom in the UMass Morrill Greenhouse

Amorphophallus titanum UMass Morrill Science Greenhouse 2019 - Photo by Madelaine Bartlett

The titan arum, officially known as Amorphophallus titanum and also known as the "corpse flower" due to its magnificent rotting smell, will bloom this summer in the Morrill Science Center Greenhouse.  We have received reports that its spathe and spadix have emerged and are still tight. The bloom is presently 29 inches tall, but it is expected to grow to be around 6 feet tall.  It is expected to fully bloom between July 4th and July 10th.  The Amorphophallus titanum last bloomed in 2015.  

The Amorphophallus titanum is part of the Natural History Collections' Living Plant Collection.

Hours and Visiting
The greenhouse facility is open from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Monday through Friday (closed weekends and holidays) and visitors are always welcome! Tours can be scheduled for alumni, teachers, small school groups, and garden clubs. To make an appointment, please contact Chris Phillips at or by phone at (413) 545-0417.

Jedaidah Chilufya Awarded P.E.O International Peace Scholarship Fund Scholarship

Jedaidah Chilufya

Jedaidah was selected from a competitive pool of applicants to receive a P.E.O. International Peace Scholarship for the 2019-2020 academic year.

The International Peace Scholarship Fund, established in 1949, is a program which provides scholarships for selected women from other countries for graduate study in the United States and Canada. Members of P.E.O. believe that education is fundamental to world peace and understanding.

For more information, please visit the P.E.O. International Peace Scholarship website