News & Announcements

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

Professors Lila Gierasch, Li-Jun Ma, and Megan West receive CNS Outstanding Achievement Awards. 

Professor Li-Jun Ma

2020 Outstanding Achievement Awards from the College of Natural Sciences (CNS) were received by Distinguished Professor Lila Gierasch and Associate Professor Li-Jun Ma were both recognized for their research, while Director of Administration and Outreach Megan West was celebrated for her commitment to diversity and inclusion. The CNS Outstanding Achievement Awards recognize faculty, staff, and students who have made important contributions to their discipline, department, college and university. 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

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

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: 

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:
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: 
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: 
Thesis Title: Origin of gene specificity in the nitrogen-fixing symbiosis

Nine Plant Biology Graduate Students Awarded Spring 2020 Lotta M. Crabtree Fellowships

Plant Biology Graduate Students Stravoula Fili, Harry Klein, Ian McCahill, Rebecca Brennan, Jedaidah Chilufya, Rachael Bernstein, Ayousha Shahi, Xiang Li, and Antonia Gray have been awarded Lotta M. Crabtree Fellowships to support their reseasrch this spring 2020.  The Lotta M. Crabtree Fellowship is awarded on a competitive basis.