In a White House ceremony on June 17, President Barack Obama saluted professor Sandra Petersen, Veterinary and Animal Sciences, for receiving the Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics, and Engineering Mentoring. In addition to being personally honored by the president, the recipients, 15 individuals and one organization, received $10,000 from the National Science Foundation. News release

Maaya Ikeda, doctoral candidate, and her advisor, neuroscientist Luke Remage-Healey, Psychological and Brain Sciences, reported finding that the neuromodulator norepinephrine has an unexpected, direct action on auditory processing of complex signals, specifically bird songs in the zebra finch, giving insight into treatments of disorders such as schizophrenia, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, and autism, as published in the Journal of Neuroscience. Hearingreview.com, News release

Faculty and graduate students offered presentations on a variety of research topics including growing malt barley, cover crops in potato production, hardwood biochar in agricultural soils, effects of bee disease on hedgerow plantings, dual-purpose cover crops, and much more at the UMass Crop and Animal Research Center in South Deerfield on June 24. The 358-acre agronomy and vegetable farm conducts research on vegetable crops, agronomic and bioenergy crops, organic agriculture and pasture. WWLP-TV 22, News release

Samuel Hazen and Postdoctoral Research Fellow Michael J. Harrington, both in Biology, have been awarded grants from the National Science Foundation and the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center (MassCEC). The NSF Innovation Corp program award of $50,000 is designed to extend the basic laboratory research to entrepreneurial ventures. The MassCEC provided a $40,000 catalyst award to test what they have learned in their laboratory model, the small grass Brachypodium distachyon, in energy crop species. Boston Business Journal

The recent research of Joel Ralston, Environmental Conservation, that combined data from several local point counts to offer a new picture of how birds in hard-to-reach habitats are faring was featured on Audubon.org. Their research was published in Biological Conservation. News release