Meet the Leadership

Tricia Serio

Dean

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Tricia Serio’s research interests focus on understanding and reversing the biological consequences of pathogenic protein conformations, central to such diseases as mad cow disease, Alzheimer’s disease, and type II diabetes. As a public communicator of science, over the past year Dean Serio has authored opinion pieces for the Huffington Post, Chronicle of Higher Education, U.S. News and World Report, and Nature, about such topics as the unintended consequences of seeking tenure, mentorship, work-life balance, increasing college graduation rates, subtle sexism in science, and the role of basic research in finding cures for human diseases. She earned a BS in molecular biology from Lehigh University, and an MPhil and PhD in molecular biophysics and biochemistry from Yale.

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Elizabeth Connor

Associate Dean for Undergraduate Education and Development

Elizabeth Connor

Elizabeth A. Connor is an Associate Professor of Biology with research in the area of neurobiology and the development and maintenance of vertebrate synapses.  She has extensive experience in the classroom and the use of effective teaching strategies, as well as development and implementation of curriculum redesign, and initiatives to support student success and student research.  Dr. Connor has received two College Outstanding Teaching awards and the University of Massachusetts Distinguished Teaching Award.  Dr. Connor serves as Program Director for the UMass Howard Hughes Medical Institute Inclusive Excellence Award.  She earned a BS in biology from St. Lawrence University, a PhD in physiology and biophysics from the University of Vermont School of Medicine, and was a postdoctoral fellow at Stanford University School of Medicine.

CNS Advising Center

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Chelsea Gwyther

Assistant Dean of Advancement

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Chelsea Gwyther joined UMass Amherst in 2014, bringing twenty years of diverse development and management experience to the College of Natural Sciences. She has led several national and regional conservation groups, including the Connecticut River Conservancy in Greenfield, Massachusetts. She holds a BA in environmental studies from Prescott College and an MPA with a concentration in nonprofit management from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. 

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Peter Holden

Associate Dean for Administration and Finance

Peter Holden

Peter L. Holden serves as the principal for all finance, human resource and strategic matters for the College of Natural Sciences. He came to UMass Amherst with more than 20 years of practice in academic administration, operations and research enterprises, including his work as director of facilities planning and operations at Brown University. Holden received a BS in Construction Management from Roger Williams University and an MBA from Bryant University.

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Jody Jellison

Director, Center for Agriculture, Food and the Environment
Assistant Vice Chancellor, Agricultural Research and Engagement

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Jody Jellison joined UMass in 2016 as a Professor of Biology. Her area of research interest is in fungal biology. She is an author on over 100 publications and four patents and has significant experience in agricultural research administration. She currently serves as the Director of UMass Extension and the Director of the Massachusetts Agricultural Experiment Station. She received her BS from the University of New Hampshire and holds an MS in Plant Pathology/multivariate statistics and a PhD in Plant Virology/Biochem/Biophysics from Oregon State University. Her post-doctoral work was in immunology and molecular plant biology at Harvard University.

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John Lopes

Associate Dean for Operations & Graduate Programs

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John Lopes came to UMass Amherst in 2007 as the head of the Microbiology department. His research focuses on the transcriptional regulation of phospholipid biosynthesis in yeast and how phospholipid biosynthesis is coordinated with other biological processes. He has been continuously supported by the National Science Foundation and the American Cancer Society throughout his career. Dr. Lopes holds a PhD in biology from the University of South Carolina, he did postdoctoral research at Carnegie Mellon University, and his BA in zoology is from the University of Rhode Island.

Department of Microbiology

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Mark Tuominen

Associate Dean for Research & Innovation

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Mark Tuominen is a Professor of Physics at UMass Amherst, where he performs research in experimental condensed matter physics and nanotechnology. His work helps to advance the science and applications of nanoscale charge transport, magnetism, bioelectronics, superconductivity, self-assembly, and nanomanufacturing. He was instrumental in establishing the NSF Center for Hierarchical Manufacturing and the National Nanomanufacturing Network. Dr. Tuominen’s educational innovations are in the areas of research learning and professional development. He received a bachelor’s in chemical engineering and a PhD in physics from the University of Minnesota, and was a postdoctoral research associate at Harvard University.

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