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UMass Amherst ranked 30th among public universities by U.S. News & World Report

The University of Massachusetts Amherst now ranks among the nation’s top 30 public universities, moving up 10 spots during the past year in the 2015 Best Colleges guide released by U.S. News & World Report. Among all national universities, public and private, UMass Amherst moved up an impressive 15 places this year, from No. 91 to No. 76, tied with eight other schools. News release

Stevens' newest book calls for expanded role of indigenous people's in worldwide conservation planning

A just-published book edited by Stanley F. Stevens, Geosciences, presents the latest original research and surveys transformative new approaches now being considered to enhance the rights of indigenous peoples worldwide to have a stronger voice in shaping conservation and park management policies that affect their traditional lands. The book, “Indigenous Peoples, National Parks and Protected Areas,” was released by the University of Arizona Press., Bio-Medicine,, News release

Strickland honored for lifetime achievement by American Psychological Association

Bonnie Strickland, Psychological and Brain Sciences professor emerita, has received the American Psychological Association’s (APA) Gold Medal Award for Life Achievement in Psychology in the Public Interest. The citation notes that Strickland's five decades of research, scholarship, and teaching, "have had a profound effect on the impact of psychology in the public interest" and that her research across unpopular and neglected communities such as black children, social activists, and gays and lesbians, has "legitimized the scientific and scholarly study of previously ignored areas important to persons whose interests are marginalized."

Hazzard featured in article on tomato blight

Ruth Hazzard, UMass Extension, was interviewed for an article on how the blight on tomatoes is affecting some farmers and home gardeners in the region this year. Republican

Chien and colleagues reveal molecular mechanisms crucial for bacteria growth; could lead to new antibiotics

Peter Chien, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, and colleagues, have reconstructed how bacteria tightly control their growth and division, a process known as the cell cycle, by specifically destroying key proteins through regulated protein degradation; the results could lead to new antibiotics. As published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. eScience News, Nanowerk,, Health Canal, Science Codex,, Bio-Medicine, Science Daily, Science Newsline,, News release

Davidson, Fletcher, Meyer, and Staros win CTFD teaching fellowships

The UMass Amherst Center for Teaching and Faculty Development (CTFD) has awarded 13 Fellowships for Innovative Teaching to instructors for 2014-15 and four of the recipients are from the College of Natural Sciences: Matt Davidson, Psychological and Brain Sciences; Lena Fletcher, Environmental Conservation; Christiane Healy (Meyer), Biology; and James Staros, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. News release

Stockbridge School interns create herb planter near Isenberg

Joshua Cardin, Joshua Brodeur, Ricardo Orellana, Will Ried, Hannah Peterson, and Ayana LaSalle, undergraduates in the Stockbridge School of Agriculture, created an herb spiral planting area near the Isenberg School of Management as part of their summer internship with Physical Plant’s Landscape Management unit. News release

Pocar, Cadonati, and Otis use neutrinos to look into the heart of the sun

Andrea Pocar, Laura Cadonati and doctoral student Keith Otis, all Physics, report in Nature that for the first time they, along with an international team, have directly detected neutrinos created by the “keystone” proton-proton (pp) fusion process going on at the sun’s core. Red Orbit, New York Times, Sudan Vision, Smithsonian magazine, Science 2.0, Physics Today, Daily Mail, Yahoo News, French Tribune, Laboratory Equipment, Christian Science Monitor, Nature World News, Daily Hampshire Gazette, International Business Times, Uncover California,, Science Newsline, Physics World, Science Daily,, Science magazine, Electronic Component News, Science Codex, Columbus Dispatch, News Release

DeConto interviewed on Radio New Zealand about the latest findings on Antarctica's melting ice sheets

Robert M. DeConto, Geosciences, was interviewed for the radio program “Our Changing World” about the latest findings on the melting ice sheets in Antarctica and what that may mean for sea levels worldwide. Radio New Zealand

UMass Amherst receives plant cell library donation from Monsanto

UMass Amherst has received a donation of a plant cell library and related equipment from the Monsanto Company, valued at more than $1 million. The library, among the world's largest, contains plant tissues and cells—none genetically modified—from 3,500 species spanning 85 percent of taxonomic orders worldwide. It will be kept in the Life Science Laboratories and used by university researchers and industry partners.

Marlin wins five-year, $536,527 CAREER award from the NSF

Benjamin Marlin, Computer Science, has received a five-year, $536,527 National Science Foundation (NSF) Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) award to develop machine learning-based tools for analyzing complex, large-scale clinical and mobile health (mHealth) data. His project is designed to help health researchers handle what he calls a "data revolution" of electronic health records. The CAREER award is the NSF's most prestigious award supporting junior faculty who exemplify the role of teacher-scholars through outstanding research, excellent education, and the integration of education and research within the context of the mission of their organizations.

Lerman is featured on New England Public Radio story about Neighborhood Nestwatch

Susannah B. Lerman, Environmental Conservation, is featured in a New England Public Radio story about Neighborhood Nestwatch, a study of backyard birds in the area. New England Public Radio

Velasquez featured in CNN Money story about college graduates choosing Silicon Valley over Wall Street

Jorge Velasquez '14, Mathematics and Statistics, and Economics undergraduate, is featured in a story about how college graduates are increasingly drawn to Silicon Valley rather than Wall Street when they seek jobs after graduation. CNN Money, Hartford Business Journal

Muneeruddin wins Global Fellowship Award; will develop tools to characterize the natural diversity of biopharmaceutics

Khaja Muneeruddin, Chemistry doctoral candidate, has been granted a $30,000 2014–2015 Global Fellowship Award from the United States Pharmacopeial Convention. The grant will help fund the development of novel analytical tools to characterize the natural diversity of biopharmaceutics, and will be conducted under the guidance of Muneeruddin’s faculty advisor, Igor Kaltrashov.,,

Riley interviewed in story about the use and abuse of antibiotics

Margaret A. Riley, Biology, says antibiotics can be a problem because they kill all bacteria in the body, good and bad, in a story about the use and abuse of antibiotics.

McClements finds whey protein can replace fat in reduced-calorie emulsion-based foods

New research from David Julian McClements, Food Science, concludes that the use of whey protein microparticles and dietary fiber could help food manufacturers replace fat in reduced-calorie emulsion-based foods. Food Navigator

Patrick signs $1.9 billion loan for environment that includes Waltham site, Stockbridge School, and Cranberry Station

Gov. Deval Patrick has signed legislation that authorizes the borrowing of $1.9 billion for environmental projects statewide, including $20 million to transform the 58-acre site Waltham site to focus on urban agriculture, food safety, and sustainability. Also included is $5 million for technology and space upgrades for the Stockbridge School of Agriculture, and $5.5 million for the UMass Cranberry Station in East Wareham, where the funds will be used for design, construction, retrofitting and outfitting laboratory space and equipment to reduce the environmental impact and increase sustainability. Republican, WGGB-TV 40, News release

The thriving maker movement at UMass Amherst includes Brewer, Schweik, Blair, and Gamari

An article on the “maker” movement at UMass Amherst describes how students and faculty are involved in the movement revitalizing the America tradition of invention and innovation, including Steven Brewer, Biology, Charles Schweik, Environmental Conservation, and Physics graduate students Don Blair and Ben Gamari. Research Next

Hsia wins one of five inaugural Karam Scholarships

Megan Hsia '17, Psychological and Brain Sciences, is one of five inaugural recipients of James J. Karam Scholarships, named in honor of the South Coast business and civic leader, who is also a former chairman of the Board of Trustees. Hsia is the only UMass Amherst student to win the award, which is renewable for up to four years. Herald News, News release

Record number of Fulbrights includes three CNS students

Three CNS students have been awarded grants from the 2014-15 Fulbright U.S. Student Program: Gregory de Wet, Geosciences, who will study in Norway; Eric LeFlore, Environmental Conservation, Botswana; and Clara Wool, Environmental Studies, to study in Israel. A record 14 students from UMass Amherst were awarded the prestigious grants. News release

Muneeruddin wins early-career global fellowship award from U.S. Pharmacopeial Convention

Khaja Muneeruddin, Chemistry doctoral candidate, is one of three scientists to receive a $30,000 early-career global fellowship award from the U.S. Pharmacopeial Convention.

Huber interviewed in a story about why people see faces in the Rosetta comet

David E. Huber, Psychological and Brain Sciences, says the reason many people see faces on objects such as the new comet being studied by the Rosetta spacecraft is because humans are wired to see faces, in a phenomenon called Pareidolia, which translates from Greek to “faulty image.”

Venkataraman and Lahti invent water-soluble nano-modules that will allow faster, cheaper, organic photovoltaics

Dhandapani Venkataraman, Chemistry, Paul Lahti, Chemistry, and codirector, UMass Amherst’s Energy Frontiers Research Center (EFRC), and colleagues have invented a way to create versatile, water-soluble nano-modules that should allow faster, cheaper, more ecologically friendly manufacture of organic photovoltaics and other electronic devices. Nano Letters,, Nanowerk, Lab Manager magazine,, Science Newsline, Science Codex,, Product Design & Development, R & D magazine, Science Daily, Innovations Report, Controlled Environment magazine,, Space Daily, News release

Kane receives Shigo Award for Excellence in Arboricultural Education

Brian Kane, Environmental Conservation, is this year’s co-recipient of the International Society of Arboriculture’s (ISA) Alex L. Shigo Award for Excellence in Arboricultural Education. ISA video, Business West, News release

Brigham-Grette named chair of National Polar Research Board

Julie Brigham-Grette, Geosciences, has been named the new chair of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences’ Polar Research Board (PRB) with the responsibility of promoting excellence in polar science and providing independent scientific guidance to federal agencies and the nation on science issues in the Arctic, Antarctic, and cold regions of the world. Also the head of her department, Brigham-Grette is an expert in climate evolution and sea level history in the Arctic over the last 3.6 million years and has participated in nine field expeditions there over the past three decades. She has been on the PRB board for six years; this position is a three-year renewable appointment.