The late Lynn Margulis, Geosciences, is cited as one of the first scientists to promote the Gaia hypothesis, the idea that the Earth is a giant living organism in which the planet’s physical and biological processes are inextricably connected to form a self-regulating system. Astrobiology magazine
Reorganized Stockbridge School provides more academic options
The Stockbridge School of Agriculture is now an academic department and a school within the College of Natural Sciences, a change that Dean Steve Goodwin says is designed to maintain Stockbridge's rich tradition, create a clearer path to four-year degrees for many students, and better position the university in the fast-changing agricultural world. The agricultural portion of the Plant, Soil and Insect Sciences department, both faculty and programs, are now formally part of the Stockbridge School.
Campus wins international award for 'Acts of Green'
Students and staff have won an international award for performing the most "Acts of Green" in the "education and awareness" category in month-long environmental activism competition MobilizeU. Campus News
McGregor and Staub named Lilly Teaching Fellows
Andrew McGregor, Computer Science and Adrian Staub, Psychology, are among the 2012-2013 Lilly Teaching Fellows selected by the Center for Teaching and Faculty Development. Press Release
Barrett '12 receives "29 Who Shine" awards from MA Board of Higher Education
Hannah D. Barrett '12 Psychology, was honored as a "29 Who Shine" award winner on May 10 at a State House ceremony sponsored by the state Board of Higher Education and Gov. Deval Patrick.Republican, Boston.com
Geckskin featured on Discovery Channel's Daily Planet
The Discovery Channel's Daily Planet featured a segment on Geckskin, the new super-adhesive device based on the mechanics of gecko feet, developed by Al Crosby, Polymer Science and Engineering, Duncan Irschick, Biology, and colleagues. The new material allows for resusable hand-sized adhesive pads to cling to a smooth surface such as glass and hold up to 300 kilograms. Learn more on the Geckskin website.
Fisette to serve on National Research Council panel to evaluate DOD energy efficiency standards
Paul Fisette, Department Head of Environmental Conservation has been asked to serve on a National Research Council (NRC) panel to evaluate energy efficiency and sustainability standards used by the Department of Defense for its portfolio of 500,000 buildings and facilities. Press Release
Rountree interviewed on WGBY’s “Connecting Point” about research on fish sounds
Rodney Rountree, Environmental Conservation, was interviewed on the local PBS television program “Connecting Point” on May 8 about his study of the sounds fish make and his efforts to record them. WGBY's Connecting Point
Schnell leads $2M project to develop Camelina, a non-food oil seed crop into biofuels
Danny Schnell, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, leads a research team that includes Jennifer Normanly, a molecular biologist, microbiologist Jeff Blanchard and plant physiologists Michele Dacosta and Om Parkash in a $2M project to develop Camelina, a non-food oil seed crop related to canola, to dramatically increase seed oil generation for processing into sustainable liquid transportation fuels. Camelina is attractive because it is drought-tolerant species that can grow in poor soil, has a short growing season, and requires little fertilizer. Physorg.com, North American Clean Energy, Biodiesel Magazine, Biofuels Journal, Press Release
Goldner awarded Armstrong Fund for Science Award
Lori Goldner, Physics, has been awarded one of two Armstrong Fund for Science Awards, which grant $30,000 over two years to two research teams to encourage transformative research. Goldner's award will help her to observe individual protein molecules as they undergo nucleation. Press Release
Scott’s research shows that infants begin to learn about race in the first year
7 CNS students receive fellowships and grant awards from the Center for Research on Families
Seven CNS students have been awarded grants, fellowships, and awards from the Center for Research on Families: doctoral candidates in Clinical Psychology: Danila Musante, Katherine Newkirk, and Marianne Tichovolsky; junior Ashley Silvia, majoring in Veterinary and Animal Sciences, and senior psychology majors Grace Hauck, Deanna Julian, and Rebecca Owen. News Release
Rawlins interviewed about recent weather on WGBY’s “Connecting Point”
Michael Rawlins, manager of the Climate Systems Research Center, is interviewed on WGBY’s news magazine “Connecting Point” about the recent unusual weather. WGBY Connecting Point
Mayfield says understanding how to harnessing genome sequencing is next scientific challenge
Geneticist Jacob Mayfield, Veterinary and Animal Sciences, says now that the human genome has been sequenced, scientists are still trying to figure out how to harness the accomplishment for treating disease. Mayfield says scientists are beginning to understand that the information we’re interested in knowing lies in comparisons between genomes. Medical.net, Bioscience Technology, Science Daily, Bio Medicine,
Thayumanavan designs a new small-molecule probe that simplifies drug screening process
Sankaran “Thai” Thayumanavan, Chemistry, is part of a team of researchers who have designed a new small-molecule probe that may provide a simple way to screen drug candidates, allowing them to skip a step in the process. Chemical & Engineering News
Students design and launch weather balloon
Students in the "Weather and our Atmosphere" general-education Physics course, taught by Heath Hatch and grad TA Benjamin Ett, successfully launched and retrieved a weather balloon of their own design, using inexpensive, open-source hardware to make detailed environmental measurements. The balloon reached an altitude of 80,000 feet before it was collected 80 miles away in Bedford, Mass.
CNS departments and faculty awarded Mellon Mutual Mentoring Grants
CNS faculty groups were awarded Mellon Mutual Mentoring Grants by the Center for Teaching and Faculty Development support professional development: the Department of Physics: Mentoring Teaching Physics, the Engineering and Computing Women Faculty Group, the Interdisciplinary Neurodegeneration Group, and the Psychology Department Research Mentoring Group. 3 faculty members received Mellon Mutual Mentoring Micro Grants: Kristen M. DeAngelis and Yasu S. Morita, Microbiology, and Dong Wang, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. Press Release
Three CNS juniors are Goldwater Scholars, setting campus record
Three CNS juniors--Nicolas Zac Reyes, a Mathematics major, Michael Veling, a Biochemistry and Molecular Biology and Chemistry dual major, Benjamin Waldman, a microbiology major--have been named Goldwater Scholars, an honor that goes to no more than 300 students nationally each year in recognition of outstanding accomplishments in science, mathematics and engineering. Press Release
Six CNS seniors to receive honors as UMass Amherst 21st Century Leaders
Graduating seniors Hannah “Rivka” Dolberg Barrett, Psychology; Daniel K. Burke, Psychology and Accounting; Maheen Chaudhry, Biology and Psychology; Tara A. Mahendrarajah, Microbiology; Christopher M. Roy, Microbiology; and Chia-Ying Wu, Psychology and Music are among the 13 UMass 21st Century Leaders who will be honored at Commencement. Daniel K. Burke also honored as a Jack Welch Scholar. Press Release
Bermudez identifies molecular probes that detect changes in fibronectin fibers, a key to understanding the progression of disease
Harry Bermudez, Polymer Science and Engineering, is part of a research team that has identified molecular probes that can selectively attach to fibronectin fibers under different states of strain, a key to understanding the progression of pathological diseases such as cancer or fibrosis. Medilexicon.com, Innovations Report, News-Medical.net, Science Daily
Whitbourne listed on Twitter as a Top 50 Psychology Professor
Susan K. Whitbourne, Psychology, is listed among the Top 50 Psychology Professors on Twitter. Onlineschools.com
Student and alumni FACTbase team wins UMass Innovation Challenge
FACTbase, a team of student and alumni entrepreneurs from the Geosciences Department, won the top prize in the 2012 UMass Innovation Challenge. FACTbase develops technology to improve microfossil identification and save the oil industry time and money. Pictured (l. to r.) Steve Nathan MS ’99, PhD ’05; Kendra Clark MS ’12; Chris Lowery, PhD student; Serena Dameron, MS student; Jon Leachman ’05 BS Mathematics. Not pictured: Geosciences PhD student Andy Fraass and faculty advisor Dr. Mark Leckie.
A day-long symposium celebrated the life of the late, internationally renowned evolutionary biologist Lynn Margulis, Distinguished University Professor of Geosciences and National Medal of Science recipient. Speakers included Eusebio Lazcano, director of the newly dedicated Lynn Margulis Galapagos Centre for Evolutionary Biology, Ecuador and Dr. Peter Westbroek, Emeritus Professor of Geophysiology at Leiden University. Others discussed Margulis' legacy: her work with James Lovelock on the Gaia Hypothesis, her influential studies of symbiogenesis, and her role on the exobiology team looking for signs of life on Mars (Viking missions).
PhD student Stormer Earns Best Poster from Pacific Estuarine Research Society
David Stormer, doctoral student in Environmental Conservation, earned the best poster at the 35th Pacific Estuarine Research Society meeting for his poster titled “Occurrence, abundance, and developmental stage of a parasitic nematode in juvenile bluefish (Pomatomas saltatrix) inhabiting the Hudson River estuary.” Press Release
Hollingsworth says that number of ticks increases with warm weather
Craig Hollingsworth, Plant, Soil & Insect Sciences, says his lab has received a six-fold increase in requests this spring for tests on potentially disease-carrying ticks. He says the number of ticks have increased due to warmer than usual winter and spring. Boston.com