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UMass Amherst senior Morgan Opie receives Churchill Scholarship

Morgan Opie '14, Mathematics and Physics double major, is one of 14 students nationwide to receive a 2014 Churchill Scholarship from the Winston Churchill Foundation of the United States. The $50,000 scholarship funds a year of postgraduate study in the STEM fields at the University of Cambridge, England. Susan Whitbourne, Psychology, and director of the Office of National Scholarship Advisement at the Commonwealth Honors College, noted this was the first year the university was invited to participate in the Churchill Scholarship Program, so the award is "a particularly notable achievement for Morgan and the entire campus.”

McClements finds that micro-particles of whey protein could help food manufacturers cut calories

David J. McClements, Food Science, and colleagues, have found that using micro-particles of whey protein, possibly as a fat and starch replacer in sauces, dressings, and desserts, could help food manufacturers cut calories in food products. Food Navigator, Dairy Reporter

Xiao receives four-year, $491,220 grant to study nanoemulsion-based food delivery systems

UMass Amherst food scientist Hang Xiao has received a four-year, $491,220 grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture to study the biochemical fate of nanoemulsion-based food delivery systems in the gastrointestinal tract, hoping to reshape them and enhance the absorption of beneficial food components encapsulated in delivery systems. News-Medical Net,, Bio-Medicine,, News release

Perry-Jenkins named fellow of National Council on Family Relations

Maureen Perry-Jenkins, Psychology, and director, the Center for Research on Families, has been named a fellow of the National Council on Family Relations (NCFR), which said, “Perry-Jenkins is nationally and internationally recognized for her research on the intersection of work and family and the challenges facing low-income and working poor families as they cope with work-family life demands and with the transition to parenthood.” Her many honors include working on the federal level to develop workplace flexibility policy, serving on the editorial boards of several journals, and several UMass Amherst awards.

Patrick proposes state climatologist position to be based on UMass Amherst campus

A new state climatologist position to be housed at the UMass Amherst campus-based Northeast Climate Science Center has been proposed by Gov. Deval Patrick as part of his announcement of a $50 million initiative aimed at climate change preparedness. News release

Averill's bumble bee research is highlighted

Anne Averill (Environmental Conservation), colleagues John Burand (Microbiology), Guang Xu (Genomics Resource Lab), and Thomas Stevens (Resource Economics), and other collaborators are in the midst of a five-year $3.3 million USDA grant to develop strategies for protecting native bees in the northeast—at least two species of northeast bumble bees have already collapsed and that the decline is occurring nationwide. Research Next

Leidner, Tropp, and Lickel published in peace psychology issue of American Psychologist

Writing in a recent special “peace psychology” issue of American Psychologist, Bernhard Leidner, Linda Tropp, and Brian Lickel of the Psychology of Peace and Violence program say that if social psychology research focuses only on how to soften the negative consequences of war and violence, “it would fall far short of its potential and value for society.”

Boutt profiled in article about his groundwater research

David Boutt, Geosciences, is featured in an article about his research studying freshwater systems worldwide. His focus is on ground water recharge (where and how water makes it into the ground), ground water discharge (where and how it leaves the ground), and how water is transported between the two. Research Next

UMass Amherst plans to build solar array in Hadley

UMass Amherst plans to build a solar panel array on 10 acres in Hadley, Mass., that would generate 2.4 megawatts of electricity to sell in conjunction with ConEdison Development. The university must secure conservation permits in order to proceed. Stephen Herbert, Stockbridge School of Agriculture, is leading the project. Republican

Bezanilla receives $600,000 NSF grant to study plant growth

Magdalena Bezanilla, Biology, has received a four-year $600,000 grant from the National Science Foundation to further her award-winning research on fundamental processes of plant growth, in particular how molecules secreted by cells help to determine the outer shapes and patterns of plants. Bio-Medicine,, News release

Harper tells New England Public Radio that severe cold is good for forests because it kills insect pests such as the hemlock wooly adelgid

Richard W. Harper, Environmental Conservation, tells New England Public Radio that the recent severe cold weather could be good news for local forests because some insect pests, such as the hemlock wooly adelgid, can’t survive long stretches of intense cold. The populations of such pests will recover, however, experts say. New England Public Radio

Spencer tells Newsweek it's possible to replace strong emotions tied to specific memories

Rebecca Spencer, Psychology, says her research suggests it is possible to replace strong emotions tied to specific memories, in a Newsweek article about memory and how it can affect people. Newsweek

Clark finds that the body lice transmit infections to humans, unlike head lice

John M. Clark, Veterinary and Animal Sciences, and colleagues find that the human body louse can transmit dangerous bacterial infections to humans, while the human head louse does not. The larger lice, which are the same species, are apparently more likely to get sick from the bacteria and pass it on to a host, as published in Insect Molecular Biology., Science Codex, e! Science News, Science Daily

Nusslein finds microbe community may reduce the Amazon's ability to lock up C02

Klaus Nusslein, Microbiology, and colleagues have found that the conversion of Amazon rainforest to pastureland has a significant effect on microorganism communities, which play a key role in the region’s ability to serve as a reservoir for greenhouse gas, as published in Applied and Environmental Microbiology. Red Orbit, Innovations Report, Science Newsline,, Science Codex

The PHaSE Energy Frontier Research Center advances polymer-based photovoltaic research

The interdisciplinary research of the PHaSE (Polymer-Based Materials for Harvesting Solar Energy) Energy Frontier Research Center on polymer-based solar materials is profiled, along with co-directors Thomas Russell, Polymer Science and Engineering, and Paul Lahti, Chemistry. Research Next

Lerman's wildlife survey research is featured in The Guardian

A new study by Susannah Lerman, Environmental Conservation, published in Landscape and Urban Planning, is featured in a Guardian article about how communities are becoming much more aware of the need to protect urban wildlife. The Guardian

Osborne and Minter share NCI grant targeting a key enzyme to fight cancers

Barbara A. Osborne and Lisa M. Minter, Veterinary and Animal Sciences, will share in a five-year, $4.8 million National Cancer Institute (NCI) grant that targets multiple diseases including cancer, Alzheimer’s, and graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) by manipulating gamma secretase, an enzyme that activates over 100 different protein substrates in the body. The funds support investigators at four laboratories located at three institutions.

Sabagol Aguilar is awarded Eugene M. Isenberg Scholar Award

Javier Sabagol Aguilar, Environmental Conservation doctoral candidate, has been selected for the 2014 Eugene M. Isenberg Scholar Award. The Isenberg Awards are presented annually to full-time graduate students on the UMass Amherst campus who demonstrate exceptional academic merit and a commitment to the integration of science or engineering with management. Read more

Northeast Climate Science Center to fund wildlife and climate studies

Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell has announced that the Northeast Climate Science Center (NECSC) will award over $800,000 for research to guide managers of cultural and natural resources to plan how to help species and ecosystems adapt to climate change in the region. Three of the six studies involve UMass Amherst scientists, who will receive $200,000 over the next two years. Republican, Bio-Medicine, News release

CNS seniors Stubbs and Opie named as Rising Researchers 2013-14

Daniel Stubbs '14, Computer Science, and Morgan Opie '14, Mathematics, have been named as two of the four 2013-14 Rising Researchers. "Dan is an exceptional researcher who is already making significant contributions in theoretical computer science,” says Stubbs’ advisor, Andrew McGregor. "Morgan's drive and stamina became legendary in my department, where she is known as a true force of nature," says Opie's advisor, Jenia Tevelev.

Whitbourne featured in story about why video games are addictive

Susan K. Whitbourne, Psychology, is featured in a story about why video games such as Bejeweled Blitz and Candy Crush are addictive and how to limit playing time. CJAD 800 AM,, Westman Journal

The 2013 CNS First-Year Research Experience Poster Session

The 2013 CNS First-Year Research Experience (FRE), which places well-prepared incoming undergraduates in faculty research groups in the very first semester they are on the UMass Amherst campus in order to get students hooked on authentic research experiences, and encourage them to build on- and off-campus research experiences into their programs, culminated in a poster session on December 10 and 11 in the Atrium of the Integrated Sciences Building. Photos & Information

Kastor elected as an APA fellow

David Kastor, Physics, has been elected as a fellow of the the American Physical Society, which cited him for his “influential work on a broad span of topics in gravitational physics ranging from the formal definition of conserved quantities in General Relativity through new exact black hole solutions all the way to brane architectures relevant for string theory.” Kastor focuses his research on the theory of black holes in general relativity and related theories. He says astronomers are interested in black holes because, ironically, they are among the brightest objects in the sky because matter emits highly energetic radiation before it crosses the event horizon.

Levy and Meyer find that meditation helps treat addiction

Yariv Levy '12, a former doctoral student in Computer Science, and colleagues including Andrew Barto, Computer Science and Jerrold Meyer, Psychology, have found that coupling meditation-like practices with drug and behavior therapies are more helpful than drug-plus-talk therapy alone when helping people overcome addiction, as published in Frontiers in Psychiatry. Levy conducted this investigation while a graduate student at UMass Amherst. Frontiers in Psychiatry, Times of India, Yahoo! India News, News Medical, Science Daily, WebIndia123, Siasat Daily, News release

Kilham is profiled in Outside magazine

Chris Kilham, Stockbridge School of Agriculture, an ethnobotanist who travels the world searching for medicinal plants and natural remedies, is profiled in Outdoor magazine. Outside magazine