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Boyer tackles major highbush blueberry disease

As New England's blueberry season approaches, UMass Amherst doctoral candidate Matt Boyer, a doctoral student in the Organismic and Evolutionary Biology Graduate Program, says a fungal pathogen of highbush blueberries known as mummy berry is a common threat to growers, and if left untreated can destroy up to 50 percent of a crop. It is so named because it produces dead-looking, berry-shaped lumps instead of healthy berries. Boyer recently received a two-year, $79,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to identify the insect vectors that best spread the disease, and to study how variations in insect visitation can explain varying resistance levels among blueberry varieties. Read more

Gim uses Large Millimeter Telescope to detect Carbon Monoxide (CO) in galaxy

An article about scientists' detection of the faint radio emission from atomic hydrogen, the most abundant element in the universe, in COSMOS J100054, a galaxy nearly 5 billion light-years from Earth, mentions that UMass Amherst graduate student Hansung Gim, Astronomy, used the Large Millimeter Telescope in Mexico to detect carbon monoxide in the same galaxy. Gim's discovery gave the researchers key information about gas in the galaxy that is composed of molecules, rather than of individual atoms. Molecular gas is considered a necessary precursor to star formation. SpaceDaily

McGarigal lab's interactive mapping tool, Connect the Connecticut, now available for conservation purposes

A new interactive mapping tool developed by Kevin McGarigal, Environmental Conservation, and his graduate students at the UMass Landscape Ecology Lab is available to land trusts as they make strategic decisions about a major conservation vision for the Connecticut River watershed. "Connect the Connecticut" will help conservation groups in four New England states prioritize and coordinate land acquisition efforts within the 11,250 square-mile watershed, with an eye toward habitat resiliency in the face of climate change. The mapping and data effort is spearheaded by the North Atlantic Landscape Conservation Cooperative, which unites federal, state and local conservation partners to achieve common goals, and supports the development of related technology-based tools. The lab uses geographic information systems to understand how landscapes change over time. Springfield Republican

Auerbach receives UMass Manning Prize for Excellence in Teaching

Scott Auerbach, Chemistry, received the Manning Prize for Excellence in Teaching which recognizes outstanding teaching across all five UMass campuses for sustained excellence in teaching, exemplary contribution to the campus community, and supporting students' educational and career achievements. Auerbach's signature contributions have been in engaging and motivating thousands of students over a more than 20-year career through transformative approaches to STEM education, including real-world problem-based learning, team-based learning, and student-centered learning.

Center kicks off Undergraduate Summer Scholars Program

The Center for Agriculture, Food and the Environment (CAFE) has kicked off its Undergraduate Summer Scholars Program. This new program provides summer employment internships for UMass Amherst undergraduate students in the labs and offices of University faculty and in communities where professional Extension educators are engaged with citizens. The program will provide substantive professional or academic training and also enhance the goals and objectives of research and extension initiatives associated with CAFE.

UMass becomes first major public university to divest from direct fossil fuel holdings

The University of Massachusetts is the first major public university to divest its endowment from direct holdings in fossil fuels. The decision was made by a unanimous vote of the Board of Directors of the UMass Foundation, a separate not-for-profit corporation that oversees an endowment whose value was $770 million at the end of the last fiscal year. Read more

Markarian part of team that receives Chancellor's Citation Team Award

Jane Markarian, an organizer of the Eureka! partnership, was a member of a team that received a Chancellor's Citation Team Award. Part of the award involved the creation of a video about the Eureka! team. Pictured, from left to right: Terrie Kellogg, computer science; Robert Davis, academic computing; Jill Isabelle, campus recreation; Chancellor Kumble R. Subbaswamy; Jane Markarian, CNS Advising Center; Garett DiStefano, dining services, and Elizabeth Wilda and Donna Blackney, news and media relations.

Whitbourne quoted in Business Insider article about coping from a rough breakup

Susan Krauss Whitbourne, Psychological and Brain Sciences, is quoted in an an article in Business Insider on coping from a rough breakup. She writes in her Psychology Today blog, "The simple act of writing wasn't enough to cause change, nor was the ability to reframe the relationship's ending in more intellectual terms. Instead, it was the reshaping of memories of the breakup, and the role the breakup played in the individual's personal story, that seemed to reveal the silver lining." Business Insider

Zoeller and other PEP faculty meet with state lawmakers

R. Thomas Zoeller, biology, was one of five faculty members who visited the State House May 12 as part of the Public Engagement Project Faculty Fellowship Program. They discussed their research and explored opportunities to collaborate with more than a dozen lawmakers, legislative staff and interest group representatives. Read more

Contois '16 recognized as a 2016 Jack Welch Scholar

Timothy Contois '16, a dual degree recipient in computer science and mathematics, was one of two graduating seniors recognized for their leadership and executive ability as Jack Welch Scholars. Read more

Brigham-Grette says in Reuters that students who skip classes are costing themselves $50 to $70 per class

Julie Brigham-Grette, Geosciences, says students who skip classes are costing themselves $50 to $70 per class, a calculation she shares with her students. Reuters

van Driesche and Abell find that a tiny wasp contributes to significant reduction in emerald ash borer population growth

A seven-year field study that included UMass Amherst researchers Roy van Driesche and Kris Abell, found that a tiny wasp, Tetrastichus planipennisi, contributed to a significant reduction in emerald ash borer population growth in central Michigan. The U.S. Forest Service estimates the response to the emerald ash borer could cost up to $10.7 billion between 2009 and 2019. Environmentguru.com

Kroodsma's new book, Listening to a Continent Sing, is reviewed

Listening to a Continent Sing: Birdsong by Bicycle from the Atlantic to the Pacific, a new book by Donald Kroodsma, professor emeritus of Biology, is reviewed. Examiner.com

Hebert lab untangles disease-related protein misfolding

Daniel Hebert, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, and his research group report for the first time how a key protein in the blood coagulation pathway folds to a higher-energy or "cocked" state, so it can function as a sort of "molecular mousetrap" and generate the work required to perform physiologically important functions. The work, details of which appear in an early online edition of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, advances understanding of genetic forms of thrombosis, emphysema, cirrhosis of the liver, neurodegenerative diseases and inflammation, among others. Read more

Rich's Laboratory of Medical Zoology creates co-pay town partnership

The popular success and high demand for a tick testing service provided to Massachusetts residents by the Laboratory of Medical Zoology recently led lab director Stephen Rich to extend the program by partnering with towns in a co-pay model that will also test for more pathogens. Read more, Boston Globe

Whitbourne featured on NBC's Today Show, saying that the idea of a "mid-life" crisis is a myth

Susan Krauss Whitbourne, psychological and brain sciences, is quoted in a video feature exploring the facts and myths surrounding the concept of the "mid-life crisis." Whitbourne says that the idea of a "mid-life" crisis is a myth, and that individuals can experience the feelings associated with the phenomenon at any time in their lives, not just during the mid-life years. NBC's Today Show

Linda Tropp publishes a letter-to-the-editor to the Wall Street Journal

Linda R. Tropp, Psychological and Brain Sciences, published a letter-to-the-editor to the Wall Street Journal where she says increased racial diversity on college campuses can reduce prejudice and foster understanding between different groups of people. Wall Street Journal

Tyson discusses how much arsenic is in our food in video

Arsenic Analysis: How much arsenic is in our food? Chemistry Professor Julian Tyson pursues the answer--and how policy changes might improve matters. Watch video

Rotello wins Royal Society Award for pioneering research

Vincent Rotello, Chemistry, was selected by the U.K. Royal Society of Chemistry's (RSC) Organic Division to receive the 2016 Bioorganic Chemistry Award for his "pioneering research in using chemistry of nanomaterials to understand and modulate biological processes." Rotello's research focuses on using synthetic organic chemistry to engineer the interface between the synthetic and biological worlds, and encompasses devices, polymers and nanotechnology/bio-nanotechnology, with over 475 peer-reviewed papers published to date. The award includes a prize of £2000 (about $2,900), a medal, and four university lectures in the U.K.

Clydesdale and Mahoney discuss how cast iron cookware can add iron to food

Fergus Clydesdale, Food Science, and Raymond Mahoney, professor emeritus of food chemistry, discuss in the Wall Street Journal how cast iron cookware can add iron to food. Clydesdale says the transfer of iron depends on the food that is cooked and the preparation method. Mahoney says the iron from cookware may not be absorbed as easily as iron in meat but consuming vitamin C at the same time can make the iron more available to the body. Wall Street Journal

CNS undergrads and grad students receive Center for Research on Family awards

The Center for Research on Families (CRF) selected three CNS students among seven recipents of the 2016-2017 student research grants and awards. Gennarina D. Santorelli, a fourth-year doctoral student in the clinical psychology program, received one of four CRF Family Research Graduate Research Fellowships. Michael Lemieux, a senior biochemistry and molecular biology major, with a minor in mathematics, received the CRF Family Research Honors Thesis/Capstone Award. Alexandra Santiago, an undergraduate honors student pursuing a degree in psychology on the neuroscience track, received the CRF Family Research Undergraduate Assistantship. Read more

Hollerbach's citizen petition to prohibit plastic bags in Amherst endorsed by selectmen

Selectmen in Amherst have endorsed a citizen petition from Kevin Hollerbach, a graduate student in sustainability science, that would prohibit the use of single-use plastic bags at retail stores and restaurants. The petition will be taken up by the annual Town Meeting. Daily Hampshire Gazette

2016 ECO student awards and scholarships

The Environmental Conservation announced student awards and scholarships for 2016 during their departmental picnic. Photos and full list of awardees

Clouston's students build timber grid shell as pop-up exhibition on Fine Arts Center Plaza

Students in a wood design class taught by Peggi Clouston, Building and Construction Technology program, have engineered and constructed a massive and intricate wooden dome temporarily adorning the plaza of the Fine Arts Center. This timber grid shell was a collaborative effort by an interdisciplinary and multicultural mix of 35 students from many fields and backgrounds across campus. Fabrication of the shell was headed up by John Fabel, Building and Construction Technology. Read more

Polymer Science and Engineering reunion celebrates first 50 years

The Department of Polymer Science and Engineering is celebrating its 50th anniversary May 12-13 with a reunion and symposium expected to draw more than 250 visitors for laboratory tours, panel discussions and presentations from eight distinguished graduates, including astronaut Catherine "Cady" Coleman '91 and Tisato Kajiyama '69, the program's first PhD graduate and president of Fukuoka Women's University in Japan. Dubbed PSE50, the celebration completes an academic year of special anniversary events.