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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

Alberts shows cluster galaxies decrease star formation faster than isolated galaxies

Stacey Alberts, Astronomy doctoral candidate, and colleagues find that clusters of galaxies initially show star formation activity at the same rate as more isolated galaxies, but that activity decreases much more quickly and dramatically in the clusters—perhaps because cluster galaxies are more likely to merge or collide, they write in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society. Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society,, The Daily Galaxy,

Goodwin receives Paris Award from New England Vegetable and Berry Growers’ Association

Steve Goodwin, CNS Dean and Microbiology, was presented with the Guy L. Paris Award for his "many years of outstanding service and contributions to support of the vegetable and small fruit industry in New England" by the New England Vegetable and Berry Growers’ Association, which noted his "strong and continuing support for agriculture" and his work strengthening "agricultural research, teaching and extension."

Geckskin inspired by Spider-Man, says Bloomberg

Geckskin, an adhesive developed by Duncan Irschick, Biology, and Al Crosby, Polymer Science and Engineering, was cited by Bloomberg in its story about science inspired by superheroes—in this case, Spider-Man's adhesive. Bloomberg, Geckskin website

Stubbs wins CRA's Outstanding Undergraduate Researcher Award

Daniel Stubbs, senior in Computer Science, is the winner of the Computing Research Association's (CRA) Outstanding Undergraduate Researcher Award (Male) 2014. Each year CRA recognizes one male and one female student, along with an additional 30 undergraduates who are recognized for their research contributions. While students have been honored before, this is the first time a UMass Amherst student has won the top award. Congratulations also to Andrew McGregor, Computer Science professor and Dan's advisor.

Elkington is tracking winter months in western Mass.

Joseph Elkinton, Environmental Conservation, says he's concerned about the winter moth, which has defoliated thousands of trees along coastal New England, but that he expects the insect to be stopped before gaining a significant hold in central and western Massachusetts. UMass Extension is analyzing data from an online survey. Online survey, Republican

UMass Amherst STEM Education Institute and Pioneer Valley STEM Network award "Little Wow" grants

The UMass Amherst STEM Education Institute and the Pioneer Valley STEM Network have awarded nine “Little Wow” grants totaling $6,160 in order to provide more than 500 K-12 students in the region with exciting science, technology, mathematics, and engineering (STEM) experiences. News release

Microbiology seniors among the top winners of the Innovation Challenge

Clearocin, the team of Microbiology seniors Dennis Morgan and Clarissa Ronzi, was among three winners of the Innovation Challenge Executive Summary and Elevator Pitch competition on December 3, and was awarded $1,500. Their product, uses bacteria to fight acne. UMass Innovation Challenge

Danylchuk documents rare—and surprising—bonefish spawning behavior

Andy Danylchuk, Environmental Conservation, has documented rarely seen pre-spawning behavior in bonefish, which should aid future conservation efforts. ScienceDaily, BioMedicine, Science Codex, Sport Fishing, e! ScienceNews, Science Newsline, LiveScience News, Rocket News, The Bahamas Weekly, Fox News, Video, News release

Jackson named Conservationist of the Year by the Mass. Nature Conservancy

Scott Jackson, Environmental Conservation, is named the 2013 Conservationist of the Year by the Massachusetts Nature Conservancy, which calls him "a tireless advocate for science-based conservation for more than 20 years" and noted his "countless contributions to the health of Massachusetts’ natural environment," including cofounding the River and Stream Continuity Project, which protects and restores river continuity across the northeast. He also led the use of underpass systems to facilitate wildlife movement, beginning in 1987 with Amherst's Henry Street tunnels, the first such structures in North America.

Emrick Named to National Academy of Inventors

Todd Emrick, Polymer Science and Engineering, and director of the NSF-supported UMass Materials Research Science and Engineering Center on Polymers, has been named a fellow of the National Academy of Inventors, which seeks to recognize those with a “prolific spirit of innovation in creating or facilitating outstanding inventions that have made a tangible impact on quality of life, economic development and the welfare of society.” His research includes developing new polymer surfactants, self-healing polymers, nanoparticles and nanoparticle capsules, membrane technology for water desalination and purification, polymeric flame-retardants, and new materials for drug delivery.

Spencer interviewed on WBUR about the importance of exercise for children

Rebecca Spencer, Psychology, is featured in a story on WBUR-FM about the benefits of exercise for brain development in children, and notes that schools often lack the resources to provide physical education classes. WBUR-FM

Whitbourne speaks with Connecting Point about young people's self image in social media

Susan K. Whitbourne, Psychology, is interviewed on WGBY public television's Connecting Point about social media making it easier for people, especially young women, to post photos of themselves, some of which may not be flattering or socially appropriate. Connecting Point

Massachusetts commits $51 million for renovation of Morrill Science Center

State funding for a $51-million renovation to the Morrill Science Center at UMass Amherst has been released as part of the 2014 Capital Investment Plan announced last week by Governor Deval Patrick. Daily Hampshire Gazette

Baldwin Named Distinguished Veterinary Immunologist by International Group

Cynthia Baldwin, Veterinary and Animal Sciences, has been named the Distinguished Veterinary Immunologist for 2013-16 by the International Union of Immunological Societies. The award is made to one individual worldwide every three years and selected by an international committee of scientists. Baldwin's research has focused on cellular responses to bacterial and protozoan pathogens of humans and livestock. She is principal investigator on three federally funded grants in support of global food security. Additionally, she is editor of Veterinary Immunology and Immunopathology, and serves as a Jefferson Science Fellow at the U.S. Department of State.

Spencer is featured in a story about why napping in preschool helps children learn

Rebecca Spencer, Psychology, is featured in a story about why napping in preschool helps children learn. Psychology Today

Elkinton is interviewed on WBZ radio about an expected infestation of winter moths

Joseph Elkinton, Environmental Conservation, comments in a story about the return of winter moths, predicting a heavy infestation in some areas. WBZ NewsRadio

Woodruff finds that rising sea levels and retreating shorelines will increase flood risk from tropical cyclones

Jonathan Woodruff, Geosciences, and colleagues, have found that flooding by landfalling tropical cyclones will increase as a result of accelerated sea-level rise. “Society must learn to live with a rapidly evolving shoreline that is increasingly prone to flooding from tropical cyclones,” they write in the current issue of Nature. Nature, Science Newsline,, e! Science News, Science Daily, Terra Daily,, Red Orbit, Big Medicine, Homeland Security News Wire, Recorder, News release

Russell has developed a way to change the spherical shape of liquid drops into ellipsoids

Thomas Russell, Polymer Science and Engineering, has developed a new way to change the natural spherical shape of liquid drops into ellipsoids as a way to deliver therapeutics, as biosensors, and possibly for use in batteries.,, Energy Harvesting Journal,

Bradley discusses his continuing concerns that not enough is being done to slow global warming

Raymond S. Bradley, Geosciences, and director of the Climate Systems Research Center, is interviewed about global warming and how it is presented to the public. He expresses his continuing concerns that not enough is being done to slow the process. Connecting Point

CNS undergrads and Holyoke middle school students play with science in the ‘Connections’ program

Undergraduate science majors spent the fall working with the Massachusetts Academy of Sciences (MAS) and the Kelly Middle School in the after-school science program, Connections. Each undergrad intern was matched with two or three students, about 20 sixth- to eighth-grade students in total, and led them in science-based activities. News release