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Grayson research group identify factors that govern final morphology of self-assembling chiral filament bundles

In the current issue of Nature Materials, Greg Grason, Polymer Science and Engineering, and graduate students Douglas Hall and Isaac Bruss, and colleague Justin Barone at Virginia Tech, identify for the first time the factors that govern the final morphology of self-assembling chiral filament bundles, which include assemblies of misfolded proteins linked to diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s and sickle-hemoglobin proteins found in sickle-cell anemia. The research team also report experimental results supporting their new model. Read more

Constantino's research in five-year clinical trial shows that integrating motivational interviewing with cognitive behavioral therapy augments long-term patient improvement rates

Results of a five-year, randomized clinical trial of a new combined treatment approach for severe generalized anxiety disorder by Michael Constantino, Psychological and Brain Sciences, with Henny Westra at York University, Toronto and Martin Antony at Ryerson University, Toronto, suggest that integrating motivational interviewing with cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) improves long-term patient improvement rates more than CBT alone. Read more

Brigham-Grette, Geosciences, discusses the global importance of rapid warming in the Arctic on NPR station KUAC

Julie Brigham-Grette, Geosciences, discusses why the rapid warming under way in the Arctic should concern more people than just those who live in the region on NPR Alaska KUAC-FM

Grad students Marjadi and Devine win awards at AFS meeting

Meghna Marjadi and Matthew Devine, graduate students in Environmental Conservation, won presentation awards at the Southern New England Chapter of the American Fisheries Society’s Winter Science Meeting on January 14th, 2016. Read more

Watkins, Reinhart featured in video about NextFlex

Jim Watkins, Polymer Science and Engineering, and Peter Reinhart, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, and Director of the Institute for Applied Life Sciences (IALS), are featured in a video about the New England node of NextFlex, an academic and industry consortium tasked with developing a national ecosystem for research and development of flexible hybrid electronics. Watch video

Warren interviewed on NPR about urban birding

Paige S. Warren, environmental conservation, is interviewed on NPR station WHYY in Philadelphia about urban birding. The city is home to many species of birds, but also contains hazards that are unique to an urban setting. Radio Times, WHYY

Student research showcase presents videos of iCons students' senior projects

Treating waste milk contaminated with antibiotics, looking at the effects of global warming on biofuel crops, using bacteria as a drug delivery device for cancer treatments – these are a few of the real-world challenges that students in the Integrated Concentration in Science Program's third cohort "The Third Axis" are tackling in their iCons 4 (senior year) research projects. Read more, Watch videos

Permaculture project at Chicopee school coordinated by Salazar receives grant

Auxiliary Enterprises has been awarded a $3,500 grant from the Women for UMass Amherst Fund that will be used for a permaculture garden project at Stefanik Elementary School in Chicopee. The WFUM Award will have a broad impact, says Xochiquetzal Salazar, a Sustainable Food and Farming major and student auxiliary sustainability coordinator. The garden project will bring together teachers, the school's kitchen staff, 500-plus elementary-aged students and UMass Amherst students. Read more

Nahmod selected as Spotlight Scholar for mathematical exploration of how things work

Internationally recognized mathematician Andrea Nahmod is an expert in the two separate but interrelated classical areas of mathematics called harmonic analysis and partial differential equations. Nahmod says, "I study how to decompose objects in forms we can understand and that give us information about their most relevant features, their structure and patterns." Using techniques called harmonic and nonlinear Fourier analysis, Nahmod applies these decomposition techniques to problems in the material world in order to find solutions and to understand their behavior. Her current research investigates the role of data randomization in nonlinear wave phenomena and how probability can be applied to shed light on behavior and dynamics of 'generic' solutions.

Normark receives Fulbright to study ancient native plants, invasive insect threat

Benjamin Normark, Biology, was recently selected as a Fulbright scholar and will spend the fall 2016 semester in Mexico documenting the spread of the insect, cycad aulacaspis scale. It is an invasive species that threatens the country's cycads, plants sometimes called "living fossils" because they have changed little in the last 280 million years. Globally, says Normark, "Cycads are under unprecedented assault from armored scale insects and from the global nursery trade that sees cycads as commercially valuable ornamentals." Mexico is home to 55 of the world's 300 cycad species. Most of these are vulnerable or endangered, and many are culturally important, valued for stems that can be pounded into an edible meal, and for their foliage, still used for traditional religious ceremonies.

Autio discusses the impact of current warm weather is having on local plant and fruit crops

Wesley R. Autio, director of the Stockbridge School of Agriculture, says it may not be immediately obvious what impact the warm weather is having on local plant and fruit crops this coming season, in part because so many odd things have happened in the weather this year. Daily Hampshire Gazette

Katsoulakis improves approach to uncertainty in complex mathematical models

Markos Katsoulakis, Mathematics and Statistics, and colleagues at the University of Delaware introduced an improved approach to dealing with uncertainty in complex mathematical models that are used to predict the behavior of chemical reaction networks. Their mathematical and computational framework, published in Nature Chemistry, provides key steps towards the computer-aided design of new, better-performing and low cost catalysis materials. Read more

Jesse and Pereira named Center for Research on Families Faculty Research Scholars

Alexandra Jesse and Mariana Pereira, both Psychological and Brain Sciences, are two of six faculty members selected by the Center for Research on Families to be the 2016-17 Family Research Scholars for their promising work in family-related research. Read more

Gierasch named Editor in Chief of Journal of Biological Chemistry

Lila M. Gierasch, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology and Chemistry, has been named editor in chief of the Journal of Biological Chemistry, the flagship journal of the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, for a five-year term beginning July 1. Read more

Dixon-Gordon and Millman named 2016-17 Institute for Social Science Research Scholars

Katherine L. Dixon-Gordon, Psychological and Brain Sciences, and Anita Milman, Environmental Conservation are among the six faculty selected by the Institute for Social Science Research (ISSR) as 2016-17 ISSR Scholars. Read more

Online database keeps tabs on health, history of thousands of campus trees

It's getting a lot easier to follow the health and value of the thousands of trees that make up the Frank A. Waugh Arboretum in and around the core of campus. A new searchable website, overseen by Todd Beals '15, Environmental Conservation, who now works for the Physical Plant, catalogs about 8,000 "actively managed" trees that make up the arboretum, mostly in the campus core, but also at sites like the Chancellor's House property. Read more

Woodruff and Brandon find oyster beds once protected N.Y. Harbor from storm, wave damage

A study of past disturbance of the oyster beds in New York Harbor led by Jonathan Woodruff, Geosciences, and doctoral student Christine Brandon is the first to link Europeans' overharvesting and disturbance of the ancient shellfish beds to loss of natural coastal defenses against floods and storm waves. Read more

Hoque developing a new technology to help urban planners develop sustainability plans

Simi T. Hoque, Environmental Conservation, is developing a new technology she calls the Integrated Urban Metabolism Analytical Tool, or IUMAT, to help urban planners develop sustainability plans. It would help planners look at the interrelationships between factors such as storm water, land use and energy consumption, Hoque says. The new tool creates mathematical relationships between various sub-factors of urban planning to help identify previously unseen patterns of use and development. Read more

National Arbor Day Foundation designates UMass Amherst a TreeCampus USA

National Arbor Day Foundation has designated UMass Amherst a TreeCampus USA. Read more

Siren comments in National Geographic about the expansion of the Canada lynx into New England

Alexej P. Siren, a doctoral student in Environmental Conservation, comments in a National Geographic story about how the Canada lynx is expanding its territory to include parts of Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont. Siren is working with the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department in its efforts to track the animals. National Geographic

Spencer says napping helps small children retain memories, but is less effective for older people

Rebecca Spencer, Psychological and Brain Sciences, says her sleep research shows that napping helps small children retain memories, but that effect seems to be different for older people. Spencer believes small children benefit the most because they are in a developmental stage that highlights the impact of sleep on memory, something that isn't as strong in older people. Scientist

Weaver appointed to National Academy of Sciences STEM Study Committee

Gabriela Weaver, Chemistry, Vice Provost for Faculty Development, and Director of the Institute for Teaching Excellence and Faculty Development, has been appointed to a 14-member committee convened by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine through its Board on Science Education, Board on Testing and Assessment and Board on Higher Education and the Workforce. The committee will review existing approaches to monitoring STEM in higher education, identify objectives for improving undergraduate STEM education, and describe the key constructs that need to be measured.

Weinstein, NRC major, wins Best Oral Presentation

Spencer Weinstein, a senior undergrad majoring in Natural Resources Conservation, won first place for the Best Oral Presentation in Ecology and Environmental Sciences at the 2016 Emerging Researchers National Conference In STEM. Her presentation was based on her summer REU at the Virginia Institute of Marine Science. Read more

Rawlins interviewed on NEPR and WWLP about the unusually warm winter weather

Michael Rawlins, manager of the Climate System Research Center, was interviewed about the unusually warm winter weather and the impact of El Niño.NEPR, WWLP-TV

Rotello Earns $25,000 TREE Award for Outstanding Research, Education

Vincent Rotello, Chemistry, is one of two outstanding Cottrell Scholars recently named as 2016 recipients of the Resource Corporation for Science Advancement's (RCSA) TREE Award for Transformational Research and Excellence in Education. Silvia Ronco, RCSA senior program director, says, "Vince is the ultimate teacher-scholar. His research accomplishments are completely off the chart. His creative chemical approaches will benefit society in a number of positive ways. In addition, he is a passionate teacher who engages undergraduate and graduate students through mentoring, interactive methods and multidisciplinary approaches."