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Rotello and Cohen report on their license plate recall research to task force chaired by state RMV registrar

Caren M. Rotello and Andrew Lind Cohen, Psychological and Brain Sciences, appeared before a task force chaired by Massachusetts Registrar of Motor Vehicles Celia Blue and delivered a report on factors involved in the public’s ability to recognize and recall vehicle license plates, including the use of symbols in addition to numbers and letters. Their recent research in Psychology, Public Policy, and Law found no memory benefit of adding such symbols. News release

Park's ground-breaking research on the benefits of CLA is featured on Research Next

Yeonhwa Park, Food Science, was featured in Research Next about her seminal research on the benefits of conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) nearly 25 years ago that placed her in Thomson Reuters’ “Highly Cited Researchers 2014” list with seven other UMass Amherst researchers. Research Next

Staudinger featured in Popular Science as having one of the "Top 10 Worst Jobs in Science"

Michelle Staudinger, Environmental Conservation, was featured in “The Top 10 Worst Jobs in Science” for her work gutting fish to get the stomach content for her research. Popular Science

Zilberstein featured in story about using semi-autonomous robots to do laundry

Shlomo Zilberstein, School of Computer Science, and colleagues, are featured in a story about their work using semi-autonomous robots to do laundry. Innovations Report, Gizmodo India

Griffin is co-PI on new $357,920 REU about offshore wind

Curtice Griffin, Environmental Conservation, is co-PI, with PI Erin Baker, Engineering, on a new National Science Foundation-funded Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) that will annually support 10 undergraduates interested in exploring research in a wide range of offshore wind-energy topics, including engineering, wildlife ecology, and policy. The $357,920 program is called “Offshore Wind Energy: Solving the Engineering, Environmental & Socio-Economic Challenges.” Griffin is also co-PI with Baker, the PI, on an Integrative Graduate Education and Research Traineeship (IGERT) project titled “Offshore Wind Energy Engineering, Environmental Impacts, and Policy" that will be integrated with the REU. News release

Riley featured in International Business Times story about the difficulties in developing new antibiotics

Margaret Riley, Biology, was featured in a story about the difficulty researchers encounter trying to develop new antibiotics and ways to battle antibiotic-resistant bacteria. She says she was unable to get the help she needed from the U.S. government or from private pharmaceutical companies and eventually had to work with a company in China that is supported by the Chinese government. International Business Times

Markstein featured in The Academic Minute public radio show about using fruit flies in her cancer research

Michele Markstein, Biology, was featured on "The Academic Minute,” discussing how she uses genetically engineered Drosophila, or fruit flies, with human genes, causing them to grow tumors for study. WAMC, Northeast Public Radio

Hallock interviewed by Gazette about underinflated footballs

Robert B. Hallock, Physics, is featured in a Daily Hampshire Gazette story about underinflated footballs, saying the advantage of one is minimal.

Whitbourne featured in story about controversy over Patriots use of deflated footballs

Susan Krauss Whitbourne, Psychological and Brain Sciences, was featured in a story about the public’s reaction to the ongoing controversy surrounding the use of deflated footballs by the NFL’s New England Patriots during their recent AFC Championship game victory over the Indianapolis Colts.

Dasgupta, Rawlins, Spencer, and Tyson named 2015 Public Engagement Faculty fellows

Nilanjana (Buju) Dasgupta, Psychological and Brain Sciences and director, Faculty Equity and Inclusion; Michael A. Rawlins, Geosciences and manager, the Climate System Research Center; Rebecca Spencer, Psychological and Brain Sciences; and Julian Tyson, Chemistry, have been named 2015 Public Engagement Faculty Fellows. Faculty fellows chosen by the university's Public Engagement Project (PEP) receive a stipend and technical training in communicating with non-academic audiences. PEP is supported in part by the College of Natural Sciences. Public Engagement Project

Undergraduate Commencement 2015 - Save the date!

This year the CNS Senior Celebration will be held in the Mullins Center on Saturday, May, 9, at 5:00 p.m. Each graduating senior is presented with a UMass medallion, and a student from each department makes a very brief speech. Family and friends are invited. Seniors are also urged to attend the University Commencement on Friday, May 8, and their department receptions. Watch for updates on the CNS undergraduate commencement page.

Schloerb and colleagues publish some of the first findings from the Rosetta Mission comet, in Science

Peter Schloerb, Astronomy, and colleagues are among the first research findings to be published from the European Space Agency’s Rosetta Mission to the comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, as published in Science. NBC News,, Nanowerk, Republican, Christian Science Monitor, ECN Magazine, News release

Berger's CheckCell listed as one of top 10 cool network and computing research projects

CheckCell, a research tool designed by Emery Berger, Computer Science, and graduate students to detect spreadsheet errors is listed as one of 10 cool network and computing research projects.

McClements finds grape seeds can form stable nanoemulsions for delivering resveratrol

David Julian McClements, Food Science, and Gabriel Davidov-Pardo, a visiting scholar, have found that combining oil and extracts from grape seeds can form stable nanoemulsions for delivering resveratrol, a powerful polyphenol and anti-fungal chemical, for use in functional food applications, as reported in Food Chemistry.

Bradley finds non-native plants much more widespread than native, in surprising new study

Bethany Bradley, Environmental Conservation, has found that non-native plant species are much more widespread than native plants, in the first comprehensive assessment of native versus non-native plant distribution in the continental United States, as reported in Global Ecology and Biogeography., Science magazine, Science Daily

Webley named director of Pre-med/Pre-dent Advising

Wilmore Webley, Microbiology, has been named director of Pre-medical/Pre-dental Advising, effective Jan. 1, overseeing advising for 1,500 undergraduates across campus exploring careers in the medical, dental and health fields. Webley, who received his PhD from UMass Amherst in 2003, is a longtime advocate for effective student mentoring and a leader in student success initiatives. He has a passion for helping students reach their highest potential. His research focuses on infectious disease mechanisms and the role of specific infections in chronic diseases, including a chlamydia vaccine development and the role of pathogenic microbes in asthma initiation and exacerbation.

Rawlins comments on annual weather analyses, noting that the relative coolness in eastern U.S. reflects recent weather patterns

Michael Rawlins, Geosciences, and manager, the Climate System Research Center, commented extensively on annual weather reports from agencies including the U.S. National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and Japan’s Meteorological Agency, which report that the global average temperature for 2014 was the warmest on record. Much of the eastern half of the United States was relatively cool, however, says Rawlins, noting that deviations of a cold month or year such as these reflects recent weather patterns. "The century-long trend of warming global average temperature is a response to increasing atmospheric greenhouse gases resulting from human activities,” he says. News release

Gehan, King, Roy, Sabogal, and Wu receive Isenberg Awards

Five CNS doctoral candidates have received 2014 Eugene M. Isenberg Awards in recognition of their demonstrated academic merit and commitment to integrating science or engineering with management. They are: Timothy Gehan, Chemistry; Daniel King, Polymer Science and Engineering; Sandra Roy, Animal Biotechnology and Biomedical Sciences; Javier Sabogal, Environmental Conservation; and Bicheng Wu, Food Science. A total of 13 scholarships were announced. The awards, established by the late Eugene M. Isenberg ’50 and his wife, Ronnie, are of up to $10,000 apiece annually and are intended to prepare recipients for leadership roles in high-tech ventures, corporate research and development, technically oriented businesses, and other entrepreneurial initiatives. Read more

McClements' article about excipient foods showing promise in increasing bioavailability of functional nutrients is featured

An article by David J. McClements, Food Science, in Current Opinion in Food Science about recent studies that say excipient foods show promise in increasing the bioavailability of functional nutrients was featured in

Tropp coauthors Psychology Today column about racial anxiety and threats

Linda R. Tropp, Psychological and Brain Sciences and director, Psychology of Peace and Violence Program, coauthored a column in Psychology Today about how racial anxiety and racial threats tend to blunt egalitarian impulses in people and can work to highlight racial bias.

Crosby's Academic Minute broadcast featured on NSF Web site, Science 360 News

The appearance of Alfred Crosby, Polymer Science and Engineering, speaking in an Academic Minute broadcast about Geckskin, the adhesive modeled on gecko feet that Crosby coinvented, is featured on Science 360 News, a National Science Foundation Web site.

Hayward and Santangelo find way to make small-scale reversibly self-folding origami structures

Ryan Hayward, Polymer Science and Engineering, Christian Santangelo, Physics, and postdoctoral researchers Junhee Na, Polymer Science and Engineering, and Arthur Evans, Physics, and collaborators have found a way to make reversibly self-folding origami structures on small length scales using ultraviolet photolithographic patterning of photo-crosslinkable polymers, as published in Advanced Materials. The new platform offers promise for applications in biomimetic systems, biomedical devices, microrobotics, and mechanical metamaterials., Business Standard, Zee News, WebIndia 123,, Yahoo News India, Science Newsline, Science Codex, Nanowerk,,,,,,, Space Daily, Today’s Medical Developments, News release

Adoption Mentoring Partnership cited by the Carnegie Foundation in naming UMass Amherst a "Community-Engaged University"

The Adoption Mentoring Partnership was one of the programs cited by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching when it named UMass Amherst a “Community-Engaged University.” The Partnership is a collaboration between the Rudd Adoption Research Program of Psychological and Brain Sciences and Big Brothers, Big Sisters of Hampshire County. Carnegie recognized UMass Amherst for its engagement initiatives integrating research and teaching with the community. News release

Podos and Irschick edit new book on animal signaling

Jeffrey E. Podos and Duncan J. Irschick, both Biology, with co-editor Mark Briffa, have edited Animal Signaling and Function: An Integrative Approach, bringing together a diverse collection of researchers who use a variety of methods and taxa to study animal signaling in a new integrative approach. News release

Clements featured in article about issues apple growers will face in 2015

Jon M. Clements, UMass Extension, featured in a round-up of comments from the American and Western Fruit Grower’s predictions for 2015 in Growing Produce says the top issue facing apple growers in 2015 could be market volatility and that it’s possible that China could eventually take over the market and supply all the apples to the U.S. market, similar to what happened in the electronics industry.