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Bloniarz selected for a 2016 CESL Faculty Fellowship

David Bloniarz, Environmental Conservation, has received one of 10 CESL Faculty Fellowships from UMass Civic Engagement and Service-Learning. Bloniarz is developing a new course, "Urban Forestry: Structure, Function and Value" that will integrate classroom learning with community-based learning. Read more

McCoy '12 awarded NASA Space Technology Research Fellowship

Jake McCoy '12 Astronomy and Physics, was recently awarded a coveted NASA Space Technology Research Fellowship to find missing matter in space. While a student at UMass, McCoy developed an interest in radio astronomy, and his NASA-sponsored research relating to missing matter will apply his knowledge of electron beam lithography toward building better x-ray spectroscopy instruments. Read more

Byers comments in a Smithsonian article about songbirds in Zambia

Bruce E. Byers, Biology, comments in a Smithsonian article about recent speculation that songbirds in Zambia spend winters practicing their singing for the breeding season in the spring. He believes it seems plausible, but would like to see more evidence. Smithsonian

Whitbourne comments in Washington Post about Trump's behavior after coming in second in the Iowa caucuses

Susan K. Whitbourne, Psychological and Brain Sciences, comments in a Washington Post news story about how Donald Trump handled coming in second in the Iowa caucuses, falling short of his goal of winning. She says his response is "a great optics lesson in how not to lose." She says it's a normal instinct to dislike losing, but people have to learn how to manage their feelings when it happens. Whitbourne says Trump's ego was bruised because he had bragged about always being a winner, but then failed to meet his goal. Washington Post

New Center for Biological Physics launches Website

The new Center for Biological Physics facilitates interactions between physicists and life scientists and to engender physically sophisticated research on biological systems. Its mission is to bring physical insight and the tools of physical measurement to the study and understanding of biological systems, from single biomolecules to functional biomolecular assemblies to living cells. The new Website highlights research findings, interdisciplinary workshops, seminars, and courses.

Weaver's article selected in the "Editor’s Choice" section of Science magazine

Gabriela Weaver, Chemistry, and Director of the Institute for Teaching Excellence and Faculty Development, had a recent article published in the Journal of Chemical Education, "Design, Implementation, and Evaluation of a Flipped Format General Chemistry Course," selected as an "Editor’s Choice" in Science. Read more

Astronomy Major Patrick Drew Receives AAS Chambliss Award

Astronomy major Patrick Drew '16 is the recipient of the Chambliss Astronomy Achievement (AAS) Student Award for his poster presentation at the American Astronomical Society, held on January 4-8, 2016. Read more

Narayanan, Grosslein, featured in Gazette article about the Event Horizon Telescope

Gopal Narayanan, Astronomy, and Ron Grosslein, Astronomy Research Engineer, were featured in a story about their efforts to synchronize a number of powerful telescopes around the planet to create an instrument capable of studying the black hole in the center of the Milky Way galaxy. The project, called the Event Horizon Telescope, will utilize the Large Millimeter Telescope in Mexico, created in partnership with UMass Amherst. Daily Hampshire Gazette

CNS hosts Neuroscience Summit February 8-9--all are welcome

CNS will host a Neuroscience Summit on Monday, Feb. 8 from 9 a.m.-12-30 p.m. and on Tuesday, Feb. 9 from 2-4:30 p.m. in the Amherst Room, 10th Floor, Campus Center. The summit is an opportunity for the neuroscience research community of scholars, students and administrators from this campus, the Five Colleges and UMass Medical School to gather to discuss opportunities for advancing neuroscience research and training at the university and beyond. This interactive two-day program includes presentations by UMass faculty and pre-eminent visiting neuroscientists and offers opportunities for discussion and input among attendees. The summit is free and open to all and seeks to include input from the larger academic community, so all are encouraged to attend.

Blaustein and Zoeller named Public Engagement Faculty Fellows

Jeffrey D. Blaustein, Psychological and Brain Sciences and R. Thomas Zoeller, Biology are two of seven faculty members who have been named Public Engagement Faculty Fellows by the Public Engagement Project (PEP). They will draw on their substantial research record to impact policy, the work of practitioners and public debates. The fellows, who will receive a stipend and technical training in communicating with non-academic audiences, will also travel to Beacon Hill to share their research with lawmakers.

Rosie Cowell receives $599,000 CAREER grant to study brain function

Rosie Cowell, Psychological and Brain Sciences, recently received a five-year, $599,619 NSF CAREER award to develop and test a theory of how memory interacts with fine-grained visual perception and how both brain functions depend on the medial temporal lobe (MTL), which once was thought to be critical for memory but not for visual perception. Using computational modeling plus memory experiments with human volunteers, she seeks "to understand how brain activity is linked to behavior, in particular in the MTL, at a level not seen before." Examining amnesia caused by brain damage and more moderate memory loss caused by normal aging, Cowell's project will investigate whether these two forms of memory loss can be explained by the same mechanisms.

Hardy records lowest snow accumulation on Peru's Quelccaya Ice Cap

Douglas R. Hardy, Geosciences, says he has recorded the lowest snow accumulation in the 12 years he has been monitoring it on the Quelccaya Ice Cap in Peru. It is the largest glacier in the tropics. Hardy says, "We are seeing 40 percent more melting than any other year since measurements started in 2002." Scientists believe the El Niño effect in the Pacific Ocean is a key cause in the melting of the glaciers. New Scientist

Rawlins discusses the impact of climate change on this year's warm winter on WGBY's Connecting Point

Michael Rawlins, Geosciences, spoke with 22 News Meteorologist Brian Lapis and Carolee McGrath on WGBY's Connecting Point to discuss the El Nino effect on climate change and how the world’s climate patterns are constantly changing as time goes on. Connecting Point

McLandsborough quoted on NBC Nightly News about the recent outbreak of listeria bacteria in packaged Dole lettuce

Lynne McLandsborough, Food Science, is quoted on NBC Nightly News about the recent outbreak of listeria bacteria in packaged Dole lettuce. NBC Nightly News.

Stephen Colbert show features research by Irschick and Crosby about the human limitations of Spiderman to climb walls

Research by Duncan Irschick, Biology, and Alfred Crosby, Polymer Science and Engineering, with colleagues at Cambridge University, UK, and University of the Sunshine Coast, Australia, published in PNAS, that shows that a human would need to have impossibly large feet and be 40% covered in sticky pads in order to scale walls like Spider-Man, was featured on the Late Show with Stephen Colbert and the BBC.

Dixon-Gordon named Rising Star by Association for Psychological Science

Katie Dixon-Gordon, Psychological and Brain Sciences, has been named a 2015 Rising Star by the Association for Psychological Science for "outstanding psychological scientists in the earliest stages of their research career post-Ph.D. whose innovative work has already advanced the field and signals great potential for their continued contributions." Dixon-Gordon's research focuses on the role of emotional processes in psychopathology, with an emphasis on borderline personality disorder.

Ready named Association for Psychological Science Fellow

Rebecca Ready, Psychological and Brain Sciences, and Director of Clinical Training, was recently named a Fellow of the Association for Psychological Science, the premier international organization solely dedicated to the advancement of psychological science. Ready is a geriatric neuropsychologist with expertise in the assessment of emotion, life quality, and well-being in adult and aging populations. She conducts research on emotion regulation and memory, risk for Alzheimer's disease, emotion in Mild Cognitive Impairment, and life quality in Huntington's disease.

Brigham-Grette has lead role in 'Arctic Matters Day'

Julie Brigham-Grette, Geosciences, and chair of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences' (NAS) Polar Research Board, served as co-master of ceremonies for an "Arctic Matters Day" at NAS headquarters on Thursday, Jan. 14 and gave the inaugural public webinar in an Arctic research seminar series hosted by the Arctic Research Consortium of the United States on Friday, Jan. 15. Read more

Decker receives grant to study reducing saturated fats in popular foods

Eric Decker, Food Science, has received a three-year, $469,775 grant to explore ways to improve the nutrition of foods high in saturated fats. Results should help food producers address recent new dietary guidelines recommending that Americans eat fewer of those fats to reduce heart disease risk. Read more

Inspired by shark research, Irschick creates "Beastcam" for 3D models

Duncan J. Irschick, Biology, and colleagues have developed a multi-armed platform that integrates several cameras plus a computer system, which they call the "Beastcam" because it can rapidly and easily create 3D models of living animals and other objects. Irschick says, "Once you make a 3D model of an object, you can modify it, conduct experiments with it, animate it or even send it to a 3D printer for testing different designs." Irschick says a key advantage of the Beastcam technology lies in its ability to scale up to a range of sizes, which opens up new opportunities for creating 3D models from a range of subjects.

Dong Wang's lab adds fundamental new molecular-level knowledge about how plants interact with beneficial microbes in soil

Working with alfalfa-clover Medicago truncatula, Dong Wang, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, and his lab have found how a gene in the host plant encodes a protein that recognizes the cell membrane surrounding the symbiotic bacteria, then directs other proteins to harvest the nutrients, as published in Nature Plants. As Wang explains, plants often recruit microbes to help them satisfy their nutritional needs, offering the products of photosynthesis as a reward. This method is akin to scavenging, Wang says, because the amount of nitrogen available in soil is quite limited. Read more

BCT students compete in national building competition

15 students majoring in Building and Construction Technology will compete against more than 30 other colleges and universities across the nation at the National Home Builders Show in Las Vegas next week.

Loring's research featured on Xploration Awesome Planet New England

Work by Pamela H. Loring '06, PhD student in Environmental Conservation, was featured on the syndicated television nature series, "Xploration Awesome Planet New England," hosted by Phillipe Cousteau. Loring and colleagues at UMass Amherst, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the University of Rhode Island, use miniature radio tracking devices to follow movements of endangered piping plovers and roseate terns in Long Island Sound. These studies related to offshore wind energy development are sponsored by the Bureau of Ocean Management. Xploration Awesome Planet New England

iCons internship partnership with Waters Corporation featured

For the past three years, students from the Integrated Concentration in Science program (iCons) have been working with the Waters Corporation as interns as part of an effort to help the company’s research and development efforts. Associated Industries of Massachusetts

Irvine co-edits Encyclopedia of Astrobiology

A new and updated second edition of Encyclopedia of Astrobiology was recently published by the German scientific press Springer, with William Irvine, professor emeritus of Astronomy, as one of its co-chief editors. Read more