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Geckskin, Irschick, and Crosby featured in article examining video game's real-world foundations for futuristic weaponry

Geckskin technology and its developers, Duncan Irschick, Biology, and Alfred Crosby, Polymer Science and Engineering, are featured in an article examining the real-world foundations for futuristic weaponry used in the new video game. Business Insider

Scott, Hadley, and Pickron find that naming things between 6 and 9 months lays learning foundation for babies

Lisa Scott and doctoral candidates Hillary Hadley and Charisse Pickron, all Psychological and Brain Sciences, have found that talking to babies in their first year, in particular naming things in their world, can help them make connections between what they see and hear, and these learning benefits can be seen as much as five years later, as reported in Developmental Science., Psych Central, Science Newsline, MedicalXpress, Science Codex,

Fletcher, Harper, and Markowitz awarded Civic Engagement fellowships

Lena Fletcher, Rick Harper, and Ezra Markowitz, all Environmental Conservation, were selected for Civic Engagement and Service-Learning Faculty fellowships for 2015, which provide faculty with a forum and support to incorporate service-learning into their courses and help students make significant contributions to the larger community. Environmental Conservation News

Research by Pocar, Cadonati, and Otis named one of "Top Ten Breakthroughs of 2014" by Physics World

Research by Andrea Pocar, Laura Cadonati and doctoral student Keith Otis, all Physics, and colleagues on the Borexino experiment who reported in Nature this year that they had accomplished the first detection of neutrinos from the main nuclear reaction powering the sun has been named one of the “Top Ten Breakthroughs of 2014” by Physics World magazine.

Bhowmik awarded Crop and Weed Science Society of India's Life Time Award

Prasanta C. Bhowmik, Stockbridge School of Agriculture, received the Crop and Weed Science Society of India's Life Time Award. Bhowmik was recognized for his outstanding contributions to weed science. His research focuses on allopathic plants, invasive weeds, interactions of allelochemicals and soil environment. As author or co-author of numerous refereed articles with extensive citations, he has been a leader of weed science research for the last three decades. Bhowmik also delivered the keynote address at an international seminar on “Integrating Agriculture and Allied Research: Prioritizing Future Potentials for Secure Livelihoods” held during the conference.

Vittum receives 2015 USGA Green Section Award from USGA

Patricia J. Vittum, Stockbridge School of Agriculture and interim director, Center for Agriculture, Food and the Environment, has received the 2015 USGA Green Section Award from the United States Golf Association (USGA). This award recognizes an individual’s distinguished service to the game of golf through his or her work with turf grass. Vittum has conducted significant research on the biology and management of turf grass insects and the effectiveness of biological-control methods. A recognized industry leader, she is a widely sought-after resource for practical information about turf grass pests.

Cooke and Fattaruso produce new model of Coachella Valley segment of San Andreas Fault

Michele Cooke and Laura Fattaruso, Geosciences, with another colleague, have used new three-dimensional numerical modeling to captures far more geometric complexity of an active fault segment in southern California than any other. They suggest that the overall earthquake hazard for towns on the west side of the Coachella Valley such as Palm Springs and Palm Desert may be slightly lower than previously believed, as reported in Geosphere. Innovations Report,, Science Codex, Science Daily, eScience News,, Claims Journal, Red Orbit, NBC News, The Desert Sun, News release

Feldman, Blaustein, and Lovley named AAAS Fellows

Deputy Chancellor Robert S. Feldman and Jeffrey D. Blaustein, both from Psychological and Brain Sciences, and Derek R. Lovley, Microbiology, have been named fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) for their distinguished efforts to advance science or its application.

Governor-elect Baker tours LSL and ISB; meets with Reinhart, Watkins, and iCons students

Governor-elect Charlie Baker visited UMass Amherst and toured the Life Science Laboratories and Integrated Science Building on Dec. 3. He also met with Peter H. Reinhart, director of the Institute for Applied Life Sciences, and James J. Watkins, director of the Center for Hierarchical Manufacturing, as well as students from the Integrated Concentration in Science program, as covered in the Boston Globe, the Republican, and the Daily Hampshire Gazette.

Zoeller finds strongest evidence to date that endocrine disrupting chemicals can interfere with thyroid in pregnant women

R. Thomas Zoeller, Biology, has provided the strongest evidence to date that endocrine disrupting chemicals such as polychlorinated biphenyls found in flame retardant cloth, paint, adhesives, and electrical transformers, can interfere with thyroid hormone action in pregnant women and may travel across the placenta to affect the fetus, as reported in the Endocrine Society’s Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism. The paper was also honored as one of four extramural papers of the month by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences., Medical Xpress, Science 2.0, Science Daily, Science Codex,,, Hampshire Daily Gazette, news release

Markstein interviewed on radio show about using fruit flies in her cancer research

Michele Markstein, Biology, in a two-part radio interview, discusses why fruit flies are one of the most powerful genetic systems available to scientists today and how she is using them to study cancer and stem cells. Pulse of the Planet (part 1), Pulse of the Planet (part 2)

Arcaro and Sela collaborating with Sturgeon on possible early warning blood test for breast cancer

Kathleen Arcaro, Veterinary and Animal Sciences, and David Sela, Food Science, are part of a team led by Susan Sturgeon, School of Public Health and Health Sciences, that has received a two-year, $760,462 National Cancer Institute award to validate a new method for early identification of breast cancer-related changes that could help to identify women at higher risk and lead to new prevention strategies., news release

Kilham profiled in Boston magazine about his worldwide search for natural remedies

Chris Kilham, Stockbridge School of Agriculture, was profiled in Boston magazine about his travels around the world looking for herbal and natural remedies.

Burrell interviewed by New York Times and Guardian about preserved brains missing at UT Austin

Brian D. Burrell, Mathematics and Statistics, and author of the book, Postcards From the Brain Museum: The Improbable Search for Meaning in the Matter of Famous Minds, was interviewed for articles in publications including the New York Times and The Guardian about the case of around 100 human brains, preserved in formaldehyde in jars at the University of Texas at Austin, that were reported missing. Burrell says collecting brains for study began in the mid-1800s when it became possible to preserve them. National Monitor

Lutcavage develops new approach to determine age of bluefin tuna maturity

Molly Lutcavage, Environmental Conservation, and colleagues are using a new approach for determining the age at sexual maturity for wild stocks of western Atlantic bluefin tuna that suggests that these fish mature at a considerably younger age than currently assumed. These findings could lead to changes in how fisheries scientists estimate the population. Science Newsline, E Science News, Gloucester Times, Science Codex,, The Fish Site, Terra Daily, Salem News, National Fisherman, News release

"Thai" Thayumanavan chosen to give Distinguished Faculty Lecture, receive Chancellor's Medal

S. "Thai" Thayumanavan, Chemistry, has been chosen to deliver the first in the 2014-15 Distinguished Faculty Lecture series and be presented with the Chancellor's Medal, the highest recognition given for service to the campus. Thayumanavan has pioneered the development of polymeric nanogels designed specifically to target delivery of a drug to given molecule. Winner of several major awards in recognition of his fundamental contributions to chemistry, he also co-founded the Massachusetts Center for Renewable Energy Science and Technology (MassCREST), and has been an active leader in the Center for Bioactive Delivery as part of the Mass Life Science initiatives.

Rosset, Eicholtz, and Golden win top honors at TCI Expo

Environmental Science and Stockbridge School of Agriculture students ranked in the 2014 Tree Care Industry (TCI) Expo student competition. Julianne Rosset, Environmental Science doctoral candidate, won Best Oral Presentation. Nicolette Eicholtz, Stockbridge School, won first place for the Work Climb, Safety Gear Check, and overall first place in the women’s division. Robert Golden, Stockbridge School, won first place in the Safety Gear Check, mens division. 2014 TCI Scores

Burrell interviewed on Connecting Point about new book

Brian David Burrell, Mathematics and Statistics, and coauthor Allan Ropper discussed their book, Reaching Down the Rabbit Hole: A Renowned Neurologist Explains the Mystery and Drama of Brain Disease, on WGBY's "Connecting Point."

"Academic Minute" features Crosby on Geckskin

Alfred Crosby, Polymer Science and Engineering, talked about how he and Duncan Irschick, Biology, with their graduate students, invented Geckskin, the super-strong new adhesive that is modeled on gecko feet on "The Academic Minute" on WAMC Northeast Public Radio. Inside Higher Ed

Woodruff tells Accuweather he has uncovered evidence that kamikazes saved Japan from invading Mongols

Jonathan D. Woodruff, Geosciences, says he has uncovered evidence that powerful ancient kamikazes, typhoon-strength winds that saved Japan from invading Mongol fleets in the 13th century, actually happened.

UMass Cranberry Station featured on WGBH Radio

A feature story on the National Public Radio affiliate WGBH Radio looked at the UMass Cranberry Station in Wareham. WCAI-Cape and Islands NPR Station

Monosson's "Unnatural Selection" reviewed by Hampshire Life

The book Unnatural Selection: How We Are Changing Life, Gene by Gene by Emily Monosson, Environmental Conservation, about the potential rapid evolution of bacteria and harmful plants and how they can affect humans, was reviewed by Hampshire Life.

Klekowski's 1973 article honored by American Journal of Botany

A 1973 article by Edward Klekowski, Biology professor emeritus, was chosen by the American Journal of Botany to be honored among a handful of seminal papers that have led to substantial advances in various fields of botany over the past century, as part of the journal's 100th anniversary celebration. News release

Lovly, Tuominen, and Tuominen featured in Research Next about their research showing that Geobacter produces microbial nanowires

The claim by Derek Lovley, Microbiology, Mark Tuominen, Physics, Nikhil S. Tuominen, Physics Postdoctoral Fellow, and Sibel Ebru Yalcin, Physics PhD '10 that the microbe Geobacter produces tiny electrical wires, called microbial nanowires, has been mired in controversy for a decade, but the researchers say a new collaborative study provides stronger evidence than ever to support their claims, as published in Research Next.

Cox-Fernandes featured on WAMC's "Academic Minute"

Cristina Cox-Fernandes, Biology, was featured on WAMC’s nationally syndicated science series, “The Academic Minute," discussing how she and colleagues discovered a new genus and species of electric knifefish in tributaries of Brazil’s Negro River. WAMC, Inside Higher Ed, News release