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Brent and Felder to lead free workshop for STEM faculty

The College of Natural Sciences and its university partners present "Effective College Teaching in STEM Disciplines," a free workshop to give STEM professors practical tools and strategies to make their science and engineering classes more effective. Led by Rebecca Brent and Richard Felder on March 24-25 in the Campus Center Auditorium. Please preregister.

Dumont and Grosse develop new tool to identify biodiversity targets

Elizabeth Dumont, Biology, and mechanical engineer Ian Grosse and others introduce a new engineering model that can be morphed into different shapes in order to examine biomechanical function in very diverse organisms and reconstruct skull shapes in long-extinct ancestral species, as reported in Evolution, Research Next

Elkinton says the sub-zero cold kills most of the wooly adelgid, which kills hemlock trees

Joseph Elkinton, Environmental Conservation, says that when temperatures drop to 15 degrees below zero, it's cold enough to kill most of the wooly adelgid, a insect that kills hemlock trees. Telegram & Gazette, The Atlantic Cities

Cox and others design robot that imitates the striking force of the mantis shrimp, which is able to open mollusk shells

Suzanne M. Cox, Organismic and Evolutionary Biology doctoral candidate, and others have designed a robot that imitates the striking force of the mantis shrimp, which is able to strike and break open mollusk shells.

Brennan, Irschick, Johnson, and Albertson say cutting funds for "oddball science" is short-sighted

Biologists Patricia Brennan, Duncan Irschick, Norman Johnson, and Craig Albertson say that scoffing at or cutting funds for basic biological research on unusual animal adaptations, although politically appealing to some, is shortsighted and only makes it more likely that important economic and social benefits will be missed in the long run, in a recent issue of BioScience. Boston Globe,, Red Orbit, BioScience, Science Newsline,, Science Daily, Science Codex, News release

Goodwin and Podos show that sparrows for temporary alliances with rivals in order to defend territory

Sarah Goodwin, Biology doctoral candidate, and Jeffrey Podos, Biology, publish a new study of territorial songs used by chipping sparrows to defend their turf that reveals that males will sometimes form a "dear enemy" alliance with a weaker neighbor to prevent a stronger rival from moving in, as published in Biology Letters. New York Times, Science Codex,, e! Science News, Red Orbit, Science Daily, News release

McArt and Adler offer first review of flowers as pathogen transmitters

Biology postdoctoral researcher Scott McArt, Lynn Adler, Biology, and others offer the first systematic review of flowers as transmitters of microbes among plants and animals. Ecology Letters, Nature World News,, Science Newsline, Discover magazine, Innovations Report, Bio-Medicine, Science Daily, Research Next, News release

CNS graduate students awarded Eugene M. Isenberg Scholarships

Five of the 10 doctoral candidates who have received Eugene M. Isenberg Awards for the spring semester are from the College of Natural Sciences: Timothy S. Gehan, Chemistry; Daniel R. King, Polymer Science and Engineering; Sandra M. Robinson, Animal Biotechnology and Biomedical Sciences; Javier Sabogal, Environmental Conservation; and Bicheng Wu, Food Science. The scholarships, which were established by Eugene M. Isenberg '50 and his wife, Ronnie, are awarded to graduate students who demonstrate academic merit and a commitment to the integration of science or engineering with management. News release

Craker receives Herbal Insight Award from the American Herbal Products Association

Lyle Craker, Stockbridge School of Agriculture, has been chosen to receive the Herbal Insight Award from the American Herbal Products Association, which has recognized his “efforts to significantly increase and further knowledge and understanding of botanicals and their uses.” News release

Wang elected to Executive Committee of High Energy Division of AAS

Daniel Wang, Astronomy, has been elected to a three-year term on the Executive Committee of the High Energy Division of the American Astronomical Society.

Rotello featured in story about how advanced printing technology and nanotechnology is leading to breakthroughs

Vincent M. Rotello, Chemistry, is featured in a story about how the combination of advanced printing technology and the use of nanotechnology is providing many scientific breakthroughs. He is using a 2-D printer with nanoparticle ink to create a printable test strip to detect pathogenic bacteria in water for use in Pakistan.

New, faster, more precise weather radar network developed by CASA is launched in Texas Dallas-Fort Worth Area

A faster and more precise weather radar network developed by researchers at the Center for Collaborative Adaptive Sensing of the Atmosphere (CASA) at UMass Amherst, Colorado State University, and the University of Oklahoma, is launched in the Dallas-Fort Worth. The site is the fourth in an array of this first-in-the-nation next generation of small, near-surface, fine-scale, rapidly updating weather radar. The Norman Transcript, Star-Telegram,, News release

AAC&U features iCons as innovative science education

The Association of American Colleges and Universities's (AAC&U) story about iCons: the Integrated Concentration in Science is the featured article in the January/February 2014 issue of AAC&U News. Through interviews with director Scott Auerbach, Chemistry, and students, the story gives the origins of the four-year-old program, and describes in depth the year-by-year structure of the interdisciplinary, problems-based curriculum for students already majoring in fields across the sciences, engineering, and public health.

Grotevant appointed by governor to state task force on adoption

Harold Grotevant, Psychology, has been appointed by Governor Deval Patrick to a state task force on adoption. The task force was created by legislation passed during the 2013 session “to study ways to reduce the costs and delays of the adoption process in the commonwealth” and to make “recommendations for legislative or regulatory changes to reduce costs of the adoption process and to make adoptions more easily available.” Grotevant is a leader in the psychology of adoption. As the Rudd Family Foundation Endowed Chair, he heads the Rudd Adoption Research Program, which is affiliated with the Center for Research on Families.

State pays for tick testing by Rich's Laboratory of Medical Zoology

Massachusetts will provide funds to 32 towns to have ticks tested for pathogens at Stephen Rich's Laboratory of Medical Zoology (LMZ). Through the state’s first Tick-Borne Disease Network, created for surveillance of ticks and tick-borne diseases, the LMZ will test 100 ticks from each town for $30 each, a significant discount. Founded by Rich in 2006, the lab tests thousands of ticks sent in by individuals nationwide and in Europe, mapping distribution and categorizing disease-causing pathogens in order to help families, physicians, and epidemiologists.

Institute for Applied Life Sciences (IALS) and its three centers featured in new report

A new report describes in depth the Institute for Applied Life Sciences (IALS) and its three centers, Personalized Health Monitoring, Models to Medicine, and Bioactive Delivery, which are housed in the new Life Sciences Laboratories. Interdisciplinary, entrepreneurial, and collaborative, IALS features state-of-the-art facilities, cross-cutting informatics and education and training programs, and wide ranging industry partnerships designed to help drive the regional economy and beyond. Report on Research (PDF)

Berger's Microsoft award for tool that finds spreadsheet errors is highlighted

Emery Berger, Computer Science, is highlighted for his 2013 Microsoft Research Software Engineering Innovation Foundation (SEIF) Award and $25,000 grant for his work on CheckCell, a tool that automatically finds spreadsheet errors. Report on Research (PDF)

CNS undergrads featured in story about Rising Researcher program

Ankur Sheel '13, Neuroscience and Biochemistry and Molecular Biology double major, and Kelly Malone '13, Physics, are featured in a story about the inaugural Rising Researcher program that honors undergraduates for their research, scholarship, and creative activity. Report on Research (PDF)

Shenoy and regional partners work to green the grid

Prashant Shenoy, Computer Science, is featured in an article about how his team is moving his NSF-funded smart-grid research into the deployment phase with new technologies that could transform the way energy is utilized, monitored, and controlled in U.S. buildings. Report on Research (PDF)

The 2013 research successes of CNS professors are highlighted

CNS professors are featured in an article about the 2013 research successes of UMass Amherst faculty. Report on Research (PDF)

CNS faculty recognized for their 2013 academic accomplishments

CNS faculty are recognized for their 2013 accomplishments, including awards, appointments, and honorary degrees. Report on Research (PDF)

New Life Science Laboratories are a part of the campus emphasis on interdisciplinary collaboration

The new $160 million Life Science Laboratories are part of a greater campus emphasis on interdisciplinary collaboration, says a story about the new facility. Report on Research (PDF)

CNS faculty well-represented in 2013 patents, start-ups, licenses, product development

CNS faculty are well-represented in a recent report on UMass Amherst patents, start-ups, licenses, and product development that occurred in 2013. Report on Research (PDF)

Whitbourne tells KOMO AM that Seahawks fans may be enjoying victory more because of the many losing seasons they have endured

Susan K. Whitbourne, Psychology, is interviewed by Seattle's KOMO Newsradio AM about fan reaction to the Seahawks’ victory over the Denver Broncos in the Super Bowl, saying they may be enjoying victory more because of the many losing seasons they have endured. KOMO Newsradio AM

DeConto to give S.T. Lee Lecture on Antarctic Science, New Zealand

Rob DeConto, Geosciences, has been asked to give the S.T. Lee Lecture on Antarctic Science in Wellington, New Zealand. This prestigious lecture is the country's highest form of recognition for international contributions to Antarctic science.