CNS News

Subscribe to the CNS News RSS feed

Baldwin to give Distinguished Faculty Lecture on Next Generation Vaccines

Cynthia L. Baldwin, Veterinary and Animal Sciences, has been selected as a 2015-2016 Distinguished Faculty Lecturer. She will discuss "Responding to Infectious Diseases: Next Generation Vaccines" on Monday, April 11 at 4 pm in the Bernie Dallas Room, Goodell Building. Baldwin's lecture will look at the challenges faced by populations in developing countries, who often have only animal-source food as the only readily available protein. However, infectious livestock diseases limit its availability and are considered to be a key contributor to poverty. In addition, some of these diseases can spread from animals to humans, further threatening human health. In both developed and developing countries, vaccines are the most effective means of control but are often difficult to develop. Professor Baldwin will explore how a unique population of cells in the immune system may help overcome some obstacles to livestock vaccine development.

Students Eicholtz and Bradford take first place at the National Collegiate Landscape Competition

Arboriculture & Urban Forestry majors Nicolette Eicholtz and Shayne Bradford took first place at the National Collegiate Landscape Competition, beating competitors from 63 other colleges and universities by a wide margin. This is the fourth year in a row that UMass Arboriculture students have won the competition, the most prestigious in the country. Read more

Eight CNS disciplines receive high international rankings in the 2016 QS World University Subject Rankings

Eight CNS disciplines have received high international rankings in the 2016 QS World University Subject Rankings, published on March 22. Agriculture & forestry are ranked 35th in the world; chemistry, environmental studies, and materials sciences are ranked in the top 150, earth & marine sciences, physics & astronomy, and psychology are ranked in the top 200, and biological sciences is ranked among the top 250 programs around the globe. Read more

Venkataraman uses MGHPCC to help evaluate novel organic solar cells and other ion-transporting materials

Dhandapani "DV" Venkataraman, Chemistry, and his group are developing a new concept that assembles nanoparticle Lego-like building blocks (<100 nm in size) into new and innovative materials like solar cells, batteries, paints, sensors, and smart and temperature responsive materials. Along with the physical tools of synthetic chemistry, the facilities at the Massachusetts Green High Performance Computing Center (MGHPCC) are key in helping Venkataraman evaluate these new materials and their properties. Read more

International media coverage of DeConto's research about contemporary implications about Antarctica's past

There is international media coverage of research by Robert DeConto, Geosciences, about his recent findings, published in Nature that reveals the contemporary implications about Antarctica's past., BBC, Time, Boston Globe, Washington Post, New York Times, Yahoo News, Reuters, Forbes, ABC News, New Yorker, Scientific American, Newsweek, WBUR, National Geographic

Novak awarded Conti Faculty Fellowship

Melinda Novak, Psychological and Brain Sciences, is one of three recipients of the 2016-17 University of Massachusetts Amherst Samuel F. Conti Faculty Fellowships. The fellowships give faculty members a unique opportunity to focus on their research or creative activities by providing a one-year release from teaching and service duties in addition to a $3,500 cash award. Read more

Woodruff receives Fulbright to study tsunamis and typhoons in Japan

Jonathan Woodruff, Geosciences, one of world's leading researchers on sediment records of extreme floods that come with natural disasters, has been named a 2016-17 Fulbright scholar to work in Japan. With colleagues there he will reconstruct past extreme flooding by storms and tsunamis. Woodruff says "there is a pressing need" for accurate reconstructions of extreme flooding that reach back farther than modern instruments can provide. In Japan, less precise historical records go back over 1,000 years, but "significant uncertainty with respect to the accuracy of these earlier human accounts has limited their incorporation into current flood risk assessments until just recently." He plans to collaborate closely with Japanese scientists to improve risk assessments for Japan and understand how these records can be better used in the U.S. to improve coastal flood risk assessments.

Harrington '16 and UMass astronomers observe most luminous galaxies ever seen

Astronomy major Kevin Harrington '16 is the lead author on paper in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, about observations of the most luminous galaxies ever seen in the Universe. Harrington says, "We've taken to calling them 'outrageously luminous' among ourselves, because there is no scientific term to apply." Harrington is a senior undergraduate in astronomy professor Min Yun's group, which uses the 50-meter diameter Large Millimeter Telescope (LMT), the largest, most sensitive single-aperture instrument in the world for studying star formation. It is operated jointly by UMass Amherst and Mexico's Instituto Nacional de Astrofísica, Óptica y Electrónica. Other UMass astronomers authors include faculty members Min Yun, Grant Wilson, Neal Erickson, Gopalakrishnan Narayanan, Peter Schloerb, Kamal Souccar, PhD student John Ryan Cybulski, and undergraduate Andrew Dongha Gallup '19.

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