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2016 D. J. Ban Blerkom Research Scholarship Awards

The 2016 winners of the David J. Van Blerkom Research Scholarship Award are Jonah Chaban '18 Physics, and Kendall Sullivan '18 Physics. Read more

Tropp spoke at congressional briefing about psychology of prejudice and discrimination in the context of immigration

Linda Tropp, psychological and brain sciences, spoke as part of a congressional briefing on the psychology of prejudice and discrimination in the context of immigration, held March 17 in Washington, D.C. Read more

Warren and Healey selected as TIDE Ambassadors

Paige Warren, Environmental Conservation, and Christiane Healey, Biology, have been selected as two of the 2016-17 Teaching for Inclusiveness, Diversity and Equity (TIDE) Ambassadors through the Institute for Teaching Excellence and Faculty Development (TEFD). The TIDE Ambassadors Fellowship is a competitive award program in its inaugural year that recognizes the vital role faculty fulfill in creating an inclusive and equitable college experience for all students. Read more

UMass Amherst establishes new School of Earth and Sustainability

CNS is the home of the new School of Earth and Sustainability (SES), which will serve as a central hub for a suite of academic programs, research, innovation, outreach and extension activities focused on finding solutions to the complex, global environmental challenges of the 21st century. A partnership between the departments of Environmental Conservation and Geosciences and the Stockbridge School of Agriculture, the school brings together 18 undergraduate programs and five graduate programs. Faculty associated with SES conduct research on conservation, sustainable agriculture, earth sciences, environmental geography, renewable energy, sustainable building and design, climate sciences, environmental policy and decision-making, and sustainability.

CNS team recieves 2016 'Armstrong Fund for Science' Awards

A team of four CNS researchers are the Armstrong Fund for Science winners for 2016: Li-Jun Ma and Sergey Savinov, both Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, along with Michele Klingbeil and Yasu Morita, Microbiology. The team will use the two-year $40,000 grant to harness the synergistic power of plant antimicrobials and integrate the research interests of their labs to identify novel compounds with antifungal, antitrypanosomal or antibacterial activities. They plan to use the Plant Cell Culture Library (PCCL),a plant cell collection that contains cells from more than 2,200 plant species and is considered one of the largest and most diverse collections of cultured plant materials in the world, which includes cells capable of controlling drug-resistant pathogens.

Gierasch elected to American Academy of Arts and Sciences

Lila Gierasch, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, and Chemistry was elected as a new member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Founded in 1780, the academy is one of the country's oldest learned societies and independent policy research centers, convening leaders from the academic, business and government sectors to respond to the challenges facing and opportunities available to the nation and the world. Members contribute to academy publications and science, engineering and technology policy studies, works on global security and international affairs, the humanities, arts, education and American institutions and the public good. Gierasch says, "I am thrilled and honored to learn that I have been elected to the American Academy and to be included among such accomplished scholars."

Zoeller honored with Endocrine Society Award for Public Service

R. Thomas Zoeller, Biology, has won the Endocrine Society's Laureate Award for Outstanding Public Service Award, with three others, for "public service to the field of endocrinology" and for "their citizenship, outreach and scientific leadership in the area of endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDC)." The society's announcement says, "These four individuals have worked tirelessly with the endocrine community to communicate to the public, scientists, healthcare professionals and global governments about the role and impacts of EDCs on normal physiology, and how EDCs challenge long-used approaches in identifying toxic substances. Among the varied contributions of these individuals are co-authorship of the 2009 Scientific Statement on EDCs, integration of the topic into the Endocrine Society's scientific offerings, and expansion of the Society's advocacy beyond the U.S. borders."

Anastos is student speaker at Ouimet Scholarship Fund's Annual Banquet

Daniel Anastos '14 AS, a senior majoring in Turfgrass Science and Management, was the student speaker at the Francis Ouimet Scholarship Fund’s 66th Annual Banquet, held on April 11. After graduation, Anastos starts a job as a second assistant superintendent at a golf course in Idaho. Watch Dan's speech

PhD student Golden Receives Explorer Club Exploration Grant

Nigel Golden, PhD student in Environmental Conservation, has been awarded an Explorers Club Exploration Fund Grant for his project, "The effect of arctic ground squirrels (Urocitellus parryii) on climate change." Read more

Ready's study shows that memory may aid emotion regulation, particularly in older adults

A recent study by Rebecca Ready, Psychological and Brain Sciences, and her graduate student Gennarina Santorelli that explores the relationship between memory for specific past experiences and recovery from strong negative emotions indicates that episodic memory may be more important in helping midlife and older adults recover from a negative event than it is for younger adults. Read more

Whitbourne suggests ways to be a better arguer in an article in Scientific American

Susan K. Whitbourne, Psychological and Brain Sciences, suggests ways to be a better arguer in an article in Scientific American. She suggests being hopeful that the conflict can be resolved, breaking from arguments that develop in a recurring pattern and using a genuine smile or laugh to break tension. Scientific American

Crosby, Carter, and Li receive UMass System Tech Development Awards

Three researchers from the Polymer Science and Engineering department are among 16 recipients of Tech Development Awards from the UMass President's Office. Alfred Crosby was awarded $25,000 for a project titled "CR Diagnostics: Measuring In Vivo, Soft Tissue Mechanics," which involves the measurement of pressure in synthetic materials or biological tissue, in vivo. Kenneth Carter and doctoral student Yinyong Li received a $10,000 discretionary award for FogKicker, a new, patent-pending anti-fog solution made from natural materials. FogKicker is a biodegradable, non-toxic compound that can be coated on nearly any surface and, after drying, creates an invisible layer that prevents the formation of fog. Read more

Bradley and Castaneda to reconstruct climate at old Norse settlements

Raymond Bradley and Isla Castaneda, Geosciences, received a $348,218 NSF grant to analyze sediment records from Greenland’s lakes, where Vikings once settled. Their work, also featured in the Boston Globe, will generate new, high-resolution, quantitative records of temperature and hydrology over the past 1,500 years. Bradley, with graduate student Greg De Wet, will work in the field over the coming summer, then use newly available organic geochemical techniques in the laboratory to reconstruct past temperature and estimate changes in evaporation over time. These analyses should shed light on climate variations during the period of Norse settlement, with important implications for the broader climate dynamics of the North Atlantic.

Sweeney '16 awarded a post-graduate Fulbright to research on drought management in Kosovo

Kyle Sweeney '16 Natural Resource Conservation and Sustainable Food and Farming was awarded a post-graduate Fulbright. Sweeney will do research on drought management in the Republic of Kosovo, which is prone to droughts.

Wood studying the impact of wildfires on air quality, environment

Ezra Wood, Chemistry, has been awarded a four-year, $800,000 National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration grant to participate in one of the largest studies to date of atmospheric chemistry in wildfires. It will focus on North America, but results should apply to many areas around the world where fires occur, such as those used to clear forests for agriculture in Indonesia and Brazil. "With climate change, forest fires are likely to be more intense and frequent," Wood points out. "And the use of fire for forest clearing is a very common practice, as is burning biomass as fuel. Overall, we will address what is being emitted, what gases and what sorts of particles, and in what quantities. We'd like to be able to help modelers predict, for example, if you burn this many acres or woodland, how many grams of compound A and particle B will be released into the atmosphere, what happens to them chemically and how long they persist."

Samuel Kamlarz '16 selected as 2016 Rising Researcher

Senior Samuel Kamlarz, Microbiology and Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, has been selected as a 2016 Rising Researcher for his intelligent, creative, and dedicated work toward solving problems in the life sciences. For two consecutive summers, Kamlarz worked on cancer research projects as part of Tufts Medical Center’s Building Diversity in Biomedical Sciences program, where his efforts netted him an honorable mention at the program’s summer 2014 research symposium. Closer to home, his keen observations in the campus’s Klingbeil DNA Replication Laboratory resulted in uncovering a key link between mitochondrial DNA replication and differentiation of life-cycle stages in a parasite studied by the group. This discovery led to an entirely new and exciting area of research for the lab and has initiated several key collaborations.

Governor reappoints Larson to Fisheries and Wildlife Board

Joseph S. Larson, professor emeritus of Environmental Conservation, has been reappointed by Gov. Charlie Baker to a five-year term as a member of the Massachusetts Fisheries and Wildlife Board. The board governs the policy, personnel and regulatory functions of the state Division of Fisheries and Wildlife. Read more

McDermott named a 2016-17 Lilly Fellow for Teaching Excellence

Jennifer McDermott, Psychological and Brain Sciences, is one of eight 2016-17 Lilly Fellows for Teaching Excellence from the Institute for Teaching Excellence and Faculty Development (TEFD). The Lilly Fellowship is a competitive award program, established in 1986, that enables promising junior faculty to cultivate teaching excellence in a special yearlong collaboration. Read more

Mullen '16 is recipient of a Biology Undergraduate Travel Award

Katelyn Mullen, senior Biology major, is the recipient of a Biology Undergraduate Travel Award. She will be presenting her research in a poster titled New single-copy nuclear loci for scale insect's systematics at the International Symposium of Scale Insect Studies in Catania, Sicily in June. Mullen works in the laboratory of Professor Ben Normark; he and Scott Schneider are coauthors on the abstract. Read more

CNS College Outstanding Awards 2016

The 2016 Outstanding Faculty and Staff Awardees
Outstanding Advisor: John Gerber, Stockbridge School of Agriculture
Outstanding Research: Todd Emrick, Polymer Science and Engineering
Outstanding Service/Outreach: Simi Hoque, Environmental Conservation
Outstanding Staff: Brigette McKenna, Chemistry & Deby Lee, Food Science
Outstanding Teacher: Craig Albertson, Biology
The CNS Faculty and Staff Awards Ceremony took place on April 6.

Autio, Clements discuss impact on recent cold weather on local fruit harvests

Two news story examine the impact of recent cold temperatures on fruit crops in Massachusetts. Wesley R. Autio, director of the Stockbridge School of Agriculture, says frigid temperatures in early April could damage the apple harvest and he expects to see a significant decrease in the peach crop. Jon Clements, UMass Extension, also says the cold has damaged fruit tree buds but it’s not clear how much impact this will have on the harvest. Telegram and Gazette, NEPR

iCons undergrads contribute to urgent worldwide efforts to track and slow the spread of the Zika virus

Undergraduates in the Integrated Concentration in Science (iCons) program have developed new quantitative epidemiological models to predict some consequences of increasing Zika infections, such as microcephaly births, and the potential economic cost to society in several South American nations, particularly Brazil. Read more, CBS3 News

Women in Science going strong in CNS

Faculty, undergraduate and graduate students, administrators, and staff in the College of Natural Sciences recently joined together for the CNS Women in Science Initiative annual lecture to hear about the college’s successful programs for promoting gender equity for women scientists. Dean Steve Goodwin underscored the importance of supporting the professional lives of women faculty and students in the college. Sally Powers, Associate Dean for Faculty and Research, highlighted the many activities launched over the past five years. Nilanjana Dasgupta, Director of Faculty Equity and Inclusion, shared the results from the faculty survey assessing department culture and its impact on faculty satisfaction. A three-person panel gave highlights of departmental activities: Lily Jeznach, PhD Candidate, Civil Engineering, described the vibrant UMass’s Graduate Women in STEM organization; Farshid Hajir, Head, Mathematics and Statistics, talked about strategies for recruiting and retaining women scientists; and Barbara Osborne, Veterinarian and Animal Sciences, discussed the benefits of her experience participating in a professional peer-mentoring group.

Polymer Science part of the Advanced Functional Fibers of America (AFFOA)

The Polymer Science and Engineering Department is a research partner in Advanced Functional Fibers of America (AFFOA), a new $317 million public-private partnership announced April 1 by U.S. Secretary of Defense Ash Carter in support of advances in textile technology. UMass Amherst is the only public university in New England participating in the MIT-led partnership, which includes 31 universities, 16 industry partners, 72 manufacturing entities and 26 startup incubators across 28 states. Boston.com, New York Times, ABC News, Press release

Auerbach writes column about what to look for when choosing a college

Scott M. Auerbach, Chemistry, and director of the Integrated Concentration in Science program, writes a column where he says students and parents should look for colleges that offer not just training, but preparations on how to think and work collaboratively to solve real-world problems. Auerbach says key skills that need to be developed are resilience, resourcefulness, adaptability and critical thinking. MetroWest Daily News