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Spencer says napping helps small children retain memories, but is less effective for older people

Rebecca Spencer, Psychological and Brain Sciences, says her sleep research shows that napping helps small children retain memories, but that effect seems to be different for older people. Spencer believes small children benefit the most because they are in a developmental stage that highlights the impact of sleep on memory, something that isn't as strong in older people. Scientist

Weaver appointed to National Academy of Sciences STEM Study Committee

Gabriela Weaver, Chemistry, Vice Provost for Faculty Development, and Director of the Institute for Teaching Excellence and Faculty Development, has been appointed to a 14-member committee convened by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine through its Board on Science Education, Board on Testing and Assessment and Board on Higher Education and the Workforce. The committee will review existing approaches to monitoring STEM in higher education, identify objectives for improving undergraduate STEM education, and describe the key constructs that need to be measured.

Weinstein, NRC major, wins Best Oral Presentation

Spencer Weinstein, a senior undergrad majoring in Natural Resources Conservation, won first place for the Best Oral Presentation in Ecology and Environmental Sciences at the 2016 Emerging Researchers National Conference In STEM. Her presentation was based on her summer REU at the Virginia Institute of Marine Science. Read more

Rawlins interviewed on NEPR and WWLP about the unusually warm winter weather

Michael Rawlins, manager of the Climate System Research Center, was interviewed about the unusually warm winter weather and the impact of El Niño.NEPR, WWLP-TV

Rotello Earns $25,000 TREE Award for Outstanding Research, Education

Vincent Rotello, Chemistry, is one of two outstanding Cottrell Scholars recently named as 2016 recipients of the Resource Corporation for Science Advancement's (RCSA) TREE Award for Transformational Research and Excellence in Education. Silvia Ronco, RCSA senior program director, says, "Vince is the ultimate teacher-scholar. His research accomplishments are completely off the chart. His creative chemical approaches will benefit society in a number of positive ways. In addition, he is a passionate teacher who engages undergraduate and graduate students through mentoring, interactive methods and multidisciplinary approaches."

Sternheim honored for distinguished service to science education

Morton M. Sternheim, professor emeritus of Physics, has received the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) Award for Distinguished Service to Science Education. Sternheim is currently director of the UMass STEM Education Institute and of the Pioneer Valley STEM Pipeline Network. Read more

UMass Amherst ranked third nationally in faculty Fulbrights, one of whom is Kathleen Arcaro

Kathleen Arcaro, Veterinary and Animal Sciences, is one of seven UMass Amherst faculty members awarded Fulbright Fellowships for 2015-16, tying the school for third nationally in garnering the coveted academic exchange awards, according to the Chronicle of Higher Education. Arcaro, who studies molecular toxicology, will spend four months at Yeditepe University in Atasehir, Turkey, where she will research using breast milk to detect risk of breast cancer and new detection methods and therapies for breast cancer. Read more

Research by Menon, Davidovitch, and Russell offers new, simpler law of complex wrinkle patterns

Narayanan Menon and Benny Davidovitch, Physics, Thomas Russell, Polymer Science and Engineering, mathematician Dominic Vella of Oxford University, describe a new, more general law for predicting the wavelength of complex wrinkle patterns, including those found on curved surfaces. The work is expected to help materials scientists to use wrinkles to sculpt surface topography, or to use the wrinkles on surfaces to infer the properties of the underlying materials such as textiles and biological tissues. Read more

Griffith, CRF Research Fellow, profiled about dissertation research on the impact of smart devices in the home

Shayl Griffith, PhD student in Psychology, and a Center for Research on Families Research Fellows, is profiled about her work analyzing the use of smart devices in the home. Because of the widespread availability of smart devices, “the potential to impact children, positively or negatively, is immense,” said Griffith. Smart devices, and their associated software apps, have the ability to hold an immense amount of knowledge that was, previously, inaccessible to low income parents and children. Griffith notes that studying the ways in which parents across the socio-economic spectrum effectively or ineffectively use the apps will potentially allow interventions and programs to be designed that are meant to improve use. Read more

Thayumanavan awarded Chemical Research Society of India's Medal of Honor

Sankaran "Thai" Thayumanavan, Chemistry, received the Chemical Research Society of India's Medal of Honor on Feb. 4. The medal is given for outstanding contributions to chemical sciences by scientists of Indian origin working outside of the country. Thayumanavan was specifically recognized for his contributions to the area of supramolecular chemistry and nanomaterials. His research group has used fundamental supramolecular chemistry to design innovative nanomaterials, which have found use in a broad range of applications, from renewable energy to biomaterials. His recent innovations has led to a new start-up company called Cyta Therapeutics, of which he is scientific co-founder.

Bassa's thesis research leads to award-winning article

Lotfi M. Bassa, a 2015 PhD in biomedical science, has won the Professor Heldebert Wagern Award from the journal Phytomedicine for the best article by a young researcher published in it between July 2014 and January 2016. Read more

Ready's research finds older adults have own perspectives on sadness, loneliness, serenity

A new study led by associate professor Rebecca Ready in the department of psychological and brain sciences has found that older adults have different, more positive responses than young adults about feelings such as serenity, sadness and loneliness. Read more

New discovery by Barnes and Briseño may lead to more efficient solar and opto-electronic devices

Michael Barnes, Chemistry, and Alejandro Briseño, Polymer Science and Engineering, with doctoral students Sarah Marques, Hilary Thompson, Nicholas Colella and postdoctoral researcher Joelle Labastide, report in Nature Communications that they have for the first time identified an unexpected property in an organic semiconductor molecule that could lead to more efficient and cost-effective materials for use in cell phone and laptop displays and in opto-electronic devices such as lasers, light-emitting diodes and fiber optic communications. Read more

Clouston featured in video about Design Building

Peggi Clouston, Environmental Conservation, is featured in a new video and blog post of the construction of the new, engineered wood UMass Amherst Design Building. Read more

Antarctic ice sheet more vulnerable to CO2 than expected

Researchers led by Robert M. DeConto, Geosciences and post-doc Edward Gasson, report results from a new climate reconstruction of how Antarctica's ice sheets responded during the last period when atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) reached levels like those expected to occur in about 30 years, plus sediment core findings reported in a companion paper, suggest that the ice sheets are more vulnerable to rising atmospheric CO2 than previously thought. Details appear in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Read more

Bradley writes about Polar ice cap research in Huffington Post

Raymond Bradley, Geosciences and director of the Climate System Research Center, writes a piece in Huffington Post reflecting on research he and a team of students performed in the early 1980’s on a polar ice cap in the Canadian High Arctic. In only 30 years since his first expedition to the area, Bradley writes that "The latest satellite images of the region show the ice cap has almost completely disappeared, due to the relentless build-up of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere." Huffington Post

Burns' research shows human actions behind 1000-year-old damage to Madagascan forests

Stephen Burns, Geosciences, Laurie Godfrey, Anthropology, and scientists from MIT have found that a widespread and permanent loss of forests in Madagascar that occurred 1,000 years ago was due not to climate change or any natural disaster, but to human settlers who set fire to the forests to make way for grazing cattle. The team’s research is published this week in the journal Quaternary Science Reviews. Africa Green Media

Dilthey receives New England Outdoor Writers Association Award

Max Dilthey, a graduate student in Sustainability Science, received the 2016 New England Outdoor Writers Association Award. Each year NEOWA awards scholarships to one student from each of the six New England state universities who are majoring in fields related to the outdoors, conservation and the environment. Read more

Hollerbach spearheads a campaign to ban single-use plastic bags in Amherst

Kevin Hollerbach, a graduate student in Sustainability Science, is spearheading a campaign to ban single-use plastic bags at retailers and restaurants in the town of Amherst, similar to the current ban in place in Northampton. Daily Hampshire Gazette

Hoque wins NSF CAREER grant to create tool for sustainable cities

Simi Hoque, Environmental Conservation, recently received a five-year, $508,714 NSF CAREER award to develop an integrated planning tool that will measure, evaluate and predict the impacts of energy, water and land use, waste management and transportation systems at an urban scale. The green building expert intends it to help planners and policymakers guide growth and development in a coordinated, sustainable way. Hoque, an assistant professor in the Building and Construction Technology Program, points out that cities today account for almost two-thirds of the world's primary energy demand, a figure projected to increase to three-quarters by 2030. "The current urban outlook demands a comprehensive understanding of urban sustainability policies to address climate change and energy security," she says.

CNS upgrades teaching labs over winter break

This winter break, CNS oversaw upgrades to teaching labs for Biology, Physics, and Environmental Conservation. Upgrades included: new projection equipment, AC, shades, electrical drops, lab benches and seating, exhaust fans, improved lighting, and technology for team-based learning. Several classrooms in Morrill, Hasbrouck, and Holdsworth received a range of these upgrades, designed to facilitate teaching and learning.

de Wet's research on biomarker paleotemperatures reveals a super-interglacial twice as long as previously thought at Arctic Lake El'gygytgyn

Greg de Wet, PhD student in Geosciences department is the first author on a paper published in Earth and Planetary Science Letters, with co-authors Julie Brigham-Grette, Isla Castaneda, and Rob DeConto, all Geosciences. Their research on biomarker paleotemperatures reveals a super-interglacial twice as long as previously thought at Arctic Lake El'gygytgyn. Earth and Planetary Science Letters

Yellen leads study that shows historically unprecedented erosion from tropical storm Irene

Brian Yellen, a PhD student in Geosciences, and Jonathan D. Woodruff, Geosciences, lead a a team of scientists that have been using sediment deposits in New England lakes to evaluate erosive destruction of historic floods. Their study, published in Earth Surface Processes and Landforms, reveals that erosion from tropical storm Irene flooding in 2011 caused the most severe erosion of the historic record. Read more

Gershenson co-leads science workshop for regional Girl Scouts troop

Anne Gershenson, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, joined UMass Amherst Pastry Chef Simon Stevenson and chemical engineer Sarah Perry in a Girl Scout outreach event. The January workshop attracted 11 girls, ranging from second to fourth grade, from the Girl Scouts of Central and Western Massachusetts.and used exciting, educational, and entertaining projects to inform Girls Scouts about the rudiments of chemistry, electronics, and engineering. Read more

Whitbourne Elected President of Eastern Psychological Association

Susan Krauss Whitbourne, Psychological and Brain Sciences, has been elected president of the Eastern Psychological Association, the largest regional psychological association in the United States. Read more