Biology Intensive Orientation Session (BIOS)

The Biology Intensive Orientation Session (BIOS) is a rigorous academic program designed to enhance the success of first-year students in life science majors. BIOS immerses incoming students in college-level biology coursework, and encourages interactions among academically like-minded students in the week just before the Fall semester. The BIOS experience includes lectures, discussions, writing and test experiences and engagement in a group project for presentation. Students are also embedded in campus life and become familiar with dorm living, dining halls, the layout of campus. Most importantly students meet each other, work together on challenging projects, and have a chance to develop friendships and study groups that can last for their entire college career and beyond. For more information about BIOS, please contact Susan Clevenger (suec@bio.umass.edu, 413-545-2287).

Irschick and Collegues Improve Geckskin

Geckskin, a revolutionary super-adhesive developed by a team of researchers at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, has recently undergone further improvement. This adhesive, which could originally hold up to 700 pounds on a smooth surface, has been redesigned to be able to adhere to drywall, wood, glass, and metal. The redesigned mainly focused on mimicking the "draping adhesion" found in the Gecko's skin-tendon-bone system, allowing for further versatility.

The UMass news release about this work, written by Janet Lathrop, can be accessed here.

Baskin Awarded Marie Curie Fellowship by European Union for Research in UK

Biology professor Tobias Baskin has been awarded a Marie Curie International Incoming Fellowship from the European Union to support his sabbatical leave at the Centre for Plant Integrative Biology at the University of Nottingham in the United Kingdom for the 2014-15 academic year.

The UMass news release about the award can be accessed here.

Markstein and Colleagues Use New Approach to Systematically Test Chemotherapy Drugs

Using a new approach to systematically test chemotherapy drugs in fruit flies, Biology assistant professor, Michele Markstein, with colleagues at Harvard Medical School, report that several have a troubling side effect: Inducing hyper proliferation in stem cells that could potentially contribute to tumor recurrence.

Markstein, M., Dettorre, S., Cho, J., Neumuller, R., Craig-Muller, S., & Perrimon, N. (2014). Systematic screen of chemotherapeutics in Drosophila stem cell tumors Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1401160111

The UMass News & Media article is available here.

The full article appearing in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA (PNAS) can be accessed here.

Paper Authored by Biology Faculty Defends "Oddball Science"

Biology faculty members Patricia Brennan, Duncan Irschick, Norman Johnson, and Craig Albertson have co-authored an article in Bioscience explaining why it is important to fund basic research in evolutionary biology. The Daily Collegian's report on the article's publication, which includes quotes from the authors, is available here.