Researchers Link Fungicides, Bumblebee Decline

Several bumblebee species have seen their ranges contract and some may face extinction due to several combined stressors, say ecologists Lynn Adler, professor of biology, and her former postdoctoral fellow Scott McArt, with others. Their recent analysis, one of the few to explore the relative importance of multiple factors, found unexpectedly that greater use of fungicides was the strongest predictor of range contraction in declining bumblebee species.

Crosby, Irschick Co-Direct New UMass Center for Evolutionary Materials

Polymer scientist Al Crosby and functional biologist Duncan Irschick, the inventors of the gecko-inspired adhesive, Geckskin, are co-directors of a new, system-wide UMass Center for Evolutionary Materials. It is intended to be a home for researchers from many fields who are interested in pursuing bio-inspired technologies to create new designs and products to benefit people and the environment.

Irschick explains that he and Crosby, inspired by the scientific and intellectual richness of their own collaboration and the success of Geckskin, want to see a center that will “engage people on a deep level of bio-inspiration, not as a buzz word but as a kind of intellectual playground for unstructured creativity. Such centers can be useful to foster collaborations.”

Normark comments on new findings on asexual reproduction

Benjamin Normark, Biology, was interviewed by media about a new study on Diploscapter pachys, a tiny roundworm has developed an asexual way to copy its genes that also leads to enough minute mutations to allow it to adapt but not cause crippling defects.

Research Fellow Position Available

RESEARCH FELLOW, University of Massachusetts Amherst 

The Fritz-Laylin Lab (fritzlaylinlab.org) at the University of Massachusetts Amherst is recruiting a highly motivated Research Fellow. The Fritz-Laylin lab studies cell motility at the interface of evolutionary biology and quantitative cell biology to define minimal requirements for cell movement, and to trace the evolutionary history of this complex behavior. These efforts require developing molecular tools for little studied organisms with unique evolutionary relationships and cell behaviors.

The initial responsibilities of the Research Fellow will focus on establishing protocols for molecular transformation and genetic manipulation of microbial eukaryotes, as well as measuring changes in gene expression during life stage transitions. Experience working with non-model organisms is NOT required but the successful candidate will be able to quickly learn how to apply their knowledge of common experimental techniques to new systems. The successful candidate will have the opportunity to work closely with the PI but is also expected to be proactive and independent, and able to work both individually and collaboratively with a team.

Dr. Fritz-Laylin is committed to helping all lab members build the skills needed to achieve their long-term career goals. Such skills include biological knowledge, molecular and cell biology techniques, project management, as well as science communication in the form of oral presentations, scientific publication, and grant writing. Dr. Fritz-Laylin meets with lab members weekly to discuss research progress and training needs. Enthusiastic applicants with diverse perspectives who wish to join a dynamic research group are encouraged to apply

Required Qualifications 
Bachelor's degree in Biology or related discipline with a minimum of 2 years laboratory experience.

Preferred Qualifications 
Preference may be given to candidates with experience in molecular biology (cloning, gels, western blot). Candidates with previous experience in gene expression and/or CRISPR technology would be highly competitive.  

This is a non-benefited, full-time position. Salary is commensurate with experience. Initial appointment is for one year; reappointment beyond the first year is contingent upon availability of funding and job performance. Primary responsibilities will include, but are not limited to: molecular cloning, translating gene expression technologies to non-model organisms, and measuring gene expression. Active participation in laboratory meetings is required of all lab members.

Candidates must apply online by submitting a cover letter, CV, and the contact details of three references willing to provide letters of recommendation to:

http://umass.interviewexchange.com/jobofferdetails.jsp?JOBID=92404

Review of applications will begin January 9, 2018 and continue until the position is filled. Applications received by January 9, 2018 will be given priority consideration.
The University of Massachusetts Amherst is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer of women, minorities, protected veterans, and individuals with disabilities and encourages applications from these and other protected group members. 

Podos elected President of the Animal Behavior Society

Jeff Podos was elected to serve as 2017-18 President of the Animal Behavior Society (ABS), which is the principal scientific society for this discipline in the Western Hemisphere. The Animal Behavior Society, together with its European sister society, the Association for the Study of Behavior, edits and publishes the discipline’s flagship journal, Animal Behaviour. The main duty of the ABS President is to chair the society’s executive committee, which is responsible for arranging the annual ABS conference, running student research and travel award competitions, selecting distinguished researchers for society awards, and supporting society members across the hemisphere in research, education, and outreach.