Campus Leaders Tour Morrill Science Center Renovations

On October 4, 2016, the Chancellor, Provost, and other campus leaders visited the Morrill Science Center to tour newly renovated spaces and see new enhancements in the Departments of Biology, Microbiology, and Geosciences. Renovations included new teachin equipment in the Intro and upper-level teaching laboratories as well as research spaces for faculty.

Assistant Professor - Animal Models of Neurological Disease

The Department of Biology at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst invites applications for a tenure-track position at the rank of Assistant Professor. Under exceptional circumstances, highly qualified candidates at other ranks may receive consideration. The successful candidate will be a part of the Institute for Applied Life Sciences (IALS), which has a primary goal of developing translational research programs and fostering interactions with industry.
We seek highly innovative candidates who are exploring neurological disease using clinically relevant models, spanning invertebrates to non-human primates. We are particularly interested in candidates whose research focus complements existing departmental and campus strengths, including neuroendocrinology, cytoskeletal dynamics, protein homeostasis, immunology, and neurodevelopment. Given the mission of the Institute for Applied Life Sciences, the successful candidate will establish and maintain a research program with direct relevance to issues of human health, yielding important mechanistic insight into diseases affecting the nervous system. Possible areas of research could include neurodegenerative diseases, stroke, traumatic brain injury, autism, or neuropsychiatric disorders.
IALS and the UMass Amherst campus are committed to the development of translational and basic research programs while fostering interactions with industry, with substantial faculty hiring in the next two years. A simultaneous search focused on cellular models of neurological diseases is underway in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. The new faculty member will collaborate with IALS faculty to translate research results into therapeutic goals, interact with industry scientists, and provide essential training for the next generation of biomedical scientists. New faculty members will also be able to take full advantage of the IALS substantial new investments in campus infrastructure and core facilities (see for more details).

Qualified candidates must have a Ph.D. in a closely related field, postdoctoral experience, and outstanding potential to establish a translational neuroscience research program. Life sciences faculty members at UMass can train students from several interdepartmental graduate programs, and the successful candidate will be expected to participate in teaching at the graduate and undergraduate levels.

Review of applications will begin on November 1, 2016 and will continue until the position is filled.
Online applications should include a cover letter, CV, research plan, teaching statement, and the contact information for three references.

The University of Massachusetts Amherst the flagship campus of the University of Massachusetts system, is a nationally ranked public research university and home to over 22,000 undergraduate and 6,000 graduate students. The 1,430 acre campus is located in the scenic Pioneer valley of western Massachusetts, 90 miles from Boston and 175 miles from New York City. UMass Amherst, along with Amherst, Hampshire, Mount Holyoke and Smith Colleges, is a member of the Five College Consortium and the Academic Career network. The region boasts a rural setting with easy access to Boston, Hartford, and New York City. Amherst is nestled between the Berkshire Mountains, Holyoke Range and Pelham Hills providing many recreational opportunities. 

The university is committed to active recruitment of a diverse faculty and student body. 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. Because broad diversity is essential to an inclusive climate and critical to the University's goals of achieving excellence in all areas, we will holistically assess the many qualifications of each applicant and favorably consider an individual's record working with students and colleagues with broadly diverse perspectives, experiences, and backgrounds in educational, research or other work activities. We will also favorably consider experience overcoming or helping others overcome barriers to an academic degree and career.

Postdoctoral Research Associate

Postdoctoral Research Associate Position

A postdoctoral position is available in the Bartlett lab at the University of Massachusetts Amherst to work on an NSF-funded project on stem cell homeostasis and the CLAVATA-network genes. The CLAVATA (CLV) genes encode receptor-like kinases and their protein ligands, and have conserved roles controlling stem cell (meristem) homeostasis. This role in regulating meristem biology makes the CLV-network genes central players in the development of plant form, and in the evolution of plant form under domestication. Both the CLV receptors and the CLV ligands are members of highly redundant gene families with complicated evolutionary histories, impeding the accurate assessment of CLV-network gene function. In collaboration with the Jackson (CSHL), Lippman (CSHL) and Nimchuk (UNC) labs, we are working to understand this redundancy by determining the evolutionary histories of CLV-network genes, and by determining how these genes regulate meristem homeostasis, particularly in maize floral development.

The successful applicant to this position would work primarily on a molecular evolution project, uncovering the evolutionary history of the CLV-network genes in vascular plants. The project will involve extensive phylogenetic analysis of CLV-network gene families as well as analyses of non-coding sequences controlling CLV-network gene expression. Depending on the interests and expertise of the person hired, this project could include elucidating the molecular function of CLV-network genes in maize floral development, in a reverse genetics project using CRISPR/Cas9 genome editing.

Qualified candidates are required to have a Ph.D. in plant biology, evolutionary biology, or a similar field of study, conferred within the last six years. Expertise in molecular phylogenetics, and in the analysis of genomic data in an evolutionary context is required. A keen interest in plant development and evo-devo is essential. Molecular lab experience working with DNA, RNA, and protein is preferred.

This is a benefited, full-time Postdoctoral Research Associate position. Initial appointment is for one year, reappointment beyond the first year (up to two additional years) is contingent upon job performance and availability of funding. It is expected that the appointee will work extended hours as necessary to complete individual experiments. Postdoctoral Research Associates at the University of Massachusetts are unionized and receive standard salary and benefits, depending on years of experience. Salary is subject to bargaining unit contract.

UMass Amherst is home to a vibrant research community, with strengths in genomics, molecular biology, plant biology, and evolutionary biology. Opportunities exist both to learn a range of cutting edge experimental and analytical methods, and to develop new research projects. The Pioneer Valley, where the town of Amherst is located, is a great place to live and work. The area is naturally beautiful, and UMass Amherst is part of a consortium of five colleges in the area (, making for an intellectually rich environment.

The position is available immediately, but the start date is negotiable. Candidates must apply online by submitting a cover letter, CV, and the contact details of three references willing to provide letters of recommendation to:

Questions can be addressed to Dr. Madelaine Bartlett at
Review of applications will begin September 28, 2016 and continue until the position is filled.

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. 

Katelyn Mullen ‘16 Travels to Italy to Present Research

Katelyn Mullen, a senior Biology major, is the recipient of a Biology Undergraduate Travel Award. She presented 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 this June. Katelyn works in the laboratory of Professor Ben Normark; he and Scott Schneider are coauthors on the abstract. She looks forward to presenting her research in this professional meeting and discussing her work with experts in her field. Congratulations, Katelyn!

Normark Named Fulbright Scholar

Biology professor Benjamin Normark 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.” The plants superficially resemble palms, and are sometimes called ‘sago palms,’ but they constitute their own ancient branch of the plant family tree.

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