Society of Vertebrate Paleontology Honors Margery Coombs

At the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology’s (SVP) 75th annual meeting in October in Dallas, professor emeritus Margery Coombs, biology, was awarded honorary membership, one of the three major academic career awards given by the society, to recognize her long career of “distinguished contribution to vertebrate paleontology.” The society is the premier international body for the interdisciplinary field of vertebrate paleontology.

Coombs is internationally known for her research on fossil perissodactyls, that is, odd-toed ungulates such as rhinos, tapirs and horses, and in particular on chalicotheres, a group with claws rather than hooves that roamed the Earth from about 55 million years ago until they became extinct about 1 million years ago.

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The Biology Department Welcomes New Faculty - Elena Vazey

Elena’s research investigates neuromodulatory networks in the brain. She is interested in how activity in locus coeruleus norepinephrine neurons modify neural targets to change behavioral responses to environmental stimuli. Her lab primarily studies the impact of locus coeruleus activity on cognitive control and motor responses. This research increases our understanding of different disorders where locus coeruleus functioning is altered, such as ADHD and anxiety, and cases where locus coeruleus neurons are lost such as in Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease.

Elena's lab is currently located in Morrill 3 South, room 413A, while her new lab is being renovated.

Leadership Position in Integrative Neuroscience

Leadership Position in Integrative Neuroscience

The College of Natural Sciences at the University of Massachusetts (www.cns.umass.edu) invites applications for a tenured position in neuroscience at the rank of associate or full professor. We seek an international leader in neuroscience research with broad expertise spanning multiple sub-disciplines. Applicants should have an outstanding record of leadership, research achievement, and funding, as well as a history of successful collaboration. A Ph.D. in neuroscience or a related field is required. The successful candidate will have a tenured appointment in one or more neuroscience-related departments within the College of Natural Sciences.

UMass Amherst has committed significant new resources to neuroscience, and the successful candidate will play a leadership role in a new initiative aimed at integrating and expanding neuroscience research across campus. This initiative will involve multiple departments and be closely aligned with the translational life science efforts from the UMass Institute of Applied Life Sciences (IALS) (www.umass.edu/ials). IALS is hiring numerous translational faculty and provides outstanding resources for applied bioscience research, including 310,000 square feet of new research space in the new Life Science Laboratory building with state-of-the-art core facilities (e.g. MRI, fabrication, optical imaging). The UMass system provides a rich neuroscience environment ranging from basic research to pre-clinical and clinical research through collaborations with UMass Medical School. The College of Natural Sciences provides excellent graduate training opportunities through four interdepartmental graduate programs, including Neuroscience and Behavior (www.umass.edu/neuro) and Molecular and Cellular Biology (www.bio.umass.edu/mcb).

The Five College Consortium, composed of Smith College, Amherst College, Mount Holyoke College, Hampshire College, and the University of Massachusetts Amherst, provides a rich academic and intellectual environment (www.fivecolleges.edu), and is situated in the scenic Pioneer Valley of Western Massachusetts, less than 2 hours from Boston and 3 hours from New York City.

Review of the applications will begin on December 15, 2015 and will continue until the position is filled. Applicants should submit their curriculum vitae, description of research interests, and a brief vision statement for establishing an integrated neuroscience initiative at UMass Amherst. Letters of reference will be solicited later in the application process. Questions pertaining to this position can be directed to neurosearch@bio.umass.edu. Application materials should be submitted directly to:

http://umass.interviewexchange.com/jobofferdetails.jsp?JOBID=64525

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.

Irschick, Crosby, and Gilman Reported That Geckos Have a Spring-like Mechanism in Their Bodies to Enhance Adhesion

Duncan J. Irschick, Biology, Alfred J. Crosby, Polymer Science and Engineering, and doctoral candidate Casey A. Gilman, Biology, have shown that geckos have a spring-like mechanism in their bodies to enhance adhesion as they become larger, as reported in PLOS ONE article. In 2012, four of the authors invented the flexible adhesive Geckskin. BBC article, Science Newsline article. Nature World News article., UMass News & Media Relations article.

Gerald Downes, Biology, with James Chambers and Josef Trapani, Awarded $824,000 NSF Grant to Study How Neurons Regulate Location

Gerald Downes, Biology, with James Chambers, Chemistry, and Amherst College neurobiologist Josef Trapani, have been awarded a three-year $824,025 collaborative research grant from the National Science Foundation to study the zebrafish brain to better understand how neurons regulate locomotion. Downes, the lead investigator, says his ultimate research goal is to better understand how different chemical signals, called neurotransmitters, work together at cellular and molecular levels to coordinate normal locomotion such as walking and swimming.

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Phys.org.

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