Aminopeptidase-N modulation assists lean mass anabolism during refuelling in the white-throated sparrow

Michael Griego, OEB PhD student, and Dr. Alexander Gerson, Associate professor in the Biology department, and others, published a paper in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B showing how migratory birds selectively increase their capacity to digest protein after long flights. During flight, migratory birds breakdown protein for various metabolic needs, resulting in dramatic loss of mass of organs and muscles, including the digestive tract. Selectively increasing protein digestion after flight may increase amino acid assimilation even when digestion is compromised, allowing the recovery of muscles and organs needed to complete migration. The findings of this study highlight the importance of rapid phenotypic flexibility to migratory animals, and demonstrates a novel mechanism that allows migratory birds to refuel quickly after long duration flights.
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Photo Credit: Cory Elowe

Houlihan Awarded Every Voice Coalition Educator Award

Peter Houlihan was awarded the Every Voice Coalition Educator Award ( for his advising, advocacy, and lobbying efforts regarding undergraduate sexual violence.

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Thi Bui from Katz Lab Successfully Defends MS Thesis

Thi's thesis, entitled "Constructing single-neuron transcriptomes to explore cell diversity in Berghia stephanieae" is the culmination of her work at UMass. Thi has now moved to Boston to be a Research Technician in Ankur Jain's lab at MIT. Thi started in the Katz lab as an undergraduate, studying the circadian control of locomotion in the nudibranch, Berghia. For her MS thesis, she developed a technique for dissociating neurons from the brain. She then had the mRNA from the neurons sequenced using a 10x Genomics Chromium platform. Working with post-doc, Desmond Ramirez, she clustered the neurons based on gene expression. They are in the process of writing the manuscript to publish her findings.

Caralyn Zehnder Co-Authors Learning that Matters

Caralyn Zehnder and three colleagues have coauthored a recently published book,Learning that Matters.

Learning that Matters: A Field Guide to Course Design for Transformative Education is a pragmatic resource for designing courses that engage college students as active citizens.

This “work” book provides research-informed approaches for creating learning experiences and developing innovative, intellectually-engaging courses.

Blanchard Lab Leads National Soil Microbiome Investigation

In a new national effort, UMass Amherst scientists led by Jeff Blanchard, biology, have received a two-year, renewable resource grant from the Department of Energy (DOE) to apply – for the first time – new genomics and omics-related techniques to microbial communities at 15 to 20 established NSF research sites across the United States, Hawaii and Puerto Rico.

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