Michele Markstein - Fighting Cancer with Fruit Flies

Michele Markstein, Biology, was featured on "The Academic Minute,” discussing how she uses genetically engineered Drosophila, or fruit flies, with human genes, causing them to grow tumors for studying.

The article is available here.

Biologists Co-Edit New Book on Animal Signaling

Jeffrey E. Podos and Duncan J. Irschick, both Biology, with co-editor Mark Briffa, have edited Animal Signaling and Function: An Integrative Approach, bringing together a diverse collection of researchers who use a variety of methods and taxa to study animal signaling in a new integrative approach.

The UMass News & Media article, is available here.

Julia Curran ’12 Wins WEST Giving Back Award for Promoting Women in STEM

Julia Curran ’12 has won the WEST Giving Back Award, given to women in the science and technology fields who have made a profound impact on society.

Curran, who majored in biology within the Commonwealth Honors College while at UMass Amherst, is a research associate in the analytical development for biologics group at Takeda Oncology (formerly Millennium) in Cambridge, Mass. WEST, which stands for Women in the Enterprise of Science and Technology, promotes the advancement of women in the business of science and technology. Local STEM companies submit nominations for this award, suggesting women who are role models balancing job and personal responsibilities while making a difference in their community.

The award’s biography notes that as a STEM mentor, Curran is “often engaged as much by her young students as they are from her. Her warm charismatic attitude and shared curiosity makes the learning positive and a place where mistakes are not errors but hypotheses for further testing. As Julia will tell you, it is the students’ ever-present enthusiasm and inquisitive attitudes that keep her volunteering year after year.”

As a volunteer on the ambassador and membership committees of the Healthcare Women’s Association, Curran plans events with 10 other healthcare ambassador companies in greater Boston. She also participates in local philanthropic opportunities including the Leukemia and Lymphoma’s Light the Night and the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation’s Race for Research.

This article was taken from the CNS website and is available here.

Hazen's Lignin Synthesis Advance Could Lead to More Efficient Conversion of Biomass to Biofuels

Plant geneticists including Sam Hazen, Biology, have sorted out the gene regulatory networks that control cell wall thickening by the synthesis of the three polymers, cellulose, hemicellulose and lignin. Their genetic advance is expected to “serve as a foundation for understanding the regulation of a complex, integral plant component” and as a map for how future researchers might manipulate the polymer-forming processes to improve the efficiency of biofuel production.

The UMass News & Media article, is available here.

Dumont Receives Top Honors for Bat Research

Betsy Dumont, professor of biology and vice provost for academic affairs, recently received the Gerrit S. Miller Award from North American Society for Bat Research “in recognition of outstanding service and contribution to the field of Chiropteran biology,” placing her among the world’s most influential bat biologists.

The award was presented to Dumont at the 44th annual meeting of NASBR held Oct. 22-25 in Albany, N.Y. Dumont is the 21st recipient and only the fourth woman to have earned this high distinction since it was first given 34 years ago.

The UMass News & Media article, is available here.