Riley's Presentation at the IOM: "Antimicrobial Resistance: A Problem Without Borders"

Professor Margaret Riley presented a talk at The Institute of Medicines 2014 Richard & Hinda Rosenthal Symposium, in Washington DC. The Symposium explored the current and future impact of antimicrobial resistance, implications for our nation's health and that of the world, and obstacles and successes in the development of solutions and steps to mitigate this global public health challenge.

The Symposium was presented by The Institute of Medicine's Executive Office Board and covered a range of topics from: Health Care Workforce, Health Services, Coverage, Access, Public Health, Quality and Patient Safety.

Using UTI (urinary tract infection) as a model case, Riley and colleagues investigated the use of bacteriocin toxins as a potential treatment method. These antimicrobial molecules have been found to be effective against UTI-causing bacteria while being non-toxic to human cells.

The full video presentation appearing on The Institute of Medicines, of The National Academies, can be accessed here.

Dumont Named Vice Provost for Academic Affairs

Biology professor Elizabeth (Betsy) Dumont has been named vice provost for Academic Affairs by Provost Katherine Newman, who announced the appointment in a Sept. 25 broadcast e-mail. The appointment is effective immediately.

“She will be joining my team to work on a wide range of important projects, ranging from critical aspects of faculty development, to streamlining the process of laboratory renovation/hiring/budget alignment, to leading the AQUAD review process, and representing our campus to the Five College Consortium,” said Newman.

A member of the biology faculty since 2001, Dumont leads a lab that focuses on the evolution of form and function in mammals, particularly as it is expressed in the dietary adaptations of bats. She also undertakes field studies of feeding behavior in the wild. Since 2010, Dumont has directed the graduate program in organismic and evolutionary biology.

“In keeping with my taste in scholar/administrators as key partners, she will continue to run her lab and her impressive research agenda,” added Newman. “Moreover, she will complete the work she began on the leadership side in the College of Natural Sciences, working to enhance the interdisciplinary doctoral programs. But she will quickly ramp up to the many organizational reforms we are working on in the Provost’s Office.”

The UMass News & Media article, is available here.

Richmond Honored with Meritorious Teaching Award in Herpetology

Alan Richmond, senior lecturer in the biology department, received the Meritorious Teaching Award in Herpetology from the American Society of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists during the Joint Meeting of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists held July 30 to Aug. 3 in Chattanooga, Tenn.

The national award recognizes sustained commitment to superior teaching effectiveness and mentoring of students in the area of herpetology. Richmond has taught herpetology to scores of students, several of whom have gone on to successful careers in the field. One former student said Richmond’s “talents as an inspiring teacher extend beyond the classroom, and those students that have taken the opportunity to work with him as work-study students or on independent study or honor projects have found the experience to be professionally rewarding.”

In addition to herpetology, Richmond teaches courses on the “Biology of Marine Vertebrates,” “Comparative Anatomy” and “Vertebrate Collections Management.”

Outside of the classroom Richmond is widely recognized as an expert on New England frogs, salamanders, snakes and turtles and was instrumental in creating the Massachusetts Herpetological Atlas. He is also the curator of herpetology for the campus’ Natural History Collections.

The UMass News & Media article, written by Daniel J. Fitzgibbons, is available here.

Irschick and Collegues Improve Geckskin

Geckskin, a revolutionary super-adhesive developed by a team of researchers at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, has recently undergone further improvement. This adhesive, which could originally hold up to 700 pounds on a smooth surface, has been redesigned to be able to adhere to drywall, wood, glass, and metal. The redesigned mainly focused on mimicking the "draping adhesion" found in the Gecko's skin-tendon-bone system, allowing for further versatility.

The UMass news release about this work, written by Janet Lathrop, can be accessed here.

Baskin Awarded Marie Curie Fellowship by European Union for Research in UK

Biology professor Tobias Baskin has been awarded a Marie Curie International Incoming Fellowship from the European Union to support his sabbatical leave at the Centre for Plant Integrative Biology at the University of Nottingham in the United Kingdom for the 2014-15 academic year.

The UMass news release about the award can be accessed here.