Current News

Lynn Adler's incoming MS student Justin Roch just had a photo selected for the Entomological Society of America’s 2022 World of Insects Calendar contest


Lynn Adler's PhD student, Caro Munoz Agudelo, has just been awarded a $15K NE SARE (Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education) graduate student grant for her research, “Interactive effects of pesticides, drought, and pathogens on the common eastern bumble bee Bombus impatiens.”

Photo credit: Ben Barnhart


Lynn Adler has been selected as a STRIDE fellow for this upcoming year.
Additinally, she has been awarded a new $2.4 million NSF grant via the Integrative Biology program. She is the lead PI; Laura Figueroa of the Environmental Conservation Department is a co-PI, and there are 5 other collaborating institutions. The grant title is: Collaborative Research: Integrating molecular, cellular, organismal and community scales to understand how plants structure pollinator-pathogen dynamics.

Read more about the fellowship HERE.


Tobias Baskin has been awarded an NSF grant.

The funding is for 3 years. The project is a collaborative grant, between Tobias Baskin and Professor K. Palaniappan at the University of Missouri. Funding for UMass is $567,233 (total award is $705,822).

The objective of the project is to understand the coordinated regulation of cell division and elongation in the plant root. The project uses moderate temperature as a perturbation and thus might also reveal how roots acclimate to changing ambient temperature. The work at Missouri will develop advanced image analysis methods for quantifying root growth.

The attached photo is a picture of roots at various temperatures.


Christiane Healey has been selected as an ADVANCE fellow and as a STRIDE fellow for this upcoming year.

Read more about each of these fellowships HERE and HERE.


Margaret “Peg” Riley has been awarded the Mahoney Life Sciences Prize for her pathbreaking research into bacteriocin-based antimicrobials, or drugs that are both effective against drug-resistant microbes and result in fewer side effects.

Read more HERE.


The Armstrong Fund for Science at UMass Amherst has announced that its 2021 award will go to Gerald Downes, biology, and ChangHui Pak, biochemistry and molecular biology, for their collaborative project that seeks to better understand how mutation of a gene known as TBCK disrupts brain development. Mutations in the TBCK gene cause a rare, severe, poorly understood neurological disease called TBCK Syndrome. Downes and Pak will receive a two-year, $40,000 grant to support preliminary investigations in preparation for a full-blown research effort.

Read more HERE.


Several members of the Biology Department recently received awards from the College of Natural Sciences. Karine Fenelon and Wayne Barnaby received Diversity and Inclusion awards, Meghan Gerson won the Outstanding Advisor award, and Lynn Adler won the Outstanding Research award.

Read more HERE and HERE.



Sam Hazen was awarded a $812k National Science Foundation grant to study how the daily cycles of light and temperature influence the timing of plant growth.

Read more about Prof Hazen's research HERE.



Samuel P. Hazen, biology, was awarded the Dr. Constantine J. Gilgut Professorship in Plant Biology for a term of three years following approval by the Board of Trustees at its Thursday, Dec. 10 meeting.

The conditions of the Gilgut Professorship specify that the recipient will be a full professor in the biology department and act as the director of the plant biology program. The incumbent of the Gilgut Professorship will be an outstanding, active scholar in the field who can lead by the example of his or her teaching as well as scholarship and administrative skills.

Hazen came to the UMass Amherst department of biology in 2008 as an assistant professor, became an associate professor and was awarded tenure in 2014 and was promoted to full professor in 2020.

Hazen’s area of research is the thickening of the secondary cell wall and the regulation of this process in the grass Brachypodium distachyon and a variety of other plants. He has received substantial external funding to support his research from the National Science Foundation and the Department of Energy. He also received several awards to support small business innovation and community science projects. Hazen has published 47 articles in peer-reviewed journals, and his work has been cited over 5,200 times according to Google Scholar.

In their letter of nomination, Chancellor Kumble Subbaswamy and Provost John McCarthy wrote: “Dr. Hazen has contributed to the teaching mission of the university in many ways. He taught highly rated courses both at the undergraduate and graduate level. In his lab, he worked with, trained, and mentored over 50 graduate and undergraduate students. His administrative service has contributed to both the department and the university.”

Hazen earned his B.S. in plant sciences from the University of Arizona, and his M.S. and Ph.D. in plant breeding and genetics from Michigan State University. He was a Ruth L. Kirschstein NIH Postdoctoral Fellow at The Scripps Research Institute in California from 2003 through 2007.