The 2012 Best Talk Award at the Life Sciences Graduate Student Symposium goes to Pubudu Handakumbura

Graduate students from eight UMass life sciences graduate programs presented their research at The Second Annual Life Sciences Graduate Research Symposium. The 2012 Best Talk Award went to Pubudu Handakumbura, who presented a talk titled, "BdMYB48 directly controls the accumulation of biomass in the model grass Brachypodium distachyon."

Four Consortium scientists invited to present findings at Plant & Animal Genome XXI Conference

In many areas of the life sciences, genomics is a key tool used to address important questions in biology and agriculture scientists are leading the way. The annual Plant & Animal Genome Conference is the largest Ag-Genomics meeting in the world with four UMass Brachypodium Consortium investigators presenting there this winter. At the Brachypodium Genomics workshop, Dr. Elsbeth Walker will tell of progress in understanding the uptake and transport of an important nutrient, iron. Dr. Sam Hazen will present results on the study of growth and biofuel feedstock quality in Brachypodium at the Bioenergy Grass Genomics workshop. Offering incite in the exciting area of meta-genomics, Dr. Jeff Blanchard will discuss global warming and forest soil microbiomes as part of the Ecological Genomics workshop. A leading investigator of Brachypodium population genetics, Dr. Ana Caicedo, will enlighten the Weedy and Invasive Plant Genomics workshop on the evolution of weeds.

The U.S. Department of Energy awards Baskin grant to study cellulose, the most abundant polymer on Earth, in Brachypodium

Biology professor Tobias Baskin has received two new grant awards. He received a $510,000 grant from U.S. Department of Energy (Office of Basic Energy Sciences) for a project entitled "Cellulose and the Control of Growth Anisotropy". This award is a competitive renewal for an on-going project that attempts to understand how the mechanical properties of the cell wall are established by Brachypodium distachyon and how these properties influence the fundamental process of growth.

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