In The News

Welcome Microbiologist Dr. Kristen DeAngelis to the Brachypodium Consortium

Dr. Kristen DeAngelis is the newest member of the Department of Microbiology. Prior to arriving in Amherst she was a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Joint BioEnergy Institute and the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. Research projects in her lab are aimed at understanding the (1) effect of climate change on soil carbon storage in the rhizosphere, and (2) applying anaerobic bacterial decomposition to biofuels development. The rhizosphere experiments aim to test the hypotheses that warming due to climate change has substantial effects on soil microbial community structure and function due to changes in plant carbon allocation to the roots. The manageable root system of Brachypodium distachyon owing to a rapid annual lifecycle serves as an excellent plant species for greenhouse studies of the rhizosphere.

Walker lab addresses nutritional content of cereals by describing genes that bring iron to grains

Over two 2 billion people worldwide suffer from iron deficiency anemia due to poor nutrition. In a recent article published in the Annals of Botany, The Walker lab describes an important gene family for the biofortification of staple crops that could ameliorate this pervasive problem in the developing world.

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The Donald Danforth Plant Science Center and UMass Amherst team up to improve biomass accumulation in energy crops

Plants utilize light energy to create biomass, as well as process light signals to interpret the environment. A collaboration between Todd Mockler and Sam Hazen is among the ten awards from the DOE-USDA Plant Feedstock Genomics for Bioenergy Program. They seek to use genomics and genetics in the model grass system Brachypodium distachyon to identify genes involved in light perception and signaling that will increase the yield and improve the composition of bioenergy grasses

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Brachypodium takes off as a model system

A recent article published in Plant Physiology, entitled Brachypodium as a model for the grasses: Today and the future, details the recent accent of Brachypodium disctachyon as a model for plant research. A large group of researches including UMass scientists Ana Caicedo and Sam Hazen describe a dramatic increase in scientific tool development and the promise of future discoveries.

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Baskin initiates international collaboration to study cellulose biosynthesis in grasses

Tobias Baskin spent five weeks working with Professors Azeddine Driouich and Patrice Larouge, directors of the Laboratoire de Glycobiologie et Matrice Extracellulaire Végétale at the University of Rouen, France. Baskin was doing an experiment studying the effect of microtubule inhibitors on cellulose synthesis.