In The News

Two consortium labs storm Versailles to present their research on Brachypodium cell wall biosynthesis

The 1st European Brachypodium Workshop took place October 19-21 at the National Institute for Agricultural Research (INRA) in Versailles France. More than 150 scientists using B. distachyon as a research tool gathered from all corners of the world to share their experiences and results. A postdoctoral fellow from the Baskin laboratory, Karen Sanguinet Osmont, described her research on Cellulose biosynthesis and growth anisotropy. Sam Hazen described the functional characterization of candidate cell wall genes. A complete listing of the abstracts is available at the conference website. The workshop is expected to occur every two years and will be billed as the "International Brachypodium Workshop" from now on. The Brachypodium Consortium at UMass hopes to host the meeting in 2015.

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.

Read full article

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

Read full press release

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.

Read full article