Blanchard Lab Leads National Soil Microbiome Investigation

In a new national effort, UMass Amherst scientists led by Jeff Blanchard, biology, have received a two-year, renewable resource grant from the Department of Energy (DOE) to apply – for the first time – new genomics and omics-related techniques to microbial communities at 15 to 20 established NSF research sites across the United States, Hawaii and Puerto Rico.

Read more HERE!


Skeletal Muscles Do Not Undergo Apoptosis During Either Atrophy or Programmed Cell Death-Revisiting the Myonuclear Domain Hypothesis

Lawrence Schwartz published a review/commentary in 2019 in Frontiers in Physiology that described work from his lab and others demonstrating that skeletal muscles do not undergo apoptosis, a well studied mechanism of cell death. This observation has significant implications for the exercise physiology and the fate of muscles.

The work was picked up by the media and resulted in stories in NPR, BBC, and many news outlets around the world. Recently, the paper achieved more than 40,000 views.

Much of this work is based on their study of the intersegmental muscles (ISMs) from the tobacco hawkmoth Manduca sexta. These giant cells undergo sequential programs of atrophy and death at the end of metamorphosis.

Read more HERE!

More recently, the Schwartz Lab had two major papers published that follow up on the original study. These papers detail all of the changes in gene expression that mediate muscle atrophy and death, identify the molecular mechanisms that mediate cell death, and describe a new signal transduction pathway that includes two new genes (discovered in his lab!).

Digital Life Team Led by UMass Amherst Biologist Duncan Irschick Creates Great Hammerhead 3D Model

The Digital Life Project directed by Duncan Irschick has partnered with the marine science nonprofit ANGARI Foundation and underwater camera pioneer Casey Sapp for a research expedition to Bimini, The Bahamas, to create an accurate 3D model of a great hammerhead shark to share with scientists, educators and storytellers.

Read more HERE!


Tracking Shape Changes in Amazon Fish After Major River is Dammed


A team of biologists led by Craig Albertson and Ph.D. student Chaise Gilbert report this week on their comparison between museum collections of cichlid fishes collected before a dam was closed in 1984 on the Tocantins River in the Amazon and contemporary specimens taken from the Tucuruí Reservoir by fishermen 34 years later.

Cichlid fishes are able to respond rapidly to environmental change and offer a good model.

Read more HERE!


Pallas appointed as ADVANCE Fellow


Sarah Pallas is teaching a course on Developmental Neurobiology for the first time at UMass this semester.

Dr. Pallas has also been appointed as an ADVANCE fellow this year. A UMass ADVANCE Faculty Fellowship provides faculty members with a unique opportunity to participate in ADVANCE’s program of institutional transformation. Fellows will partner with the ADVANCE Leadership Team, which will provide the resources, recognition and relationship building necessary to help faculty collaborate successfully and feel valued and included. Fellows provide recommendations and feedback to the team about ADVANCE programming, and they liaise with their departments, and promote our efforts.

Funded by the National Science Foundation ADVANCE Program, UMass ADVANCE focuses on equity for women faculty in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) by gender, race/ethnicity, sexuality, gender identity, nationality, and other statuses. Read more HERE!

Join us in congratulating Dr. Pallas!