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The Department of Biology at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst invites applications for a tenure-track position at the rank of Assistant or Associate Professor. The successful candidate will also be a part of the Institute for Applied Life Sciences (see IALS), which has the goals of developing translational research programs, fostering interactions with industry, and training a translational life sciences workforce. New faculty members will be able to take full advantage of the substantial investments in campus infrastructure and core facilities made by IALS (see IALS Cores for details).

The Department of Biology at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst invites applications from quantitative cell biologists for a tenure-track position at the rank of Assistant Professor. We are broadly seeking cell biologists who are addressing fundamental questions using quantitative microscopy, molecular, biochemical, and/or genetic approaches. This search is part of a strategic investment in quantitative life sciences, and we especially encourage applicants whose research uses quantitative methods including, but not limited to, mathematical modeling of cell and/or sub-cellular behaviors, automated image analysis, and/or single molecule imaging. The cell biologist will be able to take full advantage of substantial new investments in campus infrastructure, including the light microscopy core facility, which was recently designated a Nikon Center of Excellence, and will join a department with existing strength in the cytoskeleton cell biology field. The successful candidate will be expected to have a strong commitment to undergraduate and graduate education. For more information visit: www.bio.umass.edu/biology/about/announcements

If you are fond of fruits, vegetables, and nuts, you will appreciate the research Bryanna Joyce ’20 conducted with honeybees as a summer scholar at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Joyce, a plant and soil sciences major, spent five weeks feeding bees in 55 different hives at a commercial apiary in Barre, Massachusetts, in an experiment to learn if natural pollens can improve the health of honeybees. Each week she hand made dozens of pollen patties—out of sunflower pollen, wildflower pollen, a mixture of both, or a pollen substitute beekeepers often employ. She then measured the prevalence of several parasites and diseases harmful to the bees.

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The William Lee Science Impact Program (Lee-SIP) is a Research Experience for undergraduates (REU) program designed to expand and broaden participation in undergraduate research. The program provides students the opportunity to work on fun, novel, and interesting scientific questions by matching them with faculty members with similar research interests. This years recipients are:

Marzia Maliha - Michele Markstein lab
Kara Conlan - Elena Vazey lab
Jesus Maiiol Diaz - Elizabeth Jakob lab
Javier-Ignacio Escobedo - Elsbeth Walker lab
Sebastian Gomez - Paul Katz lab
Karen Luong - Jeffrey Blanchard lab
Shelby Phillips - Jesse Mager lab

Have a productive summer!

Several bumblebee species have seen their ranges contract and some may face extinction due to several combined stressors, say ecologists Lynn Adler, professor of biology, and her former postdoctoral fellow Scott McArt, with others. Their recent analysis, one of the few to explore the relative importance of multiple factors, found unexpectedly that greater use of fungicides was the strongest predictor of range contraction in declining bumblebee species.

Jeff Podos was elected to serve as 2017-18 President of the Animal Behavior Society (ABS), which is the principal scientific society for this discipline in the Western Hemisphere. The Animal Behavior Society, together with its European sister society, the Association for the Study of Behavior, edits and publishes the discipline’s flagship journal, Animal Behaviour. The main duty of the ABS President is to chair the society’s executive committee, which is responsible for arranging the annual ABS conference, running student research and travel award competitions, selecting distinguished researchers for society awards, and supporting society members across the hemisphere in research, education, and outreach.

Dr. Lillian Fritz-Laylin's paper WASP and SCAR are evolutionarily conserved in actin-filled pseudopod-based motility was highlighted by the Journal of Cell Biology in their Year in Cell Biology:2017. Ten research papers were identified that most captured the attention and interest of readers, based on number of requests for PDFs and full-text HTML versions of an article in the three months after its initial publication.

Global demand for forest products such as pulp for paper, saw timber and wood pellets for fuel is expected to increase in coming years. To meet this need, UMass Amherst plant geneticist Sam Hazen, whose research has led to higher biomass yield in grasses, recently received a grant to demonstrate that his new technology can be translated to grow trees that produce more wood than conventional trees.

The National Science Foundation (NSF) awarded Hazen a three-year, $713,000 grant to study gene regulation of cell wall growth in the model grass species Brachypodium. His experiments will advance understanding of the transcription networks that regulate secondary cell wall biosynthesis in grasses. Understanding the cell wall, which is a complex blend of polysaccharides, proteins and lignin, plus the processes and genes that regulate them, could have a big impact on commercial agriculture, he points out.

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