Current News

The Office of Faculty Development has announced that Dr. Healey, Senior Lecturer of Biology, has received a 2020 Chancellor’s Leadership Fellowship.

John McCarthy, provost and senior vice chancellor for academic affairs, says, “With this latest cohort of Chancellor's Leadership Fellows, our campus continues the important work of preparing the next generation of academic leaders. In keeping with the program's goals, this year's cohort brings very great diversity of disciplines, backgrounds and career paths.”

Healey’s research expertise is in evolutionary biology and behavioral ecology. Healey has taught writing classes as a Quin-Morton Fellow in the Princeton Writing Program at Princeton University and was a faculty member at UCLA before joining the UMass faculty in 2010. She has taught topics ranging from HIV/AIDS and writing to introductory biology, ecology and evolution. She has employed numerous pedagogical approaches depending on class size and learning objectives, including community engagement, team-based learning and flipped classroom approaches. Healey has served as chair of the biology curriculum committee and has been elected chair of the UMass Undergraduate Education Council. Healey was awarded the College of Natural Science Outstanding Teaching Award in 2017. More recently, she was the first recipient of the Mahoney Teaching Award to join the team of faculty in the iCons program.

Read more HERE!

Join us in congratulating Dr. Healey!

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!

An award from the NSF Extreme Science and Engineering Discovery Environment (XSEDE) program will support advanced computing for Jeff Blanchard's Evolutionary Genomics & Bioinformatics (BIO597/697) course!

Read more HERE!

Join us in congratulating him!

The Baskin Lab has published a paper in iScience revealing surprisingly dynamic behavior in the growth zone of plant roots. Two of the authors were or are undergraduate students at UMass.

Read more HERE!

Professor Peg Riley shares that a group of STEM AP students was invited to contribute an entry for the NSF STEM Diversity and Inclusion Challenge - which encourages NSF funded programs to submit videos on the impacts of their program!

CLICK HERE to see their video submission!

Biology Professor, Randy Phillis, has been recognized with CNS Outstanding Teaching Award for the many outstanding contributions to the teaching and success of our undergraduate students in our college including ClassTalk, HHMI and RAP programs in addition to directly inspiring students.

Join us in congratulating him!

Join us in celebrating the 2020 Biology Graduates! The Senior Celebration Page is now live!

Students, Staff, and Faculty: it is not too late to submit your own photos to the page!

To get your photos on our instagram and celebration page:
-Email Emily Fleming ( or Meg Gerson (
-Post on instagram using #CNSCelebrates, #BioCelebrateSeniors, and tag us @umassbioadv

CLICK HERE to go to the Biology Senior Celebration

Congratulations to the graduating class of 2020!

Shannon Silva, a biology major and Commonwealth Honors College junior, has been named a recipient of the prestigious Goldwater Scholarship, awarded by the Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Foundation.

The aim of the foundation is to provide a continuing source of highly qualified scholars to work as scientists, mathematicians and engineers. The Goldwater, a nationally competitive scholarship, supports students with a passion for research and potential to contribute to their disciplines, and who plan to pursue a graduate degree. Each scholarship covers eligible expenses for undergraduate tuition, fees, books, room and board, up to a maximum of $7,500 annually.

Research has been an important part of Silva’s undergraduate career. The Peabody, Mass., resident joined the Vandenberg Lab in the UMass Amherst Department of environmental health sciences in her sophomore year. She has been evaluating the effect of endocrine-disrupting chemicals on the histopathology of mammary tumors and four additional tissue sites that may be targets of metastasis. Silva has previously interned at Cell Signaling Technology and was an Amgen Research Scholar at Duke University in the summer of 2019. This year, she is scheduled to participate in the Summer Undergraduate Research Program at Gerstner Sloan Kettering. After her anticipated graduation from UMass Amherst in 2021, she hopes to apply her lab research experiences, and her experience as a Goldwater Scholar, to pursue a Ph.D. in molecular cancer biology.

Silva’s nomination for the Goldwater was made possible by UMass Amherst’s Office of National Scholarship Advisement (ONSA). Advising and careful nurturing of Silva’s application was given by ONSA Director Madalina Akli. Each year, ONSA nominates four sophomores and juniors. ONSA is an advising service available to all UMass Amherst undergraduate and graduate students, as well as the university’s robust alumni community.

We are fortunate to have a student who has successfully competed for both these prestigious national fellowships!

CLICK HERE to see the original article.

Biology lab PhD student Seanne Clemente receives 3-year National Science Foundation GRFP and Ford Foundation Fellowships

We are fortunate to have a student who has successfully competed for both these prestigious national fellowships!

Go to this link to read more about the Ford Foundation Predoctoral Fellowship.

Three of Peg Riley's student's won big!

Congratulations to:

Hailey Charest (2021, Biochemistry & Molecular Biology and Microbiology Double Major)

Hadley Beauregard (2022, Biochemistry & Molecular Biology and German & Scandinavian Studies double major)

Bryanna Frietas (2020, Chemistry & Psychology double major)

Bac-Be-Gone won a 2020 Ginspoon Entrepreneurial Concept Award in which each member of the team won $150. The team was nominated by a faculty member and were then asked to fill out an application about their venture. Since it is an individual award, each member of the team was awarded!

The team was created by these three undergraduates and targets development of products to eliminate or prevent MRSA (Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus) infections!