Ma named Burroughs Wellcome Fund Investigator
Prof. Li-Jun Ma has been awarded a $500,000 grant from the Burroughs Wellcome Fund to develop new antifungal therapies using the model fungus Fusarium oxysporum to combat the growing resistance to anti-fungal compounds, a growing problem in both clinical and agricultural settings. Read more.
Cheung/Wu lab reports broader role for FERONIA receptor kinase
Profs. Alice Cheung and Hen-ming Wu report in the journal eLife that FERONIA receptor kinase, from the model plant Arabidopsis, is necessary throughout the growth of the plant, not only for reproduction. Read more.
Schnell chosen as Spotlight Scholar
Prof. Danny Schnell has been chosen as a Spotlight Scholar for his work leading a team of academic and industrial researchers to increase the yield of the plant Camelina sativa as as biofuel source. The research is supported by a $4.2 M Department of Energy PETRO grant. Read more
Wang awarded NIFA subcontract
Prof. Dong Wang was awarded a National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) subcontract from Brigham Young University for $87,000 for the period 1/1/15 to 12/31/17 to conduct research on "A rhizobial peptidase that interferes with plant nitrogen acquisition".
Gierasch lab awarded Industry-Academic Collaborative Grant
Pfrof. Lila Gierasch was awarded an Industry-Academic Collaborative Research Grant. This partners $25,000 in UMass President's Enhancement Funding with $40,000 from the biotech firm Schrödinger of Cambridge, MA, to support a postdoc to research the project "Designing Modulators of Hsp70 Molecular Chaperones as Potential Therapeutics Against Cancer and Neurodegenerative Diseases".
Plant cell library donated to UMass
A collection of tissue samples from over 3,500 plants around the world has been donated to UMass Amherst and will be available for widespread use by researchers who will be able to test organisms in the collection for novel natural compounds. Initial funding for the collection is from a $150,000 UMass President's Office Science and Technology Award with Prof. Elizabeth Vierling as lead PI. Read more
Chien lab awarded grant to study bacterial stress
Assistant Professor Peter Chien was awarded a five-year grant totaling $1.4 million from the National Institutes of Health to understand how bacteria destroy their own proteins when dealing with stress. His research focuses on molecular machines in bacteria that selectively target particular proteins when the environment becomes damaging, such as during antibiotic treatments, which could reveal avenues for discovery of new drugs to treat infectious diseases. Read more
BMB welcomes Dr. Savinov to the faculty
BMB is pleased to welcome Extension Associate Professor Sergey Savinov, formerly a Senior Research Scientist at Purdue University Center for Cancer Research, to the Faculty. Dr. Savinov will liaise with the leadership of the Institute for Applied Life Sciences research centers to develop a core facility for structure-based drug design. He will also develop structure-based drug design and computational biology education modules to give students real-life experience in this burgeoning field.
Alice Cheung delivers Distinguished Faculty Lecture
Professor Alice Cheung was chosen as one of this year's four Distinguished Faculty Lecturers. She delivered the lecture, "The Birds and the Bees: How Do Plants Produce Seeds?" on March 25th in which she described how the female lures or rejects a mate and the journey of the male to target and fertilize a female. Read more
Prof. Vierling awarded NSF funds for research and outreach
Distinguished Professor Elizabeth Vierling received a four year grant for a total of $800,000 from the National Science Foundation to investigate features of plant energy metabolism that determine survival under stress conditions in order to optimize agricultural productivity. The research will examine the function of specific proteins in mitochondria (energy factories found in all cells), and involves collaborations with researchers in Germany and Australia. The award also supports outreach activities to encourage teenage girls to consider science as a career option and to inform the public about the scientific basis of genetically modified plants. Read more