Recent News

Graduate Program Overview

If you missed our webinar, or wish to review content from the event, please watch the video segments for additional program information.

Introduction to our Department by Associate Head, Prof. Jeanne Hardy
Introduction to our Graduate Program by Program Director, Prof. D. Venkataraman
Current Graduate Student, Catherine Tremblay
Current Graduate Student, Michael Lu Diaz
Overview of the Application Process by Admission Committee Chair, Prof. Vincent Rotello

Questions about applying or about the graduate program should be directed to Rebecca David

  • Application Deadline:  December 15  (Fall admission only)
  • Information about applying for Fall 2021. (Info for Chemistry Applicants)
  • The requirement for the GRE general exam is waived for 2021 admission.  The Department also requires a separate Research Interests Form to be filed with the graduate application.
  • Application Fee Waiver: to apply, email one paragraph stating your financial need, URM status, or academic achievement to Rebecca David

UMass Chemist Eric Strieter and his lab group have discovered how an enzyme known as UCH37 regulates a cell’s waste management system, a result they found “incredibly surprising.”

Strieter says, “It took us eight years to figure it out, and I’m very proud of this work. We had to develop a lot of new methods and tools to understand what this enzyme is doing.”

As he explains, a very large protease called a proteasome is responsible for degrading the vast majority of proteins in a cell; it may be made up of as many as 40 proteins. It has been known for more than 20 years that UCH37 is one of the regulatory enzymes that associates with the proteasome, he adds, “but no one understood what it was doing.” It turns out that the crux of the whole process, he adds, is how complicated modifications in a small protein called ubiquitin can be.

Writing this week in Molecular Cell, he and first author and Ph.D. candidate Kirandeep Deol, who led and conducted the experiments, with co-authors Sean Crowe, Jiale Du, Heather Bisbee and Robert Guenette, discuss how they answered the question. The work was supported by the NIH’s National Institute of General Medical Sciences.

This advance could eventually lead to a new cancer treatment, Strieter says, because cancer cells need the proteasome to grow and proliferate.

Hardy Wins Teaching Award

Prof. Jeanne Hardy has won the Northeastern Association of Graduate Schools Graduate Faculty Teaching Award (Doctoral level). The Northeastern Association of Graduate Schools includes member institutions in 11 states, Washington, D.C. and 6 Canadian provinces. The award recognizes Prof. Hardy’s excellence and creativity in teaching graduate students, as well as her innovation in graduate curriculum development and implementation. Prof. Hardy has provided industrially-relevant and hands-on training to graduate students in Chemistry and several life sciences and engineering majors via courses she developed such as Drug Design and Frontiers in Biotechnology and through co-founding and directing the interdisciplinary Biotechnology Training Program, which trains students in biotechnology via courses and industrial internships.

The campus’s strategic focus is on advancing students’ academic progress toward degree completion while providing a campus environment that meets federal and state health and safety protocols for mitigating COVID-19. Guided by these principles, the university has determined that in-person, face-to-face instruction for undergraduate and graduate students will be offered on campus this spring in certain classes, labs and studios identified as requiring in-person instruction.

Timely information regarding various aspects of our spring plan can be found at, and the administration will also keep you updated via email and other communication channels.

In the weeks and months ahead, the campus will continue to monitor the progress of the pandemic, and should worsening conditions warrant re-evaluation of our plan, we will act accordingly to ensure that the health and wellbeing of our community remains paramount

Upcoming Events

Prof. Justin Sambur
Colorado State University
Thursday, December 3, 2020
Department of Chemistry
Joseph DuChene
11:30 am
Zoom: TBA
Prof. Sujatha Venkataraman
University of Colorado Denver
Tuesday, December 8, 2020
School of Medicine

"Targeting Epigenetic Regulators in Pediatric Brain Tumors"

11:00am (not the usual 11:30am)
Prof. Joanne Lemieux
Univ. of Alberta
Thursday, December 10, 2020
Department of Biochemistry

"Structural insights into the feline coronavirus drug GC376, which inhibits the main protease of SARS-CoV-2 and blocks virus replication"

11:30 am
Arash Manafirad
Dissertation Defense
Friday, December 11, 2020

"Manipulating the Properties of Light-Responsive Active Lipid Bilayer Membranes: Measuring Mechanics and Probing Mechanisms."

1:00 pm
Research Adviser:
Tony Dinsmore (Physics)
Yi-Wei Lee
Dissertation Defense
Thursday, December 17, 2020


Zoom: link TBA
Research Adviser:
Vincent Rotello