University of Massachusetts Amherst

Search Google Appliance


Current News

Pilsner’s Research Highlighted in Environmental Health Perspectives

Rick Pilsner headshot

J. Richard Pilsner, 2015-16 CRF Family Research Scholar and assistant professor of environmental health sciences, is among the researchers featured in an article on the burgeoning field of sperm epigenetics appearing in the February 2018 issue of Environmental Health Perspectives. The focus article explores current research trends on paternal environmental exposures and how they might affect the health of his unborn children.

Laura Vandenberg (FRS '15-'16) Publishes Findings Linking Fracking Chemicals to Pre-Cancerous Lesions in Mice

A new study has observed detrimental changes in the mammary glands of female mice following exposure to chemicals used in unconventional oil and natural gas (UOG) extraction methods, which include fracking. The study was published in the journal Endocrinology and was led by Laura Vandenberg, an environmental health researcher at the University of Massachusetts Amherst School of Public Health & Health Sciences. Read more here.

Video: Harvard Medical School Professor, David Grabowski, PhD Presents on Using Market-based Approaches to Encourage High Quality Nursing Home Care

Tay Gavin Lecture Series - The Center for Research on Families welcomed David Grabowski, PhD on February 8, 2018 who presented, "Opportunities and Challenges: Using Market-based Approaches to Encourage High Quality Nursing Home Care."

In his talk, Dr. Grabowski discussed how the quality of nursing home care in the US has been a longstanding policy concern. In response, the use of market-based approaches, like pay-for-performance and quality report cards, has grown in recent years. To date, these programs have been somewhat mixed in terms of improving performance. Dr. Grabowski broadly reviewed the policy issues and discussed several studies focusing on nursing home care and challenges to improving care. Read more about the presentation here.

Laura Vandenberg's (FRS '15-'16) Research Featured in Article Exposing Health Risk Associated with Cash Register Receipts

Taking a receipt from a cashier, ATM or gas station seems like a benign activity however, each time you touch those receipts, you may be exposed to harmful chemicals, since many receipts have a coating of Bisphenol-A (BPA) or Bisphenol S (BPS), chemicals that may be harmful to our health. Laura Vandenberg studies exposure to endocrine disruptors in mice at the University of Massachusetts Amherst School of Public Health & Health Sciences. Her research has shown that low doses of BPS disrupt maternal behaviors, the brain, and the mammary gland in nursing females. Read the article here.

Linda Isbell Awarded $1.7 M Grant to Study the Influence of Emotions on Medical Decision Making

Linda Isbell

Linda Isbell, FRS '15-'16, has received a five-year, $1.71 million grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality to study the influence of emotions on medical decision-making and diagnosis among emergency medicine staff. Diagnostic errors are very common in medicine and often come from failures of “clinical reasoning,” some of which may be related to a medical professional’s emotions, says social psychologist Linda Isbell at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Such errors are especially prevalent when treating vulnerable and stigmatized groups such as people with mental health disorders, who disproportionately use emergency services and may evoke negative emotions.

Michelle Budig (FRS '06-'07) Referenced in WHQR Radio Program About Gender Roles

It's a pervasive cultural attitude, often unconscious, that requires women are to be nice and friendly but also tough and decisive at work. And if a working woman decides to have children, University of Massachusetts sociologist Michelle Budig says, she is making the worst possible move for her career. Listen to the story here.

New Video Highlights Impact of Environmental Health Science Research of Current and Former Faculty Research Scholars

Current and former Faculty Research Scholars Laura Vandenberg '15-'16, Richard Pilsner '15-'16, and Krystal Pollit '17-'18 speak to the critical need for ongoing research into environment health science in new video from the UMass School for Public Health and Health Sciences.

Brigitte Holt and Students Study Medieval Skeletal Remains from Coastal Italy

In an anthropology lab in Machmer Hall, University of Massachusetts Amherst senior Emma Berthiaume uses an osteometric board to measure a human femur. She is the very first person to study this bone, buried in the cemetery of San Paragorio church in Noli, Italy, sometime between the years 1000 and 1400.

Berthiaume is making the most of a remarkable educational opportunity: it is highly unusual for an American university to have access to medieval skeletal remains. The bones arrived at UMass Amherst in September through the efforts of Associate Professor of Anthropology Brigitte Holt.

Rick Pilsner Awarded $2.26 Million Grant to Extend Phthalate Research

Richard Pilsner, assistant professor of environmental health sciences at the School of Public Health and Health Sciences (SPHHS), recently received a five-year, $2.26 million grant from the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences to extend and replicate findings in an animal study of his earlier investigation into the effects of phthalate levels on sperm epigenetics and reproductive success in humans.

Pilsner says, “Once again we’ll be looking at paternal preconception phthalate exposures and how these influence sperm epigenetics and subsequent offspring health and development in mice. Specifically, we’ll be studying sperm and oocyte epigenetics in offspring to determine the effect of dads’ preconception exposures on the reproductive capacity of offspring.”