Distinguished Faculty Lecture Series


Celebrating 40 Years of Outstanding Faculty

Four UMass Amherst faculty members will deliver lectures in the 40th year of the university’s Distinguished Faculty Lecture Series. All lectures begin at 4 p.m. in the Bernie Dallas Room, Goodell Building. The lectures are free and open to the public. A reception follows each lecture.


Professor S. “Thai” Thayumanavan, Department of Chemistry
Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Smart Therapy: The Search for Better-Targeted Delivery Systems

Delivering therapeutic molecules to precisely targeted disease locations is critical to the treatment of many human diseases. This is especially true in cancer chemotherapy, during which patients suffer negative physical and social effects that are largely due to the rather indiscriminate cell-killing nature of chemotherapeutic drugs. Professor Thayumanavan will focus on one of the most promising approaches now being explored to direct therapeutic molecules: generating “smart” molecular assemblies that can be accurately delivered to targeted diseased tissues and can release therapeutic molecules in response to the tissues’ specific micro-environments.


Professor Max Page, Department of Architecture
Wednesday, February 11, 2015


The Arc of Memory: Bending the Future of Historic Preservation

In anticipation of the fiftieth anniversary of the National Historic Preservation Act, which established how the United States preserves its physical past, Professor Page will offer a critique of historic preservation today and propose a progressive agenda for the next fifty years. He will suggest how the preservation movement can be a force for social justice, contributing to building more sustainable, meaningful, and fair communities by saving and interpreting places of pain, making our homes and cities more sustainable, and rethinking the thorny concepts of authenticity, integrity, and significance.


Professor Gerald A. Epstein, Department of Economics
Tuesday, March 24, 2015


When Big is Too Big: Do the Financial System’s Social Benefits Justify Its Size?

The financial system, standard economic theory tells us, encourages productive investment, provides mechanisms for households to transfer income, helps families and businesses reduce risk, provides stable and elastic liquidity to households and businesses, and develops powerful financial innovations. The Great Financial Crisis of 2008, however, brought these assumptions into doubt and raised a key question: just what are the financial sector’s contributions to society? Professor Epstein will argue that since 1980 the financial sector has increasingly failed to promote social well-being, and he will propose some corrective restructurings.


Professor Margaret Riley, Department of Biology
Monday, April 13, 2015


Rethinking the Antibiotic Arsenal: New Strategies for the Age of the Microbiome

Our new understanding of the human microbiome—the ecological community of microorganisms to which our bodies play host—calls for a radical rethinking of the role of antibiotics in medicine. Rather than concentrating on single molecules targeting broad phylogenetic spectra, we need to identify targeted molecules that can cripple the pathogen but leave the microbiome largely intact, and to design and deploy treatments that delay the onset of resistance mechanisms. Professor Riley will describe a smart, agile approach to finding the delicate balance between pathogens and their hosts.