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April 2016

Mycobacteria cause a number of dangerous, difficult-to-treat diseases including leprosy and tuberculosis, and progress has been slow in eradicating them. But new strategies for combating these bacteria may eventually emerge from better understanding their basic structure and mechanisms, say molecular microbiologist Yasu Morita and his doctoral student Jennifer Hayashi at UMass Amherst. In the current issue of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, they report an advance in the fundamental knowledge about a model species of these pathogens, Mycobacterium smegmatis.

Rebecca Spencer, psychological and brain sciences, is interviewed about her sleep research. Spencer says when people are asked to make a decision and they sleep, they are more likely to recall positive aspects of the decision than people who didn’t sleep before making a choice.

Katherine Boyer, along with a group of researchers in kinesiology, have examined how a runner’s stride changes during a race because of fatigue. The study is published in the Journal of Sports Sciences. They say stride changes significantly as a runner tires.

The American Academy of Arts and Sciences announced the election of 213 new members, including biological chemist Lila Gierasch, Distinguished Professor at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, along with some of the world’s most accomplished scholars, scientists, writers, artists and civic, business and philanthropic leaders.

A team of four University of Massachusetts Amherst researchers are the Armstrong Fund for Science winners for 2016, which is granting $40,000 over two years to encourage transformative research on campus that introduces new ways of thinking about pressing scientific or technical challenges. They were recognized at the UMass Amherst Honors Dinner on April 13.

Peter Reinhart, IALS director, gave a talk on UMass’s Newest Industry Resource – The Institute for Applied Life Sciences at 20th MassMEDIC’s Annual Conference on Tuesday, April 12 at the Boston Convention center. The conference was in conjunction with the Boston BIOMEDevice Show which showcased the latest medical technologies, advanced manufacturing techniques, new materials, and suppliers from every step in the medical manufacturing process held on April 13-14.

Rebecca Ready, associate professor of psychological and brain sciences, and her graduate student Gennarina Santorelli point out that until now, no studies with older adults have investigated associations between episodic memory performance, that is recalling past experiences rooted in a specific time and place, and what is known as “emotion recovery,” the return to a normal state of emotion after an emotional event.

Kenneth Carter, polymer science, and doctoral student Yinyong Li received a $10,000 discretionary award for FogKicker, a new, patent-pending anti-fog solution made from natural materials. The major raw material, nanocellulose, can be easily made from recycled materials such as waste paper, wood, or plants, and excels at absorbing water or moisture. FogKicker is a biodegradable, non-toxic compound that can be coated on nearly any surface and, after drying, creates an invisible layer that prevents the formation of fog.

R. Thomas Zoeller, biology, has won the Endocrine Society’s Laureate Award for Outstanding Public Service Award, with three others, for “public service to the field of endocrinology” and for “their citizenship, outreach and scientific leadership in the area of endocrine-disrupting chemicals.”

Cynthia Baldwin, Department of Veterinary and Animal Sciences, has been selected for 2015-2016 Distinguished Faculty Lecture Series and will be presented with the Chancellor’s Medal at the conclusion of her talk, “Responding to Infectious Diseases: Next Generation Vaccines” on Monday, April 11, 2016 at 4 p.m. in the Bernie Dallas Room, Goodell Building.