Research

The Fergus M. Clydesdale Center for Foods for Health and Wellness

The Fergus M. Clydesdale Center for Foods for Health and Wellness brings together scientists, educators, government, policy makers and industry executives to develop and implement innovative solutions to food-related health issues. The Center is a world-class academic research center that consists of state-of-the-art laboratories and instrumentation to conduct research on food components that can improve the health and wellness of our food supply.

Science Quest

High school students in grades 10-12 from across the Northeast and beyond are encouraged to visit the UMass Amherst campus to engage in hands-on science activities, demonstrations and guided lab tours. Students are allowed to select their own schedule of mini-classes offered to explore physics labs and learn more about science. A panel of UMass undergraduate science students are available to talk about their experiences as a science major and an admission representative will briefly present and answer questions about preparing for college/applying to UMass.

Computer-Based Math Tutor

A computer-based, emotionally perceptive math tutoring software system has been developed by UMass Amherst computer scientists and colleagues to help improve standardized test scores such as the Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System (MCAS). After extensive analysis and studies on gender relations with math done with elementary aged children in Holyoke, MA and Springfield, MA schools and elsewhere, the software was written to offer emotional support, found to be appreciated more by girls than boys who are less affected by it.

The Sunwheel Project

The long-running Sunwheel Project involves the construction of sun wheels all over the world starting at UMass Amherst. The project brings a greater awareness and understanding of astronomy to school children, University community members and the general public. In Amherst, the sunwheel - located south of the football stadium - is a gathering spot for people to visit and learn about the sky together through regular public gatherings posted on the website (and usually timed with the equinox and solstice events).

El’gygytgyn Lake Scientific Drilling Project

Over 50 scientists from 4 countries are engaged in studies of the sediments from Lake El'gygytgyn, located in remote northeast Russia to recover hundreds of meters of lake sediment and impact breccia that will provide new insights into the climate evolution of the Arctic and the formation of the crater.

Archaeology, Heritage, and Conservation in Akko, Israel

This project combines excavation, conservation, heritage studies, and community engagement at the site of Akko, Israel, a UNESCO World Heritage site. The project is a run by faculty from Penn State, UMass Amherst, Trinity College, and the University of Haifa. Students learn archaeological excavation and survey methods on the remains of a site that has been inhabited for more than 5000 years. They experience the role played by the distant past in today's political and cultural discourses, and work with stakeholders from communities in Akko to determine the future of the past at the site.

Heritage Assessment and Community Development, Eleuthera, Bahamas

The Center for Heritage & Society has initiated a partnership with a community development organization on the island of Eleuthera, Bahamas (oneeleuthera.org). We have conducted a pilot research project (Historic Building Survey) in Governor's Harbor, and we have developed a community engagement web portal for use by our partners. Finally, we are now in the development phase of an archaeological survey and excavation project in Millars on the site of a former plantation in collaboration with the descendent community.

Treehouse Foundation of Easthampton

The Rudd Adoption Research Program has been involved with the Treehouse community on many levels. Treehouse is an inter-generational community in which elders and families with youth, who are or were in foster care, live together in an effort to support the youth.

Treehouse Foundation of Easthampton

The Rudd Adoption Research Program has been involved with the Treehouse community on many levels. Treehouse is an inter-generational community in which elders and families with youth, who are or were in foster care, live together in an effort to support the youth.

Nano Test Strips for Drinking Water Tests in Pakistan

Chemist Vincent Rotello will develop, test and deploy new, sensitive, reliable and affordable inkjet-printed, nanoparticle-based test strips for detecting disease-causing bacteria in drinking water, with researchers at the Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS), Pakistan. Rotello will address drinking water safety in Lahore, the largest city in the nation’s Punjab region, where it is estimated that more than 60 percent of water sources in the city are contaminated with disease-causing bacteria and rates even higher in rural areas.

Master of Science in Design & Historic Preservation

The Design & Historic Preservation Master of Science program uses Hancock Shaker Village, one of the largest and best preserved Shaker sites in the nation, as a primary study site. The Shaker’s deep-seated commitment to sustainability in building, living and farming is the philosophical ground for the program’s curriculum. Students learn and expand their skills in architectural design, historic preservation, construction, restoration, town planning, as well as their understanding of historic site management while working closely with leading preservationists in the state and region.

A Rapid Response System For Prediction And Management Of Phytophthora Diseases In Massachusetts Farms Using Risk Mapping And Real Time PCR

Phytophthora species rank as some of the most devastating disease agents in Massachusetts farms. Current disease forecasting models for Phytophthora were developed for use over large areas and cannot provide the resolution to adequately predict disease outbreaks at the farm-scale in Massachusetts. The most fundamental component of effective risk maps is accurate data on the current distribution of the targeted pathogen, without which they cannot accurately predict where and how a pathogen may spread. This project will develop a system for gathering data at a farm-scale level.

Optimizing Food Storage Systems For Quality, Safety And Energy Efficiency

Food banks are major consumers of energy related to food handling and storage as well as major customers for local food producers. Energy efficiency and cost reduction in food banks could have synergistic benefits for both types of enterprise. This project will develop a process map to integrate energy and food handling audits to help identify key nodes for effective energy efficiency and food safety interventions. By evaluating technological innovation in the context of the local post-harvest food system the food banks can optimize energy efficiency and food safety.

Understanding The Factors That Influence Outdoor Residential Water Conservation: A Case Study In Suburban Boston

This study will examine the influence of policy and outreach efforts on residents' adoption of water conservation and storm water strategies in the residential landscapes of the Ipswich and Parker River watershed north of Boston. It will trace watershed conservation measures from policy incentives to impact so as to develop a clearer picture of the relationship between local policy and outreach efforts, and actual decisions to engage and install residential landscape water conservation practices.

Using Economics to Improve Asthma Interventions

The rise in the burden of asthma is a well-documented international phenomenon. In a series of papers, Dr. Sylvia Brandt & colleagues explore factors impacting households’ adoption of asthma management guidelines and found that behavioral factors relate to consistently using preventative asthma medication. The longer-run goals of the project include developing asthma education and intervention programs that work with, rather than against, consumer preferences—and incorporating possible financial incentives as appropriate.

Riversmart Communities: Supporting Ecologically Restorative Flood Prevention And Remediation In New England

This project links fluvial geomorphology to New England-specific climate, landscape, ecology, population, and infrastructure to develop best management practices for flood prevention. It will uncover challenges and constraints caused by distinct jurisdictional and institutional fragmentation, highlighting successful strategies for overcoming these. The extension aspect will take this much-needed scientific and institutional knowledge and disseminate it to towns, government officials, landowners, businesses, environmental organizations, road crews, and others.

Research Experience for Teachers (MRSEC)

In the summer RET program, middle and high school teachers participate in research at the Silvio O. Conte Center for Polymer Research. Participants gain experience under the guidance of an established research group by investigating a topic from a broad spectrum in chemistry, physics or engineering of polymers. Examples of projects are: nanomembranes, crystallization in confined geometries, sensors, and polymer deformation.

Ethnohistory of Ethnic Whalemen and their Communities in the New Bedford Area

New Bedford Whaling National Historical Park (NHP), which commemorates and interprets the era when New Bedford was a world-renowned whaling port, will generate a series of ethnohistories that highlight the relationships of particular groups or peoples to the city’s waterfront and whaling history. This study will develop an ethnohistorical and ethnographic report describing these groups’ involvement in whaling, the development of their communities, and the sense of heritage with this history in contemporary communities. This project may include the development of a database.

Ethnographic Study of the Peddocks Island Cottages

"Ethnographic Study of the Peddocks Island Cottages" is a research program which will work toward a community history of the Peddocks Island cottages and cottagers in Boston Harbor to provide information for park management and interpretation and for public education about the island’s history and attachment to the cottages. Data collected from interviews, archival and genealogical research, participant-observation, photographs and maps will contribute to a park website on the community.

UMass Cranberry Station

The mission of the UMass Cranberry Station is to maintain and enhance the economic viability of the Massachusetts cranberry industry through research, extension and to serve the public welfare by supporting economic development and protection of the environment. We have specialists in Plant Pathology, Entomology, Environmental Physiology, Plant Nutrition/Cultural Practices, Weed Science/Integrated Pest Management, and Floriculture. In our programs we emphasize efficiency, environmental protection, and profitability.

UMass Extension Building Energy

The Building Energy Extension Program conveys current energy efficiency, renewable energy, and building science information to stakeholders, including those in the building trades, design professionals, state government agencies, building owners and occupants through workshops, web publication, and consulting. Applied research in building energy systems is conducted to respond to perceived stakeholder need.

UMass Extension Soil Fertility and Nutrient Management

The overall objective of the Soil Fertility and Nutrient Management project is to develop and promote practical, innovative, and affordable solutions to issues related to soil fertility and nutrient management in the Commonwealth and beyond. This is accomplished through applied laboratory and field research used to support ongoing extension and outreach activities. The primary outreach vehicle for the project is the Soil and Plant Tissue Testing Laboratory which offers affordable analytical testing of soil, plant tissue, compost, and soilless greenhouse media.

UMass Extension Sustainable Greenhouse Management

The Sustainable Greenhouse Management project applies research and educational opportunities to address key problems and opportunities facing the industry and the public. Programs on greenhouse crop production, integrated pest management, water and nutrient management, waste management and energy are delivered through a variety of newsletters, websites and message board, publications, workshops, conferences, training programs, diagnostic services and applied research. Applied research considers organic growing media and fertilizers for ornamental greenhouse crops.

UMass Extension Sustainable Fruit Production

UMass Extension provides farmers with access to current research on new and alternative species and varieties, horticultural management techniques, marketing and business management strategies, pest-ecology, and pest-management procedures. Research on pest ecology and management informs approaches that optimize control, reduce chemical use and increase fruit quality. The resources provided by Extension forge successful partnerships with Massachusetts’s fruit producers that in turn foster a more secure, diverse and healthful food supply for the Commonwealth.