Recent News

Martin Lab Receives Acorn Innovation Fund Award

The Martin lab has received an award from the Massachusetts Technology Transfer Center Acorn Innovation Fund. This award “is intended to support the demonstration of the viability of a technology developed at Massachusetts research universities.” From RNA vaccines to mRNA therapeutics, RNA is poised to revolutionize the treatment and prevention of a wide variety of disorders and diseases, but deficiencies in its laboratory synthesis are holding back applications. Building on recently published work, the Martin lab is leveraging its extensive experience in fundamental mechanisms in transcription to develop dramatically improved approaches towards the enzymatic synthesis of this key molecule. This Acorn Award is supporting the development of a flow synthesis approach, with the immediate aim of demonstrating a path forward to high quality, high yield RNA. A wide variety of new RNA therapeutics lie on the horizon today. From mRNA-based therapeutics, to RNA-guided technologies such as CRISPR, to RNA “logic gate” smart therapeutics. Enabling research in the Martin lab aims to overcome current limitations in the implementation of these exciting technologies.

UMass Amherst Chemistry Remote Instruction

UMass Amherst transitioned to remote-learning instruction using web, video and teleconferencing tools as of Monday, March 23rd, due to the coronavirus.

Course instructors are the primary contact. Students enrolled in chemistry courses, including labs, should closely monitor email, Moodle, and/or other modes of communication from their instructors. Faculty will use various programs and tools to tailor online learning methods to their course material and lab experiments.

Undergraduate Researchers are NOT expected to report to laboratories. This includes students enrolled in practicum, independent study, honors capstone experiences, etc.

Additional campus information can be found at UMass Amherst Response to the Coronavirus (COVID-19).

Community Conversations workshops are open to all members of the campus community, and will focus on skill building around respective dialogue to allow us to better engage with one another. Attendees will learn about the LARA (Listen, Affirm, Respond, Add) method of communication, designed to help us engage in discussion empathetically in a way that invites diverse perspectives in an effort to create shared meaning.

We come from diverse backgrounds and experiences that lead to varying levels of comfort and ability to interact thoughtfully across difference. Poor interactions can be very harmful, and worries about being misinterpreted can make interactions stressful. These concerns can keep individuals from engaging with others who don’t share their background or lead to miscommunication when they do.

Two Community Conversation workshops will be offered in the coming weeks.

Wednesday, February 26, 11:15am-1:15pm
Campus Center, Amherst Room

Thursday, March 5, 4:00pm-6:00pm
Campus Center, Amherst Room

Lunch or dinner will be served at each session, and staff supervisors are asked to provide release time for participants and ambassadors. Register here.

Congratulations on 70 years at UMass!

In February 1950, Prof. Richard (Dick) Stein joined the UMass Chemistry faculty as an Associate Professor. He carried out pioneering studies developing and using rheo-optical techniques to study orientation and phase transitions in amorphous, crystalline and liquid crystalline polymers. He also developed the university’s first advanced physical chemistry courses in quantum mechanics, statistical mechanics and polymer science.

Dick became Commonwealth Professor, and in 1961 he founded both the Polymer Research Institute and the Research Computing Center. In 1980, the chemistry department awarded him the Charles A. Goessmann Chair in Chemistry (he’s currently the Emeritus Goessmann Professor in Chemistry). Later in the 1980’s he was involved in establishing and obtaining funding for the Silvio O. Conte Center for Polymer Research. Among his many honors, Dick is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Photo credit: University Archives

Upcoming Events

CBI Student-Hosted Seminar
Postponed: Prof. Ronald Raines
Thursday, April 2, 2020
Department of Chemistry

"Ghost Proteins"

Student Host: Jiale Du. Faculty Hosts: Eric Strieter and Lila Gierasch
11:30 am
1634 LGRT
Five College Seminar
Postponed: Prof. Richmond Sarpong
University of California Berkeley
Tuesday, April 7, 2020
College of Chemistry

"Break-it-to-Make-it Strategies for Complex Molecule Synthesis"

Smith College
11:30 am
LGRT 1634
Cancelled: Undergraduate Poster Session
Dissertation Defense
Friday, April 10, 2020
12:30-2:30 pm
ISB Atrium
Postponed: Prof. Jana Shen
University of Maryland
Thursday, April 16, 2020
Fischell Department of Bioengineering

"Mechanisms of Proton-Coupled Dynamics: From Kinases to Membrane Transporters”

Hosts: Jianhan Chen and Elizabeth Vierling
11:30 am
1634 LGRT
Postponed: Prof. Craig Crews
Yale University
Thursday, April 23, 2020
Department of Chemistry, Department of Pharmacology

"PROTAC-mediated Protein Degradation: A New Therapeutic Modality"

Michelle Farkas
11:30 am
1634 LGRT