Recent News

Prof. Gabriela Weaver, Special Assistant to the Provost for Educational Initiatives, was a recent guest panelist on the 22News program InFocus which discussed STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) education programs in higher education.

Weaver was joined by other area educators in describing integrations, mentorship, and outreach programs connected with STEM fields. Weaver explained mentorship roles as a key component to retaining students and how they can lead to internship opportunities providing hands on experience and opens the door to explore new fields. UMass Amherst has partnered with Girls Inc. of Holyoke through a program called Eureka! to offer unique opportunities for girls to help tackle the gender gap in the STEM fields. The Girls Inc. participants grades 8-12 spend a month working with various faculty on projects in STEM fields to encourage the young women into related courses of study.

A major factor holding back development of wearable biosensors for health monitoring is the lack of a lightweight, long-lasting power supply. Now scientists at the University of Massachusetts Amherst led by materials chemist Trisha L. Andrew report that they have developed a method for making a charge-storing system that is easily integrated into clothing for “embroidering a charge-storing pattern onto any garment.”

As Andrew explains, “Batteries or other kinds of charge storage are still the limiting components for most portable, wearable, ingestible or flexible technologies. The devices tend to be some combination of too large, too heavy and not flexible.”

Their new method uses a micro-supercapacitor and combines vapor-coated conductive threads with a polymer film, plus a special sewing technique to create a flexible mesh of aligned electrodes on a textile backing. The resulting solid-state device has a high ability to store charge for its size, and other characteristics that allow it to power wearable biosensors.

 

Rotello Delivers Keynote at Science Teachers’ Conference

Vincent Rotello, Distinguished Professor of chemistry, delivered the Nov. 2 keynote, “Multidisciplinary Thinking Outside the Box: Fighting Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria using Nanomaterials,” at the annual conference of the Massachusetts Association of Science Teachers in Boxborough.

Rotello talked about his work on the emergence of new antibiotic-resistant bacteria, which is rapidly accelerating, with strains resistant to all known antibiotics beginning to be observed. These multi-drug-resistant (MDR) bacteria are a rapidly emerging threat to human health, causing thousands of deaths each year in the U.S. alone.

Rotello says, “In our research we have brought together chemistry, biology and even a bit of physics to create new nanosponges 100-300 nanometers in diameter. These nanosponges are highly effective against bacteria and are not harmful to mammalian cells (including red blood cells), making them promising treatments for both wound and internal infections.”

Researchers across the Five Colleges will gather together in a series of “RNA Salons” that will include undergraduates, graduate students, postdocs. and faculty with research interests in the rapidly growing areas of RNA science. RNA Society members Katie Berry (Asst Prof at Mount Holyoke College), Mandy Muller (Asst Prof in Microbiology at UMass) and Prof Craig Martin from Chemistry recently received a grant from the RNA Society to support these new RNA Salons.

The first Salon, to be held on November 6, will feature a talk by graduate student Qikun Yu, from Asst Prof Mingxu Yu’s lab in Chemistry. Contact Prof Craig Martin or Prof Mingxu You for additional talk information.

Upcoming Events

Prof. Javier Vela
Iowa State University
Thursday, November 29, 2018
Department of Chemistry
Host:
Kevin Kittilstved
11:30 am
1634 LGRT
Maryam Kashefi
Dissertation Defense
Wednesday, December 5, 2018

“Chemoreceptor Dynamics and Signaling: NMR Measurements within Functional Complexes”

1:00 pm
LSL N410
Research Adviser:
Lynmarie Thompson
Prof. Michael Cohen
Oregon Health and Science University
Thursday, December 6, 2018
Department of Physiology & Pharmacology
Host:
Eric Strieter
11:30 am
1634 LGRT
Prof. J.D. Tovar
Johns Hopkins University
Thursday, December 13, 2018
Department of Chemistry
Host:
Trisha Andrew
11:30 am
1634 LGRT
Xiaorong Liu
Dissertation Defense
Monday, December 17, 2018

“Multiscale Simulations of Intrinsically Disordered Proteins”

10:00 am
LSL N610
Research Adviser:
Jianhan Chen