Recent News

Project leader and chemistry professor Dhandapani “DV” Venkataraman, is one of five researchers from a campus group that has been selected to receive a one-year, $100,000 grant from the National Science Foundation’s “10 Big Ideas for Future NSF Investments” series to conduct a series of national workshops to identify research challenges associated with transitioning to an equitable and sustainable energy system.

The grant is the second this year from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to researchers at UMass for a similar purpose, evidence of a growing worldwide interest in developing sustainable energy systems that consider and even prioritize the resources and needs of all communities.

“A transition toward a less carbon-intensive energy system is underway globally,” Venkataraman points out. “The challenge is to envision how the energy system might evolve in a way that is consistent with resources and needs.”

Further, he explains, “When we are thinking about the emerging energy technologies landscape, we need to incorporate equity as an intrinsic design component. This requires energy scientists, equity scholars and other stakeholders who normally work independently to come together and identify the priorities and needs.”

ACS Finalist for President Has Ties to UMass Chemistry

Professor Mary K. Carroll of Union College is one of two finalists in the fall election for 2021 president-elect of the American Chemical Society, the world’s largest scientific society with 152,000 members in more than 140 countries. Carroll has local ties to the UMass Chemistry department, having been a postdoctoral researcher with Professor Julian Tyson (1991-92).

Carroll has co-directed the Union College Aerogel Laboratory, a productive interdisciplinary research group. To date, more than 150 undergraduate STEM majors, several high-school students and faculty colleagues from Union and other institutions have participated in the group’s research in the fabrication, characterization and applications of aerogel materials.

She is active in the American Chemical Society (ACS) and since 1998 has served as a councilor of the Eastern New York ACS section. At the national level, she currently serves on the ACS Committee on Science. Based on her contributions to science and service to the ACS, Mary Carroll was selected for recognition as a member of the class of 2016 ACS Fellows.

Research Corporation for Science Advancement (RCSA) has named Michelle Farkas, chemistry, one of 13 new Fellows for its Scialog: Chemical Machinery of the Cell (CMC) initiative.

Co-sponsored by RCSA and the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, Scialog: Chemical Machinery of the Cell aims to catalyze breakthroughs in our understanding of chemical processes in the living cell that will lead to a new era of advancement in cell biology.

The new early-career researchers, together with Fellows selected in the previous two years, will convene virtually Oct. 9, for a half-day meeting. The final in-person CMC conference is scheduled for Oct. 7 – 10, 2021, in Tucson, Ariz.

“It’s terrific to have 13 new Fellows join this outstanding community of rising stars,” said senior program director Richard Wiener. Scialog is short for “science + dialog.” As part of each multiyear initiative, a diverse and inclusive cohort of Fellows is selected from multiple disciplines and institutions across the U.S. and Canada to maximize creative thinking and innovative ideas.

At each conference, participants form multidisciplinary teams to design research projects, which they pitch to leading scientists who have facilitated discussions throughout the meeting. A committee of these facilitators then recommends seed funding to catalyze the most promising of those team projects.

“Even though we can’t meet in person in 2020, we’re excited to keep the community engaged virtually to think of new, potentially high-impact ideas to advance our understanding of cellular processes,” Wiener added. “That momentum will carry us into our final CMC conference and a final round of funding next year.”

Chancellor Kumble Subbaswamy has revised the university’s Fall 2020 Reopening Plan. For more information and to read the comprehensive report, FAQs and other materials, go to The university is using the best science and public health information available to protect members of the campus community; efforts are focused on mitigating the risk of infection and spread of the virus.

The newly created Public Health Promotion Center will serve as the campus coordinating and operational hub for COVID-19 mitigation efforts. Its focus is to positively influence public health behaviors, provide critical health screening, and monitor protocols to maintain the health and wellness of our campus community. As part of these efforts, we are implementing a multi-layered approach to deter the spread of the virus, help protect our campus, and allow us to rapidly respond when faculty, staff, or students present symptoms or test positive for the virus.

Upcoming Events

Jeffrey Moore
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Thursday, October 1, 2020
Department of Chemistry and The Beckman Institute for Advanced Science & Technology

"Materials Functions for Polymer Lifecycle Control"

11:30 am
Prof. Heather Kulik
Thursday, October 8, 2020
Department of Chemical Engineering

"Molecular design blueprints: materials and catalysts from new simulation and machine learning tools"

Zhou Lin
11:30 am
Zoom: TBA
Prof. Alexandra Zevalkink
Michigan State University
Thursday, November 5, 2020
Chemical Engineering and Materials Science
James Walsh
11:30 am
Zoom: TBA
Prof. Chris Pickard
Cambridge University
Thursday, November 12, 2020
Department of Materials Science & Metallurgy
James Walsh
11:30 am
Sarah Lorraine Devos
Massachusetts General Hospital
Thursday, November 19, 2020
Jeanne Hardy
11:30 am