The University of Massachusetts Amherst
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Scholars in the News: March 2015

Family Research Scholars

The Center for Research on Families is pleased to share a roundup of the recent accolades earned by our affiliates from the Family Research Scholars (FRS) program, both current and past!

Dr. Kathleen Arcaro (FRS ’12-13)

The latest UMass Amherst recipient of a Fulbright Scholarship is Dr. Kathleen Arcaro, professor of environmental toxicity, who will journey to Turkey in spring 2016 for five months of her full-year sabbatical. Dr. Arcaro’s research focuses on how breast cancer develops and whether epigenetic markers can enhance the reliability of advanced screening. Breast milk is an “ideal human fluid for studying the relationship between exposure to pollutants” and negative health outcomes such as DNA damage resulting in cancer. She plans to use her Fulbright to study why Turkish young women have a higher incidence of breast cancer and how her research can help reduce this risk.

Dr. Gerald Downes (FRS ’14-15)

In celebration of Black History Month, Dr. Gerald Downes appeared at the Marine Biological Laboratory (MBL) at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute in southeastern Massachusetts. Dr. Downes, associate professor of biology, presented a lecture entitled “Genetic Analysis of Seizure Disorders in Zebrafish: The Sweet Smell of New Disease Models?” that details his current research on the development and function of spinal cord networks. His use of the zebrafish embryo as a model system is relevant for mammalian spinal cords, such as those in humans, because they exhibit several similar characteristics including robust movement behaviors.

Dr. Marsha Pruett (FRS ’14-15)

The American Bar Association (ABA) has honored a team that includes Dr. Marsha Pruett with the John W. Cooley “Lawyer as Problem Solver” Award. Dr. Pruett, professor of social work at Smith College, is the co-designer and co-principle investigator of an innovative family law center called the Resource Center for Separating and Divorcing Families. The annual award, which “recognizes individuals and organizations that use their problem-solving skills to forge creative solutions,” is being given to the Institute for the Advancement of the American Legal System for 2015. To read more about Dr. Pruett’s role in creating and evaluating the development of the RCSDF, see our recent Scholar Spotlight on her work.

If you’re an FRS alum with recent news, especially if it relates to a grant, study or research accomplishment that arose directly from your time as a CRF scholar, please email with a synopsis of the highlight or a copy of your most recent AFR.