The University of Massachusetts Amherst
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Current News

Former CRF Student Scholar Monika Roy Receives NIH Predoctoral Fellowship Award to Examine PCB-11 Toxicity

Monika Roy is a third year doctoral student in UMass Amherst's environmental health sciences program. A former CRF student awardee, Monika will investigate the liver toxicity potential of the environmental chemical 3,3’-dichlorobiphenyl, or PCB-11. PCB-11 is primarily a byproduct of yellow pigment manufacturing, but is also found in sealants, resins, and other consumer products where it can eventually evaporate and be inhaled by humans. The National Institute of Health (NIH) grant is funded through the Ruth L. Kirschstein Predoctoral Individual National Research Service Award (NRSA) program, enables promising predoctoral students with potential to develop into productive, independent research scientists, to receive financial support to conduct their own dissertation research. 

Pilsner (FRS 15-16) Leads Cross-disciplinary Team Examining Fertility Impacts of Male Environmental Exposure

A cross-disciplinary team of scientists, led by Associate Professor of Environmental Health Sciences and Former Family Research scholar Richard Pilsner, will use a three-year, $1.6 million grant from the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) to expand research into the impact of phthalate exposure on male fertility. Phthalates are ubiquitous endocrine-disrupting chemicals found in plastics and personal care products, such as deodorant and shaving cream. Virtually all people in the U.S. have some level of phthalate exposure. 

Laura Vandenberg (FRS 15-16) Gives Talk at Plastic Health Summit in Amsterdam

Laura Vandenberg, Associate Professor of Environmental Health Sciences and former CRF Family Research Scholar, recently gave a talk explaining her research on harmful chemicals found in plastic at the first annual Plastic Health Summit in Amsterdam. Her presentation focused on how early life exposure to chemicals and chemical mixtures can predispose individuals to diseases that manifest later in life.

Celebrating CRF Student Research

Over 40 students, mentors, and friends attended the annual CRF Student Research Forum and Awards Reception in May. Our Student Research Awards Program provides funding and support for undergraduate and graduate students as they work closely with faculty mentors on family related research, travel to conferences, and attend our methodology workshops. Our Graduate Student Grant Writing Program supports students in the development of successful graduate fellowship applications.  Our 2019-20 Awardees and our new cohort of Graduate Student Grant Writers were recognized. 

Former FRS Paula Pietromonaco Wins Award From the Society for Personality and Social Psychology

Professor emerita of Psychological and Brain Sciences Dr. Peitromonaco has been selected to receive the 2019 Service to the Field Award from the Society for Personality and Social Psychology (SPSP). Professor Pietromonaco’s research focuses on how basic psychological processes that arise in the context of people’s close relationships such as dating and marital relationships might impact relationship outcomes as well as emotional and physical health over time. 

Laura Vandenberg (FRS '15-'16) Named One of the World’s Most Highly Cited Scientists

London based Clarivate Analytics, owner of the Web of Science, annually identifies influential researchers with high citation marks all over the world. This year, ten UMass Amherst researchers were recognized for their high citation rates including CRF Family Research Scholar, Laura Vandenberg (2015-16). 

Jennifer Whitehill (FRS 19-20) says More Restrictions on Marijuana Advertisement Needed to Protect Teens

Despite restrictions on paid advertising cannabis on social media, most teenagers reported seeing marijuana marketing on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, according to a public health study authored by University of Massachusetts Amherst injury prevention researcher Jennifer Whitehill.

Jennifer Whitehill, a current CRF Family Research Scholar, found that 94% of adolescents surveyed had been exposed to marijuana marketing either on social media, print media or on a billboard. Facebook, Twitter and Instagram prohibit marijuana ads, but cannabis companies can develop a social media presence by establishing a business profile and sharing posts and tweets.