Winter 2019 Newsletter | Research Highlights

Confronting the Side Effects of a Common Anti-Cancer Treatment
UMass Amherst researchers studied origins of adverse effects
Results of a new study by neuroscientists at the University of Massachusetts Amherst suggest that a new treatment approach is needed – and how this may be possible – to address adverse effects of aromatase inhibitors, drugs commonly prescribed to both men and women to prevent recurrence of estrogen-positive breast cancer.

Studying Why and How Speaking Face-to-Face Helps Aging Listeners
The vast majority of speech perception research has focused on how we recognize what the speaker says through listening only, and has failed to capture the value of speaking face-to-face, says speech perception expert Alexandra Jesse at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

Aazam Najeebi ’19 honored with Rising Researcher Award
Aazam Najeebi ’19 is one of eight students from UMass Amherst honored with the Rising Researcher Award in recognition of their demonstrated leadership and impact in their chosen field of study. What makes some people better learners than others? Commonwealth Honors College student Aazam Najeebi intends to find out. The psychological and brain sciences major has been working in Professor Rebecca Spencer’s lab on a project using MRI to understand how sleep changes memory representations and how this changes with aging. He became interested in what was unique about those participants who learn more quickly than others, young or old.

Adrian Staub and Lisa Sanders Explore Lexical Predictability in Reading
An NSF-funded project led by Adrian Staub (PI) and Lisa Sanders (Co-PI) is investigating the question of exactly how a word's predictability in a sentence (e.g. It had started to rain, so the man opened his _______) influences how the word is processed.

Faculty Group to Study Organizational Success of Eureka! Program
Five faculty members in the colleges of Education, Natural Sciences and Social and Behavioral Sciences have received a two-year, $299,271 grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to study the components of a successful multi-organizational partnership designed to promote girls’ participation in higher education and science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields.

Lacreuse lab investigates the etiology of Alzheimer's disease
The Lacreuse lab received $361,752 in supplemental funding from NIH to study whether Alzheimer's disease-like symptoms occur naturally in nonhuman primates with aging. Agnès Lacreuse is especially interested in determining whether female marmosets, like women, are more prone to such symptoms, and her work seeks to identify the factors that predict pathological aging in each sex. Lacreuse believes that comparative studies in different primate species will provide important new clues to advance our understanding of the etiology of Alzheimer's disease (AD) in humans.

Özden Melis Uluğ explores the role of victimhood narratives in achieving justice and peace
Özden Melis Uluğ, a Postdoctoral Research Associate in the Psychology of Peace and Violence Program, received a new grant from the Society for Personality and Social Psychology (SPSP). The title of her project is "Turning non-allies into allies: The role of inclusive victimhood narratives in achieving justice and peace." 

Resources, Relationships, and Recognition Encourage Faculty Collaboration and Equity
Nilanjana Dasgupta part of interdisciplinary team building new paths for equity and inclusion in STEM fields.
The National Science Foundation has awarded a coveted ADVANCE Institutional Transformation grant to UMass Amherst to support the development of an innovative professional advancement model for underrepresented faculty in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).

David Moorman on Team of UMass Scientists Exploring New Technology to Record Complex Brain Activity
A team of UMass scientists has been awarded a four-year, $953,300 grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to develop miniature, implantable hardware that can record complex brain activity in animals and analyze it in real time. This new technical capability will allow the researchers to trace the origin of complex brain activity down to cellular levels, they say.