Department of Microbiology at UMass Amherst
Small Life. Big Ideas.
Final Doctoral Examination: A Biochemical Approach to Characterize a Divergent Trypanosoma brucei Mitochondrial DNA Polymerase POLIBStephanie DelzellUMass Microbiology Graduate Program10:00amGraduate Student Colloquium
Final Doctoral Examination: A Shift in RNA Fate: Investigating the Role of C19ORF66 during KSHV Lytic ReplicationWilliam RodriguezUMass Microbiology Graduate Program10:00amGraduate Student Colloquium
Final Doctoral Examination: The Role of Serum-Mediated Killing in the Borrelia burgdorferi Infectivity PhenotypePatrick PearsonUMass Microbiology Graduate Program11:30amGraduate Student Colloquium
TBDMelissa ShinfukuUMass Microbiology Graduate Program11:30amGraduate Student Colloquium
Microbiology Student Spotlight
Microbiology Graduate Students Receive Recognition at Three Minute Thesis Competition
In the 2023 Three Minute Thesis (3MT) competition organized by the Graduate School, Harita Sistu, Ph.D. student, microbiology, was named the 3MT runner-up for her presentation “Tiny Organism Solving Big Problems by Converting Waste to Energy.” The audience voted Briana Kubik, Ph.D. student, microbiology, as the People’s Choice recipient for her presentation “Deep-sea Microorganisms and the Search for Life Beyond Earth.” Sistu and Kubik are both part of Professor James Holden’s lab.
Latde Diagnostics Receives Top Prize at Lever Western Massachusetts Health Tech ChallengeStart up company, Latde Diagnostics, won $50,000 in innovation grant funding at the Lever Western Massachusetts Health Tech Challenge hosted by the Institute for Applied Life Sciences (IALS) on March 3. Sloan Siegrist, Associate Professor Microbiology, founded Latde Diagnostics along with Emily Melzer. Melzer received her Ph.D. from UMass Microbiology under the guidance of Sloan Siegrist. Latde Diagnostics is developing a rapid, low-cost test to determine which specific antibiotic will be effective in a patient with sepsis, a life-threatening blood-borne infection.
Yasu Morita Receives NIH Grant to Find Treatments for TuberculosisYasu Morita, Associate Professor of Microbiology, was awarded a two-year grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to support research aimed at developing new and more effective treatments for tuberculosis (TB). Morita studies mycobacteria, a group of bacteria that is omnipresent in the soil and environment. Several species of mycobacteria cause disease, the most well-known of which is TB. After years of study spearheaded by Ph.D. candidate Ian Sparks, Morita and his team have focused in on the glycolipids located on the cell surface, which help to maintain the stability of the cell membrane.
Wilmore Webley Named Senior Vice Provost for Equity and InclusionWilmore Webley, Associate Professor Microbiology, will serve as the inaugural Senior Vice Provost for Equity and Inclusion effective January 1, 2023. UMass Amherst Provost and Senior Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs Tricia Serio announced the appointment of two new senior leaders for diversity, equity and inclusion for Academic Affairs. The other appointment is Sofiya Alhassan who will serve as the Graduate School’s new associate dean for inclusion and engagement.
Peter Nguyen Yasu Morita ASBMB TodayPeter Nguyen, an undergraduate researcher in Yasu Morita's lab, was first author on a paper which reported the lab's study exploring the conditions for and effects of acylation. Lab members noticed that membrane fluidization led two membrane glycolipids (lipids with a carbohydrate attached via glycosidic bond) called phosphatidylinositol mannosides, or PIMs, to undergo acylation. The findings were recently published in the Journal of Lipid Research and were highlighted in the December issue of the ASBMB Today magazine.
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Department of Microbiology