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Downtown Springfield features urban designs created by UMass students
April 23, 2015

SPRINGFIELD, Mass — Every day pedestrians, drivers and bike and bus riders cruise through downtown Springfield often overlooking abandoned buildings or small side streets, each with a story to tell.

Students from the University of Massachusetts Graduate Urban Design Studio have staged six installations throughout downtown Springfield all using tactical urbanism, an emergent form of urban design that looks at new ways to enliven cities with temporary interventions that are inexpensive and easy to install, according to Frank Sleegers and Michael Di Pasquale, urban design professors at University of Massachusetts Amherst.  (The Reminder, MassLive 4/23/15)

UMass Amherst Food Scientist Wins National Award, Fellowships
April 16, 2015

AMHERST, Mass. – David Julian McClements, professor of food science at the University of Massachusetts Amherst and an internationally recognized expert in the encapsulation and delivery of bioactive components, recently was honored with the Institute of Food Technologies (IFT) Babcock-Hart Award for contributions to food technology that result in improved public health through nutrition.  (4/16/2015 News Office Release)

UMass Food Scientist, David Sela, Studies Human Milk for Healthy Microbes
April 14, 2015

Breast milk seems like a simple nutritious cocktail for feeding babies, but it is so much more than that. It also contains nutrients that feed the beneficial bacteria in a baby’s gut, and it contains substances that can change a baby’s behaviour. So, when a mother breastfeeds her child, she isn’t just feeding it. She is also building a world inside it and simultaneously manipulating it.

To Katie Hinde, an evolutionary biologist at Harvard University who specialises in milk, these acts are all connected. She suspects that substances in milk, by shaping the community of microbes in a baby’s gut, can affect its behaviour in ways that ultimately benefit the mother. It’s a thought-provoking and thus far untested hypothesis, but it’s not far-fetched. Together with graduate student Cary Allen-Blevins and David Sela, a food scientist at the University of Massachussetts, Hinde has laid out her ideas in a paper that fuses neuroscience, evolutionary biology, and microbiology. (National Geographic 4/8/15)

UMass Amherst scientist and international team document songbird's migration
April 13, 2015

AMHERST, Mass. – For more than 50 years, scientists had tantalizing clues suggesting that a tiny, boreal forest songbird known as the blackpoll warbler departs each fall from New England and eastern Canada to migrate nonstop in a direct line over the Atlantic Ocean toward South America, but proof was hard to come by.

Now, for the first time an international team of biologists report “irrefutable evidence” that the birds complete a nonstop flight ranging from about 1,410 to 1,721 miles (2,270 to 2,770 km) in just two to three days, making landfall somewhere in Puerto Rico, Cuba and the islands known as the Greater Antilles, from there going on to northern Venezuela and Columbia.

First author Bill DeLuca, an environmental conservation research fellow at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, with colleagues at the University of Guelph, Ontario, the Vermont Center for Ecostudies and other institutions, says, “For small songbirds, we are only just now beginning to understand the migratory routes that connect temperate breeding grounds to tropical wintering areas. (4/14/15 PRI; 4/10/15 Deccan Chronicle; 4/1/15 News Office)

UMass Amherst Food Scientist Honored for Work with Edible Oils
April 2, 2015

AMHERST, Mass. – The American Oil Chemists’ Society has honored University of Massachusetts Amherst food scientist Yeonhwa Park with the Timothy L. Mounts Award for her “significant and important contributions in the area of bioactive lipids and their impact on health conditions such as obesity, osteoporosis, arthritis and cardiovascular disease.”

A recognized international expert in edible oil applications and health and nutrition of lipids, Park will receive a plaque, a $750 honorarium and will deliver the award lecture, “Conjugated Linoleic Acid: 30-year Research,” at the AOCS annual meeting in Orlando in May. The AOCS announced Park’s honor and other award winners this week in its member magazine, Inform. (4/2/15 News Office Release)

Million Dollar Question
March 18, 2015

It’s difficult to predict the impact this winter will have on dollar spot pressure. Experts, including Dr. Geunhwa Jung, associate professor of turfgrass pathology at the University of Massachusetts, helps provide insight in order to control this costly turf pathogen. (Golf Course Industry, 3/17/15)

Non-native Plants in U.S.: Widespread, and Plenty of Space to Invade
March 12, 2015

AMHERST, Mass. – A new study, the first comprehensive assessment of native vs. non-native plant distribution in the continental United States, finds non-native plant species are much more widespread than natives, a finding that lead author Bethany Bradley at the University of Massachusetts Amherst called “very surprising.” ( 3/11/15; News Office Release)


Disease guide: A head start on healthy turf
March 11, 2015

Amherst, Mass--M. Bess Dicklow, recently retired extension plant pathology specialist, reports on Northeast turf issues. Across the country, the first months of the calendar year offer a slower pace for green industry businesses (unless you’re plowing, of course). But now is the time to keep disease on the radar. There’s no real hibernation in landscaping. Diseases crop sooner than you might think.Here is your guide to weed and disease issues for the first quarter of 2015. (3/10/15 Lawn & Landscape)

'Nature's Medicine Cabinet' helps bees reduce disease load says Lynn Adler, Evolutionary Ecologist
February 18, 2015

AMHERST, Mass. – Researchers studying the interaction between plants, pollinators and parasites report that in recent experiments, bees infected with a common intestinal parasite had reduced parasite levels in their guts after seven days if the bees also consumed natural toxins present in plant nectar.

In this early and most comprehensive study of its kind, researchers at the University of Massachusetts Amherst and Dartmouth College studied hundreds of eastern bumblebees, Bombus impatiens, and their intestinal parasite Crithidia bombi, using eight separate toxic chemicals known as secondary metabolites produced by plants to protect themselves against predators.

They found that toxic chemicals in nectar reduced infection levels of the common bumblebee parasite by as much as 81 percent by seven days after infection. UMass Amherst evolutionary ecologist Lynn Adler says, “We found that eating some of these compounds reduced pathogen load in the bumblebee’s gut, which not only may help the individual bees, but likely reduced the pathogen Crithidia spore load in their feces, which in turn should lead to a lower likelihood of transmitting the disease to other bees.  (, 2/18/15; Entomology Today, 2/18/15; Science Newsline,2/18/15;, 2/18/15;The Independent [U.K.], 2/18/15;, 2/17/15; News Office release, 2/18/15)

“Excipient foods” show promise in enhancing nutrient bioavailibility, reports David McClements, Food Science
January 14, 2015

David J. McClements, food science, says recent studies show that “the bioavailability of certain nutraceuticals can be increased by consuming them with other foods.” The story says excipient foods show promise in increasing the bioavailability of functional nutrients. (, 1/14/15)