Department of Microbiology at UMass Amherst
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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.
Ashley Eng to be Honored as 21st Century LeaderAshley Eng, a Commonwealth Honors College (CHC) student and microbiology major, will be one of 10 students to receive the 21st Century Leaders Award at UMass Commencement 2023. The award is given in recognition of a strong academic record, exemplary achievements as well as distinguished intellectual accomplishments. Eng is an undergraduate researcher with Kristen DeAngelis, Professor of Microbiology. Eng's research in microbial ecology and how climate change impacts soil microbes has led her to present her work at national conferences and in 2022 was selected for a Goldwater Scholarship.
Researchers One Step Closer to Better Drug Therapies for TuberculosisYasu Morita, associate professor of microbiology, and his team of researchers have identified a long-sought gene that plays a critical role in the growth and survival of the tuberculosis (TB) pathogen. The discovery offers a potential target for drug therapies for a deadly disease that has few effective treatments. Yasu Morita, senior author, along with Malavika Prithviraj and Takehiro Kado, lead authors, recently had their findings published in mBio.
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.
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Department of Microbiology