Past News & Announcements

Giffen Travels to South Africa to Participate in NSF Program for Undergraduates

August 2015:  Samantha Giffen, a senior Microbiology and Public Health major, travelled to tne Limpopo Province of South Africa where she participatied in a National Science Foundation program for undergraduates. Many people in this region drink untreated groundwater. Fluoride, present as a natural material in geologic formations, is released from sediment into the groundwater, resulting in levels too high for human health simply from the geochemistry of the aquifers. As part of the program Ms. Giffen and her colleagues tested ceramic filters created by local potters with fluoride meters to gauge their effectiveness in taking fluoride out of groundwater. The objective of the project was to create something that people in the community will adopt and use. Read more...

Burand Testifies Before the Joint Committee on Environment, Natural Resources and Agriculture

July 2015:  Dr. John Burand, Professor of Microbiology, testified on Beacon Hill before the Joint Committee on the Environment, Natural Resources and Agriculture. The meeting, held on Tuesday, July 28, was a bee oversight hearing focusing mainly on colony collapse disorder and related legislation that has been proposed. Dr. Burand gave a presentation on the impact of the bee colony collapse. Read more...

Holden Promoted to Professor

July 2015:  Microbiology faculty member, Dr. James Holden, has been promoted to the rank of Professor effective September 1, 2015. 

Tovar Recognized as 21st Century Leader

May 2015: Dorothy Tovar, Microbiology Class of 2015, was recognized at the UMass Undergraduate Commencement as one of 10 students chosen to be 21st Century Leaders. This award recognizes graduating seniors who have demonstrated exemplary standards of achievement, initiative and social awareness and are made possible by the generous financial support of the UMass Amherst Alumni Association.

Manning Inventor Fellowship Awarded

May 2015: Jessica Smith, Postdoctoral Research Associate, has been selected by the College of Natural Sciences to receive the 2015-2016 Manning Inventor Fellowship for her project, Real Time Subsurface Microbial Activity Monitoring of Contaminants. Dr. Smith's postdoctoral advisor is Dr. Derek Lovley, Distinguished University Professor. Read more...


April 2015: Who should take part in #UMassGives? Everyone! UMassGives is 36 amazing hours beginning Wednesday, April 29 at noon through April 30 at midnight when alumni, parents, students, and friends inspire and encourage each other to make a gift online. Tweet, post, like, give and share for the Department of Microbiology. In our department, UMassGives is about supporting our students. Make a gift to enhance the annual Curt Thorne Carry On Award for Microbiology graduate students. Every gift will make a difference!

Graduate Student Receives Dissertation Research Grant

April 2015:  Jonathan Miller, Microbiology Ph.D. candidate, has been awarded a Dissertation Research Grant through the University of Massachusetts Graduate School.  The purpose of the grants are to provide funding for expenses incurred in connection with the student’s doctoral dissertation research.  Read more...

Giffen Named Goldwater Scholar

April 2015: Congratulations to Samantha Giffen on being named a Goldwater Scholar. Ms. Giffen is a double Public Health and Microbiology major in the Class of 2016. The Goldwater Foundation is a federally endowed agency established in 1986 to honor Senator Barry M. Goldwater. The program is designed to foster and encourage outstanding students to pursue careers in mathematics, the natural sciences, and engineering. Ms. Giffen was one of four UMass students named Goldwater Scholars. Read more...

Microbiology Graduate Student Awarded Robinson Scholarship

March 2015: Gina Chaput, a Ph.D. student in the Department of Microbiology, has been selected as a recipient of the Edith Robinson Scholarship. The Edith Robinson Scholarship, given by the UMass Graduate School from the bequest of Edith Robinson, is for a continuing graduate student from Vermont or New Hampshire who is studying health, the environment, or psychology. Ms. Chaput is a second year graduate student in the research laboratory of Dr. Kristen DeAngelis.

New Addition to the Microbiology Faculty

January 2015: UMass Microbiology welcomes M. Sloan Siegrist as an Assistant Professor to its faculty. Dr. Siegrist received her Ph.D. from the Harvard School of Public Health and was previously a Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of California Berkeley and Howard Hughes Medical Institute. Dr. Siegrist's research focuses on the cell wall of intracellular pathogens such as Mycobacterium tuberculosis and Listeria monocytogenes.

Webley Named Director of Pre-Medical and Pre-Dental Advising

January 2015:  Effective January 1, 2015, Wilmore Webley, Associate Professor of Microbiology, has been named the Director of Pre-Medical and Pre-Dental Advising at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.  Dr. Webley will advise approximately 1,500 undergraduates as they explore careers in the health fields. Read more...

Stewart Paper Recognized at AGU Meeting

January 2015: Lucy Stewart, Microbiology Ph.D. candidate, was recognized with an Outstanding Student Paper Award (OSPA) in Biogeosciences at the American Geophysical Union Fall meeting held in San Francisco in December 2014.