UMass Amherst announces 2016 Armstrong Fund for Science awards

They intend to implement the Plant Cell Culture Library, a collection of plant cells that Monsanto donated to the university. | File photo

The University of Massachusetts Amherst recently granted four researchers the 2016 Armstrong Fund for Science awards, which includes $40,000 for important research projects over the next two years.

The research projects should be dedicated to innovative new approaches for technical or scientific challenges. The funds are meant to encourage scientists to continue thinking innovatively about challenges.

On April 13, the winners were honored while at the UMass Amherst Honors Dinner. The four winners were chemist Sergey Savinov; fungal biologist and the Burroughs Wellcome Fund investigator in the pathogenesis of infectious disease Li-Jun Ma; and microbiologists Yasu Morita and Michele Klingbeil.

These researchers see infectious diseases as significant threats to global public health. They intend to implement the Plant Cell Culture Library, which is a collection of plant cells that Monsanto donated to the university along with important equipment. The library, worth over $1 million, has cells gathered from over 2,200 plant species.

With this library, the researchers will be able to find cells that can control drug-resistant pathogens and the synergistic power of plan antimicrobials. They intend to unite their individual research interests to develop novel compounds that are antitryopanosomal, antifungal or antibacterial.

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