Welcome to the NatSci news page! Check back often to learn about the latest innovations, discoveries and accomplishments of our faculty, staff, students and alumni.

NatSci's Kaitlin Peterson named MSU outstanding new academic advisor
October 21, 2019

Kaitlin Peterson, human biology and preprofessional advisor in the Michigan State University College of Natural Science (NatSci), received the 2019 Outstanding New Academic Advisor Award from the MSU Office of the Associate Provost for Undergraduate Education.  The MSU College of Natural Science is home to 29 departments and programs in the biological, mathematical and physical sciences.

MSU hosts symposium, unveils $5 million Cryo-EM Facility
October 11, 2019

More than 100 scientists—faculty, postdocs and graduate students—recently gathered at MSU to attend the 2019 Molecular Biophysics Symposium, which highlighted the opening of MSU’s $5 million Cryo-EM Facility. Cryogenic electron microscopy—typically abbreviated as cryo-EM—is an imaging technology that allows scientists to study cells, viruses and protein structures at the atomic level and capture them in action.

Richard Lenski receives prestigious interdisciplinary research, mentoring award
October 10, 2019

Michigan State University experimental evolutionary biologist, Richard Lenski, has been awarded the 2020 D.C. White Award by the American Society for Microbiology (ASM)—the world’s oldest and largest life science organization—in recognition and honor of his distinguished accomplishments, not only in interdisciplinary research but in mentoring.

Global modeling of nature's contributions to people
October 10, 2019

A new study, published in Science, uses high-resolution satellite data to funnel the details of individual local analyses into one, global map. Using advanced technology and software, the researchers created interactive maps that showcase the details of local analyses on a global stage. Informed by this planet-wide analysis, the paper emphasizes nature’s declining ability to protect people from water pollution, coastal storms and under-pollinated crops.

Scientists find gender-distinct circuit for depression
October 9, 2019

Depression affects women nearly twice as much as men, but unraveling the brain’s blueprint that regulates this behavior, let alone identifying specific molecular differences between sexes, has proven difficult.

Michigan State University researchers, however, have found and flipped a switch in the brain, revealing a single circuit in mice that activates during stress and is controlled by testosterone. The results, published in Biological Psychiatry, focus on the activity between neurons in the ventral hippocampus, which become active under stress and emotion, and their activation of nucleus accumbens neurons, critical players in reward and motivation.

MSU's Liangliang Sun lands NSF Early CAREER Award
October 4, 2019

MSU chemist Liangliang Sun has received a 5-year, $670,000 NSF Early CAREER Award to develop a novel mass spectrometry-based analytical method to identify and to quantify protein molecules that cannot currently be detected in biological samples.

Four outstanding NatSci students receive full scholarships to MSU
September 30, 2019

Four outstanding College of Natural Science students were awarded full scholarships to MSU this fall. Joseph Chung, Alison Cramer and Alder Fulton were chosen as Alumni Distinguished Scholars, and Maya Joyce was selected as a University Distinguished Scholar.

MSU researcher uses NSF grant to explore variation in electric fish shock duration
September 30, 2019

MSU integrative biologist Jason Gallant is using a three-year, $680,000 National Science Foundation grant to continue work on an discovery that variations in the electric pulses of electric fish may be due to unusual changes in a common protein called a potassium channel.

20-year study: Scientists connected fragments of pine savanna and new species keep showing up
September 26, 2019

Habitat fragmentation is a major threat to biodiversity. A new study published in Science demonstrates a hopeful new strategy in efforts to conserve plant and animal species confronting fragmented and shrinking habitats globally. 

Strength in numbers: Weightlifting professor powers up her research
September 25, 2019

The power behind reliable research across every scientific discipline begins with a sound statistical base, whether describing the migration patterns of Monarchs, the microbiome legacies of the common bean or, in the case of MSU statistician Marianne Huebner, the performance development of male and female athletes in Olympic weightlifting.