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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.

Michigan State University RISE students volunteer in the Bailey GREENhouse every Friday as a way to build community and learn about sustainable food and farming through direct experience.
September 29, 2023
The Residential Initiative on the Study of the Environment (RISE) at Michigan State University is an interdisciplinary living-learning program with a focus on sustainability and environmental studies that provides students with the skills and knowledge to become the next generation of leaders for a sustainable future. RISE students engage in undergraduate research, campus change projects and co-curricular initiatives in which they can explore their interests within a supportive community of students, faculty and staff with shared values.
Different types of T cells (red, green, pink, orange) in the tumor microenvironment. Most T cells that surround the tumor are unable to infiltrate into the tumor (cyan & blue).
September 18, 2023
Human papillomaviruses (HPVs) cause more than five percent all human cancers worldwide, yet for many, current treatments are ineffective. Dohun Pyeon, an MSU professor in the Department of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics in the College of Natural Science, has received a 2023 Strategic Partnership Grant; the MSU Research Foundation is funding his work on the development of a new immunotherapy for HPV-associated cancers. As one of just three recipients for 2023, Pyeon will receive $480,000 over three years to help his lab reach its long-term goal of developing an inexpensive immunotherapy.
New research at the Facility for Rare Isotope Beams at Michigan State University will harness the power of machine learning to accelerate nuclear science.
September 15, 2023
The Facility for Rare Isotope Beams, or FRIB, at Michigan State University is home to a world-unique particle accelerator designed to push the boundaries of our understanding of nature. Now, FRIB is accelerating that work with a form of artificial intelligence known as machine learning with support from the Office of Nuclear Physics and the Office of High Energy Physics at the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science. FRIB scientists have received several grants that aim to bring machine learning’s power to process immense data sets to bear in experiments, theoretical studies and the science and engineering that keeps the accelerator humming.
Tim Dorweiler, a Ph.D. candidate in the molecular, cellular and integrated physiology program at MSU, look at crystals in various retinal tissues.
September 7, 2023
Advancements that could lead to earlier diagnosis and treatment for diabetic retinopathy, a common complication that affects the eyes, have been identified by a multi-department research team from Michigan State and other universities. Their findings were recently published in Diabetologia, the official journal of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes. 
MSU chemist James McCusker believes that new approaches to the science of solar energy conversion need to include a focus on abundant, scalable materials that can capture and convert light into useable chemical potential. Toward this end, he and his team of students combine synthesis with ultrafast spectroscopy in order to develop a fundamental understanding of the interplay between the chemical structure and/or composition of a molecule and the mechanism by which that molecule redistributes energy it absorbs in the form of light.
September 7, 2023
Michigan State University Research Foundation Professor James K. McCusker is the recipient of the prestigious 2024 Josef Michl American Chemical Society (ACS) Award in Photochemistry. This honor recognizes outstanding experimental and theoretical research in the fields of photochemistry and photophysics as applied to organic, inorganic or biological molecules or solids. McCusker will receive a certificate and a prize of $5,000, which will be presented at the ACS Spring 2024 meeting in New Orleans.
Shannon Schmoll, director of Abrams Planetarium at MSU, has been an integral part of the international community of planetariums. She was recently elected in the succession to become the next president of the International Planetarium Society. She will serve a six-year term beginning this year—two years each as president-elect, president and past president. Pictured here is part of the proceedings at the Revolve IPS 2016 Conference in Warsaw, Poland.
September 5, 2023
The stars aligned when Shannon Schmoll was elected to be the next president of the International Planetarium Society (IPS). Schmoll, director of Michigan State University’s Abrams Planetarium and an instructor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy in the College of Natural Science, has been a leader in the planetarium community for many years. She will serve a six-year term beginning this year—two years each as president-elect, president and past president.
A colorized electron microscope image shows a close-up of Campylobacter jejuni bacteria, many of which carry antibiotic resistant genes, as shown by Michigan State University researchers.
September 1, 2023
Working with the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, Michigan State University researchers have shown that antibiotic resistance genes are prevalent in the bacterium Campylobacter jejuni, a leading cause of foodborne illness.The team found that more than half of the C. jejuni, isolated from patients in Michigan, are genetically protected against at least one antibiotic used to fight bacterial infections. Their report, recently published in the journal Microbial Genomics, provides valuable technical insights to epidemiologists, health care workers and other specialists.
Working with Arabidopsis thaliana, a model organism, plant biologists at Michigan State University revealed the biomolecular controls of one of the systems that regulates cell death and plant health.
August 30, 2023
Michigan State University plant biologists have made a discovery that could help turn a natural kill switch in plant cells into a “life switch” that helps crops better survive the challenges presented by climate change. At its core, though, this is a fundamental finding, shared in the journal Nature Plants, that has implications across biology for how organisms respond to stress linked to overproduction of proteins by the cell.
The wild radish has helped Michigan State University researchers posit that natural selection can preserve similarities in addition to driving changes.
August 24, 2023
Natural selection is usually understood in the context of change. When organisms deviate from the norm, they may gain advantages that let their lineages outlast those of their less-adaptable relatives. But new research from Michigan State University suggests that natural selection also has the power to keep things the same. MSU plant biologist Jeff Conner and his team have published a new report in the journal New Phytologist that expands science’s understanding of natural selection in the face of another evolutionary mechanism called genetic constraint.
Across the country, farmers once reliant on weather alone to provide water for their crops will turn to irrigation to increase yields and profits—and put new stresses on limited water resources.
August 21, 2023
In a new study, Michigan State University landscape hydrologist Anthony Kendall and his colleagues found that, by the middle of the 21st century under a moderate greenhouse gas emissions scenario, the benefits of expanded irrigation will outweigh the costs of installation and operation over an extended portion of current U.S. croplands. With climate change projections showing higher temperatures, increased drought conditions, and shifting precipitation patterns, irrigating more crops in the United States will be critical to sustaining future yields. The findings were recently published in Communications Earth & Environment, an open-access journal from Nature Portfolio.

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