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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.

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February 17, 2022
Michigan State University researchers in the Christoph Benning lab at the MSU-DOE Plant Research Laboratory have been looking into the signals for activating different states of the cell cycle in microalga, which has potential applications for future biofuel production and cancer research. MSU graduate student, Yang-Tsung Lin is first author on a study that builds on this research, which was recently published in the journal G3: Genes, Genomes, Genetics. Lin studies how microalga know when to start and stop growing and dividing by looking at cell cycle states.
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February 16, 2022
The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services is enlisting experts and resources at Michigan State University to bolster the state’s fight against COVID, foodborne illnesses and more. With three grants totaling more than $5 million, MSU and health care partners will help build up Michigan’s capacity to respond to the current pandemic and future pathogens through the newly created Michigan Sequencing Academic Partnership for Public Health Innovation and Response, or MI-SAPPHIRE. 
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February 15, 2022
Michigan State University College of Natural Science researchers Dalton Hardisty and Ilya Kachkovskiy will each receive a prestigious, two-year, $75,000 Alfred P. Sloan Fellowship in recognition of their accomplishments as early career scientists with exceptional promise in their fields. Hardisty and Kachkovskiy join the list of renowned scholars who have received Sloan Fellowships since launched in 1955, among them 41 MSU faculty members and 53 Nobel Prize winners.
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February 15, 2022
Associate Professor Claire Vieille was selected as the new director of the Genetics and Genome Sciences Program in the MSU College of Natural Science, beginning February 1. Vielle replaces Cathy Ernst, who was appointed chair of the Department of Animal Science in the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources.
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February 11, 2022
Christoph Benning, director of the Michigan State University-Department of Energy Plant Research Laboratory, was elected a Senior Member of the National Academy of Inventors. He is among 83 academic inventors to be elected to the group in 2022. Benning is well known for basic research on plant lipid metabolism, including work identifying and applying the WRINKLED1 gene. He was selected in recognition of his groundbreaking research innovations and success in patenting, licensing and commercialization, mentorship and education.
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February 10, 2022
In a new paper published in Ecology Letters, Michigan State University professor and evolutionary biologist Janette Boughman shows that the process of choosing a mate could be very important to the survival of the species. To do this, she and her co-author Maria Servedio introduce a new theoretical model they coin “The Ecological Stage.” Whether sexual selection is helpful or hurtful to speciation is still controversial, yet the model can provide some new answers; it shows how sexual selection can be helpful to speciation and diversification.
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February 8, 2022
Michigan State University is one of five institutions selected by the Association of American Universities, or AAU, to pioneer new and better approaches for evaluating teaching and learning in undergraduate STEM departments. MSU’s Department of Chemistry has been enlisted by AAU to serve as one of the leaders in creating more meaningful and productive methods that can be implemented not only at Michigan State, but at any university. 
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February 7, 2022
James Tiedje, a Michigan State University Distinguished Professor Emeritus and internationally renowned microbial ecologist has been elected a Foreign Member of the Chinese Academy of Sciences for 2021. Tiedje was selected for his pioneering work, particularly in developing molecular and genomics tools to understand the impacts of anthropogenic activity on environmental microbiomes. He is also instrumental in promoting international collaboration in microbial ecology between China and the rest of the world.
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February 3, 2022
The American Physical Society (APS), recognized MSU’s Department of Physics and Astronomy this year with a prestigious Award for Improving Undergraduate Physics Education. MSU undergraduate physics stood out for making significant improvements to its undergraduate educational experience and its ability to retain a high number of successful physics majors. APS will publicly honor awardees at its April meeting in New York City during the Education and Diversity Reception.
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January 28, 2022
Faculty members in the MSU College of Natural Science with general or specific concerns related to college processes and programs have a new contact and advocate in Heather Eisthen, a professor in the Department of Integrative Biology, who became the college’s new Faculty Excellence Advocate on January 1. Eisthen replaces Cynthia Jordan, who retired last August.

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