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.
July 15, 2021
For the spotted hyena, a kind of inheritance that has nothing to do with genetics turns out to be extremely important for health and longevity—social networks inherited from their mothers. A new study, published in the journal Science and based on 27 years of observational data from Michigan State University Distinguished Professor Kay Holekamp, expands an established theoretical model of spotted hyena social networking to show how these networks emerge, how long they last and how they affect a hyena’s life trajectory.
July 13, 2021
Toxoplasma gondii is a single-celled parasite with a singular goal: to infect any warm-blooded animal until it is ingested by a wild or domestic cat. Using the strength of interdisciplinary collaboration, MSU scientists have conducted a first-of-its-kind study into the role of T. gondii in the wild, establishing its definitive presence and influence among free-living hyenas. Their results were recently published in Nature Communications.
July 13, 2021
We live in a time when it’s never been easier or less expensive to sequence a plant’s complete genome. But knowing all of a plant’s genes is not the same thing as knowing what all those genes do. MSU experts in plant biology and computer science plan to close that gap with the help of artificial intelligence and a new $1.4 million NSF grant. Ultimately, the goal is to help farmers grow crops with genes that give their plants the best chance to withstand threats such as drought and disease.
July 9, 2021
Geoscience organizations play a central role in shaping the discipline by influencing attitudes, setting standards and providing benefits to their members. Although many organizations within the geoscience community have released statements calling out societal racism and discrimination, geoscience remains one of the least diverse fields among science and engineering. To address this issue, geosciences researchers from all over the country, including Michigan State University’s Julie Libarkin, recently published a ground-breaking Perspectives article in the journal Nature Communications recommending specific antiracism action steps for the geoscience field.
July 7, 2021
Five years ago, researchers at Northwestern University made international headlines when they discovered that human eggs, when fertilized by sperm, release billions of zinc ions, dubbed “zinc sparks.” Now, Northwestern has teamed up with the U.S. Department of Energy’s Argonne National Laboratory and Michigan State University to reveal that these same sparks fly from highly specialized metal-loaded compartments at the egg surface when frog eggs are fertilized. The findings of the research, which could help shape future findings about how metals impact the earliest moments in human development were recently published June 21 in the journal Nature Chemistry.
July 6, 2021
Dr. Esther M. Brown, a great champion and catalyst for the Biomedical Laboratory Program, Michigan State University and the entire laboratory profession, died on June 23. She was 98 years old. Dr. Brown was director of the program at MSU from 1960-1970 and a pioneer and trailblazer for women in STEM fields at the time. Dr. Brown shaped many lives and was a true giant in the medical laboratory profession.
July 6, 2021
Four MSU College of Natural Science faculty members – Federica Brandizzi, Joseph S. Krajcik, Robert L. Last, and Kenneth M. Merz, were among 11 MSU faculty members named University Distinguished Professors this year by the MSU Board of Trustees in honor of their achievements in research, teaching and mentoring, and community engagement. Being named a University Distinguished Professor is one of the highest honors that can be bestowed on a faculty member by the university.
July 1, 2021
Spartan researchers, led by MSU's Amy Ralston, introduce a new fluorescent imaging technique dubbed GOGREEN that will help researchers study developing mouse embryos faster and more efficiently. Their work was recently published online in the journal Development.
June 30, 2021
MSU is two for two in 2021 when it comes to the National Science Foundation’s highly competitive Focused Research Group grant. MSU mathematicians Teena Gerhardt and Ilya Kachkovskiy, in collaboration with principal investigators from institutions across the country, will use the 3-year grants to advance research in some of the most exciting questions in topology, geometry and mathematical analysis.
June 29, 2021
Michigan State University statistician Frederi Viens is one of a select group of 23 scholars worldwide who have achieved what has been dubbed the Institute of Mathematical Statistics (IMS) Annals quadfecta. The IMS publishes four flagship "Annals" research journals, considered to be top periodicals in each of their respective subfields. The notion of the Annals quadfecta came about when a two-person team at the University of Toronto wondered which authors had accomplished the feat of publishing at least one paper in all four of these journals.
May 15, 2023Prominent cancer researcher joins MSU to lead biochemistry and molecular biology department, establish Center for Cancer Health Equity Research
May 12, 2023Seed grants sow dazzling return on investment