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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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October 1, 2021
Scientists in the Michigan State University-Department of Energy (DOE) Plant Research Laboratory (PRL) have published a new study that furthers our understanding of how plants make membranes in chloroplasts, the photosynthesis powerhouse. The study, which was recently published in The Plant Journal, focuses on RBL10, a rhomboid-like protein found in plant chloroplast membranes. The researchers found that RBL10 interacts with other chloroplast proteins and teases how it might perform some of its functions.
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September 29, 2021
The source of troublesome lake algae is not always clear, but an interdisciplinary research project with two MSU researchers found an answer may include colder groundwater that feeds some inland lakes. This finding could help predict the formation of harmful algal blooms (HABs) to mitigate their impact on drinking water, tourism, fishing and fish toxicity. Their research was published Sept. 1 in the Journal of Geophysical Research: Biogeosciences.
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September 28, 2021
With help from plants, Spartan biologists are unraveling forces at work today shaping life and health.MSU plant biologist Emily Josephs and her team are shedding light on a mystery of evolution with support from a $1.9 million grant from the National Institutes of Health: How is it that within the same species, individual responses to stimuli can dramatically differ? Their hope is that these findings will provide a solid foundation to develop connections to human health in the future.
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September 24, 2021
Regulation, monitoring and enforcement of sustainable seafood harvest is difficult and hinges on the ability to correctly identify species that, on the surface, look extremely similar. Some species are almost impossible to distinguish based on appearance, while at other times customs officials may only have a fin to go on. That’s about to change. Starting this September, scientists from Michigan State University, and collaborating institutions will harness the power of genomics and an AI powered smartphone app to develop low-cost, rapid field-deployable species identification tools that will give fishers, fisheries, agency biologists, customs officials and seafood vendors the power to become their own piscatorial gumshoes.
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September 22, 2021
MSU plant molecular biologist Michael Thomashow, along with colleagues Brad Day and Yongsig Kim, will use a $1.8 million National Science Foundation grant to better understand the connection between how plants navigate temperature changes and fight off pathogens. By understanding the biology behind how plants respond to a variety of stresses, scientists will be better equipped to help farmers and their crops adapt to a changing planet.
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September 21, 2021
Sam Ayebare, an MSU Ph.D. student from Uganda, has received a Russell E. Train Fellowship for Aspiring University Faculty for Conservation from the World Wildlife Fund, which will support his current research on mammals and birds in Central Africa. Ayebare is dedicated to finding ways to mitigate the effects of habitat loss, industrial activities, and climate change in the Albertine Rift, one of the most important ecoregions for biodiversity conservation on the African continent. 
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September 21, 2021
It takes one to know one—a community that is. With that in mind, a community of pioneering scientists from MSU’s College of Natural Science and the University of California, Los Angeles, came together to design a multifaceted approach to investigating one of the most complex and abundant communities on Earth—microbiomes. The first-of-its-kind ecological investigation into the complexity of gut microbiological communities is funded by the NSF and will provide new insights into microbial community interaction from mechanistic models and network theory and lead the way for numerous applications in health and human and natural systems.
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September 16, 2021
A multidisciplinary, multi-institutional program that is co-led by Michigan State University's Center for Quantum Computing, Science and Engineering, or MSU-Q, is taking the next step in its aim to revolutionize quantum science education. QuSTEAM, an NSF Convergence Accelerator 2020 cohort Phase II awardee, brings together scientists and educators from more than 20 universities, national laboratories, community colleges and Historically Black Colleges and Universities to establish a revolutionary, modular template for an undergraduate minor and associate certificate program in Quantum Information Systems with the aim of developing a diverse, effective, and contemporary quantum-ready workforce.
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September 13, 2021
Scientists from MSU and the University of California, Berkeley are developing a first-of-its-kind risk model for sustainable farm practices. The sophisticated statistical model will show that complex crop rotations are the best strategy for building ecological and economic resiliency, literally from the ground up. MSU statistician Frederi Viens is a member of the risk model working group, brought together by the non-profit Land Core, that will use remote-sensed data, soil samples, farmer surveys and statistical analyses to convince lenders to prioritize financing farmers that adopt practices such as cover crops, no-till, low-till and diverse crop rotations including hay and pasture for livestock.
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September 8, 2021
MSU plant biologist Frances Trail is the recipient of two prestigious honors in her field of study—mycology. Trail was recently named a Fellow of the American Phytopathological Society and was awarded the 2021 Mycological Society of America Weston Award for Excellence in Teaching.

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