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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.

This graphic shows an abstraction of vibrational ripples.
July 12, 2023
When quantum systems, like those used in quantum computers, operate in the real world, they can lose information to mechanical vibrations. New research led by MSU, however, shows that a better understanding of the coupling between the quantum system and these vibrations can be used to mitigate loss. The research, published in the journal Nature Communications, could help improve the design of quantum computers that companies such as IBM and Google are currently developing.
An image of neurons firing during brain activity. The bright white spots show which neurons are firing while the brain is making a memory. Credit: Tony Kim
July 10, 2023
Every day the brain makes and recalls new memories, but current brain imaging technology limits how much information can be gathered about this activity. Researchers at Michigan State University have built a state-of-the-art imaging system that will capture brain activity with a level of detail not possible before. Researcher Mark Reimers and his team will use a three-year $750,000 Air Force Office of Scientific Research grant to combine the imaging system with newly developed advanced image processing software. The goal is to eventually allow them to identify the specific neurons used by animals to record and recall memories.
A temporary Global Positioning System site in the Shumagin Islands, Alaska, to help measure and record plate positions.
June 22, 2023
Earthquakes are caused by the movement of the tectonic plates that make up Earth’s crust. Between 2020 and 2021, the Pacific plate and the North American plate off the coast of Alaska slipped along the Alaska-Aleutian fault, producing a series of earthquakes, including the Chignik, Alaska, earthquake on July 29, 2021, which registered an 8.2 in magnitude. MSU’s Jeffrey Freymueller is researching this earthquake to learn more about exactly where that slip occurred (and how much) to better understand how faults work and the risk of future earthquakes and tsunamis.
Image of brain.
June 15, 2023
Michigan State University biochemist Jin He recently received a five year, $2.8 million R01 grant from the National Institutes of Health to continue his investigation into the role of the ASH1L (Absent, Small, or Hometoic discs 1-Like) gene in the origins of autism spectrum disorder and, specifically, the impact of epigenetics—non-genetic processes that regulate gene expression.
The U.S. Department of Energy has awarded the Michigan State University-Department of Energy (MSU-DOE) Plant Research Laboratory (PRL) a $12 million DOE Office of Basic Energy Sciences competitive renewal grant to continue research in photosynthetic energy capture, conversion and storage.
June 15, 2023
The U.S. Department of Energy has awarded the MSU-DOE Plant Research Laboratory (PRL) a $12 million Department of Energy  Office of Basic Energy Sciences competitive renewal grant to continue research in photosynthetic energy capture, conversion and storage. The three-year grant (2023-2026) will allow PRL scientists to continue in their mission to understand how photosynthetic organisms function and thrive in natural environments, and enable the development of new technologies that improve human lives.
MSU scientists Christoph Benning and Robert Quinn are growing new coral in the lab that will be transplanted to a reef in Hawaii.
June 14, 2023
MSU biochemist Robert Quinn has spent years studying the biochemistry of coral bleaching, a heat-induced response to stress causing it to turn white. Bleaching is damaging to reefs and is expected to increase due to climate change. While Quinn has discovered unique betaine lipids in coral that are markers of resistance to coral bleaching, very little is known about them. During a literature review of these lipids, Quinn discovered that MSU colleague, Christoph Benning, had written on the subject. This connection led to the two scientists teaming up on a $1.9 million NSF grant to study the role that betaine lipids play in coral bleaching.
Using notoriously challenging ingredients, Michigan State University chemists have created single-molecule magnets that could enable new data storage and computational technology
June 6, 2023
Recent research from a team of MSU chemists has unveiled a new class of magnetic molecule. Reporting in the Journal of the American Chemical Society, researchers led by Selvan Demir have brought together famously challenging building blocks to push single-molecule magnets a step closer to their promising applications, which could include pushing hard drives to a whole new level and opening doors to emerging technologies such as quantum computers.
American Physiological Society distinguished lectureship logo.
June 5, 2023
Brian Gulbransen, MSU Research Foundation Professor in the Department of Physiology and MSU’s Neuroscience Program, has been selected for an American Physiology Society (APS) Distinguished Lectureship with the award of the Raj and Prem Goyal Lectureship in Pathophysiology of Gastrointestinal and Liver Disease. The award, offered by APS and the Gastrointestinal & Liver Section, recognizes exemplary contributions of research in physiology in understanding the mechanism and treatment of gastrointestinal and liver diseases.
Soil organic carbon is vital for healthy soils and plays an important role in terrestrial carbon cycling.
June 3, 2023
A research team led by Michigan State University ecosystems scientist Bruno Basso has received a $1.95 million U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) grant to develop and disseminate educational information on soil organic carbon evaluation. The training materials will be geared toward underserved agriculture professionals in Maine, Michigan, Pennsylvania, New York and Vermont.
Over the next decade, the market for growing crops indoors or in controlled environments — known as Controlled Environment Agriculture, or CEA — is predicted to increase five times over today’s market. And researchers at Michigan State University are at the forefront of this growing method of agriculture.
June 2, 2023
Yongsig Kim, a senior research associate in the Michigan State Universit-Department of Energy Plant Research Laboratory, is leading MSU’s $1.2 million grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Sustainable Agricultural Systems program in the National Institute of Food and Agriculture explore what controlled enviornment agriculture will look like in a low-carbon world and new vegetation that leaves a low-carbon footprint. 

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