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A tray Arabidopsis thaliana plants.
November 9, 2023
Fundamental research could make growing better crops like clockwork.
MSU cancer researcher Olorunseun “Seun” Ogunwobi
November 9, 2023
MSU researcher Olorunseun “Seun” Ogunwobi has been selected as a Jefferson Science Fellow of that National Academy of Sciences, Engineering and Medicines as well as a Fellow of the Academy of Medicine Specialties of Nigeria. These appointments recognize and elevate Ogunwobi’s groundbreaking work on the molecular mechanisms of progression of solid organ tumors and the understudied impact of cancer health disparities. The image depicts cells in a culture illuminated by a microscope.
Michigan State University researchers helped show how fungus like Aspergillus sydowii, shown here, can restructure their cell walls to survive in extremely salty conditions.
November 8, 2023
Researchers led by Tuo Wang, the inaugural Carl H. Brubaker Jr. Endowed Associate Professor at Michigan State University, have revealed how microorganisms known as halophilic fungi restructure their cell walls to survive in extremely salty conditions. The research, published in the journal Nature Communications, helps deepen our understanding of how life has adapted to our planet’s harshest environments.
Hero image
November 7, 2023
Michigan State University is proud to announce its national  finalists for the prestigious Marshall Scholarship and Rhodes Scholarship. Organizers will announce the results of these competitions in the coming weeks. Dorothy Zhao is a finalist for both the Marshall Scholarship and the U.S. Rhodes Scholarship. Ashley Harlock is a finalist for the Marshall Scholarship.
plant seedlings
November 6, 2023
In April 2021, four Michigan State University plant scientists met at an undisclosed area on campus to dig up a bottle containing seeds buried more than 144 years ago by MSU botanist William J. Beal. Fast forward to 2023, to a discovery that would have surprised and amazed Beal.
New research from Michigan State University could help breed plants that are more productive as days grow shorter.
November 2, 2023
New research from Michigan State University could help breed plants that are more productive as days grow shorter.
One of the strengths of a new biodiversity modeling framework developed by Michigan State University researchers is its ability to combine data frame various sources. The researchers demonstrated this strength using a case study involving 10 Midwestern butterfly species, including the Peck’s skipper, or Polites peckius.
October 26, 2023
Integrative biologist Elise Zipkin and her team at Michigan State University have developed a framework that can help scientists understand trends in biodiversity by using data from well-characterized species to provide insights on data-deficient species. They’re using information from well-quantified animals to reveal insights about less common, harder-to-observe species. Now, they’re sharing their methods with the wider research and conservation community in the Journal of Animal Ecology.
nanowires
October 25, 2023
The movement of electrons across wires is what allows us to use electricity every day. Biological nanowires—microscopic wires made of proteins—have caught researchers’ attention for their ability to carry electrons over long distances. In a recent study published in the journal Small by the Josh Vermaas lab in the Michigan State University-Department of Energy Plant Research Laboratory, researchers expand our understanding of biological nanowires through the use of computer simulations. Understanding how these nanowires can be constructed to allow for more electron flow is crucial to future endeavors using them to connect biological processes to conventional electronics.
EDLI logo
October 24, 2023
Michigan State University's Enhanced Digital Learning Initiative (EDLI) has been awarded a National Science Foundation (NSF) grant for its project: Improving Learning Outcomes and Equity in Blended Online and Face-to-Face Learning. Project leads Caitlin Kirby, EDLI’s Associate Director of Research, and Casey Henley, assistant professor and Director of Online Programs for the MSU Neuroscience Program, in collaboration with EDLI’s co-director, Stephen Thomas, will head the three-year, $400K project.
Lignin (L) and pulp (R) from the Hegg’s new copper-alkaline hydrogen peroxide (Cu-AHP) pre-treatment process..
October 20, 2023
Michigan State University biochemist Eric Hegg has shown promising results for a more environmentally friendly and more efficient process for creating pulp and paper. Now, the MSU Innovation Center has chosen his project for a Michigan Translational Research and Commercialization (MTRAC) Award to move this research forward. The $125,000 award will help fund his research project, “Adapting a Novel, Patented Process to Deconstruct Woody Biomasses to Add Value to Pulp Production.”
Michigan State University professors Bjoern Hamberger (left) and Ben Orlando were honored as James K. Billman Jr., M.D. Endowed Professors at an investiture ceremony held 12.
October 19, 2023
Michigan State University professors Bjoern Hamberger and Ben Orlando were honored as James K. Billman Jr., M.D. Endowed Professors at an investiture ceremony held Oct. 12. The Billman Professorships were established by MSU alumnus Dr. James Billman to support exceptional researchers in the College of Natural Science’s Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. Professor Hamberger is a leading expert on plant-derived bioactive diterpenoids, while Professor Orlando utilizes cryo-EM to examine the structure, dynamics, and function of membrane protein complexes.
Two Michigan State University College of Natural Science (NatSci) microbiologists, Shannon Manning and Gemma Reguera, are 2024 recipients of prestigious awards from the American Society for Microbiology (ASM). Manning, an MSU Research Foundation Professor in the Department of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics (MMG) was awarded the Alice C. Evans Award for Advancement of Women. Reguera, MMG professor and NatSci associate dean of faculty development and affairs, received the D.C. White Award for Interdisciplinary Research. The awards are given annually to nominees who have contributed significantly to advancing their careers, institutions and the study of microbiology.
October 17, 2023
Two Michigan State University College of Natural Science (NatSci) microbiologists, Shannon Manning and Gemma Reguera, are 2024 recipients of prestigious awards from the American Society for Microbiology (ASM). Manning, an MSU Research Foundation Professor in the Department of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics (MMG), was awarded the Alice C. Evans Award for Advancement of Women. Reguera, MMG professor and NatSci associate dean of faculty development and affairs, received the D.C. White Award for Interdisciplinary Research. The awards are given annually to nominees who have contributed significantly to advancing their careers, institutions and the study of microbiology.
Four undergraduate seniors in the Michigan State University College of Natural Science (NatSci) have been nominated for the Marshall Scholarship, a competitive opportunity that funds graduate school in the United Kingdom (UK). Kyleen Hall, Brennan Haugen, Isaac Smith, and Dorothy Zhao are among 10 MSU Honors College students and two alumni nominated this year. Annually, up to 50 students in the United States receive Marshall Scholarships to pursue graduate studies in the UK. Haugen was also nominated for the Mitchell Scholarship, which allows students to pursue a year of graduate study in Ireland and Northern Ireland.
October 13, 2023
Four undergraduate seniors in the Michigan State University College of Natural Science (NatSci) have been nominated for the Marshall Scholarship, a competitive opportunity that funds graduate school in the United Kingdom (UK). Kyleen Hall, Brennan Haugen, Isaac Smith, and Dorothy Zhao are among 10 MSU Honors College students and two alumni nominated this year. Annually, up to 50 students in the United States receive Marshall Scholarships to pursue graduate studies in the UK. Haugen was also nominated for the Mitchell Scholarship, which allows students to pursue a year of graduate study in Ireland and Northern Ireland. 
Michigan State University chemist Tuo Wang, an associate professor in MSU’s College of Natural Science was honored as the inaugural Carl H. Brubaker, Jr. Endowed Professor at an investiture ceremony held Sept. 28 at MSU’s Wharton Center. Wang is a preeminent researcher in the application of sensitivity-enhanced solid-state nuclear magnetic resonance to biomaterials.
October 12, 2023
Michigan State University chemist Tuo Wang, an associate professor in MSU’s College of Natural Science was honored as the inaugural Carl H. Brubaker, Jr. Endowed Professor at an investiture ceremony held Sept. 28 at MSU’s Wharton Center. Wang is a preeminent researcher in the application of sensitivity-enhanced solid-state nuclear magnetic resonance to biomaterials. The endowed professorship was established in 2020 by James Hoeschele, an MSU chemistry alumnus, in honor of his graduate mentor, Carl H. Brubaker.
Trees such as oak and poplar will emit more isoprene as the world warms, according to new research from Michigan State University.
October 5, 2023
Michigan State University plant biochemist Tom Sharkey and his team discovered that, on a warming planet, plants such as oaks and poplars will emit more of a compound that exacerbates poor air quality, contributing to problematic particulate matter and low-atmosphere ozone. The rub is that the same compound, called isoprene, can also improve the quality of clean air while making plants more resistant to stressors including insects and high temperatures. The findings were recently published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
California tiger salamander is one of the endangered species that would benefit from the use of genetic rescue.
October 3, 2023
During a recent review of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s recovery plans for more than 200 endangered and threatened vertebrate species in the United States, Michigan State University researchers made an interesting discovery. They found that two-thirds of these species could benefit from a gene-boosting diversity strategy known as genetic rescue, yet only three of these plans to support species recovery currently use this approach. In a study recently published in the Journal of Heredity, MSU integrative biologist Sarah Fitzpatrick and postdoctoral researcher Cinnamon Mittan-Moreau found that more than two-thirds of the 222 species they evaluated would be good candidates for consideration of genetic rescue.
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.
Michigan State University Professors Danny Caballero (left) and Aman Yadav were each honored as Lappan-Phillips Endowed Professors at an investiture ceremony held Sept. 13 in the Jackson Lounge at MSU’s Wharton Center.
September 19, 2023
Michigan State University Professors Danny Caballero and Aman Yadav were each honored as Lappan-Phillips Endowed Professors at an investiture ceremony held Sept. 28 in the Jackson Lounge at MSU’s Wharton Center. The Lappan-Phillips Professorship was established in 2013 through royalties from the ‘Connected Mathematics 2’ textbook authored by Michigan State University’s Glenda Lappan and Elizabeth Phillips. The textbook, now in its fourth iteration, is the single most widely used mathematics textbook in America for students in grades 6-8.
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.
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.
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. 
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.
open field of tall corn under a blue sky with fluffy clouds
August 11, 2023
From intense heat and drought roasting crops to rain-delayed harvests, many who grow the food we rely on are having to find new ways to adapt. For some, that means going high-tech, using sensors that can tell them when their plants need more water or fertilizer. MSU sustainable agriculture researcher Bruno Basso joins WSJ’s Jala Everett to discuss how modern sensors are changing the world of farming and how some sensors the size of “bandages” could deliver even more precise data from individual plants.
The Perseids are a prolific meteor shower associated with the comet Swift–Tuttle. The meteors are called the Perseids because they appear from the general direction of the constellation Perseus and in more modern times have a radiant bordering on Cassiopeia and Camelopardalis.
August 10, 2023
Shannon Schmoll, director of the Abrams Planetarium and a professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy in the College of Natural Science at Michigan State University, explains why the upcoming Perseid meteor shower is a great opportunity to see an object from space closer than usual — at a safe distance and with your naked eye.
Front of MSU College of Natural Science building, doors open and the cosmos is displayed inside.
August 9, 2023
Remarkable research can be found around every corner on MSU's main campus. Explore some of the surprising ways Spartans are transforming our understanding of life, our world and cosmos.
MSU physicists were part of an international collaboration that has discovered the highest-energy light coming from the sun. The results were recently published in the journal Physical Review Letters.
August 4, 2023
MSU physicists were part of an international collaboration that has discovered the highest-energy light coming from the sun. Their results, recently published in the journal Physical Review Letters, detail the discovery. The team, who conducted their work at the High-Altitude Water Cherenkov Observatory, or HAWC, also found that this type of light, known as gamma rays, is surprisingly bright.
One seedbank plot with germinating seeds growing from the Cedar Creek, Minn. site.
July 27, 2023
As biodiversity loss wreaks havoc on grasslands throughout the world, many have hoped that soil seed banks would act as a “biodiversity reservoir” and preserve species that are disappearing. However, in a recent study published in Nature Communications, Michigan State University plant biologist Lauren Sullivan and her team challenge that assumption. Previous studies have shown that fertilization can lead to biodiversity loss in the above ground community, but this is the first multi-site study to show a link to the seed bank community.
In response to warming temperatures, spring is now arriving substantially earlier than it did several decades ago. While North American songbirds are shifting when they migrate and breed, they are failing to keep pace with the rate of climate change, resulting in fewer young being produced.
July 24, 2023
Rising global temperatures are making it harder for birds to know when it’s spring and time to breed according to a new study published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. A large collaboration led by Michigan State University integrative biologist Casey Youngflesh in partnership with the University of California, Los Angeles, has found that birds produce fewer young if they start breeding too early or late in the season. With climate change resulting in earlier springlike weather, the researchers report, birds have been unable to keep pace.
A handheld MultispeQ device is used on Arabidopsis thaliana plants to measure their rates of photosynthesis.
July 24, 2023
Understanding the intricate puzzle pieces that make up the photosynthetic systems of plants can help researchers better understand how to grow and create plants that can survive in changing climate conditions. Naveen Sharma, a postdoctoral researcher in the Federica Brandizzi lab at the MSU-DOE Plant Research Laboratory (PRL), is one of the few people in the PRL who studies carbonic anhydrases (CAs)—proteins found in the chloroplast stroma where photosynthesis takes place. A study led by Sharma to better characterize CAs in the model plant Arabidopsis thaliana, was recently published in The Plant Journal.
MSU science education researchers will investigate the role of mathematics in undergraduate biology, chemistry, and physics courses.
July 19, 2023
MSU science education researchers Kevin Haudek, Melanie Cooper, and Rachel Henderson have received a National Science Foundation grant to study the role of Mathematical Sensemaking in Science (MaSS) in undergraduate STEM courses. This collaborative project will develop new assessments to elicit mathematical thinking from biology, chemistry, and physics students. Research results will deepen our understanding of the role of mathematics in undergraduate science education. 
A comic book developed by MSU educators and plant scientists is being used in area schools to reshape how high schoolers learn science. The main characters in the comic book, Maia and William above), encourage each other — and students — to be curious.
July 17, 2023
A comic book developed by MSU educators and plant scientists is being used in area schools to reshape how high schoolers learn science. The main characters in the comic book, Maia and William above), encourage each other — and students — to be curious.

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