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.
January 25, 2023
Michigan State University researchers have solved a puzzle that could help switchgrass realize its full potential as a low-cost, sustainable biofuel crop and curb our dependence on fossil fuels. Berkley Walker’s team in the Department of Plant Biology in MSU’s College of Natural Science has revealed why switchgrass stops performing photosynthesis in the middle of the summer — its growing season — limiting how much biofuel it yields. This knowledge, published in the journal Frontiers in Plant Science, is a key piece to overcoming this quirk and getting the most out of switchgrass.
January 25, 2023
Mathematicians at Michigan State will use a five-year, $1.9 million National Science Foundation training grant to amplify the university’s success in math research by creating communities of undergraduates, graduates, post-graduates and faculty working in topology and related mathematical areas. The goal: To create environments that nurture mentorship and connections and ultimately open doors to more inclusivity and broader recruitment.
January 23, 2023
MSU synthetic biologist Björn Hamberger and graduate students Emily Lanier and Abigail Bryson have traced the evolution of mint genomes for potential future applications that range from medicines, pesticides and antimicrobials. Their research was published in the journal Nature Communications.
January 18, 2023
Michigan State University has received a $5 million grant from the MSU Research Foundation to advance its world-class program in the plant sciences and critical research in the mitigation of and adaptation to global climate change. The grant complements the university’s and the state of Michigan’s investment in the greenhouse complex and the proposed new plant and environmental sciences building.
January 17, 2023
Michigan State University and the National Audubon Society are teaming up to help protect declining bird populations across North America. With $1.3 million from a collaborative National Science Foundation grant, the team—led by MSU integrative biologist Elise Zipkin—will develop statistical models fueled by four massive data sets to evaluate how climate change and land use are affecting hundreds of bird species.
January 12, 2023
When the U.S. government committed last January to conserving 30 percent of the United States’ natural land and water by the year 2030, the decision was embraced by the majority of Americans. Now, Michigan State University ecologists are part of a team that’s sharing data to help inform those choices throughout the United States and beyond. Their research identified North America’s climate change refugia, habitats that will be the most likely to support the persistence of the greatest amount of biodiversity in the face of a changing climate.
January 11, 2023
Working with data from NASA’s Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite, or TESS, Michigan State University has helped discover an Earth-sized exoplanet — a planet outside of our solar system. This planet, named TOI-700 e, falls within its star’s habitable zone, meaning the newfound planet could be capable of supporting life as we know it. The research team announced the finding Jan. 10 at the American Astronomical Society meeting in Seattle.
January 10, 2023
Samuel Sottile, a senior majoring in advanced mathematics in the Michigan State University College of Natural Science, has been named a Churchill Scholar. The 18th Churchill Scholar from MSU, Sottile places MSU in the top 10 nationally (tied for No. 7) and No. 1 in the Big Ten for Churchill Scholars. This year, 16 Churchill Scholars were selected from 119 applicants and 77 institutions. The Churchill Scholarship supports one year of master’s study at Churchill College, University of Cambridge, England.
January 10, 2023
The W.K. Kellogg Biological Station Long-Term Ecological Research program at Michigan State University was awarded a renewal of their foundational grant, reaffirming the program’s future and status as one of the country’s premier research sites. Continuation funding for the program began on Dec. 1, 2022 and will run through November 2028. MSU animal ecologist Nick Haddad and microbial ecologist Sarah Evans led the grant proposal, “Ecological and social mechanisms of resilience in agroecosystems.” In it, they detail the program’s new focus on climate change and land use change.
September 29, 2023$1.1M alumni gift to support student development in sustainability, environmental studies as part of RISE program
September 15, 2023Accelerating nuclear science with machine learning