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News

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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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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June 29, 2021
The physics Graduate Record Examination (GRE) costs just over $200, is administered early Saturday morning and requires the prospective student to answer 100 rapid fire questions in just three hours. According to the physics GRE website, doing well on the test will help students stand out like a diamond in the rough among the thousands of other applications being sifted through admissions committees. But newly published research by MSU scientists concluded that rather than helping, taking the physics GRE could actually harm a student’s chances of admission.
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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.
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June 27, 2021
Michigan State University-led research is showing how social dynamics can help us understand behaviors in geladas (a monkey species) and other primates, including humans. MSU integrative biologist Elizabeth Tinsley Johnson and collaborators at the University of Michigan, Arizona State University and Stony Brook University in New York, have studied geladas in Ethiopia’s Simien Mountain National Park for 14 years to look for answers. Their findings were published earlier this month in the journal, Proceedings of the Royal Society B.
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June 24, 2021
While invasive zebra mussels consume small plant-like organisms called phytoplankton, MSU researchers Stephen Hamilton and Orlando Sarnelle discovered during a long-term study that zebra mussels can actually increase Microcystis, a type of phytoplankton known as “blue-green algae” or cyanobacteria, that forms harmful floating blooms. The study, titled Cascading effects: Insights from the U.S. Long Term Ecological Research Network, is one of five projects recently highlighted in a special feature in the Ecological Society of America’s journal, Ecosphere.

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