April 14, 2022
College of Natural Science (NatSci) chemist Jetze Tepe was among the honorees at the 12th annual Michigan State University Innovation Celebration on April 12. Tepe, a professor in the Department of Chemistry, received the MSU Innovation Center’s 2022 Innovator of the Year award for his research on the synthesis of natural products and medicinal chemistry. His drug discovery work seeks to identify innovative therapeutics for neurogenerative diseases and cancer.
April 13, 2022
Vashti Sawtelle, associate professor in the MSU Department of Physics and Astronomy in the College of Natural Science and Lyman Briggs College, was one of three professors selected for the 2022 Michigan Distinguished Professor of the Year Award from the Michigan Association of State Universities. Sawtelle was recognized for the significant impact she's had on undergraduate student learning through various activities, particularly classroom instruction, applied research, experiential learning, innovation and mentoring.
April 13, 2022
Sometimes making a brand-new type of box requires outside-the-box thinking, which is exactly what Michigan State University chemists used to create an eight-atom, magnetic cube. That tiny box is at the heart of a new magnetic molecule that could power future technologies for data storage, quantum computing and more. MSU chemist Selvan Demir and her team recently published their work in the journal Chem, which featured the research on the cover of its March 10 issue.
April 12, 2022
Climate change doesn’t just mean warmer weather. Cold spells can hit unusual lows, too, and the fluctuations between warm and chilly are becoming more extreme. MSU’s David Kramer is interested in resilience as it relates to photosynthesis because the process by which plants are powered by the sun is particularly sensitive to temperature swings. This knowledge could one day help certain crops grow in more places and help growers decide when to plant crops so they can harvest before the most severe stresses from heat and pests. The work of Kramer and his team was recently published online in the journal Plant, Cell & Environment.
April 11, 2022
MSU mathematician Keith Promislow was named a 2022 SIAM Fellow for his contributions to rigorous asymptotic reductions, development of novel models and their applications, and service to the industrial and applied mathematics community by the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics (SIAM).
April 8, 2022
Dead bacteria can still make their presence felt in the land of the living. New research led by Michigan State University integrative biologists is showing that this could have big implications for antibiotic resistance on farms. The results were recently published in the journal Applied and Environmental Microbiology.
April 7, 2022
Five Michigan State University researchers from the College of Natural Science—Julia Ganz, Huan Lei, Mohammad Maghrebi, Elizabeth Munch and Johannes Pollanen—have received 2022 NSF Early CAREER Faculty Awards. One of NSF’s most prestigious grants, it is awarded to faculty who demonstrate leadership in research and education and have a passion for integrating the two. Collectively, over the next five years (2022-2027) they will receive more than $3.7 million in National Science Foundation funding.
April 6, 2022
MSU’s Ben Orlando is a structural biologist who studies some of nature’s smallest machines, sees how they are put together and figures out how they work. He’s currently focused on proteins that bacteria use to survive antibiotic treatments so that he can help decommission these biological machines and fight potentially deadly infections. Orlando’s team has now taken new, atomically detailed snapshots of a bacterial protein that helps many germs sense and evade antibiotics. The researchers recently published their work in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
April 2, 2022
Samuel Sottile, an MSU junior majoring in advanced mathematics in the College of Natural Science’s Department of Mathematics, is among three MSU undergraduate students who are recipients of the nationally competitive Goldwater Scholarship for 2022. Each year, the Barry Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Foundation seeks scholars committed to a career in science, mathematics or engineering who display intellectual intensity and who have the potential for significant future contribution in their chosen field. Since the scholarship program began in 1989, 52 MSU students have been recognized with the honor.
March 30, 2022
Michigan State University Assistant Professors Jonas Becker and Tyler Cocker were each honored as a Jerry Cowen Chair of Experimental Physics in the College of Natural Science’s Department of Physics and Astronomy at an investiture ceremony held March 24 in the Christman and Jackson Lounges of MSU’s Wharton Center.
March 29, 2022
Cholera is a diarrheal illness caused by the highly transmissible bacteria V. cholerae which still infects two to three million people a year and kills tens of thousands annually. In a paper recently published in ACS Publications, MSU chemist Xuefei Huang; Zahra Rashidijahanabad, a former Ph.D. student in the Huang Group; and their international team announced promising test results for a new, longer lasting cholera vaccine.
March 25, 2022
Elias Aydi, a postdoc in Michigan State University’s Department of Physics and Astronomy is one of a select group of 24 young scientists internationally who were awarded a prestigious 2022 NASA Hubble Fellowship. As a Hubble Fellow, Aydi plans to combine multi-wavelength observations from diverse NASA space-based facilities, several ground-based observatories, and 3D radiation-hydro simulations to decipher shocks in novae and work on solving several long-standing puzzles in high-energy astrophysics.
March 17, 2022
Newly published Michigan State University research led by ecosystems scientist Bruno Basso shows that incorporating in-season water deficit information into remote sensing-based crop models drastically improves corn yield predictions. The study was recently published in Remote Sensing of Environment, a leading journal in the field.
March 17, 2022
Spartan astronomer Elias Aydi is helping show what our solar system and others may look like when they enter their final acts. Aydi is the first author of the study, which was a collaboration with Shazrene Mohamed, a University of Miami astrophysicist with the South African Astronomical Observatory. The duo found that interactions between a red giant star and a nearby substellar object will create distinct structured patterns, such as spirals and arcs, in the environment around the star. The work was recently accepted for publication in the peer-reviewed journal Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.
March 17, 2022
An international quartet of physicists, including Michigan State University Professor Stephen Hsu, have co-authored two papers that significantly alter our understanding of black holes and resolve a problem that has confounded scientists for nearly half a century. Their research was recently published in the journals Physical Review Letters and Physics Letters B.
March 14, 2022
Michigan State University and Spelman College in Atlanta are teaming up to create a new educational pipeline for data science, one of the fastest growing fields in the country. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that, by 2026, the nation will have created more than 11 million data science jobs. The duo are teaming up to create a new degree program to help make data science more inclusive and equitable.
March 11, 2022
Anthony Kendall, a research assistant professor in the MSU Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences in the College of Natural Science, found a surprise as he was studying contaminants in Lake Michigan and discovered a slow but steady increase in the level of chloride found in the water.
March 8, 2022
The Michigan State University College of Natural Science (NatSci) will soon welcome four new faculty members as part of MSU’s inaugural 1855 Professorship Initiative, launched by the Office of the Provost. The 1855 Professorship investments in NatSci will be in the areas of data science, quantum computing and plant sciences, which are rapidly developing areas where diverse excellence is required to address a wide range of challenges evident in existing and emerging technologies and communities. NatSci’s positions are among 13 selected for funding across the university.
March 8, 2022
Michigan State University’s Thomas D. Sharkey has a gift for exploring the intricate biochemical mechanisms of photosynthesis, the life-sustaining reactions that plants use to grow literally from thin air. The University Distinguished Professor also has a gift for explaining those complex processes with metaphors and much simpler, more familiar machinery.Both skills are on display when Sharkey talks about his team’s new paper, published on March 8 in the journal Proceedings of the Natural Academy of Sciences, describing what they call a pilot light for photosynthesis.
March 4, 2022
Don’t underestimate the diminutive and doe-eyed Rio pearlfish, for looks can be deceiving. This fish has evolved over the eons into one tough little customer producing eggs that can survive being completely dry for months at a time. That’s one of the reasons that MSU integrative biologist Ingo Braasch and members of his Fish Evo Devo Geno Lab have sequenced the first complete genome of the fish. With that genome, researchers can better understand the biology and evolution of the species’ survival skills. The study was recently published in the journal G3: Genes I Genomes I Genetics. Andrew Thompson, a postdoctoral research associate in Braasch's lab, was lead author of the report.
March 2, 2022
A new study from the Michigan State University-DOE Plant Research Laboratory brings fresh insight on the source/sink balance of cyanobacteria and paves the way for further advancements in photosynthetic microbes for potential applications. The research, conducted in the lab of biochemist Danny Ducat, was recently published in Plant Physiology.
February 28, 2022
Michigan State University plant biochemist Thomas D. Sharkey was recently named a Pioneer Member of the American Society of Plant Biologists (ASPB), a recognition given to leaders in the society, especially those who have been involved in training graduate students, postdocs and visiting professors. The Pioneer Membership is given to ASPB members whose former graduate students, postdocs and colleagues raise $5,000 in their name.
February 28, 2022
Michigan State University ecosystems scientist Bruno Basso has been appointed a member of the Board on Agriculture and Natural Resources, the major program unit of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. Basso is one of BANR’s seven new board members appointed to a three-year term. As a board member, Basso will engage with federal, state and private sector sponsors seeking the National Academies’ independent, authoritative advice to develop and promote the board’s own initiatives and will provide guidance to BANR staff.
February 25, 2022
Michigan State University’s Beronda Montgomery is the recipient of a 2022 American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Fellow Award. Designation as an ASBMB Fellow recognizes outstanding commitment to the organization through participation in the society in addition to accomplishments in research, education, mentorship, diversity and inclusion, advocacy, and service to the scientific community. Montgomery is among 28 members nationally who were selected for this year's ASBMB Fellow designation.
February 17, 2022
A team of Spartan researchers, led by MSU Foundation Professor Guowei Wei, report that omicron and other variants are evolving increased infectivity and antibody resistance according to an artificial intelligence model. Therefore, new vaccines and antibody therapies are needed.
February 17, 2022
Michigan State University researchers in the Christoph Benning lab at the MSU-DOE Plant Research Laboratory have been looking into the signals for activating different states of the cell cycle in microalga, which has potential applications for future biofuel production and cancer research. MSU graduate student, Yang-Tsung Lin is first author on a study that builds on this research, which was recently published in the journal G3: Genes, Genomes, Genetics. Lin studies how microalga know when to start and stop growing and dividing by looking at cell cycle states.
February 16, 2022
The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services is enlisting experts and resources at Michigan State University to bolster the state’s fight against COVID, foodborne illnesses and more. With three grants totaling more than $5 million, MSU and health care partners will help build up Michigan’s capacity to respond to the current pandemic and future pathogens through the newly created Michigan Sequencing Academic Partnership for Public Health Innovation and Response, or MI-SAPPHIRE.
February 15, 2022
Michigan State University College of Natural Science researchers Dalton Hardisty and Ilya Kachkovskiy will each receive a prestigious, two-year, $75,000 Alfred P. Sloan Fellowship in recognition of their accomplishments as early career scientists with exceptional promise in their fields. Hardisty and Kachkovskiy join the list of renowned scholars who have received Sloan Fellowships since launched in 1955, among them 41 MSU faculty members and 53 Nobel Prize winners.
February 15, 2022
Associate Professor Claire Vieille was selected as the new director of the Genetics and Genome Sciences Program in the MSU College of Natural Science, beginning February 1. Vielle replaces Cathy Ernst, who was appointed chair of the Department of Animal Science in the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources.
February 11, 2022
Christoph Benning, director of the Michigan State University-Department of Energy Plant Research Laboratory, was elected a Senior Member of the National Academy of Inventors. He is among 83 academic inventors to be elected to the group in 2022. Benning is well known for basic research on plant lipid metabolism, including work identifying and applying the WRINKLED1 gene. He was selected in recognition of his groundbreaking research innovations and success in patenting, licensing and commercialization, mentorship and education.
February 10, 2022
In a new paper published in Ecology Letters, Michigan State University professor and evolutionary biologist Janette Boughman shows that the process of choosing a mate could be very important to the survival of the species. To do this, she and her co-author Maria Servedio introduce a new theoretical model they coin “The Ecological Stage.” Whether sexual selection is helpful or hurtful to speciation is still controversial, yet the model can provide some new answers; it shows how sexual selection can be helpful to speciation and diversification.
February 8, 2022
Michigan State University is one of five institutions selected by the Association of American Universities, or AAU, to pioneer new and better approaches for evaluating teaching and learning in undergraduate STEM departments. MSU’s Department of Chemistry has been enlisted by AAU to serve as one of the leaders in creating more meaningful and productive methods that can be implemented not only at Michigan State, but at any university.
February 7, 2022
James Tiedje, a Michigan State University Distinguished Professor Emeritus and internationally renowned microbial ecologist has been elected a Foreign Member of the Chinese Academy of Sciences for 2021. Tiedje was selected for his pioneering work, particularly in developing molecular and genomics tools to understand the impacts of anthropogenic activity on environmental microbiomes. He is also instrumental in promoting international collaboration in microbial ecology between China and the rest of the world.
February 3, 2022
The American Physical Society (APS), recognized MSU’s Department of Physics and Astronomy this year with a prestigious Award for Improving Undergraduate Physics Education. MSU undergraduate physics stood out for making significant improvements to its undergraduate educational experience and its ability to retain a high number of successful physics majors. APS will publicly honor awardees at its April meeting in New York City during the Education and Diversity Reception.
January 28, 2022
Faculty members in the MSU College of Natural Science with general or specific concerns related to college processes and programs have a new contact and advocate in Heather Eisthen, a professor in the Department of Integrative Biology, who became the college’s new Faculty Excellence Advocate on January 1. Eisthen replaces Cynthia Jordan, who retired last August.
January 24, 2022
MSU seismologist Songqiao “Shawn” Wei has been studying the Tonga region, one of the most active volcanic regions in the world, for more than a decade. Wei, one of a small group of scientists in the world who conducts research in this region, studies the Tonga subduction zone where two tectonic plates — the Pacific plate slips underneath the Australian plate. The following interview captures information and insights from Wei about this fascinating region and what it tells us about plate tectonics and eruptions.
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