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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. 
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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. 
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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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January 19, 2022
Through MSU’s Creating Inclusive Excellence Grant (CIEG) program, two new projects, one led by a NatSci graduate student, and a second by two NatSci faculty members will focus on improving STEM for historically excluded groups. Doctoral student Toby SantaMaria will use the grant to increase accessibility and inclusivity in the graduate school application process. Faculty members Stephen Thomas and Julie Libarkin will implement a system for mentoring faculty on how to facilitate inclusive experiences. CIEG supports projects that create collaboration within and across organizational systems in support of an inclusive educational and work environment.
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January 18, 2022
As irrigation practices expand worldwide, many bird species face an uncertain future. In a new paper published in Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment, formerMSU visiting student Xabier Cabodevilla and his team found that 55 percent of common bird species in northern Spain decreased in their occurrence rates as a result of irrigation. Using ecological modeling, the team estimated the responses of multiple species to environmental factors. The hope is that their findings will influence the European Union’s common agricultural policy toward conservation.
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January 14, 2022
Michigan State University chemist Angela K. Wilson was recently featured in Chemical and Engineering News (C&EN)—the trade weekly of the American Chemical Society (ACS)—as the current ACS president. She was interviewed by C&EN about her plans for and leadership role in the organization.  
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January 14, 2022
Two MSU College of Natural Science graduate students—Allison Vanecek and Sarah Manski—recently won the inaugural awards from the Neogen Land Grant Prize in a competitive selection process. Each student was awarded $30,000 to advance their research projects: one focusing on drug discovery and the other on the economics of climate change.
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January 13, 2022
MSU plant scientists have developed a new gene discovery method that is helping them to understand how plants recover from stressful situations in their environments. The approach, which covers big data sets spanning thousands of genes and hundreds of interactions between DNA and proteins, has long-term implications for agricultural productivity and the breeding of more resilient crops. The study was recently published in the journal Communications Biology.
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January 11, 2022
Professor Jianping Hu has been appointed as the new director of the Molecular Plant Sciences Graduate Program in the College of Natural Science at Michigan State University.
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January 5, 2022
Michigan State University has joined Purdue University and the University of Michigan to form a Midwest-based alliance that will push the frontiers of quantum science and engineering research, education and training. The Midwest Quantum Collaboratory, or MQC, will foster new cutting-edge projects across the universities, creating new opportunities for leading researchers in quantum computing and information science.
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December 22, 2021
A new study from the Michigan State University-Department of Energy Plant Research Laboratory shows how some algae can protect themselves when the oxygen they produce impairs their photosynthetic activity. The discovery also answers a long-standing question about how algae survive when CO2 levels are low. The results of this research from the David Kramer lab was recently published in eLife.
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December 17, 2021
Six Michigan State University College of Natural Science graduating seniors were among 38 students who received an MSU Board of Trustees Award for earning a 4.0 GPA — the highest scholastic average — at the close of their last semester before graduation. 
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December 17, 2021
Using innovative methodologies that combine biology and statistics, researchers from the David Kramer lab in the Michigan State University-Department of Energy Plant Research Laboratory observe the ways plants respond to their natural environments. The team used innovative open science platform and instruments developed at MSU called PhotosynQ and MultispeQ to reveal how photosynthesis in one species (mint) responds to complex environmental changes. The study is published in Royal Society Open Science.
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December 16, 2021
Andrew McDonald, a Michigan State University College of Natural Science senior majoring in advanced mathematics and statistics, has been named a Marshall Scholar. McDonald, who is also majoring in computer science in the College of Engineering and is an Honors College student, is the 19th Marshall Scholar from MSU.
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December 15, 2021
Addy Pletcher, an MSU senior majoring in environmental geosciences in the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences within the College of Natural Science, received a grand prize in the American Geophysical Union (AGU) Freilich Visualization Competition for her innovative project to improve decision making for lake management related to harmful algal blooms.
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December 14, 2021
Michigan State University chemistry graduate student Stephen H. Yuwono is recipient of the prestigious Longuet-Higgins Early Career Researcher Prize awarded by the editors of Molecular Physicsfor his article, “Accelerating convergence of equation-of-motion coupled-cluster computations using the semi-stochastic CC(P;Q) formalism,” which was named the journal’s best paper in 2020.
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December 14, 2021
Three Michigan State University College of Natural Science researchers—Christoph Benning, Gregg Howe and James Tiedje—are among nine MSU faculty members recognized in the 2021 Highly Cited Researchers list, an annual compilation of the global leaders in scientific influence by Clarivate Analytics. The list, now in its eighth year, honors researchers who “demonstrated significant and broad influence reflected in their publication of multiple highly cited papers over the last decade” from 21 different fields of study.
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December 9, 2021
Michigan State University is creating a new program to help Spartan students push the frontiers of physics and power the economy with nearly $2 million in grant funding from the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science, or DOE-SC. The High Energy Physics Instrumentation Traineeship in Michigan, dubbed TRAIN-MI, will provide graduate students with a distinctive educational program focused on building high-tech tools to study high energy physics. 
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December 7, 2021
An international team of scientists, including MSU researchers, believe they may have found a molecular mechanism behind the extremely rare blood clots linked to adenovirus COVID-19 vaccines. Their findings, which were recently published in the international journal Science Advances, suggest it is the viral vector and the way it binds to platelet factor 4 (PF4) once injected that could be the potential mechanism that triggers blood clots in a very small number of people after the vaccine is administered.
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December 7, 2021
MSU integrative biologists have added an important piece to nature’s ecological and evolutionary puzzle with an assist from Trinidadian guppies. Assistant Professor Sarah Fitzpatrick and graduate student Isabela Lima Borges helmed an extensive study of Trinidadian guppies to gather elusive data on relatively short swims. This information can help explain the larger mystery of why some individuals leave the safety of home to pursue life elsewhere. Their findings were recently published in the journal Ecology Letters.
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December 3, 2021
Improving the photosynthetic power-plants in crops could mean using less fossil fuel derived energy supplements in crop cultivation and lead to a second Green Revolution according to a new life-cycle assessment from the lab of Michigan State University plant biologist Berkley Walker. The study was recently published in the journal Food and Energy Security.
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November 30, 2021
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A collaboration between MSU mathematician Jeffrey Schenker and IBM researcher Ramis Movassagh, answers the question of how average quantum systems behave by formulating and proving a universality theorem for how a vast class of quantum processes, known as ergodic quantum processes, behaves over long periods of time. Their results were recently published in the journal Physical Review X.
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November 29, 2021
Over the past century, physicists have pieced together the basic building blocks of the universe like a giant jigsaw puzzle, one experiment at a time, inventing highly advanced instruments such as MSU’s National Superconducting Cyclotron Laboratory and Facility for Rare Isotope Beams to test their theories. Research conducted by MSU high-energy particle theorist Huey-Wen Lin has just provided a major piece of the puzzle. For the first time, Lin used advanced calculations in lattice quantum chromodynamics to directly measure the momentum of quarks inside the center of an atom and to generate 3-D images of the proton’s structure. Her results were recently published in the journal  Physical Review Letters.
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November 29, 2021
A team of researchers, including scientists Ryan Ringle and Alec Hamaker from the National Superconducting Cyclotron Laboratory (NSCL) and the Facility for Rare Isotope Beams (FRIB) at Michigan State University (MSU), have solved the case of zirconium-80s missing mass. Their findings were recently published in the journal Nature Physics.
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November 26, 2021
In a partnership between MSU and Spectrum Health called the Cystic Fibrosis Translational Research program, a team of researchers including MSU biochemist Robert Quinn, is studying the effectiveness of a promising FDA approved treatment called Trikafta that is a combination of the drugs Elexacaftor, Tezacaftor and Ivacaftor. The new treatment is proving to be life-changing for people with cystic fibrosis. The research was published Nov. 24 in the Journal of Cystic Fibrosis.
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November 24, 2021
When physicist Tyler Cocker joined MSU's Department of Physics and Astronomy in 2018, he had a clear goal: build a powerful microscope that would be the first of its kind in the United States. Having accomplished that, it was time to put the microscope to work. With the novel microscope, Cocker’s team is using light and electrons to study materials with an unparalleled intimacy and resolution. The researchers can see atoms and measure quantum features within samples that could become the building blocks of quantum computers and next-generation solar cells. Their research was recently published in the journal Nature Communications.  
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November 24, 2021
On December 10, Netflix will debut the movie “Don’t Look Up,” a fictional comedy about MSU scientists who try to warn the government about a giant asteroid’s impending collision with Earth. In the story, no one from the government or press is paying attention, but in real life, NASA and MSU are very much engaged in the serious and important science of planetary defense. MSU planetary scientist Seth Jacobson is part of a multi-disciplinary research team working on this project.
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November 23, 2021
Thirty-seven outstanding MSU College of Natural Science faculty, staff and students were recognized for their achievements and contributions at the NatSci Annual Meeting and Awards Ceremony, held on Nov. 19 at the new STEM Teaching and Learning Facility.
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November 22, 2021
MSU Academic Specialist Nathan Emery and collaborators recently published a study in BioScience in which they surveyed college/university educators from around the globe on teaching practices related to data science as well as how scientists use data science in their own research. Their work offers a window into how data science is currently taught and how to best empower instructors to incorporate data science into future biology and environmental science courses.

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