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.

$4 million National Institutes of Health RO1 grant supports "knockout" research on fungal diseases
August 9, 2019

Michigan State University plant biologist Frances Trail, is a key member of an exceptional team of three scientists to recently receive a 5-year, $4 million National Institutes of Health (NIH) Research Project Grant Program (R01) to study fungal evolution.

Corkscrew photons may leave behind a spontaneous twist
August 9, 2019

In a paper published earlier this month in the journal Physical Review Letters, scientists at the Joint Quantum Institute and MSU suggest that certain materials may experience a spontaneous twisting force if they are hotter than their surroundings.

Conservation or construction? Deciding waterbird hotspots
July 29, 2019

In a new paper published in Methods in Ecology and Evolution, a team of scientists including MSU researchers show that conservation and construction decisions should rely on multiple approaches to determine waterbird “hotspots,” not just on one analysis method as is often done.

Fish reveal limb-regeneration secrets
July 29, 2019

In the current issue of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, MSU scientists show that gar, a toothy, freshwater fish, can reveal many evolutionary secrets ­– even possible genetic blueprints for limb regeneration in people.

Algae living inside fungi: How land plants first evolved
July 25, 2019

New research from Michigan State University, recently published in the journal eLife, presents evidence that algae could have piggybacked on fungi to leave the water and to colonize the land, over 500 million years ago.

Four NatSci faculty recognized with University Distinguished Professor title
July 23, 2019

Four College of Natural Science professors—Christoph Benning, Robin Buell, Megan Donahue and Robert Hausinger—were among 10 MSU faculty members named 2019 University Distinguished Professors by the MSU Board of Trustees in honor of their achievements in research, teaching and mentoring, and community engagement.

NatSci's Alex Dickson simulates molecules in motion, wins OpenEye Junior Faculty Award
July 22, 2019

Alex Dickson, assistant professor in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology with a joint appointment in the Department of Computational Mathematics, Science and Engineering, has received the highly competitive American Chemical Society OpenEye Outstanding Junior Faculty Award in Computational Chemistry.

Successful suppression of mosquitoes using sterile males in China
July 17, 2019

MSU and Sun Yat-Sen University, in partnership with the Wolbaki Biotech Company, the Joint FAO/IAEA Division and others, have successfully suppressed a mosquito vector population in Guangzhou, China, as part of efforts to use a new technique to control the insect that spreads dengue, Zika and other diseases. The results of this pilot trial were published in the current issue of Nature.

Plants can crash when photosynthesis rates are high
July 17, 2019

In a new study recently published in Frontiers in Plant Science, members of MSU biochemist Thomas Sharkey’s lab delve into a brake like protein, called GPT2, that helps manage photosynthesis in the presence of high levels of light or carbon dioxide, which can push photosynthesis into overdrive mode. 

Upgrade for neutrino detector, thanks to NSF grant
July 16, 2019

The IceCube Neutrino Observatory, the Antarctic detector that identified the first likely source of high-energy neutrinos and cosmic rays, is getting an upgrade. The National Science Foundation is upgrading the IceCube detector, extending its scientific capabilities to lower energies, and bridging IceCube to smaller neutrino detectors worldwide.