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The Great IDEA Fellowship Program was created to foster greater inclusivity and promote IDEA (inclusion, diversity, equity, and accessibility) efforts in STEM.
April 14, 2023
Finding time away from research and teaching can be daunting for graduate students and faculty. Which is why last fall, Amy Ralston, NatSci associate dean of graduate studies, decided to create the Great IDEA Fellowship Program to foster greater inclusivity and promote IDEA efforts in STEM. The program incentivizes mentors and grad students to spend some time away from their research to focus on inclusion, diversity, equity, and accessibility, or IDEA.
Twelve exceptional students and alumni from Michigan State University’s College of Natural Science were among 25 MSU recipients named 2023 fellows of the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GRFP)..
April 7, 2023
Twelve exceptional students and alumni from Michigan State University’s College of Natural Science (NatSci) were among 25 MSU recipients named 2023 fellows of the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GRFP).
Researchers from MSU and Ecuador have confirmed that many harlequin frogs once believed to be extinct are, in fact, persisting.
November 7, 2022
If there’s news about amphibians these days, odds are it’s not going to be good. A pathogenic fungus has been decimating populations around the world for about forty years and counting, pushing many species to extinction. That’s why researchers have been stunned to see one genus — Atelopus or harlequin frogs — defying the odds. Now, new research from ecologists at Michigan State University and collaborators in Ecuador is setting the stage for an unprecedented underdog story — or, if you will, an underfrog story.
Artificial intelligence and machine learning are increasingly big news. Julie Butler's research involves combining infinite fermionic systems, coupled cluster (CC) theory, and machine learning to produce a more accurate model of infinite systems. The project will attempt to speed up calculations in many-body nuclear physics simulations by strategically applying machine learning to accelerate convergence.
October 21, 2022
MSU graduate student Julie Butler is the recipient of a highly competitive Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Science Graduate Student Research Program grant. Butler is one of 44 outstanding graduate students from across the nation representing 36 states in the program selected to conduct research at 12 DOE national laboratories. Butler will conduct her research on applications of machine learning to coupled cluster studies of infinite fermionic matter at Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee. 
cow eating in the woods
August 25, 2022
MSU ecologists in Elise Zipkin's Qualitative Ecology lab in the College of Natural Science have developed a mathematical framework that could help monitor and preserve biodiversity without breaking the bank. This framework or model takes low-cost data about relatively abundant species in a community and uses it to generate valuable insights on their harder-to-find neighbors. The journal Conservation Biology published the research as an Early View article on Aug. 25
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July 28, 2022
Michigan State University researchers have found that the Zika virus can halt an embryo’s development in the earliest stages of pregnancy, signaling that the risks posed by the virus are greater than previously appreciated. The team from MSU also hopes its work, which was performed with mouse models, will inspire more studies examining how other diseases, such as cytomegalovirus — the leading infectious cause of birth defects — affect early pregnancy. Their findings were recently published in the journal Development.
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July 12, 2022
While studying for his Ph.D. at Michigan State University and working in Elise Zipkin’s Quantitative Ecology Lab, Alex Wright and his Ph.D. advisors set out to determine the best way to monitor wildlife to understand how biodiversity changes through time and space. A paper with their findings was recently published in Ecological Applications. The results will help conservationists optimize data collection to answer complex biodiversity questions at large scales.
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June 6, 2022
MSU graduate student Hannah Christine Berg is the recipient of a highly competitive Department of Energy Office of Science Graduate Student Research Program grant. She is one of 80 outstanding graduate students representing 27 states in the program, each of whom was selected through peer review by external scientific experts. Berg, a Ph.D. student in nuclear astrophysics working at the Facility for Rare Isotope Beams, or FRIB,  will conduct her research at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California.
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May 20, 2022
The gut microbiome has made a huge splash in human health with numerous products popping up promising vast benefits to everything from a healthy digestive system to better mood regulation. But humans aren’t the only ones partnering up with viruses, bacteria and fungi. Researchers at Michigan State University are peering into the dazzling world of microbiomes in plants and animals, searching for keys to a healthier world.
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May 18, 2022
Michigan State researchers have helped peer inside a nova — a type of astrophysical nuclear explosion — without leaving Earth. These stellar events help forge the universe’s chemical elements, and Spartans helped explore their nature with an intense isotope beam and a custom experimental device with record-setting sensitivity at the National Superconducting Cyclotron Laboratory, or NSCL. The team, led by MSU physics Professor Christopher Wrede, published its work May 3 in the journal Physical Review Letters.
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April 28, 2022
Six Michigan State University College of Natural Science faculty members– Jeffrey Conner, Victor DiRita, Gemma Reguera, Jetze Tepe, Christopher Waters and Marjorie Weber – and one graduate student – Nicholas Rekuski – have received 2021-2022 All-University Awards in recognition of their outstanding contributions to education and research. The MSU Awards Convocation for 2022 will be held on May 11, from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m., in the Big Ten Rooms at the Kellogg Center.
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April 25, 2022
Wildlife policy and management decisions often rely on estimates of animal abundance, so inaccurate counts can have negative consequences. Aerial surveys are an efficient survey platform; however, they can yield unreliable data if not carefully executed. Despite a long history of aerial survey use in ecological research, problems common to aerial surveys have not yet been adequately resolved. MSU Ph.D. student Kayla Davis and integrative biologist Elise Zipkin recently published a paper in the journal Ecology and Evolution that outlines the three-pronged approach their team used to tackle the problem.
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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.
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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.
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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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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 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
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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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 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 10, 2021
Plants are master chemists, producing a dazzling array of molecules that are valuable to humans, including vitamins, pharmaceuticals and flavorings. In a paper published in Science Advances, a team of MSU scientists from the College of Natural Science followed up on their observation that the common black nightshade (Solanum nigrum) makes an unusually large number of different acylsugar protective compounds in their trichome hairs. A surprise finding from this study is that black nightshade acylsugars have distinct types of compounds not found together in other plants.
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November 3, 2021
About 20 years ago, MSU's B. Alex Brown had an idea to reveal insights about a fundamental but enigmatic force at work in some of the most extreme environments in the universe. Brown’s theory laid the blueprints for connecting the properties of nuclei to neutron stars, but building that bridge with experiments continued to be challenging. That is until 2017 when he said he started thinking about the precision experiments run by his colleague Kei Minamisono's group at the National Superconducting Cyclotron Laboratory, or NSCL, and in the near-future at the Facility for Rare Isotope Beams, or FRIB. The goal of this new idea, which was recently published in the journal Physical Review Letters, was the same as his earlier theory, but it could be tested using what are known as “mirror nuclei” to provide a faster and simpler path to that destination.
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November 1, 2021
The Department of Energy’s Office of Science has announced its selection of graduate students for the Office of Science Graduate Student Research program’s 2021 Solicitation 1 cycle, three of whom are Michigan State University College of Natural Science doctoral students: Caleb Richard Hicks and Gabriel Given in the Department of Physics and Astronomy, and Scott Essenmacher in the Department of Chemistry.
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September 29, 2021
The source of troublesome lake algae is not always clear, but an interdisciplinary research project with two MSU researchers found an answer may include colder groundwater that feeds some inland lakes. This finding could help predict the formation of harmful algal blooms (HABs) to mitigate their impact on drinking water, tourism, fishing and fish toxicity. Their research was published Sept. 1 in the Journal of Geophysical Research: Biogeosciences.
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September 21, 2021
Sam Ayebare, an MSU Ph.D. student from Uganda, has received a Russell E. Train Fellowship for Aspiring University Faculty for Conservation from the World Wildlife Fund, which will support his current research on mammals and birds in Central Africa. Ayebare is dedicated to finding ways to mitigate the effects of habitat loss, industrial activities, and climate change in the Albertine Rift, one of the most important ecoregions for biodiversity conservation on the African continent. 
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August 11, 2021
For decades, scientists suspected that bacteria known as Geobacter could clean up radioactive uranium waste, but it wasn’t clear how the microbes did it. Now, MSU microbiologist Gemma Reguera and her team has the answer. Molecules called lipopolysaccharides coat the cell surface and soak up the uranium like a sponge. Their findings were recently published in the journal Applied and Environmental Microbiology.
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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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April 9, 2021
MSU researchers have helped catch particles called muons behaving in a way that’s not predicted by the Standard Model of particle physics — the best theory that scientists have for explaining the universe’s fundamental particles and forces.The results from this experiment, called the Muon g-2 experiment, confirm a discrepancy that has been gnawing at researchers for decades. The team published its landmark result in the journal Physical Review Letters on April 7.
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March 11, 2021
Six Michigan State University College of Natural Science (NatSci) faculty members and graduate students have received 2020-2021 All-University Awards in recognition of their outstanding contributions to education and research. The NatSci recipients are: Teena Gerhardt, Darren Incorvaia, Erica Wehrwein, Christopher Werneke, Willie Wong and Zhiyong Xi.
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February 5, 2021
According to a paper recently published in BioScience by MSU entomologist Anthony Cognato and master's student Erica Fischer, collaboration between amateur butterfly collectors and entomology researchers has never been so critical to ensuring that critically important large-scale contemporary and future ecological, conservation, and evolutionary hypotheses concerning insects can be tested.
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January 26, 2021
Researchers in MSU's College of Natural Science have completed the largest census of freshwater insects ever undertaken in the United States, the first of its kind. The database, which includes 2.05 million occurrence records for 932 genera of major freshwater insect orders at more than 51,000 streams and rivers, was presented in a paper recently published in the journal Global Ecology & Biogeography.
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December 22, 2020
Every fungus, plant and animal on earth is dependent on their cells’ endoplasmic reticulum—a three-dimensional organelle of protein producing and folding tubules—to grow and survive. Federica Brandizzi, MSU Foundation Professor in the MSU-DOE Plant Research Lab, is using powerful genomics tools and a $1.95 million NIH grant to understand how it works with the aim of treating diseases such as diabetes, Alzheimer’s and cancer more effectively.

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