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.
November 16, 2023
Researchers from Michigan State University have shed light on the biological puzzle of how plants launch immune responses. Reporting in Nature Communications, the team revealed one protein that plays a key role in mobilizing a plant’s antimicrobial defenses.
November 6, 2023
In April 2021, four Michigan State University plant scientists met at an undisclosed area on campus to dig up a bottle containing seeds buried more than 144 years ago by MSU botanist William J. Beal. Fast forward to 2023, to a discovery that would have surprised and amazed Beal.
November 2, 2023
New research from Michigan State University could help breed plants that are more productive as days grow shorter.
August 30, 2023
Michigan State University plant biologists have made a discovery that could help turn a natural kill switch in plant cells into a “life switch” that helps crops better survive the challenges presented by climate change. At its core, though, this is a fundamental finding, shared in the journal Nature Plants, that has implications across biology for how organisms respond to stress linked to overproduction of proteins by the cell.
August 24, 2023
Natural selection is usually understood in the context of change. When organisms deviate from the norm, they may gain advantages that let their lineages outlast those of their less-adaptable relatives. But new research from Michigan State University suggests that natural selection also has the power to keep things the same. MSU plant biologist Jeff Conner and his team have published a new report in the journal New Phytologist that expands science’s understanding of natural selection in the face of another evolutionary mechanism called genetic constraint.
July 27, 2023
As biodiversity loss wreaks havoc on grasslands throughout the world, many have hoped that soil seed banks would act as a “biodiversity reservoir” and preserve species that are disappearing. However, in a recent study published in Nature Communications, Michigan State University plant biologist Lauren Sullivan and her team challenge that assumption. Previous studies have shown that fertilization can lead to biodiversity loss in the above ground community, but this is the first multi-site study to show a link to the seed bank community.
July 24, 2023
Understanding the intricate puzzle pieces that make up the photosynthetic systems of plants can help researchers better understand how to grow and create plants that can survive in changing climate conditions. Naveen Sharma, a postdoctoral researcher in the Federica Brandizzi lab at the MSU-DOE Plant Research Laboratory (PRL), is one of the few people in the PRL who studies carbonic anhydrases (CAs)—proteins found in the chloroplast stroma where photosynthesis takes place. A study led by Sharma to better characterize CAs in the model plant Arabidopsis thaliana, was recently published in The Plant Journal.
July 17, 2023
A comic book developed by MSU educators and plant scientists is being used in area schools to reshape how high schoolers learn science. The main characters in the comic book, Maia and William above), encourage each other — and students — to be curious.
April 3, 2023
The statistics are familiar. The world’s population is expected to increase by nearly 50 percent in the next century, while the demand for agriculture crops is expected to more than double by 2050. The extreme weather anomalies caused by climate change are expected to continue and worsen in the future, which could substantially reduce agricultural production globally. Michigan State University’s renowned plant researchers are collaborating on solutions to grow more abundant, nutritious and resilient plants that will feed a growing population.
March 27, 2023
The moon holds answers, and Michigan State University plant biologist Federica Brandizzi and her team are bringing those answers within reach. Patience, creativity and a cheerful fearlessness are turning insights buried in plant seeds into pathways to the very survival of the human race.
November 30, 2023Detoxifying gold mining
November 27, 2023Getting to the root of visceral pain
November 22, 2023NatSci scientists among the world's most cited researchers