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.
May 12, 2023
When it comes to securing key agency grant funds to support research projects, the quest to generate research data often favors those who already have enough data to prove their fundability. And that means grants to get grants can be a game changer. MSU's Ecology, Evolution and Behavior Program started a Seed Grant Initiative in 2020, and faculty members receiving them agree that these small investments make a big difference in leveraging more significant research funding.
April 26, 2023
Michigan State University integrative biologist Jason Gallant and colleagues are using nearly $1 million from the National Science Foundation to understand the implications from a small African fish which evolved to have sperm with no tails but an electric-powered mating call. Greater insight into this interesting trait could ultimately shed light on human disease and shake up biology lessons on traditional gender roles.
April 26, 2023
Climate changes are conjuring a whirlwind ride that seems to present some creatures opportunities to thrive. Scientists scripting supercharged scenarios caution that the difference between seasonal coping and long-term adaption is vast – and tricky to predict. Michigan State University biologists are studying damselflies to understand how other species will respond to a warmer world. Their findings were recently published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B.
April 13, 2023
Shannon Schmoll, science education and astronomy expert and director of the Abrams Planetarium at MSU, offers insight to the upcoming Lyrid meteor shower expected between April 16 and 25 in this Ask the Expert column.
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 16, 2023
Michigan State University is leading pioneering research on the world’s fastest supercomputer, thanks to a new grant from the U.S. Department of Energy. The DOE has awarded an MSU-led team 1.3 million node hours of computation time on the Frontier supercomputer (Frontier is made up of 9,400 computing nodes, and one hour of computing on a single node is equal to one “node hour”). Lead researcher Brian O’Shea and the multi-institution team will harness the power of Frontier to better understand galaxies.
March 15, 2023
In a world where switchgrass could cut our fossil fuel dependency, can communities of fungi help grow more potent plants? Michigan State University researcher Acer VanWallendael, a postdoctoral research associate in the Department of Plant Biology, is helping highlight the very real and diverse ways microscopic fungi affect crops. His team’s recent paper in the journal PLOS Biology explores the complex relationships fungi have with switchgrass, a promising biofuel crop.
March 13, 2023
Scientists’ careers are defined by their contributions to peer reviewed literature. Yet, a recent Michigan State University study reveals that peer review disadvantages some scientists more than others, but solutions to rectify this disparity remain elusive. MSU researchers analyzed data from more than 300,000 biological science manuscripts to see if the authors’ demographics mattered when it came to deciding if research was worthy of publication. The findings were published in the journal Nature Ecology and Evolution.
March 9, 2023
Michigan State University biochemist Jian Hu has taken another important step in learning as much as possible about tiny protein machines that help shuttle metals into living cells. This latest step, published in the journal Nature Communications, provides detailed new insights into how these machines work. Hu and his team are working to use this knowledge to develop new cancer therapies and enable people to live healthier lives.
March 2, 2023
New research led by Michigan State University integrative biologist Alisha Shah is showing how vulnerable the threatened meltwater stonefly is to climate change. Shah is part of a research team that’s examining the biology of these stoneflies against the backdrop of climate change. Their findings were recently published in the journal Functional Ecology.