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.
December 13, 2022
The National Science Foundation (NSF) has awarded MSU nearly $3 million to create a graduate program that will help usher in a new era of STEM discoveries using the power of machine learning. Project leader Daniel Appelö and his team are working with the NSF to ensure the United States can maintain its leadership in the machine learning space — especially in science, technology, engineering and math applications — for generations to come.
December 9, 2022
MSU researchers are working to clear the runway for a new source of cleaner, more sustainable biodiesel and jet fuels derived from a relative of cabbage and cauliflower. With $2 million in funding from the U.S. Department of Energy, MSU scientists, including College of Natural Science biochemist Erich Grotewold, are helping unravel the complex genetics of a plant named Camelina sativa to better equip researchers to improve the plant’s oilseed yield and establish it as a more viable alternative to current petroleum-based fuels that meet the unique demands of air travel.
December 6, 2022
As nature reels toward a hotter, drier, harsher future, new conservation tools – seed banks and frozen zoos, gene editing and assisted gene flow – hold promise to help struggling animal and plant populations. A group of biologists, including MSU researchers,make a case that innovations in understanding local adaptation now can be powerful tools to create second chances when habitats are challenged by changing climates.
December 6, 2022
Jeffrey Freymueller, is a professor in the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences in the MSU College of Natural Science. Freymueller is an Endowed Chair for Geology of the Solid Earth. He is an internationally recognized expert in geodesy, or the study of Earth’s size and shape. In this Ask the Expert article, he discusses the current Mauna Loa eruption and how it relates to his research at MSU.
December 1, 2022
When Ross Maguire was a postdoctoral researcher at Michigan State University, he wanted to study the volume and distribution of molten magma underneath the Yellowstone volcano. Using a method called seismic tomography, he was able to create images showing where the magma was located, but they were not crystal clear. Using a method known as waveform tomography developed by the late MSU researcher Min Chen, Maguire et. al. were able to see that twice that amount of magma exists within Yellowstone’s magmatic system.
November 18, 2022
MSU's Andrew Christlieb is leading a massive U.S. Department of Energy project to help deliver on the not-yet-realized promise of nuclear fusion. That promise? To create an unmatched source of affordable and sustainable energy. Christlieb is now the director of a Mathematical Multifaceted Integrated Capability Center, or MMICC, supported by $15 million in funding from the DOE. He is joined by researchers at eight other universities and national labs across the country to develop new mathematical and computational tools to better model the physics needed to understand, control and sustain fusion.
November 14, 2022
There's a popular saying that people who ignore history are doomed to repeat it. It turns out that there's another reason not to ignore history according to new research from Michigan State University published in the journal Ecology. Experts and a unique research site at MSU are showing how the history of land being restored shapes the future and success of conservation efforts. With support from the National Science Foundation, this new study focuses on one of those factors — when a plot is restored — through the lens of biodiversity.
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.
November 3, 2022
For just the second time in human history, researchers have identified a source of high-energy neutrinos — ghostly subatomic particles produced in some of the universe’s most extreme environments. The discovery was made by an international collaboration led by Michigan State University and Technical University of Munich researchers at the IceCube Neutrino Observatory in Antarctica. The team announced its findings on Nov. 3 in an online webinar and will publish its study Nov. 4 in the journal
October 31, 2022
Michigan State University plant biologist Federica Brandizzi and her team are collaborators with Stanford University's SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory on a a three-year, $507,264 grant from Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Science’s Biological and Environmental Research (BER) program to build new microscopes that allow scientists to look into plant cells like never before. The grant aims to create optical and X-ray multimodal-hybrid microscope systems for live imaging of plant stress responses and microbial interactions.
October 27, 2022
A Spartan-led collaboration, headed by MSU chemist Kenneth Merz, is modernizing software and computational methods for next-gen hardware to help accelerate drug discovery, materials development and more. The team is working to ensure a powerful software tool known as Amber is optimized for the high-performance computers of today and tomorrow.
October 20, 2022
Michigan State University and the University of California, Merced, are working to get a better handle on the huge problem of climate change with the help of some very small organisms. With $12.5 million from the National Science Foundation, MSU researchers Elizabeth Heath-Heckman and Kevin Liu are teaming up with UC Merced’s Michele Nishiguchi to launch an institute that focuses on a new angle in climate change.
October 18, 2022
Major depressive disorder affects women twice as often as men, but researchers are still trying to identify the reasons why. Researchers at Michigan State University have recently received a $3 million grant from the National Institutes of Health to continue their investigation of how male and female brains respond to stress differently and how testosterone could be the key to increasing resilience.
September 28, 2022
MSU and Purdue University researchers are teaming up to create a new building material. It’ll be stronger than steel and have the power to heal itself while pulling greenhouse gases out of the atmosphere. The U.S. DOE’s Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy, or ARPA-E, has awarded the research team, which includes MSU College of Natural Science microbiologist Gemma Reguera, nearly $1 million to develop “living” wood, a first-of-its-kind concept using the natural activity of microbes implanted in wood.
September 21, 2022
As climate change causes more frequent drought conditions, MSU researchers are learning more about the biology of plants, fungi and microscopic animals that survive on very little water in a drought or desiccation state. This research is part of a $12.5 million multi-institution and cross-disciplinary National Science Foundation grant as part of the NSF Biology Integration Institutes.
September 19, 2022
Nitrogen, like it’s neighbors carbon and oxygen in the periodic table, is an element we can’t live without. Although science has developed much of the nitrogen cycle’s big picture, MSU chemist Timothy Warren and his team are drilling down into its fundamental chemical details to create a more intimate understanding of the nitrogen cycle that could lead to holistic solutions for ensuring a healthy balance of nitrogen, wherever it’s needed. The team recently released two peer-reviewed reports on that front in the journals Nature Chemistry and the Journal of the American Chemical Society.
August 31, 2022
MSU researchers and colleagues at the University of California Berkeley, the University of South Bohemia and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory have helped reveal the most detailed picture to date of important biological “antennae.” The findings, published Aug. 31 in the journal Nature, shed new light on microbial photosynthesis, and could also help researchers remediate harmful bacteria in the environment, develop artificial photosynthetic systems for renewable energy and enlist microbes in sustainable manufacturing that starts with the raw materials of carbon dioxide and sunlight.
August 29, 2022
Michigan State University researchers, led by earth and environmental scientist Jeffrey Freymueller and his team, could help predict seasonal changes in the Great Lakes Basin by developing a new groundwater model to monitor surface and groundwater flow with a $960K grant from the National Science Foundation.
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
August 23, 2022
The Brandizzi lab at MSU is sending seeds to space aboard NASA’s Artemis I mission to explore how humanity can sustain itself outside of Earth. In previous experiments, scientists have learned that plants grown in space make lower levels of amino acids that keep their seedlings strong on Earth. The same amino acids would also be nutritious for people who eat the plants. Brandizzi’s lab has selected seeds that are enriched with those amino acids and is sending those into space along with regular seeds, allowing them to see if fortifying the seeds on Earth could create a more sustainable path to growing healthier plants — and food — in space.
August 12, 2022
August 3, 2022
MSU biochemist Robert Quinn’s recent discovery related to bile acids produced by gut microbes represents a paradigm shift of 170 years of research in the field. Quinn, an assistant professor in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology in the College of Natural Science, received a one-year, $100,000 grant from the Global Grants for Gut Health to dig deeper into this discovery and how it changes scientists’ understanding of the human gut microbiome.
July 29, 2022
Plant gene regulation dictates how plants grow under differing environmental conditions, and Michigan State University researchers from the MSU-DOE Plant Research Laboratory (PRL) are looking at how different genes control light-dependent processes in Arabidopsis thaliana. Their research was recently published in the journal Frontiers in Plant Science.
July 28, 2022
New research from Michigan State University is showing that bringing a little prairie back to farms in Michigan and other parts of the Midwest could help preserve both biodiversity and crop yields. When combined with the right field management practices, the array of benefits gained by adding a prairie strip essentially offset the loss of cropland. That is, prairie strips could be implemented without compromising crop yield. The findings were recently published in the journal Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution.
July 27, 2022
As antibiotic resistance challenges scientists to find new ways to treat bacterial infections, researchers at Michigan State University, led by microbiologist Chris Waters, have discovered a new way for bacteria to defend themselves against viral infection, known as phage, which could lead to better treatments in the future. The research was recently published in the journal Nature Microbiology.
July 26, 2022
About three years ago, Wolfgang Mittig and Yassid Ayyad went looking for the universe’s missing mass, better known as dark matter, in the heart of an atom.Their expedition didn’t lead them to dark matter, but they found something that had never been seen before, something that defied explanation. So the team got back to work to make their discovery make sense. Working at the National Superconducting Cyclotron Laboratory at MSU, they found a new path to their unexpected destination, which they recently detailed in the journal Physical Review Letters.
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.
July 7, 2022
With energy costs rising and the increasing effects of burning fossil fuels on the global climate, researchers are looking for ways to produce products and fuels that are truly renewable. To address this issue, MSU organic chemist Ned Jackson and his former graduate student Yuting Zhou, have developed a new tool that breaks the strong chemical bonds in biomass or plant matter down into building blocks for fuels. This new tool also has the potential to destroy environmental pollutants. The research was recently published in the journal Nature Communications.
July 5, 2022
MSU’s renowned Long-Term Evolution Experiment – a remarkable 34-year biological drama in flasks, with bacteria competing for resources and fighting for dominance – is itself evolving. The bacteria’s main stage – frozen vials containing some 75,000 generations of E. coli – has been moved from MSU to University of Texas at Austin to be cared for by a former postdoctoral researcher in Richard Lenski's lab. While the daily propagation of the LTEE is moving, copies of all of the samples remain at MSU. Lenski, who started the experiment in 1988, has lots of plans and ideas for studying them, both in his lab and with collaborators around the world.
June 30, 2022
At MSU, Molecular Plant Sciences faculty member Patrick Edger teaches an undergraduate Honors College course that creates the opportunity for lab experience and publishing research in scientific publications. In Spring 2022, the research focused on finding the parental species of the popular sour cherry – a crop of great economic and cultural importance to Michigan. Students in his molecular phylogenomic and evolution class worked alongside teaching assistants on a semester-long research project. In addition to gaining research experience, a paper reporting their findings was recently published in Plants People Planet.
June 27, 2022
The National Institutes of Health have awarded Michigan State University researchers $2.7 million to continue developing artificial intelligence (AI) algorithms that predict key features of viruses as they evolve. The team is led by Guowei Wei, an expert in AI who has published nearly 30 papers on COVID-19, and Yong-Hui Zheng, whose extensive background in virology is helping verify and improve AI predictions. The team also includes Jiahui Chen, a visiting assistant professor at MSU who played an essential role in developing the AI models.
June 23, 2022
An international team of 114 scientists has performed the most comprehensive study of aging and longevity to date with data collected in the wild from 107 populations of 77 species of reptiles and amphibians worldwide. The team, led by researchers at Michigan State University, Pennsylvania State University and Northeastern Illinois University, reported its findings in the journal Science on June 23.
June 16, 2022
Songqiao “Shawn” Wei, an Endowed Assistant Professor of Geological Sciences in the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences in the College of Natural Science at Michigan State University, has been studying the earthquakes in response to Earth’s tectonic plate movement around the world. In this "Ask the Expert" column, he explains earthquakes, how they are detected and his current research related to them.
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