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.
January 3, 2023
A new study from plant scientists at Michigan State University demonstrates that there’s a link between climate change and nutrition. The research, led by MSU’s Berkley Walker and his team shows that, although elevated levels of carbon dioxide can be good for photosynthesis, increasing CO2 levels can tinker with other metabolic processes in plants. And these lesser-known processes could have implications for other functions like protein production. Their findings were recently published in Nature Plants.
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
September 15, 2023Accelerating nuclear science with machine learning