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.
March 17, 2022
An international quartet of physicists, including Michigan State University Professor Stephen Hsu, have co-authored two papers that significantly alter our understanding of black holes and resolve a problem that has confounded scientists for nearly half a century. Their research was recently published in the journals Physical Review Letters and Physics Letters B.
March 11, 2022
Anthony Kendall, a research assistant professor in the MSU Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences in the College of Natural Science, found a surprise as he was studying contaminants in Lake Michigan and discovered a slow but steady increase in the level of chloride found in the water.
March 8, 2022
Michigan State University’s Thomas D. Sharkey has a gift for exploring the intricate biochemical mechanisms of photosynthesis, the life-sustaining reactions that plants use to grow literally from thin air. The University Distinguished Professor also has a gift for explaining those complex processes with metaphors and much simpler, more familiar machinery.Both skills are on display when Sharkey talks about his team’s new paper, published on March 8 in the journal Proceedings of the Natural Academy of Sciences, describing what they call a pilot light for photosynthesis.
March 4, 2022
Don’t underestimate the diminutive and doe-eyed Rio pearlfish, for looks can be deceiving. This fish has evolved over the eons into one tough little customer producing eggs that can survive being completely dry for months at a time. That’s one of the reasons that MSU integrative biologist Ingo Braasch and members of his Fish Evo Devo Geno Lab have sequenced the first complete genome of the fish. With that genome, researchers can better understand the biology and evolution of the species’ survival skills. The study was recently published in the journal G3: Genes I Genomes I Genetics. Andrew Thompson, a postdoctoral research associate in Braasch's lab, was lead author of the report.
March 2, 2022
A new study from the Michigan State University-DOE Plant Research Laboratory brings fresh insight on the source/sink balance of cyanobacteria and paves the way for further advancements in photosynthetic microbes for potential applications. The research, conducted in the lab of biochemist Danny Ducat, was recently published in Plant Physiology.
February 17, 2022
A team of Spartan researchers, led by MSU Foundation Professor Guowei Wei, report that omicron and other variants are evolving increased infectivity and antibody resistance according to an artificial intelligence model. Therefore, new vaccines and antibody therapies are needed.
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.
February 16, 2022
The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services is enlisting experts and resources at Michigan State University to bolster the state’s fight against COVID, foodborne illnesses and more. With three grants totaling more than $5 million, MSU and health care partners will help build up Michigan’s capacity to respond to the current pandemic and future pathogens through the newly created Michigan Sequencing Academic Partnership for Public Health Innovation and Response, or MI-SAPPHIRE.
February 10, 2022
In a new paper published in Ecology Letters, Michigan State University professor and evolutionary biologist Janette Boughman shows that the process of choosing a mate could be very important to the survival of the species. To do this, she and her co-author Maria Servedio introduce a new theoretical model they coin “The Ecological Stage.” Whether sexual selection is helpful or hurtful to speciation is still controversial, yet the model can provide some new answers; it shows how sexual selection can be helpful to speciation and diversification.
January 24, 2022
MSU seismologist Songqiao “Shawn” Wei has been studying the Tonga region, one of the most active volcanic regions in the world, for more than a decade. Wei, one of a small group of scientists in the world who conducts research in this region, studies the Tonga subduction zone where two tectonic plates — the Pacific plate slips underneath the Australian plate. The following interview captures information and insights from Wei about this fascinating region and what it tells us about plate tectonics and eruptions.
September 15, 2023Accelerating nuclear science with machine learning