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Professor Andrea L. Case and members of her Plant Evolutionary Ecology Lab study the evolution of reproductive systems in flowering plants. The Case lab is particularly interested in understanding sexual diversity – for example, why some groups of organisms are hermaphrodites while others are predominantly composed of males and females.
February 15, 2023
Andrea Case has been appointed chair of the Michigan State University Department of Plant Biology in the College of Natural Science. Case came to MSU in January from Kent State University, where she was a professor in the Biological Sciences Department. In addition to her duties as department chair, Case has relocated her research group to MSU and will continue her work, which focuses on the evolution of reproductive systems in flowering plants.  
Illustration of invasive fungal infection to lungs.
February 12, 2023
Michigan State University chemist Tuo Wang was recently awarded a 4-year, $1.9 million National Institutes of Health (NIH) R01 grant. The funds will support the development of solid-state nuclear magnetic resonance (ssNMR) technology that allows enhanced understanding of the nanoscale structure of the fungal cell wall to promote development of antifungal therapeutics.
Longleaf pine ecosystems such as the one pictured here near Fayetteville, North Carolina, once stretched from Virginia to Texas and can contain some of the most diverse plant communities in North America.
February 10, 2023
New research from Michigan State University and the University of Wisconsin-Madison shows that, for all the complexities and challenges of ecosystem restoration, simple first steps can still go a long way. The team showed that degraded savanna ecosystems scarred by decades or centuries of human activity can reap lasting benefits from a single seeding of native understory plants. Their research was recently published in the journal Proceedings in the National Academy of the Sciences.
Two Michigan State University College of Natural Science (NatSCi) researchers -- Andrea Case and Shin-Han Shiu – were elected 2022 fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS).
January 31, 2023
Two Michigan State University College of Natural Science (NatSCi) researchers -- Andrea Case and Shin-Han Shiu – were elected 2022 fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). Case and Shiu were among five MSU faculty members named 2022 AAAS fellows, who were recognized with the honor for their contributions to science and society. The cohort joins more than 175 current and past Spartans who have been honored as fellows. 
The zebrafish is a freshwater fish belonging to the minnow family. It is an important and widely used vertebrate model organism in scientific research, notable for its regenerative abilities.
January 30, 2023
MSU integrative biologist Julia Ganz will use a two-year, $439,408 grant from the National Institutes of Health to explore the zebrafish’s unique superpower to gain insights that could someday lead to discoveries benefitting people suffering from neurological diseases of digestive system.
By explaining a photosynthetic peculiarity in switchgrass, Michigan State University researchers may have unlocked even more of the plant’s potential.
January 25, 2023
Michigan State University researchers have solved a puzzle that could help switchgrass realize its full potential as a low-cost, sustainable biofuel crop and curb our dependence on fossil fuels. Berkley Walker’s team in the Department of Plant Biology in MSU’s College of Natural Science has revealed why switchgrass stops performing photosynthesis in the middle of the summer — its growing season — limiting how much biofuel it yields. This knowledge, published in the journal Frontiers in Plant Science, is a key piece to overcoming this quirk and getting the most out of switchgrass.
Mathematicians at Michigan State will use a five-year, $1.9 million National Science Foundation training grant to amplify the university’s success in math research by creating communities of undergraduates, graduates, post-graduates and faculty working in topology and related mathematical areas.
January 25, 2023
Mathematicians at Michigan State will use a five-year, $1.9 million National Science Foundation training grant to amplify the university’s success in math research by creating communities of undergraduates, graduates, post-graduates and faculty working in topology and related mathematical areas. The goal: To create environments that nurture mentorship and connections and ultimately open doors to more inclusivity and broader recruitment.
Buidling on earlier research, MSU graduate students Emily Lanier (left) and Abigail Bryson (right) discovered how several genomes of the mint family have evolved and how these chemistries have emerged over the past 60 to 70 million years.
January 23, 2023
MSU synthetic biologist Björn Hamberger and graduate students Emily Lanier and Abigail Bryson have traced the evolution of mint genomes for potential future applications that range from medicines, pesticides and antimicrobials. Their research was published in the journal Nature Communications.
Michigan State University was awarded a $5 million grant from the MSU Research Foundation to advance its world-class program in the plant sciences and critical research in the mitigation of and adaptation to global climate change.
January 18, 2023
Michigan State University has received a $5 million grant from the MSU Research Foundation to advance its world-class program in the plant sciences and critical research in the mitigation of and adaptation to global climate change. The grant complements the university’s and the state of Michigan’s investment in the greenhouse complex and the proposed new plant and environmental sciences building.
Michigan State University and the National Audubon Society are collaborating to project future impacts to hundreds of bird species, including the American redstart, pictured here.
January 17, 2023
Michigan State University and the National Audubon Society are teaming up to help protect declining bird populations across North America. With $1.3 million from a collaborative National Science Foundation grant, the team—led by MSU integrative biologist Elise Zipkin—will develop statistical models fueled by four massive data sets to evaluate how climate change and land use are affecting hundreds of bird species.
The western United States and mountains, such as those found in Colorado, are home to a large area of refugia for terrestrial biodiversity.
January 12, 2023
When the U.S. government committed last January to conserving 30 percent of the United States’ natural land and water by the year 2030, the decision was embraced by the majority of Americans. Now, Michigan State University ecologists are part of a team that’s sharing data to help inform those choices throughout the United States and beyond. Their research identified North America’s climate change refugia, habitats that will be the most likely to support the persistence of the greatest amount of biodiversity in the face of a changing climate.
A portion of the newly discovered Earth-sized planet TOI-700 e orbits within the habitable zone of its star in this illustration.
January 11, 2023
Working with data from NASA’s Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite, or TESS, Michigan State University has helped discover an Earth-sized exoplanet — a planet outside of our solar system. This planet, named TOI-700 e, falls within its star’s habitable zone, meaning the newfound planet could be capable of supporting life as we know it. The research team announced the finding Jan. 10 at the American Astronomical Society meeting in Seattle. 
The College of Natural Science (NatSci) at Michigan State University is home to 27 departments and programs in the biological, physical and mathematical sciences. The college averages $57M in research expenditures annually while providing world-class educational opportunities to more than 6,000 undergraduate majors and 1,200 graduate and postdoc students. There are 800+ faculty and academic staff associated with NatSci and more than 63,000 living alumni worldwide.
January 10, 2023
Samuel Sottile, a senior majoring in advanced mathematics in the Michigan State University College of Natural Science, has been named a Churchill Scholar. The 18th Churchill Scholar from MSU, Sottile places MSU in the top 10 nationally (tied for No. 7) and No. 1 in the Big Ten for Churchill Scholars. This year, 16 Churchill Scholars were selected from 119 applicants and 77 institutions. The Churchill Scholarship supports one year of master’s study at Churchill College, University of Cambridge, England.
Installation of the rainfall exclusion experiment at the KBS LTER, one of the new treatments added to the experiment in 2021.
January 10, 2023
The W.K. Kellogg Biological Station Long-Term Ecological Research program at Michigan State University was awarded a renewal of their foundational grant, reaffirming the program’s future and status as one of the country’s premier research sites. Continuation funding for the program began on Dec. 1, 2022 and will run through November 2028. MSU animal ecologist Nick Haddad and microbial ecologist Sarah Evans led the grant proposal, “Ecological and social mechanisms of resilience in agroecosystems.” In it, they detail the program’s new focus on climate change and land use change.
An often-studied flowering plant evolved reproductive self-sufficiency, and in the process some parts of the flower are starting to disappear. Michigan State University scientists, led by plant biologist Jeffrey Conner, will use a $1.5 million National Science Foundation grant better understand this trait loss.
January 4, 2023
An often-studied flowering plant evolved reproductive self-sufficiency, and in the process some parts of the flower are starting to disappear. Michigan State University scientists, led by plant biologist Jeffrey Conner, will use a $1.5 million National Science Foundation grant better understand this trait loss.
Michigan State University plant scientists may have found a link between climate change and plant nutrition.
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.
The Charles Drew Science Scholars program is a residential program in the Michigan State University College of Natural Science and has worked to diversify the STEM talent pool and workforce for more than 40 years.
December 20, 2022
The Charles Drew Science Scholars program is a residential program in the MSU College of Natural Science and has worked to diversify the STEM talent pool and workforce for more than 40 years. The program, which has a legacy of providing robust academic experiences for nearly 2,000 scholars to date, has prioritized students from groups historically underrepresented in science and mathematics fields. Dozens of Drew Scholars have gone on to pursue medicine at institutions nationwide, including MSU’s College of Human Medicine and College of Osteopathic Medicine. 
This image shows a rendering of part of the protein shell of a synthetic microcompartment. These bacterial compartments house specific biochemical functions in an insulated environment, by means of protein shells that encapsulate enzymes.
December 15, 2022
With $10.65 million of support from the U.S. Department of Energy, Michigan State University is home to one of the nation’s newest Energy Frontier Research Centers. Led by MSU's Cheryl Kerfeld and her team, the center will explore how nature compartmentalizes some of its most important biochemical reactions. This understanding will allow researchers to mimic nature’s methods to develop new and more efficient ways to produce important molecules and chemicals to benefit society, including clean, sustainable fuels.
Machine learning has the promise to accelerate research in STEM fields, but this will require people with unique training and expertise. MSU has won a nearly $3 million NSF grant to help prepare that next-generation workforce. This image was created by the DALL·E 2 AI system.
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.
MSU scientists have landed a $2 million Department of Energy grant to improve the oilseed yield of Camelina sativa, a common plant that could provide cleaner jet fuels and teach us about other important crops.
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.
Mariah Meek collecting brook trout for assessment, a species threatened by climate change.
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.
Mauna Loa is a volcano located on the Big Island of Hawaii and is the largest volcano on the planet. The volcano, which has been dormant since 1984, began erupting on Nov. 27, 2022.
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.
The still active Yellowstone supervolcano, located in Yellowstone National Park in northwestern Wyoming, formed some 640,000 years ago. Its caldera –a large cauldron-like depression that forms when a volcano erupts and collapses–pictured here, measures 30 miles x 45 miles wide.
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.
Requirements for earning a place in the 2021 Highly Cited Researchers list, an annual compilation of the global leaders in scientific influence by Clarivate Analytics list include publication of multiple highly cited papers from 2010 to 2020 and ranking in the top one percent of citations in their fields.
November 30, 2022
Three scientists affiliated with the MSU College of Natural Science have been recognized as being among the world’s most influential scientists thanks to their papers’ usefulness to other researchers in their fields. Biochemist Gregg A. Howe, ecosystem scientist G. Philip Robertson, and microbial ecologist James Tiedje are among 11 MSU scientists named to the 2022 Highly Cited Researchers List compiled by Clarivate Analytics.
A component of the structure of the drug istradefylline.
November 29, 2022
Michigan State University Geoffrey Laumet and members of his lab are part of an international team that found an existing drug that may help decrease the side effects of cisplatin, a widely used cancer treatment that was discovered at MSU in 1965. The team, consisting of scientists from MSU, the University of Lille, the University of Strausburg, the Pasteur Institute of Lille in France, and the University of Coimbra in Portugal, has found that istradefylline, a drug already approved by the FDA and used to treat Parkinson’s disease, can reduce the side effects of cisplatin, while preserving its cancer-fighting strength.
Sophia Lunt, biochemistry and molecular biology (left) and Sheba Onchiri, chemistry, were among 35 NatSci faculty, staff and students receiving awards at the college's 2022 Annual Meeting and Awards Ceremony.
November 29, 2022
Thirty-five outstanding MSU College of Natural Science (NatSci) faculty, staff and students were recognized for their achievements and contributions at the NatSci Annual Meeting and Awards Ceremony, held Nov. 18 at the STEM Teaching and Learning Facilityon campus. More than 100 faculty, staff, students, family and friends attended the event.
A computer simulation of plasma inside a device called a tokamak, one of the leading technologies in development for fusion energy.
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.
The Benning lab’s NSF-funded project connects the research lab environment with the classroom environment by developing a project that looks at how the chloroplast reacts to stress responses in the model plant Arabidopsis thaliana.
November 15, 2022
Researchers from the MSU-DOE Plant Research Laboratory have received a $1.1 million National Science Foundation grant to bring research into the undergraduate classroom. The project, which looks at how the chloroplast reacts to stress responses in the model plant Arabidopsis thaliana, will allow students to not only learn techniques and concepts used in the lab, but to learn why researchers do what they do.
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.
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.
MSU mathematician François Greer, assistant professor in College of Natural Science, was recently honored as the inaugural Van Haften Endowed Professor in Deductive Literacy. Greer, a leading young figure in the field of algebraic geometry, studies enumerative algebraic geometry, modular forms and Hodge theory. An investiture ceremony congratulating Greer was held Nov. 3 at MSU’s Wharton Center.
November 10, 2022
MSU mathematician Francois Greer, assistant professor in College of Natural Science, was recently honored as the inaugural Van Haften Endowed Professor in Deductive Literacy. Greer, a leading young figure in the field of algebraic geometry, studies enumerative algebraic geometry, modular forms and Hodge theory. An investiture ceremony congratulating Greer was held Nov. 3 at MSU’s Wharton Center.
Michigan State University’s Kellogg Biological Station (KBS) has been named a national and international role model for its quantifiable commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion in the organization and its people.
November 8, 2022
Michigan State University’s Kellogg Biological Station (KBS) has been named a national and international role model for its quantifiable commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion in the organization and its people. The Organization of Biological Field Stations is honoring KBS with the 2022 Advancing Equity Award for its across-the-board dedication to an inclusive environment.
Researchers from MSU and Ecuador have confirmed that many harlequin frogs once believed to be extinct are, in fact, persisting.
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.
As part of the IceCube Collaboration, Michigan State researchers are using neutrinos to probe the inner depths of an active galaxy. Credit: NASA/ESA/A. van der Hoeven
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
Deepak Bhandari, a postdoc in the Brandizzi lab, uses microscopes to study Arabidopsis thaliana for his research under this grant.
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.
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 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.
Computational sciences have seen rapid development in recent years, creating new horizons of discovery and employment. But changing undergraduate curriculums throughout academia is in a slower lane. The Partnership for Integrating Computation into Undergraduate Physics (PICUP) Team has established a site and a process for the peer-review and dissemination of high-quality instructional materials to achieve the goal of lowering the barriers to integrating computation into physics curricula.
October 24, 2022
MSU physics education researcher Danny Caballero is being honored by the American Physical Society (APS) for building the village needed to provide physics students with crucial computing skills. Caballero is part of the Partnership for Integrating Computation into Undergraduate Physics (PICUP) Team receiving the APS Excellence in Education Award. The team rallied hundreds of physics educators focused on helping students develop valuable computational skills and giving those educators the needed support and resources to make meaningful changes in curriculum.

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