October 20, 2022
Two faculty members in the Michigan State University College of Natural Science (NatSci)—Danny Caballero and Huey-Wen Lin—have been selected as 2022 Fellows of the American Physical Society (APS). This distinction recognizes researchers for significant and innovative contributions to physics. Each year, less than one-half of one percent of the APS membership earns fellowship status.
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.
October 3, 2022
MSU microbial ecologist James Tiedje has been awarded the 2023 Lifetime Achievement Award by the American Society of Microbiology to honor his sustained contributions to the microbiological sciences. Tiedje’s major contributions include his foundational discovery of the microbial ecology of the nitrogen cycle; a paradigm-shifting discovery of microbes that dechlorinate pollutants; and his findings surrounding the use of genomics and metagenomics to understand microbial speciation, community structure and ecological functions.
September 29, 2022
Michigan State University chemist Marcos Dantus is the 2023 recipient of the American Chemical Society’s Ahmed Zewail Award in Ultrafast Science and Technology. This prestigious award recognizes outstanding and creative contributions to fundamental discoveries or inventions in ultrafast science and technology in the areas of physics, chemistry, biology or related fields.
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 23, 2022
Six MSU College of Natural Science faculty members – Jonas Becker, Danny Caballero, François Greer, Tom O’Halloran, Timothy Warren and Aman Yadav – were among 36 honored at the 2022 Michigan State University Investiture for Endowed Faculty on Sept. 14 at the Wharton Center for Performing Arts in the Great Cobb Hall.
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.
September 16, 2022
Angela K. Wilson, John A. Hannah Distinguished Professor of Chemistry at MSU, is recipient of the 2022 National Honorary Member Award from Iota Sigma Pi, a national honor society for women in chemistry. The award is the organization’s highest honor, bestowed triennially on an outstanding woman chemist. Wilson, a professor in the Department of Chemistry in the MSU College of Natural Science, is also NatSci associate dean for strategic initiatives and current president of the American Chemical Society.
September 12, 2022
Affirmation from the MSU Council of Deans to the MSU Board of Trustees and other members of the MSU community reaffirming their commitment to the University's values and to applying and upholding the University's policies, procedures and core values of integrity, respect, excellence, equity and collaboration.
September 12, 2022
Gemma Reguera and Amy Ralston have joined the Michigan State College of Natural Science (NatSci) leadership team as associate dean for faculty affairs and development and associate dean for graduate studies, respectively. Their appointments were effective Aug. 16.
September 2, 2022
When thinking about why breast cancer develops, it is critical to understand how normal development works. Recently, the National Institutes of Health awarded MSU physiology professor Eran Andrechek a five-year, $2.5 million grant to fund his research project of defining the role of the repressor E2F5 gene in mammary gland development. in addition to a providing better understanding of the developmental biology, Andrechek hopes the findings will lead to further research on breast cancer.
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 22, 2022
A.J. Robison, associate professor in Michigan State University’s Department of Physiology, has been appointed director of Neuroscience Program at MSU, effective Aug. 16. He replaces Jim Galligan, who is stepped down from the position after 11 years.
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
Michigan State University researchers have found that the Zika virus can halt an embryo’s development in the earliest stages of pregnancy, signaling that the risks posed by the virus are greater than previously appreciated. The team from MSU also hopes its work, which was performed with mouse models, will inspire more studies examining how other diseases, such as cytomegalovirus — the leading infectious cause of birth defects — affect early pregnancy. Their findings were recently published in the journal Development.
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 11, 2022
MSU Professor Aman Yadav, known for his research and outreach on computer science education and computational thinking, has been named a Lappan-Phillips Professor of Computing Education. Yadav, who holds joint appointments in the Department of Computational Mathematics, Science and Engineering and the Department of Counseling, Educational Psychology and Special Education, commenced his professorship on July 1, and will be formally recognized at an investiture ceremony this fall.
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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