January 19, 2022
Through MSU’s Creating Inclusive Excellence Grant (CIEG) program, two new projects, one led by a NatSci graduate student, and a second by two NatSci faculty members will focus on improving STEM for historically excluded groups. Doctoral student Toby SantaMaria will use the grant to increase accessibility and inclusivity in the graduate school application process. Faculty members Stephen Thomas and Julie Libarkin will implement a system for mentoring faculty on how to facilitate inclusive experiences. CIEG supports projects that create collaboration within and across organizational systems in support of an inclusive educational and work environment.
January 18, 2022
As irrigation practices expand worldwide, many bird species face an uncertain future. In a new paper published in Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment, formerMSU visiting student Xabier Cabodevilla and his team found that 55 percent of common bird species in northern Spain decreased in their occurrence rates as a result of irrigation. Using ecological modeling, the team estimated the responses of multiple species to environmental factors. The hope is that their findings will influence the European Union’s common agricultural policy toward conservation.
January 14, 2022
Two MSU College of Natural Science graduate students—Allison Vanecek and Sarah Manski—recently won the inaugural awards from the Neogen Land Grant Prize in a competitive selection process. Each student was awarded $30,000 to advance their research projects: one focusing on drug discovery and the other on the economics of climate change.
January 14, 2022
Michigan State University chemist Angela K. Wilson was recently featured in Chemical and Engineering News (C&EN)—the trade weekly of the American Chemical Society (ACS)—as the current ACS president. She was interviewed by C&EN about her plans for and leadership role in the organization.
January 13, 2022
MSU plant scientists have developed a new gene discovery method that is helping them to understand how plants recover from stressful situations in their environments. The approach, which covers big data sets spanning thousands of genes and hundreds of interactions between DNA and proteins, has long-term implications for agricultural productivity and the breeding of more resilient crops. The study was recently published in the journal Communications Biology.
January 11, 2022
Professor Jianping Hu has been appointed as the new director of the Molecular Plant Sciences Graduate Program in the College of Natural Science at Michigan State University.
January 5, 2022
Michigan State University has joined Purdue University and the University of Michigan to form a Midwest-based alliance that will push the frontiers of quantum science and engineering research, education and training. The Midwest Quantum Collaboratory, or MQC, will foster new cutting-edge projects across the universities, creating new opportunities for leading researchers in quantum computing and information science.
December 22, 2021
A new study from the Michigan State University-Department of Energy Plant Research Laboratory shows how some algae can protect themselves when the oxygen they produce impairs their photosynthetic activity. The discovery also answers a long-standing question about how algae survive when CO2 levels are low. The results of this research from the David Kramer lab was recently published in eLife.
December 17, 2021
Using innovative methodologies that combine biology and statistics, researchers from the David Kramer lab in the Michigan State University-Department of Energy Plant Research Laboratory observe the ways plants respond to their natural environments. The team used innovative open science platform and instruments developed at MSU called PhotosynQ and MultispeQ to reveal how photosynthesis in one species (mint) responds to complex environmental changes. The study is published in Royal Society Open Science.
December 17, 2021
Six Michigan State University College of Natural Science graduating seniors were among 38 students who received an MSU Board of Trustees Award for earning a 4.0 GPA — the highest scholastic average — at the close of their last semester before graduation.
December 16, 2021
Andrew McDonald, a Michigan State University College of Natural Science senior majoring in advanced mathematics and statistics, has been named a Marshall Scholar. McDonald, who is also majoring in computer science in the College of Engineering and is an Honors College student, is the 19th Marshall Scholar from MSU.
December 15, 2021
Addy Pletcher, an MSU senior majoring in environmental geosciences in the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences within the College of Natural Science, received a grand prize in the American Geophysical Union (AGU) Freilich Visualization Competition for her innovative project to improve decision making for lake management related to harmful algal blooms.
December 14, 2021
Three Michigan State University College of Natural Science researchers—Christoph Benning, Gregg Howe and James Tiedje—are among nine MSU faculty members recognized in the 2021 Highly Cited Researchers list, an annual compilation of the global leaders in scientific influence by Clarivate Analytics. The list, now in its eighth year, honors researchers who “demonstrated significant and broad influence reflected in their publication of multiple highly cited papers over the last decade” from 21 different fields of study.
December 14, 2021
Michigan State University chemistry graduate student Stephen H. Yuwono is recipient of the prestigious Longuet-Higgins Early Career Researcher Prize awarded by the editors of Molecular Physicsfor his article, “Accelerating convergence of equation-of-motion coupled-cluster computations using the semi-stochastic CC(P;Q) formalism,” which was named the journal’s best paper in 2020.
December 9, 2021
Michigan State University is creating a new program to help Spartan students push the frontiers of physics and power the economy with nearly $2 million in grant funding from the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science, or DOE-SC. The High Energy Physics Instrumentation Traineeship in Michigan, dubbed TRAIN-MI, will provide graduate students with a distinctive educational program focused on building high-tech tools to study high energy physics.
December 7, 2021
Scientists discover potential mechanism of ultra-rare blood clots linked to adenovirus COVID-19 vaccines
An international team of scientists, including MSU researchers, believe they may have found a molecular mechanism behind the extremely rare blood clots linked to adenovirus COVID-19 vaccines. Their findings, which were recently published in the international journal Science Advances, suggest it is the viral vector and the way it binds to platelet factor 4 (PF4) once injected that could be the potential mechanism that triggers blood clots in a very small number of people after the vaccine is administered.
December 7, 2021
MSU integrative biologists have added an important piece to nature’s ecological and evolutionary puzzle with an assist from Trinidadian guppies. Assistant Professor Sarah Fitzpatrick and graduate student Isabela Lima Borges helmed an extensive study of Trinidadian guppies to gather elusive data on relatively short swims. This information can help explain the larger mystery of why some individuals leave the safety of home to pursue life elsewhere. Their findings were recently published in the journal Ecology Letters.
December 3, 2021
Photon to plate: How increasing the photosynthetic efficiency of potatoes could lead to a greener future
Improving the photosynthetic power-plants in crops could mean using less fossil fuel derived energy supplements in crop cultivation and lead to a second Green Revolution according to a new life-cycle assessment from the lab of Michigan State University plant biologist Berkley Walker. The study was recently published in the journal Food and Energy Security.
November 30, 2021
A collaboration between MSU mathematician Jeffrey Schenker and IBM researcher Ramis Movassagh, answers the question of how average quantum systems behave by formulating and proving a universality theorem for how a vast class of quantum processes, known as ergodic quantum processes, behaves over long periods of time. Their results were recently published in the journal Physical Review X.
November 29, 2021
Over the past century, physicists have pieced together the basic building blocks of the universe like a giant jigsaw puzzle, one experiment at a time, inventing highly advanced instruments such as MSU’s National Superconducting Cyclotron Laboratory and Facility for Rare Isotope Beams to test their theories. Research conducted by MSU high-energy particle theorist Huey-Wen Lin has just provided a major piece of the puzzle. For the first time, Lin used advanced calculations in lattice quantum chromodynamics to directly measure the momentum of quarks inside the center of an atom and to generate 3-D images of the proton’s structure. Her results were recently published in the journal Physical Review Letters.
November 29, 2021
A team of researchers, including scientists Ryan Ringle and Alec Hamaker from the National Superconducting Cyclotron Laboratory (NSCL) and the Facility for Rare Isotope Beams (FRIB) at Michigan State University (MSU), have solved the case of zirconium-80s missing mass. Their findings were recently published in the journal Nature Physics.
November 26, 2021
In a partnership between MSU and Spectrum Health called the Cystic Fibrosis Translational Research program, a team of researchers including MSU biochemist Robert Quinn, is studying the effectiveness of a promising FDA approved treatment called Trikafta that is a combination of the drugs Elexacaftor, Tezacaftor and Ivacaftor. The new treatment is proving to be life-changing for people with cystic fibrosis. The research was published Nov. 24 in the Journal of Cystic Fibrosis.
November 24, 2021
When physicist Tyler Cocker joined MSU's Department of Physics and Astronomy in 2018, he had a clear goal: build a powerful microscope that would be the first of its kind in the United States. Having accomplished that, it was time to put the microscope to work. With the novel microscope, Cocker’s team is using light and electrons to study materials with an unparalleled intimacy and resolution. The researchers can see atoms and measure quantum features within samples that could become the building blocks of quantum computers and next-generation solar cells. Their research was recently published in the journal Nature Communications.
November 24, 2021
On December 10, Netflix will debut the movie “Don’t Look Up,” a fictional comedy about MSU scientists who try to warn the government about a giant asteroid’s impending collision with Earth. In the story, no one from the government or press is paying attention, but in real life, NASA and MSU are very much engaged in the serious and important science of planetary defense. MSU planetary scientist Seth Jacobson is part of a multi-disciplinary research team working on this project.
November 23, 2021
Thirty-seven outstanding MSU College of Natural Science faculty, staff and students were recognized for their achievements and contributions at the NatSci Annual Meeting and Awards Ceremony, held on Nov. 19 at the new STEM Teaching and Learning Facility.
November 22, 2021
MSU Academic Specialist Nathan Emery and collaborators recently published a study in BioScience in which they surveyed college/university educators from around the globe on teaching practices related to data science as well as how scientists use data science in their own research. Their work offers a window into how data science is currently taught and how to best empower instructors to incorporate data science into future biology and environmental science courses.
November 16, 2021
Journal articles of particular note in chemistry are occasionally honored through supplementary journal covers to promote the research content. Chemistry Professor Piotr Piecuch’s recent publication in the Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters was selected for such an honor. The journal awards supplementary covers to authors of articles it recognizes as having contributed significantly to advancing important principles in physical chemistry, and is an honor given to only a maximum of three articles per journal issue.
November 10, 2021
Plants are master chemists, producing a dazzling array of molecules that are valuable to humans, including vitamins, pharmaceuticals and flavorings. In a paper published in Science Advances, a team of MSU scientists from the College of Natural Science followed up on their observation that the common black nightshade (Solanum nigrum) makes an unusually large number of different acylsugar protective compounds in their trichome hairs. A surprise finding from this study is that black nightshade acylsugars have distinct types of compounds not found together in other plants.
November 8, 2021
Long ago in Earth’s history, individual cells began to communicate and coordinate with one another. Thanks to this and a few billion years of evolution, humans can now gather in lecture halls to share ideas about how to study this communication and its wide-ranging implications.MSU scientists Lee Kroos and Yann Dufour now have a paper, published online Nov. 5 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, in which they took a deep look at how single cells work together to choreograph collective behavior. In particular, the team looked at a bacterial species known as Myxococcus xanthus to tease out the basic rules of the dances bacteria do to survive, thrive and impact humanity, for better or worse.
November 3, 2021
About 20 years ago, MSU's B. Alex Brown had an idea to reveal insights about a fundamental but enigmatic force at work in some of the most extreme environments in the universe. Brown’s theory laid the blueprints for connecting the properties of nuclei to neutron stars, but building that bridge with experiments continued to be challenging. That is until 2017 when he said he started thinking about the precision experiments run by his colleague Kei Minamisono's group at the National Superconducting Cyclotron Laboratory, or NSCL, and in the near-future at the Facility for Rare Isotope Beams, or FRIB. The goal of this new idea, which was recently published in the journal Physical Review Letters, was the same as his earlier theory, but it could be tested using what are known as “mirror nuclei” to provide a faster and simpler path to that destination.
November 1, 2021
The Department of Energy’s Office of Science has announced its selection of graduate students for the Office of Science Graduate Student Research program’s 2021 Solicitation 1 cycle, three of whom are Michigan State University College of Natural Science doctoral students: Caleb Richard Hicks and Gabriel Given in the Department of Physics and Astronomy, and Scott Essenmacher in the Department of Chemistry.
October 28, 2021
The NASA Astrobiology Institute funded Michigan State University geomicrobiologist Matt Schrenk’s lab to study life in the extreme environment of an aquifer near Lower Lake, Calif. Because similar environments occur in space—in the subsurface of Mars and in the oceans of Saturn’s icy moon Enceladus—the microorganisms found in this aquifer, and their behavior, may provide insight into potential extraterrestrial life. Two former MSU earth and environmental sciences graduate students, Lindsay Putman and Mary Sabuda, have just published papers on this research.
October 27, 2021
MSU quantitative ecologist Elise Zipkin has been awarded a Fulbright Senior Scholar Fellowship, which will send her to Israel for four months of research and teaching in 2022. Teaming up with Tel Aviv University (TAU) microclimate prediction scientists, Zipkin developed a research and teaching proposal that bridges their disciplines. She plans to lead a series of four full-day workshops for graduate students at TAU and study how climate change affects ecologically and economically important insect species in the Middle East.
October 21, 2021
Five Michigan State University College of Natural Science students and one recent alum are among the 10 MSU students and four alumni nominated this year for nationally competitive graduate school scholarships in the UK and Ireland that could make these potential honors a reality. In total, MSU has produced 16 Churchill Scholars, 20 Marshall Scholars, five Mitchell Scholars and 20 Rhodes Scholars.
October 20, 2021
MSU ecosystems scientist Bruno Basso has received a $3.4 million grant from the USDA’s Farm Service Agency to help determine how much carbon is in unproductive agricultural lands now and how much carbon the soil can hold. The answers found by Basso and his team will contribute to a carbon storage initiative known as the Conservation Reserve Program, which allows unproductive land to return to native vegetation and hopefully to increase the amount of carbon to be stored in the soil while reducing greenhouse gas emissions from agrochemical applications to mitigate climate change.
October 19, 2021
MSU has one of the most beautiful campuses in the Midwest. This time of year, it’s common to see students, staff and faculty gazing at the spectacular trees, in awe of the beautifully colored leaves changing from green to fiery red, yellow and orange. Not everyone observing this beautiful natural phenomenon are doing it simply for their own personal enjoyment. Around 400 students in two sections of introductory biology are observing the changing of the leaves as part of a project that studies autumn tree phenology—the study of recurring natural events, such as color change in leaves, migrations of birds and butterflies, and hibernation in many animals.
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