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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.

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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.  
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.

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