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.
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.
December 1, 2022MSU researcher expertise, energy and empathy leave a legacy