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News

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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April 25, 2022
The National Science Foundation has awarded a $399,865 Campus Cyberinfrastructure Planning Grant to Michigan State University to create the MSU Data Machine—an accessible supercomputer optimized for such data-intensive research as machine learning and artificial intelligence applications. Several MSU College of Natural Science faculty members—Brian O’Shea, Matthew Schrenk and Phoebe Zarnetske—are playing key roles in the project, dubbed the MSU Data Machine.
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April 25, 2022
Wildlife policy and management decisions often rely on estimates of animal abundance, so inaccurate counts can have negative consequences. Aerial surveys are an efficient survey platform; however, they can yield unreliable data if not carefully executed. Despite a long history of aerial survey use in ecological research, problems common to aerial surveys have not yet been adequately resolved. MSU Ph.D. student Kayla Davis and integrative biologist Elise Zipkin recently published a paper in the journal Ecology and Evolution that outlines the three-pronged approach their team used to tackle the problem.
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April 22, 2022
Twenty-eight (28) Michigan State University College of Natural Science graduating seniors were among 179 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. In addition to being recognized by the Board of Trustees, students also will be acknowledged during their individual commencement ceremonies in May and will receive $1,000 from the university for their accomplishments. 
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April 21, 2022
Thirty-one (31) MSU College of Natural Science (NatSci) undergraduate students were among those receiving first-place honors for their 2022 University Undergraduate Research and Arts Forum (UURAF) entries. This year’s event—UURAF’s 24th—took place on April 8 at the Jack Breslin Student Events Center and online at Symposium by ForagerOne. More than 750 students from 14 colleges/academic units participated in the event, including 197 NatSci students.
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April 20, 2022
The MSU College of Natural Science (NatSci) has completed a new strategic plan that articulates a shared vision and direction for the college. The five-year plan (2022-2026) is a co-created consensus document that will serve as a framework for the college’s key priorities, including academic excellence and student success, research to advance society’s health and well-being, building strong partnerships and collaborations to broaden and strengthen our efforts, and creating a safe, equitable and inclusive environment for all.
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April 18, 2022
María Santos Merino, postdoctoral researcher from the Ducat lab at the MSU-DOE Plant Research Laboratory, is the first to be awarded the Clarence Suelter Endowed Postdoctoral Fellowship Award from the MSU Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (BMB). This fellowship, new to BMB in 2022, recognizes outstanding accomplishments and aims to encourage career development. María plans to use the monetary award to visit the University of Turku in Finland to learn a new technique, Membrane Inlet Mass Spectrometry.
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April 14, 2022
College of Natural Science (NatSci) chemist Jetze Tepe was among the honorees at the 12th annual Michigan State University Innovation Celebration on April 12. Tepe, a professor in the Department of Chemistry, received the MSU Innovation Center’s 2022 Innovator of the Year award for his research on the synthesis of natural products and medicinal chemistry. His drug discovery work seeks to identify innovative therapeutics for neurogenerative diseases and cancer.
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April 13, 2022
Sometimes making a brand-new type of box requires outside-the-box thinking, which is exactly what Michigan State University chemists used to create an eight-atom, magnetic cube. That tiny box is at the heart of a new magnetic molecule that could power future technologies for data storage, quantum computing and more. MSU chemist Selvan Demir and her team recently published their work in the journal Chem, which featured the research on the cover of its March 10 issue.
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April 13, 2022
Vashti Sawtelle, associate professor in the MSU Department of Physics and Astronomy in the College of Natural Science and Lyman Briggs College, was one of three professors selected for the 2022 Michigan Distinguished Professor of the Year Award from the Michigan Association of State Universities. Sawtelle was recognized for the significant impact she's had on undergraduate student learning through various activities, particularly classroom instruction, applied research, experiential learning, innovation and mentoring.
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April 12, 2022
Climate change doesn’t just mean warmer weather. Cold spells can hit unusual lows, too, and the fluctuations between warm and chilly are becoming more extreme. MSU’s David Kramer is interested in resilience as it relates to photosynthesis because the process by which plants are powered by the sun is particularly sensitive to temperature swings. This knowledge could one day help certain crops grow in more places and help growers decide when to plant crops so they can harvest before the most severe stresses from heat and pests. The work of Kramer and his team was recently published online in the journal Plant, Cell & Environment. 

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