July 24, 2023
Rising global temperatures are making it harder for birds to know when it’s spring and time to breed according to a new study published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. A large collaboration led by Michigan State University integrative biologist Casey Youngflesh in partnership with the University of California, Los Angeles, has found that birds produce fewer young if they start breeding too early or late in the season. With climate change resulting in earlier springlike weather, the researchers report, birds have been unable to keep pace.
July 24, 2023
Understanding the intricate puzzle pieces that make up the photosynthetic systems of plants can help researchers better understand how to grow and create plants that can survive in changing climate conditions. Naveen Sharma, a postdoctoral researcher in the Federica Brandizzi lab at the MSU-DOE Plant Research Laboratory (PRL), is one of the few people in the PRL who studies carbonic anhydrases (CAs)—proteins found in the chloroplast stroma where photosynthesis takes place. A study led by Sharma to better characterize CAs in the model plant Arabidopsis thaliana, was recently published in The Plant Journal.
May 1, 2023
How does the universe work? How did we get here? Are we alone? Fellows at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) are working hard to answer these big questions. Each year, an elite group of postdoctoral researchers become part of NASA’s Hubble Fellowship Program. Kristen Dage, who received her Ph.D. at Michigan State University in astrophysics in July 2020, was selected to join the 2023 cohort. This is the first time an MSU Ph.Dd student has received this honor.
November 14, 2022
There's a popular saying that people who ignore history are doomed to repeat it. It turns out that there's another reason not to ignore history according to new research from Michigan State University published in the journal Ecology. Experts and a unique research site at MSU are showing how the history of land being restored shapes the future and success of conservation efforts. With support from the National Science Foundation, this new study focuses on one of those factors — when a plot is restored — through the lens of biodiversity.
November 3, 2022
For just the second time in human history, researchers have identified a source of high-energy neutrinos — ghostly subatomic particles produced in some of the universe’s most extreme environments. The discovery was made by an international collaboration led by Michigan State University and Technical University of Munich researchers at the IceCube Neutrino Observatory in Antarctica. The team announced its findings on Nov. 3 in an online webinar and will publish its study Nov. 4 in the journal
October 31, 2022
Michigan State University plant biologist Federica Brandizzi and her team are collaborators with Stanford University's SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory on a a three-year, $507,264 grant from Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Science’s Biological and Environmental Research (BER) program to build new microscopes that allow scientists to look into plant cells like never before. The grant aims to create optical and X-ray multimodal-hybrid microscope systems for live imaging of plant stress responses and microbial interactions.
May 31, 2022
MSU chemists are discovering new information to help remediate “forever chemicals” by showing for the first time how they interact with soil at the molecular level. The researchers, Narasimhan Loganathan and Angela K. Wilson in the MSU College of Natural Science, published their findings May 11 online in the journal Environmental Science & Technology.
May 27, 2022
Postdoctoral researcher Jeff Doser and his team at Michigan State have developed a unique model to analyze declining biodiversity and understand the changes occurring within individual species and across broader wildlife communities. In a new paper, published in Methods in Ecology and Evolution, the team shows how integrating data from multiple species and data sources can take analyses a step further than previous approaches.
April 27, 2022
Thanks to a lesser-known feature of microbiology, Michigan State University researchers have helped open a door that could lead to medicines, vitamins and more being made at lower costs and with improved efficiency. The international research team, led by Henning Kirst and Cheryl Kerfeld, have repurposed what are known as bacterial microcompartments and programmed them to produce valuable chemicals from inexpensive starting ingredients. The team recently published its work in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
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.
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.
March 25, 2022
Elias Aydi, a postdoc in Michigan State University’s Department of Physics and Astronomy is one of a select group of 24 young scientists internationally who were awarded a prestigious 2022 NASA Hubble Fellowship. As a Hubble Fellow, Aydi plans to combine multi-wavelength observations from diverse NASA space-based facilities, several ground-based observatories, and 3D radiation-hydro simulations to decipher shocks in novae and work on solving several long-standing puzzles in high-energy astrophysics.
March 17, 2022
Spartan astronomer Elias Aydi is helping show what our solar system and others may look like when they enter their final acts. Aydi is the first author of the study, which was a collaboration with Shazrene Mohamed, a University of Miami astrophysicist with the South African Astronomical Observatory. The duo found that interactions between a red giant star and a nearby substellar object will create distinct structured patterns, such as spirals and arcs, in the environment around the star. The work was recently accepted for publication in the peer-reviewed journal Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.
March 4, 2022
Don’t underestimate the diminutive and doe-eyed Rio pearlfish, for looks can be deceiving. This fish has evolved over the eons into one tough little customer producing eggs that can survive being completely dry for months at a time. That’s one of the reasons that MSU integrative biologist Ingo Braasch and members of his Fish Evo Devo Geno Lab have sequenced the first complete genome of the fish. With that genome, researchers can better understand the biology and evolution of the species’ survival skills. The study was recently published in the journal G3: Genes I Genomes I Genetics. Andrew Thompson, a postdoctoral research associate in Braasch's lab, was lead author of the report.
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 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.
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 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 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.
August 30, 2021
As we live and breathe, ancient-looking fish known as bowfin are guarding genetic secrets that that can help unravel humanity’s evolutionary history and better understand its health. Michigan State researchers Ingo Braasch and Andrew Thompson are now decoding some of those secrets. Leading a project that included more than two dozen researchers spanning three continents, the Spartans have assembled the most complete picture of the bowfin genome to date. Their research findings were published Aug. 30 in the journal Nature Genetics.
August 24, 2021
Lake trout is an iconic native species to the Great Lakes. MSU integrative biology doctoral student Seth Smith is leading an effort along with his professor and an international team of researchers from the U.S. and Canada to create a reference genome for lake trout to support state and federal agencies with reintroduction and conservation efforts. The research from the team was published on Aug. 5 in the journal Molecular Ecology Resources.
August 16, 2021
Missing metadata — data that provides information about other data — might not sound like a big deal, but it’s a costly problem that’s hindering humanity’s plans to protect the planet’s biodiversity. A Spartan-led research team reveals surprising gaps in ecological genetic data that could otherwise help global conservation efforts. MSU's Rachel Toczydlowski is the lead author of a new study in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, which features researchers from 14 institutions in three countries.The team audited the largest global repository for storing genetic sequence data to see if the entries included basic metadata needed to make them useful for monitoring genetic diversity.
August 5, 2021
A few years ago, Michigan State University quantitative ecologists Sarah Saunders and Elise Zipkin created a new statistical model to understand the threats endangered species face. Now, as federal agencies continue to use those findings, the research has earned this year’s Ecological Forecasting Outstanding Publication Award from the Ecological Society of America (ESA).
July 21, 2021
MSU Distinguished Professor Kay Holekamp and her students have been observing hyenas as part of The Maasai Mara Hyena Project for over 30 years, following, tagging, sampling blood and feces, and amassing a rich dataset helping to answer questions previously thought impossible outside the lab. In a new study led by former postdoc Zachary Laubach, they found that less maternal care during the infant’s first year of life and less social connectedness once independent of the communal den are associated later in life with higher concentrations of stress hormones and less global DNA methylation. The exciting new study is published in Nature Communications.
July 13, 2021
Toxoplasma gondii is a single-celled parasite with a singular goal: to infect any warm-blooded animal until it is ingested by a wild or domestic cat. Using the strength of interdisciplinary collaboration, MSU scientists have conducted a first-of-its-kind study into the role of T. gondii in the wild, establishing its definitive presence and influence among free-living hyenas. Their results were recently published in Nature Communications.
May 3, 2021
Scientists have known about two of the most enormous and mysterious regions of the earth’s lower mantle, Large Low Shear Velocity Provinces (LLSVPs), for decades, but no one knows what they are made of or where they came from. MSU experimental geologist Susannah Dorfman and a talented team of international researchers pieced together a way to make an iron-rich form of the mineral bridgmanite—a rusting rock—that may finally explain the existence of LLSVPs. Their results are published in Nature Communications.
April 19, 2021
An expansive project led by MSU plant biologist Lars Brudvig is examining the benefits, and limits, of environmental restoration on developed land after humans are done with it. Although humans can heal some of that damage by working to restore the land to its natural state, questions remain about how far restoration can go in overcoming a land’s past.. Brudvig and his collaborators now have some answers that they’ve published April 19 online in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
April 9, 2021
MSU researchers have helped catch particles called muons behaving in a way that’s not predicted by the Standard Model of particle physics — the best theory that scientists have for explaining the universe’s fundamental particles and forces.The results from this experiment, called the Muon g-2 experiment, confirm a discrepancy that has been gnawing at researchers for decades. The team published its landmark result in the journal Physical Review Letters on April 7.
April 6, 2021
Three stellar early-career scholars bringing multi-disciplinary scientific exploration, collaboration and community engagement have been selected as MSU Presidential Postdoctoral Fellows in Ecology, Evolution, and Behavior. Cinnamon Mittan, Daniela Palmer and Olivia Smith will be the first cohort of the fellowship, created to increase the breadth and potential of research embracing ecology, evolution and behavior at MSU. They will begin their work in the 2021-2022 academic year.
April 5, 2021
MSU’s Long Term Ecological Research (LTER) site, located at the W.K. Kellogg Biological Station, was founded in 1988 to employ and understand the ecology of Midwest cropping systems and agricultural landscapes. When KBS passed the 30-year mark in 2018, three former KBS researchers, Sarah Cusser, Jackson Helms and Christie Bahlai, decided the 30th anniversary was not only a significant milestone, but a good time to ask questions about LTER’s database. Thanks to their efforts, which were recently published in Ecology Letters, they now know that ecological investigations of at least nine years are needed to achieve significant, consistent results related to accelerated climate and land use change.
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