News

MSI PIs Sagar Goyal (professor, Veterinary Population Medicine) and Peter Bruggeman (professor, Mechanical Engineering) are leading a team studying how using cold plasma on surfaces can reduce the incidence of a virus affecting pigs. Porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome virus (PRRSv), which spreads quickly through swine barns, is extremely costly to the pork industry.
Two University of Minnesota faculty members, both MSI PIs, have been named 2018 Fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). They will be honored at the spring meeting of the AAAS on February 2019. The new Fellows are:
MSI PI Peter Reich (professor, Forest Resources) is a co-author on a new paper that analyzed the trait-environment relationships of plants, using a massive database containing over 26,000 plant species. This research will help scientists understand plant communities and how they are affected by factors besides temperature and precipitation, such as soil conditions and wildfires. This can provide insight into how climate change might affect plant communities in different regions.
MSI PIs Jonathan Schilling (professor, Plant and Microbial Biology) and Claudia Schmidt-Dannert (professor, Biochemistry, Molecular Biology and Biophysics) are investigating a process called “brown rot,” whereby fungi extract sugars from wood without breaking down the rigid material.
On Wednesday, December 5, 2018, MSI staff will perform scheduled maintenance and upgrades to various MSI systems. Primary Storage, Mesabi, and Itasca will be unavailable throughout much of the day. A global system reservation will start at 5:00 a.m. on December 5. Jobs that cannot be completed before 5:00 a.m. on December 5 will be held until after maintenance and then started once the system returns to production status. December maintenance will include:
MSI PIs Paolo Provenzano (associate professor, Biomedical Engineering; Masonic Cancer Center) and Patrick Alford (associate professor, Biomedical Engineering) have published research that shows how they stopped cancer cells from moving and spreading. The paper, published in Nature Communications, demonstrated a method that stopped two kinds of movement that cancer cells use to spread, thus stopping them.
Several MSI PIs are on the Highly Cited Researchers list, which recognizes researchers around the world whose citation records place them in the top one percent of citation counts for their field over a decade. The PIs on the list are:
The research of MSI PI Linda Kinkel (professor, Plant Pathology) was featured on Minnesota Public Radio (MPR) recently. The story describes how microbes in the soil interact with each other and how that interaction can affect agriculture. It can be found on the MPR website: Microbes in the Crop Rows: Soil’s Secrets May Yield a New Ag Revolution.
Several MSI PIs have been named as affiliates of the Institute on the Environment (IonE). Affiliates include Fellows, Associates, Educators, and Visiting Scholars. Three MSI PIs are new Fellows and four are new Associates. The Institute on the Environment supports collaborative research among academic disciplines and external partners to solve problems related to climate, energy, food, land use, water management, and more. Fellows
MSI PIs Melania Figueroa (assistant professor, Plant Pathology) and Jim Bradeen (professor and head, Plant Pathology) are featured in a story about the University’s Oat Global program in the Fall 2018 issue of the University of Minnesota Foundation’s Legacy magazine. Professor Bradeen is the director of Oat Global.
MSI PI Forest Isbell (Ecology, Evolution and Behavior) is the lead researcher on a project that has re-introduced a herd of bison into the Cedar Creek Ecosystem Science Reserve (CCESR). Dr. Isbell is the Associate Director of CCESR.
MSI PI Jian-Ping Wang (Electrical and Computer Engineering) will be the director of a new center that will focus on novel materials for advanced computing systems. The new Center for Spintronic Materials in Advanced Information Technologies (SMART) will be housed in the College of Science and Engineering (CSE).
On Wednesday, November 7, 2018, MSI staff will perform scheduled maintenance and upgrades to various MSI systems. Primary Storage, Mesabi, and Itasca will be unavailable throughout much of the day. A global system reservation will start at 5:00am on November 7. Jobs that cannot be completed before 5:00am on November 7 will be held until after maintenance and then started once the system returns to production status. November maintenance will include:
Recent research by MSI PI Dan Knights  (associate professor, Computer Science and Engineering; BioTechnology Institute) shows that the gut microbiome of southeast Asian immigrants to the US changes to become more like that of Americans. This change happens quickly, within a year. People in southeast Asia have much more diverse gut microbiomes than people in the US do. A less-diverse microbiome is linked to several health conditions, including obesity.
Two MSI PIs from the Department of Civil, Environmental, and Geo- Engineering (CEGE), Professor Bill Arnold and Dr. Paige Novak, are part of a team that has received a grant to plan an Engineering Research Center concerned with the management and treatment of water. The planning grant of $94,000 is from the National Science Foundation’s  Engineering Research Center program.
Assistant Professor Tim Kowalewski and Associate Professor James Van de Ven, MSI PIs in the Department of Mechanical Engineering, have been awarded a $1.98M grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to study 3D-printable polyurethane polymers that can be used to create soft robots that can tunnel through a variety of materials, configurations, and designs.
Associate Professor Michael McAlpine (Mechanical Engineering) is featured in the U’s Fall 2018 Driven to Discover campaign. Professor McAlpine’s research group uses MSI resources to support research into 3D printing of functional materials and devices, which requires the use of software for simulation, computer-aided engineering, data visualization, and image processing.
A study just published in the prestigious journal Nature shows that tree growth in northern Minnesota’s forests will slow down as the climate warms. This reduced growth is due to less-frequent (although heavier) rain, which will cause the soil to be drier. The study looked at 11 different tree species in northern Minnesota and was led by MSI PI Peter Reich (Regents Professor, Forest Resources).
Professor Maria Gini (Computer Science and Engineering) is featured in the U’s Fall 2018 Driven to Discover campaign. Professor Gini’s research group studies a variety of problems in artificial intelligence and multi-agent systems. The problems can require machine learning methods, optimization algorithms, search algorithms that work in very large search spaces, image processing, distributed computations, and more.
University President Eric Kaler announced today that Professor Chris Cramer (Chemistry) will take over as Vice President for Research beginning November 12, 2018 and serving until November 12, 2020.