News

MSI PI Craig Packer (professor, Ecology, Evolution, and Behavior; director, The Lion Center) is one of two University of Minnesota researchers named as a Fellow by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). Professor Packer is being honored for his research that studies African lions.
On Wednesday, December 4, 2019, MSI staff will perform scheduled maintenance and upgrade 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 4. Jobs that cannot be completed before 5:00 a.m. on December 4 will be held until after maintenance and then started once the system returns to production status.December maintenance will include:
MSI PIs Forest Isbell (associate director, Cedar Creek Ecosystem Science Reserve (CCESR)) and Peter Reich (Regents Professor, Forest Resources), are co-authors on a recent paper that shows that abandoned agricultural land fails to regain biodiversity after nearly a century of disuse. The study examined abandoned agricultural land and compared its biodiversity compared to land that had never been plowed.
Several MSI PIs are the leads on projects that recently received funding from the Minnesota Invasive Terrestrial Plants and Pests Center (MITPPC). The projects aim at preventing and fighting various weeds, diseases, and insects that are affecting Minnesota’s plant life. The MSI PIs and their projects are:
Two MSI PIs have been named to the Academies for Excellence, which recognizes outstanding University of Minnesota faculty in the areas of scientific research, educational scholarship, clinical practice, and team science: Academy for Excellence in Health Research Jerrold Vitek (professor and chair, Neurology)
MSI has created and released a Mesabi Interactive Queue. The purpose of the Mesabi Interactive Queue is to increase the availability of nodes for interactive use and to replace the interactive resources available in the LabQi Cluster. The Mesabi Interactive Queue can be used in real-time for tasks such as interactive data exploration, creating plots or images, visualizations, or testing sections of code that will be used on other MSI queues.  Here are several examples of how you can request an interactive HPC job on the new Mesabi Interactive Queue:
Debmayla Ray, a computational chemist and PhD candidate in the group of MSI PI Laura Gagliardi (professor, Chemistry), is featured in Student Voices on YouTube. He talks about his research, computational chemistry at the U, and the importance mental health.
MSI PI Peter Larsen (assistant professor, Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences) is featured in a recent news story by WCCO-TV about chronic wasting disease (CWD) in Minnesota’s deer population. CWD is a deadly prion disease. Professor Larsen’s lab is working to develop an instant CWD field test, which would allow hunters to know immediately whether their deer is safe to eat.
MSI PI Julianna Abel (assistant professor, Mechanical Engineering) and colleagues have published research that describes their development of a self-fitting, temperature-responsive textile. The study was published in the journal Advanced Materials Technologies. It describes a fabric made of shape memory alloys that, using only body heat, can self-adjust to mold to the body.
MSI PI Jason Hill (associate professor, Bioproducts and Biosystems Engineering) and colleagues have published a paper that discusses several different foods and their impact both on human health and on the environment. The research examines the impact of one additional serving a day of these foods on five different health conditions and five types of environmental harm. In general, the study found that healthy foods also tend to be less detrimental to the environment.
On Wednesday, November 6, 2019, MSI staff will perform scheduled maintenance and upgrade 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 November 6. Jobs that cannot be completed before 5:00 a.m. on November 6 will be held until after maintenance and then started once the system returns to production status. November maintenance will include:
MSI PI Traian Dumitrica (Professor, Mechanical Engineering) and his students Yuezho Wang, Hao Xu, Grigorii Drozdov, and Igor Ostanin have been selected as winners of the 2020 Peter A. Cundall Award for the Fifth International Itasca Symposium. The extended abstract for which they received the award is titled, “Distinct Element Method (DEM) for fibrous composites: Toward computational guided manufacturing.”
The Minnesota Aquatic Invasive Species Research Center (MAISRC) has released a video featuring the work of MSI PI Michael Smanski (assistant professor, Biochemistry, Molecular Biology, and Biophysics). Professor Smanski and his group are developing a novel method of biocontrol for common carp. A description of the project can be found on the MAISRC website: Genetic Control of Invasive Fish Species.
The College of Continuing and Professional Studies (CCAPS) has published a story about MSI PI James Luby (professor, Horticultural Science). Professor Luby is one of the co-developers of the hugely popular Honeycrisp apple, along with other varieties.
Research by MSI PI Carol Cardona (professor, Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences) is featured in the University of Minnesota’s 2019-20 Driven to Discover campaign. Professor Cardona and other U of M researchers work with Minnesota’s poultry farms - many of them independent businesses that have been family-owned for several generations - to help them keep their flocks healthy and safe.
MSI PI Sophia Vinogradov (professor and head, Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences) is part of a research study at the U that is developing apps that are designed to help teenagers and young adults deal with the onset of psychosis. The goal is to be able to identify the start of psychosis so that treatment can begin as soon as possible. This study is one of many that seeks to deal with mental illness without drugs.
A new paper by researchers from the National Science Foundation Center for Sustainable Nanotechnology has revealed that bacteria can adapt quickly to the presence of nanoparticles in the environment, even when those nanoparticles are not designed to kill the bacteria. The study showed that the bacterium Shewanella ondeidensis MR-1 adapted to higher and higher levels of nanoparticles used in making lithium-ion batteries. This is the first study to show that bacteria can develop resistance to substances other than antibiotics.
Research by MSI PIs Jaime Modiano (professor, Veterinary Clinical Sciences) and David Largaespada (professor, Pediatrics) is featured in the University of Minnesota’s 2019-20 Driven to Discover campaign. They have developed a drug that is resulting in improved survival rates for a fatal cancer in dogs.
The College of Veterinary Medicine has received a grant of nearly $3M to fund a project to study how porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome (PRRS) virus evolves and spreads. PRRS costs the swine industry millions each year. This project is a collaboration between the U of M and at the University of Edinburgh’s Roslin Institute.
MSI PI Mark Schleiss (professor, Pediatrics) has received a $3.9M grant from the National Institutes of Health to investigate vaccine strategies against cytomegalovirus (CMV), an infection that causes birth defects and disabilities in babies. CMV is the most common such infection in the U.S.

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