News

MSI PI Jakub Tolar, a professor in the Department of Pediatrics, has been named the new Dean of the Medical School. Professor Tolar begins his new responsibilities this week; the official appointment is subject to Board of Regents approval. The announcement appears on the Medical School website: Dr. Jakub Tolar Named Dean of the UMN Medical School.
Two MSI PIs, Assistant Professor Michael Smanski (BioTechnology Institute; Biochemistry, Molecular Biology and Biophysics) and Assistant Professor William Harcombe (BioTechnology Institute; Ecology, Evolution and Behavior) are authors on a study that describes a way to keep genetically engineered organisms from interbr
MSI PI Nicholas Jordan (professor, Agronomy and Plant Genetics) is the lead author on a recent paper, published in EMBO Reports, that proposes a cooperative governance network that would oversee how gene-editing technologies would be used on crops. The network would include all stakeholders – crop breeders, financers, and advocacy groups – and would have procedures that would be visible to the public.
MSI PI Eric Shook (assistant professor; Geography, Environment and Society) is featured on the College of Liberal Arts (CLA) website as part of a series about CLA faculty who use big data. You can read the article on the CLA website: Superpowered GIS.
Two MSI PIs, Professor Shashi Shekhar (Computer Science and Engineering) and Professor Anu Ramaswami (Humphrey School of Public Affairs), are leading a multi-disciplinary team to develop “smart” infrastructure sectors in cities.
Regents Professor Timothy Lodge, an MSI PI who holds dual appointments in the Department of Chemistry and Department of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science, has received the 2018 Paul J. Flory Polymer Education Award. This award is given by the American Chemical Society (ACS) Division of Polymer Chemistry, and will be presented at the ACS National Meeting in March 2018.
Four MSI PIs recently were awarded grants to support their research as part of the University’s Minnesota Invasive Terrestrial Plants and Pests Center (MITPPC). The mission of the Center (from their website) is to “prevent and minimize the threats posed by terrestrial invasive plants, other weeds, pathogens, and pests in order to protect the state's prairies, forests, wetlands, and agricultural resources.” The PIs are:
Three MSI PIs are among the investigators working on a project that has received a grant from the National Institutes of Health BRAIN Initiative. The grant was awarded to the Medical School’s Center for Magnetic Resonance Research (CMRR) for a project that will study ways to make Deep Brain Simulation (DBS) more efficient and safer. DBS is used to treat many neurological disorders, such as Parkinson’s Disease. The MSI PIs are:
Tomorrow, Wednesday, October 4, 2017, 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. October maintenance will include:
A new study by MSI PI Jennifer Powers (associate professor, Ecology, Evolution and Behavior) and graduate student Leland Werden provides data to help with the restoration of tropical dry forests that have been destroyed by activities such as logging or farming. In many cases, the soil of these former forests is extremely degraded. The study, published recently in the Journal of Applied Ecology, showed that traits in certain trees allowed them to survive in poor soil conditions.
MSI PI Jeannine Cavender-Bares (associate professor, Ecology, Evolution, and Behavior) collaborated on a study that describes for the first time the evolutionary history of North American oak trees. The study describes the diversification of two lines, red oaks and white oaks, that split from a common ancestor. It was published recently in the journal New Phytologist.
MSI PI John Bischof, a professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering, has been named to be Interim Director of the Institute for Engineering in Medicine (IEM). Professor Bischof has been associate director of the Institute and is also a member of the Masonic Cancer Center.
MSI PI Eric Watkins (Horticultural Science) has received a $5.4 million grant from the US Department of Agriculture. A type of grass called fine fescue needs less water and fertilizer than other grasses used for lawns, but has not gained popularity. Professor Watkins will study why homeowners don’t use fine fescues, and how new varieties can be developed that meet their needs and wants.
The Office of the Vice President for Research (OVPR) has published a list of patents that have been awarded to University researchers during the past few months. Several MSI Principal Investigators, shown below, are on this list. The complete list can be found on the OVPR’s Inquiry blog, "Patent Roll Call, Fall 2017." The PIs' MSI group pages are linked from their names (PI names are in bold).
The Institute on the Environment (IonE) is celebrating ten years of collaborative and interdisciplinary research. A unit of the Office of the Vice President for Research (OVPR), the IonE is a world leader in environmental research. An article about the IonE's work appears on the OVPR’s Inquiry blog: A Decade of Leadership Toward a Sustainable Future.
PhD candidate Lotus Lofgren, who uses MSI resources as part of the group of Associate Professor Peter Kennedy (Plant and Microbial Biology), was recently awarded the J.L. Harley Medal from the International Mycorrhiza Society. This award is given to a graduate student for excellence in research and presentation at the Society’s annual conference.
MSI PIs Kenneth Beckman (Director, University of Minnesota Genomics Center (UMGC)) and Dan Knights (Computer Science and Engineering; BioTechnology Institute), along with MSI user Daryl Gohl (Research and Development Lead, UMGC), have developed microbiome-analysis technology that is now being made available to the public through a new company,
MSI PI Peter Reich (Forest Resources) is a co-author on a recent study that studied the factors that result in size of plants’ leaves. The study was the cover article on the September 1, 2017 issue of the prestigious journal Science. Professor Reich and his colleagues studied thousands of leaves from all continents, climate zones, and plant types. They discovered that cold, as well as heat, can be the main factor in determining how large a plant’s leaves can get.
MSI PI Michael Sadowsky and collaborator Alexander Khoruts have developed and tested a treatment for a serious gut infection that is showing excellent results. The infection, Clostridium difficile, which affects about half a million people every year, is debilitating and sometimes fatal. The treatment, called fecal microbiota transplantation, has a greater than 95% cure rate and has been adopted by medical practitioners around the country.
Three MSI PIs are among the University faculty who have received seed grants from the Minnesota Partnership for Biotechnology and Medical Genomics. The Partnership is a collaboration between the University of Minnesota, Mayo Clinic, and the State of Minnesota that supports biotechnology and biomedical research. The projects receiving grants include researchers from the University and Mayo. The PIs receiving awards are: