News

MSI PI James Anderson (professor, Agronomy and Plant Genetics) was interviewed by WNAX radio about a new variety of wheat that was recently released by the University of Minnesota. The variety, a hard red spring wheat, is named “Torgy” after the retired Executive Director of the Minnesota Wheat Research and Promotion Council and Minnesota Association of Wheat Growers Dave Torgerson.
MSI PI Alik Widge (assistant professor, Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences) is the principal investigator on a new $6.6 million grant from the National Institute of Mental Health that funds the development of a new device that will be able to sync or unsync brain waves in patients with mental health disorders. Professor Widge and his group have previously developed methods that bring brain waves into or out of synchronicity.
A new research institute aimed at discovering how biological variation influences ecosystem and biosphere dynamics launched this month.
Two MSI PIs in the Department of Civil, Environmental, and Geo- Engineering have been studying the water systems in University of Minnesota Twin Cities buildings to determine if they harbor deadly strains of Legionella. When the campus closed to nearly all the UMN community in mid-March, Professors Raymond Hozalski and Timothy LaPara took the opportunity to study whether the buildings’ water systems would become breeding areas for Legionella bacteria.
MSI PI Samuel Myers, Jr. (professor, Humphrey School of Public Affairs ; director, Roy Wilkins Center for Human Relations and Social Justice) was interviewed recently about his research into the Minnesota Paradox, which states that, while Minnesota is one of the best places to live for whites, it’s one of the worst, relatively speaking, for Blacks. Professor Myers sees a way for this disparity to be overcome.
MSI PI Cara Santelli (associate professor, Earth and Environmental Sciences) has been named to the 2020-21 Internationalizing Teaching and Learning Faculty Cohort Program. In this program, an interdisciplinary team of faculty members develop ways to include global, international, and intercultural learning into course design and delivery.
On Wednesday, September 2, 2020, MSI staff will perform scheduled maintenance and upgrade to various MSI systems. Primary Storage, Mesabi, and Mangi will be unavailable throughout much of the day. A global system reservation will start at 5:00 a.m. CDT on September 2. Jobs that cannot be completed before 5:00 a.m. on September 2 will be held until after maintenance and then started once the system returns to production status.September maintenance will include:
MSI PI Suo Yang (associate professor, Mechanical Engineering) is studying how coronavirus travels through the lungs. Professor Yang’s primary research, for which he uses MSI resources, includes first-principles based modeling and simulation of reacting flows, including combustion, turbulence, soot aerosols, and plasma physics, and their multiscale interactions. This expertise translates to simulations of how SARS-CoV-2 travels through the respiratory system.
Two MSI PIs are leading a project to create systems that use food waste to create heat, energy, and fertilizer.
MSI PI and Vice President for Research Chris Cramer (Chemistry) has received a 2021 Arthur C. Cope Late Career Scholar Award from the American Chemical Society (ACS). The award recognizes VP Cramer’s excellence in organic chemistry. A story about his research and this award appears on the chemistry department website: Christopher Cramer Receives ACS Arthur C.
Two MSI PIs from the School of Public Health (SPH), Professors Baolin Wu (Biostatistics) and Jim Pankow (Epidemiology and Community Health), are leading a project that will seek to identify which parts of the human genetic code are associated with diabetes. This will help researchers develop personalized treatment for the disease.
The Center for Sustainable Nanotechnology, a multi-institutional research center, has received a five-year, $20M grant from the National Science Foundation to continue their research.
MSI PI Chris Hogan (professor, Mechanical Engineering) was interviewed by tv station KSTP recently to talk about using UV light to kill the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus. Several companies, such as the airline JetBlue, M Health Fairview, and HVAC companies are trying out various systems that use a type of UV light called ultraviolet germicidal irradiation on equipment and surfaces.
Particulate matter, tiny particles of sulfates, nitrates, and carbon found in air pollution, is a serious health hazard. MSI PI David Pui (Regents Professor, Mechanical Engineering) and his team are working with researchers in India to install 60-foot towers that will filter these particles out of the air. This project continues research that involved modeling such towers in locations around Beijing, China.
The University of Minnesota and Massachusetts General Hospital have received a National Science Foundation (NSF) award to create a new Engineering Research Center (ERC). NSF awarded $26 million over five years to fund the ERC for Advanced Technologies for the Preservation of Biological Systems (ATP-Bio).
MSI PI Wei-Shou Hu (professor, Chemical Engineering and Materials Science) and members of his research group are working with researchers at the University of Minnesota Medical School to develop a method to grow SARS CoV-2 spike proteins. These spike proteins, which cover the outside of the virus and allow the virus to attach to cells, are used by researchers across the world to understand the properties of the novel coronavirus and to develop vaccines.
Researchers from the University of Minnesota Informatics Institute (UMII), which is a partner with MSI in the Research Computing group, will be part of a new Center for Neural Circuits in Addiction.
On Wednesday, August 5, 2020, MSI staff will perform scheduled maintenance and upgrade to various MSI systems. Primary Storage, Mesabi, and Mangi will be unavailable throughout much of the day. A global system reservation will start at 5:00 a.m. CDT on August 5. Jobs that cannot be completed before 5:00 a.m. on August 5 will be held until after maintenance and then started once the system returns to production status. August maintenance will include:
In a new partnership agreement, NASA will provide funding to the Zooniverse.org teams at the University of Minnesota and the Adler Planetarium in Chicago for two years. Zooniverse is the world’s largest citizen-science platform and was co-founded by MSI PI Lucy Fortson (professor, Physics and Astronomy).
MSI PI Ted Pedersen (professor, Computer Science, U of M Duluth) is an expert in artificial intelligence (AI) and facial recognition. He recently spoke to the UMD News team about developments in AI related to COVID-19 tracking, reporting, and research. Professor Pedersen uses MSI for a project to develop a method for computers to accurately determine the exact meaning of a word based on its usage.

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