2018-20 McKnight Land-Grant Professors Include MSI PIs

Four MSI PIs are among the faculty selected for McKnight Land-Grant Professorships for 2018-20. The goal of this program is to advance the careers of new assistant professors.

Ran Blekhman; Genetics, Cell Biology and Development

Project: Using genomics to understand how the microbiome impacts human health

MSI use: The Blekhman group uses MSI for computational, statistical, network-theory, data-mining, and population genetic analytical approaches, with the goal of understanding how we interact with our microbial communities, how host-microbe interactions affect human disease, and how the symbiosis between us and our microbiome evolved.


Filippo Coletti; Aerospace Engineering and Mechanics

Project: Transport of airborne particles inside our lungs and around us

MSI use: The Coletti group uses a broad range of measurement techniques, including particle image velocimetry and magnetic resonance imaging, for fundamental and applied research. A fundamental project involves dispersed multiphase flows, especially the dynamics of solid particles suspended in turbulent fluids. The applied side investigates bio-fluid mechanics problems, in particular the relation between anatomical structure and organ-level function in respiratory and cardiovascular settings.


Esther Krook-Magnuson; Neuroscience

Project: Understanding and harnessing the strength of neuronal diversity through selective neuromodulation

MSI use: The Krook-Magnuson group is studying neuronal circuits to understand how cells interact within a network, how networks interact with each other, and the physiological roles of neuronal populations with the goal of finding a way to eliminate seizures in epilepsy patients. This research can also answer basic questions regarding the development and expression of essential tremor.


Gene-Hua Crystal Ng; Earth Sciences

Project: Integrated hydrological sciences to prepare society for local and global change

MSI use: The Ng group uses computational models to connections between the hydrological cycle and other aspects of the environment. Projects include a study of the influence of groundwater on how sulfate loading in Minnesota streams and lakes may be affecting wild rice, and research into how changing vegetation conditions impact groundwater recharge throughout the state of Minnesota.

The complete list of awardees, with descriptions of their projects, can be found on the Scholars Walk webpage.