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The Medical School’s Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathology has been selected to be one of four Capacity Building Centers as part of the Serological Sciences Network (SeroNet). They have received a $6.7 million grant for this effort. SeroNet is the nation’s largest coordinated effort to study the immune response to COVID-19.
MSI PI Jiarong Hong  (associate professor. Mechanical Engineering) led a recent study of how woodwinds and brass instruments spread aerosols. Collaborating with the Minnesota Orchestra, Professor Hong and his team measured the aerosols spread by different instruments, finding that there is considerable difference between them. The study also investigated different methods of mitigating spread by using filters that covered the instruments’ openings.
MSI PI Michael McAlpine (professor, Mechanical Engineering) and a team of researchers from the University of Minnesota and the U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command Soldier Center has successfully 3D printed micron-scale fluid channels. Microfluidics are used for a variety of medical and biological tests. This was the first time such structures have been printed on a curved surface. The process also did not require a clean room.
MSI PI Carol Lange (Medicine; Pharmacology; Masonic Cancer Center) and her colleagues and collaborators have received a $500,000 grant from METAvivor to study how steroid hormone receptors impact metastatic breast cancer. Professor Lange collaborates with Dr. Carol Sartorius at the University of Colorado.
From the beginning, researchers at the University of Minnesota have been active in the effort to understand and fight SARS-CoV-2, the coronavirus that causes COVID-19. Many have stepped out of their customary research areas in order to solve problems related to the coronavirus. Several of these researchers, including MSI PIs, are featured in a story in the Fall 2020 issue of the U of M Foundation’s Discovery magazine: ‘The Audacity to Do Something.' MSI PIs featured in the story:
MSI PI Marco Pravetoni (associate professor, Pharmacology) and his colleagues are developing antibody-based methods to fight against fentanyl overdose. Fentanyl is a powerful synthetic opioid associated with deaths worldwide. The multi-institutional team has received a $2.4 million grant from the National Institutes of Health to help with this research.
MSI PI Trevor Wardill (assistant professor, Ecology, Evolution and Behavior) and student Rachael Feord developed a new technology that has allowed them to investigate how a fruit fly’s brain responds to seeing color. Fruit flies have a much faster visual system than humans and other animals whose color vision has been studied previously. This research leads to a greater understanding of how animals respond to stimuli and how it could affect their behavior and survival.
MSI PI Laura Niedernhofer (professor, Biochemistry, Molecular Biology, and Biophysics; director, Institute on the Biology of Aging and Metabolism) leads one of four labs that will collaborate on a $6.2 million study to define the links between aging and Parkinson’s disease. The grant was awarded by the Aligning Science Across Parkinson’s initiative.
Two MSI PIs have been named 2020 Fellows by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.
On Wednesday, October 7, 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 October 7. Jobs that cannot be completed before 5:00 a.m. on October 7 will be held until after maintenance and then started once the system returns to production status. October maintenance will include:
The shores of Lake Superior are home to varieties of rare, cold-weather plants known as arctic relicts. These plants have evolved to survive in the harsh conditions found in northern climates. However, climate change is affecting their habitats. MSI PI Briana Gross (associate professor, Biology, UMD) and members of her research group are studying some of these plants to learn more about how they might survive as their habitats warm.
The lab of MSI PI Linda Kinkel (professor, Plant Pathology) used their enforced work-from-home time during the pandemic to tackle the project of digitizing 30 years’ worth of lab notebooks. An article about the project and how it was accomplished appears in the journal Nature: How to Digitize Your Lab Notebooks.

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