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posted on July 30, 2015
MSI PIs George Weiblen and M. David Marks, both professors in the Department of Plant Biology, have published research that identifies a gene that distinguishes hemp from marijuana. This research could have implications for future industrial uses of hemp. Currently, legal restrictions affect both the growing of hemp and marijuana. Identifying how the two Cannabis varieties differ could result in fewer restrictions for hemp, which has valuable fibers and nutritious seeds.
Professor Weiblen is also curator of plants at the Bell Museum of Natural History. He uses MSI resources for genetic linkage mapping and quantitative trait locus mapping for cannabinoid content as well as phylogenetic analysis of cannabinoid synthase sequences and gene expression patterns. Professor Marks uses MSI for plant genome assembly and annotation.
The paper can be found on the New Phytologist website: G.D. Weiblen, J.P. Wenger, K.J. Craft, M.A. ElSohly, Z. Mehmedic, E.L. Treiber, and M.D. Marks. 2015. Gene duplication and divergence affecting drug content in Cannabis sativa. New Phytologist. DOI: 10.1111/nph.13562
More articles about this research:
posted on July 28, 2015
MSI Principal Investigator Art Erdman (Director, Medical Devices Center; Mechanical Engineering) was quoted in a recent article about how a Western bias in the development of medical devices can affect their usability in other cultures. This challenge is especially great when developing devices for home use. Professor Erdman discusses the need for on-site study of the needs of other countries and cultures.
MSI works with the Medical Devices Center to incorporate high-level computer modeling and simulation into the medical device design process. Read the article on the Medical Device and Diagnostic Industry website.
posted on July 13, 2015
Two MSI Principal Investigators are featured in a recent post on the University’s Discover blog about deep brain stimulation (DBS), a therapy to alleviate tremors associated with Parkinson’s disease and other disorders. DBS uses electrodes inserted into a patient’s brain to electrically stimulate brain circuits, which causes the tremors to be greatly reduced or disappear completely. This is an enormous quality-of-life benefit to patients who sometimes are unable to perform the basic tasks because of their tremors.
Associate Professor Noam Harel (Center for Magnetic Resonance Research) and Assistant Professor Matt Johnson (Biomedical Engineering) are both involved in research to improve DBS therapy. Professor Harel uses imaging software available through MSI to construct 3D maps of a patient’s brain, allowing exact placement of the electrodes. Professor Johnson is using the supercomputers and visualization software in his group’s to create computational models of brain stimulation, which allow them to develop better devices for DBS.
Read the article on the Discover blog.
posted on July 10, 2015
Two MSI Principal Investigators are featured in an article in the latest issue of the College of Food, Agricultural, and Natural Resource Sciences publication Solutions. The article, “7 Things You Don’t Know About Microbes...But Probably Should,” features PIs Professor Linda Kinkel (Plant Pathology) and Professor Michael Sadowsky (Director, BioTechnology Institute; Soil, Water, and Climate). Professor Kinkel uses MSI to process the huge datasets involved in her group’s study of the composition, diversity, and function of plant-associated microorganisms. Professor Sadowsky uses MSI resources for metagenomic studies of the Mississippi River, soil, and the human intestinal tract.
The article can be found on the CFANS Solutions website.
posted on July 8, 2015
Two MSI Principal Investigators have received awards from the New York-based Simons Foundation. This foundation funds research in basic sciences and math.
Assistant Professor Burckhard Seelig, Department of Biochemistry, Molecular Biology, and Biophysics and member of the BioTechnology Institute (BTI), has been named to the Simons Collaboration on the Origins of Life. He also received a five-year, $1 million grant from the organization. The collaboration is a multi-disciplinary team investigating the origins of life and planetary conditions that could support them.
Professor Seelig uses MSI resources for protein analysis and to store huge libraries of nucleic acids. An article about his work appears on the BTI’s website.
Assistant Professor Jake Bailey, Department of Earth Sciences, received a 2015 Simons Early Career Investigator Award in the field of Marine Microbial Ecology and Evolution. His project will study the largest known bacteria, Thiomargarita spp. These giant bacteria are involved in biogeochemical cycling of carbon, sulfur, nitrogen, and phosphorus. A complete description appears on the Simons Foundation website.
Professor Bailey uses MSI resources to perform single-gene and whole-genome sequence data on sulfur bacteria.