posted on June 5, 2015

MSI PI Larry Wackett, a professor in the Department of Biochemistry, Molecular Biology, and Biophysics and member of the BioTechnology Institute, is a co-founder of Minnepura Technologies, a startup that uses bacteria to purify water. The technology, based on research by Professor Wackett and his colleague Associate Professor Alptekin Aksan, uses bacteria trapped in silica beads. The beads are placed in contaminated water and the bacteria break down the contaminating chemicals. An article about Minnepura Technologies appears on the OVPR’s Inquiry blog.

Professor Wackett is a long-time user of the Supercomputing Institute. He and his group are using MSI’s computational resources to data-mine genomes for new functionalities, support protein crystallographic studies, and perform structural comparison and substrate docking experiments.


posted on June 4, 2015

MSI PI Paul Venturelli (Fisheries, Wildlife, and Conservation Biology; College of Food, Agricultural, and Natural Resource Sciences) has created an app that allows anglers to record their catches. This information will help fisheries managers maintain Minnesota’s lakes. For years, this has been done with in-person creel surveys, but these surveys are time-consuming and expensive to run.

The app, iFish Forever, is free and anonymous. It is an add-on to an iFish app released earlier. Anglers can hit a “Caught One!” button on their iPhone or Android, and input species, length, and whether they kept the fish or threw it back. The phones capture time and date. The app also allows anglers to find out what kinds of fish are in different lakes. 

An article about iFish Forever appears on the U’s Discover blog. It has also received media attention: MPR, KARE11, Minnesota Daily.

Professor Venturelli uses the MSI supercomputers to run simulations that show fish populations and community dynamics on an evolving coastal delta system.


posted on June 1, 2015

On Wednesday, June 3, from 04:00 - 15:00, MSI staff will perform scheduled maintenance and upgrades to the network and various systems. This downtime will be a global, system-wide maintenance to upgrade the network components providing Panasas Connectivity. 

During this maintenance period, we will be performing the following updates:
• Mesabi will be unavailable for firmware and network updates.
• Lab systems, login nodes, and Galaxy will be offline briefly for OS updates.
• Citrix/Xen Active Directory will be offline for failover testing.

Systems status is always available on our Status page.

If you have any questions, please email


posted on May 21, 2015

MSI Principal Investigator Reuben Harris, a professor in the Department of Biochemistry, Molecular Biology, and Biophysics, has been selected to be a Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) Investigator. His five-year term will begin in September. HHMI will provide financial support for Professor Harris’s research, which investigates enzymes called “APOBECs.” A story about this award appears in the University’s Discover blog.

Professor Harris uses MSI resources to conduct genomic investigations of APOBEC proteins and to study their role in cancer. He is also associate director of the Institute for Molecular Virology and a member of the Masonic Cancer Center.

posted on May 18, 2015

A new study has linked the use of antibiotics in infants to diseases in adults. The study includes a new model that could help measure healthy development of gut bacteria in children. MSI PI Dan Knights, an assistant professor in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering, is a co-author on the paper, which was published in the journal Cell Host & Microbe. The research may have implications for how doctors prescribe antibiotics to children.

Professor Knights uses MSI to assist research into the functional characterization of complex host-microbe interactions in host diseases and behavior. He is also a member of the BioTechnology Institute. He was a co-author on a paper that was featured in a recent MSI Research Spotlight that studied intestinal fungal communities in infants.

A news release about this research appears on the College of Science and Engineering news website.

The paper is available on the Cell Host & Microbe website.