posted on June 24, 2014

The College of Science and Engineering (CSE) announced yesterday that the Department of Chemistry has been awarded a $12 million grant from the U.S. Department of Energy to lead an Energy Frontier Research Center aimed at accelerating scientific breakthroughs in energy research. Professor Laura Gagliardi, an MSI Principal Investigator, will head the center. Five other professors from the department will also be involved: Professor Christopher Cramer, Assistant Professor Connie Lu, Associate Professor Lee Penn, Professor Andreas Stein, and Regents Professor Donald Truhlar. Professors Cramer, Lu, and Truhlar are MSI PIs. Professors Cramer and Truhlar are also MSI Fellows.

The new University center will be known as the Inorganometallic Catalyst Design Center. It will focus on the discovery of a new class of energy-science-relevant catalytic materials for energy- and atom-efficient conversion of shale-gas components. Center partners include Northwestern University, University of Washington, University of California - Davis, Clemson University, Argonne National Laboratory, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, and the Dow Chemical Company.

Articles about this grant and the new center appear on the CSE (see: University of Minnesota receives $12 million grant for energy research) and chemistry department (see: New $12 million grant focuses on energy research) websites.

posted on June 23, 2014

The Office of the Vice President for Research (OVPR) has launched a new blog, called Inquiry, that will tell stories about the research being done at the University of Minnesota. From the OVPR announcement: "Inquiry is designed to promote U of M research excellence and innovation to a broad audience and tap into the collective knowledge of our research community to generate and share new ideas."

Inquiry replaces two former OVPR blogs, Research @ the U of M and Business @ the U of M, and will be a unified channel to highlight exciting stories about University research, innovation, entrepreneurship, partnerships, and University-wide collaboration.

The OVPR produced a short video about the importance and value of University research, which is available on YouTube. Why University Research?

Inquiry can be found on the OVPR's website. You can also subscribe to the Inquiry monthly newsletter.


posted June 17, 2014

MSI PI Elizabeth Amin (Medicinal Chemistry) is featured in the latest Every Day video from the Academic Health Center. Professor Amin is an amateur radio operator who is interested in security preparedness. She uses MSI resources in her research into countermeasures for agents used in biological and chemical warfare. You can see the video on YouTube.

posted on June 16, 2014

The research of several MSI Principal Investigators appeared recently in the journal The Scientist. The article discussed the pathogen Ug99, a highly virulent strain of stem rust, a fungus that destroys wheat (Kerry Grens, "Putting Up Resistance," The Scientist, online edition, June 1, 2014, downloaded June 1, 2014).

The PIs interviewed in the article include Professor Brian Steffenson (Plant Pathology); Adjunct Assistant Professor Matthew Rouse (Plant Pathology; USDA-ARS Cereal Disease Laboratory); and Professor James Anderson (Agronomy and Plant Genetics). MSI featured research by Professor Rouse and his colleague Research Molecular Geneticist Nirmala Jayaveeramuthu in the Research Spotlight series in February 2014. 

posted on June 9, 2014

Ecologists and biologists are concerned about recent data that shows that Minnesota's iconic moose seem to be vanishing. The decline in the moose population is being studied by MSI PI Assistant Professor James Forester (Fisheries, Wildlife, and Conservation Biology). The College of Food, Agricultural, and Natural Resource Sciences highlighted this research in the Spring 2014 issue of their journal Solutions (Sara Specht, "Now You See Them," Solutions, Spring 2014, online edition, downloaded June 2, 2014).

Professor Forester and his research group at MSI are developing a Decision Support Tool that will allow biologists and resource managers to make predictions about populations based on multiple sets of assumptions, evaluate the outcomes, and then make informed management decisions. They are especially interested in large ungulates, such as moose, and invasive biofuel crops. The work is computationally intensive, requiring the use of MSI.