posted on May 13, 2014

Associate Professor Elizabeth Amin (Medicinal Chemistry) is featured in the 2013 Annual Report from the College of Pharmacy. Professor Amin specializes in the design of countermeasures to chemical and biological warfare agents. The Amin group is pursuing four related major research areas: the mechanisms of the anthrax lethal toxin factor; designing ricin toxin A inhibitors; developing enzyme-based environmental cleanup agents; and developing new computational schemes for modeling energy surfaces in large metal-bearing molecules.

A description of the Amin group’s work at MSI, along with a bibliography of publications, can be found on their abstract page

posted on May 9, 2014

MSI PI Colum MacKinnon, an assistant professor in the Department of Neurology in the Medical School, specializes in research concerning the effects of Parkinson’s disease (PD). Professor MacKinnon is studying a PD-related issue called “freezing of gait,” in which the patient is unable to start or continue walking. He is the director of the Movement Disorders Laboratory.

The Academic Health Center’s Health blog recently published a post about Professor MacKinnon’s research, including a study that is investigating why visual cues, like a flashing light, sometimes help a patient break the “freeze.” It is hoped that, eventually, using appropriate cues may allow patients to overcome or avoid gait freezes without the use of medications. The group is using MSI storage resources for the huge amounts of data that they are generating from high-speed video recordings, force platforms, and multi-channel EMG recordings.

The Minneapolis Star-Tribune has also recently published an article about the Parkinson’s disease research being performed at the University of Minnesota.  

posted on May 8, 2014

The College of Science and Engineering held the Grand Opening of their newest building, the Physics and Nanotechnology Building, on April 24, 2014. This building provides office and lab space to the School of Physics and Astronomy and the Minnesota Nano Center.

The University’s Discover blog ran a story about the building and some of the research that will benefit from the new facilities. MSI Principal Investigators Professor Shaul Hanany (Minnesota Institute for Astrophysics) and Professor C. Daniel Frisbie (Chemical Engineering and Materials Science) are quoted.

posted on May 7, 2014

The Minnesota Medical Foundation’s Medical Bulletin recently published a story describing research being performed at the University of Minnesota’s Leatherdale Equine Center. The staff at the Equine Center includes MSI Principal Investigators from the College of Veterinary Medicine who use MSI resources to support this research. The work being done there will not only help horses, but may also provide insights to human disease.

Associate Professor Molly McCue (Veterinary Population Medicine) studies equine genomics and is using MSI for several projects, including genome-wide association studies, developing new SNP genotyping arrays for the horse, and using RNA-seq to transcriptome and gene-expression analysis. Professor Jim Mickelson (Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences) studies heritable disorders in horses and dogs and is using advanced software available through MSI, including the Galaxy suite. Professors McCue and Mickelson both have published numerous papers that include research performed using MSI.

posted on May 6, 2014

The Virtual School of Computational Science and Engineering (VSCSE) is hosting two courses this summer. These courses are open to graduate students, post-docs, and young professionals who want to expand their skills with advanced computational resources. The courses are offered at institutions around the country, allowing participants to go to the most convenient location.

Descriptions of the courses are shown below. You can register at the XSEDE portal. Questions can be mailed to sent to the VSCSE organizing team at


Summer 2014 VSCSE Courses

Summer School 2014 Website

Harness the Power of GPUs: Introduction to GPGPU Programming (June 16 - 20, 2014)

From the VSCSE website: GPGPU Programming is a mixture of lectures and labs and introduces all levels of parallelism as well as common approaches for parallelization in order to achieve the following goals: Better utilization of the GPUs by enabling more scientists to use them, better understanding of the efficiency in the GPU utilization by the application developers and a higher job throughput by enabling more resources and shortening job runtimes. In addition, participants will understand and avoid the common pitfalls of parallel computing, learn CUDA and OpenACC, understand the basic principles of data parallel computing, tap into enormous computing power, even on a laptop, and speed up research.

Data Intensive Summer School (June 30 - July 2, 2014)

From the VSCSE website: The Data Intensive Summer School focuses on the skills needed to manage, process and gain insight from large amounts of data. It is targeted at researchers from the physical, biological, economic and social sciences that are beginning to drown in data. We will cover the nuts and bolts of data intensive computing, common tools and software, predictive analytics algorithms, data management and non-relational database models. Given the short duration of the summer school, the emphasis will be on providing a solid foundation that the attendees can use as a starting point for advanced topics of particular relevance to their work.