posted on March 10, 2014

The Minnesota Daily recently ran an article about research being performed in the Sudan Underground Mine, an old iron-ore mine in northern Minnesota. Pools of water in the mine contain microorganisms that are being studied by University of Minnesota researchers, including MSI PIs Professor Robert Blanchette (Plant Pathology), Associate Professor Jeffrey Gralnick (BioTechnology Institute), and Dr. Christine Salomon (Center for Drug Design). The article can be found on the Minnesota Daily website.

Professor Blanchette is using MSI to study a fungus that is killing conifers in northern temperate regions; Professor Gralnick is performing genetics research using next-generation sequencing; and Dr. Salomon uses MSI resources to support investigations into bioactive natural products.

posted on March 7, 2014

Long-time MSI Principal Investigator Joachim Heberlein, emeritus professor of mechanical engineering, passed away on February 17, 2014. Professor Heberlein had been an MSI Principal Investigator for over two decades. His research group at MSI studied factors contributing to dielectric breakdown in low-voltage circuit breakers post current-zero. The group was developing a model that would deal with a number of factors contributing to dielectric breakdown; the model is designed to fit seamlessly into a larger CFD model demonstrating 3D circuit breaker geometries.

More information can be found on the College of Science and Engineering website. The staff at MSI extend their deepest condolences to Professor Heberlein’s family, friends, and colleagues.

posted on March 7, 2014

Long-time MSI Principal Investigator and Fellow Professor David Thomas (Biochemistry, Molecular Biology, and Biophysics) has been elected to the Academic Health Center’s Academy for Excellence in Health Research. This is the highest honor given to faculty by AHC.

Professor Thomas has used MSI resources for over two decades. He and his research group, the Minnesota Muscle Laboratory, specialize in muscle processes. They use MSI for computational simulations that connect models with experimental results. A member of the lab, Dr. Bengt Svensson, was recently profiled in a Research Spotlight on the MSI website.

posted on March 6, 2014

Professor John Lipscomb (Biochemistry, Molecular Biology, and Biophysics) has received the American Chemical Society’s 2014 Repligen Award in Chemistry and Biological Processes.This award recognizes outstanding research that contributes to the understanding of the structure, function, and mechanism of biological processes.

Professor Lipscomb’s research group uses MSI resources to study the structure and mechanism of oxygenase enzymes. They are currently involved in two projects, one that studies a series of dioxygenases enzymes and one involving methane monooxygenase. More information about these research projects can be found on the Lipscomb group’s abstract page on the MSI website. 

posted on March 4, 2014

MSI PI Tian He, an associate professor in the computer science and engineering department, is among the researchers named a 2014 Resident Fellow of the Institute on the Environment (IonE). IonE Fellows conduct interdisciplinary research that seeks to understand and address environmental problems. Professor He will be working on a project to conduct environmental crowd-sensing data in a Chinese metropolitan area using sensors on taxicabs. This project is related to his group’s research using MSI resources, which uses traffic data from multi-modal online feeds to study and optimize urban transit systems. The huge amount of data now available allows transportation experts to build systems that can deal with changes in the urban environment.