posted on March 13, 2015

Several MSI PIs are serving on the newly formed Grand Challenges Research Strategies Group, which has been formed to help shape research priorities under the University’s Strategic Planning initiative.

According to a recent letter from Provost Karen Hanson, members of this group are senior faculty “deeply respected and accomplished in their own fields, but whose perspective on this strategic work would not be shaped primarily by their own scholarly interests.” Current MSI PIs who will be serving in this group are:

  • Professor James Bradeen (Head, Plant Pathology - College of Food, Agricultural, and Natural Resource Sciences)
  • Professor Efi Foufoula-Georgiou (Civil, Environmental, and Geo- Engineering and St. Anthony Falls Laboratory - College of Science and Engineering; MSI Fellow)
  • Professor Gunda Georg (Head, Medicinal Chemistry; Director, Institute for Therapeutics Discovery and Development - College of Pharmacy)
  • Professor Gary Muehlbauer (Agronomy and Plant Genetics - College of Food, Agricultural, and Natural Resource Sciences)
  • Professor Harry Orr (Laboratory Medicine and Pathology - Medical School)
  • Professor F. Abel Ponce de Leon (Animal Science - College of Food, Agricultural, and Natural Resource Sciences)
  • Professor David Pui (Mechanical Engineering - College of Science and Engineering)
  • Professor Peter Reich (Forest Resources - College of Food, Agricultural, and Natural Resource Sciences)
  • Regents Professor Steve Ruggles (Director, Minnesota Population Center - Office of the Vice President for Research)



posted on March 11, 2015

Three MSI PIs have been recognized by the U for teaching excellence.

Associate Professor Ted M. Pappenfus (Chemistry - Division of Science and Mathmatics, University of Minnesota Morris), has received a 2015 Horace T. Morse Award for Outstanding Contributions to Undergraduate Educations. Professor Pappenfus uses the Cambridge Structural Database, available through MSI, to find inorganic and organic materials that can be used for applications in electronic devices and environmental sensors.

Professor Philippe Buhlmann (Chemistry - College of Science and Engineering) and Professor Shashi Shekhar (Computer Science and Engineering - College of Science and Engineering; MSI Fellow) have both received a 2015 Award for Outstanding Contributions to Postbaccalaureate, Graduate and Professional Education. Professor Buhlmann uses software available through MSI for modeling electrochemical sensors. Professor Shekhar’s group uses the supercomputers to validate their algorithms for large-scale modeling of road networks.

posted March 9, 2015

Research supported by MSI resources and staff has been recognized as one of the most highly cited papers published in 2013 in the journal Cancer Research. Members of the research group of Assistant Professor Scott Dehm (Masonic Cancer Center) are working with members of MSI’s RISS group to study the Androgen Receptor (AR) in prostate cancer cells. They use molecular, biochemical, cell biology, and genetic approaches. This work was also featured in a Research Spotlight in early 2014.

The paper can be found on the Cancer Research website: Li, Yingming, Siu Chu Chan, Lucas J. Brand, Tae Hyun Hwang, Kevin A.T. Silverstein, Scott M. Dehm. 2013. Androgen Receptor Splice Variants Mediate Enzalutamide Resistance in Castration-Resistant Prostate Cancer Cell Lines. Cancer Research 73:483, 10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-12-3630.

Co-author Dr. Kevin Silverstein is a Scientific Lead in the RISS Group.


posted on March 5, 2015

MSI Principal Investigator Mo Li, an assistant professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering (College of Science and Engineering), is one of the authors of a paper in the journal Nature Photonics that reveals properties of black phosphorus films that have exciting implications in optics and photonics. Black phosphorus is a stable crystalline form of the element; in thin films of 20 layers of atoms, it shows remarkable properties as a semiconductor. The paper discusses using black-phosphorus films on silicon optical circuits, with performance rivaling that of devices made of germanium.

An article about the paper appears on the University’s Discover blog. You can read the entire paper on the Nature Photonics website. (Nathan Youngblood, Che Chen, Steven J. Koester, and Mo Li. 2015. Waveguide-integrated black phosphorus photodetector with high responsivity and low dark current. Nature Photonics, 10.1038/nphoton.2015.23 [published online ahead of print].)

Professor Li and his group use MSI resources to model and design photonic structures and acoustic devices.

posted on February 25, 2015

The University of Minnesota Materials Research Science and Engineering Center (MRSEC) has received a $17.8 million grant from the National Science Foundation. Over a dozen MSI Principal Investigators are participating faculty at the Center (see list below). The mission of the Center is to enable “important areas of future technology, ranging from biomedicine, separations, and plastic electronics to security, renewable energy, and information technology” (from the MRSEC website). The U was one of only 12 universities nationwide to receive NSF funding this year for a materials research center.

MSI PIs participating with the MRSEC:

The College of Science and Engineering website has an article with more information about this grant