posted on January 28, 2015

MSI Principal Investigator Peter Reich (Forest Resources, College of Food, Agricultural, and Natural Resource Sciences) is the lead author on a new study that shows that the composition of forests may change as the climate warms. In a long-term field study in northern Minnesota, the researchers simulated the effects of warmer temperatures on trees. The results showed that boreal (northern) forest trees such as spruce and fir were adversely affected by warmer temperatures, while species that prefer temperate zones, such as oak and maple, did much better. The overall result was that the more southerly species seemed to crowd out the boreal ones.

Professor Reich has used MSI resources to support his research for many years. He is currently developing improved modeling techniques to study the effects of climate change.

The new study appeared recently in a letter in Nature Climate Change. It has also been posted on the U’s Discover blog. Several media outlets have discussed the study, including:

Pioneer Press (St. Paul, Minnesota)

Duluth [Minnesota] News Tribune

City Pages (Minneapolis, Minnesota)

Science Daily

Bring Me the News

Forum News Service

posted on January 26, 2015

MSI Principal Investigator Daniel Bond (Biotechnology Institute; College of Biological Sciences, College of Science and Engineering) is studying how Geobacter microbes use metals for energy. In a recent paper in mBio, he and his co-authors discuss their discovery of a protein that helps the bacteria utilize these metals as they grow underground. The paper’s lead author, Caleb Levar, and co-author Chi Ho Chan are also MSI users. The paper was also written up on the U Discover blog.

The Bond group uses MSI resources for genome assembly of metal-reducing bacteria and for data analysis.


posted on January 23, 2015

MSI Principal Investigator Daniel Voytas (Genetics, Cell Biology, and Development; College of Biological Sciences, Medical School) received the Entrepreneurial Researcher Award from the Office of the Vice President for Research at a ceremony in December 2014. This award, one of the 2014 Innovation Awards, recognizes a “University faculty member or researcher who displays an exemplary entrepreneurial spirit by their initiative to not only innovate new technologies but to also move those technologies from the university laboratory to the market.” (Description from the Award Ceremony program.)

Professor Voytas was recognized for the invention of TALENs, a method of gene editing. He uses MSI resources to help monitor mutagenesis resulting from genetic alterations. The OVPR has also created a video about his work.

posted on January 22, 2015

The sixth International Summer School on HPC Challenges in Computational Sciences is now accepting applications for this summer’s session, which will be held June 21-26, 2015, in Toronto, Canada. Graduate students and post-docs from Canada, Europe, Japan, and the U.S. are invited to apply.

The application deadline is March 11, 2015. Application instructions and complete information about the program can be found on the Summer School website.

Leading computational scientists from around the world will provide instruction in a number of topics related to high-performance computing. Meals, housing, and travel are provided. Graduate students and post-docs in all science and engineering fields are eligible. Preference will be given to those with parallel programming experience and research that benefits from using HPC systems.

The program is sponsored by Compute/Calcul Canada, the Extreme Science and Engineering Discovery Environment (XSEDE), the Partnership for Advanced Computing in Europe (PRACE), and the RIKEN Advanced Institute for Computational Science (RIKEN AICS).

posted on January 15, 2015

Professor Vipin Kumar (Head, Computer Science and Engineering; MSI Fellow) was featured in the Office of the Vice President for Research’s Annual State of Research Report. VP Brian Herman presented this report to the University Regents in December 2014.

Professor Kumar was the recipient of an OVPR Minnesota Futures grant; these seed grants help faculty advance new ideas and foster interdisciplinary research. Professor Kumar’s Futures project uses images collected by earth-observing satellites to understand changes in forest cover. This seed grant helped the Kumar group receive two additional grants: a $3.2 million grant from the Planetary Skin Institute and a $10 million “Expeditions in Computing” grant from the National Science Foundation.

Professor Kumar uses MSI to develop high-performance data-mining algorithms and tools for mining large-scale datasets in a variety of applications. The huge size of these datasets and their complexity require the use of the high-performance computing resources provided by MSI. Besides the project above, the Kumar group is also developing data-mining techniques for analyzing biomedical data.

You can read the entire Annual State of Research Report on the OVPR website. A more detailed story about Professor Kumar’s research also appears in the "Research excellence in practice" post on the OVPR’s Inquiry blog.