posted February 25, 2014

A recent story in the University of Minnesota’s Discover series highlights the work of Professor Joseph Metzger, head of the Department of Integrative Biology and Physiology and MSI Principal Investigator. Professor Metzger and his colleagues are developing “patches” - formally known as poloxamers - that can be used to repair leaky cells in the heart. In these cells, the enclosing cell membranes have tears that allow proteins within the cell to escape, thus damaging the ability of the heart to function correctly. This is a condition found in patients with Duchenne muscular dystrophy, or who have had heart attacks or other heart problems.

Professor Metzger uses MSI resources for research into heart cells. Most recently, this research has included creating molecular dynamics simulations of troponin molecules.

posted on February 24, 2014

A recent paper co-authored by MSI PI Pinar Karaca-Mandic (Health Policy and Management, School of Public Health) has been publicized on various media outlets. The study, “Opioid prescribing by multiple providers in Medicare: Retrospective observational study of insurance claims,” was published last week in the British Medical Journal. Professor Karaca-Mandic wrote the paper along with colleagues at Harvard University and the University of Southern California. The study investigates the number of Medicare recipients who are prescribed painkillers by multiple medical providers. This raises the risk of patients suffering adverse effects from taking too many of these medications.

A story about the article can be found on the School of Public Health’s news site. The paper is on the BMJ website.

Professor Karaca-Mandic uses MSI resources for several studies that are analyzing Medicare data.

posted on February 20, 2014

Assistant Professor Jake Bailey (Earth Sciences) has been awarded an Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellowship. This is a very competitive award that honors early-career U.S. and Canadian researchers. Professor Bailey was given the award in recognition of his work in the field geobiology. He uses MSI resources for this research, which investigates how the activities of microorganisms, especially sulfur bacteria, on the precipitation and dissolution of authigenic minerals. (Authigenic minerals are those that were created where they are found, as opposed to those that were transported to their location by wind or water.) The work involves analysis of single-gene and whole-genome sequence data. More information about the Sloan Fellowship can be found in the College of Science and Engineering’s news release.

posted February 14, 2014

A recent story by Minnesota Public Radio highlighted research being performed at the University of Minnesota Duluth. Dr. Matt Andrews studies the hibernation of 13-lined ground squirrels (also known as gophers). The metabolic changes the ground squirrels undergo when they are hibernating are providing insights into how the mammals store and use fat. The clues to this process are found in the squirrels’ genes. More knowledge about these genes may someday lead to drugs that could help humans with weight problems.

MSI PI Professor Marshall Hampton (UMD Mathematics and Statistics) is collaborating with Dr. Andrews and uses MSI resources to help their study of the transcriptomes (the set of RNA molecules) of the animals, using Illumina sequencing.

The entire MPR News story can be found on their website.

posted February 13, 2014

Associate Professor Ryan Elliott (Aerospace Engineering and Mechanics) has received the Thomas J.R. Hughes Young Investigator Award from the Applied Mechanics Division of ASME. The award is given to researchers under 40 who have made special achievements in applied mechanics. ASME is an international professional organization devoted to enabling collaboration and promoting the role of the engineer in society. This awards recognizes Professor Elliott's work in atomistic simulations of shape memory alloys. 

Professor Elliott uses MSI resources to create simulations of objective structures. More information about this research, including a bibliography of recent publications, can be found on the Elliott group’s project abstract page.