posted on September 23, 2014

PI Carol Lange, a professor in the Department of Medicine’s Division of Hematology, Oncology and Transplantation (Medical School) has been named the Fall 2014 Ada Comstock Distinguished Women Scholar/Lecturer. This award is sponsored by the University of Minnesota Women’s Center with support from the Office of the Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and the University Libraries. It is presented to honor the accomplishments of distinguished women faculty at the University of Minnesota.

Professor Lange’s lecture, “Women’s Cancer: Making Sense of Hormones,” will be an overview of her current research, particularly how estrogen and progesterone receptors behave in cancer cells versus normal cells. She uses MSI resources to support this work; her group’s project at MSI studies the role of progesterone receptors in breast-cancer progression. She is a member of the Masonic Cancer Center and has developed diagnostic tools that identify breast-cancer patients who are most likely to benefit from certain treatments.

The Ada Comstock Distinguished Women Lecture will be held at the Cowles Auditorium in the Hubert H. Humphrey School of Public Affairs, 4-6pm, on October 27, 2014. The lecture is free, but attendees are requested to RSVP.


posted September 15, 2014

MSI Principal Investigator David Tilman (Ecology, Evolution, and Behavior) has been awarded a prestigious 2014 Balzan Prize. This is an international award that comes with an $800,000 prize, half of which is intended to support young researchers. The award is in recognition of Tilman’s many contributions to theoretical and experimental plant ecology.

Tilman is a University of Minnesota Regents Professor, Director of the Cedar Creek Ecosystem Science Reserve (CCESR), and a Fellow of the Institute on the Environment. He and his MSI research group use MSI resources to support their work at CCESR. MSI is providing hosting for the CCESR’s interactive databases, which are used by researchers. The MSI website also serves as a community outreach tool that provides information on world-class research and education opportunities, and species identification guides.

More about this award can be found on the University's Discover blog.


posted on September 12, 2014

MSI Principal Investigator Larry Wackett (Biochemistry, Molecular Biology, and Biophysics) and several of his colleagues in the BioTechnology Institute have recently received a MnDRIVE Transdisciplinary Research Program award. The researchers are interested in how chemicals entering the environment can be degraded quickly and safely.

Professor Wackett’s research group has recently shown that a bacterial enzyme that degrades the chemical compound naphthalene can also act on other chemicals. The MnDRIVE award will be used to start a database of bacterial enzymes that have known actions, then will computationally predict the other chemicals that enzyme will work on. An article about this award and the research it will be used to fund can be found on the College of Biological Science’s Connect blog.

Professor Wackett uses computing to answer important biological questions. His lab is involved in several projects that involve MSI’s computational resources. One of the co-investigators on the MnDRIVE project is MSI PI Professor Carrie Wilmot (Biochemistry, Molecular Biology, and Biophysics), who uses MSI to study the synthesis and function of novel organic, organometallic, and metal ion cofactors in proteins.

posted on September 8, 2014

Regents Professor Donald Truhlar, MSI Fellow and former MSI Director, will be honored at a symposium to be held at the National Meeting of the American Chemical Society in Denver, Colorado, in March 2015. The symposium is called "Computational chemical dynamics: Advancing our understanding of chemical processes in gas-phase, biomolecular, and condensed-phase systems." Professor Truhlar is a faculty member in the Department of Chemistry in the College of Science and Engineering. Another MSI Fellow from the chemistry department, Professor Jiali Gao, is helping to organize the symposium.

Professor Truhlar is an internationally renowned expert in computational chemistry with numerous publications. He was MSI’s Director during 1988 - 2006. He and Professor Gao are also members of the chemistry department’s Chemical Theory Center.


posted on September 4, 2014

MSI Principal Investigator Bin He, a professor in the Department of Biomedical Engineering (College of Science and Engineering) and Director of the Institute for Engineering in Medicine, leads a group of University researchers who have received a National Science Foundation grant as part of President Obama’s BRAIN Initiative. This program is intended to support new technologies that will help us understand how the brain works. Professor He and his research team will explore new multimodal neuroimaging technology for extremely high-resolution brain sensing and imaging. An article about this award is on the College of Science and Engineering website.

Professor He uses MSI to develop computer simulations to study how electromagnetic fields behave in biological tissue, in support of research into different kinds of medical imaging. This research requires a great deal of memory, multi-core processors, and high-capability software.