posted on July 8, 2015

Two MSI Principal Investigators have received awards from the New York-based Simons Foundation. This foundation funds research in basic sciences and math.

Assistant Professor Burckhard Seelig, Department of Biochemistry, Molecular Biology, and Biophysics and member of the BioTechnology Institute (BTI), has been named to the Simons Collaboration on the Origins of Life. He also received a five-year, $1 million grant from the organization. The collaboration is a multi-disciplinary team investigating the origins of life and planetary conditions that could support them.

Professor Seelig uses MSI resources for protein analysis and to store huge libraries of nucleic acids. An article about his work appears on the BTI’s website.

Assistant Professor Jake Bailey, Department of Earth Sciences, received a 2015 Simons Early Career Investigator Award in the field of Marine Microbial Ecology and Evolution. His project will study the largest known bacteria, Thiomargarita spp. These giant bacteria are involved in biogeochemical cycling of carbon, sulfur, nitrogen, and phosphorus. A complete description appears on the Simons Foundation website.

Professor Bailey uses MSI resources to perform single-gene and whole-genome sequence data on sulfur bacteria.

posted on July 6, 2015

The Office of the Vice President for Research has announced that two projects have been awarded Minnesota Futures grants for 2015. These grants fund cross-disciplinary research. Both of these projects, which address new approaches to treating disease, are being led by MSI Principal Investigators.

The projects include (MSI PIs are in bold):

Bacterial polyphosphate metabolism: An unrecognized contributor to dental diseases?
Co-investigators: Jake Bailey (Earth Sciences); Robert Jones (Developmental and Surgical Sciences); Cavan Reilly (Biostatistics); Beverly Flood (Earth Sciences)

Glycoengineering of therapeutic biologics by systems design and combinational synthesis
Co-investigators: Wei-Shou Hu (Chemical Engineering and Materials Science); Timothy Griffin (Biochemistry, Molecular Biology, and Biophysics); Michael Smanski (Biochemistry, Molecular Biology, and Biophysics); Nikunj Somia (Genetics, Cell Biology, and Development)

Read more about the projects in the OVPR’s Inquiry blog.


posted on July 1, 2015

A national team of researchers including MSI PI Julian Marshall (Fellow, Institute on the Environment; Civil, Environmental, and Geo- Engineering) recently published a study in which they showed that improving air quality in both “clean” and “dirty” areas could result in 2.1 million fewer air pollution-related deaths per year. The paper appeared in the journal Environmental Science & Technology in June. The researchers developed a model that shows how changes in air quality can result in changes in the rates of health problems.

Professor Marshall uses MSI to study the impact of alternative fuels on air quality and public health. Publications about this work were featured in Research Spotlights in February 2015 and September 2014.

The paper can be read on the Environmental Science & Technology website. An article about the research also appears on the U’s Discover blog.


posted on June 29, 2015

On Wednesday, July 1, from 04:00 - 15:00, MSI staff will perform scheduled maintenance and upgrades to the network and various systems. This downtime will be a global, system-wide maintenance to upgrade the network components providing Panasas connectivity. 

During this maintenance period, we will be performing the following updates:
• Mesabi will be unavailable for Infiniband testing, software, and network updates.
• Lab systems, login nodes, and Galaxy will be offline briefly for network additions and OS updates.
• The MSI Lab Queue will be offline for software updates.
• Nice systems will be offline for software updates.
• Citrix/Xen will be offline for system updates.

Systems status is always available on our Status page.

If you have any questions, please email

posted June 25, 2015

Vipin Kumar (MSI Fellow; Head, Computer Science and Engineering) is among three University professors who have been named Regents Professors. They will be formally recognized by the Board of Regents in September 2105.

Professor Kumar and his research group develop novel, high-performance data-mining algorithms and tools for mining large-scale datasets. These include projects using data from earth-observing satellites or creating methods to analyze biomedical data. Because of the “big data” nature of the data, MSI resources are critical for these types of projects.

An article about all three new Regents Professors can be found on the University’s Discover blog.