Professor Gary Muehlbauer (Agronomy and Plant Genetics and Plant Biology) is among the five faculty members who have been named as the 2013 Distinguished McKnight University Professors. This program recognizes the University’s most outstanding mid-career faculty.


Professor Muehlbauer uses genomics to study plant function and agricultural productivity. He is an internationally known leader in this field, with many publications in prestigious journals. He uses resources at the Computational Genetics Laboratory in his studies of the barley, wheat, soybean, and maize genomes.


Descriptions of all the recipients of the 2013 Distinguished McKnight University Professorships can be found on the University’s Scholars Walk website



Professor Chris Cramer (Fellow, Chemistry) has been named the College of Science and Engineering’s new associate dean for academic affairs, the college announced on April 9, 2013. The appointment will become effective on July 1, 2013. You can read the announcement on the chemistry department’s website


The College of Science and Engineering has also awarded Professor Cramer with the 2013 George W. Taylor Award of Distinguished Service. This award is presented in recognition of outstanding service to the University and to the public at large. You can read more about this award on the chemistry department's website.


Professor Cramer has been an MSI Principal Investigator since he joined the University of Minnesota faculty in 1992. He was appointed a Fellow of the Institute in 1996. His research at MSI focuses on developing, coding, and applying novel and established classical and quantum-mechanical methodologies to model chemical structures, properties, and reactivities. These various phenomena are of chemical, biological, and environmental interest.


Professor Cramer is also a member of the Chemical Theory Center group in the Department of Chemistry. In Fall 2012, the group received two grants from the Department of Energy (DOE). The first of these is providing funding to create the Nanoporous Materials Genome Center (NMGC), which will study metal-organic frameworks, which are a type of nanoporous material. The other grant is funded under DOE’s Scientific Discovery through Advanced Computing (SciDAC) program. This project involves a collaboration of the University of Minnesota and the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and will study excited-state processes of molecules and excited state dynamics, applying these to the use of solar energy. Professor Cramer gave an interview about these grants to MSI in Fall 2012.




The OVPR’s Research blog has highlighted some new developments at MSI. These include the new Panasas storage system, upgrades to Cascade (the Institute’s GPU cluster), and expanded consulting services.


You can read the article on the Research blog. The blog post includes a link to a short video about MSI.



MSI recently purchased a new storage system and changed the way that storage at MSI is allocated and accounted for. MSI is now preparing to move the Galaxy storage to the new system and account for Galaxy files in the overall quota for groups. Just as each individual's Unix home directory is attributed to the total group quota usage, each user's Galaxy usage will count towards the group quota. Please refer to the Panasas Migration Guide for information about these changes.


MSI will begin data migration during the week of April 1, 2013. Once the initial migration is completed MSI will announce a planned downtime for Galaxy to do a final migration and make the necessary configuration changes to begin using the Panasas storage system. MSI will notify users once the final date for using the updated quota system has been announced.


In anticipation of these changes, MSI asks all Galaxy users to review their data in Galaxy and delete any data that is no longer required. A guide for archiving and cleansing data from Galaxy can be found at the link below.  Any data removed before migration begins reduces the amount of data that needs to be moved to the new system. 


Guide for archiving and cleansing Galaxy data:


Both the OVPR’s Business and Research blogs recently published articles discussing the research of MSI PI Jian-Ping Wang, a Distinguished McKnight professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering. He is studying new types of magnetic materials with possible applications ranging from more-efficient recording media to cancer detection.

Professor Wang uses MSI resources to support his group’s studies of the magnetic properties of Fe16N2. This research supports efforts to find a next-generation, environmentally friendly magnet that would be technologically superior to currently used magnets. Applications could include replacing the rare-earth magnets now used in electric vehicles and wind turbines, and as a replacement for the semiconductor/transistor combination that powers personal computers. Professor Wang is also studying the possibilities of heat-assisted magnetic recording, which could provide the capability for considerably higher recording densities than is possible now.