MSI Fellow and Principal Investigator Efi Foufoula-Georgiou (Civil Engineering, St. Anthony Falls Laboratory) is one of the lead investigators on a new $720,000 grant just awarded to the University of Minnesota by the National Science Foundation. The University will be the lead organization in an international, multi-university virtual institute, called Linked Institutions for Future Earth (LIFE), which will study Earth-surface systems with emphasis on watersheds and deltas.


Professor Foufoula-Georgiou uses MSI resources to support research studying precipitation and water systems. Using data received from a number of sources, the Foufoula-Georgiou research group is analyzing and modeling rainfall across large portions of the earth’s surface. The datasets for both the precipitation measurements and for geological features (river networks, channels, etc.) are very large, necessitating the use of powerful computing capabilities and parallel computational capacity. Besides being on the faculty at the St. Anthony Falls Laboratory, Professor Foufoula-Georgiou the director of the National Center for Earth-Surface Dynamics and is a Resident Fellow at the Institute on the Environment.


More information about this grant, including a description of the LIFE virtual institute, can be found at the UMNews release


The University News Service recently published a feature article about MSI PI Jaime Modiano (Veterinary Clinical Sciences) and his research into the genetics of cancer. Professor Modiano uses high-throughput, genome-wide technologies available through MSI to study the origin and progression of tumors in dogs, mice, and humans. Areas of his current research at MSI include osteosarcoma, non-Hodgkin lymphoma, soft tissue sarcomas (hemangiosarcoma), melanoma, and other tumors.


Professor Jane Davidson (Mechanical Engineering), a long-time Principal Investigator at MSI, has received the Frank Kreith Energy Award from the American Society of Mechanical Engineers. According to the ASME’s website, this award is presented to individuals for “significant contributions to a secure energy future with particular emphasis on innovations in conservation and/or renewable energy.” The award was presented at the 2012 ASME International Mechanical Engineering Congress and Exposition, held in Houston, Texas in November.


Professor Davidson is the director of the Solar Energy Laboratory at the University. Her research group uses MSI resources to model aspects of chemical reactions, fluid flow, and heat transfer both for analysis of experimental results and the design of prototype reactions.


You can read more about Professor Davidson and Kreith Award at the ASME website.


MSI Principal Investigators in the Department of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science were recently awarded a $1.8 million research grant. Michael Tsapatsis is the lead researcher; Prodromos Daoutidis is also on the research team.


The grant is from the Department of Energy’s Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA-E) and is for the development of membrane technologies that will enable energy-efficient separations in the chemical, petrochemical, water, fossil fuel, and renewable energy resources. The University’s award is intended specifically for improving the efficiencies of industrial processes.


Professors Tsapatsis and Daoutidis use MSI resources for their work in developing gas-separation technologies and related research. They published a paper in the journal Science in 2011 about their development of zeolite nanosheets. This project was featured in a Research Spotlight on the MSI homepage last summer.


The People section of the UMNews website has a story about this grant. You can also read the news release.




MSI participated in the College of Science and Engineering’s Family Fun Fair on November 17, 2012. This annual event, which is designed to introduce children to science and math in fun and interactive ways, had nearly 2,500 participants this year. At the MSI booth, hundreds of kids created models of sodium chloride and methane out of marshmallows, pretzels, and toothpicks. The attendees also watched a 3D visualization of a molecule on a 60” monitor.


The MSI team consisted of Carlos Sosa of Cray Research and MSI staff members Nancy Rowe (Scientific Computing Consultant), Tom Prather (Sr. Software Developer), and Ying Zhang (RISS Informatics Analyst). Michael Milligan (Scientific Computing Consultant), who was working at another exhibit, also stopped by the MSI booth to help out.


A slideshow can be seen on the event website. Slides 21, 22, and 23 show activity at the MSI booth.