posted on February 2, 2015

Four MSI Principal Investigators are among the eight assistant professors at the University of Minnesota so have been named McKnight Land-Grant Professors for 2015-17. They are, from the College of Science and Engineering, Rafael Fernandes (Physics and Astronomy), Matthew Johnson (Biomedical Engineering), and Dan Knights (Computer Science and Engineering), and, from the College of Biological Sciences, Emilie Snell-Rood (Ecology, Evolution, and Behavior).

The McKnight Land-Grant Professorships are given to new assistant professors and include $25,000 in each of the two years of the award. These funds are to be used for the professors’ research. More information about this award can be found on the Scholars Walk website.

You can see the abstracts of these PIs’ work using supercomputing resources on the MSI website:


posted on January 30, 2015

On Wednesday, February 4, from 04:00 - 15:00, MSI staff will perform scheduled maintenance and upgrades to the network and various systems.

During this maintenance period, we will be performing the following updates:
• Network upgrades (4:00 am - 5:30 am)
• Upgrades to the Citrix system
• Cascade system software upgrades and moab/torque upgrades
• MSI-wide system reboot for new system kernel patches

Systems status is always available on our Status page.

If you have any questions, please email

posted on January 28, 2015

MSI Principal Investigator Peter Reich (Forest Resources, College of Food, Agricultural, and Natural Resource Sciences) is the lead author on a new study that shows that the composition of forests may change as the climate warms. In a long-term field study in northern Minnesota, the researchers simulated the effects of warmer temperatures on trees. The results showed that boreal (northern) forest trees such as spruce and fir were adversely affected by warmer temperatures, while species that prefer temperate zones, such as oak and maple, did much better. The overall result was that the more southerly species seemed to crowd out the boreal ones.

Professor Reich has used MSI resources to support his research for many years. He is currently developing improved modeling techniques to study the effects of climate change.

The new study appeared recently in a letter in Nature Climate Change. It has also been posted on the U’s Discover blog. Several media outlets have discussed the study, including:

Pioneer Press (St. Paul, Minnesota)

Duluth [Minnesota] News Tribune

City Pages (Minneapolis, Minnesota)

Science Daily

Bring Me the News

Forum News Service

posted on January 26, 2015

MSI Principal Investigator Daniel Bond (Biotechnology Institute; College of Biological Sciences, College of Science and Engineering) is studying how Geobacter microbes use metals for energy. In a recent paper in mBio, he and his co-authors discuss their discovery of a protein that helps the bacteria utilize these metals as they grow underground. The paper’s lead author, Caleb Levar, and co-author Chi Ho Chan are also MSI users. The paper was also written up on the U Discover blog.

The Bond group uses MSI resources for genome assembly of metal-reducing bacteria and for data analysis.


posted on January 23, 2015

MSI Principal Investigator Daniel Voytas (Genetics, Cell Biology, and Development; College of Biological Sciences, Medical School) received the Entrepreneurial Researcher Award from the Office of the Vice President for Research at a ceremony in December 2014. This award, one of the 2014 Innovation Awards, recognizes a “University faculty member or researcher who displays an exemplary entrepreneurial spirit by their initiative to not only innovate new technologies but to also move those technologies from the university laboratory to the market.” (Description from the Award Ceremony program.)

Professor Voytas was recognized for the invention of TALENs, a method of gene editing. He uses MSI resources to help monitor mutagenesis resulting from genetic alterations. The OVPR has also created a video about his work.