The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) has elected several University of Minnesota faculty members to their 2012 list of new Fellows. AAAS Fellowships recognize outstanding efforts to advance science or its applications. Fellows are chosen by their peers. Three of the new AAAS Fellows, Carston Wagner (Medicinal Chemistry), Renata Wentzcovitch (MSI Fellow; Chemical Engineering and Materials Science), and Robin Wright (Associate Dean, College of Biological Sciences; Genetics, Cell Biology, and Development) are MSI Principal Investigators.


Professor Wagner was elected to the AAAS’s Section on Pharmaceutical Sciences. His research involves drug design and delivery, including the design and development of chemically assembled protein nanostructures. MSI supports this work with resources that allow the Wagner group to design and model protein-protein interfaces.


Professor Wentzcovitch was elected to the Section on Physics for her contributions to theory and simulations of materials at high pressures and temperatures. She uses the supercomputers for this research, which has implications for our understanding of planetary composition. The Wentzcovitch group’s MSI research has also advanced software for distributed computing over the internet.


Associate Dean Wright was elected to the Section of Biological Sciences in recognition of her contributions to academic administration and education. She is using MSI resources to help analyze and understand data about student performance in her college.


The University News Service has published a story with a complete list of the University faculty who are on the 2012 list of AAAS Fellows.


Blue Waters is a project to deliver a supercomputer that can provide petascale-level computing power. It is located at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA) at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. One year ago, they began a partnership with Cray, Inc. to install this system.


The Blue Waters system has entered the availability testing period. The Blue Waters team has published a report that describes their progress over the past year. You can read the report on the NCSA website or as a PDF attachment


MSI Principal Investigator Daniel Frisbie, who is a Distinguished McKnight Professor in the Department of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science, is highlighted on the OVPR’s Research blog. Professor Frisbie studies how organic materials might be used in electronic devices, as silicon is in current technology. He and his group are using MSI resources to support their study of organic semiconductors.

posted November 8, 2012

MSI Principal Investigator Gary Muehlbauer (Agronomy and Plant Genetics and Head, Plant Biology) is part of a large international team of researchers that has produced a “draft” of the barley genome. This work has been published in the prestigious journal Nature.

An article by the University News Service describes Professor Muehlbauer’s research. He and his group use the Computational Genetics Lab for their investigations of barley and other crops, including wheat, soybean, and maize.


MSI Principal Investigator David Largaespada (Genetics, Cell Biology, and Development) has received the American Cancer Society’s Research Professor Award. According to the ACS website, this award is presented to “mid-career investigators who have made seminal contributions that have changed the direction of basic cancer research.” The award includes a five-year grant that can be renewed for an additional five years. Only two researchers are selected each year. A story about Professor Largaespada appears in the People section of the University website.


Professor Largaespada’s research involves using a transposon system called Sleeping Beauty to find new cancer cells. The approach can be used to understand the genetic basis for many types of cancer. Professor Largaespada and his research group have been using MSI since 2002. They use various software packages to analyze their data.


The only other University of Minnesota recipient of this award, Stephen Hecht (Laboratory Medicine and Pathology), has been an MSI PI for over a decade. He held the award during 2000-10. Professor Hecht uses MSI resources for his research into tobacco-specific N-nitrosamines, which are considered to be among the major carcinogens in tobacco products.