posted September 15, 2014

MSI Principal Investigator David Tilman (Ecology, Evolution, and Behavior) has been awarded a prestigious 2014 Balzan Prize. This is an international award that comes with an $800,000 prize, half of which is intended to support young researchers. The award is in recognition of Tilman’s many contributions to theoretical and experimental plant ecology.

Tilman is a University of Minnesota Regents Professor, Director of the Cedar Creek Ecosystem Science Reserve (CCESR), and a Fellow of the Institute on the Environment. He and his MSI research group use MSI resources to support their work at CCESR. MSI is providing hosting for the CCESR’s interactive databases, which are used by researchers. The MSI website also serves as a community outreach tool that provides information on world-class research and education opportunities, and species identification guides.

More about this award can be found on the University's Discover blog.


posted on September 12, 2014

MSI Principal Investigator Larry Wackett (Biochemistry, Molecular Biology, and Biophysics) and several of his colleagues in the BioTechnology Institute have recently received a MnDRIVE Transdisciplinary Research Program award. The researchers are interested in how chemicals entering the environment can be degraded quickly and safely.

Professor Wackett’s research group has recently shown that a bacterial enzyme that degrades the chemical compound naphthalene can also act on other chemicals. The MnDRIVE award will be used to start a database of bacterial enzymes that have known actions, then will computationally predict the other chemicals that enzyme will work on. An article about this award and the research it will be used to fund can be found on the College of Biological Science’s Connect blog.

Professor Wackett uses computing to answer important biological questions. His lab is involved in several projects that involve MSI’s computational resources. One of the co-investigators on the MnDRIVE project is MSI PI Professor Carrie Wilmot (Biochemistry, Molecular Biology, and Biophysics), who uses MSI to study the synthesis and function of novel organic, organometallic, and metal ion cofactors in proteins.

posted on September 8, 2014

Regents Professor Donald Truhlar, MSI Fellow and former MSI Director, will be honored at a symposium to be held at the National Meeting of the American Chemical Society in Denver, Colorado, in March 2015. The symposium is called "Computational chemical dynamics: Advancing our understanding of chemical processes in gas-phase, biomolecular, and condensed-phase systems." Professor Truhlar is a faculty member in the Department of Chemistry in the College of Science and Engineering. Another MSI Fellow from the chemistry department, Professor Jiali Gao, is helping to organize the symposium.

Professor Truhlar is an internationally renowned expert in computational chemistry with numerous publications. He was MSI’s Director during 1988 - 2006. He and Professor Gao are also members of the chemistry department’s Chemical Theory Center.


posted on September 4, 2014

MSI Principal Investigator Bin He, a professor in the Department of Biomedical Engineering (College of Science and Engineering) and Director of the Institute for Engineering in Medicine, leads a group of University researchers who have received a National Science Foundation grant as part of President Obama’s BRAIN Initiative. This program is intended to support new technologies that will help us understand how the brain works. Professor He and his research team will explore new multimodal neuroimaging technology for extremely high-resolution brain sensing and imaging. An article about this award is on the College of Science and Engineering website.

Professor He uses MSI to develop computer simulations to study how electromagnetic fields behave in biological tissue, in support of research into different kinds of medical imaging. This research requires a great deal of memory, multi-core processors, and high-capability software. 

posted on September 2, 2014

MSI Principal Investigator Robert Tranquillo, Professor and Head, Department of Biomedical Engineering (College of Science and Engineering), is one of four researchers awarded a grant from the Clinical and Translational Science Institute (CTSI) and Pediatric Device Innovation Consortium (PDIC). Professor Tranquillo’s project is entitled “Preclinical Demonstration of Growth Capacity of a Tissue-Engineering RVOT Graft.” He is using MSI for a project developing a computational model that will allow evaluation of flow through tissues in engineered microvessels.

This grant is part of the Pediatric Medical Device Translational Grant Program; this is the program’s first year. An article with a program description and complete list of grant awardees can be found on the CTSI webpage.