News

The Bell Museum has published a profile of Professor George Weiblen (science director and curator of plants, Bell Museum; Plant and Microbial Biology). Professor Weiblen is an expert in plants in Papua New Guinea, and co-founded a research center there. He uses MSI for phylogenetic analyses of plants using next-generation sequencing data.
After consulting with MSI’s advisory committee, we are making a few changes to the way that Global Scratch Storage is managed to address some performance issues. Most users will not be impacted by this change. Due to the intense demands placed on our global scratch system, users have observed highly variable performance making it difficult to rely on this system when designing workflows. In the past few months these demands have, at times, caused the global scratch systems to completely stop functioning.
A video narrated by MSI PI Forest Isbell (Ecology, Evolution, and Behavior; associate director, Cedar Creek Ecosystem Science Reserve (CCESR)) describes a project that has introduced bison into the CCESR to see whether their foraging behavior can benefit the oak savanna ecosystem. The video is from the Big Ten Network and can be found on the network’s YouTube page. 
MSI PI Sylia Wilson (assistant professor, Institute of Child Development), was recently named a Rising Star by the Association for Psychological Science. This award recognizes early-career researchers for the excellence of their work. An article about Professor Wilson and her research appears on the College of Education and Human Development website: Wilson Named APS Rising Star.
MSI PI Casem Sarkar (associate professor, Biomedical Engineering) is the senior author on recently published research concerning molecular interactions. The authors developed a mathematical model to simulate the effects of key parameters controlling interactions between molecules with multiple binding sites. Such molecules are common in drug development.
Research by MSI PI Trevor Wardill (assistant professor, Ecology, Evolution, and Behavior) into the vision of cuttlefish has received international attention. In a recently published by the journal Science Advances, Professor Wardill and his colleagues described putting 3D glasses on a cuttlefish and showing it videos of shrimp in order to see if these cephalopods had depth perception, as humans do.
The Soil Health Partnership, an initiative of the National Corn Growers Association, is working with MSI to use the GEMS platform. The goal is to develop a way that farmers can predetermine the right mix of plants and methods to optimize their crop yields and minimize harmful environmental effects. A story about this project appeared recently on the Minnesota Corn Growers Association’s blog: Supercomputing Comes to Ag. MSI staff members Dr.
MSI PI Lucy Fortson (professor, Physics and Astronomy) has received recognition from the American Physical Society (APS) for her leadership of the citizen-science platform Zooniverse.org, which celebrated its 10th anniversary in December.
On Wednesday, January 8, 2020, MSI staff will perform scheduled maintenance and upgrade to various MSI systems. Primary Storage, Mesabi, Mangi, and Itasca will be unavailable throughout much of the day. A global system reservation will start at 5:00 a.m. on January 8. Jobs that cannot be completed before 5:00 a.m. on January 8 will be held until after maintenance and then started once the system returns to production status.January maintenance will include:
MSI PI George Weiblen (professor, Plant and Microbial Biology; Science Director and Herbarium Curator, Bell Museum; Resident Fellow, Institute on the Environment) is featured in a story about the commercial growth of hemp in Minnesota, published in the Winter 2020 issue of Minnesota Alumni, a magazine published by the University of Minnesota Alumni Association.
MSI PI Gabriel Chan (professor, Science, Technology, and Environmental Policy) is quoted in a recent story from National Public Radio (NPR) about the work of faith communities to partner with developers building solar gardens in low-income neighborhoods. Churches, temples, and mosques are working with the solar-energy industry to install solar panels; community members can then subscribe to the system and reduce their energy costs.
Two MSI PIs from the chemistry department are celebrating significant anniversaries at the department and the University of Minnesota. An article appears on the department’s website: Two Professors Celebrate Decades of Research, Teaching, and Service.
MSI PI Craig Packer (professor, Ecology, Evolution, and Behavior; director, The Lion Center) is one of two University of Minnesota researchers named as a Fellow by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). Professor Packer is being honored for his research that studies African lions.
On Wednesday, December 4, 2019, MSI staff will perform scheduled maintenance and upgrade to various MSI systems. Primary Storage, Mesabi, and Itasca will be unavailable throughout much of the day. A global system reservation will start at 5:00 a.m. on December 4. Jobs that cannot be completed before 5:00 a.m. on December 4 will be held until after maintenance and then started once the system returns to production status.December maintenance will include:
MSI PIs Forest Isbell (associate director, Cedar Creek Ecosystem Science Reserve (CCESR)) and Peter Reich (Regents Professor, Forest Resources), are co-authors on a recent paper that shows that abandoned agricultural land fails to regain biodiversity after nearly a century of disuse. The study examined abandoned agricultural land and compared its biodiversity compared to land that had never been plowed.
Several MSI PIs are the leads on projects that recently received funding from the Minnesota Invasive Terrestrial Plants and Pests Center (MITPPC). The projects aim at preventing and fighting various weeds, diseases, and insects that are affecting Minnesota’s plant life. The MSI PIs and their projects are:
Two MSI PIs have been named to the Academies for Excellence, which recognizes outstanding University of Minnesota faculty in the areas of scientific research, educational scholarship, clinical practice, and team science: Academy for Excellence in Health Research Jerrold Vitek (professor and chair, Neurology)
MSI has created and released a Mesabi Interactive Queue. The purpose of the Mesabi Interactive Queue is to increase the availability of nodes for interactive use and to replace the interactive resources available in the LabQi Cluster. The Mesabi Interactive Queue can be used in real-time for tasks such as interactive data exploration, creating plots or images, visualizations, or testing sections of code that will be used on other MSI queues.  Here are several examples of how you can request an interactive HPC job on the new Mesabi Interactive Queue:
Debmayla Ray, a computational chemist and PhD candidate in the group of MSI PI Laura Gagliardi (professor, Chemistry), is featured in Student Voices on YouTube. He talks about his research, computational chemistry at the U, and the importance mental health.
MSI PI Peter Larsen (assistant professor, Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences) is featured in a recent news story by WCCO-TV about chronic wasting disease (CWD) in Minnesota’s deer population. CWD is a deadly prion disease. Professor Larsen’s lab is working to develop an instant CWD field test, which would allow hunters to know immediately whether their deer is safe to eat.

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