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The Office of the Vice President for Research has announced this year’s Innovation Impact Case Award. This award recognizes U of M research that has had significant impact outside of academia. The announcement was released by OVPR earlier this month.
The University of Minnesota has been awarded a $16M grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Brain Research Through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies (BRAIN) Initiative. The goal of the project, which is led by the U of M Medical School, is to find out how the brain’s neurons are connected to each other and how they communicate. The researchers will use advanced MRI and other emerging technologies. Three MSI PIs are involved with this project:
On Wednesday, October 4, 2023, MSI staff will perform scheduled maintenance and upgrades to various MSI systems. MSI’s storage, compute clusters, and front-end servers will be unavailable for some portion of the day. Reminder: any SLURM batch job submitted that has a time limit beyond the beginning of maintenance (5 a.m. Wednesday, October 4) will not be queued to start until after maintenance is completed.
A start-up company co-founded by MSI PI Paul Dauenhauer (professor, Chemical Engineering and Materials Science; Center for Sustainable Polymers) and Dr. Andrew Jones won the grand prize at the MN Cup startup competition. The start-up, Carba, was founded in 2021 and is working on a solution to remove CO2 from the atmosphere by converting plant waste into solid carbon.
MSI PI Fang Li (professor, Pharmacology) will be honored with the Elizabeth O. King Lecturer Award by the American Academy of Microbiology at their June 2024 annual conference in Atlanta. The award is given to researchers who make significant contributions to the field of public health and the discovery of new pathogens. This award recognizes Professor Li’s contributions to research into the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus.
MSI PI Kimberly VanderWaal (associate professor, Veterinary and Population Medicine) is leading a team that has been awarded a $800,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the National Institute of Food and Agriculture to study various of a swine virus, porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome virus-type 2 (PRRSV-2).
MSI PI Andrew Oxenham (professor, Psychology; director, Auditory Perception and Cognition Laboratory) has received over $3 million from the National Institutes of Health for a project called, “Complex pitch perception in complex environments.” The grant period extends over five years. The project uses behavioral and neuroimaging studies to better understand how we comprehend pitch in music and speech from the information in our ears.
The Technology Commercialization office has compiled a list of U of M researchers who were awarded U.S. patents in 2022. Many of these patents were awarded to MSI PIs. Links to the patent documentation and the complete list can be found on the Tech Comm website: Patent Roll Call: 2022.  
Research Computing, MSI’s parent organization, has Graduate Assistantships and Seed Grants available for U of M researchers. Overview of RC Finding Opportunities. Graduate Assistantships
On Wednesday, September 6, 2023, MSI staff will perform scheduled maintenance and upgrades to various MSI systems. MSI’s storage, compute clusters, and front-end servers will be unavailable for some portion of the day. Reminder: any SLURM batch job submitted that has a time limit beyond the beginning of maintenance (5 a.m. Wednesday, September 6) will not be queued to start until after maintenance is completed.
Anyone living in Minnesota over the past decades is familiar with Dutch elm disease and the emerald ash borer, two pathogens that have caused a huge impact on local trees. MSI PI Robert Blanchette (professor, Plant Pathology) and members of his lab are using biosurveillance methods to detect and manage new pathogens before they can spread through the plant population.
In recently published research, three MSI PIs and their colleagues have synthesized a topological semimetal that, while using less energy than current materials, is able to generate more computing power and memory storage. Tony Low (associate professor, Electrical and Computer Engineering), K.
Research Computing has opened the application period for the 2024 DSI-MnDRIVE Graduate Assistantship program. This program supports U of M PhD candidates pursuing research at the intersection of data science and any of the five MnDRIVE areas: Robotics; Global Food; Environment; Brain Conditions; and Cancer Clinical Trials.  “Data science” in this case is defined broadly as the collection of approaches and disciplines encompassing the entire data pipeline. Proposals must align with one of the Data Science tracks:
A team led by researchers at the U of M has developed a material that can absorb nearly 100 percent of light. The team includes MSI PIs from the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Professor Steven Koester and Associate Professor Tony Low and their colleagues. The research, which was published in the journal Nature Communications, may have applications in optical communications as well as military applications such as stealth technology.
On Wednesday, August 2, 2023, MSI staff will perform scheduled maintenance and upgrades to various MSI systems. MSI’s storage, compute clusters, and front-end servers will be unavailable for some portion of the day. Reminder: any SLURM batch job submitted that has a time limit beyond the beginning of maintenance (5 a.m. Wednesday, August 2) will not be queued to start until after maintenance is completed. Software license reservation calendars are again available for the following packages: Imaris, Materials Studio, USEARCH, Graphpad Prism, COMSOL, Abaqus, and Mimics.
U-Spatial has named the winners for their 2023 Mapping Prizes. This annual event, which is open to students at the University of Minnesota, honors provocative and innovative map-making. See the winners on the Spatial University website: U-Spatial Mapping Prize. Submissions for the 2024 competition are due on May 10, 2024. The link to the submission information is on the U-Spatial Mapping Prize page linked above.
Six MSI PIs have received awards from the 2023 Research Infrastructure Investment Program. This Office of the Vice President for Research (OVPR) program is designed to facilitate interdisciplinary partnerships and strengthen the University’s research infrastructure. OVPR made 19 awards this year. Below are the MSI PIs who received awards:
MSI PI Nadja Strobbe (assistant professor, Physics and Astronomy) is featured in a recent story on the College of Science and Engineering’s website. Professor Strobbe is working with data from the world’s largest particle accelerator, the Large Hadron Collider. Professor Strobbe is using MSI for this research, which involves the creative use of machine learning to design physics analysis that is both highly sensitive and robust, and for event reconstruction for high-energy physics.
MSI PI Kate Adamala (assistant professor, Genetics, Cell Biology, and Development) and colleagues have developed a breakthrough in biological computing (biocomputing), which uses systems of biologically derived molecules that perform computational processes. Trumpet, or Transcriptional RNA Universal Multi-Purpose GatE PlaTform, is a platform for DNA-based molecular computing that uses biological enzymes as catalysts.
Several MSI PIs are among the inaugural winners of the University’s new Awards for Academic Unit Service. These awards recognize faculty for exceptional service that has strengthened the functioning and climate of a local unit or department and are a collaboration between the Provost’s Office and the Faculty Consultative Committee. The awards include the Provost’s Unit Service Award (one winner; $15,000), the University of Minnesota Unit Service Award (five winners; $5,000 each), and the Award for Excellence in Academic Unit Service (40 winners, $500 each).

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