News

Two MSI PIs from the College of Science and Engineering have received CAREER grants from the National Science Foundation. These grants are awarded to junior faculty to help support outstanding research and teaching.
The Office of the Vice President for Research (OVPR) has published a list of patents that have been awarded to University researchers during the past year. Thirty-seven MSI Principal Investigators, shown below, are on this list. The complete list can be found on the OVPR’s Inquiry blog: Patent Roll Call, Spring 2019. The PIs’ MSI pages are linked from their names (PI names are in bold).
MSI PI Jaime Modiano (Veterinary Clinical Sciences; Masonic Cancer Center) has received a grant totaling $600,000 over three years from the V Foundation for Cancer Research. The grant will support research into novel treatments for sarcomas, cancers of the bone and connective tissue.
Citizen-science projects include thousands of people who sort through huge datasets. Now these human volunteers have a partner - computers with sophisticated image-recognition capabilities. A recent study led by University of Minnesota researchers used machine-learning techniques to “teach” computers to identify different types of animals based on camera-trap photos from several datasets. The article was the cover story for the January 2019 issue of the British Ecological Society’s journal Methods in Ecology and Evolution.
MSI PI Brian Steffenson (professor, Plant Pathology) is the co-lead on a recently published method that will help researchers find and clone disease resistance genes. The method is called Association Genetics Resistance Gene Enrichment Sequencing (AgRenSeq), and has been tested on Aegilops tauschii, a progenitor of modern wheat. The study was published in the journal Nature Biotechnology and can be found on the journal website: S Arora, B Steuernagal, K Gaurav, S Chandramohan, Y Long, O Matny, et al.
MSI PI George Weiblen (professor, Plant and Microbial Biology) is featured in a story about genomic research into Cannabis sativa as legislatures discuss its legalization for medicinal and recreational use. The story was featured on Minneapolis/St. Paul tv station Fox 9.  Professor Weiblen has studied Cannabis sativa and its close relative hemp for many years. His group uses MSI resources for their genomics studies.
MSI PI Dante Cicchetti (professor, Institute of Child Development) will receive a 2019 Distinguished Scientific Contribution Award from the American Psychological Association. This award recognizes distinguished theoretical or empirical contributions to psychological research.
On Wednesday, February 6, 2019, MSI staff will perform scheduled maintenance and upgrades 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 February 6. Jobs that cannot be completed before 5:00 a.m. on February 6 will be held until after maintenance and then started once the system returns to production status. February maintenance will include:
Two MSI PIs are among the university researchers who have been awarded collaborative research grants from the Minnesota Partnership for Biotechnology and Medical Genomics. These grants go to teams of researchers from the University and the Mayo Clinic for projects that cannot be completed by either institution alone. These are two-year projects dedicated to discovering treatments for diseases that affect Minnesotans. The MSI PIs on the list include: 
Four MSI PIs are among the University faculty who have named 2019-21 McKnight Land-Grant Professors. The purpose of this program is to advance the careers of outstanding assistant professors. The MSI PIs included on the list are:
A group of University of Minnesota climate experts, including MSI PIs, spoke recently to a new Minnesota House committee about climate change in the state. The experts briefed the House Energy and Climate Finance and Policy Division about how changes in temperature and precipitation are affecting the state and answered questions from lawmakers.
University leaders announced the Grand Challenges Research Interdisciplinary Team Awards for 2019 in December 2018. Six teams received awards, three of which are co-led by MSI PIs. The projects headed by MSI PIs include (MSI PIs are in bold): Clinical Precision Medicine Based on Single Cell Analysis Co-PIs:
The Data Sharing and Cyberinfrastructure Working Group, a collaboration between NSF’s four Big Data Hubs, is hosting a web-based presentation on Friday, January 11, 2019, 2:00 - 3:00 pm CST. The topic is “Massachusetts Responds to the Opioid Epidemic: Using Data to Inform Policy and Programs” and it will be presented by Monica Bharel, MD, MPH, the Commissioner of the Massachusetts Department of Public Health.
MSI PI Gabe Chan (assistant professor, Humphrey School of Public Affairs)  has been providing insights into Excel Energy’s recent pledge to go completely carbon-free by 2050. An interview by Minnesota Public Radio can be found on their website: How Xcel Could Bring Carbon-Free Power to Minnesota.
MSI PI Susan Mantell has been named Head of the Department of Mechanical Engineering. She will begin her new position on January 1, 2019. Professor Mantell is a long-time MSI PI. She is currently using MSI resources to perform finite element analysis to study stress corrosion cracking in polymer components used in structural applications.
MSI PIs Sagar Goyal (professor, Veterinary Population Medicine) and Peter Bruggeman (professor, Mechanical Engineering) are leading a team studying how using cold plasma on surfaces can reduce the incidence of a virus affecting pigs. Porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome virus (PRRSv), which spreads quickly through swine barns, is extremely costly to the pork industry.
Two University of Minnesota faculty members, both MSI PIs, have been named 2018 Fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). They will be honored at the spring meeting of the AAAS on February 2019. The new Fellows are:
MSI PI Peter Reich (professor, Forest Resources) is a co-author on a new paper that analyzed the trait-environment relationships of plants, using a massive database containing over 26,000 plant species. This research will help scientists understand plant communities and how they are affected by factors besides temperature and precipitation, such as soil conditions and wildfires. This can provide insight into how climate change might affect plant communities in different regions.
MSI PIs Jonathan Schilling (professor, Plant and Microbial Biology) and Claudia Schmidt-Dannert (professor, Biochemistry, Molecular Biology and Biophysics) are investigating a process called “brown rot,” whereby fungi extract sugars from wood without breaking down the rigid material.
On Wednesday, December 5, 2018, MSI staff will perform scheduled maintenance and upgrades 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 5. Jobs that cannot be completed before 5:00 a.m. on December 5 will be held until after maintenance and then started once the system returns to production status. December maintenance will include: