News

MSI PI Gabriel Chan (assistant professor, Science, Technology, and Environmental Policy) explains the gasoline market and why prices go up after certain events. Professor Chan was interviewed as part of Minneapolis TV station WCCO’s “Good Question” series. The story, including video, can be found on WCCO’s website: What Causes Gas Prices to Rise?
Research by MSI PI Jay Austin (professor, Physics and Astronomy, UMN Duluth; Large Lakes Observatory, UMN Duluth) is featured in a story by CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation) News, discussing the warming of Lake Superior due to climate change. Professor Austin will be attending a climate-change symposium in Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada later this month.
MSI PI Walter Low (professor, Neurosurgery) is featured in an article in the Fall 2019 issue of the University of Minnesota Foundation’s magazine, Discovery. The article describes the work of University researchers who are looking for a way to use stem cells to regenerate nerve cells in the inner ear. These nerve cells, spiral ganglion neurons, are necessary for cochlear implants to work.
MSI PIs Robert Blanchette (professor, Plant Pathology) and Kathryn Bushley (assistant professor, Plant and Microbial Biology), working on a project funded by the Minnesota Invasive Terrestrial Plants and Pests Center (MITPPC), are investigating fungi associated with infestation by the emerald ash borer (EAB).
MSI PI Alon Herschhorn (assistant professor, Medicine) has received a 2019 Avenir Award for HIV/AIDS Research. The award, presented by the National Institutes of Health,  is for a project that investigates the pathways used by HIV to escape broadly neutralizing antibodies.
A project by researchers in the College of Biological Sciences (CBS) is tracking the migration of monarch butterflies and trying to determinate how road salt impacts them. Road salt can coat milkweed plants, which are the monarchs’ source of food. MSI PI Emilie Snell-Rood (associate professor, Ecology, Evolution, and Behavior) and her lab have raised thousands of monarchs and have released them to migrate south.
On Wednesday, September 4, 2019, MSI staff will perform scheduled maintenance. This maintenance period will have minimal impact on MSI systems and operations. Mesabi, Itasca, Lab, and Primary Storage will remain online. No global system reservation is in place for this maintenance period. September maintenance will include: Second Tier Storage CentOS updates Systems status is always available on our Status page.
A large and growing problem in medicine is that of antibiotic-resistant bacteria. These bacteria assemble themselves into biofilms - sticky molecules that help them clump together and give them more resistance to antibiotics.
MSI PI Julianne Abel (assistant professor, Mechanical Engineering) has combined her interests in materials and knitting in a unique way - developing functional, or “smart,” materials that can be for engineering applications in fields such as medical devices, rehabilitation, aerospace, and defense. These pliable, lightweight materials can be created to provide actuation, sensing, energy harvesting, and communication. Professor Abel uses MSI resources for some of this research.
The Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities announced recently that MSI PI Brian Steffenson (Plant Pathology) is the recipient of the 2019 Michael P. Malone International Leadership Award. This award recognizes people who advance international education at public universities.
MSI PI Ian Tonks (associate professor, Chemistry) has received a CAREER grant from the U.S. Department of Energy. These grants are awarded to researchers during the early years of their careers to help support outstanding research and teaching.
MSI PI Andrew Odlyzko (professor, Mathematics) was interviewed by the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) for its “People of ACM” feature. In the interview, Professor Odlyzko talks about several areas in which he has performed research, including internet traffic, cybersecurity, and quantum computing. The interview appears on the ACM website.
The NSF Center for Sustainable Polymers (CSP) at the University of Minnesota has received a $20 million grant renewal from the National Science Foundation. The Center performs basic research into polymers, which are the components of plastics. The researchers at the Center are seeking to develop polymers from sustainable biomass using new, innovative techniques; these plastics could then be disposed of in environmentally friendly ways.
University of Minnesota researchers, partnering with colleagues at institutions around the US and in Finland, have shown that declining estrogen levels in post-menopausal women inhibits their ability to maintain and build muscles. Cells known as satellite cells, which are necessary for muscle tissue to build and repair itself, need estrogen to stay healthy. The researchers also found that a drug called BZA seems to mimic the benefits of estradiol, the major form of human estrogen, without having the health risks of estrogen-replacement therapy.
MSI PI Vipin Kumar (Regents Professor, Computer Science and Engineering) is encouraging his colleagues to use data mining, machine learning, and other data-driven approaches to understand and fight issues related to climate change. Professor Kumar is co-chair of the 2019 Conference on Knowledge Discovery and Data Mining (KDD), hosted by the Association for Computing Machinery and taking place in Anchorage, Alaska this week.
On Wednesday, August 7, 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 August 7. Jobs that cannot be completed before 5:00 a.m. on August 7 will be held until after maintenance and then started once the system returns to production status. August maintenance will include:
A new study co-authored by MSI PIs Dan Knights (associate professor, Computer Science and Engineering; BioTechnology Institute) and members of his lab has shown that people’s response to particular foods is very personal. Any given food has a different effect on different people’s microbiomes. This research supports the idea that a one-size-fits-all diet plan may not be effective.
Twelve years after the collapse of the old I-35W bridge in Minneapolis, the new bridge is under constant monitoring through sensors that have been on the structure since it was completed in 2008. MSI PI Lauren Linderman (assistant professor, Civil, Environmental, and Geo- Engineering) is collecting and analyzing the data from these sensors.
MSI PI Marla Spivak (professor, Entomology), an internationally known expert on bees, appeared recently on PBS’s Newshour program in a segment about the decline of bee populations and possible technological solutions to that problem. Professor Spivak is among the bee experts interviewed during the segment.
The Large Lakes Observatory at UM Duluth has had a huge mooring in Lake Superior for the past couple of months. The structure, nearly 1,000 feet wide and 500 feet tall, was designed to collect data about the convection cycle in the lake. The research team removed the structure earlier this month.

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