posted on February 11, 2015

Regents Professor David Tilman (Ecology, Evolution, and Behavior; College of Biological Sciences) has received the BBVA Foundation Frontiers of Knowledge Award for Ecology and Conservation Biology. This international award is given in recognition of his groundbreaking research, which shows the value of biodiversity to the health of the world’s ecosystems. Professor Tilman is the director of the Cedar Creek Ecosystem Science Reserve (CCESR), an ecological research site. MSI has been working with the CCESR for several years to host an online database that houses the data generated and makes it available to other researchers and the public. Professor Tilman also won the Balzan Prize in 2014.

Read more about this award:


posted on February 9, 2015

MSI PI Allison Hubel, a professor of mechanical engineering (College of Science and Engineering), has developed technology that is the basis for start-up company MesoFlow. The company manufactures devices that remove preservation chemicals from stored cells, such as blood cells and stem cells, before they are used. This technology improves on older methods, which often resulted in large numbers of damaged or lost cells when the preserving agent was removed in a labor-intensive procedure by a highly trained technician. This new procedure requires less skill to operate, is more efficient at removing preservation chemicals, and lowers the cost of equipment needed to prepare cells for use.

Professor Hubel uses MSI resources to as part of a project to find alternative cell-preservations substances to replace dimethylsulfoxide, which is a very common preservation agent, but which is not suitable for all applications. Several naturally occurring molecules may be suitable, and Professor Hubel’s group is performing molecular dynamics simulations on these compounds to study their action mechanisms.

A profile of MesoFlow appears on the OVPR’s Inquiry blog.



posted on February 5, 2015

MSI PI Perry Hackett, a professor in the Department of Genetics, Cell Biology and Development (College of Biological Sciences and Medical School), is featured in a recent post on the College of Biological Science’s Connect blog. Professor Hackett performs research on the Sleeping Beauty transposon to try to develop ways that it can be used as a vector to deliver therapeutic genes to treat various genetic disorders. His current research at MSI focuses on using this method to treat mucopolysaccharidosis diseases. MSI resources such as the Galaxy bioinformatics computing platform are used for data analysis and model validation. 

posted on February 4, 2015

The University of Minnesota Foundation has featured MSI PI Paul Iaizzo, a professor of surgery in the Medical School, in a recent article on their website. By studying bears and their hibernation habits, Professor Iaizzo is learning about how the bears’ physiology allows them to hibernate without developing medical problems, such as blood clots, that occur in bedridden patients.

Professor Iaizzo uses MSI to support his research into developing ways to help ailing hearts. He is currently creating computer models of electric fields from pacemakers placed in different positions.


posted on February 3, 2015

MSI Principal Investigators are among researchers from the College of Food, Agricultural, and Natural Resource Sciences (CFANS) who are studying ancient wild grains. These researchers hope that some of the grains will have resistance to diseases that affect modern agriculture; they could then be cross-bred with crops to provide them with that resistance. An article about this work appeared recently in the CFANS publication Solutions.

The article features MSI PIs Brian Steffenson (Plant Pathology) and Jim Anderson (Agronomy and Plant Genetics), who are members of a worldwide group called the Borlaug Global Rust initiative. This group is looking for ways to combat a deadly rust variety called Ug99, which is extremely virulent. Both Professors Steffenson and Anderson use MSI resources for their genomics and genetics research into wheat.