The problem of antibiotic-resistant bacteria is major, and one that is receiving a great deal of attention from researchers around the world. The Research blog (read the full article) of the Office of the Vice President for Research recently published an article about University faculty who are involved in this research. Some of these faculty members are MSI Principal Investigators:

Professor Linda Kinkel (Plant Pathology) uses next-generation sequencing to study microbes associated with native prairie plants and crop plants. She and her group use MSI resources and the assistance of user support staff to process large datasets of microbial DNA sequences.

Associate Professor Tim Johnson (Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences) analyze microbial genomic data through transcriptomic and metagenomic studies to better understand the role of gut and skin microbial communities in animal health. He and his group use the Galaxy suite and other software available through MSI.

Dr. Michael Sadowsky (Director, BioTechnology Institute, and Soil, Water, and Climate) and his colleague Alexander Khoruts are developing a novel treatment for Clostridium difficile infections. These infections can be caused by antibiotic use. These researchers use MSI resources to process very large datasets of sequence data. Besides this project, Dr. Sadowsky uses MSI for the Minnesota Mississippi Metagenome Project, which studies the microbiota of the Mississippi River.


Vice President for Research Brian Herman gave a presentation to the University Regents at their meeting on July 10 that outlined his goals for the University’s research agenda and discussed several initiatives. The Office of the Vice President for Research (OVPR) is working closely with the University President’s office on strategic planning to advance the University’s research mission.


MSI has been supporting research at the University of Minnesota since the 1980s and is well-suited to supporting collaborative, inter-disciplinary research. Highlights of research being done using MSI can be found in the Research Spotlights section of the MSI website. We are also committed to facilitating collaborations between the University and industry. Information about services we can provide to industry partners can be found in the Services section of our website.


You can read more about VP Herman’s presentation at the OVPR Research blog. Minutes and video from the Board of Regents meeting are available at the Regents website


A recent study co-authored by MSI Principal Investigator Katy Kozhimannil (Health Policy and Management) shows that many physicians specializing in family practice, rather than specialists such as obstetrician-gynecologists, provide care to women before and during pregnancy. This research has implications for medical schools, which are implementing new family-medicine residency programs that have an option for less maternity-care training.


You can read more about this study on the School of Public Health website.


Professor Kozhimannil specializes in research to inform the development, implementation, and evaluation of health policy that impacts reproductive-age women and their families. She uses MSI to work with the large administrative and survey databases and linked datasets used to examine these questions.


An article about all of Professor Kozhimannil's research appears in the School of Public Health's blog, The SPHere.


Long-time MSI researcher Professor Franz Halberg (Laboratory Medicine and Pathology, Halberg Center for Chronobiology) passed away on June 9, 2013 at age 93. Professor Halberg was a pioneer in the field of chronobiology, the study of how natural biologic cycles affect health and life. He was Principal Investigator of the Halberg-Cornelissen research group at MSI for many years and published dozens of papers containing research that used MSI resources. His colleague, Professor Germaine Cornelissen-Guillaume (Integrative Biology and Physiology, Halberg Center for Chronobiology), took over PI responsibilities recently, but Professor Halberg acted as co-PI and continued to be an active researcher. The group’s current research using MSI involves the effect of circadian rhythms (Professor Halberg is credited with coining the term “circadian”) on heart rate and blood pressure.


An obituary of Professor Halberg is attached. The staff at MSI extended their deepest condolences to his family, friends, and colleagues.

The NIH Big Data to Knowledge Program (BD2K) is soliciting feedback from the research community on the development of a biomedical data catalog to make biomedical research data findable and citable, as PubMed does for scientific publications.


All responses must be submitted via email to by June 25, 2013.


Below is the wording of the NIH announcement:


The NIH Big Data to Knowledge Program (BD2K) is soliciting feedback from the research community via this Request for Information (RFI). A workshop is planned to help refine our thinking on constructing a data catalogue: a way of ensuring that NIH supported data is findable and citable. A data catalogue is not a repository but would help make data findable and citable. In addition to supplying core, minimal metadata to ensure a valid data reference, it is envisioned that a Data Catalog would include links out to the location of the data, to the NIH Reporter record of the grant that supported the research, to relevant publications within PubMed or journals, and possibly to associated software or algorithms. This RFI is meant to solicit feedback from the research community on this idea. Information from the RFI will help shape the workshop and subsequent development.


Request for Information (RFI): Input on Development of a NIH Data Catalog