U-Spatial, one of MSI’s sibling organizations in Research Computing, recently helped researchers at the Institute on the Environment (IonE) on a project that showed the importance of water quality to people making decisions about which lake to visit. A story about this project and the work done by U-Spatial appears on the IonE website: There’s a map for that.  
MSI PI Dan Keefe, an associate professor in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering, is featured in the U’s Driven to Discover campaign: To Create 3D Space to Explore New Worlds.
On Wednesday, July 6, 2016, from 8:00am – 5:00pm CDT, MSI staff will perform scheduled maintenance and upgrades to the network and various MSI systems. July maintenance will impact the following systems: Mesabi and Itasca will be generally unavailable from 8:00am - 5:00pm CDT while MSI staff make system upgrades. Systems status is always available on our System Status page. If you have any questions, please email
Professor Sarah Hobbie, an MSI PI from the Department of Ecology, Evolution, and Behavior, has been named the 2016 Ada Comstock Distinguished Scholar.
Professor Georgios Giannakis (Director, Digital Technology Center; Electrical and Computer Engineering) has been awarded a McKnight Presidential Endowed Chair. This is one of the University of Minnesota’s highest faculty awards.
Four MSI PIs were among the faculty members who received grants from the 2016 Research Infrastructure Investment Program. These grants, which are awarded by the Office of the Vice President for Research, are designed to ensure that research facilities and support services are suitable for outstanding research. An article about the grant and a complete list of awardees can be found on the OVPR website: U Research Infrastructure Gets $2.4 Million Boost.
Two MSI PIs were among the U of M faculty who received Spring 2016 Mini Grants from the Institute on the Environment. The grants are awarded to interdisciplinary projects that focus on environmental themes. Besides funding, the award includes space for workshops, meetings, and conferences and some administrative support for a year. The MSI PIs who received Mini Grants are:
MSI PI Wendy Gordon, an assistant professor in the Department of Biochemistry, Molecular Biology, and Biophysics, has been named a 2016 Pew Scholar in the Biomedical Sciences. This grant, presented by the Pew Charitable Trust, “provides funding to young investigators of outstanding promise in science relevant to the advancement of human health.
MSI PI David Largaespada (Genetics, Cell Biology, and Development; Masonic Cancer Center) is one of the co-founders of a startup that will develop better gene-editing tools that will enable more complex genome engineering techniques. The company, B-MoGen, was launched in February.
MSI PI Raymond Hozalski, a professor in the Department of Civil, Environmental, and Geo- Engineering, has been working with the cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul to help improve the taste and smell of their drinking water. While the water was safe, conditions in the water sources were creating “off” tastes and odors.
MSI PI Efi Foufoula-Georgiou, a professor in the Department of Civil, Environmental, and Geo- Engineering and St. Anthony Falls Laboratory, studies river deltas as part of the National Science Foundation-funded Sustainable Deltas Project. This project seeks to understand how river deltas are changing and what can be done to protect them.
MSI Principal Investigators are among the researchers chosen to receive grants from the Institute on the Environment’s Renewable Electricity for Minnesota’s Future program. The projects are cross-disciplinary and include partners from the private sector. The following projects include MSI PIs. PI names are in bold. A complete list of the grant awardees can be found on the IonE website.
A recent post in the OVPR’s Inquiry blog describes the U’s participation in citizen-science projects, including its own citizen-science initiative, Zooniverse@UMN. MSI Principal Investigator Lucy Fortson (Physics and Astronomy) heads the initiative.
In a paper published last month in the journal PLoS One, MSI Principal Investigator Tracy Twine (Soil, Water, and Climate) used computer models to show that rising temperatures and more extreme rain/drought cycles adversely affect corn yields. The study is the first to include the process by which plants interact with soil moisture. A story about the research appears on the SWC department website.
On Wednesday, June 1, 2016, from 8:00am – 12:00pm CDT, MSI staff will perform scheduled maintenance and upgrades to the network and various systems. Maintenance during this period will impact the following systems: Systems will be generally unavailable from 8:00am - 12:00pm CDT while MSI staff make network updates. The NX server will be upgraded and unavailable for use from 8:00 - 9:00am CDT. Systems status is always available on our Status page.
Mice used in research labs live in controlled environments with sheltered immune systems. In a recent study, MSI PIs and their research groups and colleagues show that mice that are exposed to a more unhygienic environment, by being housed with “dirty” pet-store mice, have immune systems that are more like those of humans. This has implications for research, by making mouse models more applicable to humans.
The Office of the Vice President for Research (OVPR) has awarded two projects with funding under the Minnesota Futures Grant Program. Both projects are headed by MSI Principal Investigators. MSI PIs are indicated in bold below. Complete descriptions of the projects can be found on the Inquiry blog.
The U was recognized by the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) for its contributions to the study of microbiomes. The OSTP announced the National Microbiome Initiative, in which the U is a participant, on May 13. An article appears on the U’s Discover blog. A number MSI Principal Investigators are involved in microbiome research. MSI has featured this research:
The Bell Museum of Natural History at the University of Minnesota has launched a new online database of plants and animals in their collection. The Minnesota Biodiversity Atlas contains information about over 16,000 species from Minnesota and around the world. The web portal is open to the public as well as to researchers and educators. MSI staff members Tom Prather and Michael Milligan provided database development and programming expertise for this project.
Professor Shashi Shekhar, an MSI PI from the Department of Computer Science and Engineering, has been recognized by the Springer Publishing Company for his paper, “From GPS and virtual globes to spatial computing – 2020.” It was selected as one of the top articles published in 2015 that “address the world’s most pressing challenges.” The article was published in the journal GeoInformatica in October