Research Spotlights Digest

panel discussion at 2018 MSI Research Exhibition 2018 Research Exhibition

MSI held the ninth annual Research Exhibition on April 17, 2018. The event included a panel discussion about careers in HPC-related fields, presentations by industry representatives about current and emerging technologies, and a judged poster session. A new feature this year was the chance to see movies and visualizations created by MSI users...Read more

photos of NutNet sites in Bogong, Australia and Cedar Creek, Minnesota, USA Nutrient Network Celebrates Ten Years of Collaborative Ecological Research

The Nutrient Network (, aka NutNet, a global collaborative research group studying how humans affect grasslands, celebrated ten years of research in 2017. NutNet was created to study two of the largest human impacts globally, increasing supplies of elemental nutrients like nitrogen and phosphorus from agriculture and burning fossil fuels...Read more

two pictures of animals, one of a lion, and one of a mother elephant and calf New Citizen-Science Project, Snapshot Safari, Launches

Snapshot Safari (, a citizen-science project created by the University of Minnesota’s Lion Center, launched in February 2018. The Lion Center is headed by MSI PI Craig Packer, a Distinguished McKnight University Professor in the...Read more

graphic showing workflows for proteogenomics Galaxy tool New Proteogenomics Tool for Cancer Research

Proteogenomics is a new tool for cancer research. It incorporates genomic-, transcriptomic-, and mass spectrometry (MS)-based proteomics data to verify the expression of protein sequence variants that may be associated with cancer. Proteogenomics is computationally intensive and needs integration of software from different -omics fields. It also needs hardware infrastructure that can...Read more

Nitrous Oxide Emissions Affected by Climate Change

Nitrogen (N) fertilizers are widely used in agriculture worldwide, and their use is growing. One of the side effects of N fertilizers is that they release nitrous oxide (N2O). N2O is a greenhouse gas and major depleter of stratrospheric ozone, so knowledge about how it escapes into the atmosphere is important to climate researchers. However, how weather conditions affect...Read more

simulations of two droplets falling with different initial conditions Modeling Multiphase Flows

Multiphase fluid flows involve more than one state of matter, such as gasoline sprayed into air, or two fluids of the same state with different properties, such as oil droplets suspended in water. This type of flow is involved in many industrial and consumer processes, including fuel injection, spray coating, and inhaled medications. Insight gathered by studying multiphase systems allows...Read more

schematic of motor-clutch module attached to a cell body A Computer Simulation to Study Cancer Cell Migration

Cells move, or migrate, across body tissues such as bone, brain, muscle, and fat. This migration is how wounds heal, for example. Unfortunately, it is also the mechanism by which cancer spreads. Different types of tissues have varying degrees of stiffness, and each kind of cell has a preferred stiffness for migration. The scientists who study cell migration refer to the cell’s “engine,” the...Read more

Maps showing comparison of performance of two models, WRF-Chem and InMAP A New Computer Model for Air Pollution

Scientists studying air pollution use powerful computer models to simulate how various types of pollution spread in the atmosphere. Among these models are Eulerian Chemical Transportation Models (CTMs), which are able to simulate the effectiveness of pollution-reduction efforts. This provides necessary information to policymakers and researchers who are trying to reduce illness and death rates...Read more

graphs showing plants invasion dynamics under different types of density dependence and dispersal Simulating Population Growth in Invasive Species

In order to control invasive species, we need to understand how their populations grow and spread. This process is not constant – there is a great deal of variability in the rate that species invade, and the reasons for these fluctuations are not well understood. Experimental data show that a population’s growth varies even when conditions such as weather and terrain features are stable....Read more

scans of zeolite nanosheets A New Process to Create Zeolite Nanosheets

Adsorbent or catalytic materials called zeolites are used in the chemical and petrochemical industries to separate individual molecules based on size and shape. Building nanosheets of zeolites to make thin films for membrane applications has been a time-consuming, multi-step process. However, MSI researchers and their colleagues have developed a new, one-step method of creating zeolite...Read more

graphs showing nutrient inputs of nitrogen and phosphorus for various watersheds Tracking Pollution Sources in Urban Water Systems

Maintaining the health of urban waterways is an ongoing battle. Urban areas, due to their high population densities, have a number of challenges in maintaining clean water. While sewage systems have been managed so that pollutants are largely controlled, the contribution of pollutants from other sources, such as stormwater runoff, is not yet completely understood.

In a paper that...Read more

panel discussion participants at MSI 2017 Research Exhibition 2017 Research Exhibition

MSI held the eighth annual Research Exhibition on April 25, 2017. This year, besides the judged poster session, the event included a panel discussion about careers in HPC-related fields, plus presentations by industry representatives about current and emerging technologies. Attendees were also able to take tours of MSI’s machine room....Read more

Structural Comparisons of Two Receptors for Mouse Coronavirus

Coronaviruses are a large group of viruses that can cause illness in humans, other mammals, and birds. They use cell surface receptors to attach themselves to host cells. While most of them are not dangerous, causing minor illnesses such as colds, the group includes such deadly diseases as SARS and MERS. One coronavirus, mouse hepatitis virus (MHV), causes a disease in mice that has a high...Read more

pictures of potato plants affected by late blight Genetic Resistance Against Potato Blight

Late blight is a serious crop disease that affects potatoes and costs the potato industry billions of dollars annually. The responsible pathogen, Phytophthora infestans, can infect both potato foliage and the tuber. ‘Russet Burbank’, a popular processing variety of potato, lacks genetic resistance to P. infestans. But introduction of gene RB from a wild potato...Read more

graph showing top-performing zeolite structures Sweetening Natural Gas

Natural gas often contains contaminants. “Sour” gas is natural gas that contains a significant amount of hydrogen sulfide, H2S. Not only is H2S toxic enough to be fatal at concentrations as low as 1,000 ppm, but it is also very corrosive and can damage the pipelines, so it must be reduced to acceptable levels before the natural gas can be used. This is usually done with...Read more