Research Spotlights Digest

Galaxy flow chart Expanding the Galaxy Platform

Galaxy is an open-source, web-accessible, integrated informatics solution for data-intensive research in biological and medical science. It is designed so that biologists without programming experience can use it, and it captures information so that computational analyses can be duplicated by other users. It also allows users to share, collaborate, and publish their analyses via the web....Read more

microscopic images of biofilms Understanding Pathogens and Biofilms

A major concern of medical treatment is that patients can develop infections, either from exposure to dangerous microbes while in the hospital, or because these organisms are introduced by medical devices, such as artificial joints, catheters, or artificial heart valves. These infections affect thousands of patients a year. The second most common cause of healthcare-related infections is ...Read more

table and image showing experimental and theoretical intermolecular distances A New Atmospheric Sulfur Compound

Scientists who study the atmosphere have been interested in the behavior of sulfur compounds for many years. For example, sulfuric acid is a key player in the formation of atmospheric aerosol and, as such, plays a critical role in determining climate and the global energy budget. Further investigations into how sulfur combines with other atmospheric species continue to be important for both...Read more

graphs showing microbiome population Changes in the Human Gut Microbiome Caused by Colorectal Cancer

The microbiome of the human digestive tract has become an area of a great deal of exciting research and discovery. Scientists are finding out how the microorganisms living in our bodies affect our health, and several MSI PIs are involved in this research.

MSI Principal Investigators Timothy Starr,...Read more

map of emissions Measuring Nitrous Oxide Emissions

Nitrous oxide, N2O, is an important greenhouse gas and stratrospheric ozone depleting substance. The bulk of N2O emissions come from agricultural lands and associated waterways that receive agricultural runoff. Experts use an emission factor (EF) to approximate annual N2O emissions for different areas. From the EPA website, the...Read more

Investigations of Dark Matter

Current astrophysical research indicates that most of the mass of the Universe is made up of a substance called “dark matter,” so called because it cannot be seen. Its presence is inferred by its gravitational effects. Astrophysicists believe that the gravitational pull of dark matter causes galaxies to hold together and also to form into giant clusters. Little is known about this enigmatic...Read more

Wildlife in the Serengeti

Camera traps, which are motion- or heat-activated automatic cameras, are revolutionizing how researchers can study ecosystems, since they are noninvasive, relatively inexpensive, and are capable of monitoring large areas and diverse species. A few years ago, members of the research group of MSI Principal Investigator ...Read more

Targeting Drugs to Tumors

One of the most promising methods of treating cancer is called “tumor-homing” or “targeted drug” therapy. In this method, a cancer drug is linked to a kind of peptide called a “tumor-homing” peptide – the tumor-homing peptide recognizes a specific receptor that appears on tumors, thereby guiding the drug directly to the tumor. One such receptor that has shown promise for targeted drug therapy...Read more

drawing of Cu2Si monolayer A Novel Two-Dimensional Copper-Silicon Material

Image description: Left: Top and side views of a section of a two-dimensional Cu2Si monolayer. Cu atoms copper colored, Si atoms grey. Right: Bonding structure of the Cu2Si monolayer. (a-c) Individual 4c-2e σ bonds. (d) Superimposition of 4c-2e σ bonds. Copper is orange, silicon is blue. LM Yang, et al., JACS 2015, 137, 2757. ©...Read more

Mesabi, MSI's New Supercomputer

Mesabi, the Minnesota Supercomputing Institute’s newest supercomputer, was formally dedicated on April 23, 2015. Mesabi is the latest in a long line of supercomputers that have been serving the University of Minnesota research community for 30 years.

Mesabi is a heterogeneous compute system built by HP. Heterogeneous systems incorporate more than one type of processor...Read more

The Fungal Microbiome in Infants

Research has shown that the human microbiome - the community of microorganisms that inhabit our bodies - may have health implications. It’s possible, for example, that a certain mixture of these microorganisms may cause certain diseases.

Researchers have recently begun to study the microbiome in depth. While much recent research has involved the bacteria that live in human bodies, only...Read more

Mesabi Dedication and 2015 Research Exhibition

On Thursday, April 23, MSI held the sixth annual MSI Research Exhibition and dedicated our newest supercomputer, Mesabi. Mesabi is an HP distributed cluster featuring a large number of nodes with leading-edge Intel processors that are tightly integrated via a very high speed communication network. In...Read more

Understanding the Effects of Dislocations on Thermal Properties of Materials

Materials whose atoms form a crystal structure - the atoms are organized in a symmetric spatial arrangement - are useful for various applications, such as electronics. During the crystal growth process, dislocations can form. One type is called a “screw dislocation,” which can be seen in the image above. Defects in a crystal will affect its properties and thus have implications for the...Read more

New Data Storage Option for MSI Researchers

In the fall of 2014, MSI added a Ceph object storage system as an option for second-tier storage for MSI users. Many MSI researchers are in disciplines that use huge amounts of data, such as informatics, genomics, and astrophysics. Often, much of this data does not need to be stored on a machine with high-speed access. This is where a good second-tier storage option is valuable.

The...Read more

Investigating the Medicinal Properties of Kava ('awa)

For centuries, Pacific Islanders have used the kava (Piper methysticum G. Forster) plant to make water-based drinks for medicinal and ceremonial use. Kava, prepared with water, is also traditionally used as a daily drinking beverage at the end a workday similar to a cocktail. Because of reports that linked solvent (e.g. ethanol, acetone) extracted kava use to liver damage, in the...Read more