Research Spotlights Digest

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

graph of integrated model and photo of researchers at NutNet site Computer Model Links Plant Species Richness and Productivity

The relationship between vegetation productivity and species richness has been under investigation by ecologists for many years. However, scientists have not been able to develop a definitive method to determine this relationship using bivariate analysis. One reason for this may be that both productivity and richness are controlled by a wide variety of influences. MSI PI...Read more

structure of metal organic framework A New Method for Creating a Catalyst on a Metal-Organic Framework

Effective and stable catalysts are important to a wide variety of processes important to research and industry. An emerging technology is to support catalysts on materials known as metal-organic frameworks (MOFs). A MOF contains organic linkers and inorganic (metal-containing) nodes; they improve the efficiency of the catalysts they support by isolating catalytic sites one from another and...Read more

graphs of genomic inbreeding coefficients; picture of giant panda Panda Genomics

Conservationists seeking to increase in the panda population must understand issues related to genetic diversity. Researchers are studying how these pandas are related and their levels of inbreeding and comparing these data for pandas in different geographical areas. This also assists conservationists breeding captive pandas, since it provides additional information about the pandas’ genomic...Read more

Venn diagrams of QTLs Identifying Rust Resistance Genes in Wheat

Wheat leaf rust is a fungus (Puccinia triticina) that attacks wheat and other cereal crops. It is common and destructive, affecting crops throughout the world. Researchers are studying the genetics of these crops with a goal of producing more rust-resistant cultivars.

MSI Principal Investigators James...Read more

depiction of sampling from farms Determining Influenza A Virus Infections in Subpopulations of Pigs

The influenza A virus (IAV), which causes flu, is extremely common, and affects humans, birds, and pigs. In recent years, there has been a great deal of concern about influenza viruses mutating to a form that can jump from pigs or birds and cause a human pandemic. Researchers are studying the influenza virus in hopes of being able to control future outbreaks.

Three MSI Principal...Read more

visualization of nanopipette tip and conductive flat electrode A New Method to Detect Single Molecules

Scientists are interested in being able to study individual molecules in order to determine characteristics that might not be evident when studying en masse. Being able to isolate a single molecule is tricky, but researchers during the past 20 years have been developing ways to use nanopore sensors for the task. The difficulty of this method lies with the extremely small size of the nanopores...Read more

Lifestyle patterns of the BaAka and Bantu Comparing the Gut Microbiome of Different African Populations

Investigations into the gut microbiome continue to reveal how the collections of microorganisms in the digestive system affect human health. Studies have shown that various lifestyle factors can have an influence on the gut microbiome. It seems that a Western-style diet can reduce the diversity of microorganisms in the gut, and researchers are studying the implications for our health.

...Read more

attendees at the 2015 MSI Research Exhibition 2016 Research Exhibition

On Tuesday, April 26, MSI held the seventh annual MSI Research Exhibition. MSI researchers presented posters of their work using MSI. The posters were judged by a panel of faculty members and prizes (travel awards) were awarded. Posters compete in one of two categories, Physical Sciences and Engineering or Biological and Medical Sciences. Entrants were from a wide variety of disciplines. The...Read more

visualization of eddy structure in hydraulic jump Computer Simulations of Hydraulic Jumps

A hydraulic jump is a phenomenon that occurs when a high-velocity liquid transitions to a region where the liquid slows. The fluid rises in height, turbulence increases, and air is entrained into the flow forming bubbles after the transition. Energy dissipation and higher rates of gas transfer also occur. This phenomenon is useful for engineering purposes such as energy dissipation and...Read more

graphs of expressed genes after immunosuppressive treatment Finding Genetic Markers of Transplant Rejection

When patients suffer renal failure, a kidney transplant is the most cost-effective treatment. Unfortunately, in spite of modern anti-rejection drugs, the patients sometimes suffer either acute rejection (AR), which can happen up to a year or so after the transplant, or chronic allograft dysfunction (CGD), in which the transplanted kidney gradually loses function over a longer time.

...Read more

diagram of osteosarcoma phenotypes; Rottweiler dog Genetic Differences in Osteosarcoma Subtypes

Osteosarcoma is a bone cancer that affects both humans and dogs. Researchers at the University of Minnesota, including MSI users, are studying this disease. In a recent paper that appeared in The Journal of Biological Chemistry, MSI Principal Investigators Associate Professor Subbaya Subramanian (...Read more

Finite-element meshes and representative networks in PC model Using Multiscale Mechanical Modeling to Investigate Skin Responses

Researchers in biological sciences and medicine are using scientific computing in a number of exciting ways. One such is computer modeling of structures and organs of the human body.

The research group of Professor Victor Barocas (Biomedical Engineering) develops...Read more