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Researchers in the group of Professor David Thomas (BMBB; MSI Fellow) study muscle proteins. The goal is to understand the fundamental molecular interactions responsible for muscle contraction or cellular movement, to determine the molecular bases of muscle disorders, and to apply the insights gained into therapeutic design. At the 2011 MSI Research Exhibition, Dr. Bengt Svensson was a finalist with his poster concerning investigations into the calcium pump in the sarcoplasmic reticulum membrane (SERCA) and phospholamban, its regulatory partner in the heart (see image). An article about this research appears in the Fall 2011 MSI Research Bulletin.
Deep brain stimulation (DBS) is a surgical therapy used to treat a number of neurological disorders, including Parkinson's disease, dystonia, and essential tremor. DBS therapy involves placing small electrodes in regions of the brain that show pathological activity, and stimulating that region with pulses of electricity. Assistant Professor Matt Johnson (Biomedical Engineering) is using MSI to create simulations of neuronal activity during DBS. This image shows a simulation of a DBS lead in the pedunculopontine nucleus for treatment of Parkinson's disease. More information about Professor Johnson's research can be found in the MSI Annual Research Highlights 2011.
The Le Sueur River Basin in southern Minnesota is a major source of sediment in the Minnesota River and in Lake Pepin. Excess sediment can adversely affect the ecosystems of rivers and lakes. Assistant Professor Karen B. Gran (Geological Sciences, University of Minnesota Duluth) is studying sediment in the Le Sueur River Basin in support of work by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, which seeks to evaluate and control the condition of the river. MSI is used to store large spatial datasets used in the development and execution of the sediment routing model and to facilitate data sharing between researchers. An article about this research is in MSI's Annual Research Highlights 2011.
Professor Doug Dokken (Mathematics, University of St. Thomas) and his colleagues Professor Kurt Scholz (Mathematics, University of St. Thomas) and Thomas Hultquist (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) are working towards a new method of forecasting tornadoes, one that would give authorities the ability to accurately predict when a tornado is likely to form under certain conditions. This will allow them to warn those in the storm area to seek shelter. Using weather-modeling tools, the researchers are analyzing past tornadoes to better understand the processes that cause them. This image is a computer simulation showing counter-rotating loops of vorticity (hairpins) being lifted up along a gust front of a simulated supercell storm. An article about this research is in MSI's Annual Research Highlights 2011.
A "jet in cross-flow" is a jet of fluid that exits an orifice to interact with the surrounding fluid that is flowing "across" the orifice. The term "high-speed jets in crossflow" implies that either the jet or the crossflow is supersonic. These are very complex flows, as shown in the image above. Professor Krishnan Mahesh (MSI Fellow) and his student Xiaochuan Chai in the Department of Aerospace Engineering and Mechanics are developing novel numerical methodologies to perform high-fidelity simulations of high-speed jets in crossflow. An article about their research appears in the Summer 2011 issue of the MSI Research Bulletin.