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.