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News

Josh Vermaas
August 11, 2020
Josh Vermaas will join Michigan State University on Jan. 1, 2021, as an assistant professor in the field of computational science. He will share his position between the MSU-DOE Plant Research Laboratory (PRL) and the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (BMB) in the College of Natural Science.
Sharkey lab members
August 4, 2020
The four-year, $898,946 grant from the National Science Foundation will allow Sharkey to continue his research on the evolutionary pattern of the appearance and loss of isoprene emission among various land plants and the impact of these emissions have on the atmosphere.
Phylogenetic analysis of CSLC protein family
August 3, 2020
A new study increases our understanding of the biosynthesis of xyloglucan, one of the most common polysaccharides in plant primary cell walls.
Illustration of a potential nanofactory application. It looks like a tube of blue and orange lights.
July 16, 2020
This long-from article details how our scientists are working to unlock the secrets of photosynthesis, an effort which might spur an agricultural revolution and lead to innovative energy and industrial technologies. The article appears in Futures, a magazine produced twice per year by Michigan State University AgBioResearch.
Zhi-Yan Du in the lab
July 15, 2020
Du, a former postdoctoral fellow in the lab of Christoph Benning, will start a new position as Assistant Professor in the Department of Molecular Biosciences and Bioengineering at the University of Hawaii at Mānoa, Honolulu.
Walker lab members in lab coats
July 15, 2020
MSU plant biologist Berkley Walker is part of a team of scientists that is using a 3-year, $1.4 million National Science Foundation  Molecular and Cellular Biosciences award to explore the intersection between photorespiration and one-carbon metabolism, two plant biochemical processes that are critical to plant growth and human nutrition.
A graphic of electrons
July 6, 2020
The work explores how electrons can move across long distances within biomaterials, such as proteins. Understanding the factors that control electron transfer in a biological context is critical to advances in diverse fields, including bioenergy, biosynthesis and disease.
Atsuko Kanazawa
June 24, 2020
A new paper reveals how nature has come up with solutions for photosynthetic organisms to safely harvest sunlight. The paper is included as a chapter in a new book, Photosynthesis in Algae: Biochemical and Physiological Mechanisms, published by Springer.
Brandon Rohnke
June 9, 2020
The aim of the AAAS fellowship program is to connect science with policy makers and to foster a network of science and engineering leaders who understand government and policymaking. Brandon will be placed at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Basic Energy Sciences in Washington D.C..
Tomomi Takeuchi
June 2, 2020
Tomomi will be working for Charles River Labs, located in Mattawan, while Eric will be with Physicians Toxicology in Kalamazoo.
The plant biology building as seen from the gardens
May 29, 2020
The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has awarded the Michigan State University-DOE Plant Research Laboratory a three-year (2020-2023), $11.25 million DOE Office of Basic Energy Sciences competitive renewal grant to continue its innovative photosynthesis research.
The Grand Prismatic Spring of Yellowstone National Park showing steam rising from hot water, which is surrounded by huge mats of brilliant orange algae and bacteria
May 26, 2020
Scientists have established a new method to quantify how much cyanobacteria assimilate carbon in the process of photosynthesis. The method assesses carbon assimilation over a stretch of time. It also better factors in a wider range of environmental variables, such as changing carbon dioxide levels or varying light intensities.
Photosynthetic membranes produced by the new visualization method
May 14, 2020
A collaboration with Max Planck Institutes in Germany has led to a new visualization approach that produces a topological view of these native membranes.
Arabidopsis plants
May 12, 2020
Benning is featured on the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science's 'First-Person Science' series, where scientists describe how they made significant discoveries over years of research. 
Caterpillar on a branch
May 7, 2020
Michigan State University plant scientist Gregg Howe has been elected to the National Academy of Sciences (NAS). Founded in 1863, the NAS is one of the oldest and most prestigious scientific membership organizations in the United States. Howe joins 10 current and emeritus MSU faculty as members of NAS.
Brad Day
April 24, 2020
The grant to Brad Day and Sheng Yang He will fund research examining plant responses to environmental threats and an outreach program designed to educate the general public on plant research.
Lumen Chao
April 20, 2020
The former postdoc from the Thomashow lab will join Dr. Wei Li’s lab in Washington D.C. and conduct research to systematically identify critical genes and potential drug targets in brain tumors.
Arabidopsis plants
April 9, 2020
In a new study, published in the journal Nature, the lab of Sheng Yang He shows how plant genes select which microbes get to live inside their leaves in order stay healthy. This is the first study to show a causal relationship between plant health and assembly of the microbial community in the phyllosphere.
Caterpillar on an Arabidopsis plant
April 7, 2020
In plants, elevated defense tends to inhibit plant growth. New research suggests plants have a metabolism-sensing mechanism that may mediate between growth and defense functions.
Federica Brandizzi
April 6, 2020
Federica Brandizzi, MSU Foundation Professor of plant biology, is the recipient of the MSU Innovation Center’s 2020 Innovator of the Year Award in recognition of her research on increasing plant size to maximize the space needed for more crops.
A graphic showing ADP and ATP
March 5, 2020
Increasing the efficiency of the ATP synthase could lead to ROS production. This has important implications for synthetic biology efforts to alter photosynthetic efficiency by engineering the ATP synthase.
A plant
March 5, 2020
New research is refining our understanding of how light wavelengths impact how plants develop their chloroplasts.
L8S8 rubisco
March 2, 2020
Protein modeling in cyanobacteria predicts binding interactions between rubisco and proteins with homology to the small subunit of rubisco.
Plants on a plate and gloved hands holding a razor above it
February 18, 2020
The protein, peroxiredoxin Q, is known to maintain a healthy balance of chemicals and energy levels in chloroplasts. The new research shows the protein also impacts the system that produces chloroplast membranes.
Beronda Montgomery
February 17, 2020
Beronda Montgomery, MSU Foundation Professor, was listed as one of the 100 inspiring black scientists in America by CrossTalk, the official blog of Cell Press, a leading publisher of cutting-edge biomedical and physical science research and reviews.
Anne Rea
February 17, 2020
Anne will primarily write In Brief articles that highlight recently published papers in the journal. The In Briefs are targeted at scientists who browse the journal and want to read a summarized version of a study.
Arabidopsis flowers
February 11, 2020
The CAMTA system - which is known to protect plants from cold weather - plays a newly discovered role: when bacteria invade a leaf, CAMTA warns neighboring, unaffected leaves to prepare for invasion.
Tomomi Takeuchi
February 3, 2020
When algae get stressed, they hibernate and store energy in forms that we can use to make biofuels. Understanding how stress impacts algal hibernation could help scientists lower the cost of biofuels production.
A graphic showing redox activity in BMC proteins
January 28, 2020
The Kerfeld lab, in collaboration with the Naval Research Lab, has engineered a bacterial shell protein to incorporate copper for redox activity.
Caterpillar on a leaf
January 20, 2020
Recent models are telling us that, as our climate warms up, pests will cause more damage to crops. But these models do not factor how infested plants react to rising temperatures. If we do, plants may suffer a worse fate.
A tube of blue and orange lights
January 15, 2020
When electrons move, they are the electricity that powers life. But they are hard to pin down. The newly engineered system could guide electron transfer over long distances, powering future applications in medicine or 'green' fuel production.
A field and the sky
January 10, 2020
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He lab
The article revolves around an exhibit at the Harvard Museum of Natural History on our food supply’s vulnerability to plant disease, using an unconventional conduit: early 20th-century glass models of rotting fruit.
A group of people in lab coats
January 8, 2020
Berkley Walker's DNA synthesis proposal has been selected by the U.S. Department of Energy Joint Genome Institute, a DOE Office of Science User Facility, to study how high temperatures impact plant enzymes that support photosynthesis.