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Unlikely gathering of scientists generates extraordinary research team, idea - the fat free cell

Cheryl Kerfeld will lead a team of five research groups in a $3.4 million NSF Understanding the Rules of Life grant to engineer a synthetic cell. The aim is to tackle two key science and engineering research areas: building a synthetic cell and epigenetics.

Ya-Shiuan Lai wins 2019 Kende Award

The award recognizes the best doctoral dissertation in the plant sciences at Michigan State University over the last two years.

Identifying a cyanobacterial gene family that helps control photosynthesis

The new gene family helps control carbon dioxide fixation, which is the first step towards making high-energy molecules that feed the planet's organisms. 

[LINK] Grad student, Anastasiya Lavell, talks mentoring and chloroplasts on Impact 89FM

The Benning lab student was a guest on The Sci-Files podcast, where she addressed her research on a protein that seems to be important for lipid regulation in Arabidopsis thaliana chloroplasts.

Bethany Huot starts new position at MSU Department of Biological Sciences

The post-doc from the He lab was will incorporate her “Strategic Career Management” ideas - the path to become the most attractive candidate for one's dream job - into the program.

Christoph Benning is named University Distinguished Professor

The title, among the highest honors that can be bestowed by the university, is for faculty who are recognized nationally and internationally for the importance of their teaching, research, and outreach achievements.

These algae can live inside fungi. It could be how land plants first evolved.

Marine algae, the evolutionary ancestors of plants, could have hitched a ride with fungi to make it onto dry land.

Plants can crash when photosynthesis rates are high. This is one way they slow down.

High levels of photosynthetic productivity can dangerously alter a plant cell's chemical balance. GPT2 is a sort of 'brake' that helps recycle and store extra resources that are produced during those times.

[VIDEO] A new way to 'hoard' resources in nano-sized factories targeted for biotech

'Hoarding' resources in the same location encourages more efficient chemical reactions. Someday, we could use this system to enhance the production of rubber, biofuels, and other commodities.

[LINK] He lab in The Economist: Understanding how crop diseases and climate change interact

The rise in atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations is mixed news for farmers. Although it is a cause for disruptions in weather patterns, it is also a source of more fuel for photosynthesis and therefore enhanced growth - up to 40%.

Christian Danve Castroverde joins Wilfrid Laurier University as Assistant Professor

The postdoc from the He lab will investigate plant immune responses under various environmental and abiotic stresses in model organisms and crop plants.

Altering how cyanobacteria capture light from the sun can impact their health

Various ways of affecting light-capturing antennae can cause cyanobacteria to either remain content or become stressed. The different responses depend on the species and the nature of the modification.

[LINK] Ducat receives prestigious NSF Early CAREER Award

Ducat has received $1,033,970 to investigate the interactions that underpin resilient microbial partnerships and that may be key to solving some of the earth’s biggest resource challenges.

Protecting photosynthesis from stalling: a 24-hr molecular hotline

The enzyme, G6PDH, diverts and pumps resources into the Calvin-Benson cycle at critical moments to keep the cycle active and, by extension, plants happy and healthy.  

Gutter Ball 25: Tony Schilmiller claims third championship

The PRL celebrated 25 years of bowling. Over 100 MSU staff, faculty, and students took over City Limits Bowling Center to vie for the ultimate prize: Gutter Ball 25 Champion!

Tags: outreach
A new rhomboid-like protein that helps plants produce lipids

Rhomboid-like proteins are found across a large number of organisms, like bacteria, flies, and humans. This is the first time such a protein – and how it influences lipid production and transport – has been studied in detail in plants.

2019 Anton Lang Memorial Award Winners Announced

Luciana Renna and Ben Mansfeld were both recognized as scientists who exemplify the research excellence, ideas, dedication, and vision of former PRL director, Anton Lang.

Barb Sears receives Faculty Emeriti Association award

Dr. Sears, an MSU Faculty Emerita retired from the Department of Plant Biology, was awarded the 2019 MSU Faculty Emeriti Association Award for "Outstanding Contributions by an Individual."

Simpler & smaller: a new synthetic nanofactory inspired by nature

The genetically engineered shell is based on natural structures and the principles of protein evolution. Scientists see such structures as a source of new industrial or medical technologies.

MSU scientists teach kids about plant defense at MSU Science Festival 2019

4th to 6th graders got to learn about plant defense mechanisms and the scientific method. Leah Johnson, lead organizer, reflects on the event in an interview.