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DOE renews funding for innovative photosynthesis research at MSU-DOE Plant Research Laboratory DOE renews funding for innovative photosynthesis research at MSU-DOE Plant Research Laboratory

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.

May 29, 2020 Tags: fundamental research, awards
New method tracks cyanobacteria photosynthetic productivity, in real time New method tracks cyanobacteria photosynthetic productivity, in real time

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 (CO2) levels or varying light intensities.

May 26, 2020 Tags: Montgomery lab, fundamental research
First-Person Science: Christoph Benning on Plant Biochemistry [LINK] First-Person Science: Christoph Benning on Plant Biochemistry [LINK]

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. 

May 12, 2020 Tags: Benning lab
MSU's Gregg Howe elected to the National Academy of Sciences MSU's Gregg Howe elected to the National Academy of Sciences

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.

May 7, 2020 Tags: Howe lab, awards
MSU researchers receive grant to continue studying pathogen resistance in plants MSU researchers receive grant to continue studying pathogen resistance in plants

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.

April 24, 2020 Tags: awards, He lab
Lumen Chao starts new position at Children's National Hospital Lumen Chao starts new position at Children's' National Hospital

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.

April 20, 2020 Tags: future scientists, Thomashow lab
Plants control microbiome diversity inside leaves to promote health [VIDEO] Plants control microbiome diversity inside leaves to promote health [VIDEO]

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.

April 9, 2020 Tags: fundamental research, He lab
A common metabolic currency tunes growth-defense balance in plants A common metabolic currency tunes growth-defense balance in plants

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.

April 7, 2020 Tags: fundamental research, Howe lab
Federica Brandizzi named 2020 MSU Innovator of the Year Federica Brandizzi named 2020 MSU Innovator of the Year

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.

April 6, 2020 Tags: awards, Brandizzi lab
How plants tune their greenness to light quality in their surroundings How plants tune their greenness to light quality in their surroundings

New research is refining our understanding of how light wavelengths impact how plants develop their chloroplasts.

March 5, 2020 Tags: fundamental research, Montgomery lab
[LINK] Beronda Montgomery recognized as one of the 100 most inspiring black scientists in America [LINK] Beronda Montgomery recognized as one of the 100 most inspiring black scientists in America

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.

February 19, 2020 Tags: Montgomery lab, awards
Plant protein helps control both chloroplast's chemistry and lipid membrane Plant protein helps control both chloroplast's chemistry and lipid membrane

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.

February 18, 2020 Tags: Benning lab, fundamental research
Anne Rea starts Assistant Features Editor position at The Plant Cell Anne Rea starts Assistant Features Editor position at The Plant Cell

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.

February 17, 2020 Tags: Hu lab, future scientists
Leaf under attack from bacteria? One way plants stop the spread of infection Leaf under attack from bacteria? One way plants stop the spread of infection

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.

February 11, 2020 Tags: Thomashow lab, fundamental research
A protein lulls algae to 'sleep', and what that means for making green fuels A protein lulls algae to 'sleep', and what that means for making green fuels

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.

February 3, 2020 Tags: fundamental research, Benning lab
Insect bites + Warmer climate = Double trouble for plants [VIDEO] Insect bites + Warmer climate = Double trouble for plants [VIDEO]

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.

January 20, 2020 Tags: fundamental research, Howe lab
Taming electrons with bacteria parts and a little 'blood' - a new synthetic biology system [VIDEO] Taming electrons with bacteria parts and a little 'blood' - a new synthetic biology system [VIDEO]

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.

January 15, 2020 Tags: green solutions, Ducat lab
[LINK] Sheng Yang He featured in National Geographic [LINK] Sheng Yang He featured in National Geographic

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.

January 10, 2020 Tags: He lab
Berkley Walker: trying to improve bioenergy crops with 'big picture' math models Berkley Walker: trying to improve bioenergy crops with 'big picture' math models

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.

January 8, 2020 Tags: fundamental research, Walker lab
Identifying a plant cell barrier to breeding more nutritious crops Identifying a plant cell barrier to breeding more nutritious crops

For decades, scientists have unsuccessfully tried to dial up amino acid production in crops. One roadblock might be the target of rapamycin (TOR) protein, which detects nutrient availability in plant cells in order to control cell growth and metabolism.

December 18, 2019 Tags: fundamental research, Brandizzi lab

Top Stories

Using Artificial Intelligence to delve into plant cell secrets Using Artificial Intelligence to delve into plant cell secrets

A new AI system, called DeepLearnMOR, can identify organelles and classify hundreds of microscopy images in a matter of seconds and with an accuracy rate of over 97%. The study illustrates the potential of AI to significantly increase the scope, speed, and accuracy of screening tools in plant biology.

Study links energy metabolism to reduced fertility in overheated bean crops Study links energy metabolism to reduced fertility in overheated bean crops

The study reports that the activity levels of the carbon metabolism protein, G6PDH, are related to decreased production of pollen in bean flowers. As global temperatures rise, some bean crops, including Michigan-grown varieties, might be more sensitive to higher heat levels.

2021 Anton Lang Memorial Award winners announced 2021 Anton Lang Memorial Award winners announced

Evan Angelos and Hainan Zhao were recognized during a ceremony which took place online on Monday, April 19, 2021. The Anton Lang Memorial Fund was established in honor of the founding director of the MSU-DOE Plant Research Laboratory, who passed away in 1996.