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Identifying a cyanobacterial gene family that helps control photosynthesis 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. 

September 30, 2019 Tags: fundamental research, Lechno-Yossef, Kerfeld lab
[LINK] Grad student, Anastasiya Lavell, talks mentoring and chloroplasts on Impact 89FM [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.

August 27, 2019 Tags: fundamental research, future scientists, Benning lab
Bethany Huot starts new position at MSU Department of Biological Sciences 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.

August 1, 2019 Tags: He lab, future scientists
Christoph Benning is named University Distinguished Professor 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.

July 22, 2019 Tags: Benning lab, awards
These algae can live inside fungi. It could be how land plants first evolved. 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.

July 17, 2019 Tags: Benning lab, fundamental research
Plants can crash when photosynthesis rates are high. This is one way they slow down. 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.

July 9, 2019 Tags: Weise, Sharkey lab, fundamental research
[VIDEO] A new way to 'hoard' resources in nano-sized factories targeted for biotech [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.

June 4, 2019 Tags: Kerfeld lab, green solutions
[LINK] He lab in The Economist: Understanding how crop diseases and climate change interact [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%.

May 31, 2019 Tags: fundamental research, He lab
Christian Danve Castroverde joins Wilfrid Laurier University as Assistant Professor 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.

May 30, 2019 Tags: future scientists, He lab
Altering how cyanobacteria capture light from the sun can impact their health 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.

May 29, 2019 Tags: fundamental research, Montgomery lab
[LINK] Ducat receives prestigious NSF Early CAREER Award [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.

May 28, 2019 Tags: awards, Ducat lab
Protecting photosynthesis from stalling: a 24-hr molecular hotline 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.  

May 20, 2019 Tags: fundamental research, Sharkey lab
Gutter Ball 25: Tony Schilmiller claims third championship 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!

May 20, 2019 Tags: outreach
A new rhomboid-like protein that helps plants produce lipids 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.

May 14, 2019 Tags: fundamental research, Benning lab
2019 Anton Lang Memorial Award Winners Announced 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.

May 9, 2019 Tags: awards, Brandizzi lab, future scientists
Barb Sears receives Faculty Emeriti Association award 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."

April 30, 2019 Tags: awards, Benning lab
Simpler & smaller: a new synthetic nanofactory inspired by nature 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.

April 29, 2019 Tags: Kerfeld lab, fundamental research
MSU scientists teach kids about plant defense at MSU Science Festival 2019 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.

April 25, 2019 Tags: outreach, Howe lab
Anastasiya Lavell wins BMB Outstanding Graduate Student Teaching Award Anastasiya Lavell wins BMB Outstanding Graduate Student Teaching Award

The award is given to a student for exceptional performance as a graduate teaching assistant during his or her graduate program.

April 22, 2019 Tags: awards, Benning lab, future scientists
Two PRL students win first prize at UURAF 2019 Two PRL students win first prize at UURAF 2019

Madeline Bresson from the Sharkey lab and Jacob Wright from the Ducat lab have each won first prize at the University Undergraduate Research and Arts Forum. Both were recognized for their poster presentations.

April 19, 2019 Tags: future scientists, awards, Sharkey lab, Ducat 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.