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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.

[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.

Tags: He lab
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.

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.

Two PRL undergraduates win Biochemistry & Molecular Biology Departmental awards

Chase Lindeboom and Hainite Tuitupou will earn stipends in support of their education and will officially receive their awards at banquet which will take place in April 2020.

Chasing order beyond the realm of the visible: a new tool tidies up molecules at the nano level [VIDEO]

A protein from cyanobacteria has been redesigned into a homing beacon to attract molecular payloads. The long-term goal: to organize resources inside living cells for medical or industrial applications.

Cheryl Kerfeld named AAAS Fellow

The honor, bestowed by the American Association for the Advancement of Science, recognizes members for extraordinary achievements in advancing science.

Three faculty named 2019 Highly Cited Researchers

The Highly Cited Researchers list, compiled by Clarivate Analytics, includes scientists who have been most cited by peers over the past decade. In 2019, fewer than 0.1% of the world's researchers have earned this exclusive distinction.

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.