News

September 18, 2017
$10M DOE Grant
$10M DOE Grant

Current seed-oil based bioproduction relies heavily on food crop species, such as soybean, sunflower and canola oil,” said Danny Schnell, MSU plant biologist and grant coordinator. “Camelina doesn’t require as much water as these crops, it grows quicker and it has a higher resistance to pest and disease. By focusing on some key genetic control points, we’re hoping to unlock the relationship between carbon capture and increasing oil and seed production.

September 6, 2017
Tomatoes Crystal Ball
Tomatoes Crystal Ball

Michigan State University’s Robert Last studies tomatoes. Specifically, he researches their hair, or trichomes. For this study, he focused on a single type of molecule in trichomes – acylsugars. The secrets Last and a team of MSU scientists found from studying these specialized metabolites open an evolutionary window for the emerging field of plant defense metabolism, insights that could lead to engineering advances for better pest resistance and human medicine.

September 1, 2017
Potato 2050 Article
Potato 2050 Article

The year 2050 is expected to reach an important milestone in global agriculture: the world population is expected to top 9 billion people, a one-third increase over the current population. Much of this growth will take place in less developed, already food-insecure regions of the world such as Africa. And rising life expectancies are exacerbating the problem.

July 14, 2017
Pinpoint Evolution in Fungi
Pinpoint Evolution in Fungi

"The fungus that causes wheat head blight, a devastating pathogen across the U.S. and around the world, is distributed by spores ejected from fruiting bodies," said Frances Trail, MSU fungal biologist. "This research has identified genes that are uniquely used by this species to form and distribute spores, and thus the disease, over many miles. We are moving forward with a focus on these genes to generate novel modes of control targeted at spore formation and distribution."

June 30, 2017
Ebert-May Named University Distinguished Professor
Ebert-May Named University Distinguished Professor

Ten Michigan State University professors have been named University Distinguished Professors in recognition of their achievements in the classroom, laboratory and community. This recognition is among the highest honors that can be bestowed on a faculty member by the university. Those selected for the title have been recognized nationally and internationally for the importance of their teaching, research and outreach achievements.

June 19, 2017
Rob Last President-Elect ASPB
Rob Last President-Elect ASPB

"ASPB is the world's oldest and largest international professional organization of plant scientists," said Danny Schnell, chair of the Department of Plant Biology. "Rob's election by the membership is a tremendous honor and reflects his stature in the profession and his many contributions to research and education."

May 15, 2017
He Appointed HHMI Investigator
He Appointed HHMI Investigator

Sheng Yang He, a University Distinguished Professor of plant biology and a Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) – Gordon Betty Moore Foundation (GBMF) Investigator since 2011, has been re-appointed as an HHMI Investigator, which extends his appointment to 2024.

May 15, 2017
More Genes Turned On
More Genes Turned On

Some people travel to northern California for wine. However, Maren Friesen, Michigan State University plant biologist, treks to the Golden State for clover. The lessons of plant diversity and competition learned from a clover patch, which are featured in a special issue of the Journal of Ecology, can potentially unlock secrets on plant interactions around the globe.

May 4, 2017
Schemske Elected to NAS
Schemske Elected to NAS

Douglas Schemske, a John A. Hannah Distinguished Professor emeritus of plant biology at Michigan State University, has been elected to the National Academy of Sciences (NAS). Schemske earned the honor for his distinguished and continuing achievements in original research in the fields of population biology and evolutionary ecology.

May 2, 2017
Looking Deeper Into Peroxisome Proliferation
Looking Deeper Into Peroxisome Proliferation

Peroxisomes are found in plants and animals, and they perform a variety of functions,” says Dr. Jianping Hu, Professor at the PRL. “They are like food processors that break down fatty acids (fats) into smaller pieces so they can be used by their hosts to produce energy. They also help protect their hosts from environmental stresses.