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Meet our Steering Committee (⅙)!

Dr. Brett Barney is an associate professor in the Department of Bioproducts and Biosystems Engineering and Director of Graduate Studies of the Microbial Engineering (MicE) and Bioproducts and Biosystems, Science Engineering and Management (BBSEM) graduate programs. His lab focuses on biosynthetic pathways for commodity fuels and high-value products from select bacteria and algae, bacteria and cyanobacteria capable of biological nitrogen fixation (BNF) and the role these species play in the biological nitrogen cycle, and the production of extracellular fermentable sugars. Check out his latest publication: Genome sequences of Chlorella sorokiniana UTEX 1602 and Micractinium conductrix SAG 241.80: implications to maltose excretion by a green alga

To learn more about his lab, check out his website!

Congratulations to Dan Voytas for being elected to the National Academy of Sciences!

The University of Minnesota and the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) are excited to announce two faculty members from the College of Biological Sciences on the Twin Cities campus have been elected as NAS members. Membership in the NAS is one of the highest honors given to a scientist or engineer in the United States. For more info click here.

Dan Voytas
Director, Center for Precision Plant Genomics
Professor, Dept. of Genetics, Cell Biology, and Development

Voytas’ research focuses on developing methods to edit plant genomes. His laboratory developed a powerful genome editing reagent — Transcription Activator-Like Effector Nucleases (TALENs) — and is currently optimizing methods for efficiently making targeted genome modifications in a variety of plant species to advance basic biology and develop new crop varieties.

Figueroa and Co-Investigators Hirsch and Myers Awarded 2016 MPGI Seed Grant


Plant Pathology Assistant Professor Melania Figueroa and co-investigators Cory Hirsch, Plant Pathology Assistant Professor, and Chad Myers, Computer Science and Engineering Associate Professor, were awarded the Microbial and Plant Genome Institute (MPGI) 2016 Seed Grant for their project proposal entitled “Identification of gene networks to understand stem rust susceptibility in wheat.”  Read more


MPGI's Yanic Brandvain published in New  Phytologist  paper on self-compatibility on islands: Self-compatibility is over-represented on islands

MPGI member Michael Sadowsky published in Journal of Applied Microbiology paper: Environmental Escherichia coli: Ecology and Public Health Implications- A Review.

Science on the Spot: Thurs. Feb 4th - Schilling & Hirsch - 4 PM, Rm 105 Cargill

MPGI member Lawrence Wackett published in Applied and Environmental Microbiology paper on Evolution Convergence for the Biodegradition of Cyanuric Acid: Ancient and Recent Evolution Converge for the Biodegradation of Cyanuric Acid and Related Triazines.

MPGI's Michelle Riehle published in PloS One. on Genetic Structure of a Local Population of the Anopheles gambiae Complex: Genetic Structure of a Local Population of the Anopheles gambiae Complex in Burkina Faso.

MPGI member David Moeller published in American Journal of Botany  paper on the effect of mating system divergence on sequence diversity : Mating system divergence affects the distribution of sequence diversity within and among populations of recently diverged subspecies of Clarkia xantiana (Onagraceae)

MPGI's Yaniv Brandvain published in American Journal of Botany  paper on the lack of influence of plant mating systems on range overlap : No association between plant mating system and geographic range overlap

MPGI member Ken Vernick published in PLoS Pathogens  paper on the advantages of an evolution-based screen for genetic differentiation : An Evolution-Based Screen for Genetic Differentiation between Anopheles Sister Taxa Enriches for Detection of Functional Immune Factors

MPGI's Ran Blekhman published in PLoS Genetics  paper on factors that influence the variation of the human gut microbiome : Variation in Rural African Gut Microbiota Is Strongly Correlated with Colonization by Entamoeba and Subsistence

MPGI Announces Annual Retreat for Thursday January 14th, 2016! Register here now!

MPGI's Srinand Sreevatsan published in PLoS One  paper on the presence of methicillin-resistant S. aureus (MRSA) in pigs in the USA : Prevalence and Characterization of Staphylococcus aureus in Growing Pigs in the USA

MPGI member Peter Morrell published in Trends in Genetics  paper on genetic differences in annual & perennial domestic plants : Genomics and the Contrasting Dynamics of Annual and Perennial Domestication

MPGI's Gary Muehlbauer published in Nature Communications  paper on the predictive abilities of maize shoot apical meristem (SAM) : Genetic control of morphometric diversity in the maize shoot apical meristem

MPGI members Nathan Springer and Candice Hirsch published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America  paper on mechanisms for enforcing boundaries in the large and complex maize genome : RNA-directed DNA methylation enforces boundaries between heterochromatin and euchromatin in the maize genome

MPGI member Lawrence Wackett published in mBio  paper on the use of silica materials to enhance specialized activity & protection of cells : Silica Gel for Enhanced Activity and Hypochlorite Protection of Cyanuric Acid Hydrolase in Recombinant Escherichia coli

MPGI's Chad Myers published in PLoS Genetics  paper on postreplicative repair occurring in Okazaki fragment processing : Genetic Interactions Implicating Postreplicative Repair in Okazaki Fragment Processing

MPGI's Dan Voytas published in Molecular Therapy: The Journal of the American Society of Gene Therapy on TCR Gene Editing : Evaluation of TCR Gene Editing achieved by TALENs, CRISPR/Cas9 and megaTAL nucleases

MPGI member Susan Gibson published in PeerJ paper on promoting active learning out of class for General Biology classes : Promoting an active form of learning out-of-class via answering online “study questions” leads to higher than expected exam scores in General Biology

MPGI's Michael Sadowsky published in FEMS Microbiology Ecology  paper on the significance of fluctuating riverine E. coli populations : Dynamic changes in the population structure of Escherichia coli in the Yeongsan River Basin of South Korea
MPGI member Sue Gibson published in Frontiers in Plant Science  paper on the effects of CrBPF1 overexpression on TIA biosynthesis : CrBPF1 overexpression alters transcript levels of terpenoid indole alkaloid biosynthetic and regulatory genes.

MPGI members Tim Johnson and Srinand Sreevatsan published in PLoS One  paper on pig microbiomes infected with S. enterica and L. intracellularis : Changes in the Porcine Intestinal Microbiome in Response to Infection with Salmonella enterica and Lawsonia intracellularis.

MPGI's Ken Vernick published in BMC Genomics  paper on more efficient genetic analysis for the complicated mosquito genome : Association mapping by pooled sequencing identifies TOLL 11 as a protective factor against Plasmodium falciparum in Anopheles gambiae.

MPGI's Srinand Sreevatsan and Tim Johnson published in Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy paper: Clonal dissemination of Enterobacter cloacae harboring blaKPC-3 in the upper midwestern United States.

MPGI member Ken Vernick published in Malaria Journal paper on susceptibility to Plasmodium falciparum: The kdr-bearing haplotype and susceptibility to Plasmodium falciparum in Anopheles gambiae: genetic correlation and functional testing

MPGI's Srinand Sreevatsan published in Ecohealth paper on Tuberculosis Screening in Free-Living Primate Populations : Noninvasive Tuberculosis Screening in Free-Living Primate Populations in Gombe National Park, Tanzania.

MPGI member Michael Sadowsky published in Environmental Microbiology paper on bacterial biogeography : Bacterial Biogeography Influenced by Shelf-Basin Exchange in the Arctic Surface Sediment at the Chukchi Borderland.

MPGI's Min Ni published in The New Phytologist  paper on the result of early manipulation in seed development for Arabidopsis and canola : SHORT HYPOCOTYL UNDER BLUE1 or HAIKU2 mixepression alters canola and Arabidopsis seed development.

MPGI member Paul Lefebvre published in The Plant Cell  paper on the diversity of Green Alga Chlamydomonas reinhardtii : Whole-Genome Resequencing Reveals Extensive Natural Variation in the Model Green Alga Chlamydomonas reinhardtii.

MPGI's Peter Kennedy published in New Phytologist  paper on the ‘Gadgil effect’ : Revisiting the ‘Gadgil effect’: do interguild fungal interactions control carbon cycling in forest soils?

MPGI member Ran Blekhman published in Genome Biology  paper on the impact host genetic variation has on the human microbiome : Host genetic variation impacts microbiome composition across human body sites

MPGI's Jeff Gralnick to be published in Applied and Environmental Microbiology  paper on Shewanella oneidensis MR-1: A ferrous iron exporter mediates iron resistance in Shewanella oneidensis MR-1.

MPGI member Nathan Springer published in Seminars in Cell & Developmental Biology  paper: Paramutation in evolution, population genetics and breeding

MPGI's Ran Blekhman published in The ISME Journal on Gorilla Gut Microbes: Temporal variation selects for diet-microbe co-metabolic traits in the gut of Gorilla spp.

MPGI member Michael Sadowsky published in Science of The Total Environment paper: Geographic isolation of Escherichia coli genotypes in sediments and water of the Seven Mile Creek - A constructed riverine watershed

MPGI's Morrell lab published in Genome Biology publication: Barley landraces are characterized by geographically heterogeneous genomic origins

Brandvain lab to be published in Genetics publication: The Spatial Mixing of Genomes in Secondary Contact Zones

Springer and Glazebrook Labs published in new Plant Cell paper: Reassess the t Test: Interact with All Your Data via ANOVA.

Muehlbauer Lab published in new Plant Journal paper on Barley Genome: Sequencing of 15,622 gene-bearing BACs clarifies the gene-dense regions of the barley genome

MPGI Member Ran Blekhman featured in Discover article for new research outputs

Research uncovered a telltale link between colorectal cancer and specific traits of bacteria found in the digestive tract. The findings could improve colorectal cancer treatment and prevention.

MPGI Members Dan Knights and Emilie Snell-Rood named McKnight Land-Grant Professors

The McKnight Land-Grant Professorships are given to new assistant professors and include $25,000 in each of the two years of the award.

MPGI Member Dan Knights featured in MPR news

Dan Knights works on a growing new frontier in medicine: the microbiome. He's on a team of researchers at the University of Minnesota trying to better understand the microbes living in and on your body and the complex system in which they function.

The latest research shows your gut microbiome has a profound connection to a number of diseases and issues facing humans today: Diabetes, Crohn's disease, obesity, asthma, allergies and other autoimmune diseases.

MPGI Member Dan Voytas & research team featured in MIT Technology Review as one of the ten Breakthrough Technologies of 2015

The group, a consortium of researchers from 12 laboratories in eight countries, has made the first step in creating a new species of rice that will have a greater yield while not requiring any additional water.

Dr. Colby Starker of MPGI's Voytas lab receives Innovation Award for Faculty Support

Starker's work includes managing multiple collaborations, investigating TALEN structure/function, TALEN design and assembly, and implementing new nuclease based technologies.

MPGI News Archive