News archive - 2012

Nathan Springer an author for PNAS article on maize genotypes

(7/3/12) Nathan Springer and colleagues profiled the expression of 18,242 genes for 38 diverse maize genotypes and 24 teosinte genotypes in this week's PNAS Early Edition. "We detected evidence for more than 600 genes having significantly different expression levels in maize compared with teosinte," the authors write. "Moreover, more than 1,100 genes showed significantly altered coexpression profiles, reflective of substantial rewiring of the transcriptome since domestication."- CFANS News

MPR News interviews Les Szabo on Wheat Rust

(6/11/12) On The Daily Circuit Monday, we're talking about labeling genetically modified food. Recently, we spoke with Les Szabo, research geneticist and acting research leader at the USDA-ARS Cereal Disease Laboratory on The University of Minnesota St. Paul campus. - CFANS News

Romas Kazlauskas an author for article on third wave biocatalysts in Nature

(5/10/12) Romas Kazlauskas (BMBB/BTI) and colleagues outline the “third wave” of protein-engineered biocatalysts as practical and environmentally friendly alternatives to traditional chemical synthesis in the latest issue of Nature. During biocatalysis’ first wave, which began more than a century ago, scientists recognized that components of living cells could be applied to make chemicals. The second wave in the 1980s and ’90s extended the substrate range of enzymes to unusual chemical building blocks and pharmaceuticals. The third wave of biocatalysis makes extensive changes in proteins and biosynthetic pathways to make biofuels and other chemicals.

Claudia Schmidt-Dannert named McKnight Professor

(5/1/2012) Claudia Schmidt-Dannert (BMBB) has been selected a Distinguished McKnight University Professor. The award provides $100,000 over five years, and she will have the title for as long as she remains at the University of Minnesota. Funds may be used for research equipment, professional travel, research assistant salaries, and an annual salary bonus. Recipients will be honored at a dinner in May. Funds come from the McKnight Foundation, matched by the Permanent University Fund.

Phil Pardey among 2012 Siehl Prize for Excellence in Agriculture laureates

(3/8/2012) A longtime state agriculture commissioner, a University of Minnesota economist who works to improve agricultural productivity around the world and a wheat farmer with a long record of community service are this year’s recipients of the prestigious Siehl Prize in Agriculture. The winners are, from left, Gene Hugoson, Phil Pardey and Bruce Hamnes. They will be honored at this spring's Siehl Prize for Excellence in Agriculture awards ceremony on May 24 at McNamara Alumni Center. Ambassador Kenneth Quinn, president of the World Food Prize, will deliver the keynote address. - CFANS News

Gary Muehlbauer to head plant biology department

(3/1/2012)Gary Muehlbauer, currently professor of agronomy and plant genetics, will become head of the U of M's plant biology department on March 1. Muehlbauer conducts research on the molecular genetics of wheat and barley and directs graduate studies for the Plant Biological Sciences Program. The plant biology department is part of both CFANS and the College of Biological Sciences. Muehlbauer replaces Kate VandenBosch, who is now dean of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. - CFANS News

Peter Morrell featured in Nature Reviews Genetics

(2/7/2012) The completion of reference genome sequences for many important crops and the ability to perform high-throughput resequencing are providing opportunities for improving our understanding of the history of plant domestication and to accelerate crop improvement, according to a new study led by Peter Morrell of the University of Minnesota. - CFANS News.