Research and Innovation Updates Fall 2022
Greetings and Welcome to Fall 2022
In what felt like a very short summer, I do hope you were able to fit in quality time with family and friends, perhaps some travel, and of course relaxation and a break from work. The ambitions for our office in the coming year are high as we implement the MSU Strategic Plan 2030, but we are prepared and excited to kick off the semester and to move our research agenda forward together.
The Research and Innovation team has been developing our internal operations plan, which aligns with and supports the research pillar of MSU 2030. Our plan is arranged around five themes: Empowered People; Investment for Growth; A Culture of Collaboration; Efficient Systems and Support; and Communication. Streamlining processes and removing barriers, aligning personnel responsibilities, and building expertise are top focuses in our office for the upcoming year.
The news highlights below represent a few of the Spartan pride points from the summer months. Please review the table of contents below and follow the links to recommended resources as appropriate.
Our team is committed to supporting your continued innovation and research success. Please contact our office if we can assist you in any way.
My very best regards for a successful semester.
Douglas A. Gage, Ph.D.
Vice President for Research and Innovation
State Budget Allocations Include Research Projects
The State budget passed, providing a 4% increase for general University operations (the largest increase in over a decade), as well as $53 million in funding to modernize MSU’s greenhouse facilities and renovations and new construction for the Dairy Cattle Teaching and Research Center – both areas of basic research excellence are paramount in our support of Michigan’s agriculture industry.
An important research and outreach initiative was included in the State budget through $15 million in funding for a five-year pilot program to curb acts of violence in our communities. The project will be conducted under the Center for Targeted Violence Prevention, a collaboration with the National Policing Institute. We wish continued success to Alyse Ley, associate chair of education and research in the Department of Psychiatry, and her colleagues from the department as they embark on this critical project. Read more about their work.
FRIB Officially Opens, Begins Next Phase
In early May we celebrated the official grand opening of the Facility for Rare Isotope Beams. FRIB is now fully operational and scientists from across the globe are conducting experiments. The value of sustained programmatic investment over decades is clear as FRIB builds on the first cyclotron program, led by Henry Blosser, and NSCL’s subsequent long-term success under Konrad Gelbke’s leadership. FRIB now positions MSU as a worldwide leader for breakthrough discoveries and for training the next generation of nuclear scientists.
The benefits of FRIB will extend well beyond addressing fundamental questions in nuclear physics as MSU will be enabled to lead in areas as diverse as nuclear medicine and the evaluation of microchips. A new $14 million federal investment will allow us to refurbish the K500 cyclotron for the testing of electronics for space flight. What is old will not be forgotten, but instead renewed for future discoveries. I want to thank Director Glasmacher and the entire team at FRIB for their hard work over the past 10 years to deliver the project ahead of schedule and on budget, and for their vision and dedication to the next phase of the program. Discover more about FRIB.
MSU’s First Keck Award Will Show Life in a New Light
Two investigators, Elad Harel and Marcos Dantus, from the Department of Chemistry, were the recent recipients of a highly competitive Science and Engineering award from the W. M. Keck Foundation. Their new approach with optical microscopes is poised to deliver the greatest impact to our understanding of health and disease in living systems by revealing what life looks like, in motion, at the scale of proteins and DNA molecules. This is the first Keck award from this program for MSU and demonstrates the creativity and cutting-edge nature of the research being conducted here.
Please read the full announcement and listen to the corresponding podcast to learn more about their work. Congratulations!
COVID Safety Protocols
As you return to research labs and studios, a reminder that some COVID safety protocols remain in place. All students, faculty, and staff are required to be vaccinated against COVID-19 and to have received one booster vaccine. Please be sure to enter your vaccination dates in the system. MSU has lifted its face-covering directive for nearly all settings with one exception being clinical areas. Please be respectful of those wearing masks voluntarily. As always, continue best practices for personal hygiene and health safety in all research and creative spaces. For more information on all COVID-19 guidance, visit the Together We Will website.
Note: there is no longer a requirement to register your undergraduate students with our office. Instead, student research and creative activities should be logged in My Spartan Story. Faculty may enter the student's experience directly or the student may enter and the PI will need to approve any entries. Learn more on this FAQ page. (This section was updated on Sept. 1, 2022)
In case you missed it, a new study co-authored by Michigan State University economics professor Scott Imberman, Ph.D., and doctoral student Wenjia Cao, found that university vaccine mandates were effective in reducing new COVID-19 cases in communities. Read more.
Strategic Plan Progress
MSU 2030 Moves Ahead
Implementation of MSU 2030 continues, with significant progress being made across all areas of the University. President Stanley’s update report from June provides a comprehensive overview and includes highlights of several research projects.
Research Workgroup Advances Agenda
Over the summer, a faculty Workgroup for the Discovery, Creativity and Innovation for Excellence and Global Impact or “research" pillar of MSU 2030 was established. The workgroup has provided ideas on how process improvements could elevate faculty productivity, and our team is already planning to implement many of these. The workgroup was also charged with identifying new ideas for transdisciplinary research that will grow the research portfolio, enhance MSU’s reputation, and, importantly, provide creative solutions to the many challenges facing society. A series of networking events will launch this fall to bring scholars together around such themes. Please watch our event calendar and join our mailing list to receive event notices. If you have suggestions for an interdisciplinary event, please use this form to submit your idea.
The Climate Convening held in April netted several cross-cutting ideas and team-building events later this fall will bring researchers together on further ideation and possible proposal development. Seed funding is already being distributed to multidisciplinary teams working on qualifying climate projects. Visit the Climate Convening page to learn more and join the Climate Team to make connections with collaborators.
Henry Ford Health + MSU Health Sciences Partnership Updates
The research implementation teams from both Henry Ford and MSU continue to make progress on aligning the operational aspects of our joint research venture. Henry Ford’s scientists and physicians now hold joint appointments with MSU, and plans are in place for collaborative grants to be submitted through MSU’s systems later this fall. The partnership also recently awarded five HF+MSU research teams with funding to advance cancer and combat health disparities. Congratulations to the researchers and many thanks to my HF and MSU colleagues who developed and administered the program through the partnership.
Announcements & Deadlines
NIH Data Policy – Upcoming NIH Webinars
NIH’s new Policy for Data Management and Sharing goes into effect on January 25, 2023. This policy requires researchers to prospectively plan for how scientific data will be preserved and shared through submission of a Data Management and Sharing Plan and to implement the approved plan. NIH is hosting a series of upcoming webinars and our office will hold an MSU specific event in October. A recent memo explains more.
Internal Grant Programs – RFAs Opened Aug. 15
The Internal Grant Programs administered by Research and Innovation are now accepting proposals. The Discretionary Funding Initiative, Humanities and Arts Research Program and the Strategic Partnership Grants have varying deadlines with most in September and October. Review our website now for details.
Institutionally Limited Proposals
Numerous funding opportunities are available that require MSU to hold an internal competition to select one proposal to move forward. Our website lists monthly deadlines for such Institutionally Limited Proposals. Please visit often to find opportunities that may fit your scholarly needs.
Please subscribe to our mailing list for newsletters and announcements on funding opportunities, research events, grant writing workshops and more. Follow us on Twitter and YouTube, and read your colleagues' essays on The Conversation.
OR&I Staffing Updates
Search for Next AVP for Research and Innovation
A search is now open for a full-time associate vice president for Research and Innovation to oversee operations and strategic initiatives. This role was previously held by Dr. Beronda Montgomery. A committee led by Dr. Sri Sreevatsan is engaged with the executive search firm WittKieffer to fill this important position. The committee is interested in referrals of qualified candidates as we build a large and diverse pool of candidates. Please visit this overview page to learn more.
Expanding Expertise to Support Research
In our continuous efforts to provide consultative services and support to MSU research faculty, several important positions have recently been filled:
- John Albrecht to Lead the University Research Organization
- Krista Campeau Joins MSU as Director of Export Control and Trade Sanctions
- Lee Cox Named Research Integrity Officer
- Danielle Ferguson Appointed Attending Veterinarian
- Jessica Swartz Named as the New Director for Conflict Disclosure Management
Irving Vega, associate professor in the Department of Translational Neuroscience, will be joining Research and Innovation for the upcoming year as an Academic Leadership Fellow. His research focuses on molecular and biochemical mechanisms that modulate the accumulation of pathological tau proteins in Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias. Dr. Vega is also working on ethnic disparities and the influence of ethnoracial factors on blood biomarkers in Alzheimer’s disease. He is very involved with community organizations in West Michigan and hopes to expand similar relationships and make connections to MSU biomedical research. We look forward to his input and exchange of ideas with our team.
Faculty Excellence, Leadership, and Innovation
The following headlines represent a small sampling of faculty success stories from the last few months. Please visit our Faculty Recognition and Announcements for more, and send us your news for inclusion.
- Kevin Elliott Serves on NAS PFAS Committee; Contributes to CDC Recommendations
- Chengcheng Fang Named a Global Leading Innovator Under 35
- Peter Glendinning Creates Body of Work to be Exhibited Throughout South Africa
- A Magical Experience for Composer Ricardo Lorenz
- Robin Lin Miller Recognized by W. K. Kellogg Foundation for International Community Engagement
- Cheryl Murphy Testifies at U.S. Senate Homeland Security Committee Hearing on PFAS
- Jae Puckett Receives Transgender Research Award from APA
- Jeffrey Nanzer Named Google Research Scholar
A highlight of the MSU Board of Trustees meetings are research presentations by faculty and students. Presentations from the past few months are linked below.
Jun. 2022 Professor Kurt Zinn - Radioisotopes for Imaging and Therapy in Biomedical Research
Kurt R. Zinn, D.V.M., M.S., Ph.D., was recruited to the Institute of Quantitative Health Science and Engineering (IQ) in August of 2017 under the Global Impact Initiative. He is a Professor of Radiology, Biomedical Engineering, and Small Animal Clinical Sciences, with appointments in the Colleges of Engineering, Human Medicine, and Veterinary Medicine. His research includes the development of molecular imaging approaches for cancer diagnosis, treatment monitoring, and therapy. Dr. Zinn has contributed significantly to more than ten phase I clinical trials. This presentation provides an overview of the research being conducted in his lab, how his team is leveraging the assets of the Facility for Rare Isotope Beams, and the connections he is making to MSU's health care partners across the state.
Apr. 2022 Undergraduate Researcher, Mariam Sayed – Fostering Societal Transformations in Attitudes Towards Neurodivergent Populations
Mariam Sayed recently graduated from MSU, earning bachelor’s degrees in both Physiology and French (College of Arts & Letters, the College of Natural Science, and the Honors College). She aspires to leverage these degrees and her extracurricular experiences as a Dean's Research Scholar, Wielenga Research Scholar, Resident Assistant, Chemistry Teaching Assistant, and President of MSU French Club, to attend medical school after graduation. Ultimately, her goal is to serve for the international medical organization known as Médecins Sans Frontières, or Doctors Without Borders. Mariam is a research assistant in the MSU Speech, Language, and Neurocognition Lab, where she is mentored by Dr. Laura Dilley. She is currently investigating technologies to assist marginalized populations, like autistic and other non-speaking individuals, with new methods of communication.
Feb. 2022 Associate Professor Jason Rowntree - Improving the Health and Resilience of Our Land, Livestock and Community
Jason Rowntree is an associate professor of Animal Science at Michigan State University where he holds the Charles Stewart Mott Distinguished Professorship for Sustainable Agriculture. His research focuses on identifying the metrics and management that reflect ecological improvement in grazing land systems. Since arriving to MSU in 2009, Rowntree has given over 250 extension presentations throughout the United States, Canada, Europe, Saudi Arabia, Africa and New Zealand. He has also worked to co-develop, with the Savory Institute, an Ecological Outcome Verification that is now being used on over 2M acres of grasslands on every continent except Antarctica. The EOV has also been branded for products marketed by General Mills, Applegate, Timberland, and many others. Rowntree has 29 refereed publications and has led or been a co-investigator on $27.75 million in funding to conduct food system research. Jason will serve as the director of a new Center for Regenerative Agriculture at MSU.