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Big Science?

It's In Our Nature.

Across the Michigan State University campus, Spartan researchers are accelerating solutions to some of the biggest challenges facing the world—solutions that will make tomorrow healthier, smarter and more sustainable.

In just more than one week, Aug. 1-8, two high-impact MSU research initiatives in distinct areas were featured in Nature, the world’s most highly cited interdisciplinary science journal.

The science, much of it funded by the National Science Foundation, offers promising discoveries that include “bottling” evolution and building nanoscale power lines.

Bottling evolution

If Paul Simon were to write a song about the bacteria in Richard Lenski’s long-term evolution experiment it could be titled, “Still Changing After All These Years.” Lenski, called “The Man Who Bottled Evolution” by Science Magazine, was able to pinpoint the genes that give bacteria the beneficial mutations to outperform their ancestors, information important for human health.

Building nanoscale power lines

Gemma Reguera’s patented bioelectrodes work like Batman cleaning up a microbial Gotham City. They consume uranium and other wastes, generate electricity and are ready to be scaled up for industrial-level uses. One of the bioelectrodes’ superpowers? Pili—protein filaments discovered and patented by Reguera that function like power lines at the nanoscale.

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