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Sept. 29, 2017

MSU names five Foundation Professors

Michigan State University recently named five new MSU Foundation Professors, a designation given to outstanding faculty who demonstrate excellence in research and teaching, while enhancing the prominence of the institution. 

“This award recognizes the global stature of MSU scholars,” said MSU Provost June Youatt. “Their contributions to their fields represent a level of engagement and accomplishment MSU is proud to support.”

The MSU Foundation Professorship designation was established in 2014 through the generosity of the Michigan State University Foundation. In addition to the permanent title, honorees are typically provided with five years of supplemental scholarly funding.

“These honorees are nationally and internationally recognized researchers, and we are pleased to support their continued research and creative activity,” said David Washburn, executive director of the Michigan State University Foundation.

The new honorees are:

  • Bruno Basso is a professor in the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences. His research deals mainly with water, carbon, and nitrogen cycling and modeling in agro-ecosystems, and spatial analysis of crop yield. He received the 2016 Innovation of the Year Award from MSU Technologies for his system of cropland evaluation.
  • Shelia R. Cotten is a professor in the Department of Media and Information and the director of the Sparrow/MSU Center for Innovation and Research. She studies technology use across the life course and the social, educational, and health impacts of that use.
  • Brian Gulbransen is an associate professor in the Department of Physiology and the Neuroscience Program. The goal of his research is to understand how inflammation in the nervous system leads to long-term changes in neural circuitry, particularly the role of glial cells in nervous system physiology and elucidating how glial changes during neuroinflammation contribute to neurodegenerative diseases.
  • Jiming Jiang, who joined MSU this fall as part of the Global Impact Initiative,is a professor in the Department of Plant Biology. His research interests include plant gene expression and regulation induced by environmental stresses, including heat, cold, and drought; epigenetic mechanisms associated with plant centromere function; and genetics, genomics, and epigenomics of potato and other crop species.
  • Tapabrata (Taps) Maiti is a professor and graduate director in the Department of Statistics and Probability, professor in the Department of Marketing, and co-director of the Center for Business and Social Analytics. His research focus is on high-dimensional data analysis, biostatistical methods, mixed models, Bayesian methods, and spatial data analysis.

“These scientists join 25 other MSU researchers who have been named MSU Foundation Professors over the past three years,” said Stephen Hsu, vice president of the Office for Research and Graduate Studies. “While their areas of investigation vary, they are united in one aspect: their work is having profound impacts on the world’s most challenging problems.”


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