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Core leaf-bound microbes identified for two key bioenergy crops


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MSU and Rajarata University of Sri Lanka awarded Asian Development Bank grant

A project led in part by Plant Resilience Institute members Brad Day and David Kramer have been awarded a $250,000 grant by the Asian Development Bank (ADB). The grant award supports Asian and Pacific universities in their efforts to establish partnerships with renowned foreign universities. Scientists from MSU and Rajarata University will conduct joint activities in the area of smart agriculture, ranging from fundamental genomics and chemistry, to student training and curriculum-based activities.


New PRI Postdoctoral Fellowships

The PRI has two openings for postdoctoral fellows in plant resilience. Fellows will be expected to develop a cutting-edge research program in the area of plant resilience that bridges the interests of two or more PRI faculty members. See here for more details.


The Spring 2021 PRI seminar series

The Spring 2021 PRI seminar series speakers start on March 8, see the full schedule here. All talks will be on Monday at 1 PM.


Newly discovered sugar transporter might help beans tolerate hot temperatures

The lab of Thomas D. Sharkey have characterized a sucrose transporter protein found in common beans. The recently discovered protein, called PvSUT1.1, could help us understand how beans tolerate hot temperatures.


PRI Associate Director Thomas Sharkey receives NSF grant to study Isoprene emission from plants

Building on years of breakthrough research, Michigan State University biochemist and Associate Director of the Plant Resilience Institute Thomas Sharkey has received a four-year, $898,946 grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to continue his research on isoprene emission from plants. The four-year grant will focus on the evolutionary pattern of the appearance and loss of isoprene emission among various land plants, and the impact of these emissions have on the atmosphere.


Intertwined signatures of desiccation and drought tolerance in grasses

In a new study published in PNAS, PRI scientists led by Horticulture-Plant Resilience Institute faculty member Robert VanBuren show that some grasses can survive typically lethal drought events through entering a dormant, desiccated state until the return of water. In the study, the team aimed to find what distinguishes this unique desiccation tolerance response from conserved drought responses observed in all grasses. They identified genomic and expression changes distinguishing the desiccation-tolerant grass Eragrostis nindensis from its sensitive crop relative Eragrostis tef and then expanded these analyses to include several cereals to identify broadly conserved and divergent patterns during water-deficit stress. They found that the distinction between drought and desiccation in grasses is subtle, where genes with essential roles in seed development are broadly expressed during water-deficit stress. They propose that many of the pathways enabling desiccation tolerance are of ancient origin with universal roles in water deficit, and are conserved across grasses.  


A growing world population, coupled with on-going and anticipated climate change, demands accelerated improvements in agricultural productivity. As the pioneer land grant university, Michigan State University has been an international leader in plant science research for the last 50 years. This continues today with the establishment in 2016 of the Plant Resilience Institute (PRI) as part of Michigan State University’s Global Impact Initiative that has a goal of hiring 100 new faculty to accelerate discovery of solutions to grand challenges. Meeting global food needs and improving food security in the face of climate change is one such priority. The mission of the PRI is to enhance plant resilience to environmental challenges including extremes in weather and climate change, and to become a “Center of Excellence” for foundational and translational plant research aimed at increasing the productivity and quality of food and energy crops.

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