TBI in the News
MSU Team Awarded Keck Foundation Grant to Study Extreme Yellowstone Microbes
Based in Los Angeles, the W. M. Keck Foundation was established in 1954 by the late W. M. Keck, founder of the Superior Oil Company. The Foundation’s grant making is focused primarily on pioneering efforts in the areas of medical research, science and engineering and undergraduate education. The Foundation also maintains a Southern California Grant Program that provides support for the Los Angeles community, with a special emphasis on children and youth. For more information, please visit www. wmkeck.org. The foundation awarded the grant for collaborative work in MSU’s interdisciplinary Thermal Biology Institute (TBI), led by Brent Peyton, a professor of chemical and biological engineering.
Peyton and his colleagues in the Thermal Biology Institute will use part of the Keck grant to launch a multidisciplinary lab-based honors course called “Extreme Microbiology of Yellowstone.” Twelve undergraduate students—six microbiology students and six bioengineering students— will participate annually to study the genetic material that comprise these durable microorganisms common to Yellowstone’s hot springs.
February 1, 2016 -- By Skip Anderson for the MSU News Service
TBI Graduate Student Wins Award for Best Oral Presentation at Thermophiles, 2015
Maximiliano Amenabar was awarded Best Oral Presentation at the 2015 Thermophiles Conference in Santiago, Chile for his presentation on “Surface associations during mineral dependent growth of the thermoacidophile Acidianus sp. DS80”. Maximiliano is a doctoral student in the Eric Boyd’s geobiology lab where he studies the role of minerals in supporting thermoacidophilic organisms using both molecular and physiological approaches. “The combination of Max’s strong work ethic and inexhaustible drive to discover knowledge is unique in a student. These traits, when coupled with a true love of extremophiles, will keep Max at the forefront in his quest to become a PhD graduate and to pursue an academic career in microbiology”, said Boyd.
MSU Researcher to Help Lead $7 Million Project into Rock-powered Life
Eric Boyd of MSU is deputy director of the “Rock-Powered Life” team led by the University of Colorado and funded with a new five-year grant from NASA. Scientists from a variety of disciplines and institutions will work together to understand how rocks and water interact to release energy capable of supporting microbial life.
Provost’s Award for Graduate Research/Creativity Mentoring
Bill Inskeep, land resources and environmental sciences, has been selected for the Provost’s Award for Graduate Research/Creative Mentoring, which comes with $2,000. The award recognizes faculty members who actively and creatively engage graduate students in their learning experience.
In 27 years at MSU, Inskeep has mentored 21 graduate students, including as a major adviser to 10 doctoral students and 11 master of science students. As part of his mentoring/advising relationship with those students, Inskeep has published 63 papers in peer-reviewed journals with them as co-authors. In the words of one student: Inskeep’s mentoring style “is centered on a direct and personal involvement with our training and reflects a commitment to the ideals of academia and our personal growth as academicians and scientists.”
MSU-led team receives $10 million to pursue innovative research in energy
BOZEMAN –Montana State University is the lead institution on a new $10 million, four-year project to form a research center focused on innovative energy research.
The Biological Electron Transfer and Catalysis (BETCy) Energy Frontiers Research Center (EFRC) will be based at MSU. Participants from seven institutions will form an integrated team to conduct basic research, looking for scientific breakthroughs to help build a new energy economy in the United States. The project is funded by the Department of Energy’s Office of Basic Energy Sciences.
“It’s a great opportunity for Montana to have one of these federal centers,” said John Peters, who is the lead principal investigator on the proposal and will direct the center based in Bozeman. Peters is a professor in MSU’s Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry
In addition to Peters, the BETCy EFRC involves three other MSU professors: Brian Bothner, also in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry; Eric Boyd in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology, and Ross Carlson in the Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering, as well as researchers at Arizona State University, the University of Georgia, the University of Kentucky, Utah State University, the University of Washington, and the Colorado-based National Renewable Energy Lab.
MSU professor’s talk will link Yellowstone research and a new view of viruses
While the prevailing view of viruses is connected with disease, Mark Young, professor of plant sciences and plant pathology at Montana State University, would like to see viruses get some credit for helping shape life on planet Earth.
As part of the ongoing Provost's Distinguished Lecturer Series, Young will detail how MSU research in Yellowstone National Park is expanding our understanding of the roles viruses play in the world. Titled “A changing view of viruses: Viruses from Yellowstone’s extreme environments,” the free lecture is set for 7 p.m. on Monday, Feb. 9, at the Museum of the Rockies’ Hager Auditorium. A reception will follow.
Mark Young named Fellow in American Academy of Microbiology
BOZEMAN - A Montana State University microbiologist who studies viruses that thrive in the extreme conditions of Yellowstone National Park, develops viruses into tiny transporters, and leads efforts to enhance research in Montana has been named a Fellow in the American Academy of Microbiology.
Mark Young will be recognized Tuesday, May 21, in Denver at the general meeting of the American Society for Microbiology. The organization is the world's oldest and largest group devoted to a single life science. It has more than 39,000 members, with more than one-third of those living outside of the United States.
MSU graduate launches biofuels start-up, partners with university
BOZEMAN - A Bozeman biofuels start-up is partnering with Montana State University in an effort to turn a fungus discovered in the highly acidic hot springs of Yellowstone National Park into sustainable energy.
The discovery - a fungus pulled from a geyser basin in 2009 and now dubbed MK7 - came from research allowed under a permit MSU has on file with the National Park Service. MSU filed a patent on MK7.
Funded by a Small Business Innovation and Research grant from the National Science Foundation, Mark Kozubal and his start-up company, Sustainable Bioproducts, will conduct further research, as well as enlist the consulting needed to study the product's fit within the marketplace. Kozubal earned a doctorate in microbiology from MSU in 2010 and also completed a year of post-doctoral research at the university.
MK7 is the product of research done by Kozubal and co-inventors William Inskeep, professor in the Department of Land Resources and Environmental Sciences, and Richard Macur, assistant research professor with LRES. They discovered that MK7 not only thrives in the extreme environs of Yellowstone's hot springs, it eats algae and, when dried, oozes oil.