BOZEMAN – Montana State University research was featured on the covers of at least five scientific journals in October.
Science, Applied and Environmental Microbiology, the Journal of the American Society for Mass Spectrometry, the Journal of Neuroscience, and Organic and Biomolecular Chemistry ran MSU artwork, photos and images on their covers. Related articles were written by scientists in MSU’s departments of cell biology and neuroscience, chemistry and biochemistry, earth sciences, electrical and computer engineering, microbiology and immunology, and physics.
“The fact that MSU research is featured on the covers of five journals within a month is a credit to the quality and appeal of MSU research,” said MSU’s Vice President for Research and Economic Development Renee Reijo Pera. “The fact that the research projects focus on the sun, brain, glaciers, metabolic activity, and SNO-proteins illustrates the breadth of MSU’s research.”
Physics professor Charles Kankelborg led an MSU team that designed, built, tested and calibrated the optics for the Interface Region Imaging Spectrograph (IRIS) that was launched last year to help answer some of the biggest questions about the sun. IRIS and another instrument that involved MSU researchers – the Solar Dynamics Observatory’s Atmospheric Imaging Assembly – provided two images of the sun that ran on the Oct. 17 cover of Science.
“It’s one of those really fun things that happen once in a great while,” Kankelborg said about making the cover.
Mark Skidmore, a glacial biogeochemist in the Department of Earth Sciences, took the photo that ran on the October cover of Applied and Environmental Microbiology. It shows Robertson Glacier in Alberta, Canada, where Skidmore and the paper’s lead author, Eric Boyd in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology, go for fieldwork. The glacier is a model environment where they investigate the processes that sustain microbial life beneath glacial ice, the effect of these processes on biogeochemical cycles and the influence of subglacial microbes on downstream ecosystems. The research project -- funded by NASA from 2010 through 2015 -- has provided fieldwork opportunities for a postdoc, six graduate students and four undergraduate students from MSU, including current sophomore Will van Gelder in the Skidmore lab, and postdoctoral researcher Zoe Harrold in Skidmore and Boyd’s labs.
The image that ran on the Oct. 28 cover of Organic and Biomolecular Chemistry incorporated mountains, a big sky and a schematic of a SNO-protein labeling technique to illustrate research done by senior research scientist Ben Reeves; MSU professors Paul Grieco, David Singel and Ed Dratz; and their collaborators in MSU’s Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry and Indiana University. The team explained in the accompanying article a new, robust method to detect SNO-proteins. These proteins are involved in processes related to various cancers, cardiovascular diseases and neurodegenerative diseases.
Colorful artwork, by postdoctoral researcher Nick Dotson, on the Oct. 8 cover of the Journal of Neuroscience accompanies an MSU article about two areas of the brain that cooperate during visual working memory. First author Dotson, former postdoctoral researcher Rodrigo Salazar and professor Charles Gray in MSU’s Department of Cell Biology and Neuroscience found that large populations of neurons in the prefrontal and posterior parietal cortex form networks that are capable of rapidly reorganizing to support cognitive functions. The cover combines several figures from the journal article to emphasize the distinct brain networks and temporal dynamics underlying visual working memory.
An image created by MSU postdoctoral researcher Josh Heinemann was featured on the cover of the October issue of the Journal of the American Society for Mass Spectrometry. It incorporates an actual computer readout with an illustration showing blood and small molecules often associated with energy metabolism. The accompanying article explains a new technique developed at MSU for quantifying changes in metabolic activity in real-time. The technique combines mass spectrometry and computer analysis, facilitating the digitization of biology in a new way. The approach could lead to improvements in disease detection and treatment according to the MSU authors. The authors included Heinemann, undergraduate student Brigit Noon, former graduate student Mohammad Mohigmi, research professor Aurelien Mazurie; David Dickensheets, professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering and director of the Montana Microfabrication Facility; and Brian Bothner, professor in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry and director of the Mass Spectrometry, Metabolomics and Proteomics Core Facility.
Evelyn Boswell, (406) 994-5135 or firstname.lastname@example.org