Research is transforming our understanding of the world 

Aug. 11, 2023

Secret Science – MSU has record year in research growth

On the banks of the Red Cedar, there’s a school that’s known to all. Its specialty, as a public research university, is helping to improve lives, protect our planet and deepen our understanding of the universe.

MSU is driving many scientific projects dedicated to innovation and discovery.
MSU is driving many scientific projects dedicated to innovation and discovery.

And 2022 was a record year for Michigan State University. Spartan research expenditures reached their highest level to date and continue to grow. That means MSU’s students, staff and faculty are steering a huge number of scientific projects dedicated to innovation and discovery.

So, although everyone knows the school, it’d be nearly impossible to know everything about its research. Yet it’s easy to get a sense of the breadth and depth of that research happening every day across MSU’s 5,200-acre campus. All you need is someone who can open a few laboratory doors to reveal ideas, instruments and even animals that may surprise you, all while being unmistakably Spartan.

In the College of Engineering, Galit Pelled is studying octopus to develop more sophisticated designs for prosthetics that will feel more natural to their human users.

Her fascination with the intelligent octopus dates back to her undergraduate days at Hebrew University in Israel where she cared for and fed the dexterous animal. Now she’s studying octopuses to see if they hold the key to restoring limb function in humans with the use of new “smart” prosthetics.

“By studying the octopus, we may be able to give people back the use of their arms – to be able to pick up a cup or hold a child – which would be an amazing gift,” she said.

Pelled is a professor of mechanical engineering, biomedical engineering, radiology and neuroscience.

A supercomputer at your service

What has more than 3 million gigabytes of memory, over 56,000 processors and is available, for free, to support Michigan State’s research community? That’d be the supercomputer ran and maintained by the Institute for Cyber-Enabled Research or ICER, at MSU.

Brian O’Shea is a professor of computational mathematics, science and engineering and the director of ICER.

ICER’s portfolio of projects includes research from areas folks typically wouldn’t associate with supercomputing, such as agriculture and social science. Of course, ICER still has time and computing nodes available for those who are pushing the extremes — from exploring the quantum realm to probing supermassive black holes.

There’s lots more to read on the remarkable research that can be found around every corner on MSU’s main campus. See Secret Science.

Story written by Matt Davenport, courtesy of MSUToday.