Inventor Spotlight - MSU Innovation Center

SWRT: MSU Professor’s Innovative Technology Designed to Improve Crop Production with Less Water and Nutrients

East Lansing, MI — With climate change disrupting food availability and quality on the rise, a Michigan State University soil biophysics professor’s subsurface water retention technology—or SWRT—is poised to positively impact crops worldwide. Dr. Alvin Smucker of the Department of Plant, Soil, and Microbial Sciences developed the SWRT technology with his colleagues after six years …


Bacterial Alchemy: Transforming Microbes into Nutraceutical Factories 

East Lansing, MI – Björn Hamberger, an associate professor at Michigan State University (MSU) in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, tells the story of a pre-homo sapiens man buried in a cave in Iraq surrounded by many flowering plants. “We know some of these plants today as powerful antimalarials,” says Hamberger. Humans knew …


Using Activated Biochar and Plasma to Combat PFAS

Per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are a family of manufactured chemicals used in various industrial and consumer applications for over 60 years. They are often used in products such as non-stick cookware, stain-resistant carpeting, and firefighting foam. PFAS are extremely persistent in the environment, meaning they do not break down easily, leading to them being …


Developing the Next Generation of Spectroscopy Tools to Explore the Molecular World

Spectroscopy is a broad field that studies the interaction of electromagnetic radiation and matter and is used across numerous disciplines, including chemistry, physics, biology, and astronomy. “We use electromagnetic radiation, which could be visible light that we are all used to experiencing when we go outside and see the world before us. It could be …


Dr. Anil Jain Recognized for 30 Years of Advancements in the Field of Biometrics

Biometrics, or the recognition of individuals by means of unique physical characteristics, such as fingerprints, have been used in law enforcement for over 100 years. “The whole idea of biometric recognition is to use your body characteristics, either fingerprint, face, voice or the iris of the eye, to define your identity,” said Anil Jain, University …


MSU Professor Creating Disease Resistant Potatoes to Reduce Pesticide Usage

For centuries, potatoes have been a staple crop of many countries and, to this day, remain an essential crop in many nations worldwide. However, potatoes can be susceptible to various fungal infections called blights, which can wipe out entire crops. One of the most notable examples, the Irish Potato Famine, was caused by a potato …


MSU Faculty Develop Smart-Wheelchair Design

Dr. Tamara Bush, a Mechanical Engineering professor at Michigan State University, and biomechanics post-doctoral student Dr. Justin Scott have developed the world’s first Smart Wheelchair. Current wheelchair designs have a limited range of adjustment, often only allowing users to recline by tilting the seat back rearward. However, these designs are often inadequate to treat pressure …


Dr. Bahar Aliakbarian: Repurposing Agricultural Waste into Marketable Products

Although our farmers may feed the world, agriculture can also create waste byproducts that harm our environment. To help make farming a greener practice, Dr. Bahar Aliakbarian, an Associate Professor in the MSU Department of Biosystems and Agricultural Engineering and Director of Development and Research at the Axia Institute, is researching how the industry can …


Younsuk Dong: Increasing Crop Yield and Reducing Water Consumption with Precision Irrigation

Younsuk Dong, an Assistant Professor and Extension Specialist at the MSU Department of Biosystem and Agricultural Engineering (BAE), has created a system that will improve irrigation and plant disease management. Dong’s hardware, entitled the Low-Cost Monitoring System (LOCOMOS), is aimed at helping farmers determine optimal crop water patterns and can help farmers decide when crops …



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