Rose rust on plant leaves. Image purchased from Shutterstock.

New work led by Carnegie’s Kangmei Zhao and Sue Rhee reveals a new mechanism by which plants are able to rapidly activate defenses against bacterial infections. This understanding could inspire efforts to improve crop yields and combat global hunger. “Understanding how plants respond to stressful environments is critical for developing strategies to protect important food and biofuel crops from a changing climate,” Rhee explained. 

Illustration of Neptune's interior purchased from Shutterstock

A layer of “hot,” electrically conductive ice could be responsible for generating the magnetic fields of ice giant planets like Uranus and Neptune. New work from Carnegie and the University of Chicago’s Center for Advanced Radiation Sources reveals the conditions under which two such superionic ices form. Their findings are published in Nature Physics. 

Carnegie’s Devaki Bhaya is part of a Rice University led team that was recently awarded $2.8 million from the National Science Foundation for a five-year project to define the social order of naturally occurring microbial communities.

Peter van Keken

Carnegie geophysicist and geodynamicist Peter van Keken, whose work reveals Earth’s thermal and chemical evolution, was elected a Fellow of the American Geophysical Union.

Former Carnegie Staff Associate Martin Jonikas, now at Princeton University, was named one of 33 new Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigators (HHMI). HHMI recognized Jonikas for his research on photosynthetic algae, which could revolutionize agriculture and biofuels by making crop plants better at converting carbon dioxide from the atmosphere into usable energy sources such as sugars. Each member of the cohort will receive roughly $9 million over a seven-year term. They were selected for “diving deep into tough questions that span the landscape of biology and medicine.”

Anna Michalak

Carnegie Department of Global Ecology Director Anna Michalak will be honored with the American Geophysical Union’s Simpson Medal. It will be presented at the organization’s annual meeting in December.

Carnegie Earth and Planets Laboratory isotope geochemist Anat Shahar

Carnegie geochemist Anat Shahar, who probes the formation, evolution, and interior dynamics of Earth and other rocky planets, has been selected to give the Reginald Daly Lecture at the American Geophysical Union’s annual Fall Meeting in December.  

Art and science exhibit at Morgan State University

All year round, our lives are shaped by events that were made possible by the often underrecognized work of Black plant scientists. From the refreshment of enjoying a cool scoop of vanilla ice cream on a hot summer day, to the thrill of peering through a microscope on the first day of school, we have Black scientists to thank for these and so many more of the experiences that enrich our minds and nourish our bodies.

Plant Cell Atlas logo

The world’s population is growing, and global climate change will reshape our maps—shifting locations where human settlements can sustainably exist and thrive. Plant science can help us understand and mitigate the coming challenges, including fighting hunger, promoting renewable energy, and sequestering carbon pollution from the atmosphere. But in order to meet the moment, the scientific enterprise must prepare to leap ahead in its understanding of how plant cells function and respond to their environmental conditions. And to successfully advance plant science, the scientific community must foster the next generation of researchers and to ensure that a premium is placed on inclusivity and diversity in laying this foundation for the future.

Astronomer Ana Bonaca, for whom the Milky Way galaxy is laboratory to explore the evolution of the universe, has joined the Carnegie Observatories as a Staff Scientist. “Over the next decade, we will be able to understand our galaxy in unprecedented detail and I plan to use this avalanche of data to turn the Milky Way into a cosmological laboratory,” she said. “Having access to the facilities at Carnegie’s Las Campanas Observatory in Chile, as well as to the computational resources of the Carnegie Theoretical Astrophysics Center, makes this the perfect home to advance my research goals.”

Diana Roman collecting samples, courtesy of Anna Barth, LDEO.

Washington, DC—Our planet provides ample research opportunities for scientists like Diana Roman, who has devoted her career

Lara Wagner and Diana Roman the inaugural Harry Oscar Wood Chairs of Seismology

Carnegie has named Earth and Planets Laboratory Staff Scientists Diana Roman and Lara Wagner as the inaugural Harry Oscar Wood Chairs of Seismology. 

Longtime Carnegie Trustee and former Board Chair Michael Gellert

Michael Gellert, co-founder of investment vehicle Windcrest Partners who oversaw a decade of major institutional initiatives as the Chairman of Carnegie’s Board of Trustees, died August 17. He is one of the largest donors in the institution’s history, supporting many projects and initiatives that span the breadth of our research. 

Asteroid 2021 PH27 courtesy Katherine Cain/ Carnegie Institution for Science.

The Sun has a new neighbor that was hiding in plain twilight. An asteroid that orbits the Sun in just 113 days—the shortest known orbital period for an asteroid and second shortest for any object in our Solar System after Mercury—was discovered by Carnegie’s Scott S. Sheppard in evening twilight images taken by Brown University’s Ian Dell'Antonio and Shenming Fu.

Magellan-TESS Survey logo, courtesy of Sharon Wang.

A Carnegie-led survey of exoplanet candidates identified by NASA’s Transiting Exoplanets Satellite Survey  (TESS) is laying the groundwork to help astronomers understand how the Milky Way’s most common planets formed and evolved, and determine why our Solar System’s pattern of planetary orbits and sizes is so unusual.

Vera Rubin at Lowell Observatory, courtesy of Carnegie Institution for Science.

As we commemorate the extraordinary life of Vera Rubin—who forever altered how we understand the universe—on what would have been her 93rd birthday, I keep coming back to a legendary moment in her transformative career and what it can teach us about our present moment.

Join us to learn from Carnegie Earth and Planets Laboratory astronomer Dr.