artist rendering of BEACON

NSF Science and Technology Center at MSU

researchers at desk talking

Michigan State University researchers Richard Lenski, Kay Holekamp and Erik Goodman talk with MSU Today host Jim Peck about BEACON. Watch>>

Kay Holekamp in lab

Kay Holekamp in her lab. Check out the multimedia page for more photos and video

BEACON – Bio/computational Evolution in Action CONsortium

Michigan State University is home to a new National Science Foundation Science and Technology Center known as BEACON – the Bio/computational Evolution in Action CONsortium.

The center will serve as a major resource for academics and industry, conducting basic research while helping to create new technologies to solve real-world problems, ranging from the development of safe, more efficient cars to systems that detect computer intrusions.

In contrast to evolutionary studies focusing on fossil records or comparison of DNA among species to discover common ancestry, BEACON will focus on evolution as an ongoing process, using real organisms in laboratories and at field sites, and using “digital organisms” undergoing real evolution on computers.

BEACON will also educate a new generation of multidisciplinary scientists, as well as improve public understanding of evolution.

One reason the NSF selected Michigan State to host BEACON is the university’s inherent multidisciplinary nature. More than 30 faculty researchers from the colleges of Engineering, Natural Science, and Agriculture and Natural Resources, as well as Lyman Briggs College, will participate.

Four other universities will partner with MSU: North Carolina A&T State University, University of Idaho, University of Texas at Austin and University of Washington.

Latest news

Feb. 17, 2010

MSU awarded $25 million for NSF center to study evolution in actionMichigan State University will use a $25 million grant from the National Science Foundation to establish a center that will bring together scientists from across the nation to study evolution in action in both natural and virtual settings. More >>


*Adobe Acrobat Reader is required to read PDF documents.