Transdisciplinary Research Program

The Transdisciplinary Research Program was a one-time, two-year grant program that promoted cross-disciplinary, collaborative research addressing at least three of the MnDRIVE research areas.

In 2014, nearly $6 million was awarded to 12 transdisciplinary research projects that addressed big questions in areas such as bioremediation, wearable technologies, monitoring disease outbreaks, and brain conditions. The awards benefitted approximately 90 researchers in 16 colleges and 50 departments across 3 UMN campuses. More than 30 external partners were involved, including state agencies and industry leaders such as 3M, Cargill, and Great River Energy.


Building Community-Based Bioeconomies

This project developed and implemented bioeconomic and robotics-based technologies and digital visualization tools to help Minnesota communities gain economic, environmental, and social benefits from the new bioeconomy.

Read More: Growing a Sustainable Bioeconomy 

Creation of a Parkinson's Disease Registry and Initial Studies to Address its Causes and Genetic Susceptibility

Researchers worked across disciplines to establish the first statewide registry of Minnesotans with Parkinson’s disease, a resource that could dramatically improve future studies on the disease.

Read More: Building a Framework for Parkinson’s Research

Design and Manufacture of Wearable, Printed, and Flexible Electronics for Treating Neurological Disorders

The goal of this project was to develop the underlying technologies to design and manufacture a wearable, printed, and flexible stimulator sheet device, providing a new form of non-invasive neuromodulation to treat neurological disorders and contributing to flexible electronics research in other fields, such as robotics and aviation.

Read More: Treating Brain Disorders Through Wearable Electronics

DNA Nanotechnology

This project explored the use of DNA nanotechnology to engineer and evaluate materials that can address major health challenges, such as Alzheimer’s disease and brain tumors, and can act as sensors to detect food allergens, such as milk-protein.

Read More: Tiny Technology to Deliver Big Disease Treatments 

Enhancement of Microbial Biofertilizers for Sustainable Food Systems

Nitrogen, an essential fertilizer for agricultural crops, is costly and its production relies on burning fossil fuels. This project focused on expanding the application of symbiotic biological nitrogen fixation, as found in crops such as soybeans and alfalfa, to a broader set of plants such as corn and wheat, through the development and application of biofertilizers.

Read More: Low-Cost, Eco-Friendly Fertilizers from Bacteria 

Green Nutrient Revolution

This research aimed to use renewable energy, water, and air to produce nitrogen fertilizer from non-fossil sources and to commercialize renewable and sustainable fertilizer technologies for Minnesota companies and farmers.

Read More: Harnessing the Wind to Create Sustainable Fertilizer

Implementation of Smart Bioremediation Technology to Reduce Sulfate Concentrations in Northeast Minnesota Watersheds

This research focused on creating a commercial-ready remotely-operated modular bioremediation system to reduce sulfate concentrations in waters from past, present and potential future mining operations.

Read More: Smart Bioremediation to Clean Water, Protect Wild Rice

Interventional Bioremediation of Microbiota in Metabolic Syndrome

The project performed a pilot, randomized, double-blinded clinical trial using gut microbiota transplantation in the treatment of patients with pre-diabetes in an attempt to improve insulin sensitivity and to better understand brain-gut communication and the contribution of gut microbiota to host metabolism.

Read More: Treating Diabetes with Beneficial Bacteria

Mitigating Risk and Sensing Chemicals in Food and the Environment

This project developed methods to detect and mitigate risk against chemicals found in food and water, leveraging knowledge about how the chemicals are biodegraded by naturally-occurring bacteria. 

Read More: Bacteria Tapped for Eco-Friendly Industrial Cleanup

Precision Agriculture

This project used novel robotics and sensors, such as small uninhabited aerial vehicles (UAV), to detect soybean aphid infestations and employ precision pesticide application.

Read More: Precision Farming Targets Major Threat to Soybean Crops

Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics for Minnesota Advancement

This project focused on two infectious disease case-studies, porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome and viral hemorrhagic septicemia for fish, to explore new ways to prevent animal diseases and promote the health and economy of the people and the environment of Minnesota.

Read More: Curbing Animal Diseases Through Scientific Collaboration

Sustainable Energy Systems

This project explored how advanced sensors and control systems can be used to integrate renewables, like wind and solar power, with electricity demand to improve the sustainability and reliability of the electric power system.

Read More: Collaboration Seeks to Boost Renewable Energy in Minnesota