A record high in annual research expenditures at the University of Michigan led to innovative research and scholarship endeavors that address emerging problems, spur new technologies, and drive the economy.

U-M, which has ranked No. 1 in research volume among the nation’s public universities for nine consecutive years, reported $1.62 billion in research expenditures during Fiscal Year 2019.

Leading into the year 2020, here are 20 stories of impactful research conducted at U-M this year.


Worsening Epidemic
A national analysis of firearm deaths from 1999-2017 reveals a worsening epidemic of firearm mortality that is geographically and demographically broad.


Agricultural Intervention

Data pulled from microsatellites can be used to detect and double the impact of sustainable interventions in agriculture at large scales.


Diving for Discovery
Some researchers sport lab coats. David Sherman prefers a wetsuit. The University of Michigan medicinal chemist and avid scuba diver travels the world in search of marine microorganisms to help pioneer new antibiotics, anticancer drugs and other medicines.



Sensing Cold
Nerves in your skin can often sense cold, but research so far has been unable to pinpoint exactly how they sense it. Now, scientists may have an answer.


Cavity Solutions Research
About 23 percent of children between the ages of 2 and 5 have cavities, but oral treatment can be costly and traumatic for some adolescents. Dr. Margherita Fontana at the University of Michigan is leading a clinical trial to test whether a quick, painless solution applied to cavities can prevent further damage and infection.


ZEUS: The Most Powerful Laser in the US
The most powerful laser in the United States will be built at U-M. The technology could spur advancements in medicine, materials science and national security.


Motion Sickness
What good is a driverless car if riding in one makes you sick? Researchers are exploring ways to identify and quantify motion sickness in passenger vehicles.


Place-Based Change
As crews demolish abandoned homes and buildings across Detroit, homicides and injuries caused by firearms dropped by 11 percent in some neighborhoods.


Flying Cars
Remember the 1960s cartoon The Jetsons, where characters traveled in flying cars? This technology could play a niche role in sustainable mobility.

Recovering Reproduction

Leukemia treatments often leave girls infertile, but a new procedure developed by engineers could help restore their ability to be biological mothers.


Airborne Viruses
Dangerous airborne viruses pose serious health problems and are difficult to guard against. Energetic, charged fragments of air molecules could pose a solution.


Superheating Mystery
Why is the sun’s outer atmosphere hotter than its fiery surface? Solving this riddle could help scientists better understand and predict solar weather.


Dead Zones
An area with low to no oxygen is predicted to cover a massive stretch of the Gulf of Mexico this summer, which could prove deadly for fish and other marine life.


New Era in Sports
The Detroit Tigers are partnering with the University of Michigan to explore ways in which research can help enhance and optimize player performance.


Bionic Leg
A new open-source, artificially intelligent prosthetic leg aims to improve the quality of life of patients, while also accelerating scientific advances.


Stronger, Longer Life
Scientists demonstrated how to slow down declining motor function and increase lifespan in aging worms, which may have implications across many species.


Shedding Ice
A new class of coatings that sheds ice from large surfaces has moved researchers closer to their goal of ice-proofing cargo ships and airplanes.


Attacking Cancer
A new set of compounds designed by researchers offer a potential advancement in the treatment of advanced or aggressive prostate cancer.


Last Words
Linguists are working to document a lesser-known version of the Afrikaans language before the last generation of speakers is gone.


Security Bugs
A new chip helps block potential attacks by encrypting and randomly reshuffling key bits of its own code and data 20 times per second.