Dr. Lorena Passarelli and Dr. Jyoti Shah have each been selected for the Kansas IDeA Network of Biomedical Research Excellence (K-INBRE) 2006 Faculty Scholar Award.  Dr. Joan Hunt, University Distinguished Professor, at the University of Kansas Medical Center, and K-INBRE Director, made the award notification. The Faculty Scholar Award was designed as a prestigious mid-level faculty of distinction program.  Dr. Hunt notes, in her letter that this highly competitive award ($20,000, K-INBRE + KSU) can be used for any academic endeavor.  Previous Division of Biology recipients of the K-INBRE Faculty Scholar Award have been Dr. Rollie Clem (2003), Dr. Mike Herman (2004), Dr. Sue Brown (2005), and Dr. Katsura Asano (2005).  

We have just learned that Dr. John Blair has been selected as a University Distinguished Professor.  This is the most prestigious designation that the University can bestow on a faculty member, and is a title that is maintained for the rest of his career.  Of approximately 1,300 total faculty members at K-State, only about 30 hold the rank of University Distinguished Professor.  The addition of John to this group means that 9 Division of Biology faculty members have been selected as University Distinguished Professors, with 6 current (Dr. Gary Conrad, Dr. Brian Spooner, Dr. Rob Denell, Dr. Larry Takemoto, Dr. David Hartnett, and Blair), and 3 others no longer active (Dr. Dick Consigli now emeritus, Dr. Terry Johnson now deceased, and Dr. Alan Knapp now resigned).  

Dr. Larry Williams is the first recipient of a new “Putting Students First Award,” given by KSU Institutional Advancement, Student Life, and Student Services.  The award was presented to Larry at a ceremony held May 16 at Bosco Plaza , in front of the K-State Student Union.  

We have now completed the three assistant professor new faculty member searches conducted this year.  The cumulative results are that we have hired Dr. Ted Morgan (Ecological Genomics), Dr. Kristin Michel (Vector Biology), and Dr. Alexander ( Sandy ) Beeser (Cancer Cell Biology) as the new faculty.  Dr. Morgan will join us in August 2006, Dr. Beeser will join us in December 2006, and Dr. Michel will join us in August 2007.  Three active searches in the same year is a big load, thanks go out to all of you who participated in these search activities.  In particular, we recognize the following members of the three search committees for the outstanding work they did for us all:  

The Ecological Genomics Institute is pleased to announce that seven seed grants have been awarded funding totaling $291,290 through the Ecological Genomics Institute Targeted Excellence program.  Ecological Genomics seeks to understand the genetic mechanisms that underlie responses of organisms to their natural environment.  The intent of the Ecological Genomics Institute is to further advance interdisciplinary research that melds the fields of genomics and ecology to address questions that lie at the interface of these disciplines.  Please visit our website, www.ksu.edu/ecogen, to learn more about funding opportunities.  

The Institute addresses questions such as:

The funded projects for 2005-2006 are as follows:

Drs. Beth Montelone, Kimberly Douglas (WESP), Ruth Dyer (Provost Office), Lisa Freeman (Vet Med), and Jacqueline Spears (Secondary Education) received $404,324 for a project titled “Collaborative for Outreach, Recruitment, and Engagement in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics.”  This project will be funded for three years by the Targeted Excellence initiative of the Provost's Office, beginning July 1.  

Drs. Ruth Welti, Michael Kanost (Biochemistry), John Tomich (Biochemistry), Om Prakash (Biochemistry), Susan Brown, Jyoti Shah, Gary Conrad, and Eric Maatta (Chemistry) received $1,998,944 for a project titled A Functional Genomics Consortium: Building research productivity through education, interaction, and full utilization of the Functional Genomics Laboratories at Kansas State University.”  This project establishes a Functional Genomics Consortium that will facilitate and carry out research into gene function at the protein and metabolite levels.  This project will be funded for five years by the Targeted Excellence initiative of the Provost's Office, beginning July 1.  

Drs. Sue Brown, Rob Denell and Rollie Clem, in collaboration with Drs. Michael Smith and Ming Chen (Entomology), Roman Ganta (Diagnostic Medicine and Pathobiology) and Michael Kanost (Biochemistry), received a $2,000,000 award from the Targeted Excellence initiative of the Provost's Office, for a “Center for Genomic Studies on Arthropods affecting Human, Animal and Plant Health.”   This 5 year project will provide bioinformatics infrastructure and seed grants to support KSU researchers in developing functional genomics approaches to solving problems in arthropod biology related to human, plant and animal health.  

Drs. Wayne Nafziger (Economics), Emizet Ksangani (Political Science), and David Hartnett (Biology) were awarded $253,726 from the Targeted Excellence initiative of the Provost's Office for a project titled “Africa in the Global Context: The Political Economy of Agriculture, the Environment, and Human Health.”  This award will establish an African Studies Center at K-State to network Africanist scholars to conduct multi- disciplinary collaborative research and training to address African problems in areas such as agricultural development, rural welfare, environmental conservation and sustainability, and African language study.  

Madhav Nepal, Ph.D. student with Dr. Carolyn Ferguson and Dr. Mark Mayfield, was awarded the Manhattan Kansas Rotary Club International Graduate Student Scholarship. This award is given to outstanding international students engaged in graduate study at Kansas State University and is based upon criteria of academic accomplishment and the benefit of their graduate training to their country when they return.  

Dr. Brett Sandercock has accepted an invitation to serve as an Associate Editor for the Journal of Animal Ecology.
Dr. Brett Sandercock was awarded $20,581 by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service - Migratory Bird Management Contract (Region 6) for research titled Kansas pre- and post-breeding shorebird study.”

Dr. Brett Sandercock and Dr. Samantha Wisely were awarded $630,100 by the National Wind Coordinating Committee for research titled “Impacts of wind power development on the demography and population genetics of the Greater Prairie-chicken.”

Dr. Brett Sandercock and Jackie Nooker were awarded $11,940 by the National Science Foundation - Division of Environmental Biology for research titled “Dissertation research: Testosterone-mediated life history tradeoffs in a lek-mating bird: an integrated approach using path analysis and experimental implants.”

Dr. Brett Sandercock and Dr. Gail Wilson were awarded $199,183 by the National Science Foundation - Division of Biological Infrastructure for research titled “Research experiences for undergraduates site: Ecology and evolutionary biology of a temperate grassland.”  

Page Klug (Ph.D. student in the lab of Dr. Kimberly With) has been awarded nearly $5000 in funding, from a Sigma Xi Grant-in-Aid of Research ($800) and a Frances M. Peacock Scholarship from the Garden Club of America ($4000), to support her research on developing a landscape ecology of predator-prey interactions involving snakes and grassland birds in the tallgrass prairie.  

Dr. Craig Paukert received the Science To Achieve Results (STAR) award from the US Geological Survey for outstanding performance in the Cooperative Research Units program.  

Phil Brinkley , an undergraduate working with graduate student Jesse Fischer was awarded the Kansas Chapter of the American Fisheries Society Klassen Award as the most outstanding fisheries undergraduate, at the Kansas Chapter of the American Fisheries Society Annual Meeting in Hays, KS, February 10-11.  

Andy Makinster, graduate student under Craig Paukert , was awarded the Kansas Chapter of the American Fisheries Society Tiemeier-Cross Award as the outstanding fisheries graduate student at the Kansas Chapter of the American Fisheries Society Annual Meeting in Hays, KS, February 10-11.  

Dr. Joanna Whittier team-taught two workshops on Basic and Advanced GIS Techniques for Fisheries Biologists at the American Fisheries Society Annual Meeting in Anchorage, AK, September 2005.  She also taught a similar short course at the Kansas Chapter of the American Fisheries Society Annual Meeting in Hays, KS, February 10-11.  

Dr. Craig Paukert and Dr. Joanna Whittier were awarded $314,703 by the US Geological Survey, National Biological Information Infrastructure for research titled “Development of Conservation Priorities to Protect Biodiversity of Fishes in the Lower Colorado River Basin .”  

Dr. Craig Paukert was awarded $163,976 by the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks for research titled “Population dynamics of Kansas River fishes.”  

Dr. Craig Paukert was awarded $103,684 by the US Geological Survey, Science Support Program for research titled “Evaluation of Sampling Protocols Used to Determine the Status and Trends of Rare and Endangered Missouri River Fishes.”  

Dr. Ruth Welti received two awards from the Kansas IDeA Networks of Biomedical Research Excellence (K-INBRE): $35,000 for “Comprehensive analysis of human plasma lipids as potential markers of disease,” and $35,000 for “Institution Core Facility Support: Kansas Lipidomics Research Center Analytical Laboratory at Kansas State University  

Dr. Ratnesh Chaturvedi, post doctoral fellow in Shah lab received a $500 Travel fellowship from the American Society of Plant Biologists to travel to the annual ASPB meeting in July-August in Boston , MA .  

Dr. Venkatramana Pegadaraju recent PhD graduate from the Shah lab is currently working for Monsanto in Connecticut .  

Dr. Sanjay Kumar arrived in March and is a visiting scientist from India , working on an Ecological Genomics project with Drs. Loretta Johnson and Jyoti Shah.  

Dr. Jyoti Shah and Dr. Harold Trick were awarded $122,966 by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (US Wheat and Barley Scab Initiative) for research titled Engineering Fusarium Head Blight Resistance and Plant Defense Signaling.”  

Harmony Dalgleish (Major Professor D. Hartnett) was awarded a $11,260 Doctoral Dissertation Improvement Grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF).  The project titled “Belowground Bud Bank Populations as Regulators of Vegetation Responses to Ecosystem Drivers in African Grasslands” will allow Harmony to expand her current dissertation research on North American grasslands to include comparative studies of plant demographic processes regulating grassland dynamics and diversity in northern Botswana .

Chanitchote Detvisitsakun (Am), a graduate student in the laboratory of Dr. Lorena Passarelli, was the 2006 recipient of the Sarachek Predoctoral Honors Fellowship.  This fellowship established by Alvin and RosaLee Sarachek includes a $15,000 award for Ph.D. candidate students employing molecular biology techniques. 

Erica L. Hutfless, an undergraduate in the laboratory of Dr. Lorena Passarelli, was awarded two national competitive fellowships.  She was the recipient of the Latino Institute Program Fellowship, awarded to only 100 students in the USA every year, and the prestigious Microbiology Undergraduate Research Fellowship Program from the American Society for Microbiology.  

The Biology Graduate Student Association (BGSA) elected new officers for the 2006-2007 year:  Joe Coolon (President), Madhav Nepal (Vice-President), Alison Fedrow (Treasurer), Robb Kaler (Secretary), Jayne Jonas (GAC Representative), and Caroline Delandre (Assistant Webmaster).

The BGSA Travel Grant Committee awarded Spring Travel Grants to Madhav Nepal and Tracey Johnson.

Division of Biology Graduate Student Awards (2005-2006)  

Jackie Nooker received the H. Henley Haymaker Award for Research Excellence in Graduate Research, presented for outstanding research by a graduate student with more than 2 years in the Division of Biology. A student must also give a research presentation at the Division of Biology Graduate Research Forum to qualify for this award.  

Anisha Gupte received the James Ackert Scientific Award, presented for outstanding research by a graduate student with less than 2 years in the Division of Biology. A student must also give a research presentation at the Division of Biology Graduate Research Forum to qualify for this award.  

Katie Betrand received the Chris Edler Memorial Scholarship, presented to a graduate student that works on Konza who has demonstrated strong research, teaching and service to Konza Prairie. A student must also give a research presentation at the Division of Biology Graduate Research Forum to qualify for this award.  

Jackie Nooker received the Michael Scott Watkins Award, presented for outstanding teaching in the Division of Biology.  

Keerthi Mandyam received the John C. Frazier Memorial Botanical Award, presented for outstanding research by a graduate student from the Division of Biology in Plant Science. A student must also give a research presentation at the Division of Biology Graduate Research Forum to qualify for this award.  

Chanitchote Detvisitaskun received the L. Evans Roth Biology Award, presented for outstanding research by a graduate student from the Division of Biology in Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology.  A student must also give a research presentation at the Division of Biology Graduate Research Forum to qualify for this award.  

A reception to honor awardees was held March 31 in Ackert Hall.  Also at the reception, the BGSA presented Dr. Lorena Passarelli with the Outstanding Graduate Faculty Award.  

Division of Biology Undergraduate Student Awards (2005-2006)  

The H. Henley Haymaker Award for Excellence in Biology was presented to the outstanding graduating senior in Biology. This year, dual recipients were Phillip Brinkley (Fisheries Biology/Wildlife major) and Caleb Knepper (Biology/Microbiology major).  

Nine students received Most Promising Student Awards, presented to outstanding undergraduate students. These awards were entirely funded by faculty contributions and chosen on the criteria of academic performance, activities (including research), letters of recommendation, and performance in an interview by a faculty panel. This year’s recipients were:

Zach Brown, JR, Biology/Pre Medicine
Scott Chew,
SR, Biology
Meg Fasulo, SR, Microbiology/Chemistry/Biochemistry
Wade Greening, JR, Microbiology
Michelle LeCluyse, SO, Biology, Nat. Res. & Env. Sciences
Sara Mueting, SR, Biology
Aleece Preston, SO, Biology/Education
Amy Twite, JR, Microbiology/Chemistry
Stephanie Yeager, SR, Biology/Pre Medicine

A luncheon to honor awardees was held on April 22 in the Kansas State University Student Union.

The K-State Student Chapter of The Wildlife Society held their Annual Spring Banquet on April 8.  At the banquet the following undergraduate awards were presented:  

Phillip Brinkley received the Mark Enloe Memorial Scholarship for Conservation Education, an endowed scholarship in Fisheries and Wildlife Conservation.  

Tanner Dixson and Kevin Blecha were awarded Tri County Rod and Gun Club Conservation Scholarships.  

Derek Moon and Carissa Fredrickson were awarded Quail Unlimited Conservation Scholarships.


Jesse Fischer and Dr. Craig Paukert presented “Environmental influences of stream fish in the Nebraska Sandhills” at the Nebraska Chapter of the American Fisheries Society Annual Meeting, Gretna , NE , March 1.  

Dr. Craig Paukert, and J.H. Petersen presented “Simulated effects of temperature warming on rainbow trout and humpback chub in the Colorado River, Grand Canyon” and Dr. Joanna Whittier, Dr. Craig Paukert, and Dr. Keith Gido presented “Development of an aquatic GAP for the Lower Colorado River Basin” at the Arizona/New Mexico American Fisheries Society Annual Meeting, Flagstaff, AZ, February 3-4.  

The following presentations were made at the 31st Kansas Chapter of the American Fisheries Society Annual Meeting, February 10-11: Eitzmann, J., A. Makinster, and C.P. Paukert, “Population dynamics of blue suckers in the Kansas River, Kansas” ;  Brinkley, P., J. Fischer, and C.P. Paukert, “Effect of fixative on total length of small-bodied stream fish” (awarded best student poster); Fischer, J., and C.P. Paukert, “Fish habitat relationships in South Central Kansas”; and  Makinster, A., and C.P. Paukert, “Population dynamics of flathead catfish in the Kansas River, Kansas.”  

Dr. Jyoti Shah, Dr. Ragiba Makandar, V. Nalam and H.N. Trick gave an invited lecture titled “Engineering Scab Resistance in Wheat with Plant Defense Signaling Genes” at the Proceedings of the 2005 National Fusarium Head Blight Forum, Milwaukee , WI . December 11-13, 2005 .  

Several members of the Dr. Jyoti Shah lab and Dr. Ruth Welti lab attended the Great Plains Plant Lipidomics Consortium Retreat at the Danforth Plant Sciences Center , St. Louis , MO , on May 2.  The following oral presentations were given:  

Dr. Sanjay Kumar, Tyler Suelter, Dr. Aparna G. Patankar, Dr. Loretta C. Johnson and Dr. Jyoti Shah presented “Environmental Influences on Root Development and Productivity in Tall Grass Prairie: Genomic and Molecular Approaches” at the Ecological Genomics Workshop, Kansas State University, Manhattan, KS, May 6.  

The following presentations were given at the Kansas Lipidomics Research Center 2006 Annual Meeting, Kansas State University Student Union, Manhattan , KS , March 16:  

  Joe Louis, Dr. Jyoti Shah, Dr. Venkatramana Pegadaraju and Dr. John C. Reese presented “Feeding Behavior of the Green Peach Aphid, Myzus Persicae (Sülzer), on Arabidopsis Mutants” at the Topeka Capitol Research Forum, Kansas State University , Manhattan , KS , March 3.  

Dr. Jyoti Shah, Dr. John C. Reese, and Dr. Ruth Welti presented “Arabidopsis-green peach aphid interaction” at the USDA Annual Project Directors Meeting, Warrenton , VA , February 26-28.  

Jessica Morton, Dr. Ruth Welti and Dr. Jyoti Shah presented “Lipases in plant defense and death” at the K-INBRE Annual Symposium, Kansas State University Student, Manhattan , KS , January 14-15.

Dr. Ruth Welti presented a seminar titled ESI-MS/MS-based lipid profiling to determine the function of genes involved in the metabolism of membrane lipids at St. Louis University Medical School , January 4.  

Dr. Ruth Welti, C. Buseman, S. Maatta, R. Jeannotte, G. Isaac, P. Tamura, M. Roth, A. Sparks, and S.W. Esch presented “Lipidomic Analysis of Physiological Responses in Arabidopsis” at the American Oil Chemists Society Annual Meeting, St. Louis , MO , May 1.

Dr. Kimberly With gave an invited seminar titled, “Rapidly changing landscapes and slow-changing populations: what’s a songbird to do?” to the Department of Biological Sciences at the University of Arkansas , Fayetteville , AR , April 13.

Dr. Kimberly With, W.E. Jensen, and A.W. King presented a poster titled “A regional assessment of population viability in grassland birds in a managed grassland: the Flint Hills of Kansas and Oklahoma,” at the annual meeting of the U.S. Regional Chapter of International Association for Landscape Ecology, San Diego, CA, March 29.  

The Division of Biology 32nd Annual Graduate Student Research Forum was held on March 11 in the Big 12 Room of the K-State Union. Dr. Keith Chapes served as moderator and 23 students made the following presentations:  

On April 20, an Undergraduate Research Scholars’ Forum, sponsored by the Division of Biology, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute Biological Sciences Education grant, and the K-INBRE ( Kansas IDeA Network of Biomedical Research Excellence) was held in the atrium of Chalmers Hall. Fifty-seven undergraduates presented research projects in poster format that they are conducting with K-State mentors. The following is a list of presentations (Undergraduate Scholar - Mentor - Project Title):  


Berretta, M.F., M. Deshpande, E.A., Crouch, and A.L. Passarelli. 2006.  Functional characterization of Bombyx mori nucleopolyhedrovirus late gene transcription and genome replication factors in the non-permissive insect cell line SF-21Virology 348: 175-189.  

Crouch, E.A. and A.L. Passarelli.  2005.  Effects of baculovirus transactivators IE-1 and IE-2 on the Drosophila heat shock promoter in two insect cell linesArch. Virol. 150: 1563-1578.  

Dalgleish, H.J. and D.C. Hartnett.  2006.  Belowground bud banks increase along a precipitation gradient of the North American Great Plains: a test of the meristem limitation hypothesisNew Phytologist, in press.  

Detvisitsakun, C., E.L. Hutfless, M.F. Berretta, and A.L. Passarelli.   2006.  Analysis of a baculovirus lacking a functional viral fibroblast growth factor homologVirology 346: 258-265.  

Gupte, A. and S. Mora.  2006.  Activation of the Cbl insulin signaling pathway in cardiac muscle; Dysregulation in obesity and diabetes.  Biochemical Biophysical Research Communications 342: 751-757.  

Hartnett , D.C. and F.H.M. Semazzi.  2006.  Enhancing collaborative research on the environment in sub-Saharan AfricaNational Science Foundation  OISE Report, 60 pp.  

Hartnett , D.C. M.P. Setshogo, and H.J. Dalgleish.  2006.   Bud banks of perennial savanna grasses in Botswana African Journal of Ecology 44: 1-8.  

Li, M., C. Qin, R. Welti, and X. Wang.  2006. Double knockouts of phospholipases Dzeta1 and Dzeta2 in Arabidopsis affect root elongation during phosphate-limited growth but do not affect root hair patterning. Plant Physiol. 140: 761-770.  

Makandar, R., J.S. Essig, M.A. Schapaugh, H.N. Trick, and J. Shah.  2006.  Genetically engineered resistance to Fusarium head blight in wheat by expression of Arabidopsis NPR1. Mol. Plant-Microbe Interact. 19: 123-129.  

Paukert, C.P., L.G. Coggins, and C.F. Flaccus.  2006.  Distribution and movement of humpback chub in the Colorado River , Grand Canyon , based on recaptures. Transactions of the American Fisheries Society 135: 539-544.  

Pegadaraju, V., C. Knepper, J. Reese, and J. Shah.  2005.  Premature leaf senescence modulated by the Arabidopsis thaliana PAD4 gene is associated with defense against the phloem-feeding green peach aphid.  Plant Physiol. 139: 1927-1934.  

Petersen, J.H., D.L. DeAngelis, and C.P. Paukert.  2006.  Developing bioenergetics and life history models for rare and endangered species.  Transactions of the American Fisheries Society, in press.  

Villarreal, M., R.C. Cochran, D.E. Johnson, E.G. Towne, G.W.T. Wilson , D.C. Hartnett, and D.G. Goodin.  2006.  The use of pasture reflectance characteristics and arbuscular mycorrhizal root colonization to predict pasture characteristics of tallgrass prairie grazed by cattle and bison. Grass and Forage Science 61: 32-41.  

Wang, L. and S.J. Brown.  2006.  BindN: a web-based tool for efficient prediction of DNA and RNA binding sites in amino acid sequences. Nucleic Acids Research, in press (including the cover figure of the Web Server issue).

Wang, L. and M.J. Roossinck.  2006.  Comparative analysis of expressed sequences reveals a conserved pattern of optimal codon usage in plants. Plant Molecular Biology, in press.  

Wang, X., S.P. Devaiah, W. Zhang, and R. Welti.  2006. Signaling functions of phosphatidic acid. Prog. Lipid Res. 45: 250-278.  

Wang Y., E.M. Perchellet, M.M. Ward, K. Lou, H. Zhao, S.K. Battina, B. Wiredu, D.H. Hua, and J.P. Perchellet.  2006.  Antitumor triptycene analogs induce a rapid collapse of mitochondrial transmembrane potential in HL-60 cells and isolated mitochondria.  International Journal of Oncology 28: 161-172.  

With, K.A., G.R. Schrott, and A.W. King.  2006. The implications of metalandscape connectivity for population viability in migratory songbirdsLandscape Ecology 21: 157-167.  

Young, J.E., X. Zhao, E.E. Carey, R. Welti, S.S. Yang, and W. Wang. 2005. Phytochemical phenolics in organically grown vegetables. Mol. Nutr. Food Res. 49: 1136-1142.


4th Annual Ecological Genomics Symposium, November 3-5, 2006, Sheraton Overland Park Hotel at the Convention Center, Overland Park, KS.