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Kansas State University

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Two professors from K-State are recipients of prestigious Higuchi-KU Endowment Research Achievement Awards for 2010.

The awards, now in their 28th year, honor outstanding accomplishments in research by faculty members at KU and other Kansas Board of Regents institutions. The recognition program was established by Takeru Higuchi, a distinguished professor at KU from 1967 to 1983, and his late widow, Aya.

Four individual awards are given annually. They are named for former leaders of KU Endowment who played key roles in recruiting Higuchi to KU. Their longtime financial support of KU helped enhance university research throughout the state of Kansas.

Each award includes a plaque and a $10,000 grant for ongoing research efforts. The award money can be used for research materials, summer salaries, fellowship matching funds, hiring research assistants or other support related to research.

The 2010 Higuchi Award winners will be recognized formally at a ceremony and reception Nov. 3 at the Adams Alumni Center on the KU campus in Lawrence. K-State's honorees are:

T. G. Nagaraja* T. G. Nagaraja -- A university distinguished professor of microbiology in the department of diagnostic medicine/pathobiology in the College of Veterinary Medicine, Nagaraja received the Irvin Youngberg Award for Applied Sciences. He joined the faculty in 1980, and his research on microbiology of the gastrointestinal tract in cattle has received national and international recognition. His research contributions are on the use of antibiotics in cattle feeds and causes and preventions of digestive disorders. His research on liver abscesses resulted in four U.S. patents, including one that led to the development of a vaccine. Recently, his research focus is on food safety in beef cattle, especially E. coli O157:H7, a major cause of human food-borne illnesses.

Chii-Dong Lin* Chii-Dong Lin -- A university distinguished professor of physics and associate director of the J.R. Macdonald Laboratory, Lin received the Olin Petefish Award in Basic Science. He joined the faculty in 1976 and is recognized internationally as a pioneering researcher in several important fields of atomic, molecular and optical physics. His early career focused on the theoretical description of energetic ion-atom collisions. Later he turned to studies of ultrafast, intense-field, short-pulse, laser-based physics and is regarded as a world leader in both fields. During his career Lin has published more than 325 heavily cited scientific papers. In 2009, he organized and chaired a conference that attracted 250 of the world’s leading ultrafast/laser scientists to Manhattan, underscoring his international research reputation.


The Entomological Society of America is recognizing a Kansas State University entomologist for significant contributions to agriculture.

C. Michael SmithC. Michael Smith is receiving the society's Recognition Award in Entomology, a $1,500 honor sponsored by Syngenta Crop Protection. The award, which includes a plaque, will be presented Sunday, Dec. 12, at the entomological society's annual meeting in San Diego, Calif.

Awardees must be current members of the entomological society who have contributed significantly to agricultural advancement through their work in the entomology field.

Smith has been a professor of entomology at K-State since 1990. His research group has identified numerous genes in barley and wheat plants resistant to the pest aphid Diuraphis noxia, and established that transcriptomes -- or total cell RNA -- of resistant plants are expressed more rapidly and at higher levels than those of susceptible plants. Using virus induced gene silencing, Smith's research recently resulted in having a putative D. noxiaresistance gene in wheat silenced. As a Fulbright scholar, Smith's collaborations with European and African scientists identified the first Diuraphis noxia biotypes in North Africa and South America. Recent research by Smith's group has revealed evidence of a second Diuraphis noxiaNorth American invasion in 2004.

Smith has published collaborative research results in more than 90 manuscripts in refereed journals, the majority of which are in Entomological Society of America publications; 16 book chapters; and three host plant resistance textbooks, the most recent being "Plant Resistance to Arthropods: Molecular and Conventional Approaches."

He is a recognized authority in the field of plant resistance to arthropods, presenting more than 60 invited lectures in 18 different countries. He is currently a subject editor for The Journal of Economic Entomology and Arthopod Plant Interactions.

Smith and his collaborators have been awarded more than $4 million in extramural funding support from the National Science Foundation, the U.S. Agency for International Development, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Kansas Crop Improvement Association, the Kansas Soybean Commission, the Kansas Wheat Commission and the Research Council for International Exchange of Scholars.

Smith served as an invited expert external examiner for dissertation assessment panels at The Royal Veterinary and Agricultural University in Copenhagen, Denmark; the Universitat fur Bodenkultur, Vienna, Austria; and the University of Pretoria, South Africa. In 2004 Smith was named a recipient of the K-State Student Foundation E. Walter Morrison Award, and in 2009 he received the K-State Gamma Sigma Delta Honor Society of Agriculture Distinguished Faculty Award. He is a fellow of the Entomological Society of America and has been a representative on the society's governing board.

The Entomological Society of America is the largest organization in the world dedicated to serving the scientific and professional needs of entomologists and those in related disciplines. It is a not-for-profit scientific society governed by members elected to represent scientific sections and regional branches. The society has more than 6,000 members who are affiliated with educational institutions, health agencies, private industry and government. Members include researchers, teachers, extension service personnel, administrators, marketing representatives, research technicians, consultants, students, and hobbyists.


Susan Brown, professor of biology, and Frank White, professor of plant pathology, are the recipients of the 2010 Commerce Bank Distinguished Graduate Faculty awards. They will be recognized at the Graduate School commencement ceremony at 1 p.m. Friday, Dec. 10, in Bramlage Coliseum.

The awards, which come with a $2,500 honorarium, are supported by the William T. Kemper Foundation and the Commerce Bancshares Foundation. They are coordinated through the Kansas State University Foundation.

"For 16 years now, Commerce Bank and the William T. Kemper Foundation have joined with K-State to support the Commerce Bank Distinguished Graduate Faculty Awards," said Tom Giller, community bank president, Commerce Bank, Manhattan. "Student success depends on exceptional instruction. We are proud to help the university honor faculty members who excel in research and the teaching and mentoring of K-State students."

President Kirk Schulz said that supporting excellent faculty will help the university achieve its goals for the future.

"For K-State to succeed in reaching its goal of being a top 50 research university by 2025, we need our faculty to continue to excel in research and teaching," Schulz said. "I am glad that Commerce Bank is supporting our efforts to promote excellence in our faculty with these awards."

Susan BrownBrown, pictured left, has a bachelor's degree in biology from Smith College and a doctorate in genetics from the University of Missouri-Columbia. She came to K-State as a research associate in 1983 and became a full professor in 2007.

She is a developmental geneticist studying the genetic regulation of embryonic development in the red flour beetle, Tribolium castaneum. She has developed genetic and genomic tools to establish Tribolium as a premiere genetic model organism and was a leader in the Tribolium genome project, which produced the first complete genome sequence of a beetle. Brown is the director of the Arthropod Genomics Center and the K-State Bioinformatics Center.

"All of the graduate faculty work hard to mentor students, so it is an honor to be selected by my peers for this award," said Brown.

White, pictured right, received a bachelor's degree in molecular biology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. His master's and doctoral degrees, both from the University of Washington-Seattle, are in microbiology/immunology.

He has been at K-State since 1985 and has been a full professor since 2001. He is a fellow of the American Phytopathology Society and an international authority on the molecular basis of plant disease.

"I am honored to be the recipient of the 2010 Commerce Bank Distinguished Graduate Faculty award, and I commend the university and Commerce Bank for placing important emphasis on graduate training," White said. "I rely a great deal on the dedicated efforts of many excellent graduate students for progress in our research and consider the award as much a testament to their efforts as mine. Of course, graduate student mentoring involves many other people, including the Graduate School, fellow departmental faculty and our excellent staff in the department of plant pathology, and my thanks go to them also."


display for Banned Books WeekThe libraries' display for Banned Books Week was chosen by the American Library Association's Office of Intellectual Freedom as the "Display of the Day" on Sept. 28.

The display can be viewed here:

K-State employees who had a hand in the display creation were:
Elizabeth DeBusk, graphic designer;
Donna F. Ekart, communications coordinator; and
Daniel Ireton, undergraduate and community services librarian.