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Kansas State University

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Daniel MarcusA K-State professor has been elected to serve on a national committee that seeks to elevate biomedical research resources in Kansas and other states.

Daniel C. Marcus, university distinguished professor of anatomy and physiology, will serve a four-year term on the National Committee for the National Association of IDeA Principal Investigators. The 20-member committee assists the National Center for Research Resources, a division of the National Institutes of Health, in strengthening biomedical research in 23 states -- including Kansas -- that are part of the Institutional Development Awards, or IDeA, network. The committee meets in Washington, D.C.

The association represents the principal investigators from each IDeA Network of Biomedical Research Excellence and Center of Biomedical Research Excellence, and is focused on elevating biomedical research infrastructure in states with historically low levels of research funding from the National Institutes of Health.

Marcus is the principal investigator for the K-State Center of Biomedical Research Excellence, based in the College of Veterinary Medicine. The center studies epithelial cell function in human health and disease. It supports individual research projects as well as research facilities for confocal microscopy, molecular biology and electrophysiology investigators across eight departments in five K-State colleges.

Marcus is internationally known for his research on the physiology of inner ear epithelial cells. Functions of these cells are essential for healthy hearing and balance.

He has received the Pfizer Research Excellence Award from K-State's College of Veterinary Medicine and has honorary membership in Society of Phi Zeta, Sigma Chapter, an organization that recognizes and promotes scholarship and research on the welfare and diseases of animals. Marcus also is a reviewer for several professional journals and granting agencies.

Marcus joined K-State in 1998 as an associate professor in anatomy and physiology. He was promoted to professor in 2000 and was named a university distinguished professor, K-State's highest academic ranking, in 2006. His previous professional experience was at Creighton University, Washington University in St. Louis and Boys Town National Research Hospital.


Eight faculty within the College of Agriculture were recently recognized for contributions to their field. They are as follows:

* Subramanyam "Subi" Bhadriraju, professor of grain science and adjunct professor of entomology, received the 2010 Hodson Memorial Outstanding Alumnus Award from the department of entomology at the University of Minnesota, St. Paul.

* Chuck Walker, professor emeritus of grain science, received the 2010 Women in Engineering and Science Program Making a Difference Award.

* Fred Fairchild, professor of feed science, received the Entrepreneurship Support Award, recognizing his commitment to teaching transferrable skills. Six of eight teams from his management applications in grain processing industries class reached the finals of the Next Big Thing contest, with one team earning second in the new product division.

* Keith Behnke, professor of feed science, received the Distinguished Service Award from the American Feed Industry Association.

* Jason Griffin, associate professor of nursery crops and director of the John C. Pair Horticultural Center near Wichita, received the 2009 Honorary Membership Award from the Midwestern Chapter of the International Society of Arboriculture.

* Barry Bradford, assistant professor of dairy nutrition, received the 2010 Cargill Animal Nutrition Young Scientist Award from the American Dairy Science Association. 

* Mike Tokach, professor of swine nutrition and extension state leader, received the Animal Management Award from the American Society of Animal Science.

* Sajid Alavi, associate professor of grain science and industry, received the AACC International Young Scientist Research Award.


Harald PrinsTeaching and mentoring future anthropologists is something Harald E.L. Prins has been doing -- and doing well -- since joining Kansas State University 20 years ago.

Prins, a university distinguished professor of anthropology who has been recognized both at the university and national levels for his teaching, is now being honored by his peers as the 2010 recipient of the American Anthropological Association/Oxford University Press Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching of Anthropology.

"This is the national teaching award for his discipline, and no one is more deserving than Harald Prins," said Betsy Cauble, head of K-State's department of sociology, anthropology and social work.

The award was established in 1997 to recognize teachers who have contributed to and encouraged the study of anthropology. Prins will receive the honor at the American Anthropological Association's annual meeting Nov. 17-21 in New Orleans.

Making the award even more significant for Prins is that several of his former students nominated him for the honor. The process was spearheaded by Michael Wesch, now an associate professor of cultural anthropology at K-State, and Lucas Bessire, a K-State alum who just earned his doctorate in anthropology from New York University. The two organized a nomination packet for Prins, which included letters of support from around two dozen of the professor's former students.

"Students don't just 'go through' an anthropology course with Dr. Harald Prins; the course goes through them, turning them into more open-minded, critically aware, global citizens. I know this because before I was a colleague of Dr. Prins, I was his student," said Wesch, who knows something about what makes an excellent teacher. Wesch is the 2008 Council for the Advancement and Support of Education/Carnegie Foundation Professor of the Year for Research and Doctoral Institutions.

"Thirteen years ago I sat spellbound with 399 other students as Dr. Prins took us from the country comfort of Kansas to explore the world as we had never known it before," Wesch said.

Prins studies indigenous peoples of South and North America, most notably the Mi'kmaq Indians, and is a visual anthropologist who has been trained in 16-mm filmmaking. He said his teaching has been shaped by his experiences as a film school student -- seeing himself on film taught him he was coming across as dull and boring -- and his research and advocacy work for a landless Mi'kmaq band in Maine, which helped him hone more effective communication skills. Prins assisted this poverty-stricken Indian community in its quest for native rights and land claims.

Prins believes strongly in using his research work in the classroom. He is the co-author of three documentaries, and his film work has been honored with several awards. He is the author or co-author of three books, co-author of four widely used textbooks and co-editor of three volumes, and he has written more than 175 scholarly articles, book chapters, reviews and encyclopedia entries in eight languages.

"Research is important because our students feel inspired by teachers who are passionate about their scholarship and are eager to share their discoveries with the rest of the world," he said. "When we inspire a dozen or more of our students, we also multiply our own rewards. So I'd say an ounce of passion is worth more than a pound of pedagogy."