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Research, Scholarly and Creative Activities, and Discovery (RSCAD) News

October 1, 2015

The weekly RSCAD newsletter provides the latest research news, funding opportunities and academic trends.

K-State in the News

Herbicide Scrutiny Mounts as Resistant Weeds Spread in U.S.

09/22/15 Yahoo! 
In the latest account of glyphosate-resistant weeds, U.S. weed scientist Dallas Peterson said this week that resistance is increasing rapidly in the key farming state of Kansas. The trend is a worrisome sign as weed resistance spreads from the southern U.S. into the Midwest and Plains farming states, he said. Peterson, who is both a weed scientist at Kansas State University (KSU) and president of the Weed Science Society of America, said Kansas soybean farmers in particular are experiencing weed problems, particularly with a type known as Palmer amaranth. Wet weather along with the weed resistance contributed to the problem, he said. "It's really kind of exploded," he said.

The U.S. Has One Crop to Rule Them All, and That’s a Big Problem

09/24/15 Yahoo!
Crop diversity has fallen as farmers across a large swath of the Midwest have switched to corn and soybean. Elsewhere, growing conditions and demand have dictated the emergence of a few dominant crops. “When an area is low in diversity, or if you only have one crop, it’s almost like a garden,” said Jonathan Aguilar, water resource engineer at Kansas State University and lead researcher on the crop diversity study. “If a worm attacks the crop, it’s easy for it to spread. But if you have a different crop close by, you can defend against some of those pests.” The crop study, published in the journal PLOS One, examined crop diversity from 1978 to 2012 and was a joint collaboration between Kansas State University, North Dakota State University, and the United States Department of Agriculture.

Smithsonian Innovation Festival: 10 projects Changing Humanity's Future

09/28/15 Yahoo!
The Smithsonian National Museum of American History and the US Patent and Trademark Office held the 2015 Innovation Festival in Washington, DC on September 26-27, with the idea that the first step toward innovation might just be hearing from those currently doing it. The event returned for the second year to the Innovation Wing of the National Museum of American History and showcased interviews and presentations from organizations, companies, and universities involved with a variety of projects from sustainability to assisting the physically challenged to retail to healthcare. The Innovation Festival even featured some teen inventors who are turning their attention to weighty problems. Here are ten projects from the festival with potentially big implications for the future.

1. PepGel
Kansas State University presented PepGel, a hydrogel that can go quickly from liquid to gel based on pressure exerted on it. The gel is made of proteins and can be injected into the body safely, as proteins will just be broken down for energy. Uses include cell therapy, sustained release, vaccine development, 3D cell culture, and as "scaffolds or artificial extracellular matrix for tissue engineering and healing wounds," according to the PepGel site.

@IDSA #IDSAMedical15 to Explore Latest in Medical Design

09/22/15 Yahoo! Finance
The premier medical design event—the IDSA Medical Design Conference—takes over the state-of-the-art Center for Advanced Medical Learning and Simulation (CAMLS) in Tampa, FL from Oct. 21-22, 2015. ... Some of the biggest names in medical design and related fields are set for The Usability Ecosystem 2.0 ... [including] Dustin Headley, Kansas State University.

Are Calm Cattle Worth More to Producers?

09/27/15 Bloomberg
In addition to the obvious correlation of safety and temperament, a number of research institutions have discovered actual benefits of calm temperament on cattle performance. Kansas State University studied temperament in feedlot cattle by taking scores based on cattle behavior in the chute and the speed at which they left the chute. Their findings established that more excitable cattle had lower final body weight and average daily gain. Hot carcass weight, yield grade, quality grade and marbling scores were also lower in cattle that had increased levels of excitement. These findings parallel other institutions that have conducted temperament research in cattle.

From Our Peers

ISU Research Farm Now in 40th Year of Working With Area Producers

09/22/15 Bloomberg
Iowa State University's Northeast Research and Demonstration Farm now is in its 40th year of operation on 260 acres near Nashua, and every year, it brings new ideas, as well as crops, organizers say. "It's busier these days," said Ken Pecinovsky, the facility's superintendent for the last 20 years. "We've got more issue snow than we had 20 years ago — we didn't have aphids 20 years ago, we didn't have foliar diseases 20 years ago. Pecinovsky oversees as many as 60 to 70 research plots each year, as he and colleagues look at new ways to produce better corn and soybean crops, study soil fertility and management and monitor water quality.

Engineering Researcher Alper Bozkurt Named to Popular Science's ‘Brilliant 10'
09/23/15 Bloomberg
Alper Bozkurt, an assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering at North Carolina State University, has been named one of Popular Science's "Brilliant 10" for his work establishing the foundations of the "internet of bionic things" in areas ranging from human-animal communication to insect biobots to human health monitoring devices.
Stillwater Event to Welcome Unmanned Aerial Systems

09/24/15 Bloomberg
At last year's Stillwater forum on unmanned aerial systems, Oklahoma State University's startup incubator, Cowboy Technologies, demonstrated an unmanned aerial vehicle prototype. As the protected spherical device soared over the heads of those attending the first-ever WBT Open Innovation Forum on Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS), viewers watched the design provide safe, protected flight and the ability to land, roll and return to flight ”” perfect for the needs of industrial facility inspections, first responders and others. Now, the second annual forum is planned for Sept. 28-29, again in Stillwater's Wes Watkins Center and again with an unmanned aerial demonstration. Only this time, the commercially available product dubbed ATLAS™ will be flown, productized and marketed through Cowboy Technologies' spinout company, Unmanned Cowboys.

Land-Grant Institutions Work Across State Lines to Increase Fruit Tree Production

09/24/15 Yahoo! Finance
Nearly 30 land-grant institutions, representative of the Western, North Central, Southern, and Northeastern regions, are working together to increase the productivity of temperate-zone fruit trees by developing better rootstocks. Rootstocks (a plant's root system or other part of a plant where new growth stems from) are integral components of a high-density orchard because they control final canopy size, and a smaller tree canopy means more trees per acre. However, rootstocks that are currently available have many weaknesses that make them susceptible to pests and diseases and unsuitable for certain soils and climates. That's why researchers from Multistate Research Project NC-140 – Improving Sustainability in Fruit Tree Production through Changes in Rootstock Use – are researching and sharing information about sustainable, higher-yielding, easier to manage rootstocks.  

Space Twins: Genetic Science Meets Space Travel on One-Year Mission

09/22/15 Yahoo!
It has never been difficult to see that spaceflight takes a toll on the human body: Muscles atrophy in the absence of gravity and astronauts come home barely able to walk; eye damage is well documented in astronauts, as is bone loss. In many cases, the root causes of these effects aren't understood, and there's a chance the answers could be found at the genetic level.

Susan M. Bailey is a professor of radiological health sciences at Colorado State University and has spent years studying the health effects of space radiation on astronauts. When the one-year mission was announced, Bailey proposed an experiment to study the Kelly twins' telomeres — a bit of material at the end of each strand of DNA that protects the chromosome.

New Funding Opportunities

The Funding Connection

The Funding Connection is a weekly publication of Research & Sponsored Programs. For more information about individual programs and for applications, please e-mail research@k-state.edu or call 785 532-6195.

Highlight from this week's Funding Connection: 
The Environmental Protection Agency is soliciting proposals for projects that will advance EPA’s water quality and environmental justice goals. Specifically, the agency seeks projects that address urban runoff pollution through diverse partnerships that produce multiple community benefits, with emphasis on underserved communities.
Check out this week's new funding opportunities. 

RSCAD Trending Topics

OMB Tells Agencies to Get Shutdown Plans Ready

The Office of Management and Budget is working with federal agencies to “plan for the possibility” of a government shutdown, with less than one week until the end of the fiscal year. “At this time, prudent management requires that the government plan for the possibility of a lapse, and OMB is working with agencies to take appropriate action,” OMB said in a statement Sept. 22. “This includes agencies reviewing relevant legal requirements and updating their plans for executing an orderly shutdown.  Determinations about specific programs are being actively reviewed as agencies undertake this process.”

Scientists’ Photographic Evidence of Liquid Water on Mars (slideshow)
Research On Fetal Tissue Draws Renewed Political, Scientific Scrutiny

Research involving fetal tissue has come under renewed public scrutiny recently because of a series of videos involving the Planned Parenthood Federation of America. The president of the organization, Cecile Richards, is slated to testify before a House committee Tuesday, even as some members of Congress try to cut off funding for Planned Parenthood, and some states try to restrict research involving fetal tissue.

The Journal That Couldn't Stop Citing Itself

The Journal of Criminal Justice has been on a roll. Once considered a somewhat middling publication — not in the same league as top journals like Criminology and Justice Quarterly — it is now ranked No. 1 in the field according to its impact factor, which measures the average number of citations a journal receives and is meant to indicate which titles are generating the most buzz.

Earning a Doctorate on the ‘Night at the Museum’ Campus

The school was authorized by the state’s Board of Regents in 2006, admitted its first students in 2008 and has awarded 12 doctorates. Mr. Carvalho and three other candidates will bring the total to 16. The school will also confer master’s degrees as the culmination of 15 months of study and training aimed at preparing teachers — or prospective teachers who are changing careers — to teach middle and high school earth science. That program originated with a state initiative to strengthen science teaching.
“This has profound implications for work force preparedness,” said Ellen V. Futter, the president of the museum (and the former president of Barnard College). “For all the unemployment we’ve experienced post-’08, there are many, many jobs that remain unfilled because we don’t have a sufficiently skilled and educated labor force. Not that everybody has to be a scientist or will be — it’s not for experts only — but there is a basic level of scientific appreciation and understanding that will create greater opportunity and lead to a stronger citizenry in a democratic society.”

Powering Agriculture: An Energy Grand Challenge for Development (PAEGC) 2015 Innovators Announced

The Founding Partners of the Powering Agriculture: An Energy Grand Challenge for Development are pleased to announce the 13 innovators that will collectively receive nearly $13 million in funding under the PAEGC Second Global Call for Innovations. The award agreements for 2015 innovators are still under negotiation with USAID as the administrator of the awards. This dynamic and innovative group of organizations are helping to accelerate the development and deployment of clean energy solutions that will enhance agricultural yields/productivity, decrease post-harvest loss, improve farmer and agribusiness income generating opportunities and revenues, and/or increase energy efficiency and associated savings within the operations of farms and agribusinesses all while stimulating low carbon economic growth within the agriculture sector of developing countries.