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

November 19, 2015

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

K-State in the News

Study: Over-Tapping of High Plains Aquifer Peaked in 2006

11/16/15 Houston Chronicle
Over-pumping of the High Plains Aquifer beyond its recharge rate peaked overall in 2006, while aquifer's rate of depletion in the portion underlying Kansas reached its high point in 2010, a study released Monday shows. The Kansas State University study also projected the aquifer's use would decrease by about half over the next 100 years.

Rounding Up The Last Of A Deadly Cattle Virus

11/12/15 NPR
There are only two diseases that humans have wiped from the face of the earth. One is smallpox. The other one, you may not have heard of. It's a cattle disease called rinderpest. Even the name sounds scary. It's German for "cattle plague." It was once one of the most fearsome diseases on the planet. In Europe, centuries ago, "it was feared as much as the Black Death," says Keith Hamilton, executive director of international programs at Kansas State University's College of Veterinary Medicine. That's because when cattle herds died, people lost meat, milk and the animal power they needed to plow their fields.

Four Kansas Researchers Honored with Higuchi Awards

11/10/15 Lawrence Journal-World
Four faculty members from two universities in Kansas were honored Tuesday with what Kansas University describes as the state’s most prestigious recognition for scholarly excellence: the Higuchi-KU Endowment Research Achievement Awards. ... The awards recognize exceptional long-term research accomplishments of faculty at Kansas Board of Regents universities, according to a news release from KU. Each award includes a citation and $10,000 for ongoing research efforts. 

This year's recipients were Michael Wehmeyer, Ross and Marianna Beach Professor of Special Education, KU; Paulette Spencer, Deane E. Ackers Distinguished Professor of Mechanical Engineering, KU; David Nualart, Black-Babcock Distinguished Professor of Mathematics, KU; and Stephen Welch, professor of agronomy, Kansas State University.

Kansas State University Swine Researchers Say Feeding Amino Acids Cuts Costs, Benefits Environment

11/10/15 Farms.com
In human nutrition, amino acids are considered the good guys. As the building blocks for protein, they are a key ingredient in improving muscle. Similarly, Kansas State University researchers have been learning more about how adding amino acids to swine feed helps improve animal muscle safely while reducing producer's costs and a farm's environmental impact. "It's an area that people have worked on for a lot of years and we are continuing to refine the use of amino acids in swine feed through our research program," said Mike Tokach, Kansas State University distinguished professor of animal sciences and industry.

$4.2 Million NSF Grant Helps Biologist Gather Large-Scale River Measurements

11/11/15 EurekAlert!
A Kansas State University researcher is creating a better biological picture of river systems across North America and Asia. Walter Dodds, university distinguished professor of biology, is part of a collaborative five-year, $4.2 million National Science Foundation project to better understand how climate change affects river systems. The research team — which includes more than 11 researchers from more than nine institutions — wants to study how changes in precipitation and temperature as well as human activities influence river systems in the U.S. and Mongolia.

From Our Peers

Researchers Find Way to Make Metals Stronger Without Sacrificing Ductility

11/10/15 Bloomberg
Researchers at North Carolina State University and the Chinese Academy of Sciences have developed a technique to make titanium stronger without sacrificing any of the metal's ductility — a combination that no one has achieved before. The researchers believe the technique could also be used for other metals, and the advance has potential applications for creating more energy-efficient vehicles.

Researchers Detail How To Control Shape, Structure of DNA and RNA

11/11/15 Bloomberg
Researchers at North Carolina State University have used computational modelling to shed light on precisely how charged gold nanoparticles influence the structure of DNA and RNA — which may lead to new techniques for manipulating these genetic materials.

The Downside of Being the Favorite Child

11/10/15 Yahoo! Parenting
Most siblings suspect that their mom has a favorite kid — and they’re right that she probably has one. But if you don’t happen to be the golden child, know that the position isn’t as enviable as you might think — at least according to new research showing that children who believe they are emotionally closest to their moms had more depressive symptoms as adults than their siblings. Although favorite children benefit from having close-knit, supportive relationship with their mothers, Purdue University researchers theorize that it can come with a price: serious sibling rivalry. ... The study involved 725 adult children from 309 families who were a part of the Within-Family Differences Study — a longterm research project on the relationship between parents and their adult children. Suitor has been working on it for 17 years with collaborators Megan Gilligan, assistant professor of human development at Iowa State University, and Karl Pillemer, professor of human development at Cornell University. At the start of the study in 2001, the mothers were between 65 and 75 years old. The researchers gathered data on children’s perceptions of favoritism every seven years to see the longterm effects.

Changing Habits to Improve Health: New Study Indicates Behavior Changes Work

11/10/15 Science Daily
Improving your heart health may be as simple as making small behavioral changes — a new study of behavioral health interventions suggests that they are effective at helping people alter their lifestyles and lead to physical changes that could improve overall health. The findings also indicate a shift is needed in the way such interventions are evaluated by researchers and used by health care providers, said Veronica Irvin of Oregon State University, a co-author of the study just published in the Annals of Behavioral Medicine.

Made to Order: Researchers Discover a New Form of Crystalline Matter

11/11/15 Science Daily
Dust is everywhere: under the bed, on the stairs and even inside of plasmas. A team of researchers from Auburn University, the University of Iowa and the University of California, San Diego, using the new Magnetized Dusty Plasma Experiment (MDPX), the first U.S. experiment of its kind, recently discovered a new form of crystalline-like matter in strongly magnetized dusty plasma.

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 National Science Foundation's BIGDATA Program seeks novel approaches in computer science, statistics, computational science, and mathematics, along with innovative applications in domain science, including social and behavioral sciences, geosciences, education, biology, the physical sciences, and engineering that lead towards the further development of the interdisciplinary field of data science.

RSCAD Trending Topics

Theoretical computer scientists are normally a fairly sedate bunch, but are humming with excitement after a potential breakthrough in a long-standing problem called graph isomorphism. The result could provide a deeper understanding of the nature of computing and “might be the theoretical computer science result of the decade”, according to Scott Aaronson of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Urban Food Systems Symposium Call for Abstracts

The scientific committee for the 2016 Urban Food Systems Symposium invites you to submit an abstract for consideration as an oral or poster presentation. The symposium will be held June 22-25, 2016 at the Kansas State University Olathe Campus, located within the Kansas City metropolitan region. For more information about the schedule, see the schedule-at-a-glance.

National Science Foundation Just-in-Time Budget Pilot

In FY16, the DMS Infrastructure Program is participating in a pilot program that employs a streamlined initial budget process for proposals. The intent of this pilot is to allow NSF program staff and reviewers to focus on the science and to reduce the investigators’ administrative workload by requiring only a basic justification of the resources necessary to complete the project. If a proposal is recommended for award, NSF staff will request full budgets and budget justifications and will proceed as normally with the recommendation process.

Peace Corps: Grant Competition Readers/Reviewers/Moderators Sought

The mission of the Office of Migrant Education (OME) is to provide excellent leadership, technical assistance, and financial support to improve the educational opportunities and academic success of migrant children, youth, agricultural workers, fishers, and their families. The OME administers two competitive grant programs that provide academic and supportive services to the children of families who migrate to find work in the agricultural and fishing industries.

The Gene Hackers

With CRISPR, scientists can change, delete, and replace genes in any animal, including us. Working mostly with mice, researchers have already deployed the tool to correct the genetic errors responsible for sickle-cell anemia, muscular dystrophy, and the fundamental defect associated with cystic fibrosis. One group has replaced a mutation that causes cataracts; another has destroyed receptors that H.I.V. uses to infiltrate our immune system.