1. K-State home
  2. »Research
  3. »Faculty Resources
  4. »News
  5. »2015
  6. »December 17, 2015


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

December 17, 2015

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

Announcements from the Office of the Vice President for Research

  • Last week we announced first-quarter fiscal year (FY) 2016 award results. A full report for FY 2015 and monthly reports through November 2015 are now available. Please contact Paul Lowe at plowe@ksu.edu or 2-6804 if you have questions.
  • Save the dates!
    • K-State will offer a Regional National Endowment for the Humanities Application-Writing WorkshopMarch 9, 2016. Registration and details will be available in early 2016.
    • The K-State Research Showcase is slated for March 22, 2016 from 3 to 5 p.m. at the K-State Student Union with a reception to follow at the KSU Foundation Office Park. The event will identify and promote campus expertise, focus areas, and resources; facilitate strategic relationships and opportunities between K-State researchers and industry partners; and explore opportunities to collaborate on transformative RSCAD, innovations, and technology. 
  • Read letters to campus from Mary Rezac, Interim Associate Vice President for Research, and Karen Burg, outgoing Vice President for Research, about the Research Support Task Force and K-State's recent RSCAD progress.   

K-State in the News

PRRS-Resistant Pigs

12/09/15 Politico, 12/9/15 Chad Moyer's KTIC Agriculture Information, 12/14/15 ars technica, 12/8/15 Science Daily and EurekAlert! 
From Politico: Researchers at the University of Missouri, Kansas State University and Genus PLC say they have bred pigs that are not harmed by the incurable disease Porcine Reproductive and Respiratory Syndrome, which costs North American farmers about $650 million each year.

Role of Gut Bacteria in Cockroach Gathering

12/08/15 Bloomberg, 12/10/15 Science Daily and EurekAlert!
From Science Daily: New research from a team including Kansas State University's Ludek Zurek, professor of entomology, is helping explain how German cockroaches, a particularly nasty species, know to gather in a certain area. Their communication system is mediated, at least in part, by the presence of certain gut microbes.

Kansas Sorghum Growers Concerned About New Invasive Pest

12/09/15 SF Gate
Farmers are concerned that bug that is new to Kansas may be capable of harming sorghum crops and interfering with farm equipment in Saline County. A meeting was called in the city of Mentor Tuesday to discuss what are known as sugarcane aphids. Jeff Whitworth, a crop production entomologist at Kansas State University, says the aphids are an invasive species that reproduce rapidly and produce a sticky substance called "honeydew."

'Super' Weeds: War Hits Home for Farmers in Kansas as Herbicide Resistance Grows

12/13/15 Hutchinson News
Curtis Thompson, a weed scientist with Kansas State University Research and Extension, said resistance is increasing rapidly across Kansas. Roundup-resistant palmer amaranth was first identified in Kansas in 2011. Water hemp and kochia were found in 2006 and 2007, respectively. The past few years, however, herbicide-resistant weeds have exploded in Kansas, prompting additional research and study.

Not All Healthy Ingredient Switches Will Work With Christmas Cookies

12/09/15 Connecticut Post
Sandy Procter, a nutrition specialist for K-State Research and Extension and a registered dietitian, said while cooking is often considered an art, which means people can “ebb and flow” with measuring to get the taste just right, baking is a science that takes careful measurement and awareness of ingredients to come up with the perfect cookie, cake or other baked product. Still, substitutions in baking recipes are possible to add fiber to the product, for example, or to make a product contain less fat and calories. A simple way to add fiber is to take out half of the all-purpose flour for which a recipe calls, and replace it with whole-wheat flour, said Karen Blakeslee, a K-State Research and Extension food scientist.

From Our Peers

How Sedentary Americans Spend Their Time

12/12/15 MSN.com
When it comes to living a sedentary lifestyle, that means there is little to no physical activity over the course of a person's day. In 2014, 83 million people in the United States lived a more sedentary lifestyle than ever before. With all these people neglecting to get adequate amounts of physical activity, what are they spending their time doing instead? A new study from Iowa State University aimed to find out. 

How El Niño Made the Pacific a Hurricane Hotbed in 2015

12/11/15 Yahoo!
"The 2015 season broke pretty much every prior record for that portion of the Northeast Pacific basin," Phil Klotzbach, a research meteorologist at Colorado State University, said in a statement. "That portion of the basin had record-warm sea-surface temperatures and record-low vertical wind shear [changes in wind speed or direction across a short distance], a prime combination for hurricane intensification and maintenance."

Materials Developed for Tissue Engineering, Vaccines

12/8/15 Science Daily
"There's a lot of potential," said [Surya] Mallapragada, Iowa State University's inaugural Carol Vohs Johnson Chair ("Carol's Chair") in Chemical and Biological Engineering, a professor of materials science and engineering and an associate of the U.S. Department of Energy's Ames Laboratory. "There's a lot of value these materials can add, but the interactions of these materials with biology aren't well understood. I think we're doing a better job of gaining that understanding."

Nanotech Drug Delivery Shows Promise for Improved Melanoma Treatment

12/10/15 Science Daily
The new technology takes advantage of nanoparticles that can migrate to, and increase the effectiveness of an attack on cancer cells in the body's lymph nodes. This can also reduce the development of drug resistance and the broader toxicity often associated with this type of chemotherapy. The findings were made with laboratory animals, and just published in the Journal of Controlled Release by researchers from the College of Pharmacy at Oregon State University. The work was supported by an OSU startup fund, and a provisional patent has been granted for this technology.

Parents Have More Influence Than They Might Realize to Prevent Substance Use

12/10/15 Science Daily
Adolescence is a time when many children may consider experimenting with alcohol or drugs. New research shows parents can reduce that risk by maintaining a healthy and open relationship with their children. Thomas Schofield, lead author of the study and an assistant professor of human development and family studies at Iowa State University, says adolescents are more likely to drink or use drugs if they hang out with deviant friends or if they actively seek out peers to facilitate substance use. Parents who know what's going on with their children and their friends can minimize the impact of both pathways, according to the study published in the journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence. "Parents don't even have to be 'super parents,'" Schofield said. "As long as they're at the 71st percentile, or getting a C- in parenting, both of these dangerous pathways to drug abuse go away."

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 Robert Wood Johnson Foundation seeks proposals for studies that identify system innovations aimed at improving the reach, quality, efficiency, and equity of health services, particularly as they relate to driving collaboration and integration among the healthcare and other systems (e.g., transportation, education, urban design).

RSCAD Trending Topics

NEH Announces $3.6 Million for “Humanities in the Public Square”

WASHINGTON (December 15, 2015) — The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) today announced $3.6 million in grants for 21 community-based projects that will put humanities scholars in direct dialogue with the public on some of the most pressing issues of the day—through public forums, community programs, and development of educational resources. These are the first awards made under NEH’s new Humanities in the Public Square grant program, which was created in April 2015 as part of The Common Good: The Humanities in the Public Square, an agency-wide initiative that seeks to demonstrate and enhance the role and significance of the humanities and humanities scholarship in public life.

How Staff Scientists, Long Invisible, Could Save Biomedicine

These vaguely understood jobs, which already serve as the invisible glue of the research university, are poised to become more central. Leaders of the scientific community are seeking to elevate the role of university staff scientists. Improving these jobs, they say, could be one solution to reducing the glut of graduate students and postdocs flooding biomedicine and other sciences. Many of these postdocs serve as staff scientists in all but name — and without benefits. And just like their peers in the humanities, scientists are grappling with the limits of growth.

In this research strategic plan for Fiscal Years 2016-2020, prepared at the request of Congress, we share a framework that places NIH’s enduring mission in the context of tomorrow’s challenges and opportunities. Working with our many partners in the public and private sectors, NIH will use this framework as we strive to turn scientific discoveries into better health, while upholding our responsibility to be wise stewards of the resources provided to us by the American people. 

Human Science

Science has become much more collaborative and interdisciplinary in recent decades. With that has come some research about what makes a successful interdisciplinary team. But so far, what little research there is on the topic has largely ignored the more human elements of group science across disciplinary lines (although some have called for more such research). A new paper proposes a framework for thinking about how scholars from different backgrounds collaborate and argues that the psychological aspects of that work merit attention. 

They Helped Erase Ebola in Liberia. Now Liberia Is Erasing Them.

It has been more than a year since this deeply religious country embraced one of its biggest taboos — cremating bodies — to rein in a rampaging Ebola pandemic. In that time, the majority of Liberians have started to move on. But such is not the case for some 30 young men who were called upon during the height of the crisis last year. As bodies were piling up in the streets and global health officials were warning that the country’s ages-old traditions for funerals and burials were spreading the disease, these men did what few Liberians had done before: set fire to the dead. And for four months they did so repeatedly, burning close to 2,000 bodies.

‘Novel, Amazing, Innovative’: Positive Words on the Rise in Science Papers

Researchers at the University Medical Center Utrecht in the Netherlands say that the frequency of positive-sounding words such as ‘novel’, ‘amazing’, ‘innovative’ and ‘unprecedented’ has increased almost nine-fold in the titles and abstracts of papers published between 1974 and 2014. There has also been a smaller — yet still statistically significant — rise in the frequency of negative words, such as ‘disappointing’ and ‘pessimistic’.