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Research

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

February 18, 2016

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

Announcements from the Office of the Vice President for Research

Notes From the Desk of the iVPR

I hope you will take a moment to read through the next few items that may be of interest for many of you. In particular, the Working With Industry (we will not use “WWI" shorthand for obvious reasons) workshops offer tailored, short training sessions to help you identify, package, and prepare to engage industry partners with your discoveries. Avoiding certain pitfalls and setting expectations are critical to success. Related to this is our industry-focused Research Showcase coming up later in March.

One of the keys to getting attention from industry is being prepared to give your “elevator speech” about your work. It is also an important skill for graduate students to be able to share their complex thesis topics with the general public. The recent 3-Minute Thesis competition is featured below.

Also coming in March, we are hosting a representative from the National Endowment for the Humanities who will be here to present on how to best prepare your proposal for a successful NEH application. Spaces for the workshop are limited, so please register as soon as possible to ensure your place at the table (it is FREE to attend). 

Finally, a special RSCAD shout-out to Prof. Bryan Pinkall for his Grammy Award announced several days ago. RSCAD takes on many shades and many forms. K-State benefits from having very talented faculty, working with exceptional staff and students, who bring recognition to our great university. That’s music to my ears. Go Cats!

— Peter
Working With Industry

Customized workshops for corporate engagement are now available. Order from our Working With Industry Menu! Read more about the workshops.  

Three-Minute Thesis

Congratulations to the winners of K-State's first 3-Minute Thesis competition! 

Registration Reminder

Register soon for the March 9 NEH Regional Application-Writing Workshop. Check the ORSP Events page  for more opportunities, including an information session for the Faculty Development Award/University Small Research Grant program and a grant-writing workshop for graduate students and postdocs. 

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 John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation provides fellowships for advanced professionals in all fields, including the natural sciences, social sciences, humanities, and creative arts (except the performing arts). The program seeks to further the development of scholars and artists by helping them engage in research in any field of knowledge or artistic creation in any of the arts, under the freest possible conditions.

K-State in the News

Water Management a Global Opportunity

2/09/16 Bloomberg and Yahoo! Finance
The Ogallala Aquifer is a name for thousands of smaller aquifers that stretch from South Dakota into Texas, reaching into Wyoming, Nebraska, Colorado, Kansas, New Mexico and Oklahoma. In a 2013 study published by Kansas State University, it was estimated that, between 1960 and 2010, nearly 30 percent of the total volume of the Ogallala Aquifer had been depleted. If the use of water continues at a similar rate, the projection is that, by 2060, nearly 70 percent of the aquifer's total available water will be tapped.

For Richer, For Poorer, and for Personal Finance

2/012/16 BloombergYahoo! Finance, and Forbes
The idea that opposites attract might make for great wedding toasts and tales. But when it comes to money management, newlyweds who share the same approach to money are less likely to see their marriages end in divorce. In fact, research done in 2012 at Kansas State University revealed that arguments about money regardless of couples' income, debts or net worth is the most significant predictor of divorce.

Genetics Help Fish Thrive in Toxic Environments, Collaborative Study Finds

2/10/16 Science Daily and EurekAlert!
They live in caves and springs throughout Mexico and thrive in water so toxic that most forms of life die within minutes. Meet the Atlantic molly — an extremophile fish that lives in toxic water full of hydrogen sulfide from natural oil deposits and volcanic activity environments. A 10-year collaborative project led by biologists from Kansas State University and Washington State University has discovered how the fish can survive.

K-State Olathe Researchers Utilize Emojis to Study Feelings About Food

2/15/16 Topeka Capital-Journal
At face value, emojis — the icons used in text messaging — may seem like a trivial or silly way to express oneself. But sensory analysis researchers at Kansas State University Olathe are conducting studies to see if emojis can help kids articulate feelings about food, in hopes of finding a way to reduce school lunch waste.

Kansas State University Researchers Staying Ahead of Wheat Blast Disease

2/11/16 EurekAlert!
In the past seven years, the U.S. Department of Agriculture has awarded Kansas State University $6.5 million to keep a wheat fungus that has had a devastating impact on wheat production in South America out of the United States. So far, mission accomplished.

Food Availability a Problem in Smaller Urban Cities, a Kansas State University Study Finds

2/12/16 EurekAlert!
Average neighborhood income may play a role in creating food deserts in cities of all sizes, according to a Kansas State University study.

From Our Peers

Women Write Better Code, Study Suggests

2/12/16 MSN.com
Computer code written by women has a higher approval rating than that written by men — but only if their gender is not identifiable, new research suggests. ... The researchers, from the computer science departments at Cal Poly and North Carolina State University, looked at around four million people who logged on to Github on a single day — 1 April 2015.

New Imaging Technique Shows How DNA is Protected at Chromosomes' Ends

2/11/16 Bloomberg
A new imaging technique has allowed researchers at North Carolina State University, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and the University of Pittsburgh to see how DNA loops around a protein that aids in the formation of a special structure in telomeres. The work provides new insights into the structure of telomeres and how they are maintained.

3-D Metal Printing Eliminates 'Can't'

2/15/16 USA Today 
Deep in the basement of an engineering building at Iowa State University, a tiny laser pings back and forth from the guts of a gargantuan 3-D printer, striking a thin layer of metal dust on a metal plate at precisely the right spots. Within seconds, the outline of a pair of scissors begins to emerge as the laser continues its path back and forth hundreds and hundreds of times, melding the thin layers of dust brushed over the plate with an automated roller. Hours later, a perfectly formed pair of scissors is ready for snipping. And scissors are one of the least interesting things created by this 3-D metal printer, which, experts say, is limited only by the imagination of its operator.

Why Your Brain Actually Works Better in Winter

2/14/16 AOL
A pair of new studies challenge many of the popular assumptions about the psychological effects of wintertime, suggesting that we should look at the season in a new, brighter light. The weather might be gray and chilly, but the latest science says we humans are better at dealing with this than we usually give ourselves credit for, both in terms of our mood and the basic functioning of our brains. The first study is a massive investigation published recently in Clinical Psychological Science involving 34,294 U.S. adults. It casts doubt on the very notion that depression symptoms are worse in the winter months. The researchers, led by Professor Steven LoBello at Auburn University at Montgomery, asked their participants to complete a questionnaire about their depression symptoms over the previous two weeks. Crucially, the participants all completed the survey at different times of the year, allowing the researchers to look for any seasonal patterns.

New Promise for Diabetics With Vitamin D Deficiency

2/09/16 Science Daily
A simple change in diet could boost vitamin D levels for millions of Americans suffering from Type 2 diabetes, according to new research from Iowa State University published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.

Engineers Develop Hybrid Technology to Create Biorenewable Nylon

2/09/16 Science Daily
Engineers at Iowa State University have found a way to combine a genetically engineered strain of yeast and an electrocatalyst to efficiently convert sugar into a new type of nylon.

RSCAD Trending Topics

Gravitational Waves Detected, Confirming Einstein’s Theory

A team of scientists announced on Thursday that they had heard and recorded the sound of two black holes colliding a billion light-years away, a fleeting chirp that fulfilled the last prediction of Einstein’s general theory of relativity.

From the Discovery of the Century, a Journal Gets More Than 15 Minutes of Fame (and a 404)

The study arrived on the desk of Robert J. Garisto, an editor of the journal Physical Review Letters, on the evening of January 21. What he read gave him goose bumps. The study — "Observation of Gravitational Waves From a Binary Black Hole Merger" — went out for peer review late that same night. Fast forward three weeks to Thursday, when worldwide interest in the study crashed the journal’s website, at one point attracting 10,000 hits per minute. In Mr. Garisto’s telling, the journal, founded in 1958, is "of physicists, by physicists, for physicists." But on Thursday, it had the attention of the masses.

Is There Really a War on Science?

For several years now the popular media has run headlines about “a war on science.” Reporters note that federal funding for research is down, campaigns to undermine climate science attract hundreds of millions of dollars and politicians routinely reject findings that are uniformly accepted by scientists. But a panel of scholars last weekend argued for the most part against calling these aversive movements a war, with two historians even scolding scientists who embrace the idea as out of touch with public concerns. Certainly, opponents of genetically modified crops, vaccinations that are required for children and climate science have become louder and more organized in recent times. But opponents typically live in separate camps and protest single issues, not science as a whole, said science historian and philosopher Roberta Millstein of the University of California, Davis. She spoke at a standing-room only panel session at the American Association for the Advancement of Science’s annual meeting, held in Washington, D.C. All the speakers advocated for a scientifically informed citizenry and public policy, and most discouraged broadly applied battle-themed rhetoric.

Building a Bridge Between Engineering and the Humanities

We know that engineering and the humanities differ not just in subject matter but in the very kinds of thinking they encourage. So the question is not just what information from each domain might be useful to the other, but also what each could learn by imagining the world in a whole new way.

Wake Forest University Scientists Print Living Body Parts

A team at Wake Forest University has used a combination of living cells and a special gel to print out living human body parts — including ears, muscles and jawbones. It's an advance on previous attempts, which either involved making a plastic scaffold and then trying to get cells to grow in and on it, or that printed out organ shapes that ended up being too floppy and dying.

How Cat Hair Brought Down a Pair of Art Forgers

Investigations into the artist responsible for more modern works often have a specific goal: To figure out if the work in question is a forgery. Bonnie Magness-Gardine manages the Art Theft Program at the Federal Bureau of Investigation in Washington, D.C. For many years, she and other investigators had seen innumerable forgeries of the work of Clementine Hunter, a self-taught and incredibly prolific African-American painter from Louisiana. Many people tried to copy her distinctive folk-art style, but only two regularly succeeded: William Toye and his wife Beryl Ann Toye, a couple from New Orleans. They were so good at imitating Hunter’s style that “they got away with this for years,” Magness-Gardine says.

Snail's Pace: Nature Readers on Their Longest Wait to Get Published

A poll answered by more than 3,600 Nature readers suggests that some 10% have waited at least 3 years for one or more of their papers to be published in a journal. But more than one-third have never waited longer than a year. The online poll accompanied a feature article on scientists' frustrations with the time it takes to publish papers.

Benefits of Sharing

Conventional scientific publishing, based on rounds of peer review, can be too slow to rapidly disseminate research findings during a public-health emergency. One solution is the immediate release of data to public databases and subsequent publication of peer-reviewed analysis. As we have said before, prior release of data and analysis to public databases, preprint servers and forums will not jeopardize consideration of a submission to Nature journals. And Nature journals will make all papers relating to Zika virus free to access until further notice.