Research, Scholarly and Creative Activities, and Discovery (RSCAD) News
March 10, 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
Coming Soon: Research ShowcaseAll faculty and staff are invited to attend the K-State Research Showcase March 22 from 3:00 to 5:00 p.m. in the K-State Union Ballroom. A reception will follow from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. at the KSU Foundation Office Park.
Spring BreakRSCAD Momentum will take a break next week but will return on March 24. Keep the good RSCAD news coming!
New Funding Opportunities
The Funding Connection is a weekly publication of Research & Sponsored Programs. For more information about individual programs and for applications, please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call 785 532-6195.
Highlight from this week's Funding Connection: The National Science Foundation (NSF) seeks EArly-Concept Grants for Exploratory Research (EAGER) proposals that address key challenges in cellular biomanufacturing science and engineering, with the intended use of the final cell product in cellular therapies. Of particular interest are innovations that integrate disciplines such as immunology, cell biology, and engineering. Projects should have strong engineering and biological elements, integrating and advancing both disciplines. Academic–industry collaborations are encouraged.
K-State in the News
Grin and Rate It: Research Uses Emojis For School Lunches3/06/16 Yahoo!, 3/06/16 Daily Mail, 3/06/16 Houston Chronicle
Most school lunch programs in the U.S. already do taste tests, but their efforts pale in comparison to the scope of the research project at the Sensory and Consumer Research Center at Kansas State University Olathe, which is developing a scientific methodology to measure children's face-emoji responses to food. So far, kids in Kansas and Ghana have been the guinea pigs.
“You’re going to have to deal with them your whole life,” says Jeff Whitworth, an extension specialist in entomology and associate professor of entomology at Kansas State University. “You can reduce the flow of pests into your house, but you’re not going to be able to keep them out entirely,” he adds.
"The concern we have is what may happen down the road," said Dennis Patton, a horticulturalist for K-State Research and Extension in Olathe. “Let’s say we stay warm a while and then get a cold snap — temperatures in the low 20s. All that succulent growth is going to be killed back.”
Expansion of Lone Star Ticks in Kansas3/01/16 Science Daily, 3/01/16 EurekAlert!
Researchers in the College of Veterinary Medicine at Kansas State University have validated a model showing growth in Kansas for the habitat of the troublesome lone star tick. Previously thought only to live in the eastern third of the state, computational modeling and live specimens have revealed the existence of these ticks as far west as Colby, which is only 55 miles from the Colorado state line.
The Secret to 3-D Graphene? Just Freeze It3/03/16 Science Daily, 3/03/16 EurekAlert!
A research team -- composed of engineers from the University at Buffalo, Kansas State University and the Harbin Institute of Technology in China -- may have solved that problem. A study published Feb. 10 in the journal Small describes how the team used a modified 3-D printer and frozen water to create lattice-shaped cubes and a three-dimensional truss with overhangs using graphene oxide. The structures could be an important step toward making graphene commercially viable in electronics, medical diagnostic devices and other industries.
A tool being developed by the Kansas State University National Agricultural Biosecurity Center will assist agricultural emergency management coordinators in planning efforts to combat animal disease outbreaks and other emergencies.
From Our Peers
"The pressure at that depth is incredible," Haru Matsumoto, an Oregon State University ocean engineer who worked on the project, said in the statement. "We had to drop the hydrophone mooring down through the water column at no more than 5 m [16 feet] per second to be sure the hydrophone, which is made of ceramic, would survive the rapid pressure change."
"Our earlier work found that adults with mental illness are more likely to be victims of violence than perpetrators - and that is especially relevant to this new study," says Sarah Desmarais, an associate professor of psychology at North Carolina State University and co-author of a paper describing the work. "One of the new findings is that people with mental illness who have been victims of violence in the past six months are more likely to engage in future violent behavior themselves."
Anthropologist and primatologist Jill Pruetz of Iowa State University, known for her discoveries of spear hunting by chimpanzees in Senegal and a co-author of the stone-throwing paper, acknowledged to me that what counts as ritual is hotly debated, but in an email on Monday conveyed her excitement about the stone-throwing discoveries: "[It is] the accumulation of stones [that] I find to be utterly surprising and it once again demonstrates that there is so much more to learn about chimpanzees, which I always note are probably the most intensively studied wild animal! It is one of those behaviors that I don't think you could have predicted (like hunting bushbabies with 'spears' at my site!), but one that is really fascinating. Other animals cache objects, so we shouldn't find it so difficult to accept, but I think that precisely because it is chimps doing it, many people will have a hard time coming to terms with the behavior."
Led by psychology assistant professor Lucy Troup, researchers from the Colorado State University studied the effects of cannabis on human brain activities.
"We're not taking a pro or anti stance; but we just want to know, what does it do? It's really about making sense of it,"said Troup.
"Our findings clearly show that the spread of resistance is not a one-way street from animals to humans and that, as new evidence emerges, we need to shift focus ," says lead author Noelle Noyes from the Microbial Ecology Group at Colorado State University. The lack of resistance genes in post-slaughter meat samples was a big surprise for the scientists, forcing them to rethink the view that it is only antibiotic use that increases resistance.
RSCAD Trending Topics
As far as evolutionary adaptations go, the human hand — with its jointed fingers and grasping thumb — is pretty impressive. So impressive, three authors of a paper in the scientific journal PLOS One seemed to suggest, that it might be the product of divine intervention. “Hand coordination should indicate the mystery of the Creator’s invention,” they wrote. It’s rare for any kind of deity to get a shout out in a scientific journal, let alone one as well-known and widely-read as PLOS One, so the reference raised alarms in the scientific community as soon as it was pointed out online last week.
Misuse of the P value — a common test for judging the strength of scientific evidence — is contributing to the number of research findings that cannot be reproduced, the American Statistical Association (ASA) warns in a statement released today. The group has taken the unusual step of issuing principles to guide use of the P value, which it says cannot determine whether a hypothesis is true or whether results are important. This is the first time that the 177-year-old ASA has made explicit recommendations on such a foundational matter in statistics, says executive director Ron Wasserstein. The society’s members had become increasingly concerned that the P value was being misapplied in ways that cast doubt on statistics generally, he adds.
This year, the NIH will be offering two seminars: Baltimore, MD (May 11-13) and Chicago, IL (October 26-28). I am looking forward to the opportunity to kick off the 2016 NIH Regional Seminars in both locations, with the latest information on NIH funding, extramural workforce, rigor and reproducibility, NIH initiatives, and so much more. I’ll also be offering a more in-depth and candid discussion of some of these topics during my “Open Mike” sessions which will be offered during the first day of the seminar. It will be exciting to join over 50+ of my colleagues from NIH and HHS for this one-of-a-kind event.
Broad fears over reproducibility were stoked by a 2005 article in PLOS Medicine by John P.A. Ioannidis, a professor of health research and policy at Stanford University, contending that most published research findings are false. Last year a team of hundreds of researchers raised further alarm. After working over three years to faithfully repeat 100 studies that had been published in psychology journals, the team reported that it could not replicate most of the original results. Now, two new studies, published on Thursday in Science magazine, are pushing back. One, a Harvard-led critique of the project that repeated 100 psychology studies, suggests that that ambitious effort overlooked some critical factors. The other, an attempt to repeat 18 studies in leading economics journals, found that 61 percent of them replicated successfully.
Nick Sousanis has scored some wins lately. After taking an academic risk to use an alternative form for his dissertation — a comic book about visual thinking — he successfully defended it in 2014 and earned his doctorate in interdisciplinary studies from Columbia University. The dissertation was published by Harvard University Press. Several professors now assign the book. And perhaps most satisfying to Mr. Sousanis, last month he received a national award, from the Association of American Publishers, typically reserved for more-traditional academic tomes. "It’s one thing to convince a dissertation committee" of the value of an unusual approach, says Mr. Sousanis, who is now a postdoctoral researcher in comics studies at the University of Calgary. "And maybe you can convince an editor because they could see the novelty and want to sell some books. But to convince an independent body feels like people are buying into this.”
Adversaries in the legal battle over the rights to the CRISPR gene-editing technology are preparing to fire their initial shots. In two documents filed with the U.S. Patent Trial and Appeal Board last week, lawyers for the Regents of the University of California (UC) and the Broad Institute (BI) in Cambridge, Massachusetts, offered hints at how they will lay claim to the breakthrough technology and its financial spoils. And UC lawyers have made accusations of error and deception that, if true, could invalidate BI’s patents early in the proceedings.