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Research

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

October 6, 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

Q1 Results Are In!

Award reports for September and for the first quarter of fiscal year 2017 (July–September) are available on our Awards and Reports page. Faculty have submitted 596 proposals, with 446 funded for a total of $38,460,361. Last year at this time, faculty had submitted 460 proposals and obtained 382 for a total of $36,694,579. We closed the books on September with many more awards in the pipeline, so look for more good news next quarter! 

Now Showing

A video about collaboration between K-State wheat breeders and Monsanto was featured in the September issue of the University Industry Demonstration Partnership e-newsletter. Take a look. The video was also featured as one of the UIDP Project Highlights at this week's UIDP conference in Atlanta. Corporations represented at the conference included AT&T, BASF, Boeing, BP, Delta Airlines, DuPont, Facebook, IBM, Intel, John Deere, Monsanto, and Samsung. Universities included Cal Tech, Georgia State, Georgia Tech, Iowa State, MIT, Ohio State, Oregon State, Oxford, Purdue, University of Southern California, UC San Diego, and University of Virginia. The video is featured on K-State's YouTube channel and as a success story on the Office of Corporate Engagement website.

It Only Takes a Spark

Take time to celebrate undergraduate research and encourage students to attend SPARK Week events October 10-14. VPR Dorhout will host coffee and conversation on the question "Can Curiosity Save the World?” Tuesday, October 11 at 3:30 in the Union Little Theatre. Read more.  

Are You the Smartest?

Graduate Student Council is sponsoring a Battle of the Brains Trivia Night on Thursday, October 20 at 8 p.m. Is your department a winner? Read the details

New Funding Opportunities

The Funding Connection

The Funding Connection is a weekly publication of the Office 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 Department of Defense, Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) Young Faculty Award (YFA) program aims to identify and engage rising stars in junior faculty positions in academia and equivalent positions at non-profit research institutions and expose them to Department of Defense (DoD) and National Security challenges and needs. In particular, this YFA will provide high-impact funding to researchers early in their careers to develop innovative new research directions in the context of enabling transformative DoD capabilities. The long-term goal of the program is to develop the next generation of scientists and engineers in the research community with an interest in DoD and National Security issues. Topic areas include opportunities in Agriculture, Engineering, Computer Science, Mathematics, Biology, Chemistry, Biochemistry, and Social Science.

K-State in the News

Kansas City Residents Dealing With Oak Leaf Itch Mite

9/27/16 SF GATE
Kansas State University horticulturist Dennis Patton tells The Kansas City Star (http://bit.ly/2d3Kgge) that the mites have been back in full force and that the number of calls from people who've been bitten has picked up in the last several weeks. "My gut is telling me that the last few weeks, it's probably been our No. 1 call into the office," Patton said. "I would say it is probably rivaling last year's numbers. “Itch mites are associated with a wasp-like insect that forms galls on oak trees. When the insect stings the leaves, a gall forms around the insect's larvae. Hundreds of thousands of mites then feed on the larvae and exit the gall in the fall. Patton says the mites get on humans after being windblown, and most people won't know they are bitten since the mites are microscopic. Instead, Patton said people find out much later when welts appear on the body.

Common Culex Mosquitoes Don’t Transmit Zika Virus: Study

9/27/16 US News & World Report
The brown Culex mosquito doesn't appear to be able to transmit the Zika virus to people, researchers report. The researchers at Kansas State University's Biosecurity Research Institute said their findings should assist health officials in their efforts to contain the mosquito-borne Zika virus that can cause terrible birth defects. "It's very important to know that Culex mosquitoes are not able to transmit Zika," study author Dana Vanlandingham said in a university news release. "It enables people to target their control strategies so that they aren't wasting time and effort on a mosquito that isn't transmitting Zika virus," she added. Vanlandingham is an assistant professor of virology in the College of Veterinary Medicine.

Fitzwater Exhibit to Open at Kansas State Library

10/1/16 SF GATE
An exhibit about former presidential press secretary Marlin Fitzwater is opening next month at Kansas State University. The Salina Journal (http://bit.ly/2cQWzJO ) reports that Fitzwater donated his personal papers to the Richard L.D. & Marjorie J. Morse Department of Special Collections at Kansas State Libraries. A sample of that donation makes up the exhibit, with visitors able to examine correspondence, publications, photos, memorabilia and official government documents. The exhibit will remain on display through March 17.

Innovations In Agriculture Remain the Heart of Activity-Laden, Longtime 3i Show

10/1/16 Hutchinson News
More than 65 years ago, it was the latest in tractors without cabs – machines like the John Deere B and the McCormick-Deering WD 9 – that brought Kansans out to the forerunner of the state’s biggest farm show. “There are a lot of brand-new products this year,” said Eddie Estes, longtime director of the show, which is slated for Oct. 13-15. All types of agricultural equipment and services are on display each year, Estes said. That includes everything from drone technology and mapping systems to cattle-handling equipment, crop protection information, farm machinery and equipment and trucks and truck equipment. Meanwhile, said Estes, the 3i Show is teaming up with Kansas State University to present a seminar on Ag biosecurity and how to keep the food supply and livestock safe in southwest Kansas.

Advances Toward Potential Zika Virus Vaccine Development

9/29/16 Science Daily
A research team that includes scientists with Kansas State University's Biosecurity Research Institute has developed a promising Zika virus vaccine. The vaccine, a DNA vaccine, is safer and more effective against Zika virus and could offer more affordable long-term protection, researchers said. Kansas State University scientists in the College of Veterinary Medicine — including Dana Vanlandingham, assistant professor of virology, and Yan-Jang Huang, postdoctoral fellow in diagnostic medicine and pathobiology — played a critical role in the study by producing and characterizing viral stocks to determine how the DNA vaccine induced immunogenecity and protection. DNA vaccines deliver noninfectious DNA materials to stimulate the immune system to produce viral antigens.

Headed For Retirement? Think South (and South Dakota, too)

10/3/16 Insidenova.com
Orlando? Check. Tampa? Check. Scottsdale [Ariz.], Miami and Sioux Falls [S.D.]? Check, check and, hey, wait a minute ... that last one seems like an odd man out. Maybe so, but access to great health care and relatively strong affordability helped propel the South Dakota community to a spot in the top five of the nation’s best places to retire to. The Wallethub survey looked at 150 communities across the nation, measuring them against a set of 31 key metrics grouped into broad categories of affordability, activities, quality of life and health care. Maurice MacDonald, a professor of financial planning at Kansas State University, says retirees need to focus on stability — in housing and taxes — and availability of good medical services. “Stability is important to predict budgetary needs,” he said. “Moving to a ‘hot spot’ ... might get you into an area that is expanding services that have to be paid for down the road.”

From Our Peers

Can Sexting Increase Relationship Satisfaction?

9/27/16 Huffington Post
News coverage of sexting tends to focus on the negative. When teens and politicians get caught exchanging nude pictures and lascivious messages on their phones, they’re publicly shamed. And their relationships can suffer profoundly, as when Anthony Weiner’s wife left him after The New York Post published the disgraced politician’s extramarital sexts. But is there a positive side to sexting? Could it contribute to healthier and more satisfying relationships for adults? The research to date says yes—but only in certain conditions. It also says that sexting has become extremely common. “Sending someone a sext message is not much different than writing an 1800’s erotic love note,” says Joe Currin, research coordinator for the Sexual Health Research Lab at Oklahoma State University. “Behaviors are adapting to the use of newer technologies. We just now have the ability to express our sexuality in real time.”

Who You Marry Could Be Influenced By Your Name — Here’s Why

10/4/16 Business Insider
Do opposites really attract? Probably not. There's an idea among personality and social psychologists that people gravitate toward people, places, and things that resemble the self. This tendency is commonly referred to as "implicit egotism." As Melissa Burkley, a professor of social psychology at Oklahoma State University, points out in Psychology Today, we tend to be attracted to people who share our values, level of education, past experiences, and goals for the future.

New Colors, A New World of Pigments Continue to Evolve From Accidental Blue Discovery

9/28/16 Science Daily
A bright blue compound that was first discovered by accident seven years ago in an Oregon State University laboratory — and has since garnered global attention — has now led to the more rational and methodical development of other colors that may ultimately change the world of pigments. Findings on the newest pigments, in shades of violet and purple, were just published in Inorganic Chemistry, a journal of the American Chemical Society. More important, researchers say, is that progress made since the first accidental discovery of this family of inorganic compounds has allowed intensive science to take the place of luck. What's emerging is a fundamental understanding of the chemistry involved in these "trigonal bipyramidal" compounds.

New Steel for Better Electric Motors Under Development

9/28/16 Science Daily
Within a few years, the U.S. Department of Energy wants plug-in electric vehicles to be just as affordable and convenient as the internal-combustion machines most of us drive today. But we're not there yet. When President Obama and the Department of Energy (DOE) launched the EV (plug-in electric vehicles) everywhere initiative in 2012, the DOE said electric vehicles need to be 30 percent lighter, battery costs have to drop from $500 per kilowatt hour to $125 per kilowatt hour and electric drive systems must drop from $30 per kilowatt down to $8 per kilowatt. "Typically, in the engineering world, when you have a problem like this, you look at the system, for example the motor design," said Jun Cui, an Iowa State University associate professor of materials science and engineering and a senior scientist with the DOE's Ames Laboratory.

Older Adults No Slower Than Young Adults At Taking Control of Semi-Autonomous Vehicles

9/29/16 Science Daily
New research from North Carolina State University finds that older adults have comparable response times to young adults when tasked with taking control of a semi-autonomous vehicle. "Before we see fully autonomous cars enter the marketplace, we are likely to see semi-autonomous vehicles on the road; to a certain extent, we're seeing hints of this already," says Jing Feng, an assistant professor of psychology at NC State and senior author of a paper on the work. "These cars will handle the driving most of the time, but will require drivers to take control of the vehicle under certain circumstances -- such as when the weather affects visibility.”We wanted to know whether and how a driver's age affects his or her ability to take control of the vehicle, and what sort of notification from the computer is most effective at getting drivers to take control in a safe and timely way," Feng says. "For example, are there changes in driver response time as a result of age?"

RSCAD Trending Topics

Big Money Comes to Inequality Research

Economists like Paul Krugman see it as a drag on the nation’s economy and a barrier to innovation. Barack Obama has gone further, declaring it the "defining issue of our time." Pope Francis frames it in moral terms, calling it "the root of social evil.” They are all talking about inequality, a word that now peppers news stories and new books, and has come to describe a post-recession anxiety for policy makers, activists, philanthropists, and grant makers. The latter two, which in the past few months have awarded tens of millions of dollars for inequality research, have also made it hot in the academic world.

NIFA Announces the Availability of $17.7 Million to Train, Educate the Next Generation of Farmers and Ranchers

The Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program helps fund organizations implementing programs throughout the United States that train beginning farmers and ranchers, through workshops, educational teams, training and technical assistance. Eligible applicants include collaborative state, tribal, local or regionally-based networks or partnerships of public or private entities such as state cooperative extension services, community-based organizations, colleges or universities; and other organizations providing services to beginning farmers and ranchers. 2017 applications are due Dec. 8, 2016.

The Politics of Climate

Political fissures on climate issues extend far beyond beliefs about whether climate change is occurring and whether humans are playing a role, according to a new, in-depth survey by Pew Research Center. These divisions reach across every dimension of the climate debate, down to people’s basic trust in the motivations that drive climate scientists to conduct their research.

EPA Connect: Partnering with States to Cut Nutrient Pollution

Nutrient pollution remains one of America’s most widespread and costly environmental and public health challenges, threatening the prosperity and quality of life of communities across the nation. Over the last 50 years, the amount of excess nitrogen and phosphorus in our waterways has steadily increased, impacting water quality, feeding harmful algal blooms, and affecting drinking water sources. From the Lake Erie algae blooms to the Gulf of Mexico dead zone, nutrient pollution is impacting every corner of our country and economy. … To help states make further immediate progress, this year EPA will provide an additional $600,000 of support for states and tribal nutrient reduction projects that promise near-term, measurable nutrient load reductions.  This assistance will focus on public health threats from nitrate pollution in drinking water sources and harmful algal blooms in recreational waters and reservoirs.

2017 Children’s Environmental Health Translational Research Conference: New Challenges

With an expected attendance of 200 pediatric environmental health professionals from around the globe, CEHN 2017 offers the optimal forum for scientific, clinical, and public health experts to:  highlight exciting findings and research methods; network with colleagues and develop cross-cutting collaborations; and participate in research translation to practice, public health, and policy discussion. We invite submissions of individual abstracts (for oral and poster presentations) as well as full session proposals. Each presentation and full session will have sufficient time for discussion to facilitate a lively exchange of new ideas.

UK Bioethicists Eye Designer Babies and CRISPR Cows

From designer babies to engineered mosquitoes, advances in genome-editing technologies such as CRISPR–Cas9 have raised the possibility of tremendous scientific advances — and serious ethical concerns. In a preliminary 130-page report released on 30 September, the influential Nuffield Council on Bioethics in London announced that two applications of the technology demanded further attention: genome editing in human embryos and in livestock. The two areas were selected on the basis of months of analysis and input from scholars and the public, said Hugh Whittall, director of the Nuffield Council, at a briefing on 29 September.

You Have the Keys to Your First Lab. Now What?

It will feel like it is taking forever, but at some point in the future your research will be moving much faster than you ever thought it could, and you will wonder how it happened. What you do right now will help you reach that point.