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Research

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

March 30, 2017

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

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Compliance Check

Peter Dorhout and Cheryl Doerr write about the upcoming AAALAC International accreditation site visit and what researchers need to do to prepare. 

K-State is committed to providing a safe, humane, and compliant environment for our research and teaching animals. Involving animals in research and teaching carries unique professional, ethical, and moral obligations. One way we demonstrate institutional accountability for responsible animal care is through a voluntary accreditation process with AAALAC International.

AAALAC International is a private, nonprofit organization that promotes the humane treatment of animals in science through a voluntary assessment and accreditation program. As an AAALAC-accredited institution, we join more than 980 other accredited companies and institutions in 44 countries. To maintain our accreditation status, a site visit from AAALAC Ad hoc Consultants is scheduled this year between May and July

What can you expect from the AAALAC International site visit?

The AAALAC accreditation site visit preparation and visit involves a rigorous, comprehensive review of our animal care and use program. The multi-day visit will cover institutional policies, animal environment, and program of veterinary medical care. Consultants will meet with university leadership, visit with the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC), and inspect laboratories and animal housing areas.

How can you prepare?

One way to ensure that we are prepared for an AAALAC site visit is to always be prepared for a site visit. The overall focus of routine semiannual IACUC inspections is similar to a site visit inspection. The dates for the spring semiannual inspections are April 4–14. During this inspection cycle, IACUC members will be especially mindful of the upcoming AAALAC visit expectations. We encourage you to review any previous IACUC findings now so that issues are resolved before the K-State IACUC members inspect your facility in April. During the semiannual inspection, IACUC members will pay particular attention to repeat findings from previous inspections. A successful IACUC inspection is more likely to result in a successful AAALAC site visit and continuing accreditation.

The University Research Compliance Office has prepared some guidance on common minor findings from IACUC inspections. These are examples of issues that can easily be remedied with some attention and vigilance.

  • Documentation/signage: Ensure documentation is up to date, including animal health monitoring records, procedure and surgery records, and drug logs. Personnel records for online and hands-on procedure training must be current. Current enrollment in the Occupational Health and Safety Program is required for everyone working with animals. AAALAC will look closely at such documentation during the site visit. Current signs to post are available.
  • Drugs, supplies, and chemical maintenance: Drugs and chemicals must be properly labeled and not expired. Expired medications can be labeled as “not for use in animals” if they are useful for another purpose. Some unexpected materials may have expiration dates, such as hand soap, gloves, or syringes and needles. Check supplies closely. See IACUC Guideline 15, “Use of Expired Medical Materials for Research Animals.”
  • Facility hazards: Electrical outlets without covers, extension cords in use when permanent wiring is needed, or areas of peeling paint, minor disrepair, etc. could become hazards that affect animals and should be corrected and repaired. AAALAC has previously identified these types of concerns on site visits.
  • Tidiness: A space that is well organized and free of clutter is easier to maintain as a clean and safe space for both animals and humans. An unorganized or cluttered procedure area raises concern for animal safety and compliance with proper cleaning and disinfection procedures.

We are committed to the success of K-State faculty, and this includes supporting responsible and compliant animal care and use in research and teaching. We hope you will join us in ensuring that the semiannual and AALAC accreditation inspections are a success.

We are here to help! Please contact URCO anytime with your questions about IACUC or AAALAC at comply@k-state.edu or 785-532-3224.

— Peter and Cheryl

Announcements and Events icon

Announcements and Events

Don't miss training opportunities, resources, and other events or news for K-State researchers.

Attend a March 31 physics symposium, the April Research Administrators Council Meeting, an NSF CAREER workshop, and more. 
Physics Symposium

The K-State physics department is hosting a symposium tomorrow (Friday, March 31) titled “Imaging and Controlling Ultrafast Dynamics of Atoms, Molecules, and Nanostructures.” The symposium is part of an NSF EPSCoR Track II grant to support physics research in Kansas and Nebraska, and the program features a plenary talk followed by brief talks by with researchers and a poster session. Read more about the event and view the full program. (will add link to K-State Today piece from 3/29)

Research Administrators Council 

The Research Administrators Council will meet April 11 from 10:30 to 12 noon in 123 Leadership Studies. Hear about the K-State Research Foundation services, a new compliance training log tool, and Certified Research Administrator certification. Look for more information in K-State Today next week. 

Workshops and Training

Info sessions, training opportunities, and workshops are listed on our events calendar. Upcoming events:

  • NSF CAREER workshop: April 19
  • Broader Impacts info session and exhibition: May 10

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Funding Highlights

The Funding Connection is a weekly publication of the Office of Research & Sponsored Programs.

Two USDA Challenge Grants opportunities were released this week.
  • The Water for Food Production Systems Challenge Area invites applications for addressing the concept that "all water problems are local and regional." The projects are expected to pursue greater savings in water use by realizing the optimal potentials of innovative management strategies and interventions that use appropriate technologies to exploit potential synergies across production systems and competing users. The program will fund projects that help reduce required flows from ground- and surface-waters to benefit agriculture and other human enterprises, as well as other beneficial uses supporting wildlife, fish, and pollinator populations. Diverse approaches that address any or all components across food supply chains may be appropriate.
  • The Food Safety Challenge Area promotes the development of sustainable and integrated food safety systems that reduce health risks along the food value chain from producer to consumer. New, improved, and innovative solutions to the complex problem of Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) are most effectively addressed by transdisciplinary teams of experts using a systems approach. These transdisciplinary teams could include the broad expertise of food and environmental scientists, engineers, and social, behavioral, and health scientists. The goal of this integrated program is to empower transdisciplinary teams to develop, refine, and disseminate science-based knowledge about food and agricultural management and production practices that can reduce or eliminate the threat and risk of antimicrobial resistance.

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Agency News and Trending Topics

Keep abreast of funding agency updates and trending RSCAD topics that are in the news.

Read NIFA's annual report, note increasing support for antimicrobial resistance research, find NIH updates, and more. 
NIFA’s 2016 Annual Report Highlights Significant Achievements By Its Grantees

With direction and support from Congress, and strong collaboration with academic, governmental and non-governmental institutions, science organizations, small business, industry, other federal agencies, and public and private organizations, we are making signi cant progress toward solving our nation’s most pressing concerns in the areas of food safety and security, nutrition and public health, natural resource stewardship, the bioeconomy, job growth, and economic health. With NIFA’s support, land-grant and non-land-grant universities, Hispanic-serving institutions, Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian-serving institutions, and institutions in insular areas are developing transformative strategies to solve complex societal problems, such as protecting the health of our pollinators, mitigating antimicrobial resistance, and combating the effects of extreme weather events. (K-State is mentioned on pages 7, 26, and 30)

USDA Announces $11 Million to Support Antimicrobial Resistance Research

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) today announced $11 million in available funding for projects that mitigate antimicrobial resistance (AMR), a growing public health issue that affects more than 2 million people annually. Funding is made through NIFA’s Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI), authorized by the 2014 Farm Bill. … Among previously funded AMR projects, scientists at Kansas State University are working to find effective alternatives to antibiotics that are safe for use in modern swine and beef cattle production systems. Colorado State University scientists are using DNA analysis to determine possible links between food animal production and AMR-related illness.

Antimicrobial Resistance Diagnostic Challenge Selects 10 Semifinalists in First Phase of Competition

Ten semifinalists have been selected in the first phase of the Antimicrobial Resistance Diagnostic Challenge, a federal prize competition that will award up to a total of $20 million in prizes, subject to the availability of funds, for innovative rapid, point-of-need diagnostic tests to combat the emergence and spread of drug resistant bacteria. The semifinalists were selected for their concepts for a diagnostic based on a technical and programmatic evaluation from among 74 submissions.  While semifinalists will each receive $50,000 to develop their concepts into prototypes, anyone can submit a prototype to compete in the second phase of the challenge to win up to $100,000.

NIH Notices

NIH Operates Under a Continuing Resolution

Interim Guidance on Salary Limitation for Grants and Cooperative Agreements

At Moment of Danger, NIH’s Director Is Seen as Its Chief Protector

The current NIH director, Francis S. Collins, is an Obama administration appointee who repeatedly led the previous president’s calls for strong and sustained increases in federal support for science. Now representing the Trump administration, Dr. Collins has allies confident that in a year of unimaginable political events, his status as one of the new president’s highest-ranking voluntary holdovers can not only straddle the ideological chasms before him but largely save the NIH in the process.

House, Senate Committees Approve Agroterrorism Bill

The U.S. House of Representatives Homeland Security Committee and U.S. Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee passed the Securing our Agriculture and Food Act, clearing a key hurdle for the bill’s consideration by the full House and Senate. The Securing our Agriculture and Food Act requires the Secretary of Homeland Security (DHS), through the Assistant Secretary for Health Affairs, to lead the government’s efforts to secure the U.S. food, agriculture, and veterinary systems against terrorism and high-risk events.

Spoiled Science: How a seemingly innocent blog post led to serious doubts about Cornell’s famous food laboratory

The slow-motion credibility crisis in social science has taken the shine off a slew of once-brilliant reputations and thrown years of research into doubt. It’s also led to an undercurrent of anxiety among scientists who fear that their labs and their publication records might come under attack from a feisty cadre of freelance critics. The specifics of these skirmishes can seem technical at times, with talk of p-values and sample sizes, but they go straight to the heart of how new knowledge is created and disseminated, and whether some of what we call science really deserves that label.

Research Spotlight

Waithaka Mwangi, an associate professor in the Kansas State University College of Veterinary Medicine's Department of Diagnostic Medicine/Pathobiology, talks about his work and "mind-blowing" collaborations on bovine anitbodies and their reported capability to neutralize HIV.

Seek

Read Seek, K-State's research magazine