March 3, 2016

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

March 3, 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

My walkabout campus has been accelerated this past week as I spent time with leadership in the colleges of Agriculture, Business Administration, Human Ecology, and Engineering. We are engaged in some very impactful research and scholarship at K-State that is making a difference in the world. I’ve also learned about the challenges we are facing to continue to support and grow the infrastructure for faculty and staff to be successful in their endeavors.

I heard from folks on campus that K-State is not doing a good job communicating or promoting our research. Others have shared that they don’t feel included in the research enterprise, and limited resources exacerbate the perspective. The Governor’s announcement on Tuesday didn’t help with morale. Nevertheless, we are still moving forward with our USRG and FDA grant programs — please be aware of the deadline of March 7 (see below).

Ending on a positive note, there are some great research success stories coming out of our own programs. I invite you to read on. A Frank A. Clark quote that inspired me to carry on with my own research through some difficult (now nearly ancient) times: If you find a path with no obstacles, it probably doesn’t lead anywhere.

— Peter

FDA/USRG Deadline Reminder

Faculty Development Award and University Small Research Grant proposals are due Monday, March 7. Get the details.

Crossing Borders

Encourage undergraduate researchers to publish their work in Crossing Borders: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Undergraduate Scholarship. The journal is also seeking graduate students to serve as peer reviewers. Read more about the journal.

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 or call 785 532-6195.

Highlight from this week's Funding Connection: The National Science Foundation’s (NSF’s) Materials Research Science and Engineering Centers (MRSEC) provide sustained support of interdisciplinary materials research and education of the highest quality while addressing fundamental problems in science and engineering. These Centers undertake materials research of a scope and complexity that would not be feasible under traditional funding of individual research projects. This is a limited submission with an internal white paper deadline of April 1, 2016. Read about our limited submissions process.

K-State in the News

Zika May Be Even More Harmful to a Fetus Than Previously Thought

2/25/16 WebMD, 2/26/16
Anecdotal reports of Zika causing birth defects other than microcephaly have surfaced, but “this is the first clearly documented case with an obvious link to Zika infection that has been well-documented in a peer-reviewed journal,” Stephen Higgs, director of the Biosecurity Research Institute at Kansas State University, said of the PLOS study.

3-D Printed Diagnostic Device Detects Anemia

2/29/16 Times of India, 2/28/16 Tech Times
The new 3D-printed diagnostic device, which is currently being tested by a pair of scientists from Kansas State University (KSU), could be used by anyone to detect anemia in less than a minute. It's as easy as taking a blood sample from a finger prick and running it under a smartphone.

Moldy Sippy Cups Outrage Parents

Londa Nwadike, state extension food safety specialist at Kansas State University and the University of Missouri, explains that sippy cups with fewer parts are easier to clean properly. "It is best to take (the cup) apart completely — including opening the anti-spill guard top — and wash it in the dishwasher," Nwadike told TODAY Parents. "Be sure to check it when it comes out of the dishwasher to be sure that all parts are clean, and if not, you may need to wash and scrub it by hand."

Genetic Diversity Aids Bio-fuel Production

2/23/16 EurekAlert!
The team also grew a mixture of the three cultivars to test their theory that genetic variation would promote growth. Beginning in the second year, the plots were annually harvested by a local farmer, and the bales from each plot were weighed to measure yield. "The experiment was managed just as a farmer would manage a hayfield," said Geoff Morris, assistant professor of crop genetics at Kansas State University and lead author of the GCB-Bioenergy paper. "Our goal was to make the results as transferable as possible to a real production system."

Engineers Develop Technology to Help Children with Disabilities

2/25/16 EurekAlert!
A Kansas State University engineering team is developing a technology collection that can make a big difference in the lives of children with developmental disabilities. The team's projects so far have addressed around-the-clock technology: bed-based sensors to track child breathing and heart rates; wearable sensors to track child behaviors; and designs that can improve the quality of life for paraeducators who work with these children.

From Our Peers

Research Demonstrates That Air Data Can Be Used to Reconstruct Radiological Releases

2/29/16 Bloomberg
New research from North Carolina State University demonstrates that experts can use data from air sampling technology to not only detect radiological releases, but to accurately quantify the magnitude and source of the release. This has applications for nuclear plant safety, as well as national security and nuclear nonproliferation monitoring.

A Group of Scientists Plans to Pay Young Women $900 to Eat Genetically Modified Bananas

2/23/16 Yahoo! Finance
As the Des Moines Register reports, some of the bananas have been genetically modified to produce large amounts of beta carotene, a nutrient our bodies use to produce vitamin A. The hope is that, once approved, these bananas would be grown in Uganda, where vitamin A deficiency is a serious problem. The trial is set to take place later this year at Iowa State University. The GM bananas were developed at the Queensland University of Technology in Australia with funding from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

Are You Catching Other People's Emotions?

2/29/16 Huffington Post
Another factor that contributes to this transmission of emotion: The way people express themselves through tone of voice and the words they choose. During a conversation, people have a tendency to match the emotional valence of their word choices – particularly when it comes to using negatively charged words such as “hate,” “anger,” or “sad” – with whomever they’re talking, according to 2014 research from Oregon State University. “Communication requires the matching of specific words and contents so people can understand each other,” explains study co-author Frank Bernieri, an associate professor of psychology at Oregon State University. “So it’s easy to see how the language that’s used could drive some part of this contagion process.”

Psychology Classes Lack Curriculum About Disabilities

2/23/16 EurekAlert!
A review of hundreds of undergraduate course offerings from top-ranked universities found that many types of disability are underrepresented in psychology classes, including chronic health and physical disabilities, said Kathleen Bogart, an assistant professor of psychology in the College of Liberal Arts at Oregon State University.

Omega-3 Fatty Acids May Lower Breast Cancer Risk in Postmenopausal Obese Women

2/24/16 EurekAlert!
To tease apart the effects, Manni's team, working alongside researchers from Emory University and Colorado State University, looked at the influence of prescription omega-3 supplementation on breast density in different weight women. Breast density is a well-established biomarker for breast cancer risk, and may be an independent risk factor, as well. They report their results online in Cancer Prevention Research.

RSCAD Trending Topics

Rosemary Feal to Step Down as Executive Director of Modern Language Association

Under Ms. Feal’s leadership, the 26,000-member MLA has ended up in exceptionally strong financial shape for an academic association, mainly as a result of big strides it made in digital publishing. About half of its annual revenue comes from the MLA International Bibliography,which houses 2.6 million records dating to 1926 and provides access to books, articles, and websites. All told, its publications account for about two-thirds of the money it takes in annually to pay for its administration and program services. … In recent years, however, the group’s fortunes appear to have ebbed slightly. It had roughly $15.5 million in revenue in the last fiscal year, down from more than $16.1 million the year before. Attendance at its annual meeting has declined to about 6,500 from about 8,500 four years ago.

Collaborate: An Imperative for Graduate Students

Graduate students need to seek out opportunities for collaboration at every stage of their graduate career. Experience working as part of a team is valuable for Ph.D. students preparing for a rapidly evolving academic job market, and it is indispensable for those pursuing careers beyond academe.

US Lawmakers Expand Probe of Climate Study

Republicans in the US House of Representatives are expanding their request for documents related to a major climate study by the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).