May 5, 2016

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

May 5, 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

Global Food Systems Faculty Presentations

Lead investigators from teams awarded Global Food Systems Innovation Grants in April 2015 will present research results in micro talks on Wednesday, May 11, from 3:00-5:00 p.m. in the Beach Museum of Art UMB Theater. All are invited to attend.

Research Showcase Debrief

The Office of Corporate Engagement will host a Research Showcase debrief and brainstorming event on Monday, May 16 from 3:00-4:30 p.m. in the K-State Alumni Center Purple Pride Room. Wayne Carter, President and CEO of the Kansas City Area Life Sciences Institute, will join us to provide an outside perspective. Register for this session. It's not too late to provide written feedback on the March 22 showcase.

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 U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) seeks proposals in the Food Safety Challenge Area. Specific research areas include: Effective Mitigation Strategies for Antimicrobial Resistance and Five-Year Assessment of the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI) Food Safety Challenge Area. The first area promotes the development of sustainable and integrated food safety systems that reduce public health risks along the entire food chain, from primary producer to consumer. The latter must describe a process for conducting a comprehensive assessment of the AFRI Food Safety Challenge Area, with a focus on describing overall program priorities, investments, and outcomes from fiscal years 2010 to 2015.

K-State in the News

Storm Clouds Gathering Over Kansas Farms as Income Drops, Land Prices Fall

4/30/15 Bloomberg
A recent forecast by Mykel Taylor, a farm economist at Kansas State University, calls for a drop of 30 to 50 percent from the peak as land prices return to their long-term trend. Others are predicting somewhat less of a drop.

This Gene Helps Prevent Cancer. Did it Also Give a Rise to All Complex Life?

4/26/16 Washington Post
And yet, something is holding the 16 cells together, compelling them to act as one. That something seems to be the RB gene. When Olson, who teaches evolutionary genomics at Kansas State University, removed the gene from a Gonium and put it in its unicellular relative, Chlamydomonas, the formerly single-celled organisms started clumping together to form colonies.

Fizzy, Fermented Tea Kombucha Bubbles Up in Kansas City

4/26/16 The Kansas City Star
Growing bacteria in your kitchen might sound unsafe. But "with kombucha, the yeast and bacteria don't allow for any competing organisms to grow," says Fadi Aramouni, professor of food science at Kansas State University.

Farmers Prep for Summertime Sugarcane Aphid Threat in Kansas

4/27/16 The Wichita Eagle and
Farmers are trying to get ready for the sugarcane aphid and the damage it can cause. It’s a pest that, as you’d expect from the name, plagued sugarcane farmers for years, mainly in the South. Recently, the aphids have developed a liking for grain sorghum. Kansas is the nation’s biggest grain sorghum producer. They’ve swept from south Texas into Oklahoma and Kansas each of the past two years. And, after a mild winter, they could make an encore in 2016. But it’s too early to tell how hard Kansas will be hit, Kansas State University professor Brian McCornack says.

Devastating Wheat Fungus Appears in Asia for the First Time

4/27/16 Scientific American
First detected in February and confirmed with genome sequencing by Kamoun’s lab this month, the wheat-blast outbreak has already caused the loss of more than 15,000 hectares of crops in Bangladesh. “It’s really an explosive, devastating disease,” says plant pathologist Barbara Valent of Kansas State University in Manhattan, Kansas. “It’s really critical that it be controlled in Bangladesh.”

From Our Peers

Study Finds Online HIV Prevention Resources Face Resistance From Black Female College Students

4/25/16 Bloomberg
New research from North Carolina State University and Pennsylvania State University finds that black female college students were often unlikely to use online resources related to HIV prevention, due to the stigma associated with the disease and concerns that their social network would learn they were accessing HIV-related materials.

The Surprising Relationship Between Beer Consumption and Weight Gain

4/26/16 The Huffington Post - Blog
A significant breakthrough discovery was unearthed by the Linus Pauling Institute and Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, College of Pharmacy, Oregon State University, United States earlier this year. Researchers from the University targeted the specific compound of Xanthohumol, that is commonly found in beer, and aimed to identify if it conferred any health benefits to its consumers. Some of the health factors that were examined include glucose levels, lipid metabolism rate, changes in weight, and other heart disease risk factors.

Delaying Retirement Helps Humans Live Longer

4/29/16 Yahoo! News
Working past the age of 65 instead of retiring can actually help people live longer, according to the results of one study. The study, conducted by Oregon State University, found an 11 percent decrease in the risk of death in healthy people who worked into their retirement years. The results also show that self-described unhealthy people lived longer when they continued to work, as they carried a 9 percent lower mortality risk. "It may not apply to everybody, but we think work brings people a lot of economic and social benefits that could impact the length of their lives," said Chenkai Wu, the lead author of the study.

The Older You Get, the More Difficult It May Become to ‘Smell’ Through Your Mouth

4/26/16 Science Daily
You not only pick up aromas through your nose, but also through your mouth while you chew your food. Some people simply can smell better than others and those may enjoy an enhanced flavor of foods. Unfortunately, for some, this ability decreases with age, report Tyler Flaherty and Juyun Lim of Oregon State University in the US in Springer's journal Chemosensory Perception.

Clothing Made from Tea Byproduct Could Improve Health of Fashion Industry

4/26/16 Science Daily
Rows of shallow plastic bins cover nearly every available space inside one of the textile and clothing labs in LeBaron Hall. The lab is really more of a "greenhouse," but it is far different from the other greenhouses on the Iowa State University campus. Instead of soil and seeds, each plastic bin contains a gel-like film consisting of cellulose fibers — a byproduct of kombucha tea — that feeds off a mixture of vinegar and sugar. The film is grown by using a symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast (SCOBY). Young-A Lee, an associate professor of apparel, merchandising and design at Iowa State, says the properties of this SCOBY film are similar to leather once it's harvested and dried, and can be used to make clothing, shoes or handbags.

RSCAD Trending Topics

Devastating Wheat Fungus Appears in Asia for First Time

Fields are ablaze in Bangladesh, as farmers struggle to contain Asia’s first outbreak of a fungal disease that periodically devastates crops in South America. Plant pathologists warn that wheat blast could spread to other parts of south and southeast Asia, and are hurrying to trace its origins. “It’s important to know what the strain is,” says Sophien Kamoun, a biologist at the Sainsbury Laboratory in Norwich, UK, who has created a website, Open Wheat Blast (, to encourage researchers to share data.

NIH Open Mike Blog: Citations Per Dollar as a Measure of Productivity

NIH grants reflect research investments that we hope will lead to advancement of fundamental knowledge and/or application of that knowledge to efforts to improve health and well-being. In February, we published a blog on the publication impact of NIH funded research. We were gratified to hear your many thoughtful comments and questions. Some of you suggested that we should not only focus on output (e.g. highly cited papers), but also on cost – or as one of you mentioned “citations per dollar.” Indeed, my colleagues and I have previously taken a preliminary look at this question in the world of cardiovascular research. Today I’d like to share our exploration of citations per dollar using a sample of R01 grants across NIH’s research portfolio. What we found has an interesting policy implication for maximizing NIH’s return on investment in research.

NIH Office of Science Policy: Protecting Data, Promoting Access: Improving Our Toolbox

The NIH Office of Science Policy is taking a leading role in ensuring that genomic data is shared in a responsible way. Under the NIH Genomic Data Sharing Policy, institutions must indicate the appropriate use of genomic data, including any limitations on the distribution and use of that data. In order to assist institutions in recognizing potential data use limitations (DUL), NIH created several resources for investigators. These include Points to Consider in Developing Effective Data Use Limitation Statements as well as a set of Standard Data Use Limitations . However, even with these resources, there is still the possibility for multiple interpretations which may cause time delays and additional costs when trying to share genomic data.

Eleven Land-Grant Institutions Work Across State Lines to Reduce Water Contaminants

Eleven land-grant institutions and partner organizations are working together to improve farm drainage in order to reduce the contamination of surrounding land and water. The underground drainage systems that channel water off of fields are also prone to diverting crop fertilizers and pesticides. In 2009, researchers formed the "Project NCERA-217: Drainage Design and Management Practices to Improve Water Quality."

Major Discovery at James Monroe's Historic Virginia Home

Just in time for the 258th anniversary of James Monroe’s birth, big news has arrived out of Highland, the fifth president’s historic home in Charlottesville, Virginia. Recent archaeological excavations, combined with tree-ring dating of wood on the property, show that a sizeable foundation uncovered in the yard of a later structure was in fact the Monroe home, built in 1799. The more modest house standing today, long thought to have been the president’s residence, appears to have been constructed nearly two decades later, during Monroe’s first term in the White House. The discovery, which will be followed up by more extensive excavations, promises to offer a fresh look at the last president of the Revolutionary era, who presided over the so-called Era of Good Feelings and introduced the momentous foreign policy doctrine that bears his name.

How Academics Can Use Snapchat to Share Their Research

When Snapchat began, in 2011, the appeal of the video-messaging app was a mystery to Jill W. Rettberg, and many others over the age of 30. None of her friends were on it, she says, so the 44-year-old professor of digital culture at the University of Bergen, in Norway figured she was too old and deleted the app soon after trying it. Since then, however, its popularity has soared, particularly among millennials the age of her students. So she wondered: How could Snapchat be useful for academic purposes?

Why it Feels So Good to Read About This Princeton Professor's Failures

In just showing the successes, a résumé or CV actually reflects only a tiny slice of one’s experience – and perhaps not even the most important part. That’s the idea behind a recent “CV of failures,” published by Johannes Haushofer, a professor who teaches psychology and public affairs at Princeton. Haushofer’s CV of failures, which he published online for all to see, includes degree programs he didn’t get into, research funding he didn’t receive and paper rejections from academic journals.