June 23, 2016

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

June 23, 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

Fringe Benefit Rates for Proposal Budgets

New fringe benefit rates for fiscal year 2017 are effective immediately and should be used when preparing budget estimates to be included in proposals for extramural support. To facilitate the transition to these new rates, budgets that are in process will be accepted at the old rate until July 8. Read more about the new rates or view a detailed chart.

Small Business Innovation Research Road Show

The SBIR Road Tour is a national outreach effort to convey the non-dilutive technology funding opportunity provided through the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs. Federal and State Program Managers representing $2.5 billion in early stage funding have been invited to present at a series of events to technology entrepreneurs and innovation supporters from across the United States. The group is coming to Wichita on June 30. Read more and register. Note: A UAV/UAS panel and networking event is also slated for June 29.

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 research@k-state.edu or call 785 532-6195.

Highlight from this week's Funding Connection: The Department of Defense’s Tick-Borne Disease Research program released two opportunities — the Idea Award and the Investigator-Initiated Research Award. The former funds conceptually innovative, high-risk/potentially high-reward research in the early stages of development that could lead to critical discoveries or major advancements that will accelerate progress in improving outcomes for individuals affected by Lyme disease and/or other tick-borne illnesses. The latter promotes a wide range of research from basic through translational, including preclinical studies in animal models or human subjects, as well as correlative studies associated with an existing clinical trial to establish proof-of-principle for further development in future studies.

K-State in the News

K-State Survey: Farm Incomes Last Year Plunged

6/16/16 Bloomberg
Kansas net farm incomes dropped to $4,568 in 2015, a 96 percent plunge from the year before, according to a survey by Kansas State University. Both crop and livestock farmers were hit by falling prices for their production over the past 12-18 months.

Are Millennials Chocolate Chip-o-crites?

6/20/16 NPR
"When people choose to consume candy, they're not usually making a choice to consume something that is healthy or good for them in the first place," says psychologist Michael Young of Kansas State University, who co-authored the chocolate study with graduate student Anthony McCoy. Young hypothesized that millennials also set aside ethical concerns when choosing to indulge, despite a reputation in the food industry for caring about responsibly sourced food.

New K-State Grant Geared Toward Insuring Children

6/15/16 The Hutchinson News
A $990,000 grant to Kansas State University will create health care collaborations focused on decreasing the number of uninsured children in the state. The grant, part of a $32 million national initiative by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, will be used over two years in four southwest Kansas counties - Ford, Feeney, Grant and Seward - to create programs that enroll eligible children in KanCare, the state’s privatized Medicaid program, and the Children’s Health Insurance Program, said Bradford B. Wiles, an assistant professor at K-State. Wiles said K-State Research and Extension will partner with organizations that operate statewide to target enrollment and build capacity for about 1,200 uninsured children in those four counties.

New X-Ray Method Allows Scientists to Probe Molecular Explosions

6/15/16 Science Daily
A team led by researchers from the U.S. Department of Energy's Argonne National Laboratory used the high-intensity, quick-burst X-rays provided by the Linac Coherent Light Source (LCLS) at SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory to look at how the atoms in a molecule change when the molecule is bombarded with X-rays. The research, which was funded by the DOE Office of Science, involved a collaboration between Argonne, SLAC, and Kansas State University.

X-Ray-Free Electron Laser Reveals Radiosensitizing Effects at Molecular Level

6/17/16 Science Daily
While the effect of radiosensitizing molecules in radiation-based cancer therapies has been known for a long time, the exact molecular mechanisms behind it — the capacity of the radiosensitizer to locally augment the radiation damage to tumor cells by intratumoral administration of the agent — are yet to be deciphered. However, an international team of researchers has illustrated how the molecule breaks apart and what ionic fragments are formed via the breakage of the molecular edifice shortly after the ionization, thus shedding light on the role of energetic ions in the initiation of damaging reactions. The result was achieved by an international team of researchers from Japan (Tohoku University, Kyoto University, Hiroshima University, Hiroshima Institute of Technology, Hokkaido University, RIKEN Spring-8 center, JASRI), Finland (University of Turku), United States of America (Kansas State University), France (Synchrotron SOLEIL), China (Beihang University, SARI, SINAP), Korea (POSTECH), and Romania (ELI-NP / IFIN-HH).

Engineering Resistance to Beat the Bugs

6/20/16 High Plains Journal
Research lead by scientist Bernd Friebe at Kansas State University and the Wheat Genetics Resource Center I/UCRC may provide a way to control BYD through fabricated genetic resistance. The objective of his current research project is to identify naturally-occurring sources for BYD resistance and transfer them into adapted Kansas winter wheat cultivars. The use of cultivars with genetic resistance to the virus or the aphid vector is the most economic and practical way of controlling BYD. “For the environment, it’s always the best solution if you can use native resistance,” said Friebe. “If you have genetic resistance, then it doesn’t matter if the vector is floating around. They can do whatever they want to the plant and not infect it.”

From Our Peers

New Data Will Help Colorado Study Health Effects of Fracking

6/14/16 Houston Chronicle
New data on air pollution from fracking wells in Colorado will be a big help in assessing whether the emissions are harmful to human health, state officials say. A three-year study released Tuesday measured methane — a greenhouse gas — and ozone-causing compounds that were released from new natural gas wells in western Colorado.The research, by Colorado State University professor Jeff Collett, didn't measure the emissions' health effects, but state officials will use the data in computer modeling to assess the risks, said Mike Van Dyke of the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment."This study is incredibly useful," said Van Dyke, chief of environmental epidemiology, occupational health and toxicology for the health department.

Laboratories Confirm Role of Infection in Morgellons Disease

6/15/16 Houston Chronicle
Until recently, Morgellons disease was widely believed in the medical community to be a delusional illness. However, with research support from The Charles E. Holman Morgellons Disease Foundation (CEHMDF), this opinion has been challenged due to two new supportive studies presented at the recent CEHMDF annual meeting in Austin, TX. “Collectively, the research into Morgellons disease clearly shows a bacterial, infective process in these patients,” said Dr. Randy Wymore of Oklahoma State University-Center for Health Sciences, an author of one of the studies.

For Tropical Mayflies, Mountain Passes are Higher Indeed

6/15/16 Science Daily
These divergent climate tolerances play crucial roles in how species evolve. Colorado State University research offers new insight into this long-held understanding of species diversity. A study led by CSU biologists shows that insect populations in the tropics exhibit a higher number of distinct species than in the Rockies. But the distinctions between those species consist of subtle, genetic differences that aren't readily visible. These are called cryptic species -- by the looks of things identical, but actually genetically distinct.

First Harvest of Ancient Southern Wheat Exceeds Expectations

6/20/16 Science Daily
Last month, Clemson University scientist Brian Ward and his team harvested about 145 pounds of Purple Straw seed, which was grown from less than half a pound. Purple Straw is the only heirloom wheat to have been cultivated continually in the South from the Colonial Period into the last quarter of the 20th century. It remained a crop wheat until the 1970s, when it was then abandoned and replaced by more productive modern hybrids."Thus far, it's been a complete and total success, even better than expected," said Ward, who planted and nurtured the wheat in the nutrient-rich organic fields surrounding Clemson University's Coastal Research and Education Center in Charleston. "The panicles (loose, branching clusters) turned out really great, we didn't have a problem with insects or disease. Everything worked out perfectly."

Bioactive Film Improves How Implants Bond with Bone in Animal Study

6/15/16 EurekAlert!
Researchers have developed a technique for coating polymer implants with a bioactive film that significantly increases bonding between the implant and surrounding bone in an animal model. The advance could significantly improve the success rate of such implants, which are often used in spinal surgeries. The work was done by researchers at North Carolina State University, the University of Cambridge and the University of Texas at San Antonio.

RSCAD Trending Topics

NIH Launches Large Study of Pregnant Women in Areas Affected by Zika Virus

The National Institutes of Health and Fundacao Oswaldo Cruz-Fiocruz (Fiocruz), a national scientific research organization linked to the Brazilian Ministry of Health, have begun a multi-country study to evaluate the magnitude of health risks that Zika virus infection poses to pregnant women and their developing fetuses and infants. The study is opening in Puerto Rico and will expand to several locations in Brazil, Colombia and other areas that are experiencing active local transmission of the virus. See also: Entrepreneur Makes Good on Pledge to Test Zika Vaccine in Humans—Soon

Thirteen Public and Private Universities Call for More Federal Investment in Agricultural Research

Thirteen prominent research institutions in the United States joined the SoAR Foundation today in calling for a surge in federal support of food and agricultural science. Retaking the Field, the report released by this coalition, highlights recent scientific innovations and illustrates how US agricultural production is losing ground to China and other global competitors. “Researchers are discovering incredible breakthroughs, helping farmers produce more food using fewer resources, and keeping our meals safe and nutritious," said Thomas Grumbly, President of the SoAR Foundation. "However, the science behind agriculture and food production is starved of federal support at a time of unprecedented challenges. A new surge in public funding is essential if our agricultural system is going to meet the needs of American families in an increasingly competitive global market."

Single IRB Policy to Streamline Reviews of Multi-Site Research

Accelerating clinical research studies benefits researchers, research participants, and all who stand to gain from research results. Today, the time it takes to go from a sound research idea to the launch of a new, multi-site clinical research study is too long. A major contributor to the delay is that too many institutional review boards (IRBs) are reviewing the protocol and consent documents for the same study, often with no added benefit in terms of the protections for research participants. To address this bottleneck, NIH has issued a new policy to streamline the review process for NIH-funded, multi-site clinical research studies in the United States. The NIH Policy on the Use of a Single Institutional Review Board (IRB) for Multi-Site Research sets the expectation that multi-site studies conducting the same protocol use a single IRB to carry out the ethical review of the proposed research.

Diabetes Portal Adds Data, More Powerful Search Tools

The AMP Type 2 Diabetes Knowledge Portal online library and discovery engine has greatly expanded data and search capabilities to accelerate the pace of scientific advancement. Customizable and simplified navigation, along with aggregated data from more than 100,000 DNA samples from research supported by NIH and other institutions, encourage new understanding of diabetes by increasing users’ ability to share and evaluate content.

Emerging Biotechnologies and the Role of the NIH RAC

During the June 21-22 meeting, the RAC will review a protocol involving the first-in-human use of gene editing via CRISPR/Cas9 technology. This T cell immunotherapy protocol involves the use of CRISPR/Cas9 to edit two genes in T cells also modified to express T cell receptors targeting myeloma, melanoma, and sarcoma tumor cells. Consideration of this study underlines the purpose of changing the RAC process: to better use the collective breadth of experience of the RAC members in reviewing gene transfer trials and novel technologies that pose unknown risks, exactly as described by Dr. Frederickson four decades ago. Researchers in the field of gene transfer are excited by the potential of utilizing CRISPR/Cas9 to repair or delete mutations that are involved in numerous human diseases in less time and at a lower cost than earlier gene editing systems. While the application of new gene editing technologies in this field has great potential to improve human health, it is not without concerns.

The American Chemical Society on the Shared Cybersecurity Concerns of Universities and Publishers

In a recent Scholarly Kitchen post, University of Utah Associate Dean for Collections & Scholarly Communication Rick Anderson wrote about the unintended consequences of sharing passwords or falling prey to phishing schemes to gather university network credentials that enable illegal pirate operators like Sci-Hub to offer illicit access to licensed scholarly publications. The American Chemical Society (ACS) could not agree more. Over the past two months, ACS has experienced the effect of compromised university network credentials and servers used to launch a significant increase in sophisticated sustained theft of ACS copyrighted journal articles. These activities have ranged from single instances that attempted massive article downloads to hundreds or thousands of simultaneous robotic user sessions crafted to download hundreds of articles apiece. The perpetrators of these attacks are cunning enough to test and adjust their penetration methods based on the security and usage monitoring tools they encounter. As a consequence, we are revising our own network capabilities and protocols regarding how we detect, respond and prevent these incursions and are urging our academic partners to review their campus cybersecurity protocols, as well as their internal response and investigation procedures. In addition, urging victimized institutions to preserve any and all evidence related to these violations of academic IT security.

Federal Agencies Don’t Fund Big Gun-Violence Research. Can California?

It has been 20 years since Congress effectively barred the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention from funding gun-violence research. Now advocates for such research say a proposed center in the University of California system will "fill the gap" left by those restrictions. The state’s Legislature voted on Thursday to fund the creation of the California Firearm Violence Research Center, with $5 million to be allocated over five years. The funding is part of a new state budget that Gov. Jerry Brown, a Democrat, is expected to sign into law.

Nascent Journal To Help Refugees Preserve And Publish Their Research

It can take researchers and academics years to get published in academic journals. It's that rigorous. So imagine if all that work were lost. That's a real possibility for scholars fleeing conflicts in the Middle East and Africa and arriving in Europe, far from their academic home bases. Today, a group of Oxford University students launches a platform to help preserve and publish that work. Paul Ostwald came up with the idea for the Journal of Interrupted Studies.

Crowdfunding: Training That Pays for Itself

When I looked for crowdfunding campaigns run by academic staff at Australian universities, I found only 63% (27) of universities were represented [Data on Figshare]. As far as I could tell, 37% of universities hadn’t had any crowdfunding campaigns run by staff members. Of those that had, only three (7%) had run more than five campaigns. Why is that? I need to do more work before I can answer that question, but some of the answers revolve around prestige (these aren’t national Research Council grants) and inertia (it is hard to get big organizations to do new things). I can’t change the lack of prestige around crowdfunding. That will take time – in some quarters, eons may pass. But I can tackle inertia.