January 14, 2016

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

January 14, 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

Most of our students will be back this weekend and the campus will come to life again. As an important part of our research enterprise, many undergraduate students will engage in helping us solve real-world problems all across the university. Undergraduate research is a component of our Vision 2025 strategic plan and an important part of our land-grant heritage. Just as we were shutting things down for the holidays, one of our undergraduate research alumni, Prof. Geraldine Richmond (BS ’75), was announced as a recipient of the National Medal of Science. Geri is an alumna from our chemistry program, faculty member at the University of Oregon, and the President of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and I could list many other accolades. Undergraduate research not only leaves an impact on our research, but it prepares our students to do great things. Invite one to work with you and watch what happens! Read more about what great things in RSCAD are happening here and around the world.

— Peter

Congratulations to Mollie Hodge and Roger McBride, K-State's newest Certified Research Administrators!

Applications for the Biosecurity Research Institute Transboundary Animal Disease Fellowship are due January 17.

December 2015 extramural awards are posted.

K-State in the News

Wheat Genome Sequencing Gets Major Boost

1/06/16 Bloomberg and 1/06/16 Science Daily
The International Wheat Genome Sequencing Consortium (IWGSC) announced today the production of a whole genome assembly of bread wheat, the most widely grown cereal in the world, significantly accelerating global research into crop improvement. The project consisted of producing a whole genome assembly of the bread wheat variety Chinese Spring based on Illumina short sequence reads assembled with NRGene's DeNovoMAGICTM software. The public-private collaborative project is coordinated by the IWGSC and co-led by Nils Stein of IPK Gatersleben in Germany, Curtis Pozniak of the University of Saskatchewan's Crop Development Centre in Canada, Andrew Sharpe of the Global Institute for Food Security in Canada, and Jesse Poland of Kansas State University in the United States. Project participants also include researchers from Illumina, Inc.; NRGene in Israel and the United States; Tel Aviv University in Israel; and the French National Institute for Agricultural Research (INRA).

Manage Cold Stress to Maintain Body Condition

1/10/16 Bloomberg
Research from Kansas State University in the early 1980s compared condition, body weight change and rebreeding performance in two groups of spring calving cows. One group was supplemented according to the wind chill factor as described above, and the other group was fed the same amount of supplement regardless of weather factors. By increasing supplement according to wind chill, cows were in better body condition and were approximately 80 pounds heavier at calving compared to cows with no feed adjustment. During the following breeding season, cows given extra supplement based on wind chill cycled earlier and had better rebreeding performance. This research demonstrates that slight adjustments in feeding and supplementation to cows during winter weather events can provide long-term improvements in performance and efficiency.

New NDV-H5NX Avian Influenza Vaccine Has Potential for Mass Vaccination of Poultry

1/07/16 Science Daily
A team of researchers at Kansas State University, in collaboration with Garcia-Sastre of the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, has developed a vaccine that protects poultry from multiple strains of avian influenza found in the U.S., including H5N1, H5N2 and H5N8. The vaccine has the potential to be administered through water or into embryonated eggs, making it easier for poultry producers to vaccinate flocks.

It's No Sunflower Showdown: KU Project Will Put WWI Poetry by American Immigrants on the Web

1/10/16 Lawrence Journal-World
American immigrants wrote an “enormous body” of poetry in response to World War I, a Kansas University researcher says. But most isn’t readable without physically digging into a variety of repositories scattered across the country in various libraries and in various forms — from bound books to more fleeting forms of communication such as newsletters and papers. A digitization project is coming to the rescue. Lorie Vanchena, associate professor of German and academic director for KU’s European Studies Program, is teaming up with colleagues at Kansas State University on the project to create a digital archive of American poetry written in response to WWI.

Big Data: Big Potential, Big Problems

1/10/16 NewsOK
Speaking at the recent Wildcat Extension District Agronomy Night in Independence, Kan., Kansas State University’s Terry Griffin laid out the implications of big data for agriculture.

From Our Peers

Antibiotics Pave Way for C. Difficile Infections by Killing Beneficial Bile Acid-Altering Bacteria

1/06/16 Bloomberg
New research from North Carolina State University and the University of Michigan finds that bile acids which are altered by bacteria normally living in the large intestine inhibit the growth of Clostridium difficile, or C. diff. C. diff is a harmful bacterium that can cause painful and sometimes fatal infections. The work sheds light on the ways in which some commonly used antibiotics can promote C. diff infections by killing off the bile acid-altering microbes.

Are Fitness Videos Sabotaging Your Workout?

1/11/16 Yahoo! Finance
A study published in the Sociology of Sport Journal found that fitness DVDs — a $250 million-per-year industry — contain demotivating images and words. Lead study author Brad Cardinal, a kinesiology professor at Oregon State University’s College of Public Health and Human Sciences, explains in an OSU news release: “These findings raise concerns about the value of exercise DVDs in helping people develop and commit to a workout program. There are a lot of exaggerated claims through the imagery and language of ‘do this and you’ll look like me.'”

'Flying Wind Mills' and Nuclear Waste: The Future of Energy?

1/08/16 USA Today
Several startups are investigating approaches to tapping wind energy at high altitudes. Altaeros Energies, for example, is building wind turbines inside helium gas-filled industrial blimps that are tethered to the ground to generate electricity. At 2,000 feet in the sky, the company says a turbine will generate twice as much energy as conventional turbines. Iowa State University engineers are working on taller wind towers made from strengthened concrete that would stand at least 330 feet in the air, about 130 feet taller than today's towers.

Why White, Older Men Are More Likely to Die of Suicide

1/05/16 Science Daily
In the United States, older men of European descent (so-called white men) have significantly higher suicide rates than any other demographic group. For example, their suicide rates are significantly higher than those of older men of African, Latino or Indigenous descent, as well as relative to older women across ethnicities. Behind these facts there is a cultural story, not just individual journeys of psychological pain and despair. Colorado State University's Silvia Sara Canetto has spent a large portion of her research career seeking to uncover cultural stories of suicide.

DNA Research Offers Clues on Cell Mutation

1/06/16 Science Daily
A team of researchers from Colorado State University has been studying DNA damage in living cells to learn more about how genetic abnormalities arise. It has long been known that DNA molecules in every cell get constantly damaged by things from the outside environment, like sunlight, cigarette smoke and radiation. However, more recently researchers have discovered that sources from within the cell itself can sometimes be even more damaging.

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: NSF’s Science of Learning: Collaborative Networks (SL-CN) seeks to support integrative, interdisciplinary research projects that investigate learning in humans, other animals, and machines. Networks of researchers will focus on advancing basic research by integrating theory and experiment, by translating findings from basic research on learning to applications to benefit society, and by informing fundamental theories of learning.

RSCAD Trending Topics

This Bites: Mosquitoes Are Spreading a Rare Virus Around the World

Epidemiologists first started paying attention to Zika in 2007, after an outbreak on the island of Yap in Micronesia. One study found that the virus had infected 73 percent of the island’s population. The virus has since hopped along the Pacific islands. It made its way to South America in May 2015. Since Zika is so rare, scientists are still figuring out the basics. “There are no really good diagnostics for the virus at the moment,” says Alain Kohl, a mosquito-borne disease researcher at the University of Glasgow.

3D Printing Ceramics: New Shapes for Old Bakes (video)

Ceramics are incredibly useful materials but processing them into complex shapes has proven very challenging. Now researchers have combined 3D printing with polymer-derived ceramics, opening up a whole new way to shape ceramic materials.

In 1979, a secret memo from the tobacco industry was revealed to the public. Called the Smoking and Health Proposal, and written a decade earlier by the Brown & Williamson tobacco company, it revealed many of the tactics employed by big tobacco to counter “anti-cigarette forces”. In one of the paper’s most revealing sections, it looks at how to market cigarettes to the mass public: “Doubt is our product since it is the best means of competing with the ‘body of fact’ that exists in the mind of the general public. It is also the means of establishing a controversy.” This revelation piqued the interest of Robert Proctor, a science historian from Stanford University, who started delving into the practices of tobacco firms and how they had spread confusion about whether smoking caused cancer. Proctor had found that the cigarette industry did not want consumers to know the harms of its product, and it spent billions obscuring the facts of the health effects of smoking. This search led him to create a word for the study of deliberate propagation of ignorance: agnotology.

Request for Nominations: National Advisory Council for Environmental Policy and Technology (NACEPT)

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) invites nominations to fill vacancies on its National Advisory Council for Environmental Policy and Technology (NACEPT). The Agency seeks nominees from a diverse range of qualified candidates representing the following sectors: Academia; state, local, and tribal governments; business and industry; and, non-governmental organizations. Potential vacancies are anticipated to be filled in April 2016.

ARPA-E (Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy) Newsletter

Plant Root Phenotyping for Soil Carbon Sequestration Teaming Partner List: ARPA-E encourages outstanding scientists and engineers from different organizations, scientific disciplines, and technology sectors to form project teams for a planned program. This ARPA-E program would focus on the development of technologies that measure structural and functional properties of plant roots and soils that lead to the development of improved root traits. Specifically, ARPA-E is interested in traits that reduce atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations and energy used for crop production by increasing soil carbon storage and improving fertilizer efficiency (nitrous oxide emission reduction).
ARPA-E Issues RFI on Energy-Efficiency Optimization for Connected and Automated Vehicles: ARPA-E has issued a Request For Information (RFI) seeking input from researchers from a broad range of disciplines, including automotive vehicle control, powertrain control, and transportation analytics regarding the development of advanced energy-efficiency optimization technologies for future connected and automated vehicles (CAVs).