November 3, 2016

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

November 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 VPR

I had the opportunity last week to share what’s happening in research with the noon Rotary group, and there was much interest in what we are doing and how it’s making a difference in the lives of Kansans as well as engaging our students in unique learning experiences, especially our undergraduate research opportunities. K-State also played host to the Midwest Regional American Chemical Society meeting and featured an undergraduate student research symposium and poster session. Over 600 chemists from around the midwest descended on Manhattan for the meeting — I was in my element.

The 3-day program featured a first-of-its-kind session on the chemistry of printmaking, presentations from our faculty and students in our art department, and a combined art and chemistry poster exhibition. A more detailed article is forthcoming, but a special thanks to Jason Scuilla and Katrin Bossmann (art) for organizing the symposium. Additional thanks to Dan Higgins and Stefan Bossmann (chemistry) for serving as the conference organizers.

Today, we are co-organizing a session on research at the Diversity Research Forum from 4 to 5 p.m. in the Union Ballroom as part of the larger Diversity Summit organized by the Institute for Student Learning Assessment. I hope you will drop by and learn about the exciting research we have going on here at K-State on the topic of diversity.

— Peter

Don't Miss These Events!

  • TODAY! Diversity Research Forum: 4:00-5:00 p.m., Union Ballroom
  • TODAY! Finding Success with USDA Grant Programs: 3:00-5:00 p.m., Alumni Center Purple Pride Room (please register or join a live feed here)
  • NSF CAREER Information Session: November 8, 3:00-5:00 p.m., Alumni Center Purple Pride Room (please register)
  • SCOPUS Training Session: November 16, 3:30-4:30 p.m. Hale Library Hemisphere Room (please register)

New Funding Opportunities

The Funding Connection

The Funding Connection is a weekly publication of the Office 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 Long Term Research in Environmental Biology (LTREB) program awards are designed to provide the funding to maintain an ongoing, long-term research project for a period of a decade or perhaps longer. Research areas include, but are not limited to, the effects of natural selection or other evolutionary processes on populations; the effects of interspecific interactions that vary over time and space; population and community dynamics for organisms that have extended life spans and long turnover times; feedbacks between ecological and evolutionary processes; pools of materials such as nutrients in soils that turn over at intermediate to longer time scales; and external forcing functions such as climatic cycles that operate over long return intervals.

K-State in the News

KSU Scientists Gain Upper Hand on Devastating Wheat Scab Disease

11/01/16 Barn OnAir & Online
Kansas State University scientists say they have isolated and cloned a gene that provides resistance to Fusarium head blight, or wheat scab, a crippling disease that caused $7.6 billion in losses in U.S. wheat fields between 1993 and 2001.

Researchers Clear 'Patient Zero' From AIDS Origin Story

10/26/16 NPR
A few years later, in March 1984, Darrow and his colleagues published their study showing that AIDS was a new, sexually transmitted disease. That same month, Dugas died of AIDS near his hometown in Quebec. "And then three years later, in 1987, Dugas sort of comes back to life," says Phil Tiemeyer, a historian at Kansas State University. He means Dugas comes back to life as a character, in the book And the Band Played Onby Randy Shilts, a reporter in San Francisco. The book detailed the start of the AIDS epidemic, including the story of Dugas.

Tiny House Villages Are the Next Big Thing

10/28/16 Good Housekeeping
According to researchers at Kansas State University, tiny house villages are environmentally friendly, they promote a sense of community, they encourage healthy lifestyles and habits, and they're a safe and affordable housing option for the masses. For all of these reasons, the experts are hoping that tiny house villages will spread across the country in the near future, according to The Wichita Eagle. Tiny homes, designated as abodes that clock in under 1,000 square feet, don't make up much of the real estate market right now. As of 2015, only 1% of home buyers wanted to live in a so-called tiny home, according to the National Association of Realtors — but the Kansas State researchers think this may soon change. "We think [living in a tiny village] does a few things for one's health," Julia Irwin, a researcher at the university, explained, "including creating a better sense of community, satisfying people's basic needs for relationships, offering affordable housing options, and encouraging physical activity through community gardens and walking to urban establishments."

Peter Dorhout is 2017 ACS President-Elect

10/31/16 Chemical & Engineering News
Peter K. Dorhout, Vice President for Research at Kansas State University, has been elected the 2017 American Chemical Society president-elect by members of ACS. Dorhout will serve as president of the society in 2018 and immediate past-president in 2019; he will also serve on the board of directors during that time.

Growing Gold Sharpened With a Sewing Machine

10/30/16 Digital Journal
Growing gold like snowflakes and then sharpening it with a sewing machine-like device sounds like the stuff of fairy tales. In fact it is a scientific reality, based on cutting-edge research. Before the dream of making gold nuggets goes too far, the new research is at the nano-scale and involves the creation of gold nanowires. These are over 1000 times smaller than a human hair. The process involves the use of a device invented by Professor Bret Flanders and Govind Panera. The process has been developed by Kansas State University scientists and the intended application is the biomedical field, to create electrodes for devices used in organ transplant procedures. The electrodes are used to manipulate and sense characteristics of individual cells.

From Our Peers

The Next Big Thing Is Seaweed. (You Can Even Get Some That Tastes Like Bacon.)

10/31/16 Forbes
We may see new seaweed food products on the market before too long. For instance, earlier this year, an Oregon State University scientist unveiled seaweed that he has been cultivating and working on it for 20 years. It’s a seaweed that tastes like bacon. It’s also very nutritious, with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, iodine, potassium and a lot of protein.

Deep Underground, Smartphones Can Save Miners' Lives

10/26/16 SF Gate (by Sudeep Pasricha, Colorado State University)
Our research involves designing a wireless network made up of many low-cost stationary Zigbee or Bluetooth sensors deployed strategically around the mine, creating a web or mesh network that can connect with smartphones carried by the miners. We’ll design the exact location of the fixed sensors based on an analysis of how radio signals travel in complex, changing and noisy underground mines. We’re also working to design new software algorithms and filtering techniques that can work on smartphones. When connected to the wireless mesh network, they will be able to accurately and efficiently calculate location in mines, despite the highly unpredictable nature of wireless signals

Does Lack of Sleep Make People More Violent?

10/26/16 Psychology Today
A new article in the journal Psychology of Violence suggests that sleep problems play a far greater role in aggression than researchers suspected. Authors Zlatan Krizan and Anne Herlache of Iowa State University point out the different ways that poor sleep can help release aggressive impulses and fuel violence. Along with case studies showing that violent offenders become less aggressive after being treated for sleep problems, brain research indicates that poor sleep can influence our ability to control impulsive behavior; it also appears connected to how we emotionally respond to threats.

Breaking the Multicore Bottleneck

10/28/16 IEEE Spectrum
Researchers at North Carolina State University and at Intel have come up with a solution to one of the modern microprocessor’s most persistent problems: communication among the processor’s many cores. Their answer is a dedicated set of logic circuits they call the Queue Management Device, or QMD. In simulations, integrating the QMD with the processor’s on-chip network at a minimum doubled core-to-core communication speed and, in some cases, boosted it much further. Even better, as the number of cores was increased, the speedup became more pronounced.

Researchers Imbue Milk Chocolate With Dark Chocolate Health Benefits Without Affecting Taste

11/01/16 Tech Times
In a recent study published in the Journal of Food Science, researchers said there is a new way to create milk chocolate with the same health benefits as dark chocolate — without altering the taste. Using peanut skin extracts is the solution to combine health and taste in the same chocolate recipe. The nutritional benefits of milk chocolate will be replicated in order to make the best of antioxidants in our diets. The research was conducted at North Carolina State University, where scientists from the Department of Food, Bioprocessing and Nutrition Sciences managed to extract a series of phenolic compounds from peanut skins — they're essentially a waste product in the peanut production industry.

RSCAD Trending Topics

Biosecurity Education and Compliance are Critical in Preventing Avian Influenza Outbreaks

Since 2009, USDA has invested $19 billion in research and development touching the lives of all Americans from farms to the kitchen table and from the air we breathe to the energy that powers our country. Learn more about the many ways USDA scientists are on the cutting edge, helping to protect, secure and improve our food, agricultural and natural resources systems in the USDA Medium Chapter: Facilitating Discovery: Boosting Competiveness through Better Research and Improved Technology.

Open Data Meets a Defining Test

In a plain, brick, two-story office building near the University of Virginia, several dozen computer programmers are racing to define the future of science. Members of the nonprofit Center for Open Science, they see a critical moment. Web-based services that researchers use to create, store, analyze, and share data are being rapidly built, bought, and sold by a handful of major publishing companies and their offspring. If uninterrupted, the thinking goes, those cyber-consolidators could reinforce an expectation that scientific data is a private asset to be amassed and hoarded. But if redirected, they could enable a new world in which data is routinely and widely shared, speeding scientific discoveries and boosting their reliability.

DDoS Defenses Emerging From Homeland Security

Government, academic, and private-sector officials are collaborating on new ways to prevent and mitigate distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks, based on research years in the making but kicked into high gear by the massive takedown this month of domain name system provider Dyn.

After Two-Year Decline, Postdoc Employment at Federally Funded Labs Increases

The number of postdoctoral researchers employed at federally funded research and development centers (FFRDCs) rose to 2,696 in 2015, the first increase seen after two consecutive years of declines, according to a new report from the National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics (NCSES). The total is higher than the previous survey year's 2,613, although still lower than the peak of 3,011 reported in 2010. Postdoctoral researchers, or postdocs, are individuals who hold doctoral degrees and are engaged in research intended to further their education and experience. Postdocs are a vital part of the nation's next generation of scientists and engineers, and employment at FFRDCs provides them with valuable training opportunities.

How Political Science Gets Politics Wrong

Just as economists failed to predict the Great Recession, so political scientists failed to predict a series of momentous political upsets. The most obvious is the dizzying rise of Donald Trump. But the story is bigger than that: In recent years, political scientists have overestimated the forces of stability time and again, failing to foresee Brexit, the chaos wrought in the Philippines by Rodrigo Duterte, and the serious threat posed to Polish democracy by its populist government, among other developments.

What the New York Times Missed With Its Big GMO Story

A big piece that made the front page of the New York Times over the weekend takes aim at two of the most prominent arguments in favor of genetically modified crops: They increase yields (meaning we can get a lot more food from less land) and reduce pesticide use (meaning we’re poisoning that land and ourselves a lot less).

What Kind of Information Should I Include in My Application’s Resource Authentication Plan?

The authentication plan should be provided as a separate attachment (Item 15 in the Research Plan). The plan should be brief (no more than one page is suggested), and it should include a description of the methods proposed to authenticate key biological and/or chemical resources prior to use and at regular intervals, if appropriate. Key resources and the methods for authentication will vary by research field.

Doubts About Data: 2016 Survey of Faculty Attitudes on Technology

It has been another tumultuous year in educational technology. The past 12 months have seen new ways to deliver education and course materials, newstart-ups promising to revolutionize teaching and research, and new questionsabout the role of technology in and outside the classroom. In the midst of those new developments, old concerns remain. Faculty members are still worried that online education can’t deliver outcomes equivalent to face-to-face instruction. They are split on whether investments in ed-tech have improved student outcomes. And they overwhelmingly believe textbooks and academic journals are becoming too expensive. The findings also show faculty members are creating new opportunities with technology.

NSF statement of support for National Artificial Intelligence Research and Development Strategic Plan

"The National Science Foundation funds a significant amount of fundamental research in artificial intelligence at U.S. academic institutions," said NSF Director France Córdova. "NSF's investments in this growing area align with and support the National Artificial Intelligence Research and Development Strategic Plan, and they will help to ensure that our nation's scientists and engineers remain at the forefront of advances in AI."