November 10, 2016

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

November 10, 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 pleasure on Wednesday to welcome our new-to-K-State faculty over lunch and to discuss the path to Top 50 with a team from the OVPR. In particular, I introduced them to the 2025 goals for K-State along with how our office is poised to help facilitate their success as scholars. We shared Q&A about grant opportunities, our pre awards services, and technology transfer/IP management. We have hired some outstanding faculty recently! Thanks also go out to the Teaching & Learning Center, Jana Fallin, and Karen Large for organizing the New Faculty Institute luncheon.

Informal gatherings like these are valuable opportunities to share what’s happening with our research activities. Another opportunity to discuss research interests will be happening at the next Thirsty Thursday event sponsored by the College of Arts & Sciences at the Tallgrass Taphouse tonight, Nov. 10, from 5:30 to 7 pm. Come learn about developing team research proposals and interdisciplinary research at K-State — I will be there, and I hope you will, too.

As noted below, our award-winning “SeeK” magazine has hit the mailing services. It’s much more fun as a hard copy, but an electronic copy is available now. Tell us what you think, since we are starting our planning for the spring 2017 edition. So far, we’ve brought you the sights and now the sounds of research at K-State, so what’s next …?

— Peter

Coming to a Mailbox or Web Browser Near You

The Fall 2016 issue of Seek is here! Read feature stories on the web, check out the entire issue on New Prairie Press, or have a look in your mailbox. Features explore K-State RSCAD in sorghum, prolonging the life of produce, canine health, and drama therapy. A special feature on the sounds of STEAM will open your ears to a new way of understanding the variety of work we do at K-State.

Commercialize Your Research

Funding is available to help commercialize your research ideas. If you've been supported by an NSF grant that was active at any time in the past five years, you're eligible to compete for NSF I-Corp funding. These awards provide funding, mentoring, and administrative support in transition research from discovery to industrial implementation. All individuals named in NSF reports as having received NSF funds are eligible: PI, co-PI, senior personnel, postdocs, REU students, graduate fellowship awardees (IGERT, GK-12, graduate research fellowship — unfortunately, GRAs who were supported but not identified by name in reporting are not eligible). If you're interested, take a look at the NSF information page and contact the program officers. You can get more support for these efforts from Chris Brandt, president of the Kansas State University Research Foundation, Rebecca Robinson of K-State's Institute for Commercialization, or Joel Anderson in the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs.

Miss a Training Session?

If you missed a training session, find recordings of selected events on our Faculty Resources website. View Finding Success with USDA Grant Programs, Broader Impacts and Outreach, Intro to Working with the Department of Defense, and more.

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 Getty Foundation is offering Planning and Implementation Grants to support the conservation of modern architecture as part of its Keeping It Modern initiative. Planning grants are offered for research and planning projects for significant 20th century buildings that involve practitioners from multiple disciplines and may include research of historical documentation; research on the historic fabric of the building; physical analysis and testing of original materials used in construction, such as their properties and performance under specific conditions; the development and testing of technical solutions; and preparation of technical drawings, budget estimates, and schedules of work. Implementation grants are offered for exceptional projects related to internationally recognized buildings that advance the conservation of modern architecture in significant ways and have the potential to serve as models for the conservation of other 20th century buildings.

K-State in the News

Discovery of Novel Virus in Swine Could Prevent History From Repeating

11/04/16 Barn OnAir & Online
Researchers at Kansas State University have identified a new swine circovirus. Its discovery is auspicious, as a related swine circovirus, porcine circovirus type 2, also known as PCV2, has had a devastating history in swine production. Associated diseases caused millions of dollars in losses globally in the 1900s and early 2000s.

National Award of Excellence Presented to Four Organizations Advancing Regional Prosperity and Innovation

11/02/16 Yahoo! Finance
Knowledge Based Economic Development (KBED) is a unique partnership of civic, academic and private sector entities working together to support new and growing companies in Manhattan, Kansas. This integrated community economic development program seeks to attract companies to the community by leveraging the talent, innovation and training capabilities, and infrastructure available at Kansas State University. The KBED partnership is in its ninth year of operation. With over $32 million in economic impact to date and over 750 jobs created or secured, KBED is an asset for the Manhattan community.

Who We Are Shows Up in Uncomfortable Ways in Long Campaign

11/06/16 Kansas City Star
In increasing measures, adults in cities are younger, more likely to be college graduates, far more likely not to be white and to have settled in a place they didn’t grow up. Those in the countryside, said Bonnie Lynn-Sherow, “feel forgotten.” She’s editor of the Online Journal of Rural Research and Policy and heads the Chapman Center for Rural Studies at Kansas State University. The continuing consolidation of farming operations means fewer jobs in rural areas, meaning young people must move to cities for work. Those who return after college typically come back with agriculture degrees. Those who leave are more likely to study the arts and social sciences — fields more populated by liberals.

Having a Baby at 47

11/07/16 Essential Baby
Kansas State University researchers Gary and Sandra Brase say "baby fever" is a real phenomenon, particularly among people in their 40s. "Baby fever," they say, is "a visceral physical and emotional desire to have a baby", unconnected to any logical reasons for reproducing. These aren't people who have reached their 40s childless - that's another story. These are people who have kids, usually the number they planned. Those kids are becoming independent.

Scientists Gain Upper Hand on Devastating Wheat Scab Disease

A team of scientists at Washington State University and Kansas State University 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. Their findings are published online in the journal Nature Genetics. The article details about 20 years of research that included scientists in China and several American universities. “The breakthrough that we’re reporting is the cloning of a resistance gene,” said lead author Bikram Gill, university distinguished professor of plant pathology at Kansas State University.

From Our Peers

Will the World’s Next Wars Be Fought Over Water?

3/22/16 LA Times
California’s ongoing drought is one sign that we have entered some uncharted and uncomfortable territory. Of the fears that have risen alongside a warming planet, perhaps none have attracted more attention than the "water wars" hypothesis. Exhaustive research by Aaron Wolf, a geographer at Oregon State University, has documented the surprising fact that there have been no interstate wars fought directly over water for thousands of years. In fact, his team’s research indicates that states have cooperated over shared water resources far more often than they have fought over them.

How Scientists Plan to Make Milk Chocolate Healthy

11/06/16 Munchies
If you’re the kind of person who compares desserts to your most depressing Tinder dates, then dark chocolate is the dull day-trader to milk chocolate’s backwards hat-wearing man-bro. Milk chocolate is the one who gave you a good-but-lowbrow night out, while dour and reserved dark chocolate droned on about its boring antioxidants and healthy flavonoids. Fortunately, scientists at North Carolina State University believe that they’ve found a way to bring some of the benefits of dark chocolate to milk chocolate too.

DNA in Dust Reveals Truth About Bugs Lurking in Our Homes

11/03/16 CBS News
Here’s a new finding that suggests no amount of housecleaning will turn your home into a bug-free oasis: More than 600 types of insects, spiders and centipedes live in most American homes. Researchers arrived at that startling number after analyzing bug DNA in dust samples collected from more than 700 homes across the continental United States. Study participants swabbed some dust from the top of a doorway inside their house or apartment. The sealed swab was sent to the researchers, who then used DNA analysis to identify every genus of bug DNA found in the samples. “That’s an incredible range of diversity from just a tiny swab of house dust,” said study author Anne Madden, a postdoctoral researcher at North Carolina State University.

The Place Where You Vote Affects Who You’ll Vote For

11/08/16 CNBC
On Tuesday, we can vote for whomever we want, but we don't get to pick where we vote. We might get assigned to vote at a school, church, library, community center, or whatever. But where we vote actually makes a difference to how we vote. An Oklahoma State University paper found Oklahoma residents in 2008 were more likely to support education reforms when they voted in a church rather than a community building. The same authors wrote another paper about voting results in Maine, Maryland, and Minnesota. That research showed voters filling out ballots in churches were less supportive of same-sex marriage, while voters in schools were more supportive of education policies.

Diamonds Could Be Building Block for Quantum Computers

11/07/16 PCWorld
Diamonds are among the most expensive gems in the world, but they could also serve as a building block for quantum computers. Researchers at North Carolina State University have developed a system to synthetically make microscopic diamonds — also called nanodiamonds — in specialized crystalline structures to stabilize calculations in quantum computers.

RSCAD Trending Topics

Executive Order — Advancing the Global Health Security Agenda to Achieve a World Safe and Secure from Infectious Disease Threats

As articulated in the National Strategy for Countering Biological Threats and implemented in Presidential Policy Directive 2 (PPD-2), promoting global health security is a core tenet of our national strategy for countering biological threats. No single nation can be prepared if other nations remain unprepared to counter biological threats; therefore, it is the policy of the United States to advance the Global Health Security Agenda (GHSA), which is a multi-faceted, multi-country initiative intended to accelerate partner countries' measurable capabilities to achieve specific targets to prevent, detect, and respond to infectious disease threats (GHSA targets), whether naturally occurring, deliberate, or accidental. The roles, responsibilities, and activities described in this order will support the goals of the International Health Regulations (IHR) and will be conducted, as appropriate, in coordination with the World Health Organization (WHO), Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE), Global Partnership Against the Spread of Weapons and Materials of Mass Destruction, the International Criminal Police Organization (INTERPOL), and other relevant organizations and stakeholders.

It’s Time to Modernize the Bioweapons Convention

On November 7, the Eighth Review Conference of the Biological Weapons Convention will commence in Geneva. Convened every five years, these meetings are an important opportunity to take stock of the treaty and its contribution to the global biosecurity regime.

Scientific Writing: A Very Short Cheat Sheet

The life of a researcher is incomplete without undergoing the trauma of writing scientific documents: papers, grants, protocols, theses, and so on and on. Most researchers find this stressful, time-consuming, and difficult; and, despite the enormous time and effort invested in writing, I for one often come across close-to-incomprehensible papers while digging through the literature. Why is that the case, and how do we fix it?

NIH Open Mike Blog: Are You On the Fence About Whether to Resubmit?

When applicants receive their summary statement resulting from the review of an application that was assigned a score outside of the ICs funding range, there are important decisions to be made that, ideally, should be based upon evidence. What is the likelihood that an application like this one will be funded? If I resubmit the application, what changes might improve the chances for a successful resubmission?

ARPA-E Announces 10 New Projects

ARPA-E today announced $32 million in funding for 10 innovative projects as part of its newest program: Next-Generation Energy Technologies for Connected and Autonomous On-Road Vehicles (NEXTCAR). With a goal of reducing individual vehicle energy usage by 20 percent, NEXTCAR projects will take advantage of the increasingly complex and connected systems in today’s — and tomorrow’s — cars and trucks to drastically improve their energy efficiency.

Never Too Old for a Eureka Moment

Critics of the tenure system often say that scholarly productivity declines over time. While that’s true, according to a new study in Science, creativity, or a shot at a big breakthrough, doesn't have to wane — as long as one keeps working. “We offer empirical evidence that impact is randomly distributed within the sequence of papers published by a scientist,” the paper says, “implying that impact variations during a scientific career can be fully explained by changes in productivity” — not age.

The Next Hot Trends in Food

Not too far in the future, when you reach for a healthy drink, it might be full of water from a cactus. Your main course at dinner might be a pear-like fruit from Southeast Asia that does a remarkable job of imitating meat. The next candy bar your children bite into might be infused with mushrooms that help cut down on the sugar needed to sweeten the treat. And their breakfast cereal might be colored with algae instead of chemicals. Why the wave of exotic delights? Nutrition science — and customers’ rapidly changing tastes — are forcing the food business to search ever farther afield for new edibles.

Testing Begins On An Experimental Zika Vaccine With Inactivated Virus

Federal scientists have launched another test in human volunteers of a Zika vaccine. This one uses a more traditional approach than an experiment that started in August. Federal officials are eager to develop a vaccine as quickly as possible, which is why they are pursuing multiple approaches. This experimental vaccine, called ZPIV, has already proved effective when designed to target a virus similar to Zika, called Japanese encephalitis.

Ebola Evolved Into Deadlier Enemy During the African Epidemic

The Ebola epidemic that tore through West Africa in 2014 claimed 11,310 lives, far more than any previous outbreak. A combination of factors contributed to its savagery, among them a mobile population, crumbling public health systems, official neglect and hazardous burial practices. But new research suggests another impetus: The virus may have evolved a new weapon against its human hosts. In studies published on Thursday in the journal Cell, two teams of scientists report that a genetic mutation may have made Ebola more deadly by improving the virus’s ability to enter human cells.