November 17, 2016

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

November 17, 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

This will be the last RSCAD Momentum before our Thanksgiving Holiday break. Consequently, I want to share my thanks for a number of things.

I am thankful for the campus support this past year, having completed nearly 11 months in the office. There has been a lot to learn about the exciting research we are doing across the campus, and I have enjoyed every meeting and every visit with faculty and staff. We have a talented community of scholars at K-State, and I am thankful to be part of the team that helps to lead this important group of colleagues.

Our OVPR team — all 138 members who support, promote, and administer the research enterprise — are dedicated to ensuring quality in what they do to enable our faculty, staff, and students to be successful in their research endeavors. As I reported earlier, our team is working through a strategic refresh of our plan for helping K-State reach Top 50 status, and our focus continues to be on removing the barriers to success, enabling collaborative, interdisciplinary projects and intra- and inter-institutional programs, and promoting our outstanding outcomes. I am thankful for all the dedicated OVPR staff members and their leadership.

Finally, we have just completed a national search for a new K-State President, and I am proud to continue to be able to walk with President Myers on our journey to 2025. I have come to know over the past six months that he appreciates and supports our goals to be an outstanding public research university, and he embraces our land-grant mission. I am thankful to the search committee members who worked long hours to bring forth an outstanding leader for our university. I hope you will join me and embrace this opportunity to, in the words of President Lincoln during his second annual message to Congress, “think anew and act anew” for a better K-State.

Be safe on your journeys to visit family and friends this Thanksgiving.

— Peter

URCO Website Reorg

We've updated and reorganized the information on our University Research Compliance Office website. Take a look!

Remember October?

October 2016 awards are posted on our Awards and Reports page. Find a link to our Extramural Funding Awards Database there, too.


Make time to Seek out the fall 2016 issue of K-State's flagship magazine to find out about RSCAD efforts across the university.

Happy Thanksgiving!

RSCAD Momentum and The Funding Connection will take a break next week. Enjoy the holiday!

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 goal of the National Science Foundation’s National Robotics Initiative (NRI) is to support fundamental research that will accelerate the development and use of robots in the United States that work beside or cooperatively with people. The original NRI program focused on innovative robotics research that emphasized the realization of collaborative robots (co-robots) working in symbiotic relationships with human partners. The NRI-2.0 program significantly extends this theme to focus on issues of scalability: how teams of multiple robots and multiple humans can interact and collaborate effectively; how robots can be designed to facilitate achievement of a variety of tasks in a variety of environments, with minimal modification to the hardware and software; how robots can learn to perform more effectively and efficiently, using large pools of information from the cloud, other robots, and other people; and how the design of the robots' hardware and software can facilitate large-scale, reliable operation. In addition, the program supports innovative approaches to establish and infuse robotics into educational curricula, advance the robotics workforce through education pathways, and explore the social, behavioral, and economic implications of our future with ubiquitous collaborative robots.

K-State in the News

KSU Researchers Aim to Heighten Feed Mill Biosecurity

11/10/16 Barn OnAir & Online
They’ve come a long way already, but Kansas State University researchers studying the safety of animal food produced in feed mills say they’ve got plenty more to learn as they work to maintain safe food for animals and humans. The researchers are trying to protect food from dozens of risks to raw agricultural products entering and leaving the nearly 6,000 feed mills in the United States. “For many decades, we were manufacturing feed but we really never thought of feed as one of those things that could be bringing some of these diseases into our animals,” said Cassie Jones, assistant professor of animal sciences and industry. “

MediVet Biologics Announces Publication on Immunotherapy Vaccine for Canine Cancer

11/09/16 SeattlePi
MediVet Biologics, a global leader in providing biologic therapies to the animal health market, announced the completion of a publication centering on its autologous canine cancer vaccine or K9-ACV. The vaccine was developed by researchers from MediVet Biologics to provide an immunotherapy option for dogs with cancer. A secondary trial is open for enrollment at Kansas State University College of Veterinary Medicine to further monitor rate of clinical effectiveness.

West Nile's Long-Term Death Toll May Be Higher Than Thought

11/14/16 UPI
Stephen Higgs is president of the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene and a professor at Kansas State University. He said the study is significant and has the potential to make a difference by boosting awareness of West Nile's risks. "A better understanding of an infection like this over time is bound to help," Higgs said. "These findings will alert physicians to look for tell-tale signs that might indicate declining health due to previous infection with West Nile virus. They may be more likely to ask a patient if they think they have been infected and perhaps run blood tests to look for signs of previous infection." Higgs said more research into the virus is needed.

Plant Scientists Identify Gene to Combat Crippling Wheat Disease

A major breakthrough in the cloning of a resistance gene to eliminate wheat scab—a widespread disease responsible for drastic reductions in crop yield as well as millions of dollars in annual losses worldwide—has been achieved by a multi-institutional team of researchers. Historically, wheat scab—otherwise known as Fusarium Head Blight—has been a very difficult problem to solve. 20 years of research that includes input from scientists in China and several American Universities has been slow to produce results, with resistance only found in a select group of local Chinese plants. Until now, nothing was known about the Fhb1 gene and its ability to provide broad-spectrum resistance. The multi-University team, which also included researchers from Kansas State University and the University of Minnesota, used sophisticated wheat genome sequencing techniques to isolate the gene.

Observing the Birth of a Spectral Line

11/10/16 JuraForum
Recently, experimental physicists from the MPI for Nuclear Physics (MPIK, Heidelberg), together with theoretical physicists at the Vienna University of Technology and the Kansas State University succeeded to take a movie of an emerging Fano spectral line. To gain access to the short time scales, they used two ultrashort laser-controlled flashes of light. The first one in the extreme ultraviolet excites both electrons of the helium atom. Some femtoseconds later, the second, intense, near-infrared laser flash triggers ionization ahead of time, i.e., it cuts off the natural autoionization decay process.

From Our Peers

International Organization Names Purdue Top Award Recipient for Its Invention to Commercialization

11/14/16 Yahoo! Finance
The Association of Public and Land-grant Universities named Purdue University as a top winner at its 2016 Innovation and Economic Prosperity Universities Designation and Awards Program during its Nov. 13 annual meeting in Austin, Texas. The award recognizes association members for demonstrating excellence and leadership in planning, implementing, and evaluating programs and initiatives that support regional economic development. A video from the event can be viewed here. Only three other U.S. universities received top awards at the event. They are Arizona State University, Colorado State University and Montana State University.

High-Performing but Rebellious Employees Can Bring out the Jerk in Almost Any Supervisor

11/14/16 Yahoo! Finance
High-performing but rebellious employees can bring out the jerk in almost any supervisor, according to research from Oklahoma State University. Oklahoma State associate professor of management Rebecca Greenbaum’s research, “I Just Can’t Control Myself: A Self-Regulation Perspective on the Abuse of Deviant Employees,” finds that any supervisor can become abusive, and high-performing but rebellious employees will take more abuse.

A New Nail Polish Can Help Save Lives and It's Coming Soon

11/13/16 Yahoo! Beauty
Hopefully you've never had to question the safety of a drink you have at a bar, but for women in many different situations, the possibility that their drink might be spiked with a drug is a true concern. Now there’s a new nail polish that can help keep women safer by alerting them of the presence of certain drugs that might be in their drinks. Thanks to Undercover Colors, you can now detect if your drink’s been spiked with Rohypnol (the common rape date drug), Xanax or ecstasy. Simply stick the painted finger in the drink and swirl it around. And if there’s any drugs in it, the polish will change colors. The company was created by four engineering students at North Carolina State University. Their goal was to provide wearable protection that gives power to others. After all, according to the Center for Disease Control, one in five women report experiencing rape at some time in her life.

Our Sensitive Planet: A Look Back in Time

11/11/16 SF Gate
"Climate sensitivity has been a long-standing issue in climate research. It is very important for future projections," said Andreas Schmittner, a climate scientist from Oregon State University in Corvallis, Oregon. "Scientists are trying to reduce the uncertainty and try to improve the current estimate," he said. Climate sensitivity is the level of response from our planet to the amount of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas in the atmosphere.

High-Tech Agriculture Continues to Reap Rewards for Farmers and Society

11/08/16 USDA Blog
Just like a smart phone helps users learn, communicate and make important decisions, smart technology—known as precision agriculture—helps farmers know and apply critical information about the right investments in fertilizer, seed, pesticide and water needed to produce their crops. Through new technologies, farmers produce more efficiently and see an increase in profits while improving stewardship of ecosystems and local communities. While soil and yield mapping have been a standard method for determining the amount of fertilizer needed, new sensing systems are providing an alternative and more flexible method for determining inputs. Back in the 1990’s, USDA-funded researchers at Oklahoma State University studied the problem of how to measure the amount of the common fertilizer nitrogen needed in a field.

RSCAD Trending Topics

Science and the U.S. Election

Nature is following the transition to a Trump presidency, and analyzing how the election outcome could affect science.
The ultimate experiment: How Trump will handle science
What Scientists should focus on — and fear — under Trump (and more)

NIH-Led Effort Examines Use of Big Data for Infectious Disease Surveillance

Big data derived from electronic health records, social media, the internet and other digital sources have the potential to provide more timely and detailed information on infectious disease threats or outbreaks than traditional surveillance methods. A team of scientists led by the National Institutes of Health reviewed the growing body of research on the subject and has published its analyses in a special issue of The Journal of Infectious Diseases.

Record-Breaking Hot Year May Be the New Normal by 2025

The hottest year on record globally in 2015 could be just another average year by 2025 if carbon emissions continue to rise at their current rate, according to new research. And no matter what action we take, human activities had already locked in a “new normal” for global average temperatures that would occur no later than 2040. However, while annual global average temperatures were locked in, it was still possible with immediate and strong action on carbon emissions to prevent record-breaking seasons from becoming average — at least at regional levels.

'Minibrains' Could Help Drug Discovery For Zika And For Alzheimer’s

Some tiny clusters of brain cells grown in a lab dish are making big news at this week's Society for Neuroscience meeting in San Diego. Known as "minibrains," these rudimentary networks of cells are small enough to fit on the head of a pin, but already are providing researchers with insights into everything from early brain development to Down syndrome, Alzheimer's and Zika.

I Can Haz More Science Emoji? Host of Nerd Icons Proposed

Science lovers, rejoice! More emoji designed for the nerd in all of us are on their way. This weekend, at the first-ever Emojicon in San Francisco, California, a group of science enthusiasts and designers worked on proposals for several new science-themed emoji. If these are approved, in a year or two, people could be expressing themselves with a heart–eye emoji wearing safety goggles. On 6 November, the science emoji group submitted a formal proposal to the Unicode Consortium, the organization that oversees the official list of these icons, to include emoji for the other planets — aside from Earth — and Pluto. A second proposal, which the team plans to submit in the coming weeks, includes lab equipment (a beaker, Bunsen burner, fire extinguisher, Petri dish and goggles), a DNA double helix, a microbe, a chemical-element tile for helium, a mole (to represent the unit of measure and the animal) and a water molecule.