December 15, 2016

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

December 15, 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

2017 Research Showcase

K-State RSCAD is hitting the road this spring! Mark your calendar to head to K-State Olathe on May 17. Read more about the event or find the basics and register.

INFEWS Proposal Development

Researchers interested in NSF's recently released Innovations at the Nexus of Food, Energy and Water Systems announcement should plan to attend a session 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. on Wednesday, January 11 in 1139 Engineering Hall. A brief presentation will address specific requirements of the RFA and changes to NSF’s recently updated proposal guide, but the majority of the session will facilitate collaboration with other researchers. Please register by January 4.

Research Administrators Council

The Research Administrators Council will meet January 10 from 10:30 to noon in Union 227. VPR Dorhout will address the group about 2025 progress, and Ian Czarnezki will provide an update on plans for a research administration system. Future 2017 meetings are slated for April 11, July 11, October 10. Mark your calendars!

Export Controls

Welcome to Rose Ndegwa, the new export controls specialist in the University Research Compliance Office. Rose has extensive experience in helping faculty and staff navigate a complex set of federal regulations. Read more about her and export controls.

Holiday Hiatus

  • RSCAD Momentum will return on Thursday, January 12. Happy holidays to all!
  • The Office of the Vice President for Research, PreAward Services, and Biotechnology Core Laboratory will be closed during the holiday break, December 26–January 2. If you have a proposal submission deadline during this period and are unable to finalize the required materials to submit on or before December 23, contact PreAward Services at 532-6804 or the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs at 532-6195 prior to December 20. The Office of Research and Sponsored Programs will be closed from December 21–January 2.
  • The Biosecurity Research Institute, Comparative Medicine Group, Electronics Design Laboratory, Kansas State University Research Foundation, National Agricultural Biosecurity Center, and University Research Compliance Office will remain open but may have limited staff during the holiday break.

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 (NSF) Innovations at the Nexus of Food, Energy and Water Systems (INFEWS) program seeks to catalyze well-integrated interdisciplinary and convergent research to transform scientific understanding of the Food-Energy-Water (FEW) nexus, integrating all three components rather than addressing them separately. This research should help improve system function and management, address system stress, increase resilience, and ensure sustainability. Proposals submitted to the INFEWS program must demonstrate meaningful integration across disciplines to address the principal objectives of the program and should go beyond existing approaches that can be addressed within the individual disciplines and usual core-program co-funded research opportunities at NSF and USDA/NIFA.

K-State in the News

Need Your Roof Repaired? There’s a Space-Based App For That

12/7/16 New Scientist
Roof repairs have moved into the space age. Two firms have turned to satellite imagery to get homeowners more accurate estimates for construction work. The idea is to help demystify pricing for customers and cut the cost of connecting them to competitive contractors. “It’s probably not a bad way to get a ballpark estimate of how much a job is going to cost, provided that a clear view of the roof is available,” says Douglas Goodin at Kansas State University’s Remote Sensing Research Laboratory. “I would tend to be a bit skeptical of how good the estimates would be, but it’s hard to say.”

‘Railroad Empire:’ Rephotography Highlights Environmental Changes Since 1867

12/10/16 Topeka Capital-Journal
In 1867, Alexander Gardner documented the progress of American civilization as he traveled across Kansas, developing photographs in a darkroom set up in the back of a wagon. “His photography was amazing when you consider the conditions under which he did it,” said Jim Sherow, an environmental historian who teaches at Kansas State University.

K-State Professor Discusses Importance of Free Speech in Holding Government

12/8/16 Topeka Capital-Journal
Stephen Wolgast’s talk, “Free Speech in Times of Crisis,” was part of a series of events commemorating the 225th anniversary of the Bill of Rights, which will be marked Dec. 15. The event began with a short video on William Allen White, a newspaper editor and politician, who won a Pulitzer Prize in 1923 for an editorial on free speech. Wolgast, who attended Topeka West High School, is an assistant professor of journalism and digital media at Kansas State University.

Wheat Scab Resistance Gene Found

K-State Plant Pathologist, Bikram Gill, talks about a major discovery at K-State's Wheat Genetics Resource Center which will allow wheat breeders to develop effective resistance to this disease.

K-State Faculty Dr. Chris Miller Seeks to Create Way For Celiacs to Consume Wheat

12/9/16 Milling Journal
For most Celiacs, all they want to be able to do is have their wheat and eat it too. However, when people have celiac disease, any gluten they digest automatically damages their small intestine. That's why Dr. Chris Miller, a former faculty member at Kansas State University in Grain Science and Industry, now the director of wheat quality research at Heartland Plant Innovations, is trying to come up with a way for Celiacs to be able to consume gluten without the repercussions their body has towards it.

From Our Peers

KU Professor’s Research Proves Some Science Textbooks Wrong

12/9/16 Houston Chronicle
For decades biology textbooks have gotten fern reproduction all wrong — at least the part accusing the ancient plants of inbreeding. Ferns have not survived millions of years by sperm and egg from the same plantlet conceiving new plants, research by a University of Kansas professor shows. No, individual gametophytes — even though they're bisexual — do not single-handedly make babies fit to carry on the fern population. "That's the thing," Chris Haufler, professor of ecology and evolutionary biology, told the Lawrence Journal-World ( ). "You've got to have two gametophytes to tango."

What’s Lurking In Your Showerhead?

12/8/16 The New Yorker
My sudden showerhead conniption was set off, indirectly, by Rob Dunn, an evolutionary biologist at North Carolina State University. Dunn’s laboratory is focussed on getting to know humanity’s most intimate microbial neighbors—the invisible army of bacteria, fungi, mites, and molds that live on our skin, clothes, and household surfaces. Earlier this year, as part of that mission, Dunn and his colleagues launched the Showerhead Microbiome Project, sending five hundred sampling kits to volunteers across the United States and Europe.

Chemical Trickery Corrals ‘Hyperactive’ Metal-Oxide Cluster

12/8/16 EurekAlert!
After decades of eluding researchers because of chemical instability, key metal-oxide clusters have been isolated in water, a significant advance for growing the clusters with the impeccable control over atoms that's required to manufacture small features in electronic circuits. Oregon State University chemists created the aqueous cluster formation process. It yielded a polyoxocation of zinc, aluminum and chromium that is not protected by the organic ligand shell that is usually required to capture such molecules from water. "Our discovery is exciting in that it provides both new fundamental understanding and new materials, and useful applications are always built on a foundation of fundamental understanding," said May Nyman, a professor of chemistry at Oregon State.

Five Things That Happen to Your Body When You Quit Exercising For a Month

12/9/16 Redbook
"After four days of zero aerobic exercise, your heart becomes less efficient, so you may notice shortness of breath sooner," says Michele Olson, Ph.D., professor of exercise science and lead researcher at Auburn University Montgomery's Scharff-Olson Kinesiology Lab. Too busy to hit spin class? Counteract this by incorporating more activity into your everyday tasks, Olson suggests. "Walk as much as you can, with your pets or up and down the stairs, and clean like a boss. You don't even need to leave your house because you have a built-in home gym if you try to be a neat freak," she says.

Using Drones and Insect Biobots to Map Disaster Areas

12/7/16 Engineering 360
Researchers at North Carolina State University have developed a combination of software and hardware that they say will allow the use of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and insect cyborgs, or biobots, to map large, unfamiliar areas—such as collapsed buildings after a disaster. “The idea would be to release a swarm of sensor-equipped biobots—such as remotely controlled cockroaches—into a collapsed building or other dangerous, unmapped area,” says Edgar Lobaton, assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering. “Using remote-control technology, we would restrict the movement of the biobots to a defined area."

RSCAD Trending Topics

There’s an Antidote to America’s Long Economic Malaise: College Towns

A nationwide study by the Brookings Institution for The Wall Street Journal found 16 geographic areas where overall job growth was strong, even though manufacturing employment fell more sharply in those places from 2000 to 2014 than in the U.S. as a whole. Among the 16 surprisingly resilient areas, half are home to a major university, including Athens, Ga., Charlotte, N.C., Charlottesville, Va., Corvallis, Ore., and Auburn, according to Brookings, a think tank in Washington. … “Better educated places with colleges tend to be more productive and more able to shift out of declining industries into growing ones,” says Mark Muro, a Brookings urban specialist. “Ultimately, cities survive by continually adapting their economies to new technologies, and colleges are central to that.”

NIFA Announces $5 Million in Funding for Food, Energy, and Water Systems Research

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) ... announced the availability of up to $5 million in funding for research to better understand how food, energy and water systems interact, and how they can be sustained. This funding is made available through Innovations at the Nexus of Food, Energy and Water Systems (INFEWS), a federal research partnership between NIFA and the National Science Foundation (NSF).

Information Overload? Not Everybody Is Feeling It, Pew Study Says

As I write this I have 42 Internet tabs open, across four browsers, and I feel completely at ease. Apparently, I'm not alone. A new Pew Research Center study found that most Americans are not overloaded by information, or at least, they don't feel they are. In April, Pew surveyed 1,520 Americans 18 and older. According to the study, 20 percent of Americans feel overloaded by information — down from 27 percent a decade ago. In fact, three-quarters of Americans like having a lot of information at their disposal. Two-thirds of the respondents said that having more information actually helps to simplify their lives.

Why Universities Need Scholarly-Communications Experts

In the last two decades, many administrators have come to realize that advances in communications technologies present opportunities for their institutions and faculty members to achieve their missions of producing and disseminating knowledge more effectively than ever before. Indeed, scholars can now reach and have an impact on readers all over the world, not merely on a small and closed community of fellow academics. In an effort to take advantage of the opportunities of the digital age and reverse or at least mitigate the more troubling trends in scholarly publishing, some leading research universities, including the University of California at Berkeley and at Davis, Duke and Harvard Universities, and the University of Toronto, have hired scholarly-communications experts. While these professionals’ assistance in shaping institutional information policies has been invaluable, even more significant is the role that they can play in achieving bottom-up changes in the culture of scholarly communications.

Kansas to Exercise Foreign Animal Disease Response

The Kansas Department of Agriculture will lead an emergency preparedness exercise, Afterburn, Dec. 19 to 22 in Manhattan, Kansas, to practice the state’s response plan to a foreign animal disease event. The four-day functional exercise, which will be based out of KDA headquarters in Manhattan, will enable KDA and its partners in other state agencies, federal and local government, industry, university and six other states to practice the state’s foreign animal disease response plan. More than 200 individuals will participate in the Afterburn exercise, which will be based on the confirmation of foot-and-mouth disease in the United States.

Child Mummy Offers Revised History of Smallpox

A child mummy from the 17th century, found in a crypt underneath a Lithuanian church, was discovered to harbor the oldest known sample of the variola virus that causes smallpox. Researchers who sequenced the virus say it could help answer lingering questions about the history of smallpox, including how recently it appeared in humans (perhaps more recently than we thought) and when specific evolutionary events occurred. Their study appears December 8 in Current Biology.

EPA's Study of Hydraulic Fracturing for Oil and Gas and Its Potential Impact on Drinking Water Resources

EPA released the final report, “Hydraulic Fracturing for Oil and Gas: Impacts from the Hydraulic Fracturing Water Cycle on Drinking Water Resources”. Read the executive summary and the entire report.

4-H and NASAS Partner on Space Age STEM Curriculum

NASA and 4-H, a program of USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA), are teaming up with Astronaut and 4-H alumna Peggy Whitson to inspire youth to develop life skills for success inside and outside the classroom. The online resource hub “Expeditionary Skills for Life,” will feature lessons and content built around the skills needed to become an astronaut that also help students succeed across the board.