Issue: 1286

CALS Online and Dean’s Message
March 4, 2024

Dean’s Message

Hello CALS – Is it spring yet or still winter? Hard to tell! I was in Washington, D.C. last week with others from the college and ISU Extension and Outreach to attend the CARET meetings and visit Capitol Hill. It was a good visit there to make the case for federal support for the work we do, and especially support for the NIFA programs at USDA that are so key to our work – Smith-Lever, Hatch, Hatch Multistate, McIntire-Stennis, AFRI and others… More 

Top Stories

Students in the animal science foundational anatomy course use virtual dissection to supplement their hands-on learning via more traditional methods, a technology that’s common in medical and nursing school, but a rare opportunity for animal science students.

Virtual Dissection Fleshes out Instruction in Animal Science Anatomy Lab
Students in the animal science foundational anatomy course use virtual dissection to supplement their hands-on learning via more traditional methods, a technology that’s common in medical and nursing school, but a rare opportunity for animal science students. “We’re the first and only animal science department and pre-veterinary program in the nation, to our knowledge, using a virtual anatomy table for classroom instruction,” said Karl Kerns, animal science, who oversees the course. (Sophomore Abi Ernat is pictured using the interactive virtual anatomy system during an animal science class.) More 


CALS Faculty Awarded PIRS Grants
The Office of the Vice President for Research has awarded $100,000 in 2024 Presidential Interdisciplinary Research Seed Grant program funding to support two teams of scholars exploring novel approaches to genomics studies and metabolic dysfunction. Jeffrey Essner, genetics, development and cell biology, and Young-Jin Lee, chemistry, will co-lead one team investigating the use of mass spectrometry imaging to study the metabolic activity of zebrafish embryos. The second team includes Stephanie Hansen, animal science, and Jodi McGill, veterinary medicine, who will collaborate to study the use of feedlot cattle as a model for human metabolic dysfunction and obesity. More   

Macias Ready to Help Organize Research Data
Elizabeth Macias, newly hired data analyst, will work with faculty and staff researchers, as well as students, to collect, organize, analyze and share their data in standardized formats so it is easy to understand, replicate and reuse in future studies. The newly created position is a collaborative effort between CALS and the Iowa State University Library, but her services are available to any Iowa State faculty member. More 

Teaching and Students

CALS Graduate Student Mentoring Workshop Scheduled for March 6
College faculty are invited to a CALS Graduate Student Mentoring Workshop on Wednesday, March 6, at 3:10 p.m. in 142 Curtiss Hall. Presenters include Heather Greenlee, Graduate College, and Steve Freeman, agricultural and biosystems engineering.

Reiman Wins Global Student Entrepreneur Award
Cam Reiman, senior in animal ecology and dietetics and founder of Spock’s Sanctuary, received first place and a $24,000 prize package at the Global Student Entrepreneur Awards. More 

Block and Bridle Cake Auction Scheduled for March 5
The Block and Bridle Club is holding its annual cake auction on Tuesday, March 5, at 5:30 p.m. in the Kildee Hall Atrium. Various clubs and interest groups in the college donate cakes, with all proceeds going to animal science scholarships. More 

Nominations for Senior Awards Due March 15
The CALS Student Council is seeking nominations for spring 2024 senior awards. Every spring and fall semester, CALS Council recognizes graduating seniors through six different awards: leadership and innovation, academic achievement, distinguished service, outstanding ambassador of agriculture and life sciences, inclusive excellence and outstanding senior. Nominations are due March 15. More 

CALS Council Hosting National Ag Day Lunch
CALS Council is hosting a free lunch on March 18, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the Iowa Farm Bureau Pavilion in Kildee Hall to celebrate National Ag Day. Vegetarian and gluten options will be available. More 

Extension and Outreach

ISU Extension and Outreach Releases Real Impact Report
ISU Extension and Outreach has released Real Impact 2023 Report. It shares examples of ISU Extension and Outreach creating real impact in Iowa, such as farmers who participated in Planter University have estimated they can save $5 per acre because they learned how to evaluate planting performance and improve planter efficiency for greater success and increased profits. More 

How to Manage Garden Plants that Break Dormancy Early
Recent warm temperatures across Iowa have many gardeners concerned as they see buds on trees and shrubs swell and break, and foliage of perennials and spring bulbs emerge in February, much sooner than they normally would. Horticulturists with ISU Extension and Outreach advise on what to do when plants break dormancy earlier than expected. More 

Northeast Research and Demonstration Farm to Hold Annual Meeting
The annual meeting of the Northeast Iowa Agricultural Experimental Association is March 13 at Iowa State’s Northeast Research and Demonstration Farm, near Nashua. Topics will include short stature corn, trial results and nitrogen management. More 

Southeast Research and Demonstration Farm to Hold Annual Meeting
The annual meeting of the Southeast Iowa Agricultural Research Association is March 7 at Iowa State’s Southeast Research and Demonstration Farm in Crawfordsville. Topics will include progress on research projects at the farm and updates for crop farmers. More 

Agritourism Checklists Help Those with On-Farm Visitors Manage Liability
When planning an agritourism venture, be sure to consider the legal and technical requirements of the business. Checklists from ISU Extension and Outreach help simplify the process. More 

Around the College

Norton Named Director of MGWII
Erin Norton has been named director of the Midwest Grape and Wine Industry Institution, effective March 1. Norton has been with the MGWII since 2015 and served as co-director. She takes over the director responsibilities from Ruth MacDonald, who led the MGWII since 2017.

CALS Staff Council Invites You to Go Nuts for Donuts on March 21
All are invited to stop by Harl Commons (Curtiss Hall) on March 21 from 9-10 a.m. to enjoy a donut provided by CALS Staff Council, and to visit with colleagues. Bring your own breakfast beverage or enjoy bottled water provided by the council’s Networking and Social Committee. Donuts will be available while supplies last.

Nominations for Gamma Sigma Delta due March 22
The Iowa chapter of Gamma Sigma Delta, the honor society of agriculture, is accepting nominations for membership and awards. Nomination forms for faculty, staff and alumni membership and awards are available online and are due March 22. More 


March 6: INRC Water Quality Seminar
The Iowa Nutrient Research Center's March Focus on the Future seminar will feature Gabrielle Myers, agricultural and biosystems engineering, presenting work studying water quality impacts of perennial ground cover in tile-drained corn systems, and Adam Buseman, now water quality project manager, King County, Washington, on reducing phosphorus export in farmed potholes using blind inlets with steel media. The hybrid monthly sessions from 3:10-4 p.m. take place online and in 1306 Elings Hall. More 

March 7: Virtual Field Day
A virtual field day on Thursday, March 7, at 1 p.m. will present a new National Conservation Innovation Grant, led by Iowa Learning Farms, developing agronomic best practices and working to understand farmer attitudes toward relay intercropping soybean into a small grain following corn. More 

March 8: Retirement Celebration for Jeff Thorson
A retirement celebration for Jeff Thorson is Friday, March 8, from 3-5 p.m. in the Hansen Agriculture Student Learning Center atrium. Thorson has worked at the ruminant nutrition farm for more than 40 years.

March 22: Baker Plant Breeding Symposium
Registration is now open for the 11th annual R.F. Baker Plant Breeding Symposium, scheduled for March 22 at the ISU Alumni Center. This year’s theme is “The Power of Multi-Omics: Plant Breeding in a New Era.” Donn Cummings will be presented the Extraordinary Service to Plant Breeding Community award. Registration is free for both in-person and virtual attendance. The Plant Breeding and Genetics Graduate Student Club organizes the symposium, which is hosted by the Department of Agronomy. More 

March 27: CALS Spring Awards Program
The CALS Spring Awards Program, honoring faculty and staff achievements, is March 27 at 4:10 p.m. in Dolezal Auditorium, 127 Curtiss Hall. The program will include brief comments from Dean Robison and recognition of the 2024 CALS faculty and staff award recipients. A reception in Harl Commons will follow the program.


Plummer Discusses How Foundation of Modern Medicine is at Risk
Dr. Paul Plummer, veterinary diagnostic and production animal medicine, will present “The Foundation of Modern Medicine is at Risk” on March 19 at 6 p.m. in 2630 Memorial Union. The lecture will provide an overview of the antimicrobial resistance issue and discuss One Health approaches to mitigating this risk while optimizing the health and welfare of animals, humans and crops. More 


Early Years at the Iowa Experiment Station Featured in Cardinal Tales
March is the anniversary of the creation of the Agricultural and Home Economics Experiment Station at Iowa State. The Experiment Station was founded as a result of legislation passed by the U.S. Congress in 1887. Known as the Hatch Act, the legislation provided for the funding of agricultural research at land-grant colleges. In February 1888, the Iowa General Assembly approved the terms of the Hatch Act, and the Iowa Experiment Station was established. Information about the early years of the Experiment Station along with images from an 1889 catalog are featured in the March 1 blog post for Cardinal Tales, published by Special Collections and University Archives at Iowa State. More   

College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Online

Julie Stewart, Editor, (515) 294-5616

College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Online, the newsletter for faculty and staff in Iowa State University's College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, is published by email every Monday. The deadline for submitting content is 12 p.m. on Thursday.

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