Issue: 850

College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Online
May 18, 2015 – No. 850

Top Stories

Growth in Career Opportunities for CALS Students Mirrors National Report
Mike Gaul, director of CALS career services, served as contributor and consultant on a national report on employment outlook released May 11 by USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture and Purdue University. Gaul says the outlook is bright for jobs related to food, agriculture, renewable natural resources and the environment. More

Gift from Nelson Foundation Supports Lab Renovation
A gift from The Nelson Foundation will make possible the renovation of the Food Science teaching laboratory at ISU. The Nelson Foundation’s support will transform a 1,950-square-foot teaching laboratory into a modern facility with up-to-date equipment and space to enhance the student learning experience in food chemistry and food microbiology courses. More


Egg Industry Center Looking to Fund Avian Influenza Research
The Egg Industry Center is seeking pre-proposals to fund research related to the current avian influenza outbreak. Researchers can find submission information at EIC website. The deadline for pre-proposals is June 3. More

O’Neal Talks with KCCI about Loss of Bee Colonies
The national average for bee population decline in the past year was 40 percent, but in Iowa experts said it was 60 to 70 percent. Matt O’Neal, entomology, talked with KCCI News on May 14. He said research shows they are now losing more bees in the summer than winter. More

Dharmadhikari Sees Bright Future for Wineries in Iowa
The number of wineries in Iowa has nearly quadrupled since 2004, and Murli Dharmadhikari, director of the Midwest Grape and Wine Industry Institute at ISU and adjunct associate professor of food science and human nutrition, says there is still plenty of room for growth. Breakthroughs in grape breeding and genetics resulted in new varieties of grapes capable of withstanding the region’s colder weather, he said. “That is really where the resurgence of the wine industry started.” More

Winham to Promote Pulse Research at National, International Events
Donna Winham, food science and human nutrition, will be promoting pulse research at national and international events over the next two years as a member of the nutrition and food security subcommittee for the 2016 International Year of Pulses. The United Nations General Assembly declared the IYOP resolution to focus on the role of pulses (beans, peas, lentils) in food security, nutrition and sustainable agriculture. More

Miscanthus Planting Begins at Eastern Iowa Airport
Planting of miscanthus, a perennial grass that will be burned as fuel by the University of Iowa power plant, has begun on 65 acres of low performing farmland at The Eastern Iowa Airport. A May 15 article in The Gazette explains that the planting is the first step in a twofold effort to reduce nutrient runoff and produce renewable resources.  Emily Heaton, agronomy and extension biomass specialist, is involved in the University of Iowa Biomass Fuel Project. 

Swenson Featured as ISU Change Agent
Dave Swenson, economics, ran his first marathon in 1999. It was such a painful experience that he thought he’d never run another one. But this spring, Swenson completed his 200th race. The determination required to train and run that many miles is also applied to his work. In his 23 years at ISU, Swenson has published reports on everything from the value of Iowa’s manufacturing and agricultural sectors to the cost and return on financial incentives and tax breaks provided to businesses. More

Teaching and Students

Cyclone Power Pullers Create Tractor that Makes Life Easier for Operators
The Cyclone Power Pullers, a team of 10 ISU students, designed and built a quarter-scale tractor over the course of the last academic year to enter in a national competition this month. Dan Killpack, a graduating senior in agricultural and biosystems engineering, led this year’s team and said operator convenience was the emphasis. More

New State FFA President Proud of Revitalized FFA
Michael Tupper, an upcoming sophomore in agricultural engineering and agricultural business, was recently elected Iowa FFA state president. He talked with Iowa Farmer Today for their May 16 issue, about the growth in his New Hampton High School FFA chapter, his experiences with FFA, and his upcoming year as state president.

CALS Graduation Convocation Can be Viewed Online
A video of the spring and summer 2015 CALS graduation convocation, held May 9 at C.Y. Stephens Auditorium, is available online. Chancelor Wiese, agricultural studies, was the convocation speaker.  

Extension and Outreach

Grazing Native Plants Balances Economics and Ecology
A new publication by ISU Extension and Outreach details how grazing livestock on Iowa prairies and grasslands can balance economics with ecology, benefiting both the land manager and the producer. “Grazing Native Plants in Iowa: Processes and Experiences” is based on a research project conducted at Whiterock Conservancy in Coon Rapids, Iowa. A 2010 grant from the Leopold Center’s Ecology Initiative helped supported this research. Mary Wiedenhoeft, agronomy, is co-author of the publication.

SARE Funding Seminar Scheduled for June 29
A funding seminar on opportunities for research, education, extension and graduate student funding from the USDA Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education program is scheduled for June 29, 12 to 1 p.m. in 118 Horticulture Building. The pizza lunch and information session will include a presentation by Rob Myers, Beth Nelson and Joan Benjamin on grant opportunities offered through North Central Region SARE program. The event is free for faculty, staff and graduate students. Please email Linda Naeve ( to register.


May 20: Iowa Learning Farms Webinar
Source water protection and local partnerships will be the topic of this month’s Iowa Learning Farms webinar on Wednesday, May 20, at 1 p.m. Speakers are Jamie Benning, water quality program manager with ISU Extension and Outreach, and Becky Ohrtman, state source water protection program coordinator with the Iowa DNR.

Funding Opportunities

VPR Office Accepting Pre-proposals for Pew Scholars Program in Biomedical Sciences
The VPR Office is accepting pre-proposals for the Pew Scholars Program in Biomedical Sciences. The program is designed to support early investigators in the advancement of human health. Candidates must have a doctorate in biomedical sciences, medicine or related field and hold full-time appointments of assistant professor as of Nov. 16. The candidate must have been in such appointment for less than three years as of July 16. Pre-proposals can be submitted to by June 15. Contact: Donna VanPelt,, or Chitra Rajan, More

Funding Information, Opportunities and Deadline Reminders
Dates listed are application deadlines. Contact: Roxanne Clemens, Additional information is posted at CALS Funding Resources

June 12 (round 1 proposal): Caplow Children’s Prize; one award, $250,000, saving the lives of children.

June 8: USDA NIFA Smith-Lever Special Needs Competitive Grants Program; Extension, $30,000 to $120,000, 100 percent match from applicant institution. More

June 15 (letter of intent): Muscular Dystrophy Association Research Grant; $300,000.

June 30: USDA Rural Business Opportunity Grants; $10,000 to $500,000. More

June 26 (letter of intent): NSF Industry/University Cooperative Research Centers Program; cost sharing required. More

June 30: Department of Education First in the World Solicitation; $1 million to $10 million, pre-application webinar May 19, one application per institution, contact Sue Shipitalo ( with interest. More

July 1 (concept paper): Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Healthy Eating Research Program; up to $190,000.

July 13: NSF Collections in Support of Biological Research; three proposals per organization, contact Sue Shipitalo ( with interest. More

Aug. 3: Fulbright Scholar Program Science and Technology, Public Health and Health Sciences – South Africa.


It Is, In Fact, Rocket Science
An article in the May 15 issue of the New York Times states that the popular history of science is full of falsehoods. Leonard Mlodinow, a physicist and author, says that these mythical stories are destructive in that they promote false conceptions of the evolution of scientific thought. The oversimplification of discovery makes science appear far less rich and complex than it really is. More


New Mural in Hansen Agriculture Student Learning Center
A new mural by Clint Hansen has been installed on the south wall of the Jeff and Deb Hansen Agriculture Student Learning Center. “A Sustained Legacy: Advancing Science, Students, Farms, the World” is a 6-foot-by-40-foot glass and ceramic tile mosaic depicting the history and legacy of the Department of Animal Science. The mural was commissioned by University Museums and the Department of Animal Science as part of the Iowa’s Art in State Buildings program.

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 Friday.


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