Issue: 937

College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Online
Feb. 6, 2017 – No. 937

Top Stories

Dean Wintersteen Shares Message on Diversity and Inclusion in CALS
On Feb. 2, Dean Wendy Wintersteen shared her expectations for faculty, staff and students on creating an inclusive learning environment in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. “…We have high expectations for faculty and staff to meet our mission of teaching, research and extension and outreach. We have high expectations of our students to meet the rigorous challenges of our programs so they are prepared for the rigors of the waiting world,” said Wintersteen in her letter to faculty and staff. “Our expectations also must be high, for faculty, staff and students, for a commitment to a welcoming environment, and for the value of diversity and inclusion in every place and situation we encounter on campus.”

CALS Professors Inducted into Meat Industry Hall of Fame
Joe Sebranek and Joe Cordray, animal science, were inducted into the Meat Industry Hall of Fame on Jan. 31 at a ceremony in Atlanta, Ga. Sebranek is one of the world’s foremost scientists in meat processing technology and food safety, and his research has had a major impact on making meat safer for consumers. Cordray, extension meat specialist and professor-in-charge of the Meats Laboratory for more than 20 years, provides information on meat science and technology and coordinates short courses for domestic and international meat industry personnel. More

After 35 Years, Cream of the Crop Retires: Vince Lawson of Muscatine Farm
Vince Lawson served as superintendent at ISU’s Muscatine Island Research and Demonstration Farm of Fruitland since 1982. He retired in January, and a reception will be held Feb. 15 (see Calendar, below). CALS Communications Service student intern, Summer Bontrager, visited with Lawson about his 35 years at the research farm. Read her Q&A with Lawson.


Entomology Faculty to Take Part in Vector-Borne Diseases Center of Excellence
CALS and College of Veterinary Medicine faculty are taking part in a new national center studying diseases spread through the bites of infected insects. The Upper Midwestern Center of Excellence in Vector Borne Diseases is funded by a $10 million grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Ryan Smith, entomology and head of the Medical Entomology Laboratory, will oversee Iowa State’s contribution to the center. Other faculty involved are Joel Coats, entomology, and Bradley Blitvich, veterinary microbiology and preventive medicine. More

Agronomy Faculty Receive USDA Grants for Phenomics and Microbiome Research
Jianming Yu, agronomy, is the lead investigator in a $260,000 Early Concept Grants for Exploratory Research awarded by USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture for plant and animal phenomics and microbiome projects. Yu’s project focuses on advancing phenomics capacity to empower biological research. Also, Danny Singh, agronomy, is a co-PI on a $270,000 project led by ISU engineering faculty on transparent soil technologies for root and rhizosphere phenotyping.

Kaleita Talks Precision Conservation on Conservation Chat Podcast
Amy Kaleita, agricultural and biosystems engineering, talks about precision conservation on Iowa Learning Farms most recent Conservation Chat podcast. Kaleita’s work is at the intersection of conservation, information technology and precision agriculture. More

GDCB Scientists Design Electricity Generator that Mimics Trees
Scientists in the department of genetics, development and cell biology, including Michael McCloskey, Eric Henderson and Curtis Mosher, have built a device that mimics the branches and leaves of a cottonwood tree and generates electricity when its artificial leaves sway in the wind. The concept won’t replace wind turbines, but the technology could spawn a niche market for small, visually unobtrusive machines that turn wind into electricity. More

Teaching and Students

ISU Meat Judging Alumni and Supporters Weekend, Feb. 11-12
The first ISU Meat Judging Alumni and Supporters Weekend will be held Feb. 11-12. A social and silent auction will take place Saturday evening at Quality Inn and Suites in Ames. Current intercollegiate competitors as well as the ISU teams from 1987 (30 year anniversary) and 1997 (20 year anniversary) will be recognized. An open meat judging contest will take place on Sunday. For more information contact Alex Conover ( or Carl Frame (

Animal Science Academic Quadrathlon, Feb. 15
The 2017 animal science academic quadrathlon will be held Feb. 15 at the Iowa Farm Bureau Pavilion in Kildee Hall. Teams of four will compete to win scholarships and a trip to the Midwest Regional competition. The event includes lab practicum and a quiz bowl. Sign up by Feb. 8 outside Kildee 120, or contact

FSHN Releases New Student Recruitment Video
Food science and culinary food science majors learn the chemical makeup of ingredients, study how to make sure food is safe and consistent, and practice developing new foods for grocery stores. For those interested in food and how it’s made, view a new student recruitment video released by the department of food science and human nutrition. 

Extension and Outreach

2017 Soil Health Conference Set for Feb. 16-17
ISU’s Soil Health Conference, organized through the leadership of agronomy’s Mahdi Al-Kaisi, will be held Feb. 16-17 at the Scheman Building. With sponsors that include the Department of Agronomy and the Leopold Center, the conference features more than 33 speakers from academia, the USDA, agriculture industry, farmers, students and the private sector. Topics include economics of soil health, linkage between soil health and water quality, field indicators or observations for quick soil health field assessment, and assessment tools. “The goal of this conference is to focus on management practices that effect soil health, sustain productivity and reduce agriculture’s footprint on the environment,” said Al-Kaisi. More

Around the College

Colletti Reappointed as Senior Associate Dean of CALS, Associate Director of AES
Joe Colletti has been reappointed to a five-year term as Senior Associate Dean of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and Associate Director of the Agriculture Experiment Station. Colletti has served two previous five-year terms, the first beginning in 2006. He served as Interim Senior Associate Dean from 2005 to 2006. Colletti is in his 39th year at Iowa State, joining the faculty of the forestry department in 1978.

Kevin Ross Named CARET Delegate for CALS and Extension and Outreach
Kevin Ross has been named an Iowa delegate to the Council for Agricultural Research, Extension and Teaching (CARET). He will represent CALS and ISU Extension and Outreach in the national grassroots organization that advocates for greater national support and understanding of the land-grant university system’s food and agricultural research, extension and teaching programs that enhance the quality of life for all people. Ross joins current CARET representatives Donald Latham, Alexander; Sally Stutsman, Riverside; and Robert Petrzelka, Mt. Pleasant. Ross serves on the CALS Advisory Council, and in the past has served on the Dean’s Executive Council for CALS. Ross and his wife, Sara, run Ross Land & Cattle LLC, a family farm and cow-calf operation near Underwood. More


Feb. 15: Vince Lawson Retirement Reception
A retirement reception for Vince Lawson will be held on Feb.15, 2:30 to 3:30 p.m. (program at 2:45) in the Memorial Union Pioneer Room. Lawson has served as the superintendent at the Muscatine Island Research and Demonstration Farm since 1982. CALS Communications Service student intern, Summer Bontrager, visited with Lawson about his 35 years at the research farm. More

Funding Opportunities

Limited Submission: Transformations to Sustainability, Due Feb. 13
The Office of the VPR is requesting expressions of interest for the Belmont Forum and EU NORFACE ERA-NET (New Opportunities for Research Funding Co-operation in Europe) Transformations to Sustainability (T2S) Programme. The programme is structured around three themes relating to transformations to sustainability: governance and institutional dimensions; economy and finance; and well-being, quality of life, identity and social and cultural values. The U.S. funding organization is the National Science Foundation. Each consortium must be led by a PI from social sciences and must involve at least three national research teams. Contact by Feb. 13 to express interest in applying to this opportunity.

Limited Submission: NEA Art Works - Creativity Connects, Due Feb. 13
The Office of the VPR is accepting expressions of interest for the National Endowment for the Arts Art Works-Creativity Connects program. This program supports collaborative, mutually beneficial partnerships between the arts and the following non-arts sectors: agriculture, business and economic development, science, technology, healthcare, community, education, environment, military and transportation. Contact by Feb. 13 to express interest in applying to this opportunity.

Webinar: Monarch Butterfly Conservation Fund, Feb. 13
The National Fish and Wildlife Federation is hosting a webinar to discuss a Monarch Butterfly funding opportunity that will be released on Feb. 8. Webinar participants will learn about the two focus areas for projects: to increase the quality, quantity and connectivity of habitat, and to enhance outreach and organizational coordination. The webinar will take place on Feb. 13 at 11 a.m. Registration is required. More

ISU Workshop: Finding Foundation Funding, Mar. 2
The Office of the VPR will host the workshop, Finding Foundation Funding and What to do Once You’ve Found a Match on March 2, 3 to 4:30 p.m. in the Ensminger Room, 1204 Kildee Hall. The workshop presenters will discuss how to strategically search for foundation funding using the Foundation Directory Online, next steps to take once an opportunity is identified, and university resources available to assist with completion of a submission. The workshop will benefit faculty and staff who are interested in funding smaller projects or diversifying their funding sources. Registration is requested. More

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

Continuous: John Templeton Foundation – Online Funding Inquiries for Core Funding Areas; focus areas include genetics, and science and the big questions, contact ISU Foundation to express interest. More

March 1: DOE Joint Genome Institute Facilities Integrating Collaborations for User Science Microbiome Data Science; non-monetary award, access to user facility. More

March 1: Klingenstein-Simons Fellowship Awards in Neuroscience; $225,000 for three years, must be within four years of receiving first tenure track appointment. More

March 5 (letter of intent): NIH Development of Highly Innovative Tools and Technology for Analysis of Single Cells (STTR) (R41/R42); $150,000 Phase I, $1 million Phase II. More

March 10: USDA NIFA Secondary Education, Two-Year Postsecondary Education, and Agriculture in the K-12 Classroom Challenge Grants (SPECA); up to $300,000 over 36 months, K-14 grade levels. More

March 17: EPA National Priorities: Impacts of Water Conservation on Water Quality in Premise Plumbing and Water Distribution Systems; $1.99 million per award, 25 percent match required. More

April 1: Tree Fund - Hyland R. Johns Grant Program; $50,000, 10 percent match. More

April 3 (letter of intent): DOE FY18 Joint Genome Institute – Environmental Molecular Science Laboratory - Collaborative Science Call; biofuels, bioproducts, plant-microbe interactions, biogeochemistry, emerging topics. More

Aug. 23: NSF Research Experiences for Undergraduates. More

Sept. 30 (concept paper): DOE Innovative Development Energy-Related Applied Science; $500,000 for 12 months. More

Communications Kiosk

Use Prior To When Requirement is Involved
Using “before” rather than “prior to” is less stilted and preferred for most uses. “Prior to” is appropriate, however, when a notion of requirement is involved: The fee must be paid prior to the examination. (Associated Press Stylebook, 2014 edition, pg. 212)


Registration Due Feb. 27 for USDA Listening Session on Sustainable Production Systems
The USDA Office of the Chief Scientist has announced a Visioning of U.S. Agriculture Systems for Sustainable Production stakeholder listening session to be held March 2, 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. The listening session is for those interested in the long-term health and viability of U.S. agriculture while improving the economic, environmental, security and health benefits to the U.S. through agriculture over the next 50 years. Registration to attend must be submitted by Feb. 27. More

The Science of Better Tasting Tomatoes
Over the years, tomatoes have been bred for qualities such as size and firmness for shipping purposes, while selection for flavor has been overlooked, causing many modern varieties to lose their original taste. New University of Florida research reveals which genes are needed to reinstate the rich, original flavor of tomatoes. The results were published in the Jan. 27 issue of Science. More

The Science of Better Tasting Milk
An article in the Dec. 15 issue of The Wall Street Journal stated that scientists at Virginia Tech report that the flavor of milk stored in a standard supermarket-style dairy cooler is significantly degraded by fluorescent light passing through translucent plastic containers. Its higher ultraviolet energy triggers a process of oxidation that damages essential nutrients, resulting in inferior flavor as well as a less healthful beverage. Susan Duncan, Virginia Tech, is working with the dairy industry, to encourage packaging that blocks light and to suggest that retailers switch away from fluorescent bulbs.


Needed: Students as Fact-Checkers
Long before the expression “fake news” entered the public consciousness, a Stanford University faculty member and his colleagues were immersed in an 18-month-long study to evaluate students’ ability to accurately evaluate online information. The results were bleak. “Many people assume that because young people are fluent in social media they are equally perceptive about what they find there. Our work shows the opposite to be true,” said Sam Wineburg. In total, the researchers collected and analyzed 7,804 student responses in 12 states. They tested students in low-income and affluent middle and high schools, as well as college students at six universities. Regardless of their age or socioeconomic status, students across-the-board demonstrated a troubling inability to weed out unreliable information. 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 Friday.


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