Issue: 946

College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Online
April 10, 2017 – No. 946

Top Stories

Science Communication Fellows at Reiman Gardens on Wednesday, April 12
Reiman Gardens Science Communication Fellows will be available on Wednesday, April 12, 2 to 4:30 p.m., during Reiman Gardens’ free admission day to share their research and knowledge through hands-on activities and conversation. Twelve scientists participated in the 2017 Winter Fellowship program, working with Reiman Gardens’ staff to become certified through Portal to the Public as a science ambassador for the public. Participants from CALS departments include the following graduate students: Emily Ernst, ecology evolution and organismal biology; Ze Tian Fang, agronomy; Kelsey Fisher, entomology; Nick Lyon, ecology, evolution and organismal biology; Carla Mann, genetics, development and cell biology; Sarah Pedersen, ecology, evolution and organismal biology; and David Stein, ecology, evolution and organismal biology. More


ISU Researchers Study Plant Stress and Growth
ISU researchers including Yanhai Yin, Diane Bassham and Trevor Nolan, genetics, development and cell biology, and Justin Walley, plant pathology and microbiology, are piecing together the genetic mechanisms that link plant growth and stress response. In a new paper, the research group links autophagy, an important energy recycling function, with slower growth during stress conditions. More

Agronomist on Understanding Soybean Yield
Sotirios Archontoulis, agronomy, focuses his soybean yield research on understanding the complex dynamic interactions between soils, crops, climate and management. In a recent modeling project described in Corn and Soybean Digest, he looked at all those factors to try to learn the primary differences that resulted in 107- to 122-bushel soybeans yields at a farm in southwest Missouri compared to more common 45- to 55-bushel yields in ISU fields near Ames. More

Teaching and Students

CALS Undergraduate Researchers Present at National Conference
Thirteen ISU students presented their research at the 31st annual National Conference on Undergraduate Research at the University of Memphis on April 6-8. CALS students included Timothy King, senior in environmental science and biology; Sarah Kurtz, senior in biology; and Nancy Shryock, senior in animal ecology and biology. More

Four ISU Students Named Goldwater Scholars
Four ISU students have received Goldwater Scholarships, the nation’s premier undergraduate scholarship in mathematics, natural sciences and engineering. The recipients are Matthew Cook, senior in biochemistry and genetics; Mouhamad Diallo, junior in mechanical engineering and materials engineering; Courtney Smith, senior in genetics; and Mengyu Wang, junior in aerospace engineering, economics and mathematics. Cook’s mentor is Olga Zabotina, biochemistry, biophysics and molecular biology. More

Registration for CCUR, BCRF Poster Competition Due April 14
The Center for Crops Utilization and the BioCentury Research Farm are hosting a poster competition for ISU undergraduate and graduate students engaged in food, feed or biorenewables research activities. The competition will be held on April 20 from 1-3 p.m. in the Food Sciences Building. Poster registrations are due Friday, April 14.

GPSA Research Symposium Scheduled for April 19
The Graduate Program in Sustainable Agriculture Research Symposium will be held April 19, 5:30 to 9 p.m. in the Memorial Union South Ballroom. Karl Zimmerer, professor of environment and society geography and director of the GeoSyntheSES Lab at Pennsylvania State University, will present “Strengthening the Sustainability of Agricultural Biodiversity.” The evening will begin with a poster session featuring current research from GPSA students and faculty. A reception will follow the presentation.

Extension and Outreach

Field Crop Scouting Book Moves Online as Interactive Textbook
ISU Extension and Outreach has published the Field Crop Scouting book as an online learning tool for students and agricultural professionals in Iowa. The interactive textbook addresses corn and soybean growth stages, insect identification, crop diseases and weed identification through a self-paced, innovative design.

Around the College

Unconscious Bias Next in CALS Cultural Competency Series
The CALS Office for Diversity Programs is continuing its cultural competency series on April 21, 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. in 368A Heady Hall. Damion Jones, Monsanto diversity and inclusion lead, and William Warren, Monsanto senior university relations talent specialist, will facilitate a discussion on what unconscious bias is, how it can show up in academia and the workplace, and what people can do to begin countering its affects. Please RSVP by noon on April 18 to Theressa Cooper, assistant dean for diversity, Lunch will be provided.


April 11: Hertz Lecture on Emerging Issues in Agriculture
Alan Barkema will present the 2017 Carl and Marjory Hertz Lecture on Emerging Issues in Agriculture on April 11 at 8 p.m. in the Richard and Joan Stark Lecture Hall, 1148 Gerdin Business Building. Retired senior vice president for the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, Barkema will present “Pursuing Questions: Prospects for the Economy in Agriculture.” The Hertz Lecture is co-sponsored by CALS. More

April 12-13: Seed and Biosafety Symposium
The Leroy and Barbara Everson Seed and Biosafety Symposium will be held April 12-13 in Ames. The 2017 symposium will focus on Next Generation Agriculture: Emerging Innovations and Opportunities. The keynote speaker is Kenneth Quinn, president of The World Food Prize Foundation. April 12 sessions are complimentary for ISU faculty, staff and students. More

April 14: Pierre Memorial Lecture in Soil Science
The William H. Pierre Memorial Lecture in Soil Science will be held Friday, April 14, at 1:10 p.m. in 1204 Kildee Hall, Ensminger Room. David Myrold, professor in the department of crop and soil science at Oregon State University, will present “Microbial Communities and Nitrogen Cycling in Diverse Soils.” More

April 21: Retirement Reception for Sharon Colletti
A retirement reception for Sharon Colletti, Center for Crops Utilization Research, will be held April 21, 2 to 4 p.m. in the Food Sciences Building atrium. Colletti has been with ISU for 47 years, the last 10 years as an administrative specialist with CCUR.

April 28: Retirement Reception for Russ Mullen
A retirement reception for Russ Mullen, professor of agronomy, will be held April 28, 3 to 5:30 p.m. in the Memorial Union Pioneer Room. A program will begin at 3:30. Mullens has taught for almost 40 years at ISU. More

Funding Opportunities

Reminder: Digital Agriculture Mini-Grant Applications Due Today
The National Science Foundation’s Midwest “Big Data Spoke” project award is designed to advance Big Data management and analysis essential to sustainable global food security. One of the project objectives is to harmonize and automate big data lifecycles in plant sciences, phenomics and genomics. To that end, a mini-grant funding opportunity is being offered to address data challenges associated with digital agriculture. Four awards per year for two years are anticipated, funding a total of eight teams with grants of up to $5,000 each. Proposals are due today, April 10. More

Regents Innovation Fund Grant Applications Due April 24
The Office of Economic Development and Industry Relations is accepting applications for grants to support the development of ISU innovations with commercial potential and to help ISU technology reach the marketplace. Grants of up to $50,000 per project will be awarded. Projects must show a clear commercial benefit or potential for Iowa and participation by Iowa industry(s). Interdisciplinary proposals are encouraged. A one-to-one match is required. Applications are due April 24. Contact: Kris Johansen (

FFAR Policy Change Regarding Use of University Salary as Cash Match
The Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research has implemented a policy change that allows university salary to be used as cash match under the following terms. Project personnel salary for level of effort on the proposed project can be offered as a cash match. General administrative staff salary cannot count toward the match as that is already in the F&A/IDC costs. Personnel should have a direct and necessary role on the proposed project. The salary must be commensurate with level of effort on the project and should be reasonable, allowable and allocable. Proposals to FFAR require 1:1 matching funds, and all matching funds must be from non-federal sources. More

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

April 26 (white papers): CDC Broad Agency Announcement Applied Research to Address Emerging Public Health Priorities – Antimicrobial Resistance. More

May 3 or Aug. 2 (letter of inquiry): William T. Grant Foundation Research Grants; $1 million, focus on inequality and outcomes for youth ages 5-25, contact ISU Foundation ( to express interest. More

May 5 (internal pre-proposal): William T. Grant Foundation Scholars Program; early-career researchers, inequality and outcomes for youth, one submission per college, contact Roxanne Clemens ( for pre-proposal guidelines. More

May 15: NSF Harnessing the Data Revolution for 21st Century Science and Engineering Workshops; $100,000, supported through the NSF BIGDATA program. More

May 17: USDA Special Research Grants Program Aquaculture Research; applied research, $300,000 over two years. More

May 24: VentureWell Faculty Gants; STEM innovation and entrepreneurship; $30,000. More

June 5: NIH Research Projects to Enhance Applicability of Mammalian Models for Translational Research (R01 and Collaborative R01). More R01, Collaborative R01

June 28: USDA AFRI Childhood Obesity Prevention Challenge Area; behavioral, social, cultural, environmental factors, children ages 2 to 19 years.

Sept. 5 (letter of intent): NIH Intensive Longitudinal Analysis of Health Behaviors: Leveraging New Technologies to Understand Health Behaviors (U01). More

Nov. 22: EPA-USNPS-NOAA-NASA-CDC Wildland Fire Sensors Challenge; Reduction-to-Practice Challenge, requires delivery of a written preview of the solution, followed by prototype system with supporting documentation, $60,000 prize.

Communications Kiosk

Raising Animals, Rearing Humans
All living things, including humans, may be raised. Only humans may be reared. (Associated Press Stylebook, 2016 edition, pg. 236)


Celebration of Science and Scholarship Scheduled for April 13
The ISU chapter of Sigma Xi, an international honor society for research scientists and engineers, will host a Celebration of Science and Scholarship on Thursday, April 13, 12 to 1 p.m. in the Memorial Union Campanile Room. The event will feature lightning talks on what ISU faculty and graduate students are discovering and creating, and remarks by chapter president Jill Pruetz, world languages and cultures. More

Veterinary Students Gain Nearly Life-like Experience in Laboratory
Veterinary students in their first two years can get nearly life-like surgical training working on animal simulations in the ISU clinical skills laboratory. The laboratory helps veterinary students build the motor skills and familiarity they’ll need to perform surgical techniques on real animals. More


Xin Comments on Nanny Robots in Chicken Coops
An article in Bloomberg Businessweek talks about a Bangkok-based conglomerate that uses nanny robots to daily check on about 3 million laying hens raised near Beijing. “Attending the flocks with robots isn’t typical, either in China or the U.S.,” says Hongwei Xin, director of the Egg Industry Center at ISU. But “it could very well become a trendy and valuable tool.” 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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