Issue: 1140

College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Online
February 1, 2021

Top Stories

Alison Esser – Advising Provides Unique Opportunities
Alison Esser is the advising coordinator in the genetics, development and cell biology department. Many of the students she advises have goals of obtaining health-related careers – physicians, genetic counselors and biomedical scientists, to name a few. “I enjoy advising because I can help students achieve their goals,” said Esser. “I have the unique opportunity to interact with students from their initial campus visits through their academic careers and maintain relationships with them as alumni.” More


Graduate Student Selected for NIH Fellowship
Warren Rouse, graduate student in biochemistry, biophysics and molecular biology, has been selected to receive a Ruth L. Kirschstein Predoctoral Individual National Research Service Award from the National Cancer Institute, part of the National Institutes of Health. Funding from the award will support Rouse’s studies for up to five years under the co-mentorship of Walter Moss, BBMB, and Matthew Disney, Scripps Research Institute. Rouse’s research will focus on expanding knowledge of the druggable human genome, including structural motifs in RNA that can bind small-molecule drugs. More

Gross-Wen Technologies Receives $2 Million Grant
Gross-Wen Technologies was awarded a $2 million grant from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy for a new algae partner project. The company was founded by Zhiyou Wen, director of the Center for Crops Utilization Research, and Martin Gross, electrical and computer engineering. They performed much of their early research at the ISU BioCentury Research Farm. More  

Registration Open for Research Days 2021
After a one-year pandemic-related hiatus, Iowa State’s annual research program is returning as Research Days 2021 on March 23-25, a multi-day, multi-platform virtual event designed to celebrate institution discoveries and foster collaboration within and across disciplines. Registration for presenting in this year’s program is open until Feb. 11 or until all event participant time slots are filled. Registration as an attendee will remain open until the event cap is reached. More  

Seed Grants Awarded to Two Digital and Precision Agriculture Projects
Iowa State, through the Office of the Vice President for Research, has awarded research seed grants to two digital and precision agriculture-focused projects for the 2021 fiscal year. The seed grants are structured to encourage and facilitate better industry-university collaborations to sharpen focus on research projects that present greater opportunities for commercialization and economic development. More  

Teaching and Students

Faculty Asked to Complete Two Surveys this Semester
Iowa State faculty will be asked to share their work experience and typical weekly schedule through two upcoming surveys. Feedback will be used to better serve and promote the development of all faculty, including new ideas to support faculty recruitment, retention and diversity; better understanding of faculty work for policymakers; and enriching the overall faculty experience. More  
Student Entrepreneurs Sought for College Pitch Off Competition
The Pappajohn Center for Entrepreneurship, in conjunction with ISU’s seven colleges, will host its annual College-by-College Pitch Off Feb. 10-22. Students deliver a 90-second pitch about an idea or business they are working on to a panel of judges for cash prizes. Registration is open to 25 students in each college. More

CALS Student Named Iowa Pork Queen
Leah Marek, freshman in biology and global resource systems, was named 2021 Iowa Pork Queen by the Iowa Pork Producers Association. As part of the 2021 Iowa Youth Pork Leadership Team, she will represent the state and promote the pork industry. More  

Extension and Outreach

Podcast Focuses on Engineering and Environmental Issues in Agriculture
The ISU Extension and Outreach field agricultural engineering team has released a new podcast called Engineering Your Farm. The next session will feature winter ventilation strategies for dairy and beef cattle facilities and is scheduled for release today, Feb. 1. More

Risk Management Series Planned for Specialty Crop Growers
The ISU Extension and Outreach small farm sustainability program is launching a Specialty Crops Risk Management Webinar Series beginning Wednesday, Feb. 3, at noon, to help growers learn how to plan for and mitigate risk in their operations. More  

Equine Lunch and Learn Webinar Series Begins Feb. 11
Beginning Feb. 11, ISU Extension and Outreach will provide a series of four monthly webinars on equine management led by Peggy Auwerda, animal science and extension equine specialist. More  

Beavers and the Dams they Build Can Improve Water Quality
A partnership between ISU Extension and Outreach, the Department of Natural Resource Ecology and Management and the Iowa Nutrient Research Center will study the water quality and quantity impacts of beaver dams in central Iowa, and how effective these dams are at reducing nitrogen and phosphorus concentrations in Midwest agricultural watersheds. More  

Around the College

Gillespie Named New CALS Fiscal Officer
Jordan Gillespie, senior manager of ISU Internal Audit, will join the college administrative team as the new CALS fiscal officer on Feb. 22, replacing Josie Six. Gillespie will transition into the position as Six moves into phased retirement. Gillespie has managed ISU Internal Audit since 2014 and been with ISU since 2011. She holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Kansas plus an MBA from Iowa State. She is certified as a Public Accountant, Internal Auditor and for Risk Management Assurance. Gillespie will lead the CALS fiscal team and be the contact for cost center managers and unit leaders across the college. Six will continue as a resource for CALS fiscal matters and handle the CALS Global Engagement fiscal activities.

Plaques and Markers on Iowa State Farms Documented on Website
A new website lists 20 permanent plaques and markers on Iowa State farms across Iowa. The plaques date from the 1950s to the present and include donors, affiliations and memories from the Iowa State farm network. The site is located under the Farm History tab of the ISU Research and Demonstrations Farms website. More

Emeritus Agronomist Featured on Catalog Cover
Silvia Cianzio, emeritus professor in agronomy, is featured on the cover of the 2021 ISURF Soybean Catalog. Cianzio is responsible for the development of many disease resistant lines exhibited in this year’s catalog. The Iowa State University Research Foundation and the Committee for Agricultural Development promote ISU-developed soybean varieties by facilitating their release and distribution. More  


Feb. 3: Electricity as Weed Management
The use of electricity to manage herbicide-resistant weeds is the topic of an Iowa Learning Farms webinar on Wednesday, Feb. 3, at noon. More  

Feb. 8: The Next Census: What’s New?
The Department of Statistics Wayne A. Fuller Lecture will be held Feb. 8 at 11 a.m. via Zoom. Ken Prewitt, Carnegie Professor of Public Affairs at Columbia University and former director of the Census Bureau, will present The Next Census: What’s New? More  


Iowa State Responds to COVID-19
January 27 marked one year since Iowa State activated its Emergency Operation Center in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. A collection of stories highlight some of the hard work, dedication and collaboration across campus, including a video looking back at one year of COVID-19.

Registration Open for ISCORE 2021
Registration is now open for the Thomas L. Hill Iowa State Conference on Race and Ethnicity, scheduled for March 4-5. ISCORE is the university’s local initiative designed to provide an ongoing platform of sharing and applying new knowledge through presentation and workshops. The forum is free and open to the Iowa State community. More  

Maps Highlight Available Study Spots
Select classrooms and many common areas are serving as study spaces during spring semester. No reservations are needed. Occupant capacities and hours will be posted on classrooms; common spaces are available during regular building hours. Physical distancing and face covering requirements must be observed. A PDF that includes maps, locations and hours is available online.


Emily Heaton: The World is Watching
In a Jan. 21 blog post for the Conservation Learning Group, Emily Heaton said, “I think about Iowa like a still pond. When you drop a rock like regenerative agriculture in a state with such a powerful and homogenous ag economy, the ripples are evident. That’s why Iowa is watched by both local and global contemporaries – what works here is likely to work elsewhere. We just need to amplify the good, and there is so much good in Iowa and the Midwest.” Heaton is a professor of regenerative agriculture at the University of Illinois and affiliate professor of agronomy 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 Friday. 


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