Issue: 125

COLLEGE NEWS

- Food in the final frontier: NASA funds center at ISU

- GMO task force to begin work at ISU

- New research leader for Plant Introduction Station

- State fair display highlights ag history and ISU’s role

- Orientation on Aug. 4 for state fair volunteers

- ISU researchers featured in video at global soy forum

- Group forges link between soybean and health studies

- CUBA would welcome American ag products

- 1890 meeting expected to strengthen ties to ISU

- Hosts needed for Grassley trade delegation Aug. 16

- Regents approve animal science graduate programs

- Regents create bioinformatics graduate major

- History of animal breeding inspires new mural

- Kirsch mural in Kildee Hall to be remounted

- New technologies demonstrated at meat seminars

- USDA seeks proposals for international ag research

- Award notes: R&D 100 award for pig-litter-size test

- Award notes: Topel named ASAS Fellow

- New grants encourage sustainable agriculture

- Rain clouds don’t dampen jazz in the gardens

- Deadlines & Reminders

COMMUNICATIONS KIOSK

- Stressed clients may lead to job stress; help available

- A tip for bookmarking framed web pages

INFOGRAZING

- Input sought for future of U.S. ag policy after 2002

INTERNAL VOICES

- ISU’s vision for undergraduate education

EXTERNAL VOICES

- Entertaining pictures versus language: an opinion

MARGINALIA

- The latest buzz: medicinal honey

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C O L L E G E N E W S

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FOOD IN THE FINAL FRONTIER: NASA FUNDS CENTER AT ISU

The National Food Technology Commercial Space Center is the name of the center NASA will establish at ISU to develop high-technology foods and food-processing methods that are suitable for space travel. The space agency Wednesday announced $2.8 million in funding for five years. Ten companies, identified with help from the Iowa Business Council, are partners or affiliates in the venture and will commit $1 million. Six faculty and staff will take the lead in providing expertise to the companies doing the food development work: Diane Birt, Aubrey Mendonca, Tony Pometto and Cheryll Reitmeier, food science and human nutrition department; Mary Holz-Clause, ISU Extension; and Sev Johnson, Utilization Center for Agricultural Products. Dennis Olson, who heads UCAP, will direct the new center.

GMO TASK FORCE TO BEGIN WORK AT ISU

In light of public concerns on genetically modified agricultural products, ISU has formed a task force to study the issues. Genetically modified organisms, commonly referred to as GMOs, are crops, animals or other living things that have been produced using the tools of molecular genetics. The European Union recently announced it would restrict the import of GMO grains, and grocery shelves there were cleared of food items because of concerns they might have been produced from genetically modified soybeans. ISU’s GMO task force, made up of faculty and staff members from a broad range of sciences, will examine issues surrounding GMOs; help define what role ISU should play; and supply science-based information to policy-makers and the public. The task force is co-chaired by Colin Scanes, executive associate dean of the College of Agriculture, and Stan Johnson, vice provost of ISU Extension.

NEW RESEARCH LEADER FOR PLANT INTRODUCTION STATION

Candice Gardner has been named the research leader of the North Central Regional Plant Introduction Station. Gardner earned a bachelor's degree at ISU in bacteriology in 1975, and a master's in plant pathology and a doctorate in plant breeding and genetics from the University of Missouri. She has been working at AgrEvo USA Co. as a field agronomist - biotechnology. It is anticipated she will have a faculty appointment in the agronomy department in addition to her USDA-ARS collaborator status. Gardner replaces Mark Widrlechner, who has served as interim research leader since April 1998. The former research leader, Peter Bretting, left to become a USDA-ARS national program leader in Beltsville, Md. Widrlechner will return to his duties as an assistant professor in agronomy and horticulture and USDA-ARS collaborator. The Plant Introduction Station, one of four in the nation, is a joint venture of the USDA-ARS, the agricultural experiment stations of the 12 north-central states and ISU. The station employs about 30 full-time USDA-ARS and ISU staff and from 20 to 65 part-time seasonal employees.

STATE FAIR DISPLAY HIGHLIGHTS AG HISTORY AND ISU’S ROLE

Visitors to the Iowa State Fair, Aug. 12-22, can learn about the rich history of Iowa agriculture and the role of ISU’s College of Agriculture in one of the state’s most important industries. The theme of the college’s exhibit is "Iowa Agriculture: A Rich Heritage -- An Exciting Future." Information and photos about Iowa agriculture and ISU’s contributions over the past century will be on display. Visitors can create their own farm scenes using rubber stamps, and test their knowledge of Iowa agriculture with a quiz. A computer will allow prospective students to explore ISU with an interactive CD-ROM about the university. Adults can sign up for daily prize drawings for a college mug. The grand prize, to be chosen from daily winners, will be a year-long family membership to Living History Farms in Urbandale. The College of Agriculture display can be found on the second floor of the Agriculture Building, and is open 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily.

ORIENTATION ON AUG. 4 FOR STATE FAIR VOLUNTEERS

An orientation session for people who have volunteered to staff the College of Agriculture exhibit at the Iowa State Fair will be held Wednesday, Aug. 4, 8:30 to 9:30 a.m. in 15 Curtiss. Volunteers can come anytime during the one-hour orientation. General announcements will be at 9 a.m. Refreshments will be served and admission and parking tickets distributed. Those who were not volunteers last year will receive a college polo shirt in their choice of red or navy. An e-mail reminder will be sent to volunteers. Tickets, shirts and information sheets will be delivered to those unable to attend the orientation. There’s still time to sign up to volunteer -- several slots in the evening hours are available. For more information: Barb McManus, 4-0707 or bamcman@iastate.edu, or Megan Kuhn, 4-2957 or mkuhn@iastate.edu.

ISU RESEARCHERS FEATURED IN VIDEO AT GLOBAL SOY FORUM

The opening ceremonies of the Global Soy Forum on Aug. 5 in Chicago will include video of five ISU researchers. The video presentation, produced by the University of Illinois, is titled "The Success of Soy," and will include researchers, producers, processors and inventors. Ag Information Service provided video clips of Greg Tylka, plant pathology; Walt Fehr, agronomy; Joshua Otaigbe, engineering; and Jay-lin Jane and Deland Myers, food science and human nutrition.

GROUP FORGES LINK BETWEEN SOYBEAN AND HEALTH STUDIES

Diane Birt, chair of the food science and human nutrition department, has led efforts to organize the Consortium on Human Health and Soybeans, which will conduct research on using soyfoods to improve vascular health, prevent cancer and decrease bone loss in women. The consortium currently includes 47 scientists from several universities, plus representatives from federal agricultural and health agencies. In August, consortium members will discuss their research plans at the sixth World Soybean Research Conference in Chicago.

CUBA WOULD WELCOME AMERICAN AG PRODUCTS

In a visit to ISU last week, two Cuban trade officials made it clear they would welcome American food and agricultural products, if U.S. trade sanctions were lifted. The officials have been meeting the past week with several U.S. agricultural groups, including the U.S. Feed Grains Council. At ISU they were hosted by the Center for Agricultural and Rural Development. For more information, see Susan Thompson’s "Agriculture in Action" column: http://w1.ag.iastate.edu/aginfo/agaction/action.qry.

1890 MEETING EXPECTED TO STRENGTHEN TIES TO ISU

The college can expect to see an increase in applications for its minority research internship program and for graduate study positions from the historically black colleges as a result of this month’s Association of Research Directors meeting at ISU. It was the first time the group (24 research directors from the 17 1890 institutions) had met on a campus other than one of their own. During the July 6-9 meeting, the research directors explored research collaborations, distance education and faculty development activities with college faculty and administrators. At the final session, ARD chair MacArthur Floyd of Alabama A&M said, "You made us feel very welcome at ISU and we are convinced that partnerships are the key for all of us, 1890s and 1862s, to advance." Two of the ARD attendees were ISU alums: Willie Rawls, associate director of research at Southern University, received his Ph.D. in ag education in 1978. Stephen Kolison, director of research at Tennessee State University, earned his master’s and Ph.D. in forestry in 1986 and 1990, respectively.

HOSTS NEEDED FOR GRASSLEY TRADE DELEGATION AUG. 16

Volunteers are needed to host foreign ambassadors overnight in Ames during a visit led by U.S. Senator Charles Grassley. Twenty-three ambassadors will be in Ames on Aug. 16 and will need a place to stay that night. This is the seventh ambassadors’ trade tour that Sen. Grassley has organized to showcase Iowa’s people, places and products. For more information and a list of ambassadors and countries: Elena Polouchkina, International Agriculture Programs, 4-8493 or elenap@iastate.edu, or Stuart Hadley, 4-0523 or shadley@iastate.edu.

REGENTS APPROVE ANIMAL SCIENCE GRADUATE PROGRAMS

At its July 14 meeting, the Board of Regents approved changes in ISU’s animal science graduate majors. The changes previously had been approved at the college and university levels. The animal science department restructured its graduate programs from seven majors to five. The seven previous majors were: animal breeding, animal nutrition, animal production, meat science, muscle biology, nutritional physiology and physiology of reproduction. The five new majors are: animal breeding and genetics, animal nutrition, animal physiology, animal science and meat science.

REGENTS CREATE BIOINFORMATICS GRADUATE MAJOR

The Board of Regents approved the creation of a new interdepartmental graduate major in bioinformatics and computational biology. The program is in response to the high need for scientists in molecular biology, genetics, biochemistry and related fields. About 30 faculty from 12 departments will be involved in the major, which should be available in the coming academic year. Currently, bioinformatics and computational biology is an area of emphasis in three existing majors. For more information, check the web: http://www.grad-college.iastate.edu/bioinformatics/

HISTORY OF ANIMAL BREEDING INSPIRES NEW MURAL

Richard Willham, retired distinguished professor of animal science, recently completed a mural illustrating the history of animal breeding and genetics. "The Coffee Time Mural" is located in a lounge area on the second floor of Kildee Hall. Willham, who conducted research and taught molecular and quantitative genetics for 31 years, said he hopes the mural inspires students to discuss the ideas illustrated in the painting. Willham incorporated in the mural several mathematical formulas used in animal breeding and genetics.

KIRSCH MURAL IN KILDEE HALL TO BE REMOUNTED

The Dwight Kirsch mural in Kildee Hall, removed for remounting, will be replaced Monday. The mural depicts Iowa livestock agriculture and the activities of the animal science department. It was painted on canvas in 1965, stretched over three frames and displayed in the entrance lobby of Kildee Hall, across from Lush Auditorium. The artist was a director of the Des Moines Arts Center who died in 1981. Starting in 1997, the mural was cleaned and restored by Ames artist Dean Biechler. During the past year Biechler noticed that the canvas was in danger of being torn and stretched out of shape as people leaned against it. This month Biechler removed the mural from its frames to remount it on a solid backing and protect it from future damage.

NEW TECHNOLOGIES DEMONSTRATED AT MEAT SEMINARS

This month meat-industry professionals are getting a first look at some new technologies at ISU’s annual sausage and processed-meat short courses. One technology to be demonstrated will be equipment that more precisely controls the texture of emulsified meat products like wieners and bologna. Another will be new high-speed automated equipment to produce linked sausages, bratwurst or other meats in natural casings. Both technologies are in response to meat-industry needs to control more efficiently the consistency and quality of their products. The July 22 short course was attended by about 100 people from 22 states and six countries. A seminar on July 29 will be attended by 65 meat specialists from South America. For more information: Joe Cordray, 4-4266.

USDA SEEKS PROPOSALS FOR INTERNATIONAL AG RESEARCH

The USDA seeks proposals by Sept. 4 for the Scientific Cooperation and Research Program: FY2000, which funds collaborative research between U.S. and foreign scientists in agriculture and forestry, development of new technologies and enhancement of trade in foreign markets. Targeted areas are new value-added products; germplasm; environmental and natural resources; nutrition and food safety; international agricultural trade; and short-term exchanges with China. For more information: Elena Polouchkina, International Agriculture Programs, 4-8493, or elenap@iastate.edu.

AWARD NOTES: R&D 100 AWARD FOR PIG-LITTER-SIZE TEST

A genetic testing technique to determine which pigs will have the largest litters was one of two ISU winners in the 1999 R&D 100 Awards announced last week. Max Rothschild, distinguished professor of animal science, developed the estrogen receptor gene test for improved pig litter size. The R&D 100 Awards honor the top 100 products of technological significance that were marketed or licensed during the previous year. Award winners will be honored at a banquet in Chicago in September.

AWARD NOTES: TOPEL NAMED ASAS FELLOW

On Thursday, Dean David Topel was named a Fellow by the American Society of Animal Science at its annual meeting in Indianapolis. Dennis Marple, head of the animal science department, accepted the award for Topel, who is in Amsterdam attending the Global Consortium for Agricultural Universities. The Fellow designation recognizes distinguished service to animal science and the livestock industry.

NEW GRANTS ENCOURAGE SUSTAINABLE AGRICULTURE

Leopold Center funding for 19 new and 29 continuing projects began July 1. The new grants will provide nearly $1 million for research, demonstration and education projects. The center is seeking ideas for projects to be considered in next year's competitive grants program. More information is available on the center's web site: http://www.leopold.iastate.edu.

RAIN CLOUDS DON’T DAMPEN JAZZ IN THE GARDENS

Despite the rain, more than 350 people attended the Jazz in July event in the Reiman Gardens last week. The Co-Horts, the gardens volunteer group that sponsored the event, will consider scheduling a monthly special program in the summer of 2000.

DEADLINES & REMINDERS

July 22-24: Leadership for Higher Education in Agriculture Conference, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

Aug. 4: Orientation for state fair volunteers, 15 Curtiss, 8:30 a.m.

Aug. 12-22: Iowa State Fair.

Aug. 23: College of Agriculture fall convocation, Sun Room, 4 p.m.

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C O M M U N I C A T I O N S K I O S K

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STRESSED CLIENTS MAY LEAD TO JOB STRESS; HELP AVAILABLE

Many Iowans are facing difficult times now due to low agricultural prices, weather problems and other reasons. Many are clients that ISU agriculture faculty and staff are trying to help. Dealing with clients’ problems may lead to job stress. There are campus services available to help you cope. A good place to start is ISU’s Employee Wellness Program -- contact Lauri Dusselier, 4-3240. The Employee Assistance Program, 232-5811, offers confidential, professional services for addressing personal problems. The Office of Training and Development, 4-8914, can provide seminars or check-out materials. For a list of ISU wellness-related resources, check the web: http://www.iastate.edu/~hrs_info/wellness/resources.htm.

A TIP FOR BOOKMARKING FRAMED WEB PAGES

Many Web sites are using framed pages that have common navigational elements. New information loads as you move through the site. Even though each frame contains a separate document, the URL at the top of the page doesn't change with every page, which makes bookmarking individual pages difficult. Here are ways to bookmark framed pages: In Netscape, click and hold in the frame you want to bookmark. When the pop-up menu appears, choose the "New Window with This Frame" command and then bookmark that new window. For Microsoft's Internet Explorer, locate the link to the frame you want to bookmark and click and hold on the link, then choose the "Add Link to Favorites" command from the pop-up menu.

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I N F O G R A Z I N G

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INPUT SOUGHT FOR FUTURE OF U.S. AG POLICY AFTER 2002

The Commission on 21st Century Production Agriculture will hold six public listening sessions to gather input on the future of U.S. agricultural policy after 2002. The commission, which was created by the 1996 federal farm bill, is seeking input from all sectors of agriculture. The sessions are set for Aug. 12 in Fresno, Calif.; Aug. 14 in Spokane, Wash.; Aug. 16 in Denver, Colo.; Sept. 21 in Chicago, Ill.; Sept. 23 in Montgomery, Ala.; and Sept. 25 in Scranton, Penn. For more information: Tim Peters, (202) 720-4860 or tpeters@agcommission.org. The commission’s web site is at: http://www.agcommission.org/

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I N T E R N A L V O I C E S

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ISU’S VISION FOR UNDERGRADUATE EDUCATION

At the June 18 President’s Council, Howard Shapiro, vice provost for undergraduate programs, spoke on ISU’s vision for undergraduate education. "One way I like to think of teaching is that our job isn't so much to cover as to uncover -- uncover students’ skills, abilities, insights and potential . . . We believe that all students who enter Iowa State are capable of high academic achievement. We should do everything we can to help them achieve their goals. All graduates, as a minimum, should be able to demonstrate high achievement in their discipline and that they possess the life skills to take their place as educated leaders in society." Shapiro outlined goals to achieve the vision, including redesigning students’ first-year experience to help them get the most out of their education; developing faculty/staff skills; assessing student outcomes; and building strong external support for teaching and learning. For more details, check this Web site: http://www.iastate.edu/~provost/new.html.

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E X T E R N A L V O I C E S

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ENTERTAINING PICTURES VERSUS LANGUAGE: AN OPINION

"As a medium for conducting public business, language has receded in importance; it has been moved to the periphery of culture and has been replaced at the center by the entertaining visual image... When a culture becomes overloaded with pictures; when logic and rhetoric lose their binding authority; when historical truth becomes irrelevant; when the spoken or written word is distrusted or makes demands on our attention that we are incapable of giving; when our politics, history, education, religion, public information and commerce are expressed largely in visual imagery rather than words, then a culture is in serious jeopardy." Communications theo

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