Issue: 906

College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Online
June 27, 2016 – No. 906

Top Stories

Seeking Science-based Solutions to Growers Questions
Ajay Nair, horticulture, is working on grafting the right tomato varieties together to create a plant hardy enough to withstand disease while also producing the tastiest, juiciest produce. Nair seeks to perform the graft for Iowa’s small, but growing industry of fruit and vegetable growers. Nair said his research interests usually draw on his experience from the outreach function of his job, prompting him to find science-based solutions to the questions he’s asked by growers. More

Retallick Named Chair of Agricultural Education and Studies Department
Mike Retallick has been named chair of the Department of Agricultural Education and Studies, effective July 1. “I’m honored and humbled to serve in this leadership role for a nationally recognized department in a college ranked among the best in the world,” Retallick said. He succeeds William Miller, who served as interim chair for seven years and will continue as a professor in the department. More


ISU Scientists Develop Nanomachines to Diagnose Illness
Eric Henderson, genetics, development and cell biology, along with former graduate student Divita Mathur, studies how to build nanomachines that may have real-world medical applications. He and Mathur recently published an article in the peer-reviewed Scientific Reports describing his laboratory’s successful effort to design a nanomachine capable of detecting a mockup of the Ebola virus. More

Teaching and Students

STAT-ers Become Official ASA Student Chapter
The Iowa STAT-ers Club has recently been recognized as an official student chapter of the American Statistical Association. The club was created in 1979 to encourage professional growth in the field of statistics, and to provide a social outlet for graduate students in the Department of Statistics. As an ASA Student Chapter, the STAT-ers will receive their own chapter microsite on the ASA website, a free ASA membership for the STAT-ers president, funding to hold social events and invitations to national and local meetings. More

Borlaug Internship “Gratifying Experience” for CALS Student
Rebecca Nellis, a junior in food science and agriculture and society, is this year’s Borlaug-Thomson intern. She is spending her summer in and around Cresco, spreading knowledge of Cresco native Norman Borlaug, a Nobel Peace Prize winner who developed disease-resistant wheat that helped combat hunger in developing countries. In an interview with the Cresco Times Plain Dealer, Nellis discusses her background, her education and her goals as Borlaug-Thomson intern. More

Iowa Learning Farms Intern: Hannah Corey
Hannah Corey, sophomore in agronomy and self-proclaimed soils nerd, is a summer intern for Water Rocks! and Iowa Learning Farms. In a recent ILF blog posting, Corey introduces herself and discusses late spring nitrate testing. More

High School Students Work with CALS Faculty Conducting Research
Seven high school students from central Iowa are working with CALS faculty this summer and conducting research as part of the Young Engineers and Scientists program. The YES program exposes high school students to occupations and opportunities in biorenewables, engineering, science and technology. Three students are working with Marna Nelson, Don Sakaguchi and Erik Vollbrecht in genetics, development and cell biology; two students are working with Scott Nelson and Olga Zabotina in biochemistry, biophysics and molecular biology; one student with Bill Crumpton in ecology, evolution and organismal biology; and one student with Zhiyou Wen in food science and human nutrition. The students are hosted by ISU’s Center for Biorenewable Chemicals.

Extension and Outreach

Field Days Really Do Matter
The Iowa Learning Farms uses many different outreach approaches, but the importance of farmer-to-farmer interactions cannot be overstated. Field days matter in terms of increasing practices on the land that will protect water quality and improve soil health. Halfway through the 2016 season, ILF has hosted 12 farmer field days or workshops with 630 attendees. More

Gunn Speaks on Heifer Replacement Selection at Beef Meetings
The Iowa Cattlemen’s Association hosted its first annual BeefMeets in Independence on June 23. Experts were on hand to inform farmers about trends and hurdles in the cattle industry. Patrick Gunn, a cow-calf specialist from ISU, spoke about heifer replacement selection. “Heifer selection is more emphasized now due to the suppressed feeder cattle markets,” Gunn said. “Every management decision is under a microscope currently and there’s an increased need for every decision producers make to pay off in the long run.” Gunn will speak at the two remaining BeefMeets on June 28 in Atlantic and June 29 at Riverside Casino in Riverside. More

Around the College

Register by June 29 for Veterans in Agriculture Webinar
CALS is hosting a viewing of USDA’s “Veterans in Agriculture” webinar on Friday, July 1, 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. in 9 Curtiss Hall. Discussion will follow the webinar. Respond to Elizabeth Martinez-Podolsky, CALS multicultural liaison officer, by Wednesday, June 29, to register for the webinar and free lunch that will be provided,

Huffman Publishes on Impacts of Public Agricultural Research and Extension
Wallace Huffman, economics, has an article published in the most recent issue of Choices, a publication of the Agricultural and Applied Economics Association. In “New Insights on the Impacts of Public Agricultural Research and Extension,” Huffman states that given the established importance of investing in agricultural research and extension, those engaged in the public agricultural science and agricultural extension policy debates need up-to-date estimates of the expected returns on investment of public funds in both of these activities. More

Alum Awarded Golden Goose Award Posthumously
Edward Knipling (’47 Ph.D. entomology) and Raymond Bushland were posthumously recognized with the Golden Goose Award for their study of the screwworm fly. Their work led to a novel pest control technique and the eradication of the deadly fly in North and Central America, which has saved the livestock industry and consumers billions of dollars over the past 50-plus years. The technique is also informing ongoing fights against other agricultural pests and insects carrying infectious pathogens. More


June 30: Iowa Swine Day
Iowa Swine Day, an industry-focused event, will be held Thursday, June 30, 9 a.m. to 4:35 p.m. in the Scheman Building. More

Funding Opportunities

Internal Competition: NSF Partnerships for International Research and Education
Partnerships for International Research and Education is an NSF-wide program that supports fundamental, international research and education in physical, living, human and engineered systems. PIRE projects must include collaboration with foreign research partners and international research experiences for students to promote a diverse internationally competitive science and engineering workforce. Institutions can submit one pre-proposal to NSF as lead organization. Pre-proposals for ISU’s internal competition must be submitted to the office of the VPR by July 25 at 5 p.m. Contact Sue Shipitalo ( for internal competition guidelines. More

NSF/China NSFC Joint Research on Environmental Sustainability Challenges
The National Science Foundation’s Engineering Directorate and the National Natural Science Foundation of China, Department of Engineering and Material Sciences, are partnering to encourage joint research by U.S.-China teams collaborating on fundamental research that addresses critical environmental sustainability challenges. This call is for research proposals from joint U.S.-China teams in two environmental sustainability topic areas: combustion related to sustainable energy and urban water sustainability. Proposals must include the participation of researchers from at least one U.S. institution and at least one institution in China. More

Register for SBIR-STTR National Road Tour Conference in Ames
The Small Business Administration SBIR-STTR National Road Tour is a national outreach effort to convey the funding opportunity provided through the Small Business Innovation Research and Small Business Technology Transfer programs. Federal and state program managers representing $2.5 billion in early stage funding have been invited to attend events alongside technology entrepreneurs and innovation supporters from across the U.S. The conference will be held at the Ames Gateway Hotel and Conference Center. Early registration is encouraged. More

USDA NIFA Seeks Feedback on Childhood Obesity Prevention Program
USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture invites input on the scientific priorities for the Integrated Approaches to Prevent Childhood Obesity programs. These programs are fully integrated, coordinating research, education and extension efforts to combat the challenge of childhood obesity. NIFA will consider comments when developing future requests for applications. Comments will be accepted until Aug. 4. More

NIH NIAID Concepts Posted
The National Institutes of Health - National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases has posted the quarterly list of new research concepts. These concepts may not become funded programs, but they reveal possible initiatives and may trigger ideas for investigator-initiated applications. More

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

July 15 (preliminary proposals): Glaucoma Research Foundation – Shaffer Grant; $40,000. More

July 18: Bayer Foundations - International Fellowship Program: Promoting Talents Across Borders (projects in Germany); includes argo sciences, life sciences, biology, early career faculty and graduate students. More

Aug. 13 (letter of intent): NIH Countermeasures Against Chemical Threats (CounterACT): Identification of Therapeutic Lead Compounds (U01). More

Sept. 15 (limited submission, three per department): Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Research Fellowship; Ph.D. awarded on or after Sept. 1, 2010, contact department chair to express interest. More

Sept. 28: Joint NSF/NIH Initiative on Quantitative Approaches to Biomedical Big Data. More

Oct. 9 (limited submission, one per institution): NSF Advancing Digitization of Biodiversity Collections - Thematic Collections Network; contact Sue Shipitalo ( by Aug. 1 to express interest. More

Nov. 8: NSF Advancing Informal STEM Learning. More

Dec. 9: NSF National Science Foundation Research Traineeship Program (NRT). More

June 21, 2017: Department of Commerce - Minority Business Development Agency Broad Agency Announcement. More

Communications Kiosk

Reluctant vs. Reticent
Reluctant means unwilling to act: “He is reluctant to enter the primary.” Reticent means unwilling to speak: “The candidate’s husband is reticent.” (Associated Press Stylebook, 2015 edition, pg. 230)


An Easier Way to Collect Diagnostic Samples from Pigs
Iowa State veterinarians have found that using rope to take oral fluid samples from swine allows them to monitor diseases accurately without the difficult step of taking individual blood samples. More

Student Counseling Service to Offer Mental Health Training
ISU Student Counseling Service is offering three sessions of Mental Health First Aid trainings in July. Attendance is open to ISU faculty, staff or administrators who wish to learn more about how to respond to students or colleagues who are in distress. A $50 fee covers the cost of materials and a MHFA manual. RSVP to Erin Pederson ( by June 30. More


Dairy Month: Holstein Nutrition at the ISU Dairy Farm

  • The ISU Dairy Farm is working with large agriculture companies to examine different nutrition plans for heifer calf development.
  • The ISU Dairy Farm works closely with the food science program and human nutrition researchers on dietary effects of dairy cow nutrition. One study is exploring how levels of dried distillers grains in cows’ diets affect cheese and ice cream manufacturing.
  • Another research study is examining the effects of probiotic use in dairy rations.

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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