Issue: 932

College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Online
Dec. 19, 2016 – No. 932

Top Stories

Students Present Final Projects at Biorenewable Poster Symposium
Nathan Wright, a senior in agricultural business; Grant Stanton, a junior in mechanical engineering; and Zach Olson, a senior in mechanical engineering; share information with Jaun Proano-Aviles, a graduate student in mechanical engineering; about a more efficient method to produce algea as a viable option for use in biodiesel production. The student team was one of 12 presenting information about biorewnewable issues on Dec. 13 in the Sukup Atrium. The posters are part of a final project in a technology systems management and agricultural biosystems engineering class taught by Tom Brumm, Mary and Charles Sukup Global Professor in Food Security and agricultural and biosystems engineering associate professor. The event is presented by the Bioeconomy Institute, the agricultural and biosystems engineering department and the agronomy department. More


New Biomarker Predicts Alzheimer’s Disease and Link to Diabetes
An enzyme found in the fluid around the brain and spine is giving researchers a snapshot of what happens inside the minds of Alzheimer’s patients and how that relates to cognitive decline. Auriel Willette and Kelsey McLimans, food science and human nutrition, say higher levels of the enzyme, autotaxin, significantly predict memory impairment and Type 2 diabetes. More

ISU Startup Factory Company Addresses Global Water Quality Issues
Martin Gross, postdoc research associate with the Center for Crops Utilization Research, and Zhiyou Wen, professor in food science and human nutrition, founded Gross-Wen Technologies in 2013 in an effort to commercialize the algal technology they developed. Their work has led to the development of a technology that addresses the critical, global water quality issue of excessive nutrient pollution. More

Teaching and Students

VanDerZanden Reappointed as CELT Director
The office of the senior vice president and provost has announced Ann Marie VanDerZanden’s reappointment as director of the Center for Excellence in Learning and Teaching. VanDerZanden, a professor of horticulture, will serve a second five-year term. More

GRS Welcomes New Lecturers, Swoboda and Zimmerman
Catherine Swoboda and Emily Zimmerman are new lecturers in the CALS global resource systems major, beginning January 2017. Swoboda previously served as director of Iowa Education Programs at the World Food Prize Foundation and established the Iowa Youth Institute. In 2014 she was named director of planning at the World Food Prize, responsible for planning and implementing the Borlaug Dialogue International Symposium. Zimmerman received her bachelor’s degree in biology and global resource systems from ISU and her master’s degree in natural resources and environment with a concentration in conservation ecology from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. While in Michigan, she worked with a team of faculty and graduate students to design and implement a STEM curriculum for USAID educational programs in Liberia, West Africa. Zimmerman returned to ISU to obtain her doctorate degree in sustainable agriculture and environmental science. More

Graduating CALS Ambassadors Recognized by Cabinet
Graduating seniors who served as CALS Ambassadors were recognized for their efforts in recruitment and other support for the college on Dec. 16 at the college cabinet meeting. They were: Laura Meany, public serve and administration in agriculture, international agriculture; Matt Monahan, forestry; Josie McMinemee, agriculture and life sciences education, teacher certification option; and Kelsey Faivre, agriculture and life sciences education, agricultural communications option.

Extension and Outreach

Farmland Values Show Historic Third Year of Decline
Average Iowa farmland value has shown a decline for the third year in a row; the first time this has happened since the 1980s farm crisis. The statewide per acre value is now estimated to be $7,183 per acre, a 5.9 percent decline since November 2015. Land values were determined by the 2016 Iowa State University Land Value Survey, conducted in November by the Center for Agricultural and Rural Development and ISU Extension and Outreach. Wendong Zhang, economics, led the annual survey. More

Around the College

Keeping Iowa Agriculture on the Global Stage
During the Iowa Food Leadership reception in October, an event organized by CALS for the Cultivation Corridor in conjunction with the World Food Prize, guests from around the world heard from ISU President Steven Leath and CALS Dean Wendy Wintersteen regarding the important work the university is doing to address global food and nutrition challenges. “Iowa State’s commitment to agriculture and the life sciences is profoundly important,” wrote Brent Willett in an op ed in the Dec. 12 issue of The Cedar Rapids Gazette. Willett is executive director of Iowa’s Cultivation Corridor, a public-private economic development and innovation acceleration organization. Through Iowa’s Cultivation Corridor, public and private partners are working closely with Iowa State to encourage innovation and accelerate growth in the agbioscience, biorenewables, biotech and advanced manufacturing industries. More

CALS Online: Next Issue Jan. 9
CALS Online will take the next two weeks off for the holidays. It will resume Monday, Jan. 9. Happy holidays.


Dec. 19: Farewell Reception for Cheryl Morris
A farewell reception for Cheryl Morris, assistant professor of animal science, will be held today, Dec. 19, 3 to 4 p.m. in the Kildee Hall atrium. Morris is the new chief conservation officer at the Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha.

Funding Opportunities

Biotechnology Risk Assessment Research Grants Program, LOI Due Jan. 26
The USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture is seeking proposals for the Biotechnology Risk Assessment Research Grants program. Standard research proposals should address issues related to newly developed genetically engineered organisms including animals, plants (e.g., trees and other perennials, including biofuel crops, are especially sought) and/or microorganisms. Research proposals can be applied and/or fundamental, with budgets up to $500,000 for four years. Conference proposals should not exceed $25,000. Letters of Intent are due Jan. 26. More

NASA Life Detection Challenge RFI, Due Jan. 27
The NASA Centennial Challenges Program has issued a Request for Information to gather feedback on the structure of a competition for a Life Detection Challenge. The challenge focuses on building and demonstrating a scientific instrument capable of detecting evidence of Earth-type life in a small (10mL) liquid sample provided to the instrument. The RFI also seeks to determine the level of interest in potentially competing in the challenge. Responses are due by Jan. 27. More

FDA Scientific Conference Grant Program
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration supports high quality, small conferences and scientific meetings relevant to its mission and to the public health. Grants support face-to-face or virtual meetings to exchange information and explore a defined subject, issue or area of concern impacting the public's health within the scope of the FDA's mission. Letters of intent are required and prior approval is required for full applications. Deadlines for approved applications are April 12 and Oct. 12 annually over the next three years. Support is contingent on the interests and priorities of FDA's offices and centers, which set budget limits for meetings in their respective areas. More

Listening Session: USDA NIFA Food Safety Outreach Program, Jan. 31
The USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture will host a virtual listening session to gather stakeholder input on strategies to successfully expand the Food Safety Outreach Program in FY 2018. This event will take place on Jan. 31 from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. Written comments also are being accepted and are due by Jan. 31. More

NSF Fall 2016 Grants Conference Webcast Available On-line
The National Science Foundation Fall Grants Conference webcast is now available on-line. Topics include types of NSF funding opportunities, proposal preparation, award management, the merit review process and the Faculty Early Career Development Program. More

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

Jan. 13 (concept paper): DOE Productivity Enhanced Algae and Tool-Kits (PEAK); $1.5 million to $3 million. More

Jan. 14 (letter of intent): NIH Novel Analytical Approaches for Metabolomics Data (R03); $100,000 direct costs for one year. More

Feb. 1: Spencer Foundation Small Research Grants; $50,000 for education research projects, contact ISU Foundation ( to express interest. More

Mar. 15: NSF Building Community and Capacity in Data Intensive Research in Education. More

Mar. 15: Burroughs Wellcome Fund – Innovation in Regulatory Science; $500,000 over five years, contact ISU Foundation ( to express interest. More

Mar. 30 (letters of intent): Human Frontier Science Program Research Grants and Young Investigator Grants; focus on understanding the complex mechanisms of living organisms, award amounts are based on interdisciplinary team size. More

May 31: NIH Shared Instrumentation Grant Program (S10); $600,000. More

May 31: NIH High–End Instrumentation Program (S10); $2 million. More

May 31: NIH Shared Instrumentation for Animal Research Program (S10); $750,000. More

Communications Kiosk

Change Your Voicemail and Email Messages for Winter Break
If your department is closing over winter break, discuss how to handle incoming phone calls. One option is to direct all departmental calls to one voicemail box to be checked periodically by designated employees during the break. Also change your personal voicemail and email messages. Consider stating the dates you’ll be absent and if you’ll be checking your messages. If necessary, include an off-campus number where you can be reached. Also consider posting holiday hours on your department’s website. More


New ISU Award Established for Inclusive Excellence
The Office of the Vice President for Diversity and Inclusion has established a new university-level award: the University Award for Inclusive Excellence. The award recognizes faculty and P&S staff for their commitment to inclusion initiatives at ISU. The deadline for nominations is Feb. 10. More


CALS Thanksgiving Video Included in 2016 Best Higher Ed Holiday Cards
The CALS Thanksgiving video was picked as one of the favorite holiday university messages for 2016 and is posted on a web blog called Best Higher Ed Holiday Cards. The newsletter is part of a blog called, which is an independent blog about the Web, marketing and public relations in higher education. It was launched in February 2005 and now attracts more than 10,000 unique visitors per month, 2,000 readers by RSS feed and close to 2,500 email subscribers. The audience is composed of higher ed professionals and executives.

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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