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CAFNR Research Digest
CAFNR Office of Research Newsletter // January 16, 2020 // 2(1)
Research Highlights
 (click to read)
Graduate Student Spotlight
Katie LaPlante, Plant, Insect & Microbial Sciences (click to read)
Katie LaPlante, Plant, Insect & Microbial Sciences

What is your research focus?
I am currently a PhD student working toward a degree in plant, insect and microbial sciences. My major emphasis is entomology.

My research focuses on monarch butterfly habitat preferences. Primarily, I am looking at where female monarchs choose to lay their eggs based on a number of factors that include the species of milkweed, the proximity of the milkweed plants to nectar resources, and whether or not this milkweed is placed in an open field or along the edge of tree lines. I am also examining how the presence of other competitor insects affect the plant choices of these monarchs.

Why does this field interest you?
The field of entomology is so much fun! Insects are incredibly diverse and many are absolutely beautiful. My fieldwork takes place in wildflower patches in the summer, and I really love getting to enjoy the sunshine and wildlife.

Why did you decide to come to Mizzou?
After visiting the campus, I really felt welcomed by the faculty and other graduate students. Ultimately my current advisor, Deborah Finke, was a large factor in solidifying my decision to attend Mizzou. She is an amazing scientist and a great mentor for her students.

What are your future career plans?
After graduation from Mizzou, I am interested in pursuing an AAAS Science Policy Fellowship. In doing so, I can inform policymakers and help bridge the communicational gap between public policy and scientific research.

Funding Agency News
New Research Tool

Have you recently written a paper, but you’re not sure to which journal you should submit it? Or maybe you want to find relevant articles to cite in your paper? Or are you an editor, and you need to find reviewers for a particular paper? Journal/Author Name Estimator (JANE) can help!

Just enter the title and/or abstract of the paper in the box, and click on ‘Find journals’, ‘Find authors’ or ‘Find articles’. Jane will then compare your document to millions of documents in PubMed to find the best matching journals, authors or articles.

USDA NIFA Ag and Food Research Initiative (AFRI) Foundational and Applied Science Program

The guidelines are the same this year as last, but the deadlines are earlier. Some are as soon as Feb. 19, 2020, and the latest are due May 28. Some of the programs require a Letter of Intent. Please check the guidelines to find out the deadline for your program. If you are planning to submit a proposal to any of the programs in this initiative, please let the Grants Team know as soon as possible, even if you’re not totally sure you’ll submit. Click on that same link if you have questions about the funding opportunity or would like us to send you a shortened version of the guidelines.

Give the Granting Agency What They Want

The best project won’t get the funding if you don’t give the sponsoring agency what they want. We’ll talk about communicating with the sponsor before you start the proposal process, reading the guidelines to see what the sponsor really wants – writing style, proposal organization and other proposal tips.

Join the CAFNR Grants Team Jan. 31, 2020, from 1 to 2 p.m. in the Ag Building room 2-43.

Training Opportunity: Why is the Budget Important in a Grant Application?

After spending long hours putting together the perfect project description/narrative for your grant application, don’t blow it all with a lousy budget and budget justification. You’re asking for money and the reviewers want to know what you’ll do with it and how you’ll manage it. A solid budget and justification give credibility to the rest of your proposal. We’ll discuss what reviewers are looking for in these documents and how to develop and structure the budget and justification.

Join the CAFNR Grants Team Feb. 11, 2020, from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m. in the Ag Building room 2-43.

Research Roars

Henry Nguyen Earns Distinguished International Honor

Henry Nguyen, Curators’ Distinguished Professor of Plant Genetics, was recently elected one of the 2020 fellows of the India National Academy of Agricultural Sciences. Fellows of the Academy are recognized for excellence in agricultural science, research, technology and innovation. Nguyen has made several significant contributions in drought tolerance research, especially in the root architecture in rice, as well as the stay-green trait in sorghum. His research laid a foundation for genomic discovery and applications to rice and sorghum breeding for improved drought tolerance in India and worldwide.

CAFNR faculty members have received the following recent grants (listed by Principal Investigator):

Felix Fritschi, Transformation Project, 1/1/2018-12/31/2020, $210,478, ZeaKal, Inc.

Felix Fritschi, Ag Research Task Order #3, 12/23/2019-9/30/2020, $83,926, AGresearch, Inc.

Henry Nguyen, Genetic Improvement of Flood Tolerance and Best Management Practices for Sustainable Soybean Production, 1/1/2020-12/31/2020, $348,525, Smith Bucklin and Assoc

Timothy M. Reinbott, Evaluation of Best Management Practices for Bumblebee and Monarch Habitat, 1/1/2018-12/31/2020, $50,000, Missouri Department of Conservation

Wesley Warren, Genome-Wide Annotation of CIS-Regulatory Elements in the Chicken Genome,7/1/2019-2/28/2020, $59,791, Western University of Health Sciences

Xi Xiong, Turfgrass/DicotWeeds/Efficacy, 10/28/2019-10/27/2021, $5,000, Bayer CropScience LP

TEDxMU 2020

TEDxMU, planned for April 18, 2020, at the State Historical Society of Missouri, is poised to bring together a powerful collection of provocative speakers, all under the rubric of “Reimagined.” 

Reimagine a process, an institution, a technology, an art, a future. Increasing productivity is contingent on the ability to innovate. Reimagination will inform our decision-making as we progress in an increasingly complex world. 

TEDxMU is set to explore the equilibrium now impacting our society and individual lives, and how we can innovate to improve. The event will delve into fields of all types, so we can’t wait to see what perspectives you bring to us!

The organizing committee is looking for MU students and faculty and Columbia locals to share their ideas for talks. Please complete the speaker application if interested.

In the News

Grazing Winter Cattle With Sorghum Saves Money

Weedkiller complaints skyrocket among Illinois farmers
St. Louis Post Dispatch

The St. Louis Red: A towering poinsettia that took years to grow
St. Louis Post Dispatch

Study to track soybean stem borer in Missouri
Missouri Ruralist

Cover Crops’ Economic Impact
Lancaster Farming

MU to Receive Nearly $25M for New Ag Research Lab

Specialist recommends check-up on farm liability coverage

Cover Crops in Cattle Operations
Brownfield Ag News

Building a soybean to withstand floods
Missouri Ruralist

The header photo shows a donation by the Mizzou Meat Market of more than 500 lbs. of pork and beef to The Food Bank for Central & Northeast Missouri Jan. 9. The donation was made possible by the Mizzou Swine Club: 100 lbs. pork spare ribs; CAFNR Vice Chancellor and Dean Christopher Daubert: 180 lbs. ground beef; and Bill Lamberson, professor and director of Mizzou Animal Sciences: 50 lbs. beef back ribs and 220 lbs. pork sausage. In the photo is Rick Disselhorst (Mizzou Meat Market manager), and CAFNR students Anna Kate Link (Mizzou Meat Market employee, Swine Club member and agriculture major) and Audrey Flett (Mizzou Meat Market employee and ag education and leadership major).