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CAFNR Research Digest
CAFNR Office of Research Newsletter // June 2, 2022 // 4(11)
Feature Story
Food Pantries Serve Critical Needs for Hungry Missourians (click to read)
Food Pantries Serve Critical Needs for Hungry Missourians »

Unprecedented study from MU Interdisciplinary Center for Food Security highlights tough choices made by those who use food pantries and key roles played by hunger relief organizations across Missouri

Missouri Agricultural Experiment Station
Welcome REEC Directors! (click to read)
Welcome REEC Directors! »

Leadership of the Missouri Agricultural Experiment Station, including the four new directors of the Research, Extension and Education Center (REEC) network, met for orientation Tuesday, May 24, on campus. They heard from CAFNR offices including Vice Chancellor and Dean; Academic Programs; Ag and Environment Extension; Business Services; IT; Advancement; and Marketing and Communications. REEC directors are pictured here with Shibu Jose, associate dean and MOAES director. From left to right: Jay Chism, director, Southwest REEC; Aaron Brandt, director, Fisher Delta REEC; Jose; Dusty Walter, director, Central Missouri REEC; and Jeff Case, director, Northern Missouri REEC.

Graduate Student Spotlight
Jose Netto, Plant Science & Technology (click to read)
Jose Netto, Plant Science & Technology

What is your research focus?

My research is part of the effort to reveal untargeted changes in soybean plants over more than 90 years of breeding. I aim to determine how soybean hydraulic pathway characteristics changed and how these changes relate to the genetic gains in yield achieved by soybean breeders.

Why does this field interest you?

This field interests me because I believe that understanding soybean breeding changed soybean plants’ hydraulic pathway, impacting CO2 uptake and the transpirational water loss tradeoffs may help reveal new possibilities for breeding the next generation soybean cultivars.

Why did you decide to come to Mizzou?

I decided to apply for that position at the Crop Physiology lab at Mizzou after learning about its interesting research focused on understanding how plants respond to the environment to develop more efficient and sustainable crops. The dynamic and collaborative research environment, that explores new technologies to phenotype plants, was also part of the reason for me to aim to be part of the MU research community.

What are your future career plans?

After graduation, I need to expend some time with my family in Brazil. The last few years were challenging for everyone, and I think would be important to enjoy the family’s warm environment to decide on the next steps. As I have a business background, positions in the industry as well as in the academy here in the U.S. or in other parts of the world that may positively impact food security and crop production sustainability will be my career targets.

Who is your advisor?

Dr. Felix Fritschi. He is a brilliant professor and leader that is never too busy to talk about research and career development. He always encourages creative thinking and promotes collaborative research among all lab mates and collaborators.

Grant Team Tips

Hints for a PI Interested in Applying for NSF Funding

Here are some helpful hints for someone new to NSF, with specific attention to the Directorate of Biological Sciences.

  1. Sign-up to receive updates from NSF. Sign up online. Make sure you select the options for Funding Opportunities and Updates, Due Date Reminders, and Events from the Directorate for Biological Sciences (BIO)!
  2. Follow the blogs related to your research area! BIO Buzz Blog and the IOS Blog are excellent sources of information! You can sign up to follow them both and/or any of the blogs posted by other Divisions in BIO.
  3. Learn some NSF 101s. NSF has posted resource materials to help individuals learn a little more about the required elements of NSF proposals, including the equal importance of intellectual merit and broader impacts. You can find these resources online.
  4. Take a peek into the NSF Merit Review process. Having knowledge of the review process at NSF will be invaluable as you think about proposal submissions. Information on the NSF merit review process can be found online. There is also a 6-minute video that NSF put together on the merit review process. Finally, NSF has created a short reviewer orientation video that is accessible to anyone! Take some time to watch “The Art and Science of Reviewing Proposal”.
  5. Write a 1-pager: Write a summary of your research area and the goals of your new laboratory. Even better, write the equivalent of a decent draft of what you see as the Project Summary page of your first grant submission (background, hypothesis, goals, specific aims, etc.). You can attach either or both documents in your email introduction to an NSF Program Director (PD).
  6. Identify your NSF fit: NSF is divided into eight Directorates that support fundamental science and engineering research and education, and use-inspired and translational research. Each Directorate is then subdivided into several different Divisions. Divisions can then be further subdivided into various programs or clusters that focus on even more specific research areas. Try to figure out which Directorate and Division and Program/Cluster your research best aligns with. A good place to start is online here. And don’t worry if this is difficult for you to identify, because that’s where a Program Director can help you.
  7. Contact a Program Director (PD): Once you think you know the Directorate, Division and Program/Cluster that your research would align with, send a PD in that Program/Cluster an email and include the 1-pager you’ve created! We would recommend you first send one email to a specific PD or to a specific program/cluster email alias. You don’t need to send to five PDs at once to see if your research fits in their program/cluster. We will do that on our side! Ultimately, we want to make sure you are guided to the proper Division and Program/Cluster so that your future submission will be appropriately reviewed.
  8. Write your NSF Biosketch: If you haven’t created an NSF Biosketch before, it’s a good idea to start that document now. Be sure to check out the NSF-approved formats for the biographical sketch online.

One final point to reiterate. Please, please, please, never hesitate to contact a Program Director! Our job is to help the PI community and we all accepted these positions to serve in that role.

Research Roars

Mohammad Mobarok Wins Best Student Agricultural Paper Award

Mohammad Mobarok, PhD student in agricultural and applied economics, won the Best Student Agricultural Paper Award at the 2022 Transportation Research Forum annual meeting. Mobarok’s paper was titled “Climate change-induced shifts in precipitation: response of Missouri corn and soybean basis.” 

Jianfeng Zhou Co-edits Book on Precision Ag and UAV

Jianfeng Zhou, assistant professor in plant science and technology, has co-edited the book Unmanned Aerial Systems in Precision Agriculture. The book presents the technological progress of UAV applications in precision agriculture and provides multiple UAV application cases in precision agriculture in Europe and the United States.

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

Mandy Bish, Foliar fungicides and disease management: a strip-trial study, MO Soybean Merchandising Council (MSMC), 5/1/2022-4/30/2023, $45,138

Mandy Bish, Understanding the impacts of soybean cyst nematode seed treatments on SCN and sudden death syndrome in Missouri, MO Soybean Merchandising Council (MSMC), 5/1/2022-4/30/2023, $17,900

Abed Rabbani, Development of a scale of measuring financial risk literacy, National Association of Insurance Commissioners, 5/10/2022-5/9/2023, $5,000

Tim Reinbott, Do crop rotation and cover crops impact soil health, soil water, productivity and profitability in Missouri soybean systems?, MO Soybean Merchandising Council (MSMC), 4/1/2022- 3/31/2023, $27,373

Andrew Scaboo, SCN screening for MO breeding program, MO Soybean Merchandising Council (MSMC), 4/1/2022-3/31/2023, $125,000

Emily Sinnott, Southwest bobwhite quail study analysis, Missouri Department of Conservation, 3/1/2022-12/31/2022, $13,200

In the News

Mental health among farmers is a concern, especially in the midst of turbulent weather and markets

Missouri Business Alerts 

Yes, the government does really stash billions of pounds of cheese in Missouri

Modern Farmer

Meyers elected to National Academy of Science

Missouri Ag Connection