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CAFNR Research Digest
CAFNR Office of Research Newsletter // June 6, 2019
Agricultural Research Centers
Greenley Research Center (click to read)
Greenley Research Center

In 2017, the Greenley Research Center celebrated its 40th field day with the unveiling of the 240-acre Grace Greenley Farm, which was officially deeded to the Center in 2015 from Miss Hortense Greenley’s estate upon her passing. The field day showcased live demonstrations and installations of several drainage water management and sub-irrigation systems by the Missouri Land Improvement Contractors Association (LICA). Presentations were given by several partners, including the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), Agri Drain and Ecosystem Services Exchange (ESE).

Missouri LICA will return to the Greenley Research Center this July to install the final phase of the country’s first holistic drain water recycling research project on the Grace Greenley Farm. The Conservation Showcase will host three public tours to demonstrate the drain water recycling management system, as well as the latest research being conducted on cover crops, buffer strips and bioreactors. Tours will be held on Monday, July 22, Wednesday, July 24, and Friday, July 26. All of the two-hour tours will begin at 1 p.m. Read more >>

This project is being funded in part through a USDA-NRCS grant.

Graduate Student Spotlight
Paula Chen, Animal Sciences and USDA-NIFA Predoctoral Fellow (click to read)
Paula Chen, Animal Sciences and USDA-NIFA Predoctoral Fellow

Paula Chen, MS, recently received a USDA-NIFA Predoctoral Fellowship, which will provide funding for her research for the next two years. The focus of this program is to prepare the next generation of agricultural scientists by developing their technical and academic competence as well as the ability to independently synthesize ideas and perform research. Each applicant must write a six-page grant that outlines four different plans: a training and career development plan, a mentoring plan, a project plan, and an evaluation plan.

What is your research focus?
My research focuses on improving pig embryo development in an artificial culture system so that we can study early developmental processes and create genetically modified pigs with resistance to certain viruses or other advantageous traits. I have been studying how the addition of an amino acid, glutamine, to our culture system improves pig embryo development and affects activation of a protein complex called mTORC1. This complex is known to regulate the growth and proliferation of most cell types; therefore, we will also investigate the role of mTORC1 during developmental stages before implantation. We will use this information to further understand embryo viability at these early stages with an overarching goal of obtaining larger and more consistent litter sizes in the modern sow to increase the food supply and meet growing demands.

Why does this field interest you?
I became very interested in embryonic development and genetic engineering as a student at The Ohio State University because I was given the opportunity to conduct research related to these topics in chickens. I am amazed by the fact that we have the ability to observe a few thousand cells sitting on top of the yolk or a one-cell embryo of a pig develop into complex organisms. Embryos in a culture system are adaptable but can be delicate at the same time, so understanding their requirements can be puzzling. However, technologies, such as RNA sequencing, are being used to pinpoint different components that may be missing in the culture system. Additionally, with the new gene editing technology of the CRISPR/Cas9 system, we have the ability to precisely edit regions of the genome. It is extraordinary that the pig genome contains three billion bases, and that we can delete one base in a targeted gene to create a pig that is resistant to a virus or develops a disease that also occurs in humans. The field of genetic engineering is always changing, and it is exciting to see the new advancements firsthand.

Why did you decide to come to Mizzou?
I decided to come to Mizzou because the Division of Animal Sciences has a very strong reproduction focus, and Dr. Prather’s research program is world-renowned. I wanted to study mammalian embryonic development and create genetically modified livestock that would potentially have a positive impact on the agricultural industry, which is what prompted me to contact Dr. Prather about a position in his lab as a PhD student.

Who is your advisor?
Dr. Randall Prather

What are your future career plans?
I hope to pursue a career in academia and create a research program that investigates embryonic development in livestock species.

Research Roars

Company founded on CAFNR technology has impressive IPO

A plant-based protein technology developed by researchers in CAFNR’s Division of Food Systems and Bioengineering helped lead to the formation of Beyond Meat, a company that recently had the best initial public offering (IPO) debut this year. The technology was created by Fu-Hung Hsieh, professor emeritus of bioengineering and food science. Although Beyond Meat’s headquarters are in California, its plant is here in Columbia, Mo.

FY2018 CAFNR Patents

For the seventh year in a row, the UM System was included in the Top 100 Worldwide Universities Granted U.S. Patents report. The analysis shows the UM System, with its universities in Columbia, Kansas City, Rolla and St. Louis, moved up 10 positions in the past year, ranking 60th compared to 70th last year. The ranking is based on data from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office for the number of utility patents granted during the calendar year. CAFNR had 10 inventors with nine issued patents and 25 inventors with licensed technologies during FY2018:

  • Kevin D. Gillis, bioengineering (Patent No. 9,862,697 – Patent No. 9,696,275)
  • David Alan Grant, bioengineering (Patent No. 9,827,323)
  • Sheila A. Grant, bioengineering (Patent No. 9,827,323)
  • Li-qun (Andrew) Gu, bioengineering (Patent No. 9,732,379)
  • Jae Wan Kwon, electrical and bioengineering (Patent No. 9,805,928)
  • Peter P. Motavalli, natural resources (Patent No. 9,898,016)
  • Kelly A. Nelson, plant sciences (Patent No. 9,898,016)
  • Randall S. Prather, animal sciences (Patent No. 9,783,779 – Patent No. 9,807,987 – Patent
    No. 9,820,475)
  • Kevin D. Wells, animal sciences (Patent No. 9,820,475)
  • Kristin M. Whitworth, animal sciences (Patent No. 9,820,475)

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

Sougata Bardhan, Spatial Variability of Soil Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Soil Microbial Diversity and Function in Conventional and Alternate Land Use Systems in Floodplain Soils, 3/1/2018 – 2/28/2021, $36,700, Lincoln University

Kaitlyn Bissonnette, Evaluation of BASF SCN Seed Treatment Products, 5/1/2019 – 12/31/2019, $9,660, BASF Corp.

Kevin Bradley, Chemical Materials Trial/Protocol NA19F7B001H, 4/1/2019 – 6/1/2020, $6,000, Dow AgroSciences

Kerry Clark, SIL MRA2, 2/1/2019 – 3/31/2020, $151,183, University of Illinois

David Diamond, A Riparian and Wetland Habitat Map for New Mexico (RwetMap NM), 7/1/2018 – 6/15/2020, $66,803, University of New Mexico

Daniel Downing, Reservoir Observer Student Scientists (ROSS): Engaging Youth in Harmful Algal Bloom Monitoring, 4/2/2019 –
4/30/2020, $14,994, University of Wisconsin Madison

James English, Acquisition of Goods and Services – 966 Admin Cost, 4/1/2019 – 3/31/2020, $42,508, Agricultural Research Service

James Heiser, Protocol DEV-H-2019-US-LJ1-A, 4/5/2019 – 3/1/2020, $9,500, BASF Corp.

Jessica Kansman, Indirect effects of drought on the biological control of aphids by parasitic wasps, 6/1/2019 – 5/31/2021, $116,859, National Institute of Food and Agriculture

David Korasick, Investigating the Structural Basis of Soybean Cyst Nematode Infection, 5/15/2019 – 5/14/2021, $159,797, National Institute of Food and Agriculture

Chung Ho Lin, Ecophysiology, ecosystem services, and environmental education of short rotation woody crops grown for phytotechnologies, 5/13/2019 – 9/30/2023, $84,000, Forest Service

John Lory, MU Certified Strip Trial Initiative: Cover Crop Trials, 10/1/2019 – 2/1/2021, $73,150, MO Soybean Merchandising Council (MSMC)

Matthew Lucy, Uterine microbiome: Functional significance in establishing the uterine program postpartum, 8/15/2018 –
4/30/2020, $321,625, National Institute of Child Health and Human Development

Blake Meyers, Support for GRA/Aleksandra Beric, 6/1/2016 – 5/31/2021, $66,015, Donald Danforth Plant Sciences Center

Gerald Miller Jr., Evaluation of BASF Experimental Compounds for Turfgrass Disease Control, 4/1/2019 – 12/31/2019, $15,000, BASF Corp.

Kelly Nelson, Field Evaluation of PhotoSeed™ and SunZoil™ Traits, 4/1/2016 – 2/28/2022, $256,657, Zeakal Inc.

Jennifer Reidy, Abundance, Survival, And Viability of Golden-Cheeked Warbler on Balcones Canyonlands Preserve, Austin, TX, $39,032, Forest Service

Reid Smeda, Chemical Materials Trial/Protocols NA19T8B021H; NA19T8B022H; NA19T8B023H; NA19T8B008H; and NA19T8B009H, 4/1/2019 – 10/31/2019, $24,000, Dow AgroSciences

Jinglu Tan, Acquisition of Goods and Services – CSWQ FY20, 4/1/2019 – 3/31/2020, $284,900, Agricultural Research Service

Kevin Wells, Swine Somatic Cell Genome Editing Center, 6/1/2019 – 5/31/2020, $1,129,562, National Institutes of Health Office of the Director

William Wiebold, Syngenta Service Order: April 10, 2019, 4/10/2019 – 4/9/2020, $9,779, Syngenta Seeds Inc.

Christopher Willig, Characterization of Plant Developmental Genes for Their Ability to Promote Somatic Embryogenesis in Monocot Crops, 5/15/2019 – 5/14/2021, $119,893, National Institute of Food and Agriculture

Jianfeng Zhou, Develop an efficient fruit handling system for elderberries, 5/1/2019 – 4/30/2021, $39,913, University of Minnesota

Provided by the MU Office of Research

Please Join Us

The College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources presents a talk by J. Scott Angle, Director of the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture and a CAFNR alumnus, on Tuesday, June 25. Dr. Angle will speak on “Balancing Land Grant Capacity with NIFA Opportunities – A Delicate Dance” at 2 p.m. in Monsanto Auditorium, Bond Life Sciences Center. His talk will be followed by a Q&A.

Dr. Angle was sworn into office as the third director of the National Institute of Food and Agriculture on Oct. 29, 2018. He received his BS and MS at the University of Maryland in agronomy and soil science, respectively. He obtained his PhD from the University of Missouri with an emphasis on soil microbiology. Angle worked for 24 years as a professor of soil science and director of the Maryland Agricultural Experiment Station and Maryland Cooperative Extension at the University of Maryland. His early work focused on the study of losses of nutrients from agro-ecosystems, and their impact on the Chesapeake Bay. He also studied the impact of heavy metals on the food chain with the goal of protecting our food supply from these harmful elements. Later he concentrated his studies on phytoremediation, the use of plants for the extraction of heavy metals from soil. In 2005, he moved to Athens, Georgia, where he served as Dean and Director of the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences at the University of Georgia for 10 years. Most recently, he served as President and CEO of the International Fertilizer Development Center (IFDC), where he oversaw a staff of 800 and coordinated development projects in diverse regions of the world.

In the News

‘We love rain this time of year. Just not all at once’: Local farmers deal with record rainfall, Springfield News-Leader

Toxic Weedkiller Dicamba Drift Damages Crops Across America, Before It’s News

Heat, humidity usher in FHB risk for wheat, AgUpdate

Congratulations Dr. KC Olson, American Society of Animal Science

With U.S. soybean farmers uncertain about trade with China, India could step up, St. Louis Post Dispatch

Missouri farmers needed to help capture stinkbug, Missouri Ruralist

Fly season is here for livestock, Morning Ag Clips

The photo featured in the header shows a dairy cow in the pasture at sunrise at Foremost Dairy Research Center. June is National Dairy Month, but CAFNR celebrates every day! We are home to the student Dairy Products Evaluation Team and MU Dairy Club, research at Foremost Dairy Research Center, including genetic testing to strengthen herds, experts in cattle health and dairy industry economics, and of course, everybody’s favorite summer treat Buck’s Tiger Stripe ice cream.