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CAFNR Research Digest
CAFNR Office of Research Newsletter // May 4, 2023 // 5(9)
Feature Story
Using Gene-Editing Tool to Improve Productivity in Rice Crops (click to read)
Using Gene-Editing Tool to Improve Productivity in Rice Crops »

A recent study by a CAFNR researcher used genetic engineering tools to better prepare Missouri’s agriculture industry to control crop disease outbreaks

Missouri Agricultural Experiment Station
MOAES Statewide Advisory Board Holds First In-Person Meeting (click to read)
MOAES Statewide Advisory Board Holds First In-Person Meeting

The Statewide Advisory Board of the Missouri Agricultural Experiment Station held its first in-person meeting in late April at the Beef Research and Teaching Farm just outside of Columbia, which is part of the Central Missouri Research, Extension and Education Center. The group will be instrumental in guiding the MOAES and is a mechanism for collaboration between CAFNR leaders and faculty, extension leaders and industry partners.

During this first gathering, the board approved its bylaws and elected Gary Wheeler of Missouri Soybean Association as chairperson. The group also discussed the needs of each Research, Extension and Education Center (REEC) with the REEC directors.

Graduate Student Spotlight
Alani Antoine-Mitchell, Biochemistry (click to read)
Alani Antoine-Mitchell, Biochemistry

What is your research focus?

My PhD project focuses on understanding how vesicular trafficking components contribute to mounting appropriate iron (Fe) deficiency responses in Arabidopsis thaliana root and leaf tissues.

Why does this field interest you?

Fe-deficiency anemia affects more than 1.7 billion people worldwide, primarily women and children. Plants are the primary source of Fe in human diets and are also affected by Fe-deficiency, leading to growth and development defects. As a mother to two daughters, I was interested in how plants take up and utilize Fe from their environment, in hopes of engineering more nutritious crops and increasing crop yield for the world’s growing population.

Why did you decide to come to Mizzou?

I was impressed by the research opportunities and support the students and faculty showed during the interview process, making the move from New York City to Columbia a great decision.

What are your future career plans?

My short-term goal is to obtain a post-doctoral position in the field of cell & molecular biology during which I can further develop my skills as an independent researcher and mentor. Long-term, I hope to continue research as a faculty member, building on my leadership experiences and increasing the representation of minorities in STEM fields.

Who is your advisor?

I am in the lab of Dr. Antje Heese in the Division of Biochemistry.

Research Roars

International Programs Awards International Faculty Collaboration Grants

Four CAFNR faculty have been awarded International Faculty Collaboration Grants from the CAFNR Office of International Programs. The purpose of this incentive fund is to stimulate international research, teaching and outreach collaborations consistent with CAFNR Strategic Plan Goal six — Championing Global Citizenship and Engagement. The four CAFNR faculty awards are:

  • Ranjith Udawatta: Lecture series on Water and Soil Benefits of Agroforestry and Potential Research Opportunities at University of São Paulo (Universidade de São Paulo), Piracicaba, Brazil.
  • Rebecca North: Research at the IGB-Stechlin LakeLab in Germany via a collaborative mesocosm experiment is to elucidate the source, persistence, and degradation of the cyanobacteria-produced toxin, microcystin.
  • Michael Sunde: Fostering Collaborations between the University of Missouri and the Rural Data Research and Analysis (RuDRA) Lab, Indian Institute of Technology-Bombay.
  • Shuangyu Xu: Developing collaborative projects on cave tourism for rural recreation economic development with Hunan Normal University.

SNR Faculty Recognized for Top-Cited Paper

A paper by Ranjith Udawatta, research professor of soil, environmental and atmospheric sciences, “Grassland conversion to croplands impacted soil pore parameters measured via X-ray computed tomography,” was recently named a top-cited paper in Soil Science Society of America Journal.

CAFNR Grad Student Selected for Highly-Competitive Gatorade Fellowship

Matt Wade, a master’s student in dietetics, was recently selected as one of eight students nationwide for the Gatorade Sports Nutrition Immersion Program Fellowship. The Gatorade Sports Nutrition Immersion Program (SNIP) matches full-time sports dietitians with Collegiate and Professional Sports Dietitians Association members interested in getting more practical hands-on experience working with athletes and sports programs.

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

Deborah Finke, Improving the formulation of an artificial diet for rearing Philornis downsi, International Atomic Energy Agency, 3/27/23-3/26/24, $21,878

Andrew Scaboo, Discovering and deploying genetic solutions across maturity groups for durable resistance to multiple nematodes, University of Georgia, 10/1/22-9/30/23, $50,000

Heike Buecking, Acquisition of Goods and Services – Plant Genetics Soybean FY23-24, Agricultural Research Service, 4/1/23-3/31/24, $32,315.80

Grover Shannon, Discovering and deploying genetic solutions across maturity groups for durable resistance to multiple nematodes, University of Georgia, 10/1/22-9/30/23, $61,408

Heike Bueking, Development of soybean lines without both trypsin and chymotrypsin inhibitors, Agricultural Research Service, 10/1/22-9/30/23, $86,000

Bradley Wilson, 2023 Axant Flex Stewarded Agronomic Performance Trial (APT) Protocol, BASF Corp, 5/1/23-4/30/24, $15,000

Kelly Nelson, Yield and Agronomic Performance of E3-traited Soybean, BASF Corp, 5/1/23-4/30/24, $3,000

Matthew Lucy, Disease programing of endometrial regeneration and function in postpartum dairy cows, National Institute of Food and Agriculture, 5/1/23-4/30/26, $648,370

In the News

Changes in Forest Behavior after Crossing a Drought Threshold
The Academic Minute

The farm bill is a big deal if you produce, or eat, food — but it may face a tough time in Congress
St. Louis Public Radio

Mizzou Researcher Uses Gene-Editing Tool to Improve Productivity of Rice Crops
Ag Fax

Exploring Extended Crop Rotation Benefits for Soil Health and Productivity
Soybean Research and Information Network

Ag economist previews USDA reports

Genomic testing: The past, present and future
Ag Proud

National Science Foundation director inaugurates President’s Distinguished Lecture Series
Columbia Tribune

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