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CAFNR Research Digest
CAFNR Office of Research Newsletter // Oct. 20, 2022 // 4(21)
Message from Associate Dean Shibu Jose

Last week, CAFNR held its first in-person Research Symposium, and I am thrilled to say it was a great success! Over the course of two days, we saw more than 300 attendees learn about the important and varied research we are doing here at CAFNR. Those attendees had the opportunity to see 15 different presentations, and 90 posters in addition to two rounds of lightening talks highlighting the work across our divisions.

I credit each of you who played a role in this year’s Research Symposium for its success. From the CAFNR Research Council that put in months of planning, to each and every faculty, post-doctoral researcher, graduate student and undergraduate student who shared their research, right down to the MU Facilities staff who helped with setup and tear-down, this was a team effort, and I appreciate every one of you for your hard work.

This hard work paid off, and the symposium reached beyond the confines of CAFNR. Did you know that one of our Facebook posts about the event reached more than 7,000 people, and our Instagram Reel featuring the symposium was watched 819 times?

After such a great first year, it’s difficult not to be excited about what the future will bring for CAFNR’s Research Symposium next year!

I also invite you to check out the Flickr album featuring the symposium and the CAFNR Research Magazine, Road to Discovery, that was released at the symposium.

Research Highlights
Check out our Flickr album from the CAFNR Research Symposium (click to read)
Check out our Flickr album from the CAFNR Research Symposium »

Photos of CAFNR’s Research Symposium are now up and available for viewing and download on our Flickr photostream! Check out the album today!

Road to Discovery, the Latest CAFNR Magazine, Available Now (click to read)
Road to Discovery, the Latest CAFNR Magazine, Available Now »

This issue of Road to Discovery features our MOAES, the research portfolio of CAFNR that enjoys a storied history of major impacts by advancing the science in agriculture, food and natural resources — on a local, national and global stage. Read the latest edition online here.

Missouri Water Center Debuts New Website (click to read)
Missouri Water Center Debuts New Website »

Extremes — like drought and flooding — often define Missourians’ relationship with water. The Missouri Water Center provides solutions and ways to adapt with innovative water-related research. The center focuses on improving water management by developing a new generation of tools, technologies and training programs. The center’s new website allows you to explore its research priorities, meet the team and more!

Grant Spotlight
Precision Agriculture Using Genome Editing for Improving Agricultural Traits (click to read)
Precision Agriculture Using Genome Editing for Improving Agricultural Traits

Associate Professor of Animal Sciences Bhanu Telugu hopes his work will ultimately help improve milk yield in livestock, feed babies with milk allergies and set global precedents for the regulation of genetically engineered animal products for consumption by humans. Telugu recently received a $2.34 million investment from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to support his research.

“We hope to find solutions for problems emanating from animal agriculture using genome editing technologies,” Telugu said. “One of those problems is allergies, specifically an allergy to milk. Some babies have a serious allergy to milk.”

He explained that the allergy stems from the presence of betalactoglobuline (BLG), a protein found in dairy products. Because milk and milk-based products make up most of the diet for infants, the milk allergies represent a major public health concern.

Another problem is low milk yield in dairy animals from south Asia and sub-saharan Africa, where they constitute a major source of income and livelihood to the farmers. Low efficiencies in milk production adds to the financial burden of the farmers and overall poor sustainability of agriculture.

For this project, Telugu is partnering with the National Dairy Research Institute in India, which is the premier research institute in India. This partnership lends several benefits to the project including allowing Telugu to leverage connections in his home country and a greater chance at utilizing genome editing tools to address critical problems in agriculture in India.

“I am excited about this project for the prospect of working closely with colleagues in India and help establish a pipeline for genetic engineering in livestock in India, and potentially establish a pathway for regulatory approval,” Telugu said. “We can actually make a tangible difference.”

Telugu and his team are attempting to modify target genes in water buffalo, which are used for about half of dairy production in India. By editing the genes of the buffalo, he believes he can accomplish the goals of improving lactation yield and other economically important traits in just one or two generations what selective breeding would take a decade to accomplish in this area.

Telugu envisions that successful applications of genome editing in India will ultimately benefit US agriculture as well. He believes that successful application of these technologies on a global stage will improve confidence in precision agriculture, likely lead to harmonization of regulatory processes, and facilitate global trade.

Research Tips

Human Subjects in Grant Proposals

As of April 1, 2022, the IRB Office charges fees for IRB review when MU IRB is the IRB of record for a multi-site project. Fees to be paid should be added to grant proposal budgets. The PI should contact the IRB Office to determine the appropriate fee for their project. The CAFNR Grant Office personnel cannot guess that rate for you. Since there is no F&A on these fees, they must be a separate line item on the budget. If these fees are not included in the grant budget, the PI will still be charged the appropriate fee and will need to reduce a different line in the budget after the award is received.

Research Roars

Center for Regenerative Agriculture Recognized by Missouri Department of Conservation

The CAFNR Center for Regenerative Agriculture (CRA) was recognized with the 2022 External Partner Award by the Missouri Department of Conservation Community and Private Lands Division at its annual banquet in St. Joseph on Oct. 4.

CAFNR Research Symposium Poster Winners Announced

More than 90 posters were showcased at the College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources’ first in-person Research Symposium Oct. 12-13. The symposium was held in Memorial Union, and had more than 300 attendees. Winners in three poster categories — undergraduate, graduate and postdoctoral — were announced during the closing session on Thursday. Read the full list of winners on the CAFNR website.

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

Bongkosh Vardhanabhuti, Establishing Baselines for Soybean Compositions for Plant-based Protein, Agricultural Research Service, 9/1/22-8/31/23, $70,000

Benjamin Knapp, Sustainability of uneven-aged oak forest management in the Missouri Ozarks: how are current practices affecting white oak regeneration and recruitment?, Missouri Department of Conservation, 7/1/22-6/30/23, $143,350

Lisa Webb, Evaluating toxicity implications of wetland sediment insecticide concentrations on benthic aquatic insects and temporal changes in, Missouri Department of Conservation, 7/1/22-6/30/23, $78,403

Felix Fritschi, Thermopriming as a tool to enhance heat stress tolerance in rice (Oryza sativa L.) under field conditions, USDA Foreign Agricultural Service, 9/1/22-8/31/24, $49,976

Kerry Clark, FAS International Internship Program, USDA Foreign Agricultural Service, 10/1/22-9/27/24, $303,958

Kevin Wells, SCGE Disease Models Studies Supplement: Correction of RHO P23H adRP, National Institutes of Health, 6/1/22-5/31/23, $494,470

Joanna Whittier, Science Team Lead for the Fishers and Farmers Partnership of the National Fish Habitat Partnership, Fish and Wildlife Service, 8/1/22-6/30/23, $15,000

Kevin Wells, LATC Collaborative Project 2: Swine Somatic Cell Genome Editing (SCGE) Center, National Institutes of Health, 6/1/22-5/31/23, $66,108

Grant Listings were unavailable for the summer months. We are working to include those grant announcements that haven’t been shared over the next few issues of Research Digest. Below are grants awarded in the month of August:

Allison Meyer, Maternal versus fetal effects on partitioning of nutrients and their effects on epigenomic regulation, National Institute of Food and Agriculture, 9/15/22-9/14/27, $640,000

Bradley Wilson, Evaluation of ThryvON Varieties (SO 140), Bayer Cropscience, LP, 6/15/22-12/31/22, $18,900

Xi Xiong, Service Order 143, Bayer Cropscience, LP, 6/15/22-12/31/22, $38,314

Kiho Lee, Deploying Histotripsy Based Tumor Ablation Strategies to Treat Pancreatic Cancer, VA Tech, 5/1/22-4/30/23, $71,799

Chung Ho Lin, Impact of Long-Term Cover Cropped Organic Farming Practices on the Development of Disease Suppressive Soils, Lincoln University, 9/1/22-7/31/25, $144,391

Christine Elsik, Creating a FAIR data ecosystem for incorporating single cell genomics data into agriculture G2P research, Iowa State University, 6/1/22-5/31/23, $19,990

Benjamin Knapp, Silvicultural strategies for promoting longleaf pine recruitment in multi-aged stands, Joseph W Jones Ecological Research Center, 8/1/22-8/31/24, $27,983

Randall Prather, National Swine Resource and Research Center – Yr 20, National Institutes of Health Office of the Director, 8/1/21-7/31/22, $1,445,966

Bradley Wilson, Evaluation of ThryvON Varieties (SO 138), Bayer Cropscience, LP, 4/1/22-3/1/23, $10,080

Kevin Wells, LATC Collaborative Projects: Swine Somatic Cell Genome Editing (SCGE) Center, National Institutes of Health, 8/1/21-7/31/22, $158,523

Jasper Grashuis, Resilient and Sustainable Small Farms: Lessons from the Covid-19 Pandemic, Lincoln University, 1/1/22-11/30/23, $86,918

Reid Smeda, Service Order 142, Bayer Cropscience, LP, 5/1/22-12/31/22, $13,860

Jinglu Tan, Acquisition of Goods and Services – Vories.Tan sub award, Agricultural Research Service, 4/1/22-10/31/22, $12,727.27

Randall Prather, National Swine Resource and Research Center A&R Adm Sup, National Institutes of Health Office of the Director, 8/1/22-7/31/23, $466,371

Kevin Wells, Swine Somatic Cell Genome Editing Center – Year 4, National Institutes of Health Office of the Director, 6/1/22-5/31/23, $2,295,123

Michael Stambaugh, RUI: Collaborative Research: Medieval to Modern Climate Variability and Climate Change in the Great Plains, NSF Division of Atmospheric Science, 7/1/22-6/30/25, $190,596

Pei Liu, Establishing a food safety model farm as a training center to advance food safety for Hmong farmers in Missouri, National Institute of Food and Agriculture, 7/1/22-6/30/24, $300,000

Rebecca North, Missouri phytoplankton, Mo Department of Health and Senior Services, 3/1/22-8/31/22, $39,125

Kiho Lee, Validating pig models for Alzheimer’s disease, National Institutes of Health National Institute on Aging, 8/1/22-7/31/24, $446,615

Peter Sutovsky, Fertility enhancement of spermatozoa in cattle, Agricultural Research Service, 5/1/22-10/2/25, $194,048

Steven Van Doren, REU Supplement RAPID: Structure of Membrane-Bound Fusion Peptide of SARS-CoV-2 Required for Infection, NSF Division of  Molecular Cellular Bioscience, 6/1/20-5/31/23, $20,184

Reid Smeda, Field Trial: Protocol NA22F7B023H, Corteva Agriscience, LLC, 6/15/22-10/1/23, $5,000

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