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Wednesday, April 23 2014

  • Iowa State researchers contribute to global effort to sequence peanut genome

    A team of USDA and Iowa State University researchers has helped to sequence the genomes of the two closest relatives of the cultivated peanut, an advancement that could lead to the development of varieties more resistant to pests and environmental stress.

  • Iowa State University design students work with three southwest Iowa communities

    Some Iowa State University design students are stepping out of the hypothetical and into the actual in three southwestern Iowa communities. Working with Clarinda, Red Oak and Shenandoah, 24 students in the senior-level Retail Scapes studio class have developed design concepts to enhance local retail experiences. And what started as individual community storefronts and streetscapes has evolved into a regional vision with connections and collaborations that can strengthen the area's economy.

  • Presidential initiative creates team of engineers, plant scientists to develop smart plants

    Iowa State University engineers and plant scientists are working together to study and develop better crops. Iowa State's Presidential Initiative for Interdisciplinary Research launched the collaboration last summer. The research team has organized an International Workshop on Engineered Crops April 28-29 in Des Moines.

  • Iowa State IT staff discover unauthorized access to servers

    Iowa State IT staff have discovered a breach affecting five departmental servers. An extensive analysis has revealed the compromised servers contained Social Security numbers of 29,780 students enrolled in select departments at Iowa State between 1995 and 2012. There's no evidence any of the data files were accessed, and there was no student financial information in the records. The servers were hacked by an unknown person or persons who intended to generate enough computing power to create bitcoins. Bitcoins are a type of digital money that can be used to buy merchandise anonymously. Iowa State is contacting and providing support to those individuals whose personal information may have been exposed.

  • ISU researchers find mentor programs often harm, more than help first-year science teachers

    New teachers deal with a multitude of challenges during their first year in the classroom, which is why many school districts develop mentoring programs to ease that transition. But instead of helping beginning science teachers, a new Iowa State University study found these programs tend to reinforce the status quo, making it difficult for teachers to promote a deep understanding of science.

  • Journalism educator Bill Kunerth named 2014 Schwartz Award winner

    William "Bill" F. Kunerth, professor emeritus of the Greenlee School, was named the 2014 winner of the James W. Schwartz Award for Distinguished Service to Journalism and Communication. Kunerth died December 2013 after a brief illness. The award was presented to his spouse, Wilma, in a special April 16 memorial arranged for the former professor.

  • Leath announces Veishea task force

    Iowa State University President Steven Leath has announced the members of a task force to study the future of Veishea in the aftermath of the event's suspension for 2014. Senior Vice President for Student Affairs Tom Hill will serve as chair.

  • Schwartz named director of U.S. Department of Energy’s Ames Laboratory

    Adam Schwartz will be the new director of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Ames Laboratory. He currently serves as division leader of the Condensed Matter and Materials Division at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California. Schwartz is an accomplished researcher whose work has focused on plutonium aging and alloys, advanced characterization, and the dynamic properties of materials. He'll begin his Ames duties on June 2.

  • Book early and after work if you want to enjoy your next hotel stay

    If you’re planning a summer vacation or weekend getaway, when you book your hotel room can make a big difference. As convenient as it may be to make a reservation at the office, a new Iowa State University study found you’ll be happier with your hotel stay if you wait to book your room after business hours.

  • Team PrISUm builds next solar racer; cross-country race includes Ames stop

    The students of Team PrISUm are putting in long hours to build a solar race car for this summer's eight-day, 1,700-mile American Solar Challenge. The race will make a stop in Ames on July 26. Iowa State's team finished second in the last cross-country race for student-designed and student-built solar race cars.

  • Time for marketing campaigns to reflect cultural differences within families

    A cereal commercial intended to tout the heart-healthy benefits of Cheerios, instead sparked an ugly debate on social media about the interracial family featured in the ad. But for Samantha Cross, an assistant professor of marketing at Iowa State University, the family in the ad, consisting of a black father, white mother and biracial daughter, represented a change that is long overdue.

  • Industry leaders to share experience of building effective supply chain partnerships

    Successfully delivering a product to a customer depends on an integrated network of firms that all contribute to the end goal. To help business leaders improve efficiencies within their supply chains, the 2014 Voorhees Supply Chain Conference will feature three examples of companies that have benefited from effective supply chain partnerships. The conference, sponsored by Iowa State University’s College of Business, is from 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Friday, April 25, at Reiman Gardens.

  • Details on Veishea cancellations, other weekend events

    In the wake of an early morning Campustown disturbance April 9, President Steven Leath suspended the remainder of the 2014 Veishea celebration as of 5 p.m. that day. The cancellation impacts all Veishea-affiliated activities, including the parade, concerts, food vendors and Veishea Village. Some university activities that fall on what would have been Veishea weekend will continue. 

  • Leath suspends remainder of 2014 Veishea celebration

    Iowa State University President Steven Leath announced today that the remainder of this year’s Veishea celebration is suspended, effective at 5 p.m. today, April 9.

  • Statement from President Leath regarding April 9 Campustown incident

    "I was immediately made aware of the situation that began in Campustown shortly before midnight, and have continued to receive information over the past few hours from police and other staff. We are all distraught and disappointed over the events that have unfolded near campus overnight. I can confirm that one of our students has been seriously injured and his condition is unknown at this hour. Student Affairs staff have reached out to the family. At this time, I ask everyone to keep this student in your thoughts and prayers. 

    My senior cabinet will convene first thing in the morning to assess this situation and evaluate options for the remainder of our official Veishea activities planned for this week.

    Additional information will be posted on the Iowa State homepage at as soon as it is available."

    President Steven Leath


  • ISU prof concerned that misperceptions about energy drinks could have health consequences

    Look closely at the label of any energy drink and you will likely notice a key ingredient is missing. Despite the fact that many of these popular drinks contain as much as 500 mg of caffeine, you won’t find the amount listed on the can or bottle.

  • Iowa wine industry poised for expansion, according to Iowa State University professor

    The expansion of Iowa’s wine industry in recent years shows its potential to become a regional leader, an Iowa State University professor said this week. A recent study reported that the economic impact of Iowa’s wine and wine grapes industry was $420 million in 2012, an increase of around 80 percent from $234 million in 2008.

  • Iowa State materials scientist developing materials and electronics that dissolve when triggered

    An Iowa State research team led by Reza Montazami is developing "transient materials" and "transient electronics" that can quickly and completely melt away when a trigger is activated. That could mean that one day you might be able to send out a signal to destroy a lost credit card. A paper about the research project has just been published online by the journal Advanced Functional Materials.

  • Why we think we’re good at something when we’re not

    Reality TV has a way of highlighting the worst in people, even when they genuinely think they’re doing their best. American Idol is just one example, in which contestants who can’t carry a tune are shocked when told they can’t sing. Zlatan Krizan, an associate professor of psychology at Iowa State University, says it’s a natural reaction because we have a hard time accurately evaluating our abilities.

  • Collaborative science yields new insight into links among nitrogen, herbivores and plant biodiversity

    A collaborative approach to gathering data spearheaded by Iowa State University faculty and students has revealed new insight into plant biodiversity and netted publication in a top scientific journal. The study gathered worldwide data on how nitrogen levels affect the number of plant species that can thrive in grassland environments across the globe.

  • Limiting screen time improves sleep, academics and behavior, ISU study finds

    Parents may not always see it, but efforts to limit their children’s screen time can make a difference. A new study, published in JAMA Pediatrics, found children get more sleep, do better in school, behave better and see other health benefits when parents limit content and the amount of time their children spend on the computer or in front of the TV.

  • More than 700 Iowa students to show off their science and technology projects

    A record 700-plus school students from across the state will show off their science and technology projects at Hilton Coliseum on Thursday and Friday, March 27 and 28. Public hours for the State Science and Technology Fair of Iowa are:

    • Thursday from 5 to 7 p.m. at Hilton Coliseum for all exhibits
    • Friday 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. for junior high exhibits displayed on the Hilton floor and 2:30 to 6 p.m. for senior high exhibits displayed on the Hilton concourse
    • The fair’s award ceremony is 7 p.m. Friday at Hilton
  • Resistance to Bt corn by western corn rootworm is a growing concern for farmers, according to Iowa State University entomologist

    A researcher at Iowa State University is urging Iowa farmers to adopt a diverse range of pest management tactics to suppress the resistance of western corn rootworm to Bt corn. Beginning in 2009, farmers in northeast Iowa began to report rootworm problems despite the use of Bt corn. Similar instances in surrounding states suggest the issue is of growing concern.

  • Iowa State engineer builds instrument to study effects of genes, environment on plant traits

    Iowa State University's Liang Dong is leading a research team that's developing an accessible instrument with the scale, flexibility and resolution needed to study how genes and environmental conditions affect plant traits. Dong says the instrument could enable experiments that are now impossible. The project is supported by a three-year, $697,550 grant from the National Science Foundation.

  • Salamanders are shrinking due to climate change, according to Iowa State researcher

    Certain species of salamanders in the eastern United States appear to be shrinking as a consequence of climate change, according to an Iowa State University professor.

  • Life lessons: Children learn aggressive ways of thinking and behaving from violent video games

    Children who repeatedly play violent video games are learning thought patterns that will stick with them and influence behaviors as they grow older, according to a new study by Iowa State University researchers. The effect is the same regardless of age, gender or culture. Douglas Gentile, lead author of the study published in JAMA Pediatrics, says it is really no different than learning math or to play the piano.

  • Changes to special education in Iowa could hurt students and teachers

    Iowa State University School of Education faculty members are concerned that proposed changes for special education teaching endorsements in Iowa could have negative consequences. The Board of Educational Examiners wants to consolidate certain requirements to help address a shortage of special education teachers in the state.