Tag Archives: research

External grants report – first quarter of fiscal year 2016

A partial list of external grants received by CALS faculty during the first quarter of fiscal year 2016 (July 2015 – September 2015) are included here. Only projects with total awards of $100,000 or more are included. We apologize for any omissions.



PI and Co-PIs

Total Award Amount

Sweet Hydrogen: High-Yield Production of Hydrogen for Biomass Sugars Catalyzed by In Vitro Synthetic Biosystems U.S. Dept. of Energy P. Zhang (BSE) $404,316
Information Management in Large Scale Gypsy Moth IPM USDA, Forest Service H. M. Dodd and A. Roberts (ENT) $353,000
Noncanonical Reactions Catalyzed by Atypical Flavoenzymes NSF P. Sobrado (BIOCHEM) $320,000
Soil Science Assistance Program – Virginia Department of Health Va. Dept. of Health J. Galbraith (CSES) $318,450
Boxwood blight: Studying Calonectria Pseudonaviculata Biology & Epidemiology to Enhance Mitigation Strategies USDA, APHIS C. Hong (HRAREC) and A. Baudoin (PPWS) $300,000
Collaborative Research: Elucidating the Molecular Architecture and Dynamics of Phenylalanine Biosynthesis in Plants NSF G. Pilot (PPWS) $274,999
Fetal Outcomes from Maternal Obesity Around the Time of Conception Commonwealth Health Research Board A. Ealy (APSC), S. Johnson (APSC), and S. Clark-Deener (Vet. Med.) $146,330
Gypsy Moth Mating Disruption in Populations of Various Densitite USDA, Forest Service K. Onufrieva and A. Roberts (ENT) $125,000
Principles Underlying the Success of the Weedy Invader Sorghum Halepense (*johnsongrass*) Toward its Containment and Mitigation U. of Georgia Research Foundation Inc. J. Barney (PPWS) $121,544
Estimating Use Values for Land in Agricultural and Hotricultural Uses Va. Dept. of Taxation G. Groover and F. A. Bruce (AAEC) $105,700
Small RNA-mediated Transcriptional Regulatory Networks Governing Adaptation to Submergence and Reoxygenation in Rice Jeffress Trust and Award Program T. Fukao (CSES) $100,000
RCPR Salary Funding Richmond City Kathleen Jamison (4-H Centers and Admin) $100,000
CNH-L The coupled dynamics of human – dryland river systems: linkages and feedbacks between anthropogenic and environmental drivers NSF K. Alexander (Fish and Wildlife Cons.), S. Eubank (VBS), A. Godrej (Civil and Env. Eng.), B. Lewis (VBI), M. Ponder (FST), and Eric Vance (STAT) $1,799,999
CSBR: Natural History Collections: Mission Critical Improvements to Virginia Tech’s Insect Collection NSF P. Marek (ENT) $249,198
CRISPR/Cas9 Guided Production of Genetically Engineered Pigs Lacks CD8+ T-cells NIH Office of the Director K. Lee (APSC) and L. Yuan (Vet. Med.) $197,225
Flavor Distortion Through Interaction of Chemicals in Fluids and Can Coatings: Phase II Project Coca-Cola Company R. Batra (Biomedical Eng. & Mechanics) and S. O’Keefe (FST) $185,336
Preparing a 21st Century STEM Workforce: Defining & Measuring Leadership in Engineering Education NSF D. Simmons (Myers-Lawson School of Construction) and N. Clegorne ( ALCE) $444,183
Protecting the Chesapeake Bay Aquaculture Industry from a Dynamic Carbonate Chemistry Environment NOAA D. Kuhn (FST) and D. Scott (BSE) $353,766
Growing 4-H Science National 4-H Council K. Jamison (4-H Centers and Admin) $311,200
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CALS research hosting #AMA to meet your grants team

CALS Research is hosting an #AMA (Ask Me Anything)!

Come and meet your CALS grants team:

  • Saied Mostaghimi, associate dean for research and graduate studies
  • Lesley Mitchell, grants specialist
  • Nancy Dudek, grants coordinator
  • Lauren Magruder, OSP’s director of pre-award

The event will be held Thursday, Oct. 22, 2015 from 12:30 – 1:30 p.m. in Litton-Reaves Room 1240. Pizza and beverages will be provided.

Please RSVP to Nancy Dudek by Oct. 19.

We will be responding to your questions, such as:

  • Why do I have a new OSP admin?
  • Who do I contact about cost-share?
  • Why do I need a SPAF?
  • Who submits my pre-proposal?
  • And more!

Come with your grants questions, or just stop by to introduce yourself!

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Research from Jake Tu’s group in biochemistry featured in Science journal

Congratulations to Jake Tu and his research group in biochemistry, including co-authors Sharkhova and Adelman from entomology, for having their recent paper featured in Science journal.

Science is one of the top journals and this work lays the groundwork for future strategies to combat important diseases in humans.

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Virginia Ag Council preproposals due Nov. 15

Preproposals for the Virginia Ag Council are due Nov. 15.

Please note that the preproposals are NOT required to be routed through sponsored programs. However, if you are selected to submit a full proposal, it will need to go through the appropriate channels for budget approval and submission.

 Also, the new contact for the VAC proposal is Jennifer Cavedo.

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Governor McAuliffe announces launch of Virginia grants website

Governor McAuliffe recently launched the first ever Virginia Grants website, a new public resource for anyone interested in state, federal, and private funding opportunities. The website will serve as a hub for taxpayers to search for grant opportunities, and have a better idea of how federal tax dollars are being spent, and which grants present opportunities for state and local governments as well as private businesses and organizations.

“The new Virginia Grants website will help my administration serve taxpayers better by increasing transparency and accountability and offering residents a single hub for grant funding opportunities that may help them grow their businesses, improve their communities or make life better for their families,” said Governor McAuliffe. “Using technology to improve government customer service and seize more opportunities to fund important priorities is a great step forward in our efforts to build a new Virginia economy.”

In a communication to state agencies, Governor McAuliffe urged state agencies to utilize this website when applying for grants in order to foster collaboration amongst agencies. He also directed agencies to publish grants they offer on the Virginia Grants site so that Virginians can browse and apply for state grants more easily.

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CSES roundup

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Funding opportunity – Extension Risk Management Education

The Southern Risk Management Education Center in conjunction with the North Central, Northeastern, and Western Centers recently announced a competitive funding opportunity for educational projects designed to help agricultural producers improve their economic viability through targeted risk management strategies. The Southern Center expects to fund 18-month Education Projects (awards of up to $50,000) to be conducted between April 1, 2016 and Sept. 30, 2017. Applications are due by 5 p.m., Monday, Nov. 16, 2015.

Applications are sought from qualified public and private groups, organizations, and institutions including land grant colleges and universities, Cooperative Extension, other colleges and universities, and other public and private entities with a demonstrated capacity to develop and deliver results/outcome-based risk management education projects for agricultural producers and their families. The Southern Center serves the region, which includes Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Florida, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.

The complete request for applications is on the Southern Center’s website.

An applicant webinar will be conducted on Oct. 13, 2015 at 10 a.m. CST (11 a.m. EST). Please join us to learn more about the RFA and for tips on writing successful applications. There is no fee to participate, however please register by sending an email to clockert2@unl.edu.

Questions or comments regarding the RFA may be directed to H.L. Goodwin Jr. 479-575-2283, hlgood@uark.edu or Sandy Martini, 479-575-6995, smartini@uaex.edu.

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VALOR summer seminar witnesses rural challenges and daring leadership in southwest Virginia

A family farm, WiFi, a renegade health initiative, and a high school biotechnology lab. For VALOR fellows this July, these are some of strategies that illustrate the creative — sometimes daring — leadership in sustainable economic development in southwestern Virginia.

VALOR fellows trek across rich Wytheville pasture and farmland with dairy farmer describing success in the new wedding tourism market, but the lingering challenge of finding and retaining skilled labor.

VALOR fellows trek across rich Wytheville pasture and farmland with a dairy farmer who described success in the new wedding tourism market, but the lingering challenge of finding and retaining skilled labor remains an issue.

At Carroll County’s Southwest Farmers’ Market, innovative leadership decisions in the shape of a re-purposed shipping container supports small farmers. Five years ago, unable to cool their perishable corn crop, local sweet-corn farmers could not compete in the market. The county stepped in to build a hydrocooler – a $1 million contraption they built out of a shipping container and air-conditioning duct work for a much lower cost, then the county opened it up for a small fee letting farmers quick-cool their crops, lengthening the corn’s shelf life from three days to two weeks and opening the more lucrative, regional market to Carroll County farmers.

“It was like building the space-shuttle, but we did it,” said county administrator Gary Larrowe, leading the VALOR team that day. Everyone laughed, but realized that, to a farmer, adding value opens doors to regional markets – bringing that county investment back home.

“Providing this equipment gives small- and medium-sized farms the chance to grow,” Larrowe said.

The Carroll County visit demonstrated to VALOR fellows how sustainable economic development attempts to strategically integrate all levels of a community’s economic sectors. For example, investment in a biotechnology lab at the county high school is targeted to attract white-collar and high tech investment because their employees will approve of the school system; a furniture manufacturer from North Carolina was wooed to provide trades jobs; and a family-run produce distributor, a county-funded kitchen incubator and the hydrocooler support and stimulate the county’s small-scale agricultural sector.

Continue reading

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Fralin Fellow Keely O’Keefe examines diets of women and children in Madagascar

HNFE junior and Fralin Fellow Keely O’Keefe examined diets of women and children in Madagascar this summer. Keely surveyed 138 mothers in 10 Malagasy villages with support from a Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship from the Fralin Life Science Institute. Working with faculty member Alisha Farris, she interviewed mothers in Madagascar about diet diversity, which foods they view as healthy or unhealthy, food security, and access to markets, crops, and livestock.

Keely and Alisha found that the average diet diversity score was about 6.5 out of 12, with a good diet diversity score being 9 or higher. They also found that many women and children had limited diets, a large portion of rice with a small green leafy vegetable on the side for every meal, because of the high cost of items such as poultry or fish and their distance from a market.

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USDA invests millions in projects to address food security, hunger through improved animal production and health

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture recently announced more than $27.6 million in funding for projects that will boost food security through improved animal production and health. Both of these areas contribute significantly to our nation’s food production, food security, and economy. The awards to support research, education, and extension projects were made through NIFA’s Agriculture and Food Research Initiative, which is authorized by the 2014 Farm Bill.

“As we continue to face major challenges in agriculture production, such as the extreme weather events and droughts, diminishing water resources, climate change, pests, and global competition, producers are looking for viable solutions,” said Sonny Ramaswamy, NIFA director. “These grants allow American agriculture to remain a competitive force by providing food that is not only nutritious, but safe, and abundant.”

NIFA made the awards mostly through the AFRI Foundational program, as well as an interagency program with the National Institute of Health. The outcomes of these projects will advance genome enabled precision breeding and enhance animal production by improving animal growth, reproductive efficiency, and animal well-being. These projects will also increase our understanding of antimicrobial resistance and enhance animal health by tackling new, foreign or emerging disease threats through vaccine development, prevention, early detection, and recovery. These projects target improvements in livestock and aquaculture species.

Examples of AFRI funded animal health projects include a include a conference on vaccine development for agricultural species to reduce diseases and the need for antibiotic treatments; a Michigan State University to create a health-monitoring tool to assess the risk of developing metabolic stress in dairy cattle; an Ohio State University led-consortia to control poultry respiratory diseases in the US; a University of Rhode Island project sequencing the genome of the eastern oyster to improve breeding stock; and a University of Connecticut project to broaden the immunity of swine using an improved foot and mouth disease vaccine.

Virginia Tech fiscal year 2015 awards include:

  • Virginia Polytechnic Institute, Blacksburg, Va., $334,263 for Animal Reproduction
  • Virginia Polytechnic Institute, Blacksburg, Va., $450,000 for Animal Growth
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