Climate Team Member Featured in Interviews on Climate Change

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Dr. Fengpeng Sun, Missouri NSF EPSCoR Climate Team member, is Assistant Professor in the Department of Geosciences at the University of Missouri-Kansas City.  He was recently interviewed by Kansas City Community Radio host, David Mitchell, about his research on climate change, on January 22, 2019.  Listen to the full interview here.  He was also interviewed about his 2015 study of California wildfire seasons--his research prior to joining UMKC--in a November 9, 2018 article in the New York Times by journalist, Kendra Pierre-Louis.  Read the full article here.

Links to the interviews are below:

KKFI Community Radio Interview

New York Times Article, "Why Does California Have So Many Wildfires?"


Missouri EPSCoR Researchers Gathered for the Fourth Annual Meeting

Monday, November 26, 2018

Missouri Transect researchers gathered on October 4-5, 2018 for the Missouri Transect Annual Meeting at the University of Missouri-Kansas City (UMKC) campus. The event brought together over 100 Missouri Transect participants, including faculty, staff, post-docs, graduate students, and undergrads and featured 42 research poster presentations.

On the evening of October 4, Jake Jacobson, Director of Public Relations for Children’s Mercy Kansas City, led a workshop for the Missouri Transect Student and Post-doc Association on effective communication to the public using social media engagement and building relationships with journalists.  He presented videos, social media posts, and anecdotes of communicating with print journalists to help students brainstorm how to get their own research out to the public in organic and creative ways.

The annual meeting with all Missouri Transect participants took place all day on October 5.  Among those in attendance were several key UMKC faculty and administrators. Attendees from all across Missouri received a warm address of welcome from UMKC Chancellor, Dr. C. Mauli Agrawal.  Dr. Agrawal was introduced by the UMKC Host and Climate Team member, Dr. Jimmy Adegoke.  He shared UMKC research areas of strength and highlighted successful interdisciplinary projects on campus.

Pictured L-R: UMKC Chancellor Dr. C. Mauli Agrawal, Missouri Project Director Dr. John Walker, Dr. Anthony Caruso, and Dr. Jimmy Adegoke

Dr. Anthony Caruso, Associate Vice Chancellor for Research at UMKC, gave the Keynote Address.  Dr. Caruso is a Distinguished Professor in the Department of Physics and Electrical Engineering at UMKC.  Based on his own research at UMKC, Dr. Caruso discussed how each of the teams (Plant, Climate, Community, Cyberinfrastructure, and Education) could contribute expertise to urban agriculture, One Heath Intelligence (OHI), and counter UAV defense research. He spoke on multi-institutional large grant opportunities for Missouri Transect researchers, particularly related to OHI.  OHI revolves around mapping the environmental, dietary, psychological, and physiological factors that affect a single person and predicting the health and longevity of an individual based on these factors.  Funding to study OHI ranges from federal to private sources based on the type of individual being studied, such as adults, children, elderly, the disadvantaged, active service members, or veterans.

After a short networking break, UMKC faculty, Dr. ZhiQiang Chen, Associate Professor of Civil and Mechanical Engineering and Plant Team Seed Grant Recipient, and Dr. Lawrence Dreyfus, Vice Chancellor for Research and Economic Development led a panel of presentations of innovative technologies being developed and implemented by Missouri Transect researchers.  The session was called “Frontiers of Science: AVs, Autonomous Systems and Big Data Technologies and their Applications.”  The five presenters are Co-Investigators on the Plant and Climate Teams: Dr. Mikhail Berezin, Associate Professor, Department of Radiology, Washington University in St. Louis (WUSTL); Ali Shafiekhani, PhD student with Gui DeSouza, (Associate Professor) Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, University of Missouri-Columbia (MU); Dr. Zhaozhang Yin, Associate Proffesor, Department of Computer Science, Missouri University of Science and Technology (Missouri S&T); Dr. Tim Eichler, Research Scientist at MU and University of Arkansas, and Dr. Neil Fox, Professor, Atmospheric Science, MU.

Graduate student, Ali Shafiekhani, presents on Vinobot and Vinocular technology out of the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at MU

As a representative of the National Science Foundation (NSF), Dr. Timothy VanReken spoke in the afternoon about the NSF INFEWS program and other “Cross-Cutting NSF Activities.”  Dr. VanReken is a Program Officer for NSF INFEWS and a Program Director for NSF EPSCoR. He has been with NSF EPSCoR since 2014 and came to Missouri for the Missouri EPSCoR Site Visit in 2017.  In his presentation, Dr. VanReken gave an overview of the Food-Energy-Water Nexus and the evolution of the INFEWS program at NSF (Program Synopsis: https://www.nsf.gov/funding/pgm_summ.jsp?pims_id=505241).  Innovations at the Nexus of Food, Energy and Water Systems (INFEWS) is just one aspect of the NSF’s Ten Big Ideas (https://www.nsf.gov/news/special_reports/big_ideas/) and he encouraged EPSCoR researchers to look closely at the proposals and Dear Colleague Letters (DCLs) coming out of these initiatives.  One DCL that he highlighted was the Growing Convergence Research (NSF 18-058) (https://www.nsf.gov/pubs/2018/nsf18058/nsf18058.jsp) that aims to fund “research driven by a specific, compelling challenge inspired by deep scientific questions or pressing societal needs.”  The proposed research should be interdisciplinary and innovative.  He also highlighted Rules of Life (RoL) funding opportunities because they fit well with Missouri EPSCoR research (https://www.nsf.gov/news/special_reports/big_ideas/life.jsp).  RoL: Epigenetics (NSF 18-600, https://www.nsf.gov/pubs/2018/nsf18600/nsf18600.htm), RoL: Forecasting and Emergence in Living Systems (NSF 18-031, https://www.nsf.gov/pubs/2018/nsf18031/nsf18031.jsp), RoL: Building a Synthetic Cell (NSF 18-599, https://www.nsf.gov/pubs/2018/nsf18599/nsf18599.htm) are all new initiatives. 

In the afternoon, four research and outreach highlights were given by students, Co-Investigators, and research scientists on the Missouri Transect Plant, Climate, Community and Education Teams. Lisa Groshong (Ph.D. Candidate, Community Team, MU) presented on “The community impact of climate change: Perceptions of state park visitors.” Abigail Aderonmu (Ph.D. Candidate, Climate Team, UMKC) gave her talk on “Missouri farmers’ perceptions of climate change and its impact on risk management practices.”  Dr. Nadia Shakoor (Senior Research Scientist and Tech Transfer Seed Grant Recipient, Plant Team, Donald Danforth Plant Science Center) talked about her research on “Natural diversity in maize drought stress response: Genome-wide association mapping of compositional traits and growth phenotypes.”  Dr. Sandra Arango-Caro (Education Programs Facilitator, Education Team, DDPSC) gave a presentation about her outreach education work, “MO DIRT: Promoting soil science in the state of Missouri.”

Graduate student, Abigail Aderonmu, presents her study of climate change and survey results of farmers' adaptation to climate change

After another networking break, students came to the front of the meeting room to give short “Poster Pop-Ups,” elevator pitches on their research to entice the audience to visit their research posters.  A poster session then took place and closed the annual meeting day of events.  At the end of the poster session, Dr. John Walker, Missouri EPSCoR Project Director, presented awards for the best posters and presentations, which were decided by a panel of judges.  The winning poster presenters where:

First Place: Carrie Merritt, UMKC, Undergrad (PI: Fengpeng Sun, Climate Team) “Midwestern Climate Modelling and Analysis: An Examination of Climate Patterns, Trends, and Sensitivities” (Poster 14)

Second Place: Shimin Tang, UMKC, PhD student (PI: ZhiQiang Chen, Plant Team) “Disaster-Scene Mechanics Understanding using Deep Learning” (Poster 21)

Third Place: Samuel Holden, MU, Undergrad (PI: Ruthie Angelovici, Plant Team) “Investigating the Genetic Architecture of the Seed Amino Acid Composition in Maize Using a Genome-wide Association Study (Poster 23)

Students give "pop-up" presentations of their posters before the poster session Samuel Holden describes his reserach to EAB member, Dr. Bonnie Bartel Carrie Merritt stands in front of her poster during the poster session

The Missouri Transect: Climate, Plants and Community is a statewide, collaborative research effort to understand how climate variability impacts plants and communities in Missouri. Researchers are collaborating with each other across disciplines and 10 institutions as part of this five-year project.  It is funded through the National Science Foundation’s EPSCoR Research Infrastructure Improvement (RII) program.

Announcing the Missouri Transect Annual Meeting

Thursday, June 21, 2018

The Missouri Transect Annual Meeting will be held at the University of Missouri-Kansas City campus on Friday, October 5, 2018.  A student and postdoc event will take place the evening of October 4.  More details about the agenda is coming soon.


The Annual Meeting website is HERE

Register HERE




Welcome Dr. Loretta Moore as New NSF EPSCoR Section Head

Friday, January 26, 2018

Dear Colleagues:

Effective January 22, 2018, Dr. Loretta A. Moore will serve as the Section Head for the Established Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR) section of the Office of Integrative Activities (OIA) at the National Science Foundation (NSF).

Dr. Moore comes to NSF from Jackson State University (JSU), where she is a Professor of Computer Science in the Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering and Computer Science. She has served as Vice President for Research and Federal Relations and Associate Vice President for Research and Scholarly Engagement, working to enhance the scholarly careers of JSU faculty members. Also at JSU, she served as the Interim Associate Dean for the College of Science, Engineering and Technology. Dr. Moore joined JSU’s faculty over 19 years ago as Chair of the Department of Computer Science.

Loretta’s experience with NSF has included serving as Principal Investigator on the JSU Advance project, which focuses on advancing the careers of female faculty members in the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics and Social and Behavioral Science disciplines; serving on the congressionally mandated Committee on Equal Opportunities in Science and Engineering since February 2016; and serving on the Advisory Committee for Advanced Cyberinfrastructure since May 2016.

She has held positions at Auburn University, AT&T Bell Laboratories, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, Army Research Laboratory, NASA Kennedy Space Center and NASA Marshall Space Flight Center. She received her B.S. degree in Computer Science from Jackson State University and her M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Computer Science from the Illinois Institute of Technology.

I would like to personally thank Dr. Uma Venkateswaran on behalf of OIA and the EPSCoR Section for her exceptional service as Acting Section Head since September 1, 2017. Her deep knowledge about the program coupled with her commitment and service to NSF allowed her to be a truly effective leader. She resumes her role as Program Director for EPSCoR.

On behalf of,

Dr. Suzanne Iacono
Head, Office of Integrative Activities
National Science Foundation

Plant biologists welcome their robot overlords

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Old-school areas of plant biology are getting tech upgrades that herald more detailed, faster data collection.

by Heidi Ledford

25 January 2017
A robot measures the crops in an agricultural field near Columbia, Missouri (credit: DeSouza/Fritschi/Shafiekhani/Suhas/University of Missouri)
As a postdoc, plant biologist Christopher Topp was not satisfied with the usual way of studying root development: growing plants on agar dishes and placing them on flatbed scanners to measure root lengths and angles. Instead, he would periodically stuff his car with plants in pots dripping with water and drive more than 600 kilometres from North Carolina to Georgia to image his specimens in 3D, using an X-ray machine in a physics lab.

Five years later, the idea of using detailed imaging to study plant form and function has caught on. The use of drones and robots is also on the rise as researchers pursue the ‘quantified plant’ — one in which each trait has been carefully and precisely measured from nearly every angle, from the length of its root hairs to the volatile chemicals it emits under duress. Such traits are known as an organism’s phenotype, and researchers are looking for faster and more comprehensive ways of characterizing it.

From 10 to 14 February, scientists will gather in Tucson, Arizona, to compare their methods. Some will describe drones that buzz over research plots armed with hi-tech cameras; others will discuss robots that lumber through fields bearing equipment to log each plant’s growth.

The hope is that such efforts will speed up plant breeding and basic research, uncovering new aspects of plant physiology that can determine whether a plant will thrive in the field. “Phenotype is infinite,” says Topp, who now works at the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center in St Louis, Missouri. “The best we can do is capture an aspect of it — and we want to capture the most comprehensive aspect we can.”

The plummeting cost of DNA sequencing has made it much easier to find genes, but working out what they do remains a challenge, says plant biologist Ulrich Schurr of the Jülich Research Centre in Germany. “It is very easy now to sequence a lot of stuff,” he says. “But what was not developed with the same kind of speed was the analysis of the structure and function of plants.”

Plant breeders are also looking beyond the traits they used to focus on — such as yield and plant height — for faster ways to improve crops. “Those traits are useful but not enough,” says Gustavo Lobos, an ecophysiologist at the University of Talca in Chile. “To cope with what is happening with climate change and food security, some breeders want to be more efficient.” Researchers aiming to boost drought tolerance, for example, might look at detailed features of a plant’s root system, or at the arrangement of its leaves.

False-colour images of a bean-breeding trial captured by a camera mounted on a drone (credit: Lav R. Khot/Washington State University & Phillip N Miklas/USDA-ARS)

A need for speed

The needs of these researchers have bred an expanding crop of phenotyping facilities and projects. In 2015, the US Department of Energy announced a US$34-million project to generate the robotics, sensors and methods needed to characterize sorghum, a biofuel crop. Last year, the European Union launched a project to create a pan-European network of phenotyping facilities. And academic networks have sprung up around the globe as plant researchers attempt to standardize approaches and data analyses.

Large-scale phenotyping has long been used in industry, but was too expensive for academic researchers, says Fiona Goggin, who studies plant–insect interactions at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville. Now, the falling prices of cameras and drones, as well as the rise of the ‘maker’ movement that focuses on homemade apparatus, are enticing more academics to enter the field, she says.

At Washington State University in Pullman, biological engineer Sindhuja Sankaran’s lab is preparing to deploy drones carrying lidar, the laser equivalent of radar. The system will scan agricultural fields to gather data on plant height and the density of leaves and branches. Sankaran also uses sensors to measure the volatile chemicals that plants give off, particularly when they are under attack from insects or disease. She hopes eventually to mount the sensors on robots.

A drone loaded with thermal imaging equipment flies over grapevines (credit: Lav R. Khot/Washington State University)

Sankaran’s mechanical minions return from their field season with hundreds of gigabytes of raw data, and analysing the results keeps her team glued to computers for the better part of a year, she says. Many researchers do not realize the effort and computing savvy it takes to pick through piles of such data, says Edgar Spalding, a plant biologist at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. “The pheno­typing community has rushed off to collect data and the computing is an afterthought.”

Standardizing the technology is another barrier, says Nathan Springer, a geneticist at the University of Minnesota in St Paul. The lack of equipment everyone can use means that some researchers have to rely on slower data-collection methods. Springer has been working with 45 research groups to characterize 1,000 varieties of maize (corn) grown in 20 different environments across the United States and Canada. The project has relied heavily on hand measurements rather than on drones and robots, he says.

Topp now has his own machine to collect computed tomography (CT) images, but processing samples is still a little slow for his liking. He speaks with reverence of a facility at the University of Nottingham, UK, that speeds up its scans by using robots to feed the plants through the CT machine. But he’s pleased that he no longer has to haul his soggy cargo across three states to take measurements. “It’s just endless, the number of possibilities.”

Nature 541, 445–446 (26 January 2017) | doi:10.1038/541445a

Plant Science Conference Takes Root in Nebraska

Thursday, February 9, 2017

A two-day plant science symposium will be April 6-7 at the Lincoln Marriott Cornhusker Hotel. The event theme is “Predictive Crop Design: Genome to Phenome,” with speakers from the University of California at Berkeley, Duke University, and private industry—including both startup and multinational companies.

This conference is part of the Nebraska Research & Innovation Conference (NRIC) annual series, conducted by Nebraska EPSCoR and funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF). In 2016, a five-year NSF EPSCoR project established the Center for Root & Rhizobiome Innovation (CRRI): a collaboration to research crop productivity focused on plants’ root microbiome. CRRI scientists--from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, University of Nebraska at Kearney, University of Nebraska Medical Center and Doane University--aim to grow scientific knowledge that will better feed the growing population.

Students and faculty interested in attending the symposium should register before March 23 at http://nric.nebraska.edu (note: deadline for discount hotel room reservations at the group rate is March 15). There is no fee for registration. Attendees may also present a relevant poster in the event’s poster session on the afternoon of April 6 (posters must be registered no later than March 22).

On behalf of Fred Choobineh, Nebraska EPSCoR Director, fchoobineh [at] nebraska [dot] edu

View the symposium flyer here.

Visit the symposium website: http://nric.nebraska.edu

Visit the Nebraska EPSCoR website: http://epscor.nebraska.edu

EPSCoR RII Track-4: EPSCoR Research Fellows

Wednesday, October 26, 2016


Name Email Phone
Robert  Coyne rcoyne [at] nsf [dot] gov (703) 292-2257 
Sean  C. Kennan skennan [at] nsf [dot] gov (703) 292-7575 
Jose  Muñoz jmunoz [at] nsf [dot] gov (703) 292-8003 
Timothy  M. VanReken tvanreke [at] nsf [dot] gov (703)292-7378 
Uma  D. Venkateswaran uvenkate [at] nsf [dot] gov (703) 292-7732 
C. Susan  Weiler sweiler [at] nsf [dot] gov (703) 292-8683 


Solicitation  17-509

Important Information for Proposers

A revised version of the NSF Proposal & Award Policies & Procedures Guide (PAPPG) (NSF 16-1), is effective for proposals submitted, or due, on or after January 25, 2016. Please be advised that, depending on the specified due date, the guidelines contained in NSF 16-1 may apply to proposals submitted in response to this funding opportunity.


Full Proposal Deadline Date

February 28, 2017


The Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR) is designed to fulfill the mandate of the National Science Foundation (NSF) to promote scientific progress nationwide. A jurisdiction is eligible to participate in EPSCoR programs if its level of NSF research support is equal to or less than 0.75 percent of the total NSF research and related activities budget for the most recent three-year period (FY 2016 Eligibility Table). Through this program, NSF establishes partnerships with government, higher education, and industry that are designed to effect sustainable improvements in a jurisdiction's research infrastructure, Research and Development (R&D) capacity, and hence, its R&D competitiveness.

RII Track-4 provides opportunities for non-tenured investigators to further develop their individual research potential through extended collaborative visits to the nation’s premier private, governmental, or academic research centers.  Through these visits, the EPSCoR Research Fellows will be able to learn new techniques, benefit from access to unique equipment and facilities, and shift their research toward transformative new directions.  The experience gained through the fellowship is intended to provide a foundation for research collaborations that span the recipient’s entire career.  These benefits to the Fellows are also expected to in turn enhance the research capacity of their institutions and jurisdictions.  PIs must hold a non-tenured faculty appointment or its close equivalent, either in the form of a pre-tenure tenure-track position or a long-term non-tenure-track position.


What Has Been Funded (Recent Awards Made Through This Program, with Abstracts)

Map of Recent Awards Made Through This Program


Informational webinars for RII Track-4 are planned 2:00 PM Eastern Standard Time on November 29, 2016 and November 30, 2016.  Research administrators and potential PIs at EPSCoR-eligible institutions are encouraged to participate on one of these webinars; further details for webinar access will follow soon.
Questions regarding the new EPSCoR Research Fellows solicitation/program may be directed to Dr. Timothy VanReken (tvanreke [at] nsf [dot] gov; 703-292-7378)

EPSCoR Outreach Investment Strategy

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research: Outreach Investment Strategy

Jurisdictional Procedures for Requesting NSF Outreach Visits

Outreach is an essential component of NSF EPSCoR’s investment strategies which seeks to strengthen the academic research competitiveness of EPSCoR institutions by informing the EPSCoR community of NSF strategic priorities, policies, and  funding opportunities. Outreach also acquaints NSF staff of the science, engineering and education accomplishments resulting from EPSCoR funded projects.
In FY17, the NSF EPSCoR Outreach Coordinator is Elizabeth (Liz) Lawrence. The NSF EPSCoR Outreach procedure can be found here with the contacted information for Liz Lawrence. Please submit requests, consistent with the procedures, to Liz with a copy to your cognizant Program Officer

NSF announces $55 million toward national research priorities

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

EPSCoR RII Track-2 awards build coalitions, train workforce

Researcher Stephen Foulger works at the Advanced Materials Research Lab in Anderson, South Carolina. Credit and Larger Version

Press Release 16-095

August 22, 2016

The National Science Foundation (NSF) has made 11 awards totaling $55 million aimed at building research capacity to address fundamental questions about the brain and develop new innovations at the intersection of food, energy and water systems.

The cooperative agreements are through NSF's Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR) as part of its Research Infrastructure Improvement (RII) Track-2 investment strategy. RII Track-2 builds national research strength by initiating collaborations across institutions in two or more EPSCoR jurisdictions. These four-year awards support 27 institutions in 18 eligible jurisdictions.

"These awards represent a tremendous value for the scientific community, as they foster research into some of the most pressing issues facing U.S. society while simultaneously supporting collaborative research programs and workforce development," said Denise Barnes, head of NSF EPSCoR. "Whether by expanding our knowledge of the brain, or by improving how our water, food and energy systems work efficiently together, these projects hold the promise of transforming our daily lives."

The RII Track-2 awards support research while also requiring award recipients to invest in developing a science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) workforce -- particularly of early-career faculty researchers.

The project titles, principal investigators, lead institutions, and funding totals for the 11 awards are listed below.

Research into fundamental questions about the brain

Probing and Understanding the Brain: Micro and Macro Dynamics of Seizure and Memory Networks
Leonidas Iasemidis

Institution: Louisiana Tech University

This collaborative project between institutions in Louisiana, Arkansas and Alabama will investigate the origins and impacts of brain seizures associated with epilepsy, a disorder affecting 1 percent of the global population. Epilepsy can serve as a window into brain function because it causes different types of impairment depending on the location of seizures within the brain. In this project, researchers will conduct long-term, in-depth recording and mathematical analysis of neural activity in humans and animals to uncover the causes of seizures, as well as the impacts of seizures on higher brain functions such as memory.

The Creation of Next-Generation Tools for Neuroscience -- Noninvasive Radioluminescence Approaches to Optogenetics
Stephen Foulger

Institution: Clemson University

Optogenetics is a transformative method in neurobiology that uses light to precisely activate neurons. The method is currently limited by the inability of visible light to penetrate deep within the brain. This project brings together a group of uniquely qualified chemists, engineers and neuroscientists from South Carolina, Alabama and New Mexico to overcome that limitation by creating a novel, non-invasive method for optogenetic brain stimulation involving low-dose x-ray activation of radioluminescent nanoparticles.

Neural networks underlying the integration of knowledge and perception
Jared Medina

Institution: University of Delaware

This project brings together an interdisciplinary team of neuroscientists from Delaware, Nevada and Nebraska to probe the complex relationship between existing knowledge and new information obtained through sensory perception. The project establishes collaborative research capacity in neuroimaging, neurostimulation and neuropsychology among the three jurisdictions that will provide training and research support to students and faculty, and serve as a model for multi-institutional consortia.

Neural Basis of Attention
Peter Tse

Institution: Dartmouth College

Focused attention is critical to countless daily tasks, from operating machinery to maintaining safety in high security settings. This project forms a consortium of neuroscientists in New Hampshire, Montana, Rhode Island and Nevada to develop a greater understanding of attention. The goal of this project is to develop a unified model of attention that applies across multiple domains, from single cells to large brain circuits. The consortium expects to establish lasting collaborations, build industrial partnerships, expand the neuroscience workforce, and extend educational opportunities to traditionally disadvantaged groups.

Research at the nexus of food, energy and water

Sustainable socio-economic, ecological, and technological scenarios for achieving global climate stabilization through negative CO2 emission policies
Benjamin Poulter

Institution: Montana State University

This project establishes a coalition to examine the consequences of an economy based on bioenergy and "carbon capture and sequestration" (the process of capturing waste carbon dioxide from power plants and at other sites so the greenhouse gas is kept out of the atmosphere) in the Upper Missouri River Basin. The team, which includes researchers from Montana, Wyoming and South Dakota, seeks to identify a framework of carbon mitigation strategies that would minimize conflicts with food security and clean energy production priorities.

Sensing and Educating the Nexus to Sustain Ecosystems (SENSE)
David White

Institution: Murray State University

This project expands and enhances the capabilities of Kentucky and West Virginia to study surface water, providing a foundation for understanding how agriculture and hydropower production affect water quality. Experts in engineering and aquatic ecology will install more than 30 new measurement systems in hydropower reservoirs and agricultural watersheds across the two states. Studies will focus on identifying the presence, extent and timing of harmful algal blooms as they relate to water quality.

Emergent Polymer Sensing Technologies for Gulf Coast Water Quality Monitoring
Jason Azoulay

Institution: University of Southern Mississippi

This collaboration between Mississippi and Alabama develops advanced polymer-based sensing technologies to detect pollutants in Gulf Coast aquatic ecosystems. Assessing and managing sustainable resource utilization in the Gulf Coast requires rapidly deployable, highly sensitive, specific sensors. The project combines approaches from chemistry, biochemistry, geochemistry, marine science, computational science, polymer science, and engineering to achieve this vision.

Center for a Sustainable Water, Energy, and Food Nexus (SusWEF)
Nelson Cardona-Martinez

Institution: University of Puerto Rico at Mayaguez

SusWEF initiates a strategic research and education partnership between researchers in Puerto Rico and South Carolina to address problems at the nexus of food, energy and water systems. The project aims to identify technologies that will lead to more sustainable agricultural practices, increased energy efficiency, and improved soil and water quality.

Improving Water Management, Treatment and Recovery in Oil and Gas Production
Edward Peltier

Institution: University of Kansas Center for Research Inc.

More than 20 billion barrels of water are contaminated in the United States each year as a byproduct of unconventional oil and gas production. This project establishes a collaboration between researchers in Kansas and West Virginia to develop innovations to reduce the need for fresh water in oil and gas production and more safely reuse or dispose of the water used in those operations.

Collaborative Research and Education on Synergized Transformational Solar Chemical Looping and Photo-Ultrasonic Renewable Biomass Refinery
Hongtao Yu

Institution: Jackson State University

This consortium among researchers in Delaware, Mississippi and Wyoming studies the technological potential of novel biochar-based materials for carbon dioxide capture, water purification, and food production. Biochar, a plant-matter based charcoal, is a byproduct of some biofuel production. This project would develop technologies to improve the sustainability of biofuel production and use.

Assembling Successful Structures: Lignin Beads for Sustainability of Food, Energy, and Water Systems
Dorin Boldor

Institution: Louisiana State University Agricultural Center

This partnership between Louisiana and Kentucky researchers seeks to produce advanced materials from lignin, a class of organic polymers found abundantly in plants and particularly in wood. Its goals include deriving value-added chemicals, byproducts of biofuel production that can serve as alternatives for chemicals on which industry depends. The interdisciplinary team of chemists and engineers will perform laboratory studies and computer simulations to provide the foundation for future technologies to enhance sustainable food, energy and water systems.


Media Contacts
Rob Margetta, NSF, (703) 292-2663, rmargett [at] nsf [dot] gov

The National Science Foundation (NSF) is an independent federal agency that supports fundamental research and education across all fields of science and engineering. In fiscal year (FY) 2016, its budget is $7.5 billion. NSF funds reach all 50 states through grants to nearly 2,000 colleges, universities and other institutions. Each year, NSF receives more than 48,000 competitive proposals for funding and makes about 12,000 new funding awards. NSF also awards about $626 million in professional and service contracts yearly.

Useful NSF Web Sites:
NSF Home Page: https://www.nsf.gov
NSF News: https://www.nsf.gov/news/
For the News Media: https://www.nsf.gov/news/newsroom.jsp
Science and Engineering Statistics: https://www.nsf.gov/statistics/
Awards Searches: https://www.nsf.gov/awardsearch/

Job Announcements at the Danforth Center

Monday, May 9, 2016

Dr. Malia Gehan’s lab at the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center is looking to fill two positions: a postdoctoral position and lab technician position. See the details for each position below. Applications should be sent to careers [at] danforthcenter [dot] org.

Lab Technician Opportunity:
The Gehan lab (http://www.gehan-lab.org/) is looking to add an enthusiastic and creative fulltime Laboratory Technician / Laboratory Manager (40 hours / week). The position would mainly focus on research, but also include some managerial tasks like ordering supplies. Therefore good organizational skills, the desire to work in a team, and the ability to communicate are essential for this position. An ideal applicants might have experience in media making, sterile techniques, and basic plant care.

The Gehan laboratory actively engages the community through outreach and education activities, and lab members are encouraged to participate in mentoring and teaching programs. The position is renewable upon satisfactory performance and availability of funds. Salary is commensurate with experience.

Candidates should provide a current CV, list of at least three contacts for recommendation. Please email all application materials to careers [at] danforthcenter [dot] org with the subject line ‘Gehan Lab’.

The international, inclusive, and interdisciplinary research environment at the Danforth Center (http://www.danforthcenter.org/) offers an excellent opportunity for career development. Salaries are competitive and commensurate with experience, and the Danforth Center offers an excellent benefits package including medical and 403B matching. The Danforth Center is currently ranked in the top ten of places to work in scientific research, and the St. Louis region is a rich environment to work and live.

Postdoctoral Opportunity:
The Gehan lab (http://www.gehan-lab.org/) is looking to add an enthusiastic and creative postdoctoral researcher to work on mechanisms of temperature stress in grasses and pseudocereals. Ideal candidates would have recently obtained a Ph.D. in biochemistry, cell, developmental, genetics, genomics, molecular biology, plant biology, plant physiology, or other related field. Candidates with interest or experience in highthroughput plant phenomics or bioinformatics are highly encouraged to apply.

The Gehan laboratory actively engages the community through outreach and education activities, and lab members are encouraged to participate in mentoring and teaching programs. The position is renewable upon satisfactory performance and availability of funds. Salary is commensurate with experience.

Candidates should provide a current CV, list of at least three contacts for recommendation, and a cover letter that includes a statement of past research experience, an outline of future research objectives, and career goals. Please email all application materials to careers [at] danforthcenter [dot] org with the subject line ‘Gehan Lab’.

The international, inclusive, and interdisciplinary research environment at the Danforth Center (http://www.danforthcenter.org/) offers an excellent opportunity for career development. Salaries are competitive and commensurate with experience, and the Danforth Center offers an excellent benefits package including medical and 403B matching. The Danforth Center is currently ranked in the top ten of places to work in scientific research, and the St. Louis region is a rich environment to work and live.