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The researchers found that, in an area of India that has a high burden of malaria, most of the mosquitoes that are known to transmit malaria rest in cattle sheds and feed on both cows and humans. Image: Jessica Waite/Penn State
January 23, 2017

The goal of eliminating malaria in countries like India could be more achievable if mosquito-control efforts take into account the relationship between mosquitoes and cattle, according to an international team of researchers. "In many parts of the world, the mosquitoes responsible for transmitting malaria are specialist feeders on humans and often rest within human houses," said Matthew Thomas, professor of entomology, Penn State. "We found that in an area of India that has a high burden of malaria, most of the mosquitoes that are known to transmit malaria rest in cattle sheds and feed on both cows and humans."

Testing assumptions about plant roots growth is particularly important in the Arctic, according to Laura Radville, where more than 70 percent of plant biomass can be belowground and warming is happening faster than in other ecosystems.  Image: Penn State
January 9, 2017

It's a long way between central Pennsylvania and Greenland — at least 2,000 miles — but Laura Radville came to Penn State so she could study climate change in the "Iceberg capital of the world." However, the research conducted in Greenland by the Boston native did not deal with ice at all, but rather plants — arctic shrubs to be specific. Her work focused on how rising air temperatures are affecting the growth of leaves and stems much more than the growth of roots, perhaps "uncoupling" aboveground and belowground plant development, or phenology.

Cacao seed pods in Costa Rica display symptoms of fungal black pod disease. A National Science Foundation grant will enable researchers to study the genetic basis of disease resistance in cacao. Image: Christopher J. Saunders,
January 9, 2017

A $3.6 million grant from the National Science Foundation will support a new research project aimed at pinpointing the genes that confer disease resistance in cacao. The ultimate goal of the four-year study is to develop a new approach that plant scientists and breeders can use to identify the genetic basis for disease resistance in a variety of perennial crops, according to lead researcher Mark Guiltinan, professor of plant molecular biology in Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences.

Chris Valdez built and installed floating bamboo mats for plant control in the constructed wetlands at the University of Costa Rica's Fabio Baudrit Agricultural Experimental Station in Alajuela, Costa Rica, August 2016. Image: Chris Valdez
November 29, 2016

“Improving environmental health has grown to be one of my biggest passions. It’s concerning to me that many people are so unconcerned about taking care of the world they live in,” said Chris Valdez, a biological engineering senior at Penn State. Valdez’s research focus is to take care of soil and water and preserve it for future use. He hopes to be a part of solutions that ensure mankind doesn’t abuse Earth’s natural resources, since humans depend on them so heavily.

Rick Roush, dean of the College of Agricultural Sciences at Penn State, left, traveled to Ukraine with Yurij Bihun, program adviser, and members of the Woskob family to meet with U.S. Embassy officials and key partners. Image: Penn State
October 25, 2016

A series of lectures and performances, hosted by the College of Agricultural Sciences and the College of Liberal Arts at Penn State, will commemorate the 25th anniversary of both Ukrainian independence and the University's partnership with Ukraine in 2016 and 2017.

October 23, 2016

The World Food Prize Borlaug Dialogue is an annual event held in Des Moines, Iowa, in mid-October to celebrate World Food Day. This year the College of Agricultural Sciences sponsored two Penn State students to attend.

Kelsey Pryze, undergraduate researcher, captures photographs of potato leaves at Penn State's Russell E. Larson Agricultural Research Center at Rock Springs. Image: Penn State / EPFL
October 5, 2016

A network of computers fed a large image dataset can learn to recognize specific plant diseases with a high degree of accuracy, potentially paving the way for field-based crop-disease identification using smartphones, according to a team of researchers at Penn State and the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (EPFL), in Lausanne, Switzerland.

September 14, 2016

Penn State and the Peace Corps have finalized a new partnership that will help returning Peace Corps volunteers pursue their graduate education in the School of International Affairs, Smeal College of Business, or the College of Agricultural Sciences.

Exposed tree roots Image: Michael Hoelzl/ Wiki Commons
August 10, 2016

On the surface, trees may look stationary, but underground their roots -- aided by their fungal allies -- are constantly on the hunt and using a surprising number of strategies to find food, according to an international team of researchers. The precision of the nutrient-seeking strategies that help trees grow in temperate forests may be related to the thickness of the trees' roots and the type of fungi they use, according to David Eissenstat, professor of woody plant physiology, Penn State. The tree must use a variety of strategies because nutrients often collect in pockets -- or hot spots -- in the soil, he added.

Mikaela Hermstedt sits on the Cliffs of Moher. Image: Penn State
August 8, 2016

Penn State Plant Science majors Casey Baxter and Mikaela Hermstedt may know all there is to know about the Irish potato famine. This past spring, they took HORT 499H Walking in the Footsteps of the Irish During the Irish Potato Famine: Examinations of New World Crops in Old World Societies. The honors class included a 10-day trip to Ireland after a semester of lectures on the potato and other essential crops of both the United States and Ireland.

Women farmers in Tanzania harvest an improved variety of bean developed as part of a CGIAR collaborative research project. Image: Georgina Smith, CIAT
June 23, 2016

Gender researchers from around the world converged at Penn State in June to discuss the importance of incorporating gender concepts into international agricultural research. Sponsored by the College of Agricultural Sciences' Gender, Agriculture and Environment Initiative, the events kicked off June 6-7 with the initiative's inaugural event, the Gender, Agriculture and Environment Symposium, which provided participants with an opportunity to learn from gender researchers and practitioners who are leaders in gender scholarship and policies.

With almost 30 years of diverse, globally oriented service in the international arena, Deanna Behring has dedicated her career to public services that stimulate broad-based economic growth and sustainable development. Image: Penn State
June 16, 2016

Deanna Behring, director of international programs in Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences, recently received a distinguished service award from the Association for International Agriculture and Rural Development. With almost 30 years of diverse, globally oriented service in the international arena, Behring has dedicated her career to public services that stimulate broad-based economic growth and sustainable development, and to improving the quality of life for people by enhancing global capacities to eliminate poverty, improve food security, and conserve and protect the environment, according to the association.

Brett Abele, left, worked closest with the carpenters, as he personally taught them how to build the greenhouses. Image: Penn State
May 12, 2016

"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has." (Margaret Mead). Brett Abele often thought about that quote during his time in Africa. The biological engineering major — who just graduated this month — spent last summer in Zambia. He went with 17 other students in the Humanitarian Engineering and Social Entrepreneurship program. For three weeks, Abele worked as part of a small team of six people to build greenhouses to improve food security.

May 11, 2016

Climate change, pests and diseases, unimproved planting material and growing consumer markets especially in Asia, present major challenges to sustainable cacao production. World plant biologists are developing and applying new integrative approaches to address these challenges. This symposium, “Frontiers in Science and Technology for Cacao Quality, Productivity, and Sustainability”, will bring together scientists working at various levels to develop solutions for cacao agricultural systems of the future. The symposium will take place from May 31st to June 3rd, 2016 at the Penn State University campus.

Philip Moore, a research technologist for the Center for Pollinator Research, inspects a frame from one of three honey bee hives located on the roof of the Millennium Science Complex. Image: Michelle Bixby
April 27, 2016

Spring is a season of new growth, with buds on the trees, green grass and flowers beginning to bloom. It’s also a prime time for pollinators such as honey bees, as they begin to feed off of the pollen from the newly blooming flora. But recently, the bees have been creating a different kind of buzz. About 10 years ago, beekeepers began to notice a significant decrease in the North American honey bee population—and that decrease can have big implications beyond your backyard.

April 25, 2016

This past year has brought about some significant changes in the Office of International Programs with the addition of team members Daniel Tobin, Ruth Mendum, Ann Stone, Paige Castellanos, and Blair Cooper. Join us in welcoming them to the office!

April 21, 2016

We are excited to announce a new program at Penn State University -- the Gender, Agricultural, and Environment Initiative (GAEI) -- that aims to enhance scholarship at the intersections of gender, agriculture and the environment.

2016 Stand Up Awardee Alanna Kaiser Image: Penn State
April 19, 2016

Penn State students Alanna Kaiser, Nathan Larkin, and Jaden Rankin-Wahlers are being honored respectively for their work in social & environmental justice; organizing efforts to address climate change; and combatting stigmas associated with poverty and homelessness. The Penn State Rock Ethics Institute created the Stand Up Award in 2008 to honor Penn State undergraduate students who have the courage and fortitude to take an ethical stand for a person, cause or belief and thereby demonstrate ethical leadership. You can learn more about each awardee and their story by watching their Stand Up Award Video Story.

Olivia Murphy Sweet poses with a lizard in Belize. Image: Penn State
April 19, 2016

Olivia Murphy-Sweet was alone when she ventured into San Jose Succotz, a rural village in the Central American country of Belize. To supplement her coursework as an agricultural and extension education major and international agriculture minor, the senior made the five-week trip last summer to conduct research under the guidance of one of her professors.