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2019

Protecting pollinators: Penn Staters working to reverse bee population declines
May 14, 2019
Within the past decade, beekeepers across the globe have observed massive declines in managed honey bee populations. Similar declines have been observed in populations of wild bees and other pollinators. Understanding what is driving these declines is a vital question for researchers, beekeepers, growers, and the public. Several factors are being investigated, including habitat loss, climate change, disease, and pesticide use.
Plant pathology, environmental microbiology doctoral student receives NSF award
May 13, 2019
Laura Kaminsky, a doctoral student in Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences, will be able to advance her research interests in plant pathology after receiving a grant from the National Science Foundation.
Institutes of Energy and the Environment announces seed grant recipients
May 7, 2019
The 2018–19 Institutes of Energy and the Environment (IEE) seed grant recipients have been awarded to 18 groups of interdisciplinary researchers at Penn State.
Libraries' 2019 research prizes honor 13 students at University Park events
May 7, 2019
Penn State University Libraries awards recognized three outstanding undergraduate thesis authors as well as one graduate student and nine undergraduate student researchers, all exhibiting exemplary scholarly research methods and communication at University Park campus presentations this spring.
More than 100 years of data show Pennsylvania tick population shift
May 3, 2019
The prevalence of the most abundant species of ticks found in Pennsylvania has shifted over the last century, according to Penn State scientists, who analyzed 117 years' worth of specimens and data submitted primarily by residents from around the state.
College of Agricultural Sciences students place in diversity essay contest
May 2, 2019
Three students in Penn State’s College of Agricultural Sciences have been recognized for their commitment to diversity as winners of the inaugural Undergraduate Diversity Essay Contest, sponsored by the college’s Diversity Coordinating Council.
Urban sustainability on the mind of Schreyer Scholar at home and in Europe
April 30, 2019
Jessica Chou spent last summer in Philadelphia, working as an intern on an urban farm and farmer’s market of a non-profit organization that delivered meals to homebound seniors. It was the Penn State Schreyer Honors Scholar’s first taste of living in a city, and it sparked a greater interest in the sustainability of urban environments.
Stopping Malaria at its Source
April 30, 2019
While touring a hospital in India, Penn State entomologist Matthew Thomas recalls walking past the intensive care unit and seeing a young boy — about 14 years old — severely ill from malaria. He learned later that the boy had died the following day, and the unfortunate circumstance of it all stayed with Thomas. If the boy had been bitten by any other mosquito, he may not have died.
'Right' cover-crop mix good for both Chesapeake and bottom lines
April 29, 2019
Planting and growing a strategic mix of cover crops not only reduces the loss of nitrogen from farm fields, protecting water quality in the Chesapeake Bay, but the practice also contributes nitrogen to subsequent cash crops, improving yields, according to researchers.
New research shows promise for success of underrepresented scholars in STEM
April 25, 2019
With the goal of preparing scholars from underrepresented groups to succeed in graduate and professional programs, Penn State, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC) and the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC) partnered to develop undergraduate programs aimed at increasing retention and academic performance of historically racially underrepresented undergraduates in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields.
Food scientist Kovac receives young investigator award
April 25, 2019
Jasna Kovac, assistant professor of food science in Penn State’s College of Agricultural Sciences, recently was named recipient of the Institut Merieux Young Investigator Award in Antimicrobial Resistance from the International Association for Food Protection.
Songbird-body changes that allow migration may have human health implications
April 24, 2019
Songbirds that pack on as much as 50 percent of their body weight before migrating and that sleep very little, exhibit altered immune system and tissue-repair function during the journey, which may hold implications for human health, according to Penn State researchers.
Grants aid studies on environmental and financial value of stream buffers
April 24, 2019
A group of doctoral students in Penn State’s College of Agricultural Sciences who are examining the use of perennial grasses as stream buffers will benefit from four complementary state and federal grants.
Fulbright grant will support Penn State doctoral student’s research in Zambia
April 24, 2019
Jacob Johnson, a doctoral candidate in forest resources and in international agriculture and development in Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences, has received a Fulbright Study/Research Award.
Ehau-Taumaunu awarded newly established Phytobiomes Fellowship
April 24, 2019
Hanareia Ehau-Taumaunu, doctoral candidate in the Department of Plant Pathology and Environmental Microbiology in Penn State’s College of Agricultural Sciences, has been selected as the recipient of the Phytobiomes Fellowship for the 2019-20 academic year.
ICS Seed Grants to power projects that use AI, machine learning for common good
April 23, 2019
The Institute for CyberScience (ICS) announced 16 projects that are being funded through the 2019 ICS Seed Grant Program. The awards, ranging from nearly $3,000 to $35,000, will support researchers in more than 20 departments and units, 10 colleges and three institutes.
Promoting economic resilience in Appalachia: Lessons from successful communities
April 22, 2019
The Appalachian communities that enjoyed persistent economic growth following the 2008 Great Recession have a number of factors in common, according to researchers who analyzed all 420 counties in the Appalachian region. Their findings will help guide future economic development strategies across Appalachia.
Thirteen graduate students receive the Alumni Association Dissertation Award
April 12, 2019
Thirteen graduate students received the Penn State Alumni Association Dissertation Award, Distinguished Doctoral Scholar Medal in recognition of their outstanding professional accomplishment and achievement in scholarly research in any of the disciplinary areas of arts and humanities; social sciences—applied and basic; physical and computational sciences—applied and basic; life and health sciences; and engineering.
Researchers to compare Twitter opinions on climate change with real-world views
April 12, 2019
How do regional opinions on Twitter represent real-world attitudes toward climate change? A team of researchers will work to find out, thanks to a recent seed grant from the Social Science Research Institute at Penn State.
Graduate student Bipana Paudel Timilsena receives International Research Award
April 12, 2019
Bipana Paudel Timilsena, a doctoral student in entomology with a dual title in international agriculture and development, received the Graduate Student International Research Award. The purpose of the award is to promote and support international research and scholarship by graduate students that has the potential for global impact.
Energy Days continues to build bridges among research, industry, government
April 12, 2019
The fourth annual Energy Days conference will be held on May 29-30 at the Penn Stater Hotel and Conference Center. Registration for the conference is now open. The conference is open to the public and is free for Penn State students, faculty and staff.
GreenBriq student venture wins top $7,500 prize in Ag Springboard pitch contest
April 12, 2019
GreenBriq, a student venture aimed at turning the biomass of invasive water hyacinth plants into affordable fuel briquettes for Kenyan families, recently won the $7,500 first-place prize in the Ag Springboard pitch contest.
Spotted lanternflies found to be flyers, not gliders
April 8, 2019
The spotted lanternfly is not a strong or frequent flyer, weaknesses that may hinder its ability to travel long distances by air, according to researchers in Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences.
Student workers receive hands-on experience with deer at Penn State center
April 5, 2019
Penn State’s Deer Research Center, commonly referred to as “the deer pens,” has been an endearing part of many students’ college experiences since the 1970s, providing a one-of-a-kind opportunity for hands-on learning about one of the state’s most recognizable mammals.
Community discussion to present waste stream plan, answer community questions
April 3, 2019
Insect-deterring sorghum compounds may be eco-friendly pesticide
April 3, 2019
Compounds produced by sorghum plants to defend against insect feeding could be isolated, synthesized and used as a targeted, nontoxic insect deterrent, according to researchers who studied plant-insect interactions that included field, greenhouse and laboratory components.
Improving food safety knowledge, practices in Africa is focus of research
April 2, 2019
Consuming unsafe food is a major public health threat globally, but the continent bearing the most burden is Africa, where more than 91 million people fall ill and 140,000 die each year from foodborne diseases, according to the World Health Organization.
Manure application changes with winter crop can cut nitrogen loss, boost profits
April 2, 2019
Dairy farmers in the Northeast can improve water quality and boost the profitability of their operations by changing the timing and method of applying manure to their fields in the fall, along with planting rye as a cover crop between corn crops — or by double-cropping rye and corn, according to Penn State researchers.
Guiltinan, Maximova receive the 2019 Kopp International Achievement Award
April 2, 2019
Mark Guiltinan, professor of plant molecular biology, and Siela Maximova, research professor of plant biotechnology, both in the College of Agricultural Sciences, are the recipients of Penn State's 2019 W. LaMarr Kopp International Achievement Award.
Invasive round gobies may be poised to decimate endangered French Creek mussels
April 1, 2019
The round goby — a small, extremely prolific, invasive fish from Europe — poses a threat to endangered freshwater mussels in northwestern Pennsylvania's French Creek, one of the last strongholds for two species of mussels, according to researchers.
Introducing Beescape: A new online tool and community to support bees
April 1, 2019
Penn State research featured in new report on supercharging U.S. ag science
March 27, 2019
A new report issued today (March 27) shows how U.S. farmers — facing a surge of weather events and disease outbreaks — can increase production and revenues with innovations produced by federally funded agricultural research, including studies performed in Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences.
Guiltinan receives Black Award for excellence in research
March 26, 2019
Mark Guiltinan, J. Franklin Styer Professor of Horticultural Botany in Penn State’s College of Agricultural Sciences, is the recipient of the 2018 Alex and Jessie C. Black Award for Excellence in Research.
Hall, Brent to receive Roy C. Buck awards during annual celebration
March 26, 2019
Two faculty members in Penn State’s College of Agricultural Sciences have been named the recipients of the 2018 Roy C. Buck Faculty Award, which recognizes exceptional articles accepted or published by refereed scholarly journals in the social and human sciences within the past two years.
Building starch backbones for lab-grown meat using Lego pieces
March 26, 2019
A new technique to spin starch fibers using Lego pieces could have future applications for lab-grown "clean" meat, according to a team of food scientists from Penn State and the University of Alabama.
Startup Week challenges to showcase entrepreneurs and change makers
March 26, 2019
Entrepreneurs from across the University will pitch their business ideas and create inventive solutions to common problems through a series of competitions and challenges held during Penn State Startup Week from April 1-5.
NSF grant supports development of robotic frost protection in orchards
March 25, 2019
A system that helps tree-fruit growers avoid frost damage to their crops by using unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and ground-based robots, could be on the horizon, thanks to Penn State researchers, supported by funding from the National Science Foundation.
Promoting economic resilience in Appalachia: Lessons from successful communities
March 22, 2019
The Appalachian communities that enjoyed persistent economic growth following the 2008 Great Recession have a number of factors in common, according to researchers who analyzed all 420 counties in the Appalachian region. Their findings will help guide future economic development strategies across Appalachia.
Penn State brook trout researchers featured in new 'Expedition Chesapeake' film
March 18, 2019
It's a long way from Shanerburg Run, not far from Williamsport, Pennsylvania, to the closest shores of the Chesapeake Bay … about 200 miles. And yet the stream — or more precisely the studies Penn State researchers are conducting on the eastern brook trout it harbors — will be highlighted in a new film about the estuary and its watershed.
Bug off! Penn State takes proactive approach in dealing with pesky pests
March 18, 2019
Warm weather at Penn State’s University Park campus sprouts scenes of flowers in bloom, students playing frisbee on the Old Main lawn and folks strolling around campus as they enjoy Berkey Creamery ice cream.
NSF I-Corps short course to provide entrepreneurship training for researchers
March 12, 2019
Academic researchers interested in exploring the commercial potential of their technological innovations are invited to apply for a National Science Foundation Innovation Corps (I-Corps) short course to be held in State College from April 5-19. Applications are due by 5 p.m. EST on Friday, March 29.
Avocado seed extract shows promise as anti-inflammatory compound
March 12, 2019
An extract from the seeds of avocados exhibited anti-inflammatory properties in a laboratory study, according to Penn State researchers, and it represents a potential source for novel anti-inflammatory compounds that could be developed as a functional food ingredient or pharmaceuticals.
Book examines connection between gender and cooking energy in Sub-Saharan Africa
March 12, 2019
Providing energy for home use, especially for cooking food and heating living spaces, without contributing to climate change demands creativity and perseverance.
Seed grants awarded to projects using Twitter data
March 7, 2019
Penn State’s Social Science Research Institute (SSRI), in collaboration with the Institute for CyberScience (ICS) and the College of Information Sciences and Technology, has awarded over $100,000 in funding to support six new interdisciplinary teams of Penn State researchers whose work is aimed at developing innovative research programs using Twitter data. Faculty from the College of Agricultural Sciences are a part of three of these teams.
Sensory tests suggest 'liking' wines made with native grapes a learned response
March 6, 2019
Consumer preference or aversion to wines made from native grapes — such as Concord, Niagara and Catawba, which are mostly grown in eastern North America — may depend on early exposure to the fruits' sweet, ultra "grapey" taste and aroma, according to researchers who conducted sensory tests with wine drinkers in Pennsylvania and California.
Harper to take the reins at Penn State's Fruit Research and Extension Center
March 1, 2019
Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences has named Jayson Harper, professor of agricultural economics, as interim director of the Fruit Research and Extension Center, effective March 1.
Researchers examine why health and social services go unused by new veterans
February 27, 2019
Returning to civilian life can be challenging for veterans. While there are many programs and services aimed at helping them readjust, some veterans do not take advantage of these supportive resources. A Penn State-led research team examined factors that are associated with program non-use among veterans who recently left active duty service.
Assessment details impact of pests and pathogens on world’s major food crops
February 26, 2019
Pests and diseases are taking a substantial bite out of the world’s five major food crops — in some cases, up to 40 percent — according to a recently released publication, one of the first to inventory the impact on a global scale.
Material that shields beetle from being burned by its own weapons, holds promise
February 25, 2019
Carabid beetles produce caustic chemicals they spray to defend themselves against predators, and the compound that protects their bodies from these toxic substances shows promise for use in bioengineering or biomedical applications, according to Penn State researchers.
College of Agricultural Sciences faculty member named distinguished professor
February 22, 2019
Penn State's Office of the Vice Provost for Faculty Affairs has named Alexander Hristov, professor of dairy nutrition in the College of Agricultural Sciences, as a distinguished professor. Hristov is an internationally recognized scholar in livestock greenhouse gas mitigation and production and in amino acid nutrition of dairy cows.
Researcher to discuss 'the improbable series of events that led to your birth'
February 13, 2019
Have you ever wondered about the series of events that led to your birth? According to Troy Ott, professor of reproductive biology at Penn State, these events are really, very improbable.
More scrutiny needed for less-deadly foodborne bacteria
February 13, 2019
Employing advanced genetic-tracing techniques and sharing the data produced in real time could limit the spread of bacteria — Bacillus cereus — which cause foodborne illness, according to researchers who implemented whole-genome sequencing of a pathogen-outbreak investigation.
Couple’s gifts support endowment and programs of the Center for Private Forests
February 13, 2019
Of Pennsylvania’s 28 million acres, 17 million are forests. Seventy percent of those forested lands are managed by private landowners, two of whom are Tony and Jeanne Riley of Baltimore, Maryland.
Penn State Fine Flavor Cacao Visiting Scientist Program 2018-2019
February 11, 2019
Summer Internship Announcement for Minority Undergraduate College Students
February 11, 2019
Anaerobic digester will enhance nutrient management at Penn State farms
February 11, 2019
An anaerobic digester being constructed as part of the Department of Animal Science’s renovation project at its farms is a part of its total nutrient management program that will also support Penn State’s sustainability goals.
Bee dispersal ability may influence conservation measures
February 7, 2019
The abilities of various bee species to disperse influences the pattern of their population's genetic structure, which, in turn, can constrain how they respond to environmental change, as reported by an international team of researchers.
Manure injection offers hope, challenge for restoring Chesapeake water quality
February 6, 2019
Widespread adoption by dairy farmers of injecting manure into the soil instead of spreading it on the surface could be crucial to restoring Chesapeake Bay water quality, according to researchers who compared phosphorus runoff from fields treated by both methods. However, they predict it will be difficult to persuade farmers to change practices.
'A fungus among us': Penn State Mushroom Spawn Lab aids industry
January 29, 2019
When Tomas Lowenstein of Agricola La Reina, a mushroom farm in Miranda, Venezuela, needs spawn, or "seed," to grow his crops, his chosen point of contact isn't around the corner or even in the country. It's more than 2,200 miles away in a laboratory on Penn State's University Park campus.
Without habitat management, small land parcels do not protect birds
January 22, 2019
Designating relatively small parcels of land as protected areas for wildlife with no habitat management — which has frequently been done in urban-suburban locales around the world — likely does not benefit declining songbird species, according to a team of researchers who studied a long-protected northeastern virgin forest plot.
Report: Pennsylvania population trends mirror employment changes since 2000
January 17, 2019
Changes in the distribution of Pennsylvania's population — largely toward the state's southeastern quadrant — reflect challenges that policymakers need to address to promote and maintain statewide prosperity, suggests a new report compiled by economists in Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences.
Unraveling of 58-year-old corn gene mystery may have plant-breeding implications
January 17, 2019
In discovering a mutant gene that "turns on" another gene responsible for the red pigments sometimes seen in corn, researchers solved an almost six-decades-old mystery with a finding that may have implications for plant breeding in the future.
Wake up and smell the coffee: Research shows freezing beans can preserve aroma
January 15, 2019
Andrew Cotter's day does not begin until he's had his "cup of Joe," a ritual he takes seriously as one of a growing group of coffee consumers who grind and brew specialty coffee beans at home for a more flavorful and fragrant experience.
Cellular protein a target for Zika control
January 14, 2019
A cellular protein that interacts with invading viruses appears to help enable the infection process of the Zika virus, according to an international team of researchers who suggest this protein could be a key target in developing new therapies to prevent or treat Zika virus infection.
Graduate Student Achievement Awards
January 9, 2019
These awards have been established to recognize graduate students, advised by College of Agricultural Sciences faculty, excelling in research, teaching, or extension education.
Clearinghouse for Military Family Readiness obtains $1.5 million grant
January 8, 2019
The Clearinghouse for Military Family Readiness at Penn State was recently awarded a $1.5 million grant from the Military Suicide Research Consortium (MSRC) to enhance suicide prevention efforts in the U.S. Air Force. The two-year grant will enable the Clearinghouse to bolster the pilot implementation of the Zero Suicide Systems Approach (ZSSA) at five Air Force bases.
A 'bran' new way to preserve healthy food with natural ingredients
January 7, 2019
A natural antioxidant found in grain bran could preserve food longer and replace synthetic antioxidants currently used by the food industry, according to researchers at Penn State.