AMES, Iowa - Iowa State University College of Agriculture and Life Sciences will present awards to faculty and staff on March 8. The award winners include:
Amber Kargol will receive the Outstanding Service in Student Recruitment and Retention Award. Kargol is an academic adviser in the food science and human nutrition department. The key to Kargol's success is her personal approach. She believes it's important to empower students to make important life decisions, which has been a positive tool in recruiting prospective students. More at Kargol's story.
Hui Wang will receive the Professional and Scientific Research Award. Wang, a pilot plant manager in the Center for Crops Utilization Research, is an integral part of the center's success as a researcher, service provider and trainer for faculty and industry clients. The 35,000 square foot facility provides research space and more than 255 unique pieces of food and bioprocessing equipment for industry participants to demonstrate food manufacturing processes. More at Wang's story.
Angela Shaw will receive the Faculty Award for Diversity Enhancement. Shaw, an associate professor in food science and human nutrition, has helped growers and food manufacturers throughout Iowa address food safety issues. She recruits underrepresented students to work in her laboratory and has conducted workshops for more than 1,000 underserved youth. She also partnered with the Ames Middle School to start the Passion Academy, which helps underrepresented students learn professional skills and career options. More at Shaw's story.
After much anticipation, Iowa State University now will begin enrolling students in the new Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree program.
Administered by the Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition, the program received approval from the Higher Learning Commission Feb. 20 – the final step in the approval process.
“Approval from both the Higher Learning Commission and the Iowa Board of Nursing assure that standards are met and resources are in place to provide a quality program,” said Virginia “Ginny” Wangerin, clinical assistant professor and director of nursing. “We are confident this new nursing program meets Iowa State University’s high expectations of excellence.”
Classes for the unique, campus-based program will begin being offered during the fall 2018 semester. Students must have their associate’s degree in nursing with licensure before being enrolled in the program. In addition, they must meet all Iowa State University admission criteria.
The RN-BSN program is designed for registered nurses to advance their nursing career. It will prepare nurses to apply new skills to day-to-day interactions with patients and co-workers, as well as provide them with a broader perspective on the increasingly complex healthcare environment.
Students will have the opportunity to collaborate with the campus community, as well as participate in clubs and other social and academic events while pursuing their bachelor’s degree.
“The uniqueness about our program is our ability to integrate courses in human nutrition and disease prevention into the nursing curriculum,” said Ruth MacDonald, interim senior associate dean of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. “Understanding the important role of food and nutrition in health will give our graduates advantages in patient care that will translate into improved health outcomes.”
The RN-BSN curriculum consists of 22 credits of nursing courses, six credits of food science and human nutrition courses, as well as six credits from an approved course list. Students can enroll in elective courses that relate to their career interests.
Wangerin has been fielding calls for the past several months from individuals interested in Iowa State’s nursing program.
“The level of excitement and support from alumni, potential students and the community has been amazing. Their support and input has been extremely helpful in creating a unique nursing program that meets the goals of employers, nurses and the community for advancing health and wellness,” Wangerin said.
As many as 30-40 students are anticipated to be enrolled this fall semester, and those numbers are expected to increase during the coming years.
In preparation for the start of the program, the Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition has begun searching for a clinical assistant professor to teach some of the nursing courses alongside Wangerin.
“We are excited to be able to add this new major to our department and see great opportunities to partner with the wide number of RN programs and clinical partners in our community. In addition, we are looking forward to the skills these students will bring to campus and see many ways that they will have an impact on Iowa State,” MacDonald said.
“The nursing program will help promote the multi-disciplinary approach to health care for our students,” added Ruth Litchfield, interim chair of the Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition. “Nursing students will be interacting with dietetics, pre-medicine, and other pre-health professional students in our department.”
Individuals interested in applying for the program should go to www.admissions.iastate.edu/apply/online. Additional information is available online at fshn.hs.iastate.edu/nursing. Questions may be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Iowa State University Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition (FSHN) is accepting nominations for the eighth annual FSHN Alumni Impact Award.
Up to three FSHN alumni are chosen to receive the award each year, based on the impacts they have made in their profession or community. To be eligible, candidates should be five to 10 years post-degree from the FSHN Department.
Selected award winners are invited back to campus during Homecoming (Oct. 25-27, 2018) to be honored during an awards banquet. They’re also encouraged to attend Homecoming activities with current students and faculty, including a department tailgate prior to the Iowa State Homecoming football game Saturday, Oct. 27.
Details about the 2018 FSHN Alumni Impact Awards, including eligibility requirements, can be found on the nomination form. The deadline for submitting applications is April 6, 2018.
Please direct inquiries and completed nomination packets to Whitney Sager, 515-294-9166, email@example.com.
Previous winners include:
They say it’s never too early to begin gaining research experience, and that is just what Kevin Schalinske provides in his lab for not only graduate students, but undergraduates, as well.
Schalinske, professor in the Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition, was selected as the 2017 Rossmann Manatt Faculty Development Award winner, representing the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.The award serves to recognize a tenured faculty member who has demonstrated exceptional level of creativity and productivity in scholarship, teaching and service and who shows great promise to continue such achievement. The award is made possible by an endowed gift from Jack and Marilyn Rossmann and Charles and Kathleen Manatt.
Schalinske has been employed at Iowa State University since 1999. Over the course of his career, he has taught a number of classes and conducted a variety of research related to nutritional sciences. He also is known for his mentorship of both undergraduate and graduate students, including being the national recipient of the Board on Human Sciences Undergraduate Research Mentor Award in 2012.
In a letter written in support of Schalinske’s nomination for the award, Erin Bergquist, senior clinician for the Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition, wrote, “He has incorporated creative mentorship to the graduate students, undergraduates, and other colleagues that interface with his professional responsibilities. For example, he often incorporates his research and knowledge gained from professional service into the curriculum of his classes, as well as entertaining undergraduates from those classes that seek research experience by working with Dr. Schalinske in his laboratory.”
“These experiences have been truly life-changing – students exposed to research in many cases decided to pursue graduate school both in Dr. Schalinske’s laboratory, other laboratories at ISU, and at other universities,” Bergquist went on to write.
As part of the Rossmann Manatt award, Schalinske was granted funds to use for research. He chose to have two undergraduate students continue the research some of his previous students conducted regarding the impact dietary changes have on preventing adverse effects owing to folate deficiency.
“It was a chance to resurrect a project and build off that data,” Schalinske said.
Caitlyn Coonts, senior in dietetics, and Deanna Worrall, senior in nutritional science, planned the entire study, from start to finish. The eight-week study began at the start of the fall 2017 semester and involved feeding rats a special diet to see how they would react to it. While some of the rats were given a diet that included folate (a B vitamin), others were fed a diet free from any folate. To serve as a replacement for the folate, the rats were given a whole egg-based diet, which contains choline, a partial substitute for folate. Samantha Jones, a senior graduate student in Schalinske’s laboratory, served as an undergraduate research mentor in the execution of the project.
The goal was to see how a diet containing choline related to a person’s likelihood to either develop or ward off hyperhomocysteinemia, a condition caused by an elevated level of the amino acid metabolite, homocysteine, in the blood due to folate deficiency.
“We knew from previous research that eggs can reduce hyperhomocysteinemia that results from folate deficiency, and hyperhomocysteinemia is an independent risk factor for cardiovascular disease,” Schalinske said.
The rats on the choline diet were first given a folate-deficient diet to cause them to have hyperhomocysteinemia. The students monitored the rats to see if consuming whole eggs would have an impact on reducing elevations in homocysteine and to understand the biochemical mechanism by which this was achieved.
Coonts said she has been learning about metabolic pathways in her classes, so being able to see those in action through the study was exciting for her.
“We’re actually working with those metabolic pathways,” Coonts said. “I’m excited to see the results as well as to see what happened.”
This semester, the students will analyze the results of the study. They’ll be able to use the data collected from the previous research and combine it with the data they collected from their own research.
“It really gives undergraduate students a graduate student experience without being in graduate school,” Schalinske said of the research project. “It helps them determine if they want to go to graduate school.”
With little research lab experience between the two students, both Coonts and Worrall are thankful for the experience this research study has provided them so far.
“Being able to be involved in this has helped me gain confidence that I can do higher level research,” Coonts said.
“I didn’t realize how much I loved research, but I get to apply the skills I’ve trained for in school,” Worrall added.
Schalinske said the hope is Coonts and Worrall will get a paper published about the research they conducted once everything is finished.
Graham Redweik, a graduate student of Dr. Melha Mellata, has been selected to participate in the 2018 Graduate Summer Opportunity to Advance Research (G-SOAR) program at the National Institutes of Health.
G-SOAR, a partnership between the National Institutes of Health Office of Intramural Training and Education and the Chief Officer for Scientific Workforce Diversity, has students work with mentors in the National Institutes of Health Intramural Research Program. Redweik will travel to the Maryland area this summer to work alongside scientists conducting biomedical research at the National Institutes of Health.
Redweik said he was excited when he learned he had been selected for the program, as less than 20 percent of applicants are chosen to participate.
Over the course of the summer, Redweik and the other participating students will improve their research, presentation and professional writing skills, as well as get a chance to network with research professionals. At the conclusion of the program, all student participants will be required to give a presentation about the research they completed.
Redweik said he’s looking forward to the chance to “step outside the box” and be in a different research setting than he’s been in before.
“It’s an opportunity to go into a different lab setting outside the academia setting,” Redweik said.
For Mellata, having her student selected for the competitive G-SOAR program is an honor. She said this experience potentially could lead to collaboration between the scientist Redweik will be working alongside, as well as Redweik, Mellata and Iowa State University in general.
“I’m very proud that my student, Graham, was selected by a very competitive research program, the NIH G-SOAR. It proves that at Iowa State we are able to train very high quality students/researchers,” Mellata said.
Research will no doubt be a part of Redweik’s future, as he plans to pursue a postdoctoral position after completing his degree at Iowa State.
“After I complete my Ph.D., I plan to apply to a postdoctoral position, not sure yet where, to continue my research in host-microbe interactions, extending the application of these mechanisms to promote technologies in personalized medicine,” Redweik said.
She once thought fruit flies were just annoying little bugs, but now Elizabeth McNeill spends her time studying them as part of her research.
McNeill joined the Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition as an assistant professor earlier this month. Having earned her bachelor of science degree in biology from Iowa State in 2002, McNeill said she appreciated the dedication faculty members had toward students while she was an undergraduate and knew she wanted to return to campus as a professional.
“I’ve always wanted to come back and be a part of that,” McNeill said.
In addition to her BS degree, McNeill holds a doctoral degree in nutritional sciences and biochemistry from the University of Wisconsin – Madison. For the past three years, she’s served as an instructor in Harvard Medical School’s cell biology department.
McNeill’s area of research focuses on exploring the function of microRNAs, a class of molecules that regulate gene expression. Through her research, she seeks to understand how genes function as individuals age in order to find ways to potentially prevent health issues that arise throughout the aging process. She does this through studying fruit flies.
She was introduced to this area of study during her graduate coursework and has furthered that research during her professional career. During her time at Harvard, she and her colleagues developed a “Drosophila microRNA sponge library,” a tool that allows scientists to quickly test predictions about individual microRNAs in living fruit flies.
“This tool allows researchers for the first time to disrupt microRNA expression at a specific developmental time and in a specific tissue to ask questions not only about the function of a few microRNAs, but about all microRNAs that share the same sequence between flies and humans,” McNeill said. “This tool allows us to begin to understand the important role microRNAs are playing as a class of molecules.”
In one of her studies that looked at the maintenance of flight muscles in fruit flies, she determined that 24 percent of the tested microRNAs were required to maintain normal muscle structure as the flies aged. While at Iowa State, she plans to further this study to determine how those same molecules will be required in maintaining the heart muscle as an individual ages.
She has also used the tool created at Harvard to look at how microRNAs are involved in the development and maintenance of the nervous system.
“My results suggest key roles for microRNAs in making and maintaining neuronal connections,” McNeill said. “Ongoing work in the lab is digging into the genetic targets of the microRNAs to better understand genetic factors that play a role in neuronal diseases.”
McNeill will spend this semester developing her research lab, in which she’ll continue to study the role of microRNAs in brain health and disease. Then during the fall semester of this year, she’ll begin teaching undergraduate and graduate courses, something she is looking forward to doing.
“Passing on the passion of pursuing scientific questions and the skills required to design an experiment to answer those questions has been one of my very favorite parts of my job as a researcher,” she said of teaching.
She’s also excited to begin working alongside fellow FSHN faculty members whose areas of study complement hers.
“I feel the FSHN department is a perfect fit for my diverse interests. I complement the ongoing work in the field of brain health, especially in the field of neurodegenerative disease, with a focus on the underlying genetic mechanism and cell biology,” McNeill said. “I also bring a new model organism (the fruit fly) to the department, which provides a very tractable genetic and aging model to pursue experimental questions in a new way.”
Ruth MacDonald, interim senior associate dean for the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, said McNeill will be a great addition to the FSHN Department’s neurosciences research team.
“Elizabeth is an excellent addition to our nutrition faculty,” MacDonald said. “During her post-doctoral work at Harvard, she has developed a unique research focus on microRNA in the neuronal system that has great importance to understanding how environmental factors, such as diet, can impact neurodegenerative diseases. Her fundamental research approach and molecular biology skills will add strength to the growing neurosciences research team within FSHN and across the campus.”
When she’s not busy teaching or in the lab, McNeill enjoys doing home improvement projects. She also likes to go kayaking and sailing with her husband, Andrew Bolstad (’02 electrical engineering), an adjunct assistant professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, and their one-year-old daughter, Evelyn. McNeill’s family also includes two pets: Theodore, a nine-year-old rabbit, and Bessey (named after Bessey Hall), an approximately 40-year-old turtle she adopted when she was an undergraduate student at Iowa State.
AMES, Iowa – Keith Vorst is trying to convince the world there’s value in something much of humanity considers utterly disposable.
Human beings discard hundreds of millions of tons of plastic every year, and much of it ends up in landfills where it may take centuries to decompose. Or, worse, plastics find their way into rivers and streams and eventually into the Earth’s oceans, accumulating into giant garbage patches. Only a fraction of all that plastic gets recycled.
But Vorst, an associate professor of food science and human nutrition at Iowa State University, insists there’s a better way. Vorst leads the Polymer and Food Protection Consortium at Iowa State, and he works with some of the world’s best-known corporations to find new uses for recycled plastics that both add value to products and save money.
“We want to take junk out of landfills and turn it into a valuable resource,” Vorst said. “We’re creating technologies that will have companies mining landfills and the oceans for plastic.”
The introduction and rapid growth of emerging technological disciplines such as big data, artificial intelligence, synthetic biology, virtual or augmented reality and others has opened new and promising avenues for sustaining the world’s food and nutritional needs.
These are the topics on which the Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition Hilton Chair committee has chosen to focus while putting together the 2017-2018 Helen LeBaron Hilton Endowed Chair Lecture Series. With the theme of “Disruptive Technologies: The Food of the Future,” the series will kick off next week and run through the fall of 2018.
Through this lecture series, the committee seeks to engage students, faculty and others through class visits, seminars, technology demonstrations, and public lectures. One-on-one meetings with faculty will stimulate sharing of ideas and promote the establishment of new research relationships. The committee has identified several key technologies that have the capacity to interface with (and potentially revolutionize) the human-food relationship.
“While the Hilton Chair has traditionally been occupied by a single person, the theme that we have selected is very broad, involving many different facets that cannot be embodied by one person,” said Byron Brehm-Stecher, FSHN Hilton Chair committee member. “By tapping into the expertise of a diverse group of influencers from industry (a mix of established multinationals and startups) and academia, our stakeholders will understand how a diverse set of very different technologies is being brought to bear on the key issues affecting our relationship with food and how these technologies can be used to effect change.”
All lectures in the series are open to the public and will take place from 4-5 p.m. in 2432 Food Sciences Building, unless otherwise noted.
Future of Grocery Shopping
The series will kick off Wednesday, Jan. 24, with Claire Brown and Joe Fassler of New Food Economy presenting a lecture on disruptive technology. This lecture will help set the stage for the Disruptive Technologies series by describing how “disruptive” technologies are changing the way we grocery shop – everything from the types of food sold, labeling trends and food distribution systems. Also, find out what has the potential to radically shift current food system paradigms.
Did you know 3-D printers can print edible food? Learn more about this technology February 21, from 4-5 p.m. as Hod Lipson, professor of mechanical engineering and data science at Columbia University, shares the technology of 3-D food printers. These devices can fabricate edible items through computer-guided software and cook edible pastes, gels, powders, and liquid ingredients – all in a prototype that looks like an elegant coffee machine.
Wasted: A Story of Food Waste
Grab some appetizers before watching the movie, “Wasted: A Story of Food Waste” in 1148 Gerdin on Tuesday, March 20. Appetizers will be served beginning at 6 p.m., with the movie beginning at 6:45 p.m. The movie shows how influential chefs from around the world transform scraps of food into savory dishes. Following the movie, Lynn Pritchard, co-owner of Table 128 Bistro & Bar, will give a brief talk about how his restaurant handles food waste.
Christine Moseley, founder of Full Harvest, the first business-to-business marketplace for ugly and surplus produce, will present a talk Wednesday, March 28, from 4-5 p.m. She’ll discuss the online marketplace connecting farms with food and beverage companies to buy and sell surplus and imperfect produce.
Internet of Food
On April 11, Matthew Lange, professional food and health informatician and research scientist at UC Davis, will give a presentation on the Internet of Food. Lange’s research program is helping to define and shape a new scientific discipline known as Food Informatics, while simultaneously enabling the engineering of a computable infrastructure for the burgeoning Internet of Food.
This closing lecture/interaction for the spring installment of the Hilton Chair lecture series, scheduled for Tuesday, April 24, in 2050 Agronomy, will feature Brian Green of Santa Clara University speaking about the potential ethical implications of emerging and disruptive food technologies. He’ll share what needs to be considered so people may use these technologies in ways that encourage the development of a healthy, fair and sustainable food system for the future.
Keep watching the FSHN news website for an announcement of the speaker line-up for the fall 2018 semester.
About the Hilton Chair
The Helen LeBaron Hilton Chair was established by Helen LeBaron Hilton, who served as dean of what was then the Iowa State University College of Home Economics from 1952 to 1975. LeBaron Hilton was an advocate of the status of women and the well-being of children.
In 1993, LeBaron Hilton bequeathed $1.4 million, establishing the largest fully endowed faculty chair fund at Iowa State University at the time. Hilton Chair funds enable the College of Human Sciences to bring visionary programming that exemplifies the College’s focus on advancing the well-being of children, families and consumers in Iowa and beyond.
Dr. Auriel Willette and his team of researchers are continuing their look into how obesity-related problems are linked to metabolism and diabetes.
The outcomes of their latest research, published in the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease, point to a new biomarker, insulin-like growth factor binding protein 2 (IGFBP-2), and how it may play a role in a person’s likelihood to develop Alzheimer’s disease. IGFBP-2 helps to regulate energy metabolism by affecting blood glucose levels.
The researchers looked at markers for the protein in both blood and the fluid that surrounds the brain. Regardless of which fluid they looked at, what they determined is the level of the IGFBP-2 biomarker will predict if that individual will have a smaller hippocampus in his or her brain. The smaller the hippocampus, the less able that individual is to process blood sugar and form new memories, which is partly thought to be the cause of Alzheimer's disease. Willette’s previous research has shown the inability to process blood sugar is very important and may increase the risk of Alzheimer’s.
When IGFBP-2 biomarker levels were higher, this tripled the risk of that individual having some form of mild cognitive impairment or Alzheimer’s disease.
Willette said while the protein can be looked at in both brain fluid and in blood, a benefit of looking at it in brain fluid is you can additionally predict high levels of toxic proteins thought to cause Alzheimer's disease.
“One take-home is that while there's some overlap in what we see from the marker in blood or the brain fluid, there are some important differences about what type of fluid is good for tracking what kind of brain outcome,” Willette said. "It's much easier to draw blood, and it gives us a window into tracking how the brain changes during the course of Alzheimer's disease, but to track toxic proteins, you need the fluid that cushions the brain to do that."
If the higher levels of the biomarker are caused by being overweight, an individual can make lifestyle changes in order to get down to a healthier weight. As weight is lost, studies have shown memory is improved.
“If you can attribute causation to this, you can work to lower the levels,” Willette said. "If you have pre-diabetes or type 2 diabetes, it can negatively impact your memory. If you get that under control and you have moderate activity levels, it may improve your memory levels.”
Willette and his researchers will continue tracking the levels longitudinally, watching how they change over time and how well the various parts of the brain process blood sugar.
“Depending on how the levels change, we could track how much that benefits the brain and ultimately our ability to form and retain memories, which is critical in Alzheimer's disease,” Willette said.
AMES, Iowa - During a ceremony Friday, Dec. 8, the winning entry in the ISU Signature Ice Cream Contest was announced in the Friley Windows dining center on the Iowa State University campus.
The winning ice cream concept, called Cyscream, is a rich, peanut butter ice cream, with a fudge cyclone swirl and chocolate-covered rice crisps. It was created by Team PB Crisp, composed of Iowa State University food science students Mikaela Galdonik, Tim Lott, Evan McCoy, and Geena Whalen, all seniors. They were awarded $500 to divide amongst themselves.
In a promotional video created by the team, they explained the flavoring of the ice cream pays homage to influential people and concepts at Iowa State. The peanut butter flavor honors Dr. George Washington Carver, an Iowa State alum who made an impact not only at Iowa State, but also within the peanut industry. The fudge swirl is a nod to the Iowa State Cyclones. The chocolate-covered rice crisps honor Mildred Day, a 1928 home economics graduate who created the Rice Krispie Treat while working for Kellogg’s.
“Creative concept and linked strongly to ISU history and tradition,” stated one of the eight judges who evaluated the contest entries. The team also was praised by another judge for their food science sense: “enrobing the crisp rice…will reduce the risk of moisture migration, which could cause texture issues and potentially reduce shelf life.”
Cyscream will be owned and produced by Iowa State’s Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition and featured at special Iowa State events.
The two other ice cream concepts named finalists in the contest were second place ($250) Cardinal Tracks, submitted by The Iowa Magic Creamery – Amanda Speltz, junior in food science, and Colby Abrams, senior in chemical engineering – and third place ($100) Ice Cream of the “Day,” by Morgan Nelson, sophomore in pre-dietetics, and Allison Wallace, sophomore in animal science.
The flavors in the Cardinal Tracks entry not only highlight Iowa’s agriculture through the sweet corn extract and raspberry pieces, but also represents Iowa State’s colors, cardinal and gold. Mixed in the ice cream are 3D-printed chocolates in the shape of the foot of Iowa State’s mascot, Cy, as well as a medallion with images printed on top that represent Iowa State, such as the outline of the state of Iowa.
“KIK, an award-winning stabilizer system created by an ISU food science graduate student alum, was another feature of the ice cream formulation,” said contest coordinator, Dr. Stephanie Clark.
Ice Cream of the “Day” combined pieces of rice krispie treats, mini marshmallows, and marshmallow fluff to recreate the Rice Krispie Treat for which Mildred Day is famous. The team’s hope was for Ice Cream of the “Day” to become Iowa State’s next tradition, following the traditions associated with Lake LaVerne, the campanile and the zodiac.
The ISU Signature Ice Cream Contest was open to all Iowa State students who were in good academic standing at the time of entry and prize awarding. Entrants were not required to make the ice cream, but were asked to include information about the ice cream’s formulation and ingredients in the ice cream concept paper submitted as part of their entry.
Judging was based equally on the ice cream name/flavor appeal/Iowa State theme, product description (innovation and feasibility), mix and flavoring formulation (innovation and feasibility), and a promotional video that showed the team’s enthusiasm for the ice cream concept and its relevance to Iowa State.
The contest was sponsored by Iowa State’s Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition, Wells Enterprises, Inc., and ISU Dining. Prize money for the student teams and ice cream novelties for ceremony attendees were contributed by Wells Enterprises, Inc.