Monthly Archives: November 2012

Graves co-authors book on family violence

Click on image to enlarge.

Academic freedom issue at Appalachian State

The News & Observer (http://www.newsobserver.com/2012/11/28/2512791/asu-faculty-administrators-clash.html) reports today on a controversy involving the Appalachian State administration and a tenured Sociology professor:

Linda Foulsham, director of equity, diversity and compliance, on Dr. Jammie Price: “Her pedagogy appears to be consistently confrontational, belittling, angry, critical, and destructive of the potential for a valuable educational experience for her students. Whether or not students felt demeaned or harassed based on their race, sex, political affiliation, status as an athlete or status as an Appalachian student, there is a consistent pattern of Dr. Price making students feel uncomfortable.”

Dr. Price on the Appalachian State administration: “The whole experience here at App State has been, it’s like going back in time. It’s like it’s 1950 here. … It’s a club. They do whatever they want to do. If a woman says that’s not how it should be or expresses discontent, they put her in her place.”

Obama names A&T chancellor to agriculture board

Dr. Harold L. Martin, Sr.

Dr. Harold L. Martin, Sr.

The White House announced yesterday that President Obama has appointed N.C. A&T Chancellor Harold L. Martin, Sr., to the Board for International Food and Agricultural Development.

The board is part of the U.S. Agency for International Development. It advises the agency on agriculture and higher education issues regarding  food insecurity in developing countries.

The School of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences at N.C. A&T is addressing international food security issues in a number of ways.  Among them are these two research projects:

  • Dr. Manuel Reyes is introducing conservation agriculture techniques to farmers in Cambodia and the Philippines (more information: Evolution magazine, Spring 2011, Page 19).
  • Dr. Lijun Wang and Dr. Abolghasem Shahbazi are among the leaders of the university’s new NSF CREST Bioenergy Center, which is developing the technology to produce biofuels more efficiently from non-food stock (Bioenergy Center websiteRe:search magazine, Page 4).

More progress on biofuels: A&T, JSNN to host conference on civic and small-scale production

Some government agencies and businesses aren’t waiting for the energy industry to start delivering on the promise of biofuels. Increasingly, in North Carolina and other states, they’re moving ahead on their own.

Their progress will be the subject of the second annual statewide conference on civic and small-scale biofuel projects, to be held next month at the Joint School of Nanoscience and Nanoengineering.

The event is organized by the Biofuels Center of North Carolina and is hosted by N.C. A&T and the Joint School.  It will feature talks and case studies on smaller-scale biofuel and biomass production projects operating in North Carolina (including Charlotte, Hickory, and Raleigh), Florida, and Alabama.

Speakers will include officials of state and local government agencies, the private sector, and universities.

The conference will be held Thursday December 13, beginning at 10 a.m. It will conclude with a 3 p.m. tour of biofuel and bioproduct research and development projects at the JSNN.  There is no fee to attend.  Registration information and the full agenda are at the conference website.

The full title of the event is “Civic and Small-scale Biofuels Statewide: A Second Annual Convening of Civic, Production, and Agency Parties.”

Worth noting: Some places aren’t quite ready to move on such opportunities. A local case in point is reported in today’s edition of the News & Record.

N.C. A&T Bioenergy Center awarded $5 million to make advanced biofuel production more affordable

An interdisciplinary team of scientists and engineers at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University has launched a five-year, $5 million project to make the production of advanced biofuels more efficient and affordable.

The NSF CREST Bioenergy Center’s goal is to make biomass a more viable source of renewable energy by developing the basic science and technology that will make energy conversions more efficient and costs more affordable.

The center is conducting fundamental research toward the development of advanced thermochemical biomass conversion technology to produce liquid transportation fuels and hydrogen.

The project is funded by the National Science Foundation’s Centers of Research Excellence in Science and Technology (CREST) program.

The center’s research will specifically target the production of high quality synthesis gas from biomass gasification, nanocatalysts for the conversion of syngas to bioethanol, and the production of high purity hydrogen for fuel cell applications.

Continue reading

3 diverse new research projects at N.C. A&T explore blood-brain barrier, risk management, wheat bran

Three new research projects at N.C. A&T aim to explore the weakening of the blood-brain barrier in  Alzheimer’s disease patients, to apply risk management to supply chain logistics, and to find a way to make dietary fiber taste better.

The projects are the first ones funded at A&T for each of the three principal investigators. All were funded in October.  They were among 29 new or continuing projects receiving external funding during the month, totaling more than $10 million.

The complete list of projects receiving external sponsored funding in October

The projects are (click the links for one-page summaries):

  • “Brain pericyte and amyloid-beta peptide interaction,” Dr. Donghui Zhu, Department of Bioengineering, $142,000, National Institutes of Health. One hallmark of Alzheimer’s disease is a compromised blood-brain barrier  characterized by significant reductions in critically important pericyte cells on the exterior walls of endothelia.  Our long-term goal is to determine the role of brain pericytes in the development of Alzheiner’s disease and to develop drugs to preserve pericytes functioning in Alzheimer’s patients.
  • “Understanding Risks and Disruptions in Supply Chains and their Effect on Firm and Supply Chain Performance,” Dr. Mahour Mellat-Parast, Department of Applied Engineering Technology, $200,000, National Science Foundation. This project provides the first comprehensive view of managing risks and disruptions within supply chains in different industries with respect to the stage and scope of the risk. As such, it facilitates the formation and establishment of an integrative discipline (risk engineering/risk management) utilizing engineering, technology, and management foundations.
  • “Modification of Wheat and Corn Brans by Microfluidization Process,” Dr. Guibing Chen, Center for Excellence in Post-Harvest Technologies, N.C. Research Campus, $299,000, USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture. Numerous studies indicate that dietary fiber plays a protective role against obesity, but it’s difficult for anyone eating a typical Western diet to consumer adequate fiber.  Research is needed to improve sensory properties of high-fiber foods and to enhance the fiber ingredients’ nutritional value. We propose to modify physicochemical and nutritional properties of wheat and corn brans using a microfluidization process. This technique will significantly improve palatability and nutritional value.
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Entrepreneurial engineer to speak Thursday

Entrepreneurship Speaker's Forum flyer for November 8, Dr. Randal Pinkett

Lots of love for JSNN and Kannapolis these days

Flag of Ecuador from http://www.boowakwala.comTwo recent items from the news media  worth noting:

President Rafael Correa of Ecuador visited the North Carolina Research Campus in Kannapolis this week, and he liked what he saw, big time.  From The Charlotte Observer:

Correa is studying the research, scientific instrumentation and collaborative environment of the research campus as a model for the development of Yachay, a planned city of science and technology being built in Ecuador’s northern province of Imbabura.

“Amazing! Outstanding!” said Correa. “A learning experience for us. We are building, in our country, a planned city of knowledge, (and) we want to learn from your experience.”

Trade magazine Advance for Medical Laboratory Professionals dropped in at the Joint School of Nanoscience and Nanoengineering recently, and they called it “exciting”:

… JSNN has a number of research projects in emerging areas including nanoenergy technologies, self-assembly methods and computational nanotechnology, Dr. Ryan said. “Each of the research thrusts have great potential, but I believe that JSNN’s research strength is in the highly interdisciplinary areas requiring contributions from both science and engineering to get a ‘game-changing’ result,” he explained.

JSNN has also established a bridge to industry partners by working with the Gateway University Research Park. One such group is the Nanomanufacturing Innovation Consortium. “Consortium members are able to observe research that is underway in the facility, provide input to research programs and have access to the JSNN equipment,” Dr. Ryan explained.

Dean Coger on engaging women in STEM fields

Dean Robin Coger

Dean Robin Coger

In the November 2 edition of The Chronicle of Higher Education, several scholars and experts are asked why more women aren’t entering STEM disciplines, especially engineering and computer science. Heading up the list: Dr. Robin Coger, dean of the N.C. A&T College of Engineering:

“I have observed that the decision to pursue a STEM major is based on two factors: (1) personal capabilities and preparedness to succeed; and (2) desire to pursue that discipline. I believe that success in attracting more women (or individuals from underrepresented demographic groups) into the STEM fields depends on how well our institutions address both those components.”

For Dean Coger’s full comments, click the link above. To read about N.C. A&T’s success in attracting female students to engineering, see the Fall 2011 edition of Evolution magazine.

Attention fresh-thinking freshmen and sophomores: Innovation Challenge 2013 is getting under way

Flyer for Innovation Challenge 2013

 

The second annual Innovation Challenge features a major change from the first time around: It’s now open to both freshmen and sophomores (it was originally the Freshman Innovation Challenge).

Deadline for entries is January 31, 2013.  Details are here.  This year’s contest is being made possible by GE.  To see the brightest ideas that came out of last year’s challenge, click here.