For University of Minnesota (UMN) researchers, scum is a word packed with profitable promise. College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences (CFANS) professor and Center for Biorefining director R. Roger Ruan and doctoral candidate Erik Anderson are converting scum into high-quality biodiesel.
Bioproducts and Biosystems Engineering (BBE) Professor Gary Sands assumes his position of BBE department head August 28. A native of Delaware, Sands came to CFANS BBE as an assistant professor and Extension engineer in 1998 and currently serves as director of graduate studies for the program. He has devoted more than 30 years to teaching, research, and Extension in agricultural engineering throughout the U.S. and abroad, in the areas of irrigation, drainage, hydrology, water quality, and sustainable agriculture.
Members of the UMN Board of Regents and President Kaler gathered June 7 to hear about the current ahead-of-schedule and under-budget status of the new Bell Museum + Planetarium. Progress was detailed by construction, architectural, and landscaping team members, with insights provided by Executive Director Denise Young and Scientific Director George Weiblen. The tour highlighted how the building’s eastern exposure provides a constant visual connection to the plant research taking place in CFANS, how the domed planetarium screen will appear seamless, and how landscaping features draw from Minnesota materials.
CFANS took prominent position at the annual Heritage Society Dinner, June 14, at McNamara Center on the Minneapolis campus. Prior to the dinner, guests learned how gifts to UMN are breaking new ground and visited with students who are working on sustainability projects throughout the university--and especially in CFANS. Exhibitors included aerial remote sensing, Cornercopia Student Organic Farm, monarchs in a changing landscape, a water bar, and native plants.
Recently, the University of Minnesota hosted the 25th Symposium of the Equine Science Society in Minneapolis. More than 100 graduate and undergraduate students from across the U.S. and world competed in various student research presentation competitions.
Austin Dobbels was awarded second place at the Science in Seconds held June 1. Modeled after the well know 3 minute thesis competition - graduate students have 3 minutes and 1 slide to present their research in clear and concise terms that non-scientists can understand. The event was hosted by the College of Veterinary Medicine in conjunction with the College of Biological Sciences and College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences. Associate Dean for Graduate Programs Mark Rutherford provided all the necessary support from coordinating judges to connecting with the CBS and CFANS associate deans.
“Coming to the University of Minnesota was the best decision I ever made in my life,” declared Mike Wingfield, Ph.D. Plant Pathology ‘83, upon receiving the 2016 University of Minnesota Distinguished Leadership Award for Internationals during a ceremony, presentation, and reception event held June 2. The award was presented to him by Professor of Plant Pathology Department Head Jim Bradeen (left) and Dean Brian Buhr. His presentation focused on “Global Tree Health: Can We Win the Battle Against Invasive Pests and Diseases,” during which he underscored how “people and trees are similar in how they respond to disease.” He emphasized that future biosecurity depends upon engaging and collaborating with politicians and social scientists more than ever.
The University of Minnesota (UMN) and Brazil are joining forces to tackle problems of viable productivity growth in agriculture, sustainably. The LabexFlex-UMN partnership will bring together Brazil and Minnesota to address many shared agricultural problems between both entities, such as pests, disease, soil management, climate and other weather risk challenges.
Monitoring carnivores is hard: most of these species are rare, live in remote areas and avoid contacts with humans. In addition, targeting multiple species results in specific challenges that biologists have to address considering the differences in habitat use, movement patterns and behaviour among all the species of interest. In particular, camera trapping of multiple species of carnivores requires specific considerations to increase the otherwise low detection rates. Additionally, this increase in detection should be homogeneous among species.
Conservation Sciences graduate student Julia Leone was awarded a three-year Graduate Research Fellowships by the National Science Foundation. She is studying the impacts of grazing and fire management on prairie remnants in Minnesota and assessing how these different management regimes affect native plant species richness and diversity, as well as pollinating insects (bees and butterflies). She took a few moments for a CFANS Q&A.