Investing in Research Partnerships

Seven teams of researchers across Colorado State University will be working together on some of the  most pressing global problems, thanks to innovative investments from the Office of the Vice President of Research.

The ability to use scientific discoveries to drive technological solutions to our global problems will require the integration of multiple disciplines and the formation of innovative partnerships across sectors.

Teams will be seeded with a critical mass of funding up to $200,000 for two years and provided infrastructural support to seek partners and resources to create and deliver novel solutions for some of our most important problems. These relationships will nurture the creation and delivery of solutions in energy, health, and the environment.

We are excited about this new program and the tremendous response we have received across campus. The Catalyst for Innovative Partnerships investments were created to encourage research teams to collaborate with new partners and find innovative ways to solve complicated, global problems in line with our rich land-grant heritage.

Congratulations to the following teams:

Team Members

Developing Advanced Polymeric Materials for Grand Challenges
Sue James, Ellen Fisher and Matt Kipper, Eugene Chen, David Dandy, Arun Kota, Melissa Reynolds, Chris Snow, Travis Bailey, Ketul Popat, Christie Peebles, Tom Chen, Christian Puttlitz, Vivian Li, Jeni Cross, Stu Tobet This group will develop and exploit new synergies to solve two grand challenges associated with modern polymers and plastics:   development of renewable/ sustainable feed stocks for polymers and designing biocompatible polymers for use in applications such as tissue engineering, vascular grafts and implantable medical devices. COE, CNS, CVMBS, CHHS, CLA
Rural Village Microgrid
Daniel Zimmerle, Amy Young, Meghan Suter, Eric Aoki, Kathleen Galvin, Peter Means, Paul Hudnut, Dale Manning, Keith Paustian and Doo-ho Park The overall goal of this initiative is to establish a trans-disciplinary and cross-cultural team to design, test, and validate energy-based solutions for rural African villages utilizing microgrid technology built on clean energy and hopes to use this effort as a catalyst for comprehensive rural development. CLA, COB, CAS, CHHS, COE, Energy Institute
Innovation Center for Sustainable Agriculture
Matthew Wallenstein, Richard Conant, Gregory Graff, Courtney Jahn, Andrew Jones, Ken Reardon, Meagan Schipanski Through this initiative, the team will advance innovations to feed more people with reduced environmental impacts globally by harnessing the power of soil microbial communities and plant-soil-microbe interactions. WCNR, CAS, COE
Partnership for Air Quality, Climate, and Health
A. R. Ravishankara, Sonia Kreidenweis, Jennifer Peel, John Volckens, Marilee Long This team will implement a structure and support facility to comprehensively integrate CSU-wide capabilities in air quality, climate, and health, while focusing on communicating scientific findings to stakeholders in innovative ways so as to inform and direct individuals as well as climate policy. CNS, CVMBS, COE, CLA
Fort Collins Urban Resiliency: EcoDistricts and Triple-Helix Community Development
Jeni Cross, Brian Dunbar, and Choi As the earth’s population becomes increasingly urban, cities are facing complex economic, social, and environmental challenges that are best met through the collaborative effort of municipalities, private business, and researchers – the triple-helix approach proposed by this team. CLA, CHHS, CAS
Institute for Genome Architecture and Function
Karolin Luger, Jennifer DeLuca, Randy Bartels, Ashok Prasad, Travis Bailey, Cristiana Argueso Establishing an institute for Genome Architecture and Function will allow this team of researchers to explore the organization of genetic material in the cell which affects the development and progression of a wide range of diseases including cancer. CNS, COE, CVMBS
Coalition for Development and Implementation of Sensor Systems
David Dandy, Tom Chen, Chuck Henry, Anura Jayasumana, Rick Lyons, Jennifer Mueller, Sangmi Pallickara, Lori Peek, Ken Reardon, Melissa Reynolds, John Volckens The mission of this team is to unite researchers focused on designing and developing integrated chemical and biological sensors and sensor networks that address critical needs in prevention, monitoring, and treatment applications including infectious diseases, cancer, water, food safety and energy. COE, CNS, CLA, CVMBS, IDRC
The Muse: Indian Summer

The Muse: Indian Summer

As we head into the new academic year there is much to Muse from this summer’s activities. One piece of personal good news is that I am slowly shedding the 10 pounds gained in my freshman year at CSU and found a commuting cycling route that includes a shower.

CSU signed an MOU with Amity University in India.

CSU signed an MOU with Amity University in India.

One focus of this summer has been to diversify our partnerships in the international arena. A small group traveled to India in early August, just at the end of their monsoon season to sign a memorandum of understanding with Amity University and to rekindle a relationship with national research professor C.N.R. Rao at the Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research. Amity is one of the largest private universities in India and is a remarkable story. It was founded as one of the first private business schools in India. They have six campuses in India and six around the world (UK, Singapore, China, Africa and two in the US) with 120,000 students all constructed in just eight years! The campus we visited in Delhi is quite new with approximately 24,000 students. The academic programs and degrees align remarkably well with CSU given Amity’s strengths in natural resources, water, agriculture and engineering. They are currently building a 400 bed hospital and medical school. The agreement we signed was broad and intended to open academic and research partnerships with CSU. Continue reading

Science and Spectacle: A Reflection of the Walk Again Project on the World Cup Stage

Dr. Alan Rudolph at the World Cup in Brazil.

Dr. Alan Rudolph at the World Cup in Brazil before the Walk Again demonstration at the Opening Ceremony.

I had to decompress for a few days before reflecting and writing about my most recent experiences in South America at the Copa De Moda – or World Cup. For the last 18 months I have been managing an international consortium of 125 people in 25 countries who were designing, building and testing a new prosthetics – or exoskeleton – that people with severe spinal cord injuries could control with their brains.

Continue reading

5 research projects at #Colostate making big impacts

This week the Office of the Vice President will highlight 5 research projects that Colorado State University is involved in. Click the links to learn more about these project and CSU’s involvement.


Ed Blach Co-Creator of the Flair Equine Nasal Strips demonstrates how to apply the strips on Eli, May 29, 2014. Photo courtesy of: Colorado State University

Ed Blach Co-Creator of the Flair Equine Nasal Strips demonstrates how to apply the strips on Eli, May 29, 2014.
Photo courtesy of: Colorado State University

1.  The nasal strip worn by Triple Crown contender and racing phenom California Chrome was co-invented by Dr. Ed Blach, a CSU veterinarian alumnus.

African elephant in the Serengeti. Photo courtesy of Wikipedia.

African elephant in the Serengeti. Photo courtesy of Wikipedia.

2.  CSU is helping to protect African elephants with cell phones! A study published recently in the journal Ecological Applications by researchers at CSU and other universities  around the world reports on the use of advanced technology in GPS and cell phones are helping to monitor and protect African elephants.

FIFA World Cup 2014 logo. Photo courtesy of vimeo.

FIFA World Cup 2014 logo. Photo courtesy of vimeo.

3. CSU has a significant role in the World Cup Opening Ceremony.

Christian L'Orange, left, and John Volckens in the new cookstove lab at the Powerhouse Energy Campus. Photo courtesy of Colorado State University.

Christian L’Orange, left, and John Volckens in the new cookstove lab at the Powerhouse Energy Campus.
Photo courtesy of Colorado State University.

4.  A $1.5 million grant from the Environmental Protection Agency is being used by CSU researchers to examine the atmospheric effects of smoke from cookstoves, which are used by 3 billion people worldwide for heating, lighting and cooking.

Hurricane. Photo courtesy of Wikimedia.

Hurricane. Photo courtesy of Wikimedia.

5. Researchers at CSU are predicting 10 named storms – including 4 hurricanes – to form during the 2014 Atlantic hurricane season.


Catching up with the Muse

It has been a few weeks since I have had a chance to catch up with the Muse.  As we wind down the semester, this has been a particularly busy time on and off campus for me, and I have been balancing immersive activities on campus with representing campus in DC and overseas.  In the last few weeks I have continued my visits to campus departments, and colleges to meet new faces, hear about new passions, and learn more about how our office can serve faculty and the research enterprise.  In early April I enjoyed a visit to the College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences (CVMBS) where I met with the equine reproduction program and discussed the current status of the science and business of cryopreservation and radiological health particularly with opportunities in Japan at Fukushima University.  In mid April I also visited with the Warner College of Natural Resources’ department of Geosciences and had a general discussion about microbiome work, working with industry partners, and hearing about infrastructural needs in the college.

I have stepped up bringing thought leaders to campus to identify new research opportunities for faculty.  In the third week of April, we hosted Richard Hatchett, Chief Medical Officer and Deputy Director of the Biological Advanced Research Authority (BARDA), a $1.5B agency dedicated to research and development in medical countermeasures for emergency preparedness for pandemic disease outbreaks.  He spoke to two groups on campus from both industry (including CSU spin outs and CSU ventures) and a broad presentation to campus that was very well attended.  Richard spoke about future needs in diagnostics, radiological health and antimicrobial resistance. This latter area was especially pertinent as the World Health Organization (WHO) just released a sobering report on our antimicrobial resistance vulnerability.  Richard was particularly interested in CSU’s current Good Manufacturing Practices (cGMP) facility capable of producing countermeasures in containment facilities needed for many of the pathogen threats.

On April 25 we hosted a second visit of senior thought leaders in consort with the One Health Initiative bringing senior members of the Gates Foundation to campus to be keynote speakers in the One Health Dinner series.  Steve Buchsbaum, Deputy Director of Discovery and Translational Science and Sindura Ganapathi, a new Program Officer presented the Foundation philosophy in investment and future areas of need.   More specifically, Sindura addressed prospects in their new One Health Initiative.  His main message was a recommendation to us to focus our initiative and define it by specific problems we are interested in addressing under the One Health banner.  It was a great opportunity to see how a major sponsor in this area is thinking about One Health and compare notes to our own growing initiative.  As we know, One Health is a broad landscape of potential opportunity and landscape and we are in the formative stages of defining this opportunity for ourselves.  We hosted Stephen the next day to a series of topics and discussions ranging from Elizabeth Ryan’s work on rice bran, Mary Jackson’s departments work on mycobacteria, Dick Bowen presented on his emerging infectious disease work and United State Agency for International Development (USAID) program efforts, Raj Khosla presented on precision agriculture and Andy Jones presented on predictive atmospheric sciences and weather interests.  This was a great interactive discussion to show how our faculty interests in One Health areas cross many disciplines. The discussion also showed a systems view of the intersections between animal and human health and the environment.

This spring we launched evaluations of key aspects of research infrastructure to seek more agility and innovation in providing key infrastructural needs to campus.  We have called this initiative INSTAR, to reflect the insect larval stage of growth where significant adaptive reorganization takes place (think caterpillar to butterfly).  INSTAR is an acronym that stands for Infrastructure for Innovative and Agile Science and Technology Applications.  Lets see if we can live up to it.  We completed a review of our animal care and use program and initiated a review in sponsored research activity.  The evaluations are being conducted by external independent subject matter experts and will be invaluable as we work together to seek implemental change.  This is timely as the National Science Foundation (NSF) just released a report entitled “Reducing Investigators’ Administrative Workload for Federally Funded Research” that documents how faculty are being bureaucratized by increased regulation.  I look forward to working with the new faculty advisory committee, the research associated deans, and the research strategic planning groups on campus to see how we can improve our infrastructure as a competitive advantage for us on campus.

Finally, I was able to attend the Undergraduate Research Colloquium in Johnson Hall and what a fantastic event.  The hall was crammed with energy, enthusiasm, and ambitions of a new generation of future researchers.  Many faculty mentors, parents, and friends were also in attendance.  I was honored to attend the award ceremony and was humbled by the great turnout and excellence of the program.  A big shout out to Mark Brown for his leadership in the Undergraduate Research Colloquium.

As we head into the end of the semester and into the summer, I will try to find a rhythm to the Muse that suits us and seek to distribute this communication to the appropriate audience.  Enjoy the warmer weather.




Hitting the MARC at CSU

We have an ever-increasing awareness of the consequences of emerging pathogens as well as our inability to respond to high consequence pathogens such as Ebola or antibiotic resistance bacteria (e.g. MRSA).   In the news of the day, we are experiencing a severe Ebola outbreak in Africa, the acknowledgement of an isolated hemorrhagic Lassa fever case in Minnesota, and the tracking of vectors associated with the Middle Eastern Respiratory syndrome (MERs) which is looking more like a species jump from Camels.  These rare seemingly infrequent events are seeing global attention, reminding us of our lack of preparedness.

Over a decade ago, these events were foretold in the creation of regional centers of excellence (COEs) created by NIH.  One of these resides here as the Rocky Mountain regional center of excellence and leveraged our significant assets in infectious disease as well as the close integration of federal laboratories partners such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the National Wildlife Research Center (NWRC).  These programs were designed to contribute both fundamental understanding of pathogens and more importantly the ability to translate discoveries into useful countermeasures that could be implemented in the event of a new pathogen outbreak or an unusually virulent and noxious flu.

One of the intended outcomes of the investment in COEs was to create parallel manufacturing capabilities that would accelerate translation and production of needed countermeasures.  Very few of the centers realized this outcome.  Yet, I am very pleased to report that within our COE we have created BioPharmaceutical Manufacturing & Academic Resource Center (BioMARC). Of even greater significance is that we have just received FDA approval to manufacture a commercial product in the BioMARC facility fulfilling the original design of those who invested to increase the preparedness of our country.

The BioMARC approval not only signals a long standing commitment and investment in manufacturing but has achieved a standard of manufacturing that few universities have achieved.  The facility was just FDA approved to manufacture Alplisol, a tuberculin purified protein derivative under good manufacturing practices for commercial sale under sponsorship from a commercial partner.  This is a monumental undertaking and represents years of dedicated work by the staff at BioMARC and the IDRC.  There are many who should be recognized for their hard work and certainly under the direction of Rick Lyons and Dennis Pierro this would not have happened.  Many in the Office of the Vice President of Research, Infectious Disease Research Center, the Department of Microbiology, Immunology and Pathology, The College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, The Research Integrity & Compliance Review Office and The Office of Sponsored Programs should be recognized for this outstanding achievement.  Big thanks to all.

The future is bright for this facility as we seek additional commercial partners seeking to produce medicines for the challenge we face in increasing our preparedness to infectious challenges of the day.

Way to hit the MARC!