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Technology Created at NDSU Licensed to c2sensor Corp.: Start-Up Company Developed from NDSU Research Discovery l 12/12/2014

Dec. 12, 2014, Fargo, N.D. ––  A technology developed at North Dakota State University, Fargo, creates precise in-the-ground measurement and monitoring of soil and crop conditions which could provide opportunities for greater yields. The technology also has led to a new start-up company. The c2sensor corp., based in the NDSU Technology Incubator, has concluded a license agreement with the NDSU Research Foundation (NDSU/RF) for the precision agriculture technology.

Developed by a research team at NDSU, the sensors are constructed using NDSU's patent-pending "direct write" electronic printing techniques to print circuit and antenna patterns directly onto renewable, bio-based substrates. Developed between the NDSU Center for Nanoscale Science and Engineering and the Mechanical Engineering Department at NDSU, the sensors are made with biocomposites so they can be left in the ground to biodegrade without harming soil quality.

The research team placed microsensors in fields at the Soil Health and Agriculture Research Extension (SHARE) farm in Richland county in southeastern North Dakota. Called SEED, which stands for Sensing Earth Environment Directly, the bio-degradable sensors are placed in the ground like seeds, with the potential to directly measure soil salinity, moisture, fertility, and chemicals in real time.

Sensors in the future could be placed directly into the soil during the seeding process, by mixing the sensors in with the seed during planting. A reading device mounted beneath an agricultural vehicle or other agricultural implements would interact with the SEED sensors embedded in the soil, and then provide direct measurements of soil conditions, moisture, and chemical content in real time.

“The NDSU-developed sensor technology licensed by c2sensor is different from current methods, which often require a combination of direct measurement such as soil sampling, or indirect measurements such as remote sensing via probes,” said Corey Kratcha, CEO of c2sensor.

Materials used to create the sensors allow them to be left in place after use, where they can degrade without leaving toxins in the soil. Wireless communication with the sensor is based on passive radio-frequency identification (RFID) technology with no batteries needed.

“As the product is developed, it could assist farmers to monitor salinity levels, nutrient levels for fertilizer applications, moisture and pH levels,” said Chad Ulven, associate professor of mechanical engineering. “It could be coupled with aerial mapping via UAVs or satellite imaging, giving farmers real time soil analysis for end-of-year field work.”

NDSU researchers in microelectronics, mechanical engineering and the NDSU Extension Service who were part of the initial research team include:  Chad Ulven, associate professor of mechanical engineering; Cherish Bauer-Reich, Justin Hoey, Rob Sailer, Nathan Schneck and other members of the NDSU Center for Nanoscale Science and Engineering; and Abbey Wick, NDSU Extension Service.

“Generating technologies that lead to start-up companies to bring discoveries to market is one of the ways that NDSU, as a student-focused, land grant, research university, serves the citizens of the state,” said Kelly A. Rusch, vice president for research and creative activity at NDSU.

“Licensing of this sensor technology to c2sensor represents an opportunity to commercialize this research,” said Dale Zetocha, executive director of the NDSU Research Foundation. “Licensing the technology to a North Dakota company supports goals to further diversify economic opportunities in the state.”

The North Dakota Corn Utilization Council provided initial funding at NDSU for the seed sensor project. Following licensing to c2sensor, additional funding through the North Dakota Department of Commerce Venture Grant Program and the North Dakota Centers of Excellence will be utilized to further develop the sensor technology.

About NDSU

NDSU, Fargo, North Dakota, USA, is an economic engine of the state, a top ranked and growing national research power. NDSU is notably listed among the top 108 U.S. public and private universities in the Carnegie Commission on Higher Education’s category of “Research Universities/Very High Research Activity.” As a student-focused, land grant, research institution, NDSU is listed in the Top 100 research universities in the U.S. for R&D in agricultural sciences, chemistry, physical sciences, psychology, and social sciences, based on research expenditures reported to the National Science Foundation.

About the NDSU Research Foundation

The NDSU Research Foundation is an independent, not-for-profit organization that supports NDSU in its teaching, research and public service missions. The Foundation manages the intellectual properties developed by faculty, staff and students doing research at NDSU and facilitates commercialization of these technologies. By commercializing intellectual property, the Foundation is able to create resources that are returned to the individual inventors and to the University to promote continued research.

About c2sensor Corp.

c2sensor, based in the NDSU Technology Incubator, Fargo, North Dakota, provides expertise in bio-degradable sensors under development for precision agriculture and other applications. The start-up company licensed sensor technology from North Dakota State University. Materials used to create the sensors allow them to be left in place after use where they can degrade without leaving toxins in the soil. Wireless communication with the sensor is based on passive radio-frequency identification (RFID) technology.

New Plastic That Disappears When You Want It To l 11/24/2014

November 24, 2014 – Fargo, N.D. – Plastic populates our world through everything from electronics to packaging and vehicles. Once discarded, it resides almost permanently in landfills and oceans. A discovery by researchers at North Dakota State University, Fargo, holds scientific promise that could lead to a new type of plastic that can be broken down when exposed to a specific type of light and is reduced back to molecules, which could then be used to create new plastic.

Published in Angewandte Chemie, a leading international journal, the proof of concept experiment outlines the work of researchers in the Center for Sustainable Materials Science at NDSU. The multidisciplinary team includes researchers from the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry:  Mukund Sibi, university distinguished professor; Sivaguru Jayaraman, James A. Meier professor; postdoctoral fellow Saravana Rajendran; graduate student Ramya Raghunathan; postdoctoral fellow Retheesh Krishnan; and staff scientist Angel Ugrinov; as well as Dean Webster, professor and chair of the Department of Coatings and Polymeric Materials and postdoctoral fellow Ivan Hevus.

The research team focuses on biomass, using oilseed from agricultural crops, cellulose, lignin and sucrose to generate building blocks of molecules that are made into polymers to create plastics. One of the grand challenges for the 21st century is sustainability that lessens dependency on fossil fuels. NDSU, in association with the North Dakota Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (ND EPSCoR), established the Center for Sustainable Materials Science to develop a program for the preparation of polymers and composites using biomass, a renewable resource.

 “Real sustainability involves breaking it back into the building blocks. We have shown that we can break it down into the building blocks and re-make the polymer,” said Dr. Sibi.

In their proof of concept experiment, the group used fructose, found commonly in fruit, to create a solution of molecules, which was then converted to a plastic (polymer). By exposing the plastic to ultraviolet light at 350 nanometers for three hours, researchers degraded the plastic, reducing it back to the soluble building block molecules from which it began.

Plastics usually don’t decay for hundreds of years, creating solid waste issues. They generally degrade slowly, potentially leaching chemicals into the environment or creating toxins in the air when burned.

“This cradle-to-cradle approach to create a plastic which can be degraded easily offers scientific potential for eventual products that could lessen dependence on fossil fuels and decrease the amount of raw materials needed,” said Dr. Webster.

“Our strategy has the potential to build novel materials from biomass that are degradable with light after usage, mitigating the stress of unwanted chemicals in our environment. Studies to address these aspects are currently underway in our laboratories,” said Dr. Sivaguru Jayaraman.

Dr. Sibi’s lab makes monomers and biobased triggers; Dr. Siva’s group specializes in photochemical sciences and photo degradation; and Dr. Webster’s team works in polymer chemistry.

“It is the teamwork which allows us to do this kind of work. We need everyone’s expertise to solve this issue,” said Sibi.

The researchers say further study is needed to evaluate the durability and strength of potential plastics derived from biomass before potential product commercialization could occur. “What is the best trigger to use to break them down? What is the best monomer to use? What is the best polymer we can make?” said Sibi.

In the next two years, the group will examine how their process might work with plastics used in cars and electronics, as well as in other items.

This research is based on the support from the National Science Foundation (grant numbers EPS-0814442 and IIA-1355466) for the Center for Sustainable Materials Science (CSMS) at NDSU, a research center in association with the North Dakota Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research.

About NDSU
NDSU, Fargo, North Dakota, USA, is notably listed among the top 108 U.S. public and private universities in the Carnegie Commission on Higher Education’s category of “Research Universities/Very High Research Activity.” As a student-focused, land grant, research institution, NDSU is listed in the top 100 research universities in the U.S. for R&D in agricultural sciences, chemistry, physical sciences, psychology, and social sciences, based on research expenditures reported to the National Science Foundation.

Students Share Compendium of Ideas at NDSU EXPLORE l 11/6/2014

Nov. 6, 2014 – Fargo, N.D. – Plan for a potential urban park for downtown Fargo, identify and stop bugs that can decimate crops, conduct historical research to create costumes for the production Little Shop of Horrors—these and other projects were shared by more than 70 NDSU undergraduate students at NDSU EXPLORE. The event held Nov. 4 at the Memorial Union recognized research and scholarly activity.

Students represented a multitude of disciplines. They included English, engineering, chemistry, entomology, theater, biology, history, communications, animal sciences, architecture, landscape architecture, physics, pharmacy, and many more.

For example, students Andrew Dalman, Justin Paulson and Felicia Marquez are working to develop artificial bone, with potential medical applications. Jacob Parrow's undergraduate engineering research focuses on effects of radio frequency on DNA, which may lead to new treatments for common diseases.

Levi Lystrom’s poster presentation gave him an opportunity to test his abilities. He will be presenting his research at an American Chemical Society meeting in 2015. “This is a great way to get your foot in the door and practice before I give my presentation at a meeting of 15,000 chemists.”

Students Kaleb Hutchens, Vanessa O’Gara, Mitch Muske and Eric Haverluk are perfecting their invention called the Snowmenator, designed to help people with physical challenges with remote-controlled snow removal equipment. After building their prototype, they will compete in a snow removal competition at the Winter Carnival in St. Paul, Minnesota, in early 2015.

Performing arts students Ali Wu, Brian Lynch, Clare Geinert, Chelsea Brown, Austin Koenig, Kami Sim and Lexi Zawatze displayed their 7/11 project where students had seven days to complete and perform an original 11 minute show based on one set design.

“I think NDSU EXPLORE is a phenomenal opportunity to showcase things that you’re proud of and have worked really hard on. I would recommend it to any group of students who want to let others know about their projects,” said Wu.

Provost Beth Ingram commended students who participated in the event, highlighting what undergraduate education means at a research university. “There was a moment you moved from not knowing to knowing, and from not understanding, to understanding,” said Ingram.

Keynote speaker Susan Larson said events such as NDSU EXPLORE engage students and enhance learning. Larson, a psychology professor at Concordia College, Moorhead, Minnesota, serves as a councilor on the national Council on Undergraduate Research.

Larson cited studies which show that undergraduate research produces results that include:  high student grade point averages; greater student retention; willingness to pursue graduate education; increased student satisfaction with their undergraduate experience; and enhanced leadership and communication skills. Students engaged in research also show a better understanding of science, heightened ability to think creatively, a tolerance for obstacles and the ability to work independently.

Faculty benefit too, said Larson, “You can develop new questions, things you might never have thought of. Students are willing to challenge things we take for granted. Ask something different and that can lead you to new areas of study,” said Larson.

Research shows there are institutional gains from undergraduate research as well, according to Larson. These include building a community of scholars, recruitment of highly-sought-after students and student retention.

“We are providing students with skills employers want, including problem-solving, innovation, communication, critical thinking, analytical reasoning and collaboration,” she said.

NDSU EXPLORE was sponsored by the Office for Research and Creative Activity, with support from PPG Industries, CCW Energy Systems, Marvel LLC, and Mutchler Bartram Architects PC.

"We greatly appreciate the participation of students and their faculty advisors in the inaugural year of NDSU EXPLORE and encourage students to think about what achievements they might want to present for 2015-16 NDSU EXPLORE," said Sheri Anderson, associate vice president for Research Development at NDSU.

NDSU Human Development and Education Faculty Present and Publish Recent Research l 9/16/2014

Sept. 16, 2014 – Fargo, N.D. – A group led by Jill Nelson, associate dean and associate professor in the School of Education, and doctoral students in her Professional Issues class have been awarded $10,000 from the Fargo-Moorhead Area Foundation for a project called the “Counseling Services Enhancement” initiative. The doctoral students are Amy Nathe, Benjamin Erie, Kadie-Ann Caballero-Dennis, Irene Rettig, Julie Smith and Jessica Brown.

Bradley Bowen, assistant professor in the School of Education, was published in the American Journal of Engineering Education in an article titled “Comparing Career Awareness Opportunities of Academically At-Risk and Non At-Risk Freshman Engineering Students.”

Mari Borr, associate professor in the NDSU School of Education, is now associate editor for Family and Consumer Sciences Education Research Journal. For more than 35 years, the journal has been the periodical of choice for specialists in the family and consumer sciences field.

Katie Lyman, assistant professor of health, nutrition and exercise sciences, spoke at the Oklahoma Public Safety Conference on Aug. 6 about her recent research regarding personality factors and their predictive qualities in cognitive achievement. She also gave a presentation to public safety employees about the necessary steps in a quality patient assessment during a medical emergency.

Julie Garden-Robinson, professor of health, nutrition and exercise sciences and Extension food and nutrition specialist at NDSU, received $35,000 from Dakota Medical Foundation to continue the FaithCommunitiesAlive! initiative in the Fargo-Moorhead area. To date, 20 faith communities have been engaged in education and policy or environmental changes to promote better health.

Garden-Robineson also obtained funding from the Northern Pulse Growers Association to develop a variety of materials related to pulse foods. North Dakota is a leading producer of pulse crops such as lentils, split peas and chickpeas.

Sherri Stastny, associate professor of health, nutrition and exercise sciences, recently was recertified for the Certified Specialist in Sports Dietetics for 2014-19. The exam is offered by the Commission on Dietetic Registration for registered dietitians who have specialized experience in sports dietetics.

Joel Hektner, professor of human development and family science, presented two papers at the biennial congress of the International Society for the Study of Behavioral Development in Shanghai, China. One, co-written with former student Catherine Rogers and based on her thesis, was titled “Identity and daily experience in lesbian, gay, or bisexual emerging adults.” The other, co-written with student Su Lee, was titled “Direct and indirect effects of the Early Risers Conduct Problems Prevention Program on parenting outcomes.”

Carol Buchholz Holland, associate professor in the School of Education, presented at the American School Counselor Association national conference held during June in Orlando, Florida, with “35 Solution-Focused and Strength-Based Activities and Techniques to Use with Children and Adolescents.” She also was an invited presenter at a school counselor academy conference held in Manhattan, Kansas. with two sessions, titled “Solution-Focused Applications for School Settings” and “Solution-Focused Consultation and Parent Conferences.”

Jim Deal, professor and unit head of human development and family sciences at NDSU, had an article accepted by the Journal of Beliefs and Values. The article is titled Preliminary Validation of the North American Protestant Fundamentalism Scale.”

Kyle Hackney, assistant professor of health, nutrition and exercise sciences, had the article “Protein and Essential Amino Acid Intake to Protect Musckuloskeletal Health During Spaceflight: Evidence of a Paradox” published in Life: Special Issue Response of Terrestrial Life to Space Conditions and “Acute Vascular and Cardiovascular Responses to High Load, Low Load, and Low Load Blood Flow Restricted Resistance Exercise published in Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise.

Abby Gold, assistant professor of health, nutrition and exercise sciences and Extension specialist, graduate student Swaha Pattanaik and Mary Larson, assistant professor, of health, nutrition and exercise sciences, along with partners at Cankdeska Cikana Community College will publish “Using a Participatory Research Method to Understand the Food Environment on Spirit Lake Reservation” in the winter edition of the Tribal College Journal.

NDSU hosted its third annual New Teacher Summer Academy in August. Bill Martin, professor and head of the School of Education, welcomed more than 30 participants, including 17 new teacher education graduates from NDSU, Valley City State University, Minnesota State University Moorhead, University of North Dakota, Bemidji State University and Concordia College. Carol Beaton, beginning teacher network coordinator for the Southeast Education Cooperative, engaged participants in discussions on various topics before breaking into content-alike groups to plan the first day in their new K-12 classrooms.

NDSU is recognized as one of the nation's top 108 public and private universities by the Carnegie Commission on Higher Education.

NDSU Research Labs to Hold Open House, New Facility Announced l 9/16/2014

Sept. 16, 2014 – Fargo, N.D. – Two of NDSU’s research laboratories are scheduled to host concurrent open house sessions Tuesday, Sept. 23, from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m.

The facilities are available to scientists for research, data analysis, consultations and teaching purposes. Open house attendees can learn information on how the labs can be helpful for their research.

The Core Biology Facility, in Quentin Burdick Building 316 and 354, was established in 2003 with funding from the National Institutes of Health and operated by the Center for Protease Research. The manager is Tao Wang, research assistant professor of chemistry and biochemistry, who joined the center in 2011.

The Core Synthesis and Analytical Services Facility, in Dunbar 156, another Center for Protease Research lab, was started in 2008. Lab manager Ganesh Balasubramanian, research scientist of chemistry and biochemistry, will be available for tours, and also will demonstrate some equipment during the open house.

The Center for Protease Research, with the help of the NDSU Core Labs Initiative, has established a new Core Mass Spectrometry Facility. Tours of the new facility will be available during the Sept. 23 open house. The aim of the facility is to accelerate research and discovery in the fields of mass spectrometry and omics (proteomics, lipidomics and metabolics) by providing NDSU investigators access to cutting-edge technologies and resources.

The facility is open to all NDSU principal investigators and students on a fee-for-service basis. Equipped with a Waters Synapt G2-Si HDMS and an Agilent GC-MS, the facility will offer routine mass spectrometry services such as molecular weight determination of small synthetic molecules, polymers and natural products.

Types of analysis include MS, LC-MS, high resolution MS, micro LC-MS/MS, GC-MS, Chiral GC-MS, MALDI-Tof and tissue imaging. The Core Mass Spectrometry Facility also offers software resources, including instrument-specific packages such as MassLynx and Chemstation. Proteomics software such as QuanLynx and BioLynx, and database software like PLGS also are offered.

NDSU Political Science Faculty Publishes Research l 9/16/2014

Sept. 16, 2014 – Fargo, N.D. – Kjersten Nelson, assistant professor of political science at NDSU, recently published a peer-reviewed article titled “Individual Scrutiny or Politics as Usual? Senatorial Assessment of U.S. District Court Nominees.” The article appears in the latest edition of American Politics Research.

Nelson co-wrote the article with Logan Dancey of Wesleyan University and Eve Ringsmuth of Oklahoma State University.

NDSU is recognized as one of the nation's top 108 public and private universities by the Carnegie Commission on Higher Education.

Transportation Researcher Presents on Linear Referencing Systems l 9/16/2014

Sept. 16, 2014 – Fargo, N.D. – Upper Great Plains Transportation Institute associate research fellow EunSu Lee demonstrated his research in linear referencing systems and methods at the recent Summer Pine to Prairie Geographic Information System User Group meeting. The Aug. 6 event was hosted and sponsored by West Central Initiative in Fergus Falls, Minnesota.

Lee’s presentation, “Linear Referencing Systems and Management: Applications,” focused on advanced applications such as crash analysis and record keeping, road inventory and asset management.

NDSU is recognized as one of the nation's top 108 public and private universities by the Carnegie Commission on Higher Education.

NDSU Researchers to Publish Paper on Business Ethics l 9/16/2014

Sept. 16, 2014 – Fargo, N.D. – Margaret Andersen, professor of accounting at NDSU; Jill Zuber, assistant professor of accounting; and Brent Hill, assistant professor in the School of Education had their paper accepted for publication in the Journal of Business Ethics. The title of the paper is “Moral Foundations Theory: An Exploratory Study with Accounting and Other Business Students. 

The researchers investigated the use of Haidt's Moral Foundation Theory, known as MFT, by students in the College of Business. The theory posits that people use five foundations – fairness/cheating, care/harm, loyalty/betrayal, respect/authority and purity/degradation – when deciding whether something is right or wrong. Furthermore, these decisions are based more on intuition than reasoning. Using Structural Equation Modeling the researchers found empirical support for the MFT using a sample of accounting and business students.

The Journal of Business Ethics publishes original articles from a variety of methodological and disciplinary perspectives concerning ethical issues related to business.

NDSU is recognized as one of the nation's top 108 public and private universities by the Carnegie Commission on Higher Education.

NDSU Faculty Publish Salesperson Networking Research l 9/16/2014

Sept. 16, 2014 – Fargo, N.D. – Two NDSU management and marketing faculty recently had their research published in the Journal of Business Research. Gerrard Macintosh, chair and head, and Michael Krush, assistant professor, published an article titled, “Examining the link between salesperson networking behaviors, job satisfaction, and organizational commitment: Does gender matter?”

A survey of 179 salespeople indicated networking behaviors are related to job satisfaction and commitment in sales. However, relationships vary for male and female salespeople.

According to the article’s abstract, “When analyzed separately, job satisfaction relates positively to professional networking for women, while job satisfaction relates positively to peer networking for men. In addition, peer networking directly relates to organizational commitment for women, rather than mediated by job satisfaction.”

NDSU is recognized as one of the nation's top 108 public and private universities by the Carnegie Commission on Higher Education.

NDSU Awards Research Grants to Study Road Dust Impacts in Bakken l 9/11/2014

Sept. 11, 2014 – Fargo, N.D. – How much road dust is there? What are its impacts? These are among the questions North Dakota State University researchers are examining in the Bakken region of North Dakota. Five research proposals have been selected to receive seed funding to research the impact of road dust issues in areas of energy development across western North Dakota. NDSU announced $224,516 for five awards to conduct research over the next two years.

“Measuring the amount of road dust from traffic and developing scientific data on its impact provides information as the challenge of road dust emissions continues,” said Kelly A. Rusch, vice president for Research and Creative Activity at NDSU. “The proposals selected for funding combine research approaches from different fields of study to provide an opportunity for wide-angle views of a significant challenge.”

Here is a brief summary of the research awards, areas of study and those leading the projects:

  • “Quantification of Road Dust and Its Effect on Soil Quality”
    • Shafiqur Rahman, Ph.D., Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering; $59,956 grant
    • Research team includes: Kris Ringwall, Director, Dickinson Research Extension Center; Bernie Saini-Eidukat, Geosciences; and Larry Cihacek, Soil Science.
  •  “Road Dusts:  Their Abatement and Impacts on Human Health”
    • Jack Norland, Ph.D., Natural Resources Management; $59,580 grant
    • Research team includes: Christina Hargiss, Natural Resources Management; Tom DeSutter, Soil Science; Mark Strand, Pharmacy Practice.
  • “Fugitive Dust Impacts on Plants and Landowner/Citizen Perceptions of Bakken Development”
    • Devan McGranahan, Ph.D., Range Science; $59,980 grant
    • Research team includes: Gary Gorham, Sociology and Anthropology; Aaron Daigh, Soil Science; and Joel Ransom, Extension Service agronomist, Cereal Crops.
  • “Development of Best Practices Approach to Unpaved Road Dust Control in Western ND”
    • Eric Asa, Ph.D., Construction Management and Engineering; $15,000 grant
  • “Full Spectrum Dust Control Techniques and Economy-Based Criteria”
    • Zhibin Lin, Ph.D., Civil and Environmental Engineering; $30,000 grant
    • Research team includes: Mijia Yang, Civil and Environmental Engineering; and Lei Zhang, Agribusiness and Applied Economics.

Projects include opportunities for NDSU undergraduate and graduate students to participate and contribute to this area of research important to potentially assist in mitigating road dust issues. “Not only does it allow students to learn scientific methods, it also engages them in fast-track research to help provide information that can benefit communities,” said Dr. Rusch, vice president for Research and Creative Activity.

Thirteen proposals competed for seed funding through the program.

At more than 1 million barrels per day, North Dakota is second only to Texas in oil production. Additional energy development in North Dakota could result in additional road dust emissions. The program at NDSU serves to augment excellent work conducted by other entities, providing additional information to assist in mitigating road dust in the state’s oilpatch.

About NDSU

NDSU, Fargo, North Dakota, is notably listed among the top 108 U.S. public and private universities in the Carnegie Commission on Higher Education's category of "Research Universities/Very High Research Activity." As a student-focused, land grant, research institution, NDSU is listed in the top 100 research universities in the U.S. for R&D in agricultural sciences, chemistry, physical sciences, psychology, and social sciences, based on research expenditures reported to the National Science Foundation.

NDSU Animal Sciences Faculty Presents Research l 8/29/2014

August 29, 2014, Fargo, N.D. –– Chung Park, professor of animal sciences at NDSU, gave an invited lecture at the 2014 Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology Science research conference Aug. 7 in Steamboat Springs, Colorado.

The title of his talk was “The role of maternal lipotropic (methyl) diet in fetal imprinting of mammary development and carcinogenesis.”

Centering on one-carbon metabolism, the conference promotes dialogue among investigators in biological and biomedical sciences from the United States and a dozen other countries.

NDSU is recognized as one of the nation's top 108 public and private universities by the Carnegie Commission on Higher Education.

NDSU Study Examines Online, Face-to-Face Courses l 8/29/2014

August 29, 2014, Fargo, N.D. –– A new study by NDSU communication faculty gives an interesting look at students’ perceptions of online versus face-to-face courses. 

The findings of the study by Carrie Anne Platt, associate professor of communication; Nan Yu, assistant professor of communication; and Amber Raile, assistant professor of business at Montana State University, were reported in the article, “Student perceptions of the equivalence of online classes to face-to-face classes,” in the Journal of Online Learning and Teaching.

According to Platt, some might assume students take online classes because they see them as easier than face-to-face classes. However, there’s not much hard research on students’ general perception of the different teaching methods.

Platt and her colleagues conducted an online survey of 289 NDSU students, and found most students’ perceptions are opposite of the conventional wisdom.

“The study reveals students actually see online classes as more challenging,” Platt said. “Part of that is the students have to do more to manage their own time and schedule because online courses do not meet at a set point each week and some self-paced courses don’t have regular deadlines.”

Students also perceived online classes as having less interaction than face-to-face classes, which Platt said could make the course more challenging for students who rely on extra help from their instructor or their peers.

“The main reason the students took online courses was the flexibility of scheduling,” Platt said, noting online courses don’t conflict with scheduled courses in the classroom. “Online courses also can fit in if a student has a part-time job.”

In the survey, students were asked to share their perceptions of online courses and face-to-face courses in terms of challenge, knowledge gained, flexibility and level of interaction with the instructor and other students.

Platt, who joined the NDSU faculty in 2008, earned her bachelor’s degree a from Carroll College in Helena, Montana; her master’s degree from Wake Forest University; and her doctorate from the University of Southern California.

NDSU is recognized as one of the nation's top 108 public and private universities by the Carnegie Commission on Higher Education.

NDSU Researchers Appear in World Channel Documentary l 8/29/2014

August 29, 2014, Fargo, N.D. –– The film ‘Ice People,” which features NDSU researchers, was selected by ITVS to be part of “Global Voices,” a critically acclaimed international documentary television series that aired Aug. 24, at 10 p.m. EST on the World Channel.

In 2006, Emmy Award-winning filmmaker Anne Aghion spent four months at the U.S. research station McMurdo, and camped out for seven weeks in Antarctica’s Dry Valleys region with Allan Ashworth, emeritus University Distinguished Professor of geology; Adam Lewis, assistant professor of geology; and former NDSU students Kelly Gorz and Andrew Podoll as the researchers studied fossilized vegetation in ancient lakebeds.

"Her intent from the beginning was to make a movie about the people conducting the research – what would cause scientists to work under such severe conditions," Ashworth said. "She had in her mind that we were attracted to Antarctica because of the romance of adventure. We found it difficult to convince her that the lure was less romantic: it was to do with providing answers to scientific questions.

"Science is all about discovery and what Anne was able to capture in 'Ice People' is the thrill of discovery," Ashworth said, noting the film includes the research team finding a fossil leaf.

"Making the film was an enjoyable experience, start to finish,” Lewis said of the project with Aghion and her video crew. “During the filming, it was interesting to see how Anne's take on geology and a natural, physical science was pretty different from ours. She looked at it artistically and wanted to know about our connection with the Antarctic landscape; she had a romantic take on it. But, we kept telling her we were trying to answer a question.”

Lewis said Aghion’s film helps put research into terms the public can easily understand. “Anne's film is beautiful and I love the music she had composed for it, but the real value for me is that anyone who's interested can see science being done,” he said. “It's an exceptionally beautiful piece of work that will introduce people to the every-day job of science as well as our wider motivations.”

NDSU is recognized as one of the top 108 public and private universities by the Carnegie Commission on Higher Education.

NDSU Doctoral Student's Paper Among Journal's Most Viewed l 8/29/2014

August 29, 2014, Fargo, N.D. –– NDSU plant sciences doctoral candidate Samira Mafi Moghaddam wrote a paper that is one of the most viewed research papers in the journal Frontiers in Plant Science.

The paper is titled “Developing Market Class Specific InDel Markers from Next Generation Sequence Data in Phaseolus vulgaris L.” The paper was a result of research conducted by Mafi Moghaddam in collaboration with a national team of researchers as part of the USDA Common Bean Coordinated Agricultural Project.

Phil McClean, director of the genomics and bioinformatics program and professor in dry bean genetics in the NDSU Department of Plant Sciences, is Mafi Moghaddam's graduate program adviser.

Next-generation sequence data provides valuable information and tools for genetic and genomic research and offers insights that can be applied to marker development. Through the group’s research, a new collection of approximately 3,000 insertion-deletion, known as InDel, markers were developed by mining a large set of sequence data for 14 varieties of common bean. This genome-wide set of markers are inexpensive and of great use for international breeding programs with limited budgets.

Collaborative researchers and contributing authors on the paper included Sujan Mamidi, Rian Lee and Juan Osorno, NDSU Department of Plant Sciences; Qijian Song and Perry Cregan, Soybean Genomics and Improvement Laboratory, USDA-ARS, Beltsville, Maryland; and Jeremy Schmutz, HudsonAlpha Institute, Huntsville, Alabama.

Because of the high viewership of the article, the paper was featured in the “Frontiers Top 10 Most Viewed Plant Science Research Articles” blog post. The paper can be viewed at

NDSU is recognized as one of the nation's top 108 public and private universities by the Carnegie Commission on Higher Education.

"Phone Home" Not First Option for Today's College Students l 8/12/2014

August 12, 2014, Fargo, N.D. –– Parental advice once given to college-bound students that they should “Phone home” may not be followed by today’s busy students. Their fundamental communication question today: Do I call or text? New communication research at North Dakota State University, Fargo, investigates how college students decide which method to use when contacting their parents.

Results of the research indicate that the decision is often determined by time, schedule, and how students perceive the needs of those with whom they communicate.

Carrie Anne Platt, NDSU associate professor of communication, and doctoral students Renee Bourdeaux and Nancy DiTunnariello published their findings in Studies in Media and Communication by Emerald Publishing Group, Fall 2014 edition. The article is titled “Should I Text or Should I Call?: How College Students Navigate Mediated Connections with Family.”

“Students prefer to text. They found it easier and more convenient, particularly with their busy schedules,” explained Platt, who teaches courses in new media and technology. “They wouldn’t have time to sit down for a conversation, but they could shoot a text off to mom to check in. They could still feel a connection without having to devote the time a phone call would require.”

Results of the study showed some recurring themes. Most students said they are in almost daily contact with their parents and they manage that while juggling schedules that often include classes, internships and part-time jobs.

The students also worried about interrupting their parents, because they, too, have busy schedules.

According to Platt, efficiency is the determining factor when it comes to technology choice. Text messages are generally seen as the most efficient way to communicate, but if the topic of conversation was too complicated to be handled in a series of texts, students would make a short phone call to save time.

The researchers also found there were specific situations where the students felt a phone call is necessary.

“If something was of high emotional importance or they wanted support from mom or dad, that was the situation where they tended to call,” Platt said. “We had a lot of the students say there is something about hearing mom’s voice or getting to talk to dad that makes them feel better, and they didn’t get that same feeling texting back and forth.”
Platt said the research ultimately showed students want to stay connected with their parents.

“Many students wished they had the opportunity to talk more often with their parents. They felt they get a lot out of the interaction, but they didn’t have the time to do it,” Platt said. “When asked what advice they had for new students, they said incoming students should make time for phone calls, because they are important to maintain that connection.”

Study methodology included in-depth interviews with 22 students who were asked about their communication habits, frequency of communication, and which technologies they used, including calling, texting, emailing or using social media like Facebook or Instagram.

Platt says in future research it would be interesting to look at the parents’ perspective, communication with siblings, and how the type of communication affects the quality of student-parent relationships.

Platt earned her bachelor’s degree from Carroll College, Helena, Montana; her master’s degree from Wake Forest University, Winston-Salem, North Carolina; and her doctorate degree from the University of Southern California, Los Angeles. Her research focuses on the impact of emerging technologies on public and private life, rhetorical aspects of technology, and digital media in classroom practices and communication pedagogy.

About NDSU

NDSU, Fargo, North Dakota, USA, is notably listed among the top 108 U.S. public and private universities in the Carnegie Commission on Higher Education’s category of “Research Universities/Very High Research Activity.” As a student-focused, land grant, research institution, NDSU is listed in the top 100 research universities in the U.S. for R&D in agricultural sciences, chemistry, physical sciences, psychology, and social sciences, based on research expenditures reported to the National Science Foundation. NDSU is part of the 11-campus North Dakota unified system of higher education governed by the State Board of Higher Education, with its mission to enhance the quality of life for all those served by the NDUS, as well as the economic and social vitality of North Dakota.

National Science Foundation Awards $20 Million to North Dakota EPSCoR Program l 8/4/2014

August 4, 2014, Fargo, N.D. –– A new multi-million-dollar grant in North Dakota over the next five years is slated to:

  • Build research infrastructure and strengthen North Dakota’s research competitiveness
  • Provide research and STEM education opportunities for students across the state, including Tribal Colleges
  • Enhance additional research collaboration between universities
  • Use agricultural raw materials to develop sustainable materials
  • Engage regional climate studies to help predict hydrology and impact on agriculture, and
  • Enhance scientific computing and other infrastructure

The National Science Foundation (NSF) has awarded a new competitive research infrastructure improvement grant award totaling $20 million to the North Dakota Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (ND EPSCoR). The grant covers a variety of integrated research and education infrastructure programs across the state over the next five years.

The NSF grant will help develop two new research platforms. The award will:

  • Fund a new Center for Regional Climate Studies
  • Fund a new Center for Sustainable Materials Science
  • Expand programs with the Tribal Colleges located in North Dakota, including the Nurturing American Tribal Undergraduate Research and Education (NATURE) program. The program strengthens pathways for American Indian students to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering and math
  • Enhance the state’s competitiveness through workforce development initiatives by integrating research, education and human resources. Included are seed awards, NATURE programs, and research opportunities for undergraduates, graduate students and mentoring programs
  • Build scientific computing and other research infrastructure in regional climate studies and sustainable materials science
  • Provide mechanisms to broaden participation from Tribal Colleges, and from primarily undergraduate institutions across the state in the research programs
  • Build further collaboration with faculty from North Dakota institutions participating in the new research centers

About the Research Centers 

Center for Sustainable Materials Science (CSMS) – This program’s objective is to provide a transformative approach to develop sustainable materials derived from agricultural raw materials. The Center will be led by NDSU. It includes the NDSU departments of Chemistry and Biochemistry, Coatings and Polymeric Materials, Mechanical Engineering, and the Center for Nanoscale Science and Engineering, as well as the UND Department of Chemistry.

Center for Regional Climate Studies (CRCS)– This program’s objective is to develop and apply integrated methods to assess and predict climate change impacts on regional hydrology and agricultural production. The Center will be led by UND. It includes the UND departments of Atmospheric Science, Chemical Engineering, Counseling Psychology and Community Services, and Earth System Science and Policy. NDSU departments participating in the Center include: Agribusiness and Applied Economics, Civil Engineering, and Computer Science.

“We are very pleased to hear about this $20 million investment by the federal government in higher education in the state, said NDUS Chancellor Larry Skogen. “We believe it demonstrates sound support for the collaborative work that we are doing in research and STEM education and also indicates confidence in the strength of our system.”

“Collaborative research assists in solving challenges and making discoveries that can ultimately impact individual citizens and the state,” said Kelly A. Rusch, ND EPSCoR co-chair and NDSU vice president for research and creative activity. “Researchers from many disciplines working together are key to problem-solving. This funding also provides many opportunities for undergraduates, graduate students, and students from Tribal Colleges located in the state to participate in science and research.”

“This is excellent news for research and affiliated institutions in the state, as well as our colleagues in North Dakota’s Tribal Colleges. The EPSCoR funding represents a great step forward in our collective efforts to provide research opportunities to students, particularly in science and math fields,” said Peter Johnson, UND executive associate vice president for university relations.

North Dakota EPSCoR was established in 1986 as a North Dakota University System program to strengthen the state’s science and technology infrastructure and enhance its participation in the nation’s competitive research and development enterprise. North Dakota EPSCoR programs are open to all NDUS faculty and students. ND EPSCoR has over the life of the program:  contributed to the recruitment of more than 200 new faculty researchers to the state; supported more than 2,000 graduate and undergraduate students; produced 2,350 publications; invested in more than 460 new pieces of research equipment; generated more than 30 patents and licenses; enhanced  science and technology opportunities for 98 companies and more than 100 students through the STTAR (Students in Technology Transfer and Research) program; and contributed to establishment of new high-technology businesses. Over the life of ND EPSCoR from 1986 to 2013, the state’s investment of $46.61M in ND EPSCoR has resulted in more than $351M in merit-based extramural grants, providing a 7.54:1 return on investment.


  • The programs funded by the award are included under the entire program called INSPIRE-ND, which stands for Innovation and Strategic Program Initiatives for Research and Education.

  • INSPIRE-ND is designed to contribute to North Dakota’s traditional economic driver of agriculture, while developing science infrastructure for new high technology and market sectors, and build and diversity the state’s science and technology workforce for advanced manufacturing, energy and technology-based business in the state.

  • The grant assists ND EPSCoR to initiate a workforce development and education program called EMPOWERED-ND, with a goal to produce highly-qualified graduates needed for technological innovation.

  • Activities of the program later in the five-year period are to include a partnership with 4-H to develop a 4H National Youth Science day that offers STEM enrichment at selected schools, as well as multi-day summer STEM camps, presentations about STEM research and technology, funding of graduate research assistantships, doctoral dissertation assistantships and other activities.

  • The grant will enable NATURE Sunday Academies and Summer Camps to build pathways into science, technology, engineering and math for Native American students.

  • A new program called NATURE+ will partner with Tribal Colleges in North Dakota to enroll students at the state’s largest research universities in programs leading to graduate degrees.

  • Funding will provide annual Research Experience for Undergraduates and research mentorships.

  • Two competitive assistantship programs will be created for graduate assistantships each year and doctoral dissertation assistantships each year.

  • The award will fund competitions for seed grants for early- or mid-career faculty. Priority will be given to seed grant proposals to bring new technologies and materials on line in the next five years.

  • Funding will be provided to create NASSE, Native American Success in Science and Engineering, which will provide enhanced academic support to Native American students in the physical sciences and engineering. The goal is to increase retention and graduation rates of Native American STEM students.

  • The grant award includes programs for expanded efforts to increase participation in STEM disciplines through the Women in Science and Engineering (WISE) program in the form of research challenge grants to female faculty post third-year review, supplemental competitive funding for upgraded labs and equipment, a mentoring program, and graduate and post-doctoral researchers.
NDSU Research Program Seeks Solutions for Dust Impacts in Bakken l 7/28/2014

July 28, 2014 – Fargo, N.D. – Clouds of dust carried by prairie winds can impact everything from soil to crops, animals, humans, and the environment. A team at North Dakota State University, Fargo, is combing through proposals from NDSU researchers to help develop solutions focused on road dust issues stemming from oil and gas development in the Bakken region in western North Dakota. NDSU President Dean L. Bresciani has made available $350,000 in potential research funding for NDSU researchers.

"Economic successes of the area have led to increased traffic and associated road dust that have created impacts that are not yet fully known. The research funded under NDSU's Road Dust Program will help quantify and qualify impacts and create solutions to help alleviate dust issues," said Bresciani. "As a land-grant institution, we strive to engage in activities such as this one to benefit the state and its citizens. Such research programs also present opportunities for students who can see the impact that they can make by being involved in research, using their skills in real world applications that can ultimately benefit communities."

NDSU faculty had until July 21 to apply for the program which offers research seed funds. Under criteria, the proposed research must:  quantify and/or qualify road dust emissions; evaluate agricultural health impacts (crops, livestock, and rangeland) from road dust; evaluate ecological impacts from road dust; and develop techniques or technologies to control road dust emissions.

North Dakota oil production surpassed more than one million barrels per day in June 2014, making the state's oil production second only to Texas. There are more than 10,600 wells in production in North Dakota with the potential for thousands of additional wells to be developed. Oil produced in North Dakota represents more than 12 percent of all oil produced in the U.S. Increased truck traffic from energy development activity and accompanying economic growth can result in higher road dust emissions. NDSU's road dust research program serves to augment the excellent work conducted by other entities, providing additional information and potential solutions.

"Research can measure the amount of dust emitted from road traffic, quantify the types of road dust emitted, evaluate the impacts dust has on agriculture, humans, and the ecosystem, and develop strategies that help mitigate road dust emissions," said Kelly A. Rusch, vice president for research and creative activity at NDSU. The research projects ultimately selected must be completed in no more than two years. "The goal is to provide quantifiable information and most importantly, provide the information to citizens, state and community leaders who can use such data for strategic planning and dust remediation," said Rusch.

NDSU's Office of Research and Creative Activity is assembling a panel of external and internal members to review the proposals for potential research funding. It is anticipated that the review process will be completed by late August, with awards beginning approximately September 1, 2014.

Initial applications for funding represent research spread across many disciplines at NDSU, including: soil science, animal science, natural resource management, engineering, transportation, pharmaceutical science, geosciences, computer science, plant science, sociology, and others. Upon final selection, grants to be awarded will range from up to $15,000 for individual research projects and up to $60,000 for multidisciplinary teams of researchers.

Prior to the road dust research program, NDSU faculty and student researchers have been engaged in providing data and information to assist community leaders in western North Dakota and others affected by the state's burgeoning energy sector. Researchers at NDSU have evaluated workforce characteristics in the Bakken, assisted cities with population projections to plan for the future, and compiled data on jobs and investment. Faculty also conduct research to assist law enforcement and community leaders as they work to match enforcement needs to population changes in western North Dakota.

Other NDSU scientists analyze North Dakota clay samples to determine composition and suitability for processes used in oil extraction. Additional scientists offer expertise in sensors that can monitor equipment and provide expertise in corrosion that can lead to pipeline degradation. NDSU representatives, including the Extension Service, are among those participating to find answers to challenges of an economic boom. NDSU faculty researchers in natural resources are evaluating native grassland reclamation methods to reestablish native vegetation and restore landscape in partnership with a pipeline company. Additional NDSU researchers will be studying groundwater in the Bakken region.

"Land grant universities and our research partners can play integral roles in solving 21st century challenges in the state we serve," said Bresciani.

About NDSU

NDSU, Fargo, North Dakota, USA, is notably listed among the top 108 U.S. public and private universities in the Carnegie Commission on Higher Education's category of "Research Universities/Very High Research Activity." As a student-focused, land grant, research institution, NDSU is listed in the top 100 research universities in the U.S. for R&D in agricultural sciences, chemistry, physical sciences, psychology, and social sciences, based on research expenditures reported to the National Science Foundation. NDSU is part of the 11-campus North Dakota unified system of higher education governed by the State Board of Higher Education, with its mission to enhance the quality of life for all those served by the NDUS, as well as the economic and social vitality of North Dakota.

Governor's School Offers College Experience to North Dakota Youth l 7/25/2014

July 25, 2014 – Fargo, N.D. – Three North Dakota high school students scored with a summer project that tastes good and also teaches them engineering principles. They spent six weeks perfecting sugar cookies produced with a 3D printer at North Dakota State University.

Matthew Dawson, Kody Coles and Reed Erickson are in the engineering track for North Dakota Governor’s School, a state-sponsored and funded program hosted at NDSU each summer since 1990. For a month and a half each summer, North Dakota high school sophomores and juniors live at NDSU and study laboratory science, mathematics, information technology, English studies and visual arts or theatre. Agriculture, architecture and engineering joined the curriculum last year.

Dawson, Coles and Erickson were selected to work with Bashir Khoda, assistant professor of industrial and manufacturing engineering, at NDSU to create the cookies.

It’s a Thursday afternoon five weeks into Governor’s School. Dawson, Coles and Erickson surround a 3D printer. An engineering lab brimming with printers, scanners and a hodgepodge of electrical components is warm due to a malfunctioning air conditioner. However, the students remain cool and focused. They’ve been here since 10 a.m.
“What’s the detail look like?” said Coles, a junior from Horace, North Dakota. He refers to the crisp outline of an incandescent light bulb taking shape in sugar cookie dough.

“It’s better than the last one,” said Dawson, a junior from Casselton, North Dakota.

The cookie looks like the Governor’s School light bulb logo, down to the threads.

Compressed air pushes dough from a black vertical cylinder that looks like a cardboard paper towel tube. The nozzle pointing down from the cylinder is half as thick as a No. 2 pencil. The dough oozes out in a small, uninterrupted line onto a shiny metal hot plate the size and shape of an iPad. The plate moves according to signals the students programmed into a computer.

Earlier in the month, Khoda and two graduate students advised the Governor’s School students as they designed the shape of their cookies in computer-aided design software. They inputted their plot points into the 3D printer. They also fabricated the brackets that hold the cylinder, which is immobilized as the hot plate moves back and forth.

The students watch their creations take shape. The light bulb is formed in 18 minutes with two crisscrossed layers of dough. The scent of baked sugar, butter and vanilla wafts through the engineering lab. The smell and the dirty mixing bowl and spatula seem out of place among the electrical components and other examples of 3D printing – a replica of a human hip joint and the body of a four-rotor drone.

Yet the students are learning the concepts of additive manufacturing, a burgeoning field used to create projects ranging from human tissue and bone to complex rocket engines to the student’s cookies.

“The underlying principle is the same,” Khoda said.

The student’s work has out-of-this-world applications. NASA is studying the feasibility of 3D printing dietary-specific meals for its astronauts in space.

The students also get a taste of the challenges the experts face. The hot plate, a recent addition, isn’t hot enough to fully bake the cookie. More fine-tuning is required. The nozzle needs resizing to keep the dough from clumping. The air pressure is lowered to prevent the dough from becoming an unrecognizable blob. The students spend the rest of the week perfecting their cookies before presenting their work to NDSU faculty and other Governor’s School students.

Other students follow a similar routine based on their academic track. Governor’s School students attend life and leadership classes and also visit local companies. NDSU has hosted North Dakota Governor’s School for 24 years. The annual six-week event gives high-achieving high school students a taste of college academics and the opportunity to work with experts, including NDSU faculty members, in a discipline that interests them.

For more information about Governor’s School, visit

NDSU Grad Student Publishes Groundbreaking Research on Trumpet History l 7/25/2014

July 25, 2014 – Fargo, N.D.
– Clayton Miranda takes a deep breath and gently fingers the valves of his treasured trumpet. The notes of a samba selection begin to flow, and he feels a deep connection with generations of Brazilian musicians who came before him.

The trumpet is an essential element of Brazilian music, intertwined with the history of Miranda’s homeland for centuries. It’s a story he is now sharing with the world.

Miranda is an NDSU doctoral student in trumpet performance who published a groundbreaking paper, titled “The Inception of Trumpet Performance in Brazil: An Historical Account,” in the June issue of the International Trumpet Guild Journal. The seven-page article, based on Miranda’s 14 years of research, reveals important historical material not previously published.

Miranda started playing trumpet when he was 11 years old, performing in a town band in Juiz de Fora, a small community an hour’s drive north of Rio de Janeiro. He joined a local orchestra at 15. His love for the instrument is obvious and emphatic.

“Trumpet has the potential to do what a human voice does; but it can be with more expression, either loud or soft,” explained Miranda, who is the brass and woodwind director at the Festival Internacional de Música Colonial Brasileira e Musica Antiga in Brazil.

When Miranda was a teenager, he became curious about how the trumpet came to be a strong focal point in Brazilian music. But, when he looked for information about a composition, he discovered practically nothing had been published about his instrument in his home country. And very little had been penned about the history of Brazilian music itself.
Searching for that history became his academic mission.  

He studied, collected and preserved every reference, story and recollection he could find as an undergraduate student at the Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais, master’s student at the University of North Dakota and now as a doctoral student at NDSU.

In total, he has amassed material from more than 6,000 manuscripts that trace Brazilian music back more than 400 years.

According to Miranda’s research, the trumpet first appears in Brazil during the early 1500s, shortly after the arrival of Pedro Cabral, the Portuguese nobleman, military commander and explorer who is regarded as the first European to discover Brazil. Early journal references and depictions suggest Franciscan friars traveled in one of Cabral’s caravels and used the instruments during Catholic rites.

“The friars’ job was to spread the Catholic Church throughout America, and Brazil was pretty much a jungle,” Miranda said. “With this instrument, if they are far away, you can collect people. The trumpet has the power to make people pay attention.”

Compositions for the instrument blended European classical and Baroque music with the rhythm of the indigenous people. Additional musical nuances came to the fore as slave laborers arrived from Africa. Trumpet took a prominent position in the music of the country. Composers increasingly used folk songs and merged them with the unique sound of Brazilian popular music. We now know the music as samba and chôro.

“Clayton is a driven student who is very passionate about his Brazilian roots,” said Jeremy Brekke, associate professor of music and Miranda’s adviser, noting the research is important both for Miranda’s homeland and trumpeters around the world.

NDSU Graduate Receives Prestigious Fulbright Teaching Assistantship l 7/25/2014

July 25, 2014 – Fargo, N.D. – May 2014 graduate Katherine Thoreson will soon use her talents to teach European students how to confidently converse in English. The NDSU honors student recently was named among three NDSU recipients of prestigious Fulbright English Teaching Assistantships.

As a teaching assistant, she will spend an academic year in Belgium, teaching conversational English at the Université Libre de Bruxelles, a French-language institution in Brussels. She’ll instruct students in the use of common, often-used English verbs, adjectives and phrases, which will help the learners improve their conversational skills when meeting people or building friendships.

The Fulbright program is considered the flagship international educational exchange program sponsored by the U.S. government. Recent college graduates and young professionals are placed as English teaching assistants in primary and secondary schools or universities in countries around the globe. The recipients are selected on the basis of academic or professional achievement, as well as demonstrated leadership potential in their fields.

Thoreson, who graduated May 17 with majors in English and philosophy, begins her work in earnest in September, but she plans to travel to Belgium in August to have time to explore different regions of Europe and acclimate herself to her new surroundings.

“It’s going to be exciting living in a different place for nine months and getting used to the culture there,” said Thoreson, who grew up on a farm near Buxton, North Dakota, and went to May-Port CG High School. “I’ve lived in North Dakota my entire life, so I’m excited to go a different country and see how things are done there. It should be a rewarding experience.”

Thoreson completed three years of university-level instruction in French, the primary language used at her host school, and studied French literature. She also was an active participant in the NDSU English club’s Conversational English Circle since arriving as a freshman. The group allows students to conduct cross-cultural conversations with others from a variety of nations and upbringings.

“The NDSU College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences and the humanities experience I got there have prepared me really well for the kind of work I’ll do in Belgium,” she said.

Thoreson is among three NDSU recipients of Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship Scholarships. That number is the most the university has ever been awarded during one cycle. She joins senior Emily Grenz, who will be an instructor in Turkey, and recent NDSU alumna Annie Erling Gofus, who will work in the Slovak Republic.

Graduate Student Receives National Science Foundation Fellowship l 7/25/2014

July 25, 2014 – Fargo, N.D. – Clarity and comprehension – those are the goals of NDSU doctoral student Jessie Arneson in her work to improve science education.

According to Arneson, many incoming graduate students cannot fully understand the scientific images and intricate graphs they see in research publications. So, she’s developing training methods to give students necessary cognitive skills.

Arneson, who is researching biochemistry and Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics education, known as STEM, recently was awarded a Graduate Research Fellowship by the National Science Foundation to follow through on her work.

NSF funded 2,000 fellowships out of more than 14,000 applicants. Arneson received three years of funding totaling about $135,000 to cover tuition and a stipend.

“A big part of science is communicated through visualization – maps, computer models or pictures showing results of experiments,” Arneson explained. “However, we identified that students going on to graduate school often can’t interpret professional images in the literature, so they struggle with that. We looked back through the undergraduate curriculum to see where the problem was. Sure enough, the primary textbooks that are used don’t include the scaffolding of skills they need.”

Arneson is developing a series of tasks students should be able to complete, based on data gleaned from a graph, photo or computer model. As the students go through the checklist of items, they’ll learn by doing. The goal is to incorporate the training in a biochemistry class, with the hope to eventually include it in other disciplines.

“We want to develop tasks students can use at every level of practice,” Arneson said. “Can you interpret the message? Can you build one? Can you use this to make an argument or pose a hypothesis?”

This is the kind of work the National Science Foundation's Graduate Research Fellowship Program likes to see. Designed to help ensure the vitality of science and engineering in the United States, the program supports outstanding graduate students in STEM disciplines who are pursuing research-based master's and doctoral degrees at American institutions.

“Jessie is a unique student in that she can work fluidly across disciplines, a critical skill for the interdisciplinary nature of discipline-based education research,” said Erika Offerdahl, assistant professor of chemistry and biochemistry and Arneson’s academic adviser. “The impact of Jessie’s research is likely to be far-reaching. Her project is in direct response to national calls to transform undergraduate education to better reflect the practice and process of science.”

Arneson, a native of Jamestown, N.D., earned her bachelor’s degree in microbiology and biotechnology from NDSU in December 2012, and then enrolled in the NDSU Graduate School to seek her doctorate and eventually teach biochemistry or microbiology at the collegiate level.

“The biggest drive for me in this research is to try to improve education in science – to provide more training for future scientists and improve the scientific literacy of the general population,” Arneson said.

The award number for Arneson’s fellowship is DGE-1010619. More information about the National Science Foundation's Graduate Research Fellowship Program is available at

Unmanned Aircraft Systems Tour Featured at Carrington Field Day l 7/25/2014

July 25, 2014 – Fargo, N.D.
– Unmanned aircraft systems for agriculture were the focus of an afternoon tour during the NDSU Carrington Research Extension Center's annual field tours on Tuesday, July 15.

The unmanned aircraft systems tour presented information on NDSU's Unmanned Aircraft Systems Applications to Agriculture Project that is being conducted as part of the Northern Plains Unmanned Aircraft Systems Test Site. This is one of six sites nationwide that will conduct research to assist the Federal Aviation Administration in developing regulatory standards to foster integration of unmanned aircraft systems into the National Airspace System.

John Nowatzki, Extension Service agricultural machine systems specialist with NDSU's Department of Agriculture and Biosystems Engineering, provided information about the Unmanned Aircraft Systems Applications to Agriculture Project. The project's objective is to verify the effectiveness of unmanned aircraft systems-mounted sensors in assessing field crop and livestock production issues while crews from the test site gather flight data in support of aeronautical research for National Airspace System integration efforts.

Nowatzki also provided information regarding the aircraft being used in the project and their image-sensing capabilities. Al Palmer, director of the University of North Dakota's Center for Unmanned Aircraft Systems Research, Education and Training, discussed UND's program for supporting commercialization of unmanned aircraft systems ventures.

Research flights were conducted by a flight crew from the Northern Plains Unmanned Aircraft Systems Test Site and the UND John D. Odegard School of Aerospace Sciences.

NDSU is recognized as one of the nation's top 108 public and private universities by the Carnegie Commission on Higher Education.

NDSU to Host Science Boot Camp for Educators l 7/25/2014

July 25, 2014 – Fargo, N.D.
– Science teacher, author, toy designer and Emmy Award-winning television personality Steve Spangler is scheduled to lead a hands-on science boot camp in Fargo on Aug. 14 for teachers, Extension Service staff and other educators.

The program is set for 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. in the NDSU Memorial Union Great Plains room. The NDSU Center for 4-H Youth Development is hosting the event.

Spangler turns ordinary science experiments into unforgettable learning experiences. His famous Mentos Geyser Experiment became an Internet sensation in 2005 and spawned more than 1,000 related exploding-soda videos.
Registration fee for the boot camp is $65, which includes a $40 take-home kit filled with science materials and an activity guide. The registration deadline is July 22.

Participants can receive one 600-level professional development credit from NDSU Distance and Continuing Education, with a cost of an additional $60 to be paid the day of the event, or 1.5 continuing education credits, with a cost of an additional $10 to be paid at the camp.

For more information, contact Linda Hauge, NDSU Extension youth development specialist, at 701-231-7964 or or visit Go to to register.

NDSU is recognized as one of the nation's top 108 public and private universities by the Carnegie Commission on Higher Education.

NDSU Evaluating Unmanned Aircraft System Technology l 6/24/2014

June 24, 2014 – Fargo, N.D. – NDSU researchers are taking to the air to monitor crop and livestock research projects on the ground. Several researchers on campus are working with colleagues at NDSU's Carrington Research Extension Center to evaluate whether unmanned aircraft systems, known as UAS, can be effective management tools in crop and livestock production.

"There is currently much interest in using UAS in agriculture," says John Nowatzki, the NDSU Extension Service's agricultural machine systems specialist and the lead investigator on this project. "However, there is little research to show that UAS can be used effectively or economically for crop or livestock management."

Researchers are using unmanned aircraft system-mounted thermal, infrared sensors and cameras that capture image data at specific frequencies to collect data from fields and livestock at specified times.The researchers plan to identify plant emergence and populations in corn, soybeans and sunflowers, and nitrogen deficiencies in corn and wheat. They also are hoping the unmanned aircraft systems can help them make early plant health assessments, and spot disease and insect damage symptoms, weed infestations and indications of moisture stress on irrigated crops.  
In addition, they plan to use the unmanned aircraft systems to determine the impacts of tillage and crop rotations on crop emergence, vigor and yield, and the impacts of soil salinity on crop yields, as well as monitor the dry-down times of individual corn hybrids to determine when to harvest the crops.

Crop production researchers have identified at least 40 research trials at the Carrington center they want included in the unmanned aircraft systems project, according to Blaine Schatz, the center's director. For example, researchers plan to monitor the breeding activity of the center's beef cattle, count the cattle in pastures to make sure they are where they are supposed to be, detect animals that are ill so they can be isolated from the rest of the herd and treated as quickly as possible, and identify animals that are aggressive toward other livestock or humans so they can be removed from herds.

Researchers also intend to monitor animal temperatures and determine the feedlot surface temperatures of various bedding materials to mitigate stress from extreme weather conditions. The University of North Dakota's Center for Unmanned Aircraft Systems Research, Education and Training is collaborating on this research by flying the unmanned aircraft systems at the Carrington center. In addition to finding out whether unmanned aircraft systems are effective in monitoring crop and livestock production, the researchers plan to develop methods to convert the image data to information that's useful to producers and crop consultants, and help producers identify how they can make use of unmanned aircraft systems on their operations.

NDSU is recognized as one of the nation's top 108 public and private research universities by the Carnegie Commission on Higher Education.

NDSU Research Leads to Better Bean-Breeding Strategies l 6/24/2014

June 24, 2014 – Fargo, N.D. – Two NDSU scientists are members of a national research team that successfully completed the sequence of the common bean genome. North Dakota is the leading producer of dry beans in the U.S. NDSU team members are Phil McClean, plant genomicist, and Juan Osorno, dry edible bean breeder. Both scientists are faculty members of the NDSU plant sciences department.

McClean guided the data analysis that determined that the domestication of the common bean in Mexico and the Andean region of South America involved almost completely different sets of genes. Osorno organized a national field trial that identified regions of the genome associated with seed size and other traits of economic importance.

The sequence revealed that disease resistance genes are highly clustered in the genome. This knowledge will lead to better breeding strategies to combat the many diseases that challenge the bean crop. McClean and Osorno are cooperating locally, nationally and internationally with other bean breeders and geneticists to develop the next generation of molecular markers that will be another important tool to aid bean breeding worldwide.

The project was supported by the U.S. Department of Energy and U.S.  Department of Agriculture. The common bean research was published in "Nature Genetics" journal.  McClean was a co-lead author of the article.

NDSU is recognized as one of the nation's top 108 public and private research universities by the Carnegie Commission on Higher Education.

Researchers Apply for Provisional Patent for Antenna Concept l 6/24/2014

June 24, 2014 – Fargo, N.D. – NDSU and the University of North Dakota have filed a provisional patent application for technology that integrates antennas into the body or other large components of manned and unmanned aircraft systems, often called UAS.

The whole-body antenna would reduce the aircraft’s weight and also reduce the drag associated with traditional antennas. That’s important, particularly with the relatively small UAS, because the concept will allow for greater range, longer endurance and enhanced reliability. The antenna system also will enhance the ability to collect and transmit data from stationary antennas or electronics. In one configuration, rotating or moving sections of the vehicle such as propellers, wheel rims, ailerons, elevators or rudders would allow for the physical movement of antenna beam patterns to improve communications and reliability.

Collaborators on the project are Michael Corcoran, UAS course manager with the John D. Odegard School of Aerospace Sciences at UND, and Raj Bridgelall, program director for the Upper Great Plains Transportation Institute’s Center for Surface Mobility Applications and Real-time Simulation environments at NDSU.

A provisional patent application with the U.S. Patent and Trademark office signals the intent of NDSU and UND to patent the technology and establishes a date for locking in any potential patent rights and benefits.

This is the second provisional patent application filed jointly by the two universities in the past year. Earlier, researchers filed a provisional patent application for a concept in which aircraft bodies serve as capacitors for storing electrical charges. The capacitors could be assembled in such a way that they increase the structural strength of the aircraft while increasing efficiency and stored power available for flight time or other functions.

NDSU is recognized as one of the nation's top 108 public and private research universities by the Carnegie Commission on Higher Education.

Summer Research Program at NDSU Attracts Top Students l 6/24/2014

June 24, 2014 – Fargo, N.D. – Outstanding students from across the country are now participating in the NDSU Summer STEM program, organized by NDSU’s Office of Multicultural Programs in the Division of Equity, Diversity and Global Outreach with support from the Office of the Provost.

Stephanie Dunton, a biology major from Virginia State University, Petersburg, is among 12 students taking part in this year’s program. “I am really enjoying it. Everything is the maximum, the top of the line for me,” said Dunton, who is conducting research on plant phenolics with postdoctoral research fellow Dipayan Sarkar and Kalidas Shetty, associate vice president for international partnerships and collaborations and professor of plant metabolism and food security in the Department of Plant Sciences.

Planning a career in health care, Dunton is using NDSU facilities to study plant chemical compounds at the molecular level. She’s looking at plant phenolics from fruits and vegetables, looking for ways to improve disease prevention and better manage illnesses.

The STEM program gives underrepresented ethnic minority students majoring in science, technology, engineering and mathematics fields the opportunity to engage in research and also encourage them to apply for graduate school. The hope is that a significant number of these students will choose continuing their education at NDSU.

This year, students are working in a variety of academic areas, including pharmacy, mathematics, computer engineering and cereal and food science. They have traveled to NDSU from Prairie View A&M University, Virginia State University, Delaware State University and Mississippi Valley State University. Now in its seventh year, the program began May 20 and continues until July 15, when the students are scheduled to give oral and poster presentations on their research.

NDSU is recognized as one of the nation's top 108 public and private research universities by the Carnegie Commission on Higher Education.

Real or Fake? Research Shows Brain Uses Multiple Clues for Facial Recognition l 6/10/2014

June 10, 2014 – Fargo, N.D. – Faces fascinate. Babies love them. We look for familiar or friendly ones in a crowd. And video game developers and movie animators strive to create faces that look real rather than fake. Determining how our brains decide what makes a face "human" and not artificial is a question Dr. Benjamin Balas of North Dakota State University, Fargo, studies in his lab. New research by Balas and NDSU graduate Christopher Tonsager, published online in the London-based journal Perception, shows that it takes more than eyes to make a face look human.

Researchers study the brain to learn how its specialized circuits process information in seconds to distinguish whether faces are real or fake. Balas and Tonsager note that people interact with artificial faces and characters in video games, watch them in movies, and see artificial faces used more widely as social agents in other settings. "Whether or not a face looks real determines a lot of things," said Balas, assistant professor of psychology. "Can it have emotions? Can it have plans and ideas? We wanted to know what information you use to decide if a face is real or artificial, since that first step determines a number of judgments that follow."

Results of the study show that people combine information across many parts of the face to make decisions about how "alive" it is, and that the appearances of these regions interact with each other. Previous research suggests that eyes are especially important for facial recognition. The NDSU study found, however, that when you're deciding if a face is real or artificial, the eyes and the skin both matter to about the same degree.

Balas and Tonsager, as an undergraduate researcher in psychology, recruited 45 study participants who were evaluated while viewing altered facial images. Tonsager cropped images of real faces so only the face and neck showed, without any hair. A program known as FaceGen Modeller was used to transform the images into 3D computer-generated models of faces. Photos were then computer manipulated into negative images. In two experiments, transformations to real and artificial faces were used to determine if contrast negation affected the ability to determine if a face was real or artificial, and whether the eyes make a disproportionate contribution to animacy discrimination relative to the rest of the face.

"We assumed that the eyes were the key in distinguishing real vs. computer generated, but to our surprise, the results were not significant enough for us to conclude this," said Tonsager. "However, we did find that when the skin tone is negated, it was more difficult for our participants to determine if it was a real or artificial face. The research leads us to conclude that the entire 'eye region' might play a substantial role in the distinction between real or artificial."

"Beyond telling us more about the distinction your brain makes between a face and a non-face, our results are also relevant to anybody who wants to develop life-like computer graphics," explained Balas. "Developing artificial faces that look real is a growing industry, and we know that artificial faces that aren't quite right can look downright creepy. Our work, both in the current paper and ongoing studies in the lab, has the potential to inform how designers create new and better artificial faces for a range of applications."

Balas and Tonsager also presented their research findings at the Vision Sciences Society 13th Annual Meeting, May 16-21 in St. Peterburg, Florida.

The research study of Balas and Tonsager was funded by North Dakota Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research NSF #EPS-0814442 and Center of Biomedical Research Excellence Grant GM103505 from the National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS), a component of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Study contents are the sole responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of the NIGMS or the NIH.

About NDSU
NDSU, Fargo, North Dakota, is notably listed among the top 108 U.S. public and private universities in the Carnegie Commission on Higher Education's category of "Research Universities/Very High Research Activity." As a student focused, land grant, research institution, NDSU is listed in the top 100 research universities in the U.S. for R&D in chemistry, psychology, physical sciences, social sciences and agricultural sciences, based on research expenditures reported to the National Science Foundation.

About Perception

Perception a scholarly journal reporting experimental results and theoretical ideas ranging over the fields of human, animal, and machine perception. For nearly 40 years, Perception has been a leading journal for everyone interested in all the senses and the perceptual processes of humans, animals, and machines. Pion, London, England, publishes high-quality academic journals in the areas of geography, physics, and experimental psychology.

Move the Heavier Stones First: A Look At Student Research in Nanotechnology l 2/5/2014

February 5, 2014 – Fargo, N.D. – With more than 1,600 products using nanotechnology on the market, a team of undergraduate researchers at North Dakota State University, Fargo, is examining how people perceive such products and how these products might ultimately affect the environment.

The six students from North Dakota and Minnesota form an interdisciplinary group, representing multiple majors. Led by Dr. Achintya Bezbaruah, assistant professor of civil and environmental engineering, the Nanoenvirology Research Group (NRG) concentrates on weaving several research areas into a single team that gets results.

“Interdisciplinary research is vital in the area of environmental nanotechnology,” said Bezbaruah. He tells his students to move the heavier stones first when conducting research. “Work hard on the right job. Show your intellect and get published,” said Bezbaruah.

Amanda Grosz, a senior in civil engineering from Bismarck, N.D., works on molecular level interactions of nanoparticles on plants to determine their environmental impact.

“My ability to think critically has improved a lot with my research job,” said Grosz. Nanoparticles are being incorporated into many products. “We need to know what the potential effects of nanoparticles are and see if there are ways to shield any potential negative effects or maximize any positive effects,” said Grosz.

“The project I am working on is figuring out the fate and transport of engineering nanomaterials in plants. I work in allium studies. This involves growing onions in nanoparticles and seeing if there are abnormalities in their root growth,” said Grosz. She also investigates potential abnormalities in the root cell division process.

Her work, along with other undergraduate research students in the group, has been published in conference papers. “I have learned perseverance because experiments don’t always go as expected,” said Grosz, pointing out that often, experiments need to be refined until necessary parameters are tested and controls properly identified.

James Tibbles, a freshman in mechanical engineering from Shoreview, Minn., is being trained to follow up on Grosz’s research after she graduates in May.

“The team and I study how materials less than 100 nanometers in size affect plants. We are looking to see if plant DNA and replication are affected,” said Tibbles. “We try to figure out if there are any long-term effects on the plants and if so, why it is happening.”

The research is important to determine if industrial products and byproducts containing nanoparticles will affect the surrounding environment, according to Tibbles. “The reason we check to see if the nanoparticles are harmful to plants is that we consume plants and depend on them for oxygen. If nanoparticles affect the plants, they could affect us.”

Tibbles enjoys working in the lab with other researchers and has learned that he possesses the tenacity and observation skills needed for such research.

Cody Ritt, a freshman from Hamel, Minn., majoring in civil engineering, works on the mechanism of phosphate removal using novel polymer and nanoparticle-based adsorbents.  He is working to take a current nanopolymer product, changing it to maximize the amount of phosphate that the product can absorb, evaluating its durability, and researching how well the product performs in harsh conditions.

“This research is important because phosphorous is killing our lakes and we are working on our product so that it can remove the phosphorous from our lakes,” said Ritt. “We would like to be able to extract the phosphorous that is ruining lakes and use it for a good purpose, as it is a non-renewable resource.”

Ritt’s involvement in undergraduate research has had unintended consequences. “Using my time to solve problems in the environment has captured my attention and my imagination. I often find myself outside of the lab thinking of different ways to approach my research. It really has been a great experience for me.”

Another member of the interdisciplinary team, Hannah Hood, is a sophomore from North Saint Paul, Minn., majoring in psychology. She works with Neal Dittrich, a senior from Champlin, Minn., majoring in business administration.

The two NDSU students are working to correlate people’s perceptions about nanotechnology-based products with Bezbaruah and Dr. Rajani Pillai from the NDSU School of Business. For example, will certain technologies be accepted by people who have concerns about nanotechnology and its potential impact on the environment? Dittrich thinks the undergraduate research opportunity at NDSU provides him a better perspective on market research. Hood reviews how education, gender, geography and past technologies affect the perception of nanotechnology.

“I am mainly focused on public perception of nanotechnology, which is a combination of research, statistics and psychology,” said Hood. “Through literature and other studies, we have been able to detect trends and bring something new toward our knowledge about nanotechnology and the public,” said Hood, who is writing a scientific paper about their research findings.

The students agree that their goal is to determine potential effects of nanoparticles and find effective ways to mitigate any negative effects, while increasing the positive attributes of nanotechnology.

As the students’ experience illustrates, solving research problems takes more than expertise in one discipline. It takes a cross-section of researchers in varying fields.

Dr. Bezbaruah hopes that his students find that their research experiences provide tools to apply in whatever career path they choose. His current and former undergraduate researchers and high school research interns have published more than 20 papers in scientific journals, conference proceedings and scientific conferences worldwide.

“The students answer research questions for which there are no known answers,” said Bezbaruah. “This group of undergraduates and graduate students is involved in a number of cutting edge research projects and continues to challenge themselves. Such work always brings rewards.”

A former undergraduate research student in Bezbaruah’s group, Mary Pate of Wadena, Minn., received a prestigious National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship, becoming the first NDSU engineering student to win the award, which includes federal funding for her current graduate research with Bezbaruah.

The work doesn’t stop with his own students. A science evangelist, Bezbaruah works to interest kids at all levels in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

He supervised a group of junior high students in West Fargo, N. D., who took first place out of more than 300 teams in the nationwide Waste Limitation Management and Recycling Design Challenge organized by NASA. Their winning project took more than 800 research hours. Bezbaruah and the winning students were awarded a trip to NASA for VIP tours and meetings with NASA experts at the Kennedy Space Center.

Additional junior high students were mentored by Bezbaruah and presented their research findings at an international teleconference on how to re-use water. Organized by NDSU, the global teleconference included teams of middle school and high school students from Bangladesh, India, Saudi Arabia, Uganda, and the United States.

In addition, the indefatigable professor and a team from NDSU organized GlobaKonnect Undergraduate TeleSeminars, where undergraduate researchers from NDSU could exchange ideas with their peers in India, thus providing global exposure to scientific research.

No matter what the age group, Bezbaruah remains committed to inspiring students to pursue science.

“One good student makes you reassured that we have a future to look forward to. What else do I need?  I feel energized by seeing them grow.”

NDSU Research Foundation Licenses Coatings Technology to Elinor Specialty Coatingsl 1/29/2014

Goodbye, Chromium. Novel Coatings Technology Introduced for Aluminum Marine and Automotive Use

Jan. 29, 2014, Fargo, N.D. –– The North Dakota State University Research Foundation (NDSU/RF) announced today that it has concluded a license agreement with Elinor Specialty Coatings, Fargo, N.D., for a breakthrough hexavalent chromium-free coatings technology. The patented coatings technology protects aluminum alloys, such as those found in vehicle and ship parts, or in vehicles made entirely from aluminum.

The licensing agreement gives Elinor Specialty Coatings exclusive rights in marine and automotive markets to further develop and commercialize the patented coatings technology developed at North Dakota State University, Fargo.

The magnesium-rich technology will be used in primers marketed to both the military and civilian auto and shipbuilding industries under the trade names Aluma45-MTMandAluma45-ATM . According to Elinor Specialty Coatings, the coatings will provide viable alternatives in manufacturing and maintenance, without the toxicity of hexavalent chromium Cr(VI). The products are designed to be applied over chromium-free pre-treatments or bare metal, eliminating Cr(VI) entirely from the coating system.

Whether on vehicles or vessels, corrosion is a culprit costing companies substantial dollars. The toxic substance, hexavalent chromium Cr(VI)  prevents corrosion, but can also contaminate the environment and contribute to cancer. People more commonly may be familiar with hexavalent chromium as featured prominently in the movie Erin Brockovich.

Elinor Specialty Coatings is the first and only company offering Mg-rich Aluma45-MTM and Aluma45-ATM in the marine and automotive markets. “The long-lasting protection allows longer periods between maintenance cycles, while eliminating the toxic work conditions and long-term hazmat storage dilemmas of Cr(VI) for companies or command units,” said Dante Battocchi, chief technical officer of Elinor Specialty Coatings.

Battocchi said previous chromate-free primers on the market did not provide the anti-corrosive properties of chromate, which despite its known toxicity, has not been banned in the U.S. because it is highly effective at inhibiting corrosion of high strength aluminum. The magnesium technology formulated for Aluma45-MTM and Aluma45-ATM at NDSU and now licensed by Elinor Specialty Coatings for marine and automotive use, provides the first non-chrome corrosion inhibiting system to perform as well as, or better than chromate in laboratory and field testing, according to Battocchi.

Potential benefits of the new technology include:  reduced costs by eliminating the need for mandatory extra control measures designed to reduce exposure to chromate; and potential lower density than chromate primers, thus reducing weight and resulting in lower fuel consumption. According to Battocchi, many manufacturers currently rely on toxic coatings designed for steel, which aren’t nearly as effective on aluminum as the Aluma45TM primers.

“We are thrilled to see another more environmentally-friendly coating technology reach the market through Elinor Specialty Coatings,” said Dale Zetocha, executive director of the NDSU Research Foundation, which licenses technologies developed at North Dakota State University. “It represents a great opportunity to commercialize this coating technology research for these applications through a North Dakota company.”

North Dakota State University researchers playing a role in years of development of the patented Cr-free Mg-rich technology used in Aluma45-MTM and Aluma45-ATM include Dr. Gordon Bierwagen, Dr. Dante Battocchi, and Dr. Michael E. Nanna. Previous research funding that resulted in the development of these coatings was provided by the U.S. Air Force Office of Scientific Research; the Center for Surface Protection, a state Economic Development Center of Excellence at North Dakota State University; and the Product Design Center at NDSU.

About Elinor Specialty Coatings

Elinor Specialty Coatings solves problems in coatings-related markets through innovative technology transfer and in-house scientific research and development. The company also offers manufacturing supply chain solutions with MagnaShield™ for magnesium components. Elinor is working with manufacturers in the industries of transportation (automotive, shipbuilding) to provide hexavalent chromium-free Mg-rich primers available with Aluma45-M™ and Aluma45-A™. In addition, Elinor is addressing a challenge in maintenance and preservation of historical works of art and decorative metal architecture around the world through a technology from North Dakota State University known as BronzeShield.™

About the NDSU Research Foundation

The NDSU Research Foundation is an independent, not-for-profit organization that supports NDSU in its teaching, research and public service missions. The Foundation manages the intellectual properties developed by faculty, staff and students doing research at NDSU and facilitates commercialization of these technologies. By commercializing intellectual property through licensing of technology, the Foundation is able to create resources that are returned to the individual inventors and to the University to promote continued

About NDSU

NDSU, Fargo, North Dakota, USA, is notably listed among the top 108 U.S. public and private universities in the Carnegie Commission on Higher Education’s category of “Research Universities/Very High Research Activity.” As a student-focused, land grant, research institution, NDSU is listed in the Top 100 research universities in the U.S. for R&D in chemistry, psychology, physical sciences, social sciences and agricultural sciences, based on research expenditures reported to the National Science Foundation.

High Impact Chemistry Journal Includes Work of NDSU Professors l 1/23/2014

Jan. 23, 2014 – Fargo, N.D. – Andriy Voronov, associate professor of coatings and polymeric materials, and Scott Pryor, associate professor of agricultural and biosystems engineering, published recent research in Angewandte ChemieInternational Edition, a leading journal in general chemistry. Article authors included Olena Kudina, a graduate student in Voronov’s research group The paper is featured on the front cover of the January issue at

The article, titled "Highly Efficient Phase Boundary Biocatalysis with Enzymogel Nanoparticles," introduces the principally novel mechanism of phase boundary biocatalysis. The unique research finding can be explored for localized, highly efficient bioconversion processes, as well as opens a new avenue for a variety of applications, including drug delivery and absorbable implants.

With an Impact Factor of 13.734, Angewandte Chemie is the leader among the general chemistry journals. The research project received financial support from a National Science Foundation award, Chemical, Bioengineering, Environmental and Transport Systems Division 0966574.

See What's Inside - NDSU Electron Microscopy Center Holds Open House on Jan. 13 l 1/9/2014

Jan. 9, 2014 – Fargo, N.D. – The North Dakota State University Electron Microscopy Center is holding an Open House on Monday, Jan. 13 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at 1307 18th Street North, just south of NDSU's Wallman Wellness Center and inside the USDA Northern Crop Science Laboratory.

The Electron Microscopy Center’s newest acquisition helps researchers and others see what’s inside an object by assembling 3D image slices, without having to physically cut or damage the item. Learn more about the Electron Microscopy Center’s new GE v|tome|x s 240kV microfocus X-ray computed tomography system, with additional 180kV high performance nanofocus submicron X-ray tube (nanoCT) and high-contrast digital flat panel detector. This and other specialized imaging equipment are available to researchers, students and industrial users.

Benefits for Research and Business
The new versatile state-of-the-art X-ray inspection and computed tomography (microCT) system enables external and internal evaluation of intact objects, not otherwise possible without permanent damage. Like computed tomography (“CAT scanning”), microCT equipment acquires successive X-ray image slices of an object.

Sophisticated software and a powerful computer workstation manipulate images to provide digital 3D reconstruction, exterior and interior measurements, density analysis, defect inspection, and surface rendering for finite element analysis. This type of nondestructive testing has wide-ranging research and commercial applications.
The NDSU Electron Microscopy Center provides comprehensive microscopy services for teaching, research and potential commercial applications, from initial project planning to publishable photographs. The facility houses nearly $5 million worth of equipment, including the following major instruments in addition to the microCT:  field-emission analytical scanning electron microscope, high-resolution analytical transmission electron microscope, variable-pressure analytical scanning electron microscope, and tungsten-filament transmission electron microscope.

Join Us to See What’s Inside
Find the NDSU Electron Microscopy Center at for the Open House on Jan. 13 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

About NDSU
NDSU, Fargo, North Dakota, USA, is notably listed among the top 108 U.S. public and private universities in the Carnegie Commission on Higher Education’s category of “Research Universities/Very High Research Activity.” As a student-focused, land grant, research institution, NDSU is listed in the Top 100 research universities in the U.S. for R&D in chemistry, physical sciences, psychology, social sciences, and agricultural sciences, based on research expenditures reported to the National Science Foundation.

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