Category Archives: GRANTS

Expo Highlights TSU’s Growing Agricultural Outreach as Officials Recognize Tennessee’s Top Small Farmers

University Holds Position for “Biggest Extension Network” Among HBCUs 

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Highlighting its broad Cooperative Extension program that now touches more 50 counties in the state, Tennessee State University Thursday recognized four individuals as the “top small farmers” in Tennessee. The recognition, which also included the presentation of the “Small Farmer of the Year” award, marked the conclusion of the 2015 Small Farms Expo that brought together more than 400 agricultural experts, farmers, students and officials from across Tennessee and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Farmers1
Tennessee 2015 Top Small Farmers are, from left, Steve Malamatos, “Alternative Enterprise”; Ken Drinnon, “Innovative Marketing”; Trent McVay, “Most Improved Small Farm”; and Christopher Mullican, “Best Management Practices.” Ken Drinnon received the “Small Farmer of the Year” award. (Photo by Emmanuel Freeman, TSU Media Relations)

“These individuals are the ‘best of the best’ in farming in Tennessee,” said Dr. Chandra Reddy, dean of the College of Agriculture, Human and Natural Sciences, as he presented plaques to Ken Drinnon, a beef cattle producer in Cheatham County, recognized for “innovative marketing; and Trent McVay, a vegetable and cattle grower in Shelby County, recognized for “most improved small farm.”

Also receiving plaques were Steve Malamatos, who owns a poultry processing business in White County. He was recognized for “alternative enterprise,” and Christopher Mullican, a beef cattle producer in Sumner and Davidson Counties, who also runs a non-profit therapeutic service for children and soldiers with disabilities.  He was recognized for “best management practices.”

Drinnon, who owns 82 acres of farm land and leases another 60 acres, where he runs a freezer beef business selling wholesale or retail to local restaurants, received the “Small Farmer of the Year” award.

“It is quite a humbling experience to receive this award,” Drinnon said. “My family and I are very thankful to this university and the state for not only working with farmers but also recognizing our contributions in such a public manner. We try to do the best to do a very good job.”

Candidates for recognition were nominated by either their extension agents, government agents or officials in each honoree’s county.

Reddy1
Dr. Chandra Reddy, Dean of the College of Agriculture, Human and Natural Sciences, talks to a reporter minutes before the opening of the Expo. He says that TSU now has the “biggest extension network” of all HBCUs in the nation. (Photo by Emmanuel Freeman, TSU Media Relations)

According to Reddy, the recognitions and awards are an indication of TSU’s expansive outreach across the state in helping small farmers recognize their own potential and hone their skills through research, and introduction to new farming techniques, equipment and production methods.

“This annual Expo, now in its 11th year, is a way for Tennessee State University and our partners on the federal and state levels to recognized the role farmers and agriculture play in the state and the nation,” Reddy told reporters earlier.

As the nation celebrates the 125th anniversary of 1890 Morrill Act that created the second land grant system that include Tennessee State University, Reddy announced that TSU now has the “biggest extension network” of all HBCUs in the nation. He said in seven years TSU’s extension program has grown from 10 counties to more than 50.

“This is quite an achievement that could not have been possible without the support of our TSU leadership under President Glenda Glover, and partners like UT-Knoxville (University of Tennessee), the USDA, the Tennessee Department of Agriculture, and all of the agencies represented in the state,” Reddy said.

He attributed the success of the Cooperative Extension Program to the workers under the leadership of Dr. Latif Lighari, associate dean for Extension.

“We are grateful to Dr. Lighari for his leadership, and his team for the work they are doing, and for ensuring another successful Expo,” Reddy added.

Natalie
Natalie Owens, Extension Agent and Food and Nutrition Education Program specialist in Shelby County, demonstrates how to prepare nutritious blueberry crumble without artificial ingredients. (Photo by Emmanuel Freeman, TSU Media Relations)

At Thursday’s Expo, visitors, including students, saw exhibits, displays and new discoveries that not only showcased the impact of agriculture and its future in the state, but also the educational potential of the University and the level of research it conducts.

kids
Elementary and middle school students prepare to go on a farm excursion during the Expo. (Photo by Emmanuel Freeman, TSU Media Relations)

Organized by the Cooperative Extension program along with several agencies and institutions, the 2015 Small Farms Expo exhibited a biodiesel fuel production unit that farmers can use to turn crops into fuel for their equipment, a greenhouse emission reduction system for field crops, community gardening, meat goat production and genetics, beekeeping demonstration, and 4-H and adult agriculture.

Workshops included organic vegetable production techniques, pesticide handling and safety, food preservation, and soil and plant tissue sampling, among others.

Lighari, who has headed the Expo since its inception, recognized his fellow organizers, the various farm managers and research leaders, small farmers, schools and students for their participation.

“Your input and participation made this event very successful,” Lighari said. “We thank you and especially the small farmers who are the lifeline of what we do.”

Other speakers included TSU Vice President for Academic Affairs, Dr. Mark Hardy; Associate Vice President for Research and Sponsored Programs, Dr. Lesia Crumpton-Young; State Rep. Harold Love Jr.; Agriculture Commissioner Julius Johnson; and Dr. Tim Cross, dean of Extension at the University of Tennessee.

Other TSU partners, Expo organizers, agencies and sponsors present were the Tennessee Farm Bureau, U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Farm Service Agency, and the Tennessee Wildlife Resource Agency.

Department of Media Relations
Tennessee State University
3500 John Merritt Boulevard
Nashville, Tennessee 37209
615.963.5331

About Tennessee State University

With more than 9,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 38 undergraduate, 22 graduate and seven doctoral programs. TSU has earned a top 20 ranking for Historically Black Colleges and Universities according to U.S. News and World Report, and rated as one of the top universities in the country by Washington Monthly for social mobility, research and community service. Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University celebrated 100 years in Nashville during 2012. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.

21 Incoming Freshmen, Rising High School Seniors Get Exposure to Cutting-edge Research During Summer Program

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – From studies in understanding hypersensitive response of tobacco plants to comparing DNAs in chickens and Guinea fowls, 21 incoming college freshmen and rising high school seniors spent their summer receiving exposure to real-world scientific work and cutting-edge research.

Kayla
Kayla Sampson, an incoming freshman, presents her research on “Understanding hypersensitive response of tobacco plants to elf-type and GFD-labeled strains of Erwina tracheiphilia.” (Photo by Emmanuel Freeman, TSU Media Relations)

The students, from Tennessee, Mississippi, Florida, Indiana and Georgia, spent five weeks at Tennessee State University engaged in various laboratory and field experiments under the mentorship of university professors and scientists. Their finished works were presented as scientific papers and research results during a standing-room only audience of parents and guests in the Ferrell-Westbrook Complex on TSU’s main campus on July 2.

“These students are really the best we have recruited in the seven years of the Summer Apprenticeship Program,” said Dr. Chandra Reddy, referring to the USDA-funded program intended to expose students to the many career opportunities in agriculture, bio- and environmental sciences.

Kayla Sampson, an incoming freshman from Jackson, Mississippi, who wants to major in biotechnology, said the summer programs gave her a better understanding of her career choice.

“Although I have always wanted to go into biotechnology, I came here not knowing much about it,” said Sampson, who will attend TSU this fall. “This Summer Apprenticeship Program has really opened my eyes and fueled my interest. The mentors and program coordinators were very helpful and encouraging.”

Carey
Kobe Leonard, left, Paige Madison and Arthur Carey present their combined research on “Sustainable seafood.” (Photo by John Cross, TSU Media Relations)

From Ivori Scheley, an incoming freshman, whose dream is to engage in groundbreaking research, to Christopher Green, also an incoming freshman with an interest in biotechnology and environmental science, many of the future scientists say their month-long interaction with each other and college professors was an eye-opener for their future careers.

“Biotechnology is certainly where the money is, which makes it a very enticing career choice,” said Green. “I also see animal science as another potential career choice.”

Green
Christopher Green, an incoming freshman with interest in biotechnology and environmental science, presents on “Comparison of pectobacterium caratovora strains for virulence detection.” (Photo by John Cross, TSU Media Relations)

According to William F. Hayslett Sr., coordinator of the Summer Apprenticeship Program, the objective of the program is to dispel the “myth” that agriculture is farming. “Our goal here is to make students aware of the academic programs in the College of Agriculture, Human and Natural Sciences and the many career opportunities available to its graduates.”

Reddy, who is dean of the College of Agriculture, Human and Natural Sciences, encouraged the students to consider careers in STEM and agricultural sciences, as “lucrative” areas for employment.

“Here at TSU we offer a variety of opportunities in agribusiness, environmental sciences and many other areas that are in high demand,” he said.

Boykin
Terrell Boykin, with a focus on mite prevention, presents his research based on “Greenhouse practices.” (Photo by John Cross, TSU Media Relations)

He thanked parents for encouraging their children to enter the program, adding that the program offers a “positive” avenue for youths to spend their summer in experiential learning. “It is also intended to give community college and recent high school graduates the opportunity to learn values essential for environmental stewardship at the local, state and national levels,” Reddy said.

Other students who participated in the program were: Malaika Greer, Jasmine Stringer, Kevonte Askew, Amarius Daniels, Demetria Hayes, Asia Hooper, Darrius Lawson, Devinn Pauley, Sydnie Davis and Arthur Carey. Also participating in the Summer Apprenticeship Program were: Kobe Leonard, Paige Madison, Terrell Boykin, CheKenna Fletcher, Isiah Cunningham, Whitney ‘Abbey’ Anderson, Shakarah Nelson and Darian Majors.

Each of the students who participated in the residential program received a $1,000 stipend.

Department of Media Relations

Tennessee State University
3500 John Merritt Boulevard
Nashville, Tennessee 37209
615.963.5331

About Tennessee State University

With more than 9,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 45 undergraduate, 24 graduate and seven doctoral programs. TSU has earned a top 20 ranking for Historically Black Colleges and Universities according to U.S. News and World Report, and rated as one of the top universities in the country by Washington Monthly for social mobility, research and community service. Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University celebrated 100 years in Nashville during 2012. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.

Tennessee State University Professor Wins Prestigious American Society of Agronomy Award

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – A Tennessee State University professor, noted for his mobile biodiesel demonstration to farmers across the state, has won the prestigious American Society of Agronomy Early Career Professional Award for 2015. Dr. Jason de Koff, assistant professor in the College of Agriculture, Human and Natural Sciences, was recognized for outstanding contribution to the field of agronomy in education and research.

The award will be formally presented at the ASA’s awards ceremony during the scientific society’s annual international meeting Nov. 15-18 in Minneapolis.

“I am very honored to win this award,” de Koff said. “Receiving this kind of acknowledgement means I am making important contributions in my field.”

FEATURED_Biodiesel mobile UnitDe Koff, now in his fifth year at TSU, has received more than $1.3 in grant funding as principal investigator and co-PI. His responsibilities in extension and research focus on using switchgrass and winter canola for bioenergy production. He is a research-focus group leader for 20 faculty members, and serves as assistant program leader in the Cooperative Extension Program at TSU. As a state extension specialist, he has developed a series of workshops, videos, factsheets and a mobile demonstration for on-farm biodiesel production.

“Dr. Jason de Koff is very deserving of this ASA award,” said Dr. Samuel N. Nahashon, interim chair of the Department of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences at TSU. “He is one of our outstanding faculty who is well-rounded in teaching, research and outreach. He has developed courses, secured funding and established an excellent program in bioenergy, an effort that is benefitting our students and stakeholders.”

The ASA Early Career Professional Award, which comes with a $2,000 honorarium, recognizes young professionals who have made outstanding contributions in agronomy within seven years of completing their final degree.

De Koff received his Ph.D. from Purdue University in 2008. He came to TSU in 2010 after post-doctoral work with the USDA Agricultural Research Service.

“I plan to continue my efforts in extension, research and teaching to enhance opportunities for both TSU students and Tennessee farmers,” de Koff said.

Department of Media Relations

Tennessee State University
3500 John Merritt Boulevard
Nashville, Tennessee 37209
615.963.5331

About Tennessee State University

With more than 9,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 45 undergraduate, 24 graduate and seven doctoral programs. TSU has earned a top 20 ranking for Historically Black Colleges and Universities according to U.S. News and World Report, and rated as one of the top universities in the country by Washington Monthly for social mobility, research and community service. Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University celebrated 100 years in Nashville during 2012. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.

Team Including TSU Astronomers Discover Planetary System Much Closer to Earth

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – A team of astronomers using ground-based telescopes in Arizona, California, and Hawaii recently discovered a planetary system orbiting a nearby star that is only 54 light-years away from our solar system. All three of its planets orbit their star at a distance closer than Mercury orbits the Sun, completing their orbits in just 5, 15, and 24 days.

The astronomers, from Tennessee State University, the University of Hawaii at Manoa, the University of California, Berkeley, and the University of California Observatory found the planets using measurements from the Automated Planet Finder (APF) Telescope at Lick Observatory in California, the W. M. Keck Observatory on Mauna Kea, Hawaii, and the TSU APFs at Fairborn Observatory in the Patagonia Mountains of southern Arizona.

The TSU moonlight telescopes at the Fairborn Observatory in the Patagonia Mountains of Southern Arizona helped researchers discover a planetary system orbiting a nearby star that is only 54 light-years away from our solar system. (courtesy photo)
The TSU moonlight telescopes at the Fairborn Observatory in the Patagonia Mountains of Southern Arizona helped researchers discover a planetary system orbiting a nearby star that is only 54 light-years away from our solar system. (courtesy photo)

The team discovered the new planets by detecting the wobble of the star HD 7924 as the planets orbited and pulled on the star gravitationally. The APF and Keck Observatory traced out the planets’ orbits over many years using the Doppler technique that has successfully found hundreds of mostly larger planets orbiting nearby stars. In coordination with the APF and Keck Observations, the TSU APF made crucial brightness measurements of HD 7924 over nine years to assure the validity of the planet discoveries.

TSU has also been developing and operating robotic telescopes for over 20 years.

“The robotic telescopes are a wonderful advancement,” said TSU astronomer, Dr. Gregory Henry, who oversees the operation of seven robotic telescopes for his research. “They take away the tedium of all-night, manual observing sessions and produce far more superior data.”

One of the TSU robotic telescopes discovered the first transiting extrasolar planet in 1999, providing final proof of the existence of other planetary systems.

The Keck Observatory found the first evidence of planets orbiting HD 7924, discovering the innermost planet in 2009 using the HIRES instrument installed on the 10-meter Keck I telescope. This same combination was also used to find other super-Earths orbiting nearby stars in planet searches led by UH astronomer Andrew Howard and UC Berkeley Professor Geoffrey Marcy. It took five years of additional observations at Keck, a year-and-a-half campaign by the APF Telescope, and nine years of APT monitoring to find the two additional planets orbiting HD 7924.

According to Henry, the Kepler Space Telescope has discovered thousands of extrasolar planets and demonstrated that they are common in our Milky Way galaxy. However, nearly all of these planets are far from our solar system, he said.

“Most nearby stars have not been thoroughly searched for the small ‘super-Earth’ planets (larger than Earth but smaller than Neptune) that Kepler found in great abundance,” Henry added.

This discovery shows the type of planetary system that astronomers expect to find around many nearby stars in the coming years.

“The three planets are unlike anything in our solar system, with masses 7-8 times the mass of Earth and orbits that take them very close to their host star,” said UC Berkeley graduate student Lauren Weiss.

Henry added that TSU automated telescopes will also make an important contribution to automated planet discovery.

“The APF measurements of the planetary host star’s brightness will allow us to determine whether star spots are mimicking the presence of a false planet,” said Henry.

The robotic observations of HD 7924 are the start of a systematic survey for super-Earth planets orbiting nearby stars. University of Hawaii graduate student B. J. Fulton will lead this two-year search with the APF as part of his research for his doctoral dissertation. Henry will measure any brightness changes in the same stars with the TSU APTs.

“When the survey is complete, we will have a census of small planets orbiting Sun-like stars within approximately 100 light-years of Earth,” says Fulton.

The paper, “Three super-Earths orbiting HD 7924,” has been accepted for publication in the Astrophysical Journal. Other authors of the paper are Howard Isaacson (UC Berkeley), Evan Sinukoff (UH), and Bradford Holden and Robert Kibrick (UCO). The team acknowledges support of the Gloria and Ken Levy Foundation, NASA, NSF, the U.S. Naval Observatory, the University of California for its support of Lick Observatory and the State of Tennessee through its Centers of Excellence program.

 

Department of Media Relations

Tennessee State University
3500 John Merritt Boulevard
Nashville, Tennessee 37209
615.963.5331

About Tennessee State University

With more than 9,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 45 undergraduate, 24 graduate and seven doctoral programs. TSU has earned a top 20 ranking for Historically Black Colleges and Universities according to U.S. News and World Report, and rated as one of the top universities in the country by Washington Monthly for social mobility, research and community service. Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University celebrated 100 years in Nashville during 2012. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.

TSU to Host Defense Department Center of Excellence on Cyber Security

University to be part of $5 million multi-institution grant

 

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Since the 1970s, the area of cyberspace has developed into a constant evolving system of internet-based technologies that could cripple the nation and the U.S. military.

TeamAFRLGlobeIllustrationNo longer is the battle confined to a geographical area. Military commands at every level now face threats from cyberspace of potential attacks that can cause serious damage to the military’s infrastructure, such as hacking into systems to introduce malware, malicious hardware and crashing networks.

Now, in an attempt to counter cyberthreats from other countries, the U.S. Defense Department will develop a new strategy on how to respond to foreign threat with, Tennessee State University at the forefront by helping reduce the potential risk stemming from cyber attacks.

To counter future threats to the nation’s military capabilities, the Air Force Research Laboratory has awarded a $5 million collaborative grant to three universities, including TSU, to establish a Center of Excellence in Cyber Security. Old Dominion University and Norfolk State University are the other members of the five-year cooperative team.

The Center, according to the AFRL, will advance the research capabilities of Historically Black Colleges and Universities and other Minority-Serving Institutions. It will also contribute to the education of students in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) disciplines, and provide additional research opportunities for faculty.

“The Center of Excellence will respond to the Department of Defense’s demand for analysis, detection and response technologies to protect the cyber infrastructure,” said Dr. S.K. Hargrove, dean of the College of Engineering. “The Center will further enhance TSU’s research capacity in cyber security.”

The research objective of the grant, made on behalf of the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering, is to create a Center of Excellence to develop a big data analytics enabled Cyber Analysis, Simulation and Experimentation Environment (CASE-V) to enhance situational awareness and decision-support capabilities for cyber defense and training.

Dr. Sachin Shetty
Dr. Sachin Shetty

The Center will have a satellite site at TSU, headed by Dr. Sachin Shetty, associate professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering. He will operate specific task orders with the Cyber Security Laboratory within the TIGER (TSU Interdisciplinary Graduate Engineering Research) Institute, located in the Research & Sponsored Programs Building.

“The Center of Excellence will develop analysis, detection and response capabilities to counter future advanced persistent threats plaguing the DoD cyber infrastructure,” said Shetty. “In addition, the Center will also develop a Live-Virtual-Constructive test bed to conduct cyber planning and training activities, as well as enable increased synergistic research collaboration with government, industry and HBCU partners.”

This is the second award TSU has received from the AFRL to study the development, discovery and integration of warfighting technologies to support air, space and cyberspace forces with the Department of Defense. In November 2013, the College of Engineering received a multiyear grant worth nearly $2 million to study power sources for air and space vehicles, and to study how to intelligently adapt communications and networks to provide friendly forces unfettered and reliable communications during joint forces operations.

 

 

 

Department of Media Relations

Tennessee State University
3500 John Merritt Boulevard
Nashville, Tennessee 37209
615.963.5331

About Tennessee State University

With more than 9,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 45 undergraduate, 24 graduate and seven doctoral programs. TSU has earned a top 20 ranking for Historically Black Colleges and Universities according to U.S. News and World Report, and rated as one of the top universities in the country by Washington Monthly for social mobility, research and community service. Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University celebrated 100 years in Nashville during 2012. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.

TSU Data Sciences Workshop April 16-17 to Draw More than 100 Experts from the United States and China

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Billed as “the next big thing,” data science, a discipline or study that combines mathematics, statistics and computer science, is becoming the leading driver in innovation, competition and productivity.

The demand for professionals in this relatively new and rising discipline is high, as universities scramble to develop comprehensive data science degree programs to graduate data scientists.

Tennessee State University is looking to play a major role in bringing about greater awareness to a discipline that reports estimate will create 4 million data science-related positions in the United States by 2018.

On April 16, the University will host the first annual workshop on data sciences that is expected to bring together more than 100 data science researchers from over 20 universities and institutions in the United States and China.

The two-day workshop on the theme, “High Dimensional Data Analysis,” is expected to bring experts from national institutions such as Harvard University, Johns Hopkins University, the University of Memphis, Tuskegee University, the University of Tennessee Knoxville, Vanderbilt University, and China’s Nanjing University of Information Science and Technology.

Speakers and participants are also expected from Middle Tennessee State University, Jacksonville University, the University of Michigan, and the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

On July 11, 2013, TSU and MTSU signed a memorandum of understanding to “develop strategic areas of research in data sciences.” The MOU called for the creation of a joint institution for data sciences that would seek to participate in and enhance faculty and student research training programs.

With funding from NASA EPSCoR, Dr. Ali Sekmen, professor and chair of the Department of Computer Science, said the data sciences workshop is an offshoot of the MOU with MTSU.

“Tennessee State University wants to be a major player in data sciences,” Sekmen said. “We have all of the various disciplines being offered on our campus, and this is the reason why we are combining our efforts with all of the key areas including computer science, mathematics, engineering, and agriculture resources to promote this workshop.”

Sekmen said the workshop would include mini lectures on mathematical background for faculty and graduate students on the first day before going into the research and technical aspects of data sciences on the second day. Additionally, there will be concurrent sessions for undergraduate students at a less technical level.

“Because of the highly technical nature of data sciences, we want to make sure everyone, especially students are on the same page when we begin to discuss the specifics of the discipline,” Sekmen said.

The workshop, also sponsored by the National Science Foundation and TN-SCORE, is free but registration is required. For registration and questions, go to http://www.tnstate.edu/computer_science/datascience/committee.aspx .

 

 

Department of Media Relations

Tennessee State University
3500 John Merritt Boulevard
Nashville, Tennessee 37209
615.963.5331

About Tennessee State University

With more than 9,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 42 undergraduate, 24 graduate and seven doctoral programs. TSU has earned a top 20 ranking for Historically Black Colleges and Universities according to U.S. News and World Report, and rated as one of the top universities in the country by Washington Monthly for social mobility, research and community service. Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University celebrated 100 years in Nashville during 2012. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.

TSU Professor Lands Half Million-Dollar Award as Part of USDA Food Safety Grants

Research to focus on preventing foodborne illnesses in consumers

 

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – A professor with the College of Agriculture, Human and Natural Sciences at Tennessee State University has received a $500,000 USDA grant to research new ways of preventing foodborne illness and increase the safety of the food production industry.

Dr. Ankit Patras
Dr. Ankit Patras

Dr. Ankit Patras, assistant professor of Agriculture Science received the grant as part of the USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture’s $19 million funding awards, including more than $6.7 million for antimicrobial resistance studies to 36 universities across the country including Tennessee State, through the Agriculture and Food Research Food Safety Challenge.

The AFRI Food Safety Challenge is an annual round of federal funding that, according to the USDA, “promotes and enhances the scientific discipline of food safety, with an overall aim of protecting consumers from microbial and chemical contaminants that may occur during all stages of the food chain, from production to consumption.”

Patras’ project, titled “Steering Innovation for Treatment of Liquid Foods to Eliminate Pathogenic Microbes and Toxins Using Low Wave-length UV Irradiation,” will aim to improve the consistency and effectiveness of UV treatments of liquid foods like juice and milk. If successful, the new and improved techniques developed by this research will extend to the food industry and allow for the less expensive, more energy efficient UV treatments to replace traditional heat treatments like pasteurization. This project is supported in part by the Aquafine Corporation, Valencia, California.

“This project will enhance the understanding of irradiation processes and accurate UV dose delivery in different liquid foods,” Patras said. “This will effectively minimize the risk of infections stemming from food contaminations.” Additionally, Patras noted that the project will “foster long-term cooperation, knowledge exchange among students, and integration between academia and industry.”

Dr. Chandra Reddy, dean of the College of Agriculture, Human and Natural Sciences, recognized the opportunity for TSU the grant and the technologies will create.

“It feels great to receive this prestigious award from NIFA/USDA,” Patras said. “This will expand and strengthen our Food Bioscience and Technology program at TSU, allowing us to develop cutting-edge optical technologies and offer customized solutions to many of today’s disinfection problems in the food industry.”

 

Department of Media Relations
Tennessee State University
3500 John Merritt Boulevard
Nashville, Tennessee 37209
615.963.5331
About Tennessee State University

With more than 9,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 42 undergraduate, 24 graduate and seven doctoral programs. TSU has earned a top 20 ranking for Historically Black Colleges and Universities according to U.S. News and World Report, and rated as one of the top universities in the country by Washington Monthly for social mobility, research and community service. Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University celebrated 100 years in Nashville during 2012. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.

2015 Ag Week to Commemorate 125th Anniversary of 1890 Land-Grant System

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – This year’s College of Agriculture, Human and Natural Sciences Week will culminate with a Health Walk commemorating the 125th Anniversary of the Morrill Act of 1890, which created the land-grant system for universities and colleges including Tennessee State University.

Gilmore
State Representative Brenda Gilmore, a TSU alum and strong supporter, will make the opening statement at this year’s Ag Week in front of the new Agricultural and Biotechnology Building, at 8 a.m., Saturday, April 11.

On Saturday, April 11 at 8 a.m., the ceremony will kickoff in front of the Agricultural and Biotechnology Building on the main campus, with an opening statement by State Representative Brenda Gilmore, followed by the Health walk.

The 1890 land-grant system came into being with the signing of the Second Morrill Act for residents in primarily southern and border states who, because of their race, were denied admission to the publically-funded land-grant institutions that were founded in 1862. TSU, which was founded in 1912 as the Tennessee Agricultural and Industrial Normal School, became the designated recipient of Tennessee’s portion of 1890 land-grant funds in 1913.

The 125th anniversary observance event is part of a yearlong celebration among the 19 Black Land-Grant Colleges and Universities in the United States. The event will also include a national celebration in Washington, D.C. in July.

“The 1890 land-grant universities are a major education resource for the nation, and continue to be a key source for African-American leaders who render valuable service to their communities, the nation, and the world,” said Dr. Chandra Reddy, dean of the College of Agriculture, Human and Natural Sciences.

For more information on the 1890 Land-Grant Colleges and Universities, visit www.1890universities.org.

Below is schedule of other events marking this year’s CAHNS Week:

  • Monday, April 6: Student Day
    • 9:30 – 10 — Refreshments
    • 10 – 2 — 1890 Land-Grant Celebration Agriculture Career Fair
    • 12 – 2 — Student Cookout
  • Tuesday, April 7: Ag & Env Sciences Day
    • 8 – 9:30 — Continental Breakfast (Lawson)
    • 9:30 – 10:30 — Guest Speakers (Farrell-Westbrook)
    • 11 – 12 — Demonstrations
    • 1:30 – 3 Lab Tours
    • 3 – 5 — Student Professional Development Workshop (AITC)
  • Wednesday, April 8: Biological Sciences Day
    • 8:30 – 9:25 — Registration
    • 9:30 – 10:30 — Guest Speakers (McCord 206)
    • 10:30 – 12 — Tours and Poster Exhibit
    • 1 – 2:30 — Program (Floyd Payne Forum 210)
    • 2:30 – 3:30 – Reception
  • Thursday, April 9: Chemistry Day
    • 8:30 – 9:30 — Registration & Refreshments (Boswell 106)
    • 9 – 12 — Chemistry Career Fair (Boswell 122)
    • 9:15 – 10 — Tours
    • 11:15 – 12:15 — Chemistry Challenge (Boswell 12)
    • 12 – 2 — Poster Presentations
    • 2:20 – 3:45 — Guest Speaker (Boswell 12)
  • Friday, April 10: College Recognition Day
    • 12 – 2 — Awards Luncheon (Farrell-Westbrook 118)
    • Saturday: 1890 Land-Grant 125th Anniversary Healthwalk
    • 7 -8 — Registration and set-up
    • 8 – 10 — 5k and Health Walk
    • 10 -11 — Fellowship and Awareness Campaign
  • Wednesday, April 15: Family and Consumer Sciences Week of the Young Child
  • 9 – 11 — North Nashville Childcare Centers Community Event (Ag Complex Circle)Department of Media Relations
    Tennessee State University
    3500 John Merritt Boulevard
    Nashville, Tennessee 37209
    615.963.5331
    About Tennessee State UniversityWith more than 9,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 42 undergraduate, 24 graduate and seven doctoral programs. TSU has earned a top 20 ranking for Historically Black Colleges and Universities according to U.S. News and World Report, and rated as one of the top universities in the country by Washington Monthly for social mobility, research and community service. Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University celebrated 100 years in Nashville during 2012. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.

Breast Cancer Vaccine Developed by Tennessee State University Researcher and Colleagues Shows Promise in Preliminary Trial

Dr. Venkataswarup Tiriveedhi, a cancer and immunology specialist and assistant professor of Biological Sciences, works on cancer mechanism in his lab in Harned Hall at Tenessee State University. Tiriveedhi and a group of researchers from Washington University School of Medicine at St. Louis have come up with an experimental vaccine for breast cancer that appears to be safe in preliminary trials.
Dr. Venkataswarup Tiriveedhi, a cancer and immunology specialist and assistant professor of Biological Sciences, works on cancer mechanism in his lab in Harned Hall at Tennessee State University. Tiriveedhi and a group of researchers from Washington University School of Medicine at St. Louis have come up with an experimental vaccine for breast cancer that appears to be safe in preliminary trials. (photo by Emmanuel Freeman, TSU Media Relations)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – A Tennessee State University scientist and a group of researchers from Washington University School of Medicine at St. Louis have come up with an experimental vaccine for breast cancer that appears to be safe in a preliminary trial.

According to a study published in Clinical Cancer Research, Dr. Venkataswarup Tiriveedhi, assistant professor of Biological Sciences in the College of Agriculture, Human and Natural Sciences, and his colleagues found that the experimental vaccine, Mammaglobin-A, was “overexpressed” in 40 to 80 percent of primary breast cancers.

Also known as MAM-A, the vaccine prompted CD8 T-cells to track and eliminate the MAM-A protein, noted Tiriveedhi. To determine the efficacy and safety of the experimental drug, he said they conducted a phase I trial involving 14 patients diagnosed with advanced breast cancer.

“The side effects from the vaccine after one year were minimal, and included rashes, tenderness, and mild flu-like symptoms,” added Tiriveedhi, who specializes in cancer and immunology.

By the one-year mark, the study revealed, roughly 50 percent of the patients showed no sign of disease progression. By comparison, only 20 percent of a similar group of 12 patients showed no signs of disease progression one year out.

The researchers, however, stressed the need for a larger and longer study, to prove the current preliminary evidence prior to its use in all breast cancer patients. They theorized that “these promising results” from initial studies could be applied not only to prevent cancer progression but also to prevent the development of breast cancer in women.

“The current one (study) is a small Phase-I trial mainly aimed at testing the safety (does no harm). But we have also found this vaccine to be highly effective against the disease. The next step is to go for larger Phase II/III studies with a higher cohort of breast cancer patients and rigorously test for efficiency, dosing, clinical outcomes, cancer stage specificity, etc.,” noted Tiriveedhi, who holds MD and Ph.D. degrees.

He called the study a “promising move forward” that is not just restricted to breast cancer, but one that can be employed in “similar strategies” to treat other cancers such as lung and colon cancers.

“The MAM-A DNA vaccine is safe, capable of eliciting MAM-A–specific CD8 T-cell responses, and preliminary evidence suggests improved PF,” the researchers concluded.

Dr. Tiriveedhi, who came to Tennessee State University about a year and half ago, started the study, “Safety and Preliminary Evidence of Biologic Efficacy of a Mammaglobin-A DNA Vaccine in Patients with Stable Metastatic Breast Cancer,” with his colleagues at Washington University before leaving to join the faculty at TSU.

 

 

 

Department of Media Relations

Tennessee State University
3500 John Merritt Boulevard
Nashville, Tennessee 37209
615.963.5331

About Tennessee State University

With more than 9,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 42 undergraduate, 24 graduate and seven doctoral programs. TSU has earned a top 20 ranking for Historically Black Colleges and Universities according to U.S. News and World Report, and rated as one of the top universities in the country by Washington Monthly for social mobility, research and community service. Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University celebrated 100 years in Nashville during 2012. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.

Tennessee State University Receives USDA Grant to Aid Veteran, New and Socially Disadvantaged Farmers

Funds focus on outreach and technical assistance to diversify American Agriculture

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University has received funding to help beginning and socially disadvantaged farmers, veteran farmers and ranchers build a more resilient agriculture system.

The University’s College of Agriculture, Human and Natural Sciences received $188,055 recently from the U.S. Department of Agriculture as part of a $9.7 million grant to educate and provide technical assistance to agriculture businesses.

The grant, distributed through the Outreach and Assistance for Socially Disadvantaged Farmers and Ranchers Grant Program, will help faculty and extension agents from the University encourage, educate and assist socially and financially disadvantaged farmers and producers to operate their farms more efficiently, and if able, purchase new farmland and become even more successful farmers and producers.

“We will specifically focus on socially disadvantaged farmers and land owners, and try to educate them on a variety of financial and technical help, and the opportunities available,” said Dr. Chandra Reddy, dean and director of Research and administrator of Extension in the College of Agriculture, Human and Natural Sciences. “We want to make sure that they are on an even footing with large-farm owners when it comes to technical assistance and funding opportunities.”

The grant money, according to Dr. Arvazena Clardy, assistant professor of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences, will be used to conduct workshops around the state, and educate farmers and producers on business development and expansion, small herd management, plant nutrition, and food safety and new farm technology among other topics.

The grant will also be used toward a future New Farmer Academy where new owners and potential owners of small acreages receive training on ways to best utilize their land for crops and livestock. The most recent five-month academy graduated nine candidates who learned about opportunities to expand into new areas of production, gain access to and knowledge about federal funds and programs, as well as develop new marketing strategies to make them more successful.

The goal, said Clardy, is to work with small and limited resource producers, farmers and landowners, and work individually with them on specific problems related to their farms and production.

“We are committed to improving the economic conditions of the socially disadvantaged farmers and landowners here in Tennessee,” said Clardy. “This grant will give us the opportunity to educate them about the accessibility of programs and new farm technology, as well as provide hands-on training, and one-on-one outreach and technical assistance.”

The grant was announced December 3 by USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack, who described the funding as part of “our ongoing commitment” to identify, recruit and train a vibrant next generation of farmers and ranchers who can carry American agriculture into the future. “It is also part of our pledge to assist military veterans find economic opportunity as they return to civilian life,” Vilsack added.

 

 

 

Department of Media Relations

Tennessee State University
3500 John Merritt Boulevard
Nashville, Tennessee 37209
615.963.5331

About Tennessee State University

With more than 9,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 42 undergraduate, 24 graduate and seven doctoral programs. TSU has earned a top 20 ranking for Historically Black Colleges and Universities according to U.S. News and World Report, and rated as one of the top universities in the country by Washington Monthly for social mobility, research and community service. Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University celebrated 100 years in Nashville during 2012. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.