LINCOLN — A husband-and-wife pairing of an organic farmer and a genetic engineer will discuss the future of food during the Feb. 12 Heuermann Lecture at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln's East Campus.
The husband, Raoul Adamchak, teaches organic agriculture and manages the University of California, Davis student farm, a five-acre market garden. He is market garden coordinator in the Agricultural Sustainability Institute at UC Davis.
His wife, Pamela Ronald, is a geneticist whose laboratory genetically engineered rice for disease resistance and flood tolerance, important characteristics for rice crops in Asia and Africa. She is a professor in the Department of Plant Pathology and the Genome Center at UC Davis.
The two might seem at opposite ends of today's debates on how best to maintain the world's food supply. Yet together they wrote “Tomorrow's Table: Organic Farming, Genetics and the Future of Food,” a book aimed at consumers, farmers and policymakers who want to support ecologically responsible farming practices.
The book was positively reviewed by Seed magazine, the Library Journal, the New Earth Archive and even Microsoft founder Bill Gates, who called it a “fantastic piece of work.”
The couple's lecture will explore the same themes as the book. Ronnie Green, vice chancellor of UNL's Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources, said he is looking forward to the couple's lecture.
“Feeding the world's growing population while sustaining the environment is a huge challenge we face in coming years,” he said.
The lecture begins at 3:30 p.m. in the Hardin Hall auditorium. It also will stream live at http://heuermannlectures.unl.edu and will be broadcast on NET2 World at a later date.
2 UNL teams place in technology contest
Two teams led by UNL engineering students placed in the top five in the 2012 Smarter Planet Challenge, an international competition to improve technology. Contest sponsors are IBM and the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers.
SEER, a project to enhance TV viewing with a layered multimedia experience, placed fourth and won a $2,000 prize. The team was led by Robert Boulter, a senior UNL electronics engineering major from Bellevue.
The prize will help the team develop a prototype for the April 25 Computer and Electronics Engineering Senior Projects Showcase at the Peter Kiewit Institute in Omaha.
The SEER project would create a TV system that allows multiple users to view simultaneous videos from separate sources, all on the same screen. Boulter explained that it would allow one user to watch a video while another uses a gaming console.
Other members of the interdisciplinary team are Hong-Yen Hoang of La Vista, an accounting major at the University of Nebraska at Omaha; Marc McCaslin of Bellevue, a senior UNL electronics major; Sara Shinn of Nebraska City, a senior majoring in computer engineering at UNL and computer science at UNO; and Timothy Struble-Larsen of Omaha, a senior studying electronics engineering with UNL engineering programs in Omaha.
A second Nebraska team placed fifth in the challenge with a GIS-based wind farm suitability and planning study. That team was led by electrical engineering graduate students Salman Kahrobaee of Tehran, Iran, and Dingguo Lu of Hangzhou, China.
The team received a $1,000 prize that they will use to refine the project for possible commercialization.
Other members of the wind farm team are Tarlan Razzaghi of Tehran, Anthony L. Nguy-Robertson of Mooresville, Ind., and David Gibbs of Earlysville, Va.
Grant to help CU profs study prostate cancer
Creighton University researchers seeking new treatments for prostate cancer have been approved for more than $650,000 in grants from the Department of Defense.
Yaping Tu, associate professor of pharmacology, will receive more than $500,000 to design a drug to block the growth of prostate cancers and prevent them from spreading to other parts of the body. He will collaborate with Peter Abel, a professor of pharmacology, and Poonam Sharma, an associate professor of pathology, to expand on previous research in which he identified two genes at work in the development of prostate cancer. His previous work also received Department of Defense funding.
Xian-Ming Chen, a professor of microbiology and immunology, will collaborate with Tu on a second project, which received a $108,375 grant. Chen will study prostate cancer at the molecular level; specifically, why prostate cancers develop resistance to androgen deprivation, a commonly used hormone therapy.
Tu said that the Department of Defense provides funds to only about 4 percent of researchers who apply.
“They want to make sure we are studying something that has a real-world application,” he said.
Tu said he and his fellow researchers hope to have a drug available for testing on advance prostate cancers within the next three to five years.
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