Perspectives On Line: The Magazine of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences

NC State University

Fall 2001 Contents Page Features Leaps of Faith Patchwork
Community Service
4-H's New Gem
Mission Possible
College Profile
Noteworthy News Giving Alumni
Items of Interest
From the Dean
College of Agriculture & Life Sciences





From The Dean

The line of succession: In June, Dean Oblinger (center) hosted a sendoff for Dr. George Barthalmus (right), retiring director of academic programs, and welcomed the new director, Dr. Ken Esbenshade (left). See stories in 'Mission Possible' feature article and GIVING section. / Photo by Sheri D. Thomas

Local to Global

Ornate letter The extensive reach of the work of our College is highlighted in this issue of Perspectives, with frontiers of discovery and service ranging from the laboratory to the field to international cooperative efforts. And, like the Cooperative Extension agent training exercise depicted on our back cover, each venture is a leap of faith — a journey into new realms to share and acquire new knowledge and respond with science-based solutions to issues locally and globally.

Dee Shore, of our Communication Services Department, is just one of the latest representatives of our College to travel to the eastern European country of Moldova as part of a partnership between that nation and North Carolina. Where others have provided Moldovans agricultural production advice, encouraged scientific and business partnerships and helped the country’s agricultural university learn about university-based extension systems, Dee offered assistance in communicating farm financial management expertise and accomplishments with the public. Here she chronicles her visit and the efforts of the College in helping Moldova regain control of its agricultural system.

Equally far-reaching will be the effects of several areas of College research reported in this issue.

Research that can have health benefits for North Carolina and beyond has been taking place at the state’s Cherokee Reservation. There, for more than 10 years, the Entomology Department’s Dr. Charles Apperson has studied a mosquito-transmitted virus that strikes the reservation’s children at a higher-than-normal rate. Apperson wants to put a price tag on the social and economic costs of the virus in hopes that it will get more public attention.

U.S. infants will soon have the benefit of infant formula that is a step closer to breast milk, thanks to the work of Dr. Jack Odle, Dr. Bob Harrell and graduate student Susan Matthews, of the Department of Animal Science. Using piglets as an animal pediatric model, the team studied two different sources of the long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids that are important in the brain and visual development of infants. This research has helped lead to federal acceptance of two oils for infant formula that provide these fatty acids, commonly found in mothers’ milk.

Dr. Fred Gould, Department of Entomology, and colleagues are at work improving a technology to control insect pests — what Gould calls “autocidal” control of pests. In the near future, scientists may be able to use genetic engineering to bring about the demise of specific insect populations without the use of pesticides. These strategies have the potential to be, in Gould’s words, “almost surgically precise. The only thing harmed is the pest species.”

Our College Profile is Dr. Todd Klaenhammer, one of the world’s leading experts on the role of lactic acid bacteria in food fermentations. The approaches developed by Klaenhammer’s research group are used worldwide in the fight against the bacteriophages that infect food and dairy fermentations. Klaenhammer, William Neal Reynolds Professor of food science and microbiology in the Department of Food Science, was recently elected to the National Academy of Sciences.

Finally, an international perspective is evident among our Noteworthy stories: Meredith Price — College biochemistry graduate and currently studying as an inaugural Gates Cambridge Scholar in England — hopes to make her mark in the world as a physician. And we are proud to remember Dr. Ralph Cummings, 1933 College alumnus, former faculty member and administrator — and a leader of the Green Revolution that fed millions of people worldwide. Internationally heralded for his work and recipient of the university’s Watauga Medal, Cummings, who died this summer, leaves behind a profoundly important legacy of service to the world community.

James L. Oblinger
Dean, College of Agriculture
and Life Sciences
Top of Page