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

NC State University

Spring 2004 Home From the Dean
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College of Agriculture & Life Sciences  







From the Dean

Joining CALS interim dean Dr. Johnny Wynne (right) at the launching of the CRONOS real-time weather Web site were Dr. Daniel Solomon (left), dean of the College of Physical and Mathematical Sciences, and Dr. Sethu Raman, director of the State Climate Office. (Photo by Art Latham)

On the forefront of discovery and innovation

Ornate letter "I"
n this Perspectives issue we
present a number of the College
of Agriculture and Life Sciences’ leading-edge research discoveries, innovative teaching activities and timely collaborative partnerships.

All three areas come into play in a first-of-its-kind industrial case-studies course taught by Dr. Lisbeth Hamer, assistant professor in the College’s Department of Microbiology, as part of the new N.C. State professional master’s degree program in biotechnology and business. Her four-semester course includes academic-corporate collaboration in the form of case studies taught by Hamer and biotechnology industry scientists, such as Dr. Warren Casey of GlaxoSmithKline, a 2003 College Distinguished Alumnus. While conducting case-study research at companies, the students practice and learn corporate procedures not heretofore available to them in academic programs.

In this issue you’ll also learn about the Biomanufacturing Training and Education Center (BTEC). The Golden LEAF-funded facility, to be built on the university’s Centennial Campus, will train students to be part of the growing workforce needed by the biomanufacturing industry. Slated for completion by 2007, the BTEC will involve the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and the College of Engineering. The BTEC is expected to train 2,000 to 3,000 prospective biomanufacturing industry employees annually, assist in the development of new technologies for production of value-added products and other bio-based systems, and enhance rural biomanufacturing jobs and new agribusiness opportunities.

As a result of his research on new ways to degrade poultry waste, Dr. Jason Shih of our Poultry Science Department has discovered an enzyme that could destroy the protein particle, or prion, that causes mad cow disease. The enzyme keratinase breaks down poultry feathers, and Dr. Shih finds that the structure of the mad cow disease prion is similar to that of chicken feathers. Learn here about the ongoing research and the field-application opportunities it could create.

Dr. Brian Wiegmann of the Entomology Department and his research team have received a $2.4 million grant from the National Science Foundation to examine the genetic and evolutionary ties of true flies — part of an NSF project to create a family tree for 1.7 million living species.

And profiled in this issue is Dr. Trudy Mackay, William Neal Reynolds Professor in the Department of Genetics, who has been honored with the Genetics Society
of America Medal.

There is news of a new strawberry variety, a new Extension fire ecology training program, a new way to close out hog lagoons and the latest research linking cockroaches to allergies.

In alumni news, Iredell County nursery owner John Allen has patented Summer Cascade, an usual river birch for introduction to the nursery industry, with the help of Dr. Tom Ranney of the Mountain Horticultural Research and Extension Center at Fletcher.

Join us on the forefront of these many endeavors.

Johnny Wynne
Interim Dean, College of
Agriculture and Life Sciences
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