Today @ Colorado State has been replaced by SOURCE. This site exists as an archive of Today @ Colorado State stories between January 1, 2009 and September 8, 2014.

Research / Discovery

The Muse: Catching up

May 5, 2014
By Alan Rudolph, Vice President for Research

It has been a few weeks since I have had a chance to catch up with the Muse. As we wind down the semester, this has been a particularly busy time on and off campus for me. I have been balancing immersive activities on campus with representing Colorado State in our nation's capital and overseas.

In the last few weeks, I have continued my visits to campus departments and colleges to meet new faces, hear about new passions, and learn more about how our office can serve faculty and the research enterprise.  In early April, I enjoyed a visit to the College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, where I met with staff in the equine reproduction program and discussed the current status of the science and business of cryopreservation and radiological health, particularly with opportunities in Japan at Fukushima University. In mid April, I also visited with the Warner College of Natural Resources’ Department of Geosciences and had a general discussion about microbiome work, working with industry partners, and infrastructural needs in the college.

Bringing in thought leaders

I have stepped up bringing thought leaders to campus to identify new research opportunities for faculty. In the third week of April, we hosted Richard Hatchett, chief medical officer and deputy director of the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA), a $1.5 billion agency dedicated to research and development in medical countermeasures for emergency preparedness for pandemic disease outbreaks. He gave two presentations, one with an industry focus, including CSU spinouts and CSU Ventures companies, and a broader general talk that was very well attended.

Hatchett spoke about future needs in diagnostics, radiological health and antimicrobial resistance. This latter area was especially pertinent as the World Health Organization just released a sobering report on our antimicrobial resistance vulnerability.  He was particularly interested in CSU’s current Good Manufacturing Practices (cGMP) facility capable of producing countermeasures for many of the pathogen threats.

On April 25, we hosted a second visit of senior thought leaders in consort with the One Health Initiative. Senior members of the Gates Foundation came to campus to be keynote speakers in the One Health Dinner series. Steve Buchsbaum, deputy director of Discovery and Translational Science, and Sindura Ganapathi, a New Program Officer, presented the foundation philosophy in investment and future areas of need. Ganapathi addressed prospects in their new One Health Initiative, recommending that CSU focus our initiative and define it by specific problems we are interested in addressing under the One Health banner. It was a great opportunity to see how a major sponsor in this area is thinking about One Health and compare notes to our own growing initiative. As we know, One Health is a broad landscape of potential opportunity and landscape and we are in the formative stages of defining this opportunity for ourselves.

The next day, Buchsbaum attended a series of topics and discussions ranging from Elizabeth Ryan’s work on rice bran, Mary Jackson’s work on mycobacteria, Dick Bowen’s emerging infectious disease work and United States Agency for International Development (USAID) program efforts. Raj Khosla presented on precision agriculture and Andy Jones talked about predictive atmospheric sciences and weather interests. This was a great interactive discussion to show how our faculty interests in One Health areas cross many disciplines. The discussion also showed a systems view of the intersections between animal and human health and the environment.

Accomplishments

This spring we launched evaluations of key aspects of research infrastructure to seek more agility and innovation in providing key infrastructural needs to campus.  We have called this initiative INSTAR, to reflect the insect larval stage of growth where significant adaptive reorganization takes place (think caterpillar to butterfly).  INSTAR is an acronym that stands for Infrastructure for Innovative and Agile Science and Technology Applications.  Let’s see if we can live up to it.

We completed a review of our animal care and use program and initiated a review in sponsored research activity.  The evaluations are being conducted by external independent subject matter experts and will be invaluable as we work together to seek implemental change.  This is timely as the National Science Foundation just released a report, titled “Reducing Investigators' Administrative Workload for Federally Funded Research,” that documents how faculty are being bureaucratized by increased regulation.  I look forward to working with the new faculty advisory committee, the research associated deans, and the research strategic planning groups on campus to see how we can improve our infrastructure as a competitive advantage for us.

Finally, I was able to attend the Undergraduate Research Colloquium in Johnson Hall. What a fantastic event. The hall was crammed with energy, enthusiasm, and ambitions of a new generation of future researchers.  Many faculty mentors, parents, and friends were also in attendance.  I was honored to attend the award ceremony and was humbled by the great turnout and excellence of the program.  A big shout out to Mark Brown for his leadership in the Undergraduate Research Colloquium.

As we head into the end of the semester and into the summer, I will try to find a rhythm to The Muse that suits us and seek to distribute this communication to the appropriate audience.  Enjoy the warmer weather.