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MANHATTAN — A Kansas State University biochemist is improving biofuels with a promising crop: Camelina sativa. The research may help boost rural economies and provide farmers with a value-added product.

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Researchers at Kansas State University in Manhattan, KS, have developed a genetic test that could help the cattle industry more rapidly and accurately detect pathogenic Shiga toxin-producing E. coli O157:H7.

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MANHATTAN — A collaborative discovery involving Kansas State University researchers may lead to the first universal treatment for dystonia, a neurological disorder that affects nearly half a million Americans.

Michal Zolkiewski, associate professor of biochemistry and molecular biophysics at Kansas State University, and Jeffrey Brodsky at the University at Pittsburgh co-led a study that focused on a mutated protein associated with early onset torsion dystonia, or EOTD, the most severe type of dystonia that typically affects adolescents before the age of 20. Dystonia causes involuntary and sustained muscle contractions that can lead to paralysis and abnormal postures.  

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MANHATTAN — A collaborative study involving Kansas State University researchers has discovered a new gene expression mechanism in porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome, or PRRS, virus — an important swine pathogen that costs the U.S. pork industry more than $600 million a year. The discovery provides a new avenue for scientists to explore strategies to control and prevent the disease.

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LAWRENCE – Manmade chemicals are everywhere: in the clothes we wear, the cars we drive and nearly everything we use in daily life. Many of those chemicals, however, are derived from dwindling fossil-based sources and through processes that can be harmful to the environment.

That could soon change. Researchers at the Center for Environmentally Beneficial Catalysis (CEBC) at the University of Kansas recently received a four-year, $4.4 million federal grant as part of the Networks for Sustainable Molecular Design and Synthesis program. It is one of only four such awards made this year by the National Science Foundation and the Environmental Protection Agency.

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Scientific collaborations often result in cutting edge research because of the fusion of complementary expertise. The special relationship between Kansas State University’s Johnson Cancer Research Center and the University of Kansas Cancer Center is a good example. It is powerful because K-State’s JCRC expands KUCC’s access to preclinical work, while KUCC can facilitate translation of JCRC’s basic research to clinical trials. Their partnership was an important factor in KUCC achieving National Cancer Institute designation, and currently, the two centers have more than a dozen scientific interactions. 

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LAWRENCE — Scientists have long recognized retinoic acid – a compound the body produces by metabolizing vitamin A – as crucial to embryonic development. Either too much or too little retinoic acid during gestation can lead to a number of severe postnatal complications and diseases. Consequently, much research has been done on how the body regulates the metabolism of vitamin A, though no clear consensus has emerged.

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LAWRENCE — The University of Kansas says its research funding set a record in 2011-12, reaching $275.2 million.

It is the fifth straight year the funding increased but university officials say federal budget cuts might halt that trend.

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MANHATTAN -- The U.S. National Research Council has ranked Kansas State University's department of plant pathology as the No. 10 plant pathology department in the nation.

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LAWRENCE — For the second consecutive year and the third time in four years, the University of Kansas School of Pharmacy is ranked No. 2 in the nation in National Institutes of Health funding.

The School of Pharmacy earned more than $25 million in NIH research funding in fiscal year 2012 — an increase of $3 million from the previous year’s total. The NIH is a primary source of federal funding for pharmacy schools, and NIH funding is considered a key indicator of the productivity and quality of a school’s faculty.

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LAWRENCE — Just three years after The University of Kansas opened its Bioscience and Technology Business Center, construction is beginning on an addition that will more than double the space available for tenants.

The need for the $10 million expansion became evident when the existing building — a mix of offices and lab spaces — filled up with tenants more quickly than anyone expected.

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MANHATTAN -- Porcine epidemic diarrhea virus, or PEDV, has been confirmed in the U.S., and the Kansas State Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory at Kansas State University is ready to accept samples for diagnostic testing.

Laboratory testing is the only known way to diagnose the virus. The diagnostic laboratory has assembled a team of virologists, molecular diagnosticians and pathologists to rapidly identify the virus.

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LAWRENCE — Chances are, you know or have seen someone affected by Tourette syndrome (TS), a neurological disorder characterized by involuntary tics like blinking, head-jerking or uncontrolled vocalizations. Depending on the severity of the tics, they can range from a mild annoyance to a dramatic impact on a person’s ability to function.

While some medications have proven useful in mitigating the tics, they often have side effects. This is especially true of antipsychotics, which are effective in treating TS symptoms but come with side effects such as sedation, weight gain and cognitive dulling.

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For more than a year, Cody Servos has been looking for work.  Previously employed at a local grocery store, Servos is still searching for that perfect opportunity.

"I wanted a chance to learn more and get into a field that I could enjoy," says Servos, who believes that opportunity might be in food or health manufacturing, part of the growing bioscience industry.

The bioscience industry is adding jobs four times faster than other industries and in Kansas grew 14.6 percent in the last decade - while total jobs in the private sector shrank by more than 3 percent.

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LAWRENCE — For years, most biologists have taught that more numerous and varied species inhabit regions around the Earth’s equator than any other latitude — and, that from this zenith, biodiversity plummets steadily all the way to the North and South poles.

“The typical geographic pattern of biodiversity is something we all learned in school —that the greatest biodiversity is at the equator,” said Daphne Fautin, professor of ecology and evolutionary biology at the University of Kansas. “People point to rainforests where you can find tons of species, as opposed to the poles, where you see masses of very few species. Think of coral reefs — they are models of biodiversity — but at higher latitudes you have a pond with just one kind of fish, like bluegills. The idea is that tropics are more biodiverse. You could say there are more kinds of life — maybe not more life, but more kinds — at low latitudes than high latitudes.”

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LAWRENCE — In 2010, the discoverers of graphene — a revolutionary material made of a carbon “monolayer” just one atom thick — snagged the Nobel Prize in physics. An extremely efficient conductor of heat and electricity, graphene could be manufactured with nothing more extraordinary than scotch tape and a pencil.

But because it was such a great conductor of electricity, the one-atom-thick material couldn’t be used for semiconductors: It lacked a “band gap” that could be used to control the flow of electrons.

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LAWRENCE — Federally funded research at the University of Kansas increased in 2011 to a record $162.7 million. That figure ranked KU 39th among national public research universities, according to an annual survey produced by the National Science Foundation.

This marks the first time KU has ranked in the top 40 in this category. It was 41st in 2010, 44th in 2009, 43rd in 2008 and 44th in 2007. As recently as 1996, KU ranked 55th

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LAWRENCE – The University of Kansas will be well-represented at one of the nation’s most exclusive venture capital events.

Two KU technologies will be featured at the annual University Research & Entrepreneurship Symposium, a showcase of the most promising university-based inventions for venture capitalists and entrepreneurs, which will be Wednesday, April 3, in Cambridge, Mass.

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MANHATTAN -- A Kansas State University-led team is researching ways to stop the spread of norovirus, a contagious stomach illness that infects one in 15 Americans each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Kyeong-Ok Chang, associate professor of diagnostic medicine and pathobiology, is leading researchers as they develop an antiviral drug for market use. The team -- supported by a five-year $5.1 million National Institutes of Health grant -- has identified and is further testing several protease inhibitors with potential for preventing and treating norovirus infection.

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LAWRENCE – A University of Kansas startup company has begun producing a new drug delivery technology that could make cancer treatments safer and more effective.

HylaPharm, a drug delivery company founded in 2010 by a team of KU faculty, is now producing its patented HylaPlat technology, which delivers chemotherapy drugs directly to cancer cells in tumors and nearby lymph nodes while limiting drug exposure in kidneys, nerves and auditory organs. By limiting exposure in these surrounding areas, HylaPlat enables targeted treatments with fewer side effects for patients.

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MANHATTAN -- A Kansas State University professor's research on breast cancer stem cells may help improve survival rates by preventing cancer recurrence and metastasis -- the major causes of death among breast cancer patients.

Anna Zolkiewska, associate professor of biochemistry and molecular biophysics, has received a four-year $1.245 million grant from the National Cancer Institute -- at the National Institutes of Health -- to study a promising breast cancer marker called ADAM12. The grant is titled "ADAM12 in breast tumor initiating cells."

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If you’re one of the nation’s leading scientists focused on animal health, Kansas is the place to be. Just ask Dr. Jim Riviere.

Riviere, a prominent pharmacology researcher, a member of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies, and co-founder and co-director of the USDA Food Animal Residue Avoidance Databank (FARAD) program, can now add McDonald Chair of veterinary medicine, Kansas Bioscience Eminent Scholar, and a university distinguished professor at Kansas State University to his long list of accolades.

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LAWRENCE – Blue-green algae aren’t regularly on the minds of the masses. However, that changes quickly when toxic and unsightly blue-green algal blooms crop up in a local lake or reservoir, putting a damper on summertime fun.

When researchers approach the problem of blue-green algae, their work is frequently influenced by the findings of Val Smith, a University of Kansas professor of ecology and evolutionary biology. Nearly 30 years ago, Smith wrote a paper on the influence of nitrogen and phosphorus ratios on the proliferation of blue-green algae. He found that these highly undesirable algae were rare in lakes that had a high ratio of nitrogen to phosphorus.

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LAWRENCE — Thirteen University of Kansas graduate students from the Lawrence campus and KU Medical Center were selected to showcase their research projects for state lawmakers and the public at the Graduate Student Research Summit from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 14, in the rotunda of the state Capitol in Topeka.

The KU representatives will join graduate students from Kansas State and Wichita State universities at the event, which is intended to raise awareness of the graduate programs at all four institutions and the importance of graduate students’ research at state universities.

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LAWRENCE — The KU Biodiversity Institute has announced completion of a two-year, $3.5 million renovation that has modernized the laboratories in 110-year-old Dyche Hall for 21st century research and student training about the life of the planet. A dedication reception and tours are planned from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 12.

In the new facilities, KU faculty, staff and students, and visiting scholars will be able to conduct innovative research in biodiversity science, from discovering and documenting the diversity of the world’s plants and animals; to exploring their genetics, anatomy and evolution; to forecasting the potential spread of diseases and harmful invasive species; to investigating the environmental consequences of decreasing water on the Great Plains. 

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The Kansas congressional delegation, ever wary of discretionary federal expenditures, finds a reasonable home-state investment in the study of microscopic dangers.

Despite a price tag that might hit $1 billion by the end of construction and an active opposition regarding safety concerns, the lawmakers celebrated last week a land transfer that marks another step in locating the National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility in Manhattan, Kan.

“We have worked hard to secure the congressional commitment to make the NBAF a reality,” said Congresswoman Lynn Jenkins, “and this step forward will allow construction to begin early next year.”

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MANHATTAN -- An international scientific collaboration that includes two Kansas State University researchers is bringing home the bacon when it comes to potential animal and human health advancements, thanks to successfully mapping the genome of the domestic pig.

The sequenced genome gives researchers a genetic blueprint of the pig. It includes a complete list of DNA and genes that give pigs their traits like height and color. Once all of the genetic information is understood, scientists anticipate improvements to the animal's health as well as human health, as pigs and humans share similar physiologies.

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Spring 2012 -- The Manhattan Area Chamber of Commerce in partnership with the City of Manhattan and Kansas Department of Commerce is announcing that an area software company, CivicPlus, will be dramatically expanding its operations and building a new facility in the downtown area. Ten-year plans call for more than 250 new full-time positions with average wages of over $45,000.   CivicPlus will also offer internship opportunities.

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Mars construction site sign in Topeka, KansasMars construction site sign in Topeka, Kansas

Company committed to investing in U.S. manufacturing; Brings jobs to the Topeka area

TOPEKA, KS (June 29, 2011) – Today Mars Chocolate North America announced plans to build a new state-of-the art manufacturing facility in Topeka, KS. The announcement was made in Topeka by Mike Wittman, Vice President of Supply at Mars Chocolate North America, and Kansas Governor Sam Brownback on the campus of Washburn University.

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The Bioscience and Technology Business Center (BTBC) main facility, located on the West Campus of the University of Kansas, opened in August 2010. Sinc then, BTBC has grown to include two additional facilities, making it the largest business incubator network in Kansas and one of the largest in the Midwest.

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API Foils announced in December that its Americas headquarters will relocate from New Jersey to Lawrence.

The move, which will be complete by June 2012, reinforces API’s presence in Lawrence with the creation of 17 new jobs. API is a leading manufacturer of hot stamping foils for the packaging, printing and embossing industries.  Its products are used for decorative and security packaging materials in a wide range of applications.

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Bowersock Mills & Power Company, Lawrence, KansasBowersock Mills & Power Company, Lawrence, Kansas

The Lawrence skyline is about to change. 

Progress on a new hydroelectric power plant is highly visible to those crossing the Kanas River bridges to and from Lawrence.   When complete, the new Bowersock Mills & Power Company powerhouse will stand as tall as the bridges that cross the “Mighty Kaw” river.

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Kansas State University | Updated: May 2014

New York’s aging Plum Island Animal Disease Center – a major biosafety level 3 animal disease research facility – is preparing to be phased out by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s $1.2 billion National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility, NBAF, currently being built in Manhattan, Kansas.

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